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November 16, 2005

Musical treats

Recently the Abbey resounded to the sound of the Silurian Consort, a group of professional and amateur musicians who perform some interesting and unusual works for choir, organ and other instruments and combinations of instruments and voices. Their programme on this occassion included the Saint-Saens Mass for Double Organ and the Vierne Mass for the same instrumentation. These works are scored for choir and two organs, in this case the Consort used a top of the range electronic instrument as the "nave" organ with the Milton as the "Grand" Organ accompaniment.

As many of us suspected, the Mighty Milton easily outclassed the electronic versioin, although, it must be said, the electronic instrument was not bad. It simply did not have the power of the Milton.

The Choir did a magnificent job of the vocal parts, with the Nave organ doing a fair job of accompanying them - but it was the Milton that made it's presence felt in no uncertain terms. Under the hands of a very competent organist it spoke with authority whenever it was required to do so - and the music requires the "Grand" organ to speak in counterpoint to the choir in many of the passages. The range of sounds this instrument can produce, from muted flute and brass to thundering crescendo never fails to amaze us.

The programme was varied and well balanced with pieces for flute and piano, choir only and choir accompanied by either organ. Among my favourites was the "Cantique de Jean Racine" by Gabriel Faure.

Now I would like to hear the Vierne and the Saint-Saens Masses performed in worship. I suspect they will be magnificently uplifting in their real context.

We live in hope!

Posted by The Gray Monk at November 16, 2005 10:43 PM

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