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

Friday, 20 August 2010

Central Methodist Church, York: Thursday 19th August 2010, Francis Jackson

Central Methodist Church, York
Thursday 19th August 2010
Francis Jackson: Organist Emeritus, York Minster

The Programme
  • Prelude in C and Scherzo. Edward Bairstow (1874-1946)
  • Prelude & Fugue in B minor (BWV 544). JS Bach (1685-1750)
  • Choral Dorien. Jehan Alain (1911-1940)
  • Partita, Op.19. William Mathias (1934-1992)
    i) Maestoso: Allegro non troppo
    ii) Lento alla marcia
    iii) Allegro, ma non troppo
  • Prelude on 'Repton', Op.150/2 and Scherzo amabile, Op.92. Francis Jackson (b.1917)
  • Tuba Tune. Norman Cocker (1889-1953)

Time: 12:30
Price: Free (retiring collection)
Attendance: Around 100
Star Rating: 4/5 ****

A very enjoyable recital was given here by the well known organist and composer Dr Francis Jackson CBE. Dr Jackson, an adorable character of 92, delivered what was a very varied programme of music, which had 'something for everybody'. Appropriately, Francis began with the Bairstow prelude, which stretched the resources of this rather large organ to their limits. It was evident, from the very nicely placed screen with a live view of the console upon it, that this piece was very dear to Francis. Following that was the very melodic Scherzo, also by Sir Bairstow. The Bach that followed is one of the 'classics', and was executed with great accuracy.

A piece played with which I was not too familiar was the Mathias Partita. This certainly sounded hard to play, but as usual, Francis did not disappoint. It was quite lengthy, causing the recital to run over a bit (not ideal for those on lunch breaks, and a small handful dressed relatively smartly had to leave after this) but nevertheless it was enjoyable to hear. The piece on the hymn tune Repton, which we all know most frequently as being set to 'Dear Lord and Father of Mankind', was a most reflective and stirring piece by Jackson himself. The recital ended with the very well known Cocker Tuba Tune. This is a piece Francis is very well associated with, following his landmark recordings of this using the Tuba Mirabilis during his time at York Minster. Whilst the organ at Central Methodist in York does not have a Tuba stop, the choir Tromba ranks certainly managed to pull it off well. Francis Jackson was on top form for this recital, and he spoke both with amusement and interest, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

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