Wagner, Duruflé, Bairstow, Jongen and Widor
Richard Wagner arr. Edwin Lemare
Overture “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg”
Sicilienne (Suite, Op 5)
Scherzo in A flat
— Interval —
Symphonie 6 in G minor
- Intermezzo. Allegro
- Finale. Vivace
Fresh from Exeter Cathedral, David Davies gave the second of this season`s organ recitals on Friday evening 22nd. February to an audience of approaching three dozen enthusiasts. As a concert organist his repertoire is widespread, and his first item, Wagner`s Overture "Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg", soon showed that his technique and musicianship admirably matched his reputation. Transcribed from the original orchestral score, the powerful introduction has a somewhat rumbustious character because of the necessary intricacies of the writing, but soon smoothed out and took on its familiar tune.
A quiet contrast was the "Sicilienne" from Maurice Duruflé`s Op.5 Suite with it`s pleasant melody supported by a filigree of shorter notes and then the Biblically based lively "Toccata- Prelude" on "Pange lingua" by Edward Bairstow.
Finally before the interval, David played the demanding "Sonata Eroica" by Joseph Jongen. Written in 1930, it displays an exciting fanfare like introduction, extensive pedal passages, and many flights of running notes interspersed by heavy chordal passages leading to an impressive fugue before a final dramatic conclusion.
After a well deserved rest, the great "Symphonie No6 in G Minor of Widor occupied the whole of the second half of the recital. One of ten Symphonic works, this was finished in 1878 and consists of five linked movements. A lengthy Allegro based on a choral like theme is very loud and dramatic and is followed by an Adagio,somewhat chromatic in character and in complete tonal contrast to what had gone before. The scherzo like "Intermezzo" is both lively and jolly with "punchy" rhythms throughout and is followed by the penultimate movement, a "Cantabile" section with a quiet tune on the Oboe and flute pipes. Finally, a long, powerful and highly rhythmical rondo type movement concludes this major work, and brought to an end another fine organ recital by this very able and personable artist.
David Davies was brought up in a small quarrying town in Snowdonia, North Wales, and has enjoyed a somewhat unusual career. Drawn by music at an early age, David was educated bilingually up to the age of 16 and, following a chance meeting with Alastair Sampson, organist at Eton College, he won a sixth form scholarship to Eton. He was awarded additionally a Music Scholarship there, together with prizes in performance, and, after two very rewarding years, David gained the organ scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford. In addition to accompanying the College Chapel Choir, and touring with them to Japan and the USA, he began to train as a choral and orchestral conductor.
In 1999 David won a scholarship to study at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, and spent two years concurrently as Fellow in Church Music at Christ Church, New Haven. He has worked at Guildford and Exeter Cathedrals in the UK, primarily as Assistant Director of Music, but he also held the Acting Director of Music position at both cathedrals multiple times. He conducted the Exeter Bach Society and Orchestra and accompanied Exeter Philharmonic Choir.
At Guildford, David was Director of the Cathedral Girls’ Choir, and, during his time there was an adjunct lecturer in Music at the University of Surrey. For three years he conducted the Surrey Festival Choir and Orchestra, and established himself as an organ recitalist. He has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, and has performed at Westminster Abbey and the Royal Festival Hall, in addition to giving concert tours in the USA and Germany.
David studied organ with John Wellingham, Nicolas Kynaston, Jacques van Oortmerssen, Gerre Hancock, Dr Martin Jean and Thomas Murray, and has received coaching from Marie-Claire Alain, Olivier Latry and Peter Hurford. As a choral conductor his mentors included Ralph Allwood, Grayston Ives, Robert Lehman and Marguerite Brooks. He studied piano with Peter Melville Smith and Dr Dorian Leljak.
In addition to his interest and work in classical music in general, and liturgical music in particular, David writes and lectures on the intersection of liturgical visual art, cultural history and music.