Wednesday 18th August 2010
Matthew Martin: Assistant Master of Music, Westminster Cathedral
- Epiphanie. Gaston Litaize (1909-1991)
- Elegy (Symphony in G minor). Percy Whitlock (1903-1946)
- Grand Dialogue (1696). Louis Marchand (1669-1732)
- Trois Danses. Jehan Alain (1911-1940)
- Chant de Paix and Chant heroique. Jean Langlais (1907-1991)
(in memoriam Jehan Alain) (Neuf Pieces)
- Corrente e Siciliano and Rigaudon alla burla (Partita in E, Op.10) Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933)
- Toccata (1991). Francis Pott (b. 1957)
Price: £8 (£6 conc.)
Attendance: Around 120
Star Rating: 3/5 ***
This recital made for a fitting end to the summer series at Durham Cathedral, delivered by the increasingly well known organist and composer, Matthew Martin. The introduction delivered by Matthew was very short and concise, but probably appropriate given that most were itching for the music to begin. The programme was varied, but of particular note towards the beginning was the Whitlock Elegy. This was so very melodic, and in places so sublime and peaceful that upon observation one could note that most people had their eyes closed, and many were slumped in their seats. Perhaps that was why he chose to place the Grand Dialogue afterwards, which most certainly woke people back up from their lullaby induced state.
The Alain Danses were rather lengthy, and needed to end when they did as a matter of certainty. However, in their jovial nature, these three movements were worth hearing, as are many such pieces from time to time. A highlight for me in the second half of the programme was the Langlais Chant heroique, which was executed with 'perfect' registration and speed, almost making the audience feel as though we weren't in the North East of England at all. In his introduction, Matthew had described the two Karg-Elert pieces towards the end of the programme as being rather unpleasant on the ear, and he wasn't wrong. In places they were discordant and frankly strange, and given he clearly knew this, perhaps the programme could have done without these, particularly as the recital on the whole was a little on the long side (an hour and twenty minutes). Nevertheless, these paved the way for the far more enjoyable Pott Toccata. Francis Pott is not an organist, but clearly writes some good music for the instrument. This made for a thrilling conclusion, making use of the magnificent Harrison Tuba stops at Durham Cathedral, and finished on a mighty chord of F sharp major. I very much enjoyed this recital, but it was perhaps a little long, and could have been equally as enjoyable if devoid of a couple of the items. On balance though, I am of course all for hearing new or rarely played music. Many thanks to Matthew for this recital and to Durham Cathedral for the organisation of another enjoyable series.