Monday, 17 March 2014

Southbank Organ Festival

RFH Organ
The Royal Festival Hall organ is back, and starting this week the South Bank Centre is having a festival to celebrate with a whole variety of events starting with an opening gala on 18 March, with performers including four organists, two brass ensembles and two choirs, playing music from Bach to Marcel Dupre, plus new commissions from Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Sir John Tavener. The meat of any organ is the organ recital, and the festival has three celebrity recitals from John Scott (director of music at St Thomas's Church, New York), Thomas Trotter (City of Birmingham organist, and organist of St Margaret's Church, Westminster) and Olivier Latry (titulaire of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris). 


The organ is also 60 this year. A large and sometimes tricky instrument it will be interesting to hear how a new generation of organists come to grips with it, and fascinating to hear the instrument at full pelt in the revised acoustics of the Royal Festival Hall.

There are also a rash of orchestra concerts in which the organ participate, including the Philharmonia Orchestra performing Janacek's Glagolitic Mass, and Saariaho's Maan Varjot (Earth's Shadows), as well as classics such as the Poulenc Organ Concerto and Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3 from the London Philharmonic Orchestra. More left field, Carmeron Carpenter will be improvising an accompaniment to the 1920 film The Cabinet of Dr. Cagliari

There are two weekends of talks, workshops and activities (22-23, 29-20 March) as well as an exhibition King of Instruments which runs 18 March to 13 April. Further information from the South Bank Centre website.  

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