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

Sunday, 29 August 2010

York Minster: Saturday 21st August 2010, David Pipe

York Minster
Saturday 21st August 2010
David Pipe: Assistant Director of Music, York Minster

The Programme
  • Marche hongroise (from La Damnation de Faust), arr. Henri Busser. Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)
  • Fantaisie in A (Trois Pieces). Cesar Franck (1822-1890)
  • Partite diverse sopra Sei gegrusset, Jesu gutig. BWV 768. JS Bach (1685-1750)
  • Miroir (1989). Ad Wammes (b.1953)
  • Symphonie V, Op.42 No1. Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937)
    i Allegro vivace
    iv Adagio
    v Toccata

Time: 19:00
Price: £8 (Season ticket available for £50, reducing the series per recital cost to £6.25)
Attendance: Around 250
Star Rating: 4/5 ****

It would be fair to say that this was a big recital for David Pipe. Having been at York Minster for almost two years now, he has begun to establish himself locally as a player and choir trainer of some repute, and as such the recital was well attended. David certainly did himself, the organ, and his teachers great justice throughout.

There were many interesting pieces featuring, not least the opening Berlioz Marche hongroise. I had never encountered this music previously, and am of the understanding that it is an orchestral work, transcribed for organ in this case. It worked very well indeed, and formed a particularly rousing opening. The Franck that followed was equally as enjoyable, and being composed by one of my own favourite composers, I personally enjoyed this rendition. David played this with accuracy and enormous attention to the 'French feel'.

The follow up to this was the twenty minute long Bach Partite. The only way this piece of musical genius can be saved from being, well, rather boring for the masses, is if one listens to the rather pleasant hymn tune at the outset, that the set of variations are based around. Thankfully I did so, and found it mostly quite enjoyable, particularly the latter movements, through which you could feel the theme and feel for the whole piece very much shining through. I think twenty minutes for this kind of work is long enough, though.

The Wammes 'Miroir' was a joyous and refreshing little number of around four minutes, and another that I had previously not encountered at all. It was very quirky and achieved a couple of sniggers from the audience at the best highlighted points. The jewel in the crown of this recital had to be the Widor Symphony 5, from which David played the 1st, 4th and 5th of the 5 movements. The precision, virtuosity and thought given to this performance was notable without exception, and the Widor Toccata, whilst not the usual 'full organ' with the biggest reeds on show, in fact concluded in a blaze of sheer brilliance from the Minster organ, without being too over the top. The key part of this whole recital for me was the superb ways that David played and interpreted the music, and how he handled the organ. David has clearly gotten to know this instrument well, and had obviously thought long and hard about his choices of registration. A thoroughly enjoyable evening, and with note to Davids playing of absolutely impeccable accuracy and seeming effortlessness, I think his will be a name to watch out for in the future.

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