Lunchtime organ recitals/ Chester Cathedral
AN IMPORTANT feature of musical life at Chester Cathedral are the organ recitals, which are held every Thursday lunch time. This year ends on a high note with the cathedral’s organist Philip Rushforth occupying the bench next week, while on the last of the year (December 27), the soloist is his predecessor Roger Fisher who is now enjoying a busy career as an international recitalist.
On these occasions the organist is not as remote as his distant organ loft might suggest as Chester erects a large television in front of the audience, meaning you can watch his hands and feet in close up throughout.
The Grand Organ of Chester Cathedral (Priory DVD)
PEOPLE wanting to know more about Chester Cathedral organ should look out for this new DVD. It features Philip Rushforth playing a recital ranging from Straus’s Zarathustra Sunrise to Holst’s Jupiter via the Sinfonia from Handel’s Messiah and a paraphrase on a well known tune from his Judas Maccabeus via Riff Raff by Giles Swayne and pieces by Guilmant, Sumsion, Brewer and more.
The items are skilfully chosen to have some connection to the cathedral and there are shots of the cathedral and cloisters, including some details often overlooked and views of the city itself.
For those frustrated by the sound from a TV set, the pack also includes a CD in hi-fi sound. But there is more to the DVD than just the recital.
On a different track Philip Rushforth introduces each item and on another he clambers about the pipework, talking about and demonstrating each stop of the instrument.
He also takes us through one item from the programme, the Bell Scherzo of Lemare and talks us through it, with the screen divided in four so we can see not only him but his hands and feet as well. This is a splendidly presented set with a good booklet and the soloist speaks easily to camera. It will be a good tourist attraction too with its views of the city. It is now on sale and can doubtless be found in the cathedral shop. There is also a not quite serious bonus piece on the DVD for which there was not time in the main recital.
Incidentally for those to whom Edwin Lemaire’s name is not instantly familiar, he wrote Moonlight and Roses and was rather cold shouldered by his colleagues for becoming too popular.
This is part of a series from Priory which began with Ian Tracey at Liverpool Cathedral and we are promised more next spring when Richard Lea will present the organ of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.