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July 05, 2004

Rhapsody for Organ

The Abbey certainly has its moments. Last week the Vergers found themselves on less than a day's notice that an open air concert performance by the English Symphony Orchestra and a range of top operatic soloists scheduled to take place on the lawns of Eastnor Castle was being moved to the Abbey. Making arrangements to seat 800 people at that kind of notice takes some doing. It speaks for itself that they succeeded, and the ESO's concert was a huge success.

On a slightly smaller scale was the recital given by Ben Nicholas on the "Magnificent" Milton and the "Glorious" Grove on Saturday evening. Ben is an extremely talented performer, and we are lucky to have him as Assistant Organist (he is actually the Director of Music at the Abbey School). He has toured widely with the boys of the Abbey School Choir, and together they have made a number of recordings. Ben came to us after a period as Organ Scholar at St Paul's Cathedral and has studied under David Sanger.

His repertoire for Saturday included -

Rhapsody No 3 in C Sharp minor - Howells (Milton)
Prelude and Fugue in C - J S Bach (Milton)
Recit de Tierce en taille - Nicolas de Grigny (Milton)
Passacaille - Frank Martin (Milton)
Allegro vivace (Symphonie No 5) - C M Widor (Milton)
Adagio (Symphonie No 3) - Louis Vierne (Grove)
Grand Choeur Dialogue - Eugene Gigout (Grove)

The Frank Martin piece is very modern and best described as polyphonic in sounds. It is an exciting piece and a musician's piece in its challenging registrations and keyboard gymnastics.

Equally interesting is the de Grigny piece, a classic 17th Century "tablature" style with a range of very interesting variations and themes.

Once again the Milton and the Grove showed their versatility in the hands of a talented organist and musician. All in all, an outstanding performance.

Posted by The Gray Monk at July 5, 2004 09:56 PM