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

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Ripon Cathedral: Tuesday 31st August 2010, Colin Walsh

Ripon Cathedral
Tuesday 21st August 2010
Colin Walsh: Organist Laureate of Lincoln Cathedral

The Programme
  • Trois Improvisations. Trans. Maurice Durufle. Louis Vierne (1870-1937)
    1) Marche episcopale
    2) Meditation
    3) Cortege
  • Elegiac Prelude. George Bennett (1863-1930)
  • Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, BWV 548, "the Wedge". JS Bach (1685-1750)
  • Allegro Vivace (from Symphony 5, Op.42 No.1). Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937)
  • Cortege et Litanie. Marcel Dupre (1886-1971)
  • Prelude et Fugue sur le non d'Alain. Maurice Durufle (1902-1986)

Time: 19:30
Price: £7.50
Attendance: Around 50
Star Rating: 7/10

This was another recital in the 2010 Ripon Cathedral recital series given by an organist of world class repute. Many of the pieces it contained were familiar to all, and I pay particular attention to Colin's effortless playing of the Bach "Wedge", for which he did intense justice. He brought out the finest voices of this particularly English sounding organ, by Harrison and Harrison, to give a deeply authentic and equally thrilling performance of this great Bach work, a favourite of many. One of my own favourites was the Widor Allegro Vivace from symphony 5, which I felt was delivered as arrestingly as in York Minster a week or so ago. The density of the piece, and the magnificent thundering out of the particularly brilliant parts of this opening movement, gave a superb effect in to the considerable, if not surprisingly generous, acoustic at Ripon Cathedral.

A different piece of significance, although similarly French in character, was the Durufle Prelude and Fugue. This was written as a tribute by Durufle to the great French organist Jehan Alain, who was killed in France during the 1940 German invasion. A distinctive theme builds up throughout, with recapitulations of Alain's most popular work, Litanies, appearing towards the end of the Fugue. The Prelude has a slightly different feel to me, and as it increases in depth and intensity, it reaches a particularly gripping conclusion, with two massive D major chords.

An encore was very well received at the end, and this was the Elgar 'Imperial March'. This piece allowed us to hear the Ripon Tuba, and moreover, left us all feeling really rather patriotic! The inclusion of this final item rounded this recital off well, bringing the Ripon summer organ recital series to a fitting close.

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