Notes on this Blog

Update: September 2010; Overall ratings of recitals are now to be stated as being out of 10, rather than 5. This increases the relative objectivity of the respective ratings between recitals.

This blog started in July 2010, as an e-resource with two main goals:
  1. To review, impartially, organ recitals that I attend in the UK, so that potential and actual members of the audience, and the performer alike, can read what I hope is a fair, balanced and unbiased account of events.
  2. To allow people who missed a recital they may have wished to attend to see what it was like, and what they missed (or didn't miss).

I am independent, and am not in any way affiliated (or at all directly or indirectly associated) with any bodies or venues named on this blog. I review all performances in the same way, so as to achieve and maintain my stated goals.

From now on, under 'Attendance' I will just report a rough number, rather than commenting on whether it is 'good', 'poor', 'excellent' etc. This is because attendance figures can be impacted by so many empirical variables (such as time, place, weather, a bus braking down, a blues concert down the road etc.) that it is not really accurate or meaningful, nor is it fair on the recitalist, to comment on numbers in this way.

I remain anonymous here, as to not do so impacts the impartiality of my postings.

I hope that people are reading these (what I hope come across as objective and fair) reviews with interest.

The Blogger

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Central Methodist Church, York: Thursday 22nd July 2010, Matthew Atherton

Central Methodist Church, York
Thursday 22nd July 2010
Matthew Atherton: Director of Music - Barnard Castle Preparatory School, County Durham

The Programme
  • Allegro, from Symphonie VI. Charles Marie Widor (1844-1937)
  • Andante, from Sonata IV, BWV 528. JS Bach (1685-1750)
  • Tu es Petra, from Esquisses Byzantines. Henri Mulet (1887-1967)
  • Toccata in Seven. John Rutter (b.1945)
  • Fantasia in G, BWV 572. JS Bach (1685-1750)
  • Prelude on the Londonderry Air. Noel Rawsthorne (b.1929)
  • Finlandia. Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), arr. Matthew Atherton

Time: 12:30 (lunchtime)
Price: Free, retiring collection
Attendance: Good, around 50
Star Rating: 4/5 ****

This was a thoroughly enjoyable organ recital. As it happened, I took a friend along with me, who hadn't really ever heard live organ music before, and she turned out to thoroughly enjoy it. A good result straight away. The main reason for this, alongside the thrilling tonalities of this instrument, might be down to how Matthew employed so many well known musical themes in his programme, such as those found in the Londonderry Air and his own inspiring arangement of Finlandia. There was something for everyone to 'hum along to' should they wish, as well as some of the more popular organ repertoire. The Widor Allegro to open the recital was a particularly rousing start, and the Bach Fantasia was also particularly enjoyable. Matthew played all these pieces with great accuracy and it has to be noted that he had clearly payed much attention to his registrations and sorting out what worked best on this organ. I must also pay homage though to Matthew's page turner/pupil, George Warren. George played the Rutter Toccata, and for a boy who turned out to be 13, this was a better performance than I have heard on occasion from experienced and distinguished organists. It was quite inspiring, to say the least, and the raw talent was clear. Look out for this name in the future!

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