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20 July : Peter Gould and Jonathan Gregory
Peter Gould and Jonathan Gregory used all three of the Cathedral's organs in their joint recital. Starting on the small East-end Cousans and the Stow chamber organ they made the most of the different characters of C P E Bach's Four Little Duets, particularly the bright, perky No 4.
They moved to the main Compton for Samuel Wesley's Duet for Organ. There was some rhythmic unsteadiness in the second movement, and though the build-up to the climax of the finale was effectively handled, they were unable to disguise the fact that all three movements were overlong and not particularly interesting.
In fact, the repertoire was the main problem throughout the evening. On this evidence, organ duets are more fun to play than to listen to.
Jonathan Gregory's choice of solo items did little to pep things up, though he skilfully elucidated the textures of John Bull's Laet ons met harten reijne. The title of Leicester Cathedral songman Charles Patterson's Tromba Rumba (not Paul Patterson as stated in the programme) promised a Latin-American firecracker, but it turned out to be a dispiritingly sedate affair.
It was back to the Cousans and Stow organs for the next clutch of duet pieces, with the slight disparity in tuning (for which Peter Gould had earlier apologised) adding an appropriately piquant touch to Soler's First Concerto.
Peter Gould's solo items, particularly Boëly's Fantasie and Fugue in B flat, provided a touch of flamboyance at last. This paved the way for the final duet, John Rutter's technicoloured Variations on a Easter Hymn. Even its tackier moments were a welcome antidote to the enveloping greyness earlier.
Copyright © 23 August 2005
Mike Wheeler, Derby UK