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The programme opened with the popular Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Bach -- or is it? There appears to be some doubt as to its authenticity. This was a very idiosyncratic performance with snatched rhythms, a détaché touch and a hard edge to the sound although the lines of subject and answer in the Fugue were registered with great clarity.

Any fears one may have been harbouring were laid to rest with a performance of Jehan Alain's Deuxième Fantasie. From its impressionistic opening which leads into sounds of non-European influence it creates an atmosphere entirely its own. Alain's premature death in 1940 was a terrible loss to organ repertoire. Preston's extraordinarily sensitive performance was breathtaking.

Inspired by Bach the player's own virtuosic and highly enjoyable Toccata was thrown off with consummate ease, the organ seeming to revel in what was being asked of it.

The first half ended with Jongen's Sonata Eroïca. Written for the inauguration of an organ, it is designed to show off the many colours of the instrument and the considerable technical capabilities required of the organist. Both player and instrument emerged triumphantly.

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Copyright © 29 October 2000 Shirley Ratcliffe, Norfolk, UK





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