Peter Gould at the organ of Derby Cathedral,
enjoyed by MIKE WHEELER
Caleb Simper (1856-1942) is not exactly a name to conjure with now, but in his day he seems to have been a megastar of English church music. Peter Gould's recital [9 August 2006, Derby Cathedral, UK] included a March by him, a pleasantly inconsequential piece devoid of either pretensions or personality, and performed with plenty of rhythmic bounce.
The programme began with Mozart's F minor Fantasia, K608, a performance characterised by a bracing vigour in the opening section and a solid rhythmic foundation in the central fugue. There was a similar sense of powerful forward momentum in J S Bach's Prelude and Fugue in G, BWV 541.
Peter Hurford based his suite Laudate Dominum on the psalm verses that preface each movement (eloquently read on this occasion by Peter Gould's daughter, Anna). The movements were sharply characterised, from the confident opening, and the quiet, and strikingly Hindemith-like, second movement, to the rhythmic intricacies of the finale.
Andrew Carter's Village Variations were written for John Scott to inaugurate the newly re-built organ in Great Wenham Church, Suffolk. Again, the contrasts were well set out, though you wonder how a small two-manual village organ could cope with the resplendently Vierne-like finale.
The evening ended with a powerful account of Liszt's Fantasia and Fugue on BACH. This piece gets more impressive every time I hear it, and Peter Gould was a lucid guide to its huge expressive range. I particularly liked the sense of mystery he brought to the start of the Fugue.
Copyright © 24 August 2006
Mike Wheeler, Derby UK
THE SACRED CHORAL MUSIC OF CALEB SIMPER