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An organ recital by Andrew Nethsingha,
appreciated by MIKE WHEELER


Andrew Nethsingha topped and tailed his programme [12 July 2006, Derby Cathedral, UK] with music by Alexandre Guilmant. He brought great energy to the Grand Choeur in D, and had a firm command of the architecture of the central fugue in the March on a theme by Handel; this quality was also evident in his performance of the Toccata and Fugue in F by Buxtehude later on. The Grand Choeur, in fact, not only opened the recital but began a group of French pieces in which the contrasts between them was acutely realised. The soft colours and gentle expressiveness of Dupré's Prelude and Fugue in F minor, Op 7 No 2, was the perfect foil to both the Guilmant and to the muscularity of the first movement from Vierne's Symphony No 2 which, in Nethsingha's performance, acquired a compelling sense of momentum and sustained tension.

In Mozart's Andante in F, K616, he chose just the right flutey registrations to suggest the mechanical clock for which the piece was originally written; the result was enchanting.

Of his mid-20th-century English group, Eric Thiman's Air and Variation is a fairly negligible piece of chocolate-boxy pastiche. The Fanfare from Percy Whitlock's Four Improvisations is a much more robust work which received a rhythmically incisive performance. George Thalben-Ball's Elegy pays tribute to Walford Davies, his teacher and predecessor at the Temple Church, London, with a blatant rip-off of Davies's Solemn Melody. But it's a noble and moving piece in its own right and it got playing to match. Like the Mozart, it showed Nethsingha's instinct for judging endings perfectly.

Copyright © 19 July 2006 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK




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