Morandi, Ireland, Wolstenholme, Whitlock, Guilmant & Reubke
Giovanni Morandi (1777-1856)
Rondo con imitazione de campanelli
John Ireland (1879-1962)
William Wolstenholme (1865-1931)
Die Frage, Die Antwort ‘The Question, The Answer’
Percy Whitlock (1903-1946)
From ‘Four Extemporizations’
— Interval —
Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911)
March on a theme of Handel
Julius Reubke (1834-1858)
Sonata on the 94th Psalm
The third of this season`s organ recitals was given by the young Scottish musician Hannah Gibson on Friday 17th May to a small but appreciative audience.
The "Rondo con imitazione de campanelli" by the Italian, Giovanni Morandi, was a fun piece with which to start, and was played in a lively, but careful manner as befitted her commencement. John Ireland`s charming "Miniature Suite" in three movements, two lyrical, and the third a rhythmical minuet, proved to be a pleasant contrast as was William Wolstenholme`s "Die Frage" "Die Antwort" (The Question, The Answer) the latter being decidedly "up beat". Two parts of Percy Whitlock`s "Four Extemporizations" "Fidelis" and "Fanfare" were interesting, but together, as with previous pieces, sometimes lacked a certain attack, and featured a rather monotonous choice of registrations.
After the interval, Hannah displayed a marked upturn in confidence and decisiveness despite the fact that the pieces were more involved and difficult, especially the final tour de force of the Reubke Sonata. However, before this, the "March on a theme of Handel" by Alexandre Guilmant, gave us strong chordal Handelean like outer sections surrounding an inner core of fast running notes all of which provided an opportunity to limber up for what was to follow.
This final piece, the epic "Sonata on the 94th Psalm" by Julius Reubke, really showed us what Hannah could do. Very long, and covering a whole range of emotions requiring both technical and intellectual skills to bring off, this is a most remarkable work by a young man who was only 24 when he died.! Recognised as one of the pinnacles of the organ repertoire, it lasts for a full twenty five minutes and demands a virtuosic technique from the soloist. Inspired by verses from the psalm which implores God to punish the wickedness in the world and to recognise the righteous, the music is much influenced by Liszt with whom Reubke was studying piano. Three interconnecting movements finishing with a massive fugue necessitating amongst other difficulties, furious pedal work, certainly stamped Hannah as an organist to be reckoned with, and she was rewarded with prolonged and well deserved applause for her sterling performance.
Hannah was born in Scotland in 1991. From an early age she had an interest in music and took piano lessons with Judith Wilkes, followed by the organ with Stuart Muir at St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee.
In 2009, she joined Royal Birmingham Conservatoire's prestigious organ department on a scholarship. During her time there she won the Birmingham Organists’ Association Leonard Gibbons Fund Competition and competed in the Northern Ireland International Competition in 2011. The same year, she was awarded a place to study at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, studying principally with Pier Damiano Peretti.
Hannah graduated in June 2013, having studied under Henry Fairs and Daniel Moult for the duration of her degree. She has since performed all over the UK at venues including the Caird Hall; Westminster Central Hall; St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square; Palmerston Place, Edinburgh, and many of the cathedrals and abbeys as well as abroad in Italy and Australia.
In September 2014, she returned to Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on a scholarship and completed the Master of Music degree with Distinction. From September 2015-17, Hannah was appointed the College Organist of Mount St Mary’s College, Sheffield, a post combined with teaching the organ, academic music and assisting in the running of the music department. She is now based in Worcestershire, where she regularly teaches and performs.