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MIKE WHEELER attends summer organ recitals
by Tom Corfield and Johan Hermans


Tom Corfield's contribution to this year's Derby Cathedral organ recital series (Derby, UK, 25 July 2007) was a neatly ordered alternation between works on a grand scale and entertaining miniatures.

Jean Langlais' Hymne d'action de grâce: 'Te Deum' (to give it its full title) got the full-blooded rhetorical treatment, to which the gentle crooning of the Berceuse from Fauré's Dolly (transcribed by David Wells) made the perfect antidote.

The successive sections of Buxtehude's Passacaglia were laid out with calm authority, with similar virtues brought to bear on the Introduction and Passacaglia from Rheinberger's Sonata No 8, later in the programme.

In between these two came Sigfrid Karg-Elert's Three Pastels, Op 92 -- late romantic German organ writing at its ripest, even over-ripe at times. They received a performance of such lucidity that, even with the composer's harmonic thinking at its most convoluted, there was always a thread to follow, and there were individual details to delight in, such as the puckish figures on low flutes in No 3.

Three movements from Whitlock's Plymouth Suite -- the ruminative 'Lantana' and 'Salix' and, in between, the light and airy 'Chanty', were the perfect buffer between the Rheinberger and another monumental blockbuster to balance the opening Langlais -- Schmidt's Prelude and Fugue in D, in a suitably big-boned performance.

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Copyright © 4 August 2007 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


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