Music by Whitlock, Schumann, J.S.Bach, Mozart, Saint-Saëns, Bingham & Duprés
Recorded for us on the organ of Norwich Cathedral
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Percy Whitlock 1903-46
March ‘Dignity and Impudence’ (arr.Riley)
R Schumann 1810-56
4 Sketches Op.58
No.1 Nicht schnell und sehr markiert
No.2 Nicht schnell und sehr markiert
J S Bach 1685-1750
Prelude and Fugue in B minor (BWV544)
W A Mozart 1756-1791
Fantasia in F minor KV594
C Saint-Saëns 1835-1921
Fantasie in D flat major Op.101
Seth Bingham 1882-1972
M Dupré 1886-1971
Cortège et Litanie Op.19 No.2
On Friday May 21st, a very fine organ recital by David Dunnett was performed for us thanks again to the wonders of modern technology, from the great organ of Norwich Cathedral. This four manual instrument is shortly due for a re-build and we were privileged to see a close up of the organist at the keyboards, his feet on the foot pedals, and a view of the electronic music screen, all of which was very exciting and an impressive insight into what goes on in the organ loft. Starting the programme, a piece called "Dignity and Impudence" by Percy Whitlock, a somewhat jaunty march inspired by the well known painting of two dogs by Sir Edwin Lancier,, was followed by four short "Four Sketches" Op 58 by Robert Schmann, all in different styles ranging from lively to very quiet. Apparently Schumann wrote relatively little for the organ and it is a matter of opinion as to whether these sketches would have sounded better played on the piano although they did exploit the organ`s subtle colours very well.
Mandatory J.S.Bach, was a fine rendering of the Prelude and Fugue in B minor BVW 544. A splendid floral prelude with fast running accompaniment preceded a plodding march- like fugue culminating in a tremendous conclusion.
Two fantasias followed, the first of which was the beautiful "Fantasia" in F minor (and F major) of Mozart originally written for a mechanical clock, and the second, the very quiet and mysterious "Fantasie" in D flat Op.101 by Saint Saens. This was the second and more extensive fantasia written by Saint Saens who was himself a great organist.
As a complete contrast, David Dunnett played a "fun" piece by the American composer Seth Bingham Very quirky and difficult to play, this proved to be an ideal foil for the final item in his programme; the "Cortege et Litanie" Op. 19 No2 by the great French organist Marcel Dupre who is renowned for being able to play the complete works of J.S.Bach from memory. Originally written for small orchestra, this arrangement for organ is in two parts, the first having a quiet hymn- like structure, and the second much livelier and leading to an exciting ending with almost hints of Rachmaninov in the chords and harmony.
Altogether, this was an excellent recital, expertly played by a consummate musician who can also speak about his programme in a very engaging way, and we look forward to hearing him again playing on our own organ.
David Dunnett was educated at Clare College, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music and studied the organ with John Pryer and David Sanger. After time working in America as Director of Chapel Music at the College of Wooster in Ohio he spent six years as Assistant Director of Music at Uppingham School. From 1991-96 he was Sub-Organist at Winchester Cathedral accompanying their renowned choir for services concerts, broadcasts, recordings and tours to Brazil, USA and Australia. He assisted David Hill with the Waynflete Singers, taught at Southampton University and is a previous conductor of the Southampton University Chamber Choir and the Winchester Music Club. Working in a variety of styles both classical and jazz, he is a regular recitalist and accompanist for singers and instrumentalists on the organ, harpsichord and piano. He has been Organist at Norwich Cathedral since January 1996 and was also Master of the Music 1996-2007. As Choral Conductor of the Norwich Philharmonic Society for over twenty years he has conducted major choral works from Bach to Walton, is a former part-time lecturer at the University of East Anglia and teaches at Norwich School. He features on many recordings as a conductor, soloist and accompanist and is busy as a private teacher and an examiner.