Reger, Vivaldi, Alain, Saint-Saëns, Bridge and Peeters
Introduction and Passacaglia in D minor
Vivaldi arr. JS Bach
Concerto in A minor
Fantasie in E flat
Last Friday`s organ recital on the 3rd. June by David Saint, started with an impressive opening, and apart from the encore, ended with a "tour de force" !
Max Reger always makes a statement, and his "Introduction and Passacaglia in D minor" commences very loudly with a mighty chordal flourish after which the stately dance section is introduced quietly and proceeds with gathering intensity through twelve variations until its final chord of D major.
Vivaldi`s A minor concerto in three movements, arranged for the organ by J S Bach, has a very jolly beginning, a short and solemn middle, and an attractive 3/4 time last movement with formal chordal statements interposed between fast running passages and interesting changes of rhythm.
The French composer Jehan Alain, who sadly died at 29, wrote "Aria" in 1938. Noted for his colour and unusual chromatic harmonies, "Aria" is a charming piece which starts very quietly with a rather plaintive tune, but gradually works into something more meaningful and typical of the writer`s characteristics.
The quite well known E flat "Fantasie" of Saint-Saen`s is written in two parts. Beginning with a whisper, the familiar tune was apparently originally designed to show the softer colours obtainable on any of the organ manuals. As a contrast, the second section is a lively march using all of the organ to great effect.
The "Adagio" of Frank Bridge is a beautiful piece written by that most English of composers. Written in 1905 it exemplifies all that was of the Edwardian era. The whispering haunting tune becomes passionate with subtle undertones of the patriarch and Elgar, with a powerful climax before dying away to end as it had begun.
The four movement "Suite Modale" by the Dutchman Flor Peeters completed this interesting programme.
The Scherzo and Adagio middle movements are encompassed by two powerful outer ones. the first being a mighty Choral, and the last, a mind blowing Toccata being a non stop example of organ virtuosity!
Throughout this fine recital, David Saint showed his innate musicianship and technical brilliance befitting his position in the world of organists, and in answer to the audience`s insistence in wanting more, played a delightful flowing rendering of the "Impromptu" by Louis Vierne as an encore.
David Saint studied the organ with Dr Alan Spedding and Dame Gillian Weir. He was awarded the Royal College of Organists’ Turpin Prize for the FRCO diploma and has been Organist and Director of Music at St Chad’s Cathedral Birmingham since 1978. He was Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire – one of the UK’s leading conservatoires from 2010 to 2015. Recent recitals have included Gloucester Cathedral, St Mary’s Cathedral Edinburgh, Blois Cathedral (France), Lambertikirche (Munster, Germany), Keimyung University (Korea), Saint Mary’s Edinburgh, and a return visit to the Sankt Wendel Basilika in Germany.
David is the organist on Birmingham Conservatoire’s recent Chamber Choir recording of music by Leighton and MacMillan, Invocation (Regent Records: REGCD348).
As an educationalist, David has also worked with the Association of European Conservatoires on its Mundus Musicalis project and as chairman of a panel of experts; he is also a trustee and Past-Chairman of the Royal College of Organists. In 2012, he was awarded Fellowship of the Royal School of Church Music (FRSCM) and last year he assumed the role of Executive Vice President of the Incorporated Association of Organists.