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An organ recital by Martin Neary,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER


Martin Neary's programme (Derby Cathedral, Derby UK, 30 July 2008) began with Bach's G major Fantasia, BWV 572. It started brightly, and there was dignity in the stately second section, but there was also some rhythmic unsteadiness, something that returned from time to time throughout the evening.

He found some suitably pungent reeds for the 'Elevation -- Tierce en Taille' from François Couperin's Messe pour les couvents, and nicely pointed up the contrasts in Franck's Pastorale between the flowing outer sections and the more staccato writing in the central one.

His recital's big centrepiece was Messiaen's L'ascension. There was a fine sense of gradual build-up to final chord in 'Majesté du Christ ...', the layers of material in 'Alléluias sereins ...' were clearly laid out, and the pedal phrases of 'Transports de Joie' had a feeling of grandeur.

Vaughan Williams' Prelude on 'Rhosymedre' was nicely shaped but, again, rhythms were not entirely stable.

Neary seemed to be most at home with the rhetoric of Liszt's Prelude and Fugue on BACH. He brought an effectively restless feel to the first fugue, but the second one had a slight feeling of stiffness.

The encore, Bach's so-called 'Jig' Fugue (BWV 577), needed a touch more impishness.

An interesting programme, but somehow the spark just wasn't there.

Copyright © 6 August 2008 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK





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