Paul Rosoman gives St Andrew’s two organs a work-out

Pachelbel: Chaconne in F minor
Johann Fischer: Chaconne in F major, de la Suite Euterpe
Mendelssohn: Andante with Variations in D
Joseph Bonnet: Romance sans Paroles
Parry: Elegy for 7th April 1913
J.S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue in B minor

Paul Rosoman, organ

St. Andrew’s on The Terrace

Wednesday, 13 November 2013, 12.15pm

One of the pleasures of hearing an organ recital at St. Andrew’s is the fact that here are two organs; on this occasion both were played – firstly the small baroque organ downstairs, then the main organ, in the upstairs gallery.

Informed by excellent programme notes, the audience heard a variety of works from late seventeenth century to early twentieth century.  One of the most delightful was the first, the Chaconne by Pachelbel.  It was so good to hear the baroque organ used
(it seems to be but sparsely used these days), and the changes in registrations that Rosoman employed from one variation to another.  Particularly lovely was the sound of the flutes.

Fischer’s composition was probably more diverse and imaginative than the Pachelbel, and very rhythmic.  However, it was without that spark of genius that Pachelbel had.

The remaining pieces were played on the main organ.  Mendelssohn’s organ music is very much of the nineteenth century.  As the programme note said, the composer was ‘a romantic whose music was rooted in classicism’.  Repeated notes could have
done with just a little more separation, otherwise this was a good performance of what I found to be a rather syrupy, hymn-like piece.  Having been taught by the late Maxwell Fernie almost entirely on baroque organ music, I do not find Mendelssohn’s (or
Liszt’s) organ music to my taste.

Joseph Bonnet was the most recent of the composers we heard (1884-1944).  Despite the title, I did not find the piece particularly Romantic, but very charming, simple, and tuneful.  It received plenty of variety of registration, to make for a pleasing recital work.

Parry’s Elegy written for the funeral of his brother-in-law, the Earl of Pembroke, did not have the spirit of his choral music, but was pleasant, and certainly elegiac, but not especially distinguished.

The Bach Prelude and Fugue is not among the great composer’s well-known organ works, nor did I find it one of his more
appealing or interesting, though one could appreciate the counterpoint, and the intricacy of the finger and foot work required from the performer.  There was a bright mixture of stops chosen for the Prelude, but little change for the Fugue – maybe another reed was added.  Nevertheless, it received a fine performance, and gave a rousing end to a thoughtfully chosen and well-played recital.

Both organs sounded in fine form – and that is in large part a tribute to the organist.


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