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An exuberant performance

MIKE WHEELER reviews the last of
Derby Cathedral's summer organ recitals,
given by Tom Corfield


Tom Corfield neatly tied some of the threads of this year's series together on 24 August 2005 by starting with the Fantasy on 'Sine Nomine' (the tune on which David Briggs improvised impressively three weeks earlier) by Francis Jackson (whose new Chorale Preludes were premièred by David Johnson the week before). It was a satisfying display of undemonstratively thoughtful musicianship on the part of both composer and performer.

Music based on pre-existing tunes formed, in fact, an important strand in the programme. In J S Bach's Partita on 'Sei gegrüsset, Jesu, gütig', BWV 768, the contrasts between the variations were vividly pointed up by a judicious choice of registration that kept the chorale tune always in the foreground. The same was true in Jiri Ropek's Variations on 'Victimae paschali laudes', in which the plainsong melody is heard against a succession of changing backgrounds. All were sharply characterised, and the final fugue carefully paced.

In between, 'Lied', from Vierne's 24 pieces in free style (a change to the advertised programme) showed Tom Corfield's mastery of delicate, subtle shadings. Similarly, Frank Bridge's Allegretto grazioso, elegantly handled, was a gentle interlude before William Mathias's Jubilate, an exuberant performance full of colour and incisive rhythms.

Tom Corfield
Tom Corfield

Tom Corfield moved to the Stow chamber organ for clear-textured accounts of three pieces by Tallis from the Mulliner book. Then it was back to the main Compton instrument for the big finish -- and they don't come much bigger than Reger's Toccata and Fugue in D minor and major. The huge dynamic and textural contrasts were clearly relished, and the mounting sense of excitement brought to the Fugue was almost tangible.

Copyright © 5 September 2005 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK




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