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Ensemble

Four Heroes

MIKE WHEELER enjoys
a multi-player organ recital

 

Every few years Derby Cathedral's organ recital series includes a multi-player spectacular drawing on the home team. This year Peter Gould and Tom Corfield were joined by two former Derby head choristers, Ben Bloor, now organ scholar, and Christopher Johns who, among other things, is Choral Director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds. The programme was the usual mixture of the serious and, well, not so serious (Derby cathedral, Derby, UK, 16 July 2008).

Messrs Gould and Corfield started the evening with a spirited performance of the Rhapsody for organ duet by Naji Hakim (who gave the opening recital two weeks before), a light-hearted five-movement work based on French and American tunes.

In Handel's Organ Concerto in G minor, Op 4 No 1, Ben Bloor took the solo part on the Cousans organ at the east end while Peter Gould played the orchestral part on the main Compton organ. In spite of the physical distance involved the two dovetailed neatly to produce a crisp, stately performance.

At the fun end of the spectrum, Adrian Vernon Fish's Sonatina for pedals, six feet, is the sort of thing that could be embarrassingly unfunny. But the humour of the outer movements is sufficiently quirky to avoid the trap, while the middle one sounds a note of genuine wistfulness. Both were well caught in this performance, a relay involving all four players, while Tom Corfield's spoof introduction crammed in more wince-making puns on the subjects of bass notes and fish than anyone else would dare try and get away with.

The recital ended with Nigel Ogden's Saints on a spree, which does for 'When the Saints go Marching in' what Ives' Variations on 'America' did for that tune, with Vaughan Williams, Widor and Brahms also chipping in. Our four heroes raced gamefully from one organ to the other and back, ending up all clustered round the nave console for the last chord.

Each player also contributed a solo item. Tom Corfield pointed up the deft whimsicality of the Scherzetto from Whitlock's C minor Sonata; Peter Gould took a steady, unhurried view of Dupré's Lamento; Christopher Johns was gently meditative in Karg-Elert's Harmonies du Soir; and Ben Bloor turned in an account of 'Dieu Parmi Nous' from Messiaen's La nativité that was supremely confident and full of vitality.

Copyright © 24 July 2008 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK

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NAJI HAKIM'S DERBY CATHEDRAL ORGAN RECITAL

JONATHAN SCOTT AT DERBY CATHEDRAL

THE 2007 SERIES OF ORGAN RECITALS AT DERBY CATHEDRAL

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