Thomas Trotter (Birmingham City Organist)
Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C, BWV 564
Kevin Volans: Walking Song, for organ
Fela Sowande: Obangiji
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Three Preludes on Welsh Hymn Tunes for Organ
Alexandre Guilmant: March upon a theme of Handel Op 15 No 2
César Franck: Prélude, fugue et variation in B minor, for organ Op 18
Sigfrid Karg-Elert: Valse mignonne in E, from Trois Impressions Op 142
Marcel Dupré: Variations sur un vieux Noël Op 20
Thomas Trotter makes a most welcome return to play the Binns organ to conclude this year’s mini-series. The audience is guaranteed to experience a kaleidoscope of colour played with utter mastery.
The organ in Nottingham’s Albert Hall was designed in conjunction with C W Perkins, city organist of Birmingham, and it is an immense pleasure to welcome Perkins’s latest successor at Birmingham, Thomas Trotter, to give this year’s Anniversary Recital. And it is a double pleasure, since Thomas Trotter gave the opening recital on the rebuilt Albert Hall organ in the autumn of 1993.
He begins with Bach’s monumental Toccata, Adagio and Fugue, its “slow movement” heralding Bach’s discovery of Italianate music. The next music is more modern, a pair of pieces called “Out of Africa” referring not to the Meryl Streep film of that name but to the origins of the music connected with that continent. Kevin Volans is a South African / Irish composer who studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen before beginning to explore indigenous African music. Fela Sowande was born in Nigeria and worked in both the UK (where he accompanied Vera Lynn’s first records on the BBC Theatre Organ) and the States.
Vaughan Williams’s preludes on Welsh hymn tunes (including the gentle Rhosymedre) are followed by contrasting nineteenth- and twentieth-century European pieces. Guilmant’s sonorous (not to say vigorous) response to Handel is contrasted with Franck’s gentle evocation of the organ loft at Ste-Clotilde, while Karg-Elert’s delightfully outrageous response to being let loose on a cinema organ in Berlin is followed by Dupré’s astonishing response to the Noel Nouvelet carol, known in England as “Now the green blade riseth”. As the late organist and critic Marc Rochester put it: “An ancient and rather melancholy French carol is put through an amazing assault course of canons and fugues culminating, inevitably, in a breathtaking Toccata.”
The concert will begin at 2.45pm. Tickets £10, under-18s £5.
Tickets also available on the door, until sold out.