Music by Elgar, Gibbons, J.S.Bach, Jongen, Mozart, Reinberger, Bourgeois & Vierne
Imperial March arr. G Martin
Fancy for a Double Orgaine
Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C
Chant de Mai
Chant de Mai
Fantasia in F minor K608
Sonata no 8 in E minor
Carillon de Westminster
Andrew Millington who visited us on Friday 17th February is a cathedral organist who paints with a big brush on a large canvas.
Elgar`s "Imperial March" written in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria`s Diamond Jubilee, provided a rousing introduction to what was going to be an interesting and far reaching programme. However, an immediate contrast was the "Fancy for Double Orgaine" by Orlando Gibbons which was a much lighter piece written for two manuals with pleasing registrations.
The mandatory Bach was J.S`s Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C, BWV564, which is an inspired early work. The Toccata commences with running scale passages, the Adagio, a stately tune on the flutes, and lastly an exciting Fugue with four rather long rhythmical entries.
"Chant de Mai", a quiet and pleasant piece by Joseph Jongen preceded Mozart`s "Fantasia in F Minor",a work which was originally written for mechanical organ! Starting with dramatic chords it progresses through pleasant melodies and fugal like passages with occasional canons before returning to the original chords and ending powerfully with running passages amidst the drama.
After the interval, Andrew played the four part E minor Sonata by Joseph Rheinberger. In this powerful work, well suited to this organist`s impressive abilities and choice of registrations, the Passacaglia with it`s stately base over which an upper part takes flight, is probably the best known and certainly brings the work to a most exciting conclusion.
The "Serenade" by Derek Bourgeois added a little levity to the occasion with this "lollypop". Written in 1965 for his own wedding, the composer thought he would jolly the procession along a bit by superimposing contra rhythms of 11/8 and 13/8 beats in the bar on the basic 2/2 time. Great fun, but probably most of the guests fell over, and very likely the unfortunate organist was confused, unlike ours who coped admirably !
To finish this fine recital, a work with which we were all familiar; the "Carillon de Westminster" by Louis Vierne, which is a somewhat inaccurate portrayal of the chimes from the Westminster Palace Clock Tower. This certainly put the organ through its paces with a choice of stops that indubitably left an enormous impression on the auditory senses.
Andrew Millington’s career in Cathedral music has spanned some forty years, most recently as Director of Music at Exeter Cathedral (1999-2015). He studied the organ at Worcester Cathedral before gaining an Organ Scholarship to Downing College, Cambridge. In 1975 he became Assistant Organist at Gloucester Cathedral where he was closely involved with The Three Choirs Festival. He held the conductorship of several notable choirs in the Midlands, two of which won major awards in the BBC competition “Let the Peoples Sing”.
In 1983 he succeeded Philip Moore as Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral. His work with the Guildford choir over a period of 16 years included foreign tours to European countries and North America, numerous recordings and an appearance at the BBC Promenade Concerts. In addition to his Cathedral duties, he was closely involved with the Guildford International Music Festival, conductor of Bracknell Choral Society, Diocesan Organs Advisor and Chairman of the RSCM Guildford Area.
He has worked with several leading orchestras and he is well known as a recitalist. He has made several recordings as an organ soloist, including a highly-acclaimed DVD on the organ of Exeter Cathedral. He has played in most of the major venues in the UK, and in 1995 was organist for the Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall. He is an examiner for The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and a past President of the Cathedral Organists’ Association.
Since his arrival at Exeter, his work with the Cathedral Choir has included several broadcasts and recordings and highly successful tours of Russia, France, Norway and USA. He has been awarded honorary diplomas by the Guild of Church Musicians and the Royal School of Church Music. In 2003, he was appointed Director of Music of Exeter Philharmonic Choir and has conducted them in many of the major choral/orchestral works. He is the Honorary President of both the St Cecilia Singers of Gloucester and the Exmouth Choral Society. He is an active composer of church music and has had many works published.
In 2015 he stepped down from his post at Exeter in order to pursue freelance musical activities and much neglected hobbies.