Assistant Director of Music, Exeter Cathedral
Sir Edward Elgar, J. S. Bach, Mark Blatchly, Percy Whitlock, Louis Vierne and Maurice Duruflé
Imperial March (arr. Martin)
J. S. Bach
Toccata and Fugue in F BWV 540
Andante Sostenuto for TJYP
- Allegro risoluto
Carillon de Westminster
Prélude, Adagio et Choral varié sur le thème du “Veni Creator Spiritus”
The general consensus of opinion amongst those of the the audience who attended the concert given by the young organist Timothy Parsons on Friday 5th October, was that it was an excellent recital with which to start the new season. An ambitious and interesting programme was played cleanly with clear articulation and a thoughtful choice of registrations which added to the enjoyment from an artist whose youthful appearance belied his capabilities.
Written in 1897 in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, The "Imperial March" was a typical piece of Elgar,full of patriotism as befitted the age. Very spirited playing with careful registrations and with the input of the arranger G.C.Martin, it made an ideal start to the recital.
One of J.S.Bach`s most demanding compositions, the "Toccata and Fugue" in F, BWV 540 is probably best known for its virtuosic pedal line in the first part. Immaculately played, these long passages based on rising scales in rapid 3/8 quavers, are a severe test of the player`s flexibility of ankles and feet to say nothing of the footwear !
Sadly dying at the age of 43, Percy Whitlock, organist, composer and railway buff, never really matured into a serious writer and as a consequence is mostly known for lighter works of popular appeal. Having at one time studied with Vaughan Williams his writing sometimes evokes dreamy romanticism, and one of his best loved works "Plymouth Suite" admirably conjures up visions of water. Five movements ranging from an "Allegro risoluto" to a lively "Toccata" encompassing a quiet meandering "Lantana", a jolly Chanty" hornpipe, and "Salix" with satisfying chordal progressions all contribute to the watery atmosphere.
After the interval Tim played two interesting pieces. The first , written by himself, and based on the initials of two of his friends for their forthcoming marriage, and the second based on his own initials but composed by another organist and composer Mark Blatchly, an idea often favoured and used by Schumann. Tim`s wedding piece "Marriage Toccata", proved to be a short attractive and lively toccata written around the letters F and R , and the "Andante Sostenuto" by Mark Blatchly displayed melodious and unusual chord progressions.
Finally and as a complete contrast to these two unusual modern works, Tim played with great panache the very demanding "Prelude, Adagio et Choral" on the theme of "Veni Creator Spiritus" by the great Maurice Durufle. An intricate Prelude followed by four variations on the hymn tune the last requiring great skill and stamina, brought successfully to a conclusion this first organ recital in our new year of concerts.
Timothy Parsons is Assistant Director of Music at Exeter Cathedral, having previously held posts at the cathedrals of Hereford and Winchester. He was a chorister at Guildford Cathedral, and was later organ scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge, graduating with a starred first in Music in 2014. Whilst at Cambridge he was also organ scholar for King’s Voices, the mixed-voice choir of King’s College Chapel.
At Exeter, Timothy plays the organ for the Cathedral Choir's schedule of services and concerts and also directs the St Peter’s Singers, the Cathedral’s adult voluntary choir. He is always pleased to receive enquiries about this, or about the opportunity for visiting choirs to sing at the cathedral