In a bid to learn more organ repertoire in 2017, I have entered myself into a challenge of booking in 12 recitals in 12 months. There could be possibly more than this, but for now this is what I have signed up for. So far I have completed two, the first being in January at St Stephen’s, Macquarie St, Sydney and the latter at St Matthew’s, Albury. Most of these recitals are a 40 minute programme, which takes into account a brief introduction and address to the audience. I have had reservations, doubts and nightmares about the whole challenge, set late last year, because there is an expectation to present prolific and mainstream organ repertoire. However, as a full-time worker, freelance musician and father-of-two it is hard to prepare such a programme each time!
In organist timelines I am a “late-starter”, having primarily focussed on the piano for most of my childhood and teenage life. The positive side to this tardiness is that I had the rudiments of music already under my belt, so learning and gaining confidence was only a matter of time and regular practise. For now, my formula for programming recitals is simple – spread and learn “major” works over the course of the year and fill in the time with some easier, well-known pieces that the audience will know or will appreciate. At my last recital, it was interesting to note that the audience loved the “ditties” more than the more technically difficult ones. I’m sure they do appreciate the work that was put into presenting the bigger items, but it goes to show that a balanced and interesting set of repertoire is desired.
My next recital is at St Matthew’s, Albury, Tuesday March 28 2017 @ 1.10pm. Entry: free (retiring donation appreciated).
- Toccata and Fugue in F Major (BWV 540) – JS Bach
- Le Jardin Suspendu – J. Alain
- Voluntary in D Minor Op. 5 No. 8 – J. Stanley
- Nun danket alle Gott – K. Elert
Here’s a video from the opening of February’s recital (Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565):