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(O) 6 out of 66
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Organ recitals (page 94)
Drams full glass
Organist Philip Sawyer, Director of Music at St Mary's Church, Haddington
Dietrich Buxtehude: Magnificat primi toni BuxWV204; Henk Badings (1907-1987): Morning has broken: Introduction, Chorale and Finale on the Gaelic melody; J S Bach: Chorale Prelude Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr BWV676; Piet Kee (b.1927-): 4 Pieces for Manuals; César Franck: Cantabile; Cor Kee (1900-1997): Variations on the old Dutch melody "Merck toch hoe sterck"
Venue St Andrew's and St George's Church (Venue 111)
Address 13 George Street
Reviewer Charlie Napier

Philip Sawyer opened the series of organ recitals in this 18th century church,which provided ideal acoustics for the two manual and pedals classical organ installed in the church in 1984 and built to his specifications. This combination of old building and new instrument was reflected in Philip's choice of programme: old alternating with new.

First was Buxtehude's Magnificat, a typical 17th century piece, whose prelude and fugue structure was a perfect introduction to the grand sounds of the instrument. This was followed by Badings' Morning has broken. Philip had likened the beginning and end of this piece to a bad dream. Although harmonically challenging and a bit strange to the ear, it was not quite as bad as he had suggested. Bach's Chorale Prelude, a typical Bach organ trio, completed the first part of the recital.

Then came Piet Kee's 4 Pieces for Manuals. This Dutch organist was one of Philip's teachers and a great improviser. These pieces could have been transcriptions of improvisations. The different tone colours produced by the use of no more than five stops were cleverly illustrated in this performance. Franck's Cantabile, provided a reflective interlude. Philip finished with Piet's father Cor Kee's Variations. Written in the 1950s, the melody was a Dutch "freedom song" born of their long fight for independence. The eight variations, although generally romantic, did indicate a more modern outlook and one could hear the sounds of the Dutch street organs. The last variation was a fugue, very much in the style of Buxtehude and Bach which brought us back to where we started.

Playing in his usual inimitable style, Philip showed off not only his own formidable talents as an organist, but also the best features of the organ with his judicious use of stop combinations. A delightful start to the series.
© Charlie Napier. 07 August 2002

Run continues: August 14 (John Kitchen); August 21 (Gillian Ward Russell) at 12.30 (1 hour)

Greyfriars Kirk organ
Greyfriars Kirk organ
© Soc of Friends of Greyfriars Kirk
Organ recitals @ lunchtime - Douglas Goodenough (page 94)
Music J S Bach: Prelude and Fugue in A minor BWV 543; C H H Parry: Choral Prelude on Croft's 136th, Choral prelude on "Rockingham"; Guilmant: March on Handel's "Lift up your Heads" Op15; Flor Peeters: Scherzo and Adagio form "Suite Modale" Op43;. Duruflé: Fugue sur le nom d'Alain, M (1902-1986); Nightwatch - an improvised suite in three movements based upon themes submitted by the audience
Organist David Goodenough, Director of Music, Fettes College
Venue Greyfriars Kirk (Venue 131)
Address Greyfriars Place, Candlemaker Row
Reviewer Charlie Napier

The recital opened with the almost obligatory Bach Prelude and Fugue. Like most organists; David used this to show off his technique and his skill at managing the instrument. The extended running pedal passages were brilliantly executed, at a speed that was not excessive, I am glad to say. The two Parry choral preludes on hymn tunes contrasted nicely, the first (on "Croft's Original" as some people rather irreverently call it) demonstrated the power of the organ, with its dense texture, whereas the second used softer combinations to reflect the words usually sung to the tune, "When I survey the wondrous Cross

The Guilmant started with heavy and deep textures, using the 32-foot pedal Bombard. The second section used fugal techniques, with less dense textures to lead up to a loud climax with the powerful pedal department well to the fore. The first of the Peeters' pieces showed good use of flutes and reeds to obtain the required contrast while the second piece used a 4-foot flute to good effect to highlight the melody against a nice soft accompaniment. The registration for the Duruflé fugue was, I think, a bit too thick. The resulting sound was quite confused making it difficult to hear the parts clearly.

This excellent recital was crowned by a real exhibition of improvisation, not only in musical structure, but also in registration management. David introduced many features of organ compositions in this work that showed off his techniques extremely well. As he said before he started, he always dreaded being given the themes, but he managed to work in "Pop goes the weasel", "Three blind mice" and "I'm a little Ditch girl", plus a few others, in a clever and amusing fashion. A lovely ending to a most enjoyable recital
© Charlie Napier. 16 August 2002. Published on EdinburghGuide.com

Run: August 9, 12, 14, 16, 28, 30 at 13.10 (50 minutes)

Organfest - Festival of Organ Music (page 94)
Organist Greg Morris, Assistant Director of Music, Blackburn Cathedral
Music Vivaldi (arr. J S Bach): Concerto in A minor BWV 543; Thomas Tomkin: A Fantasy; Vierne: Prelude & Fugue in D minor (1ere Symphonie Op 14); Jehan Alain: Variations sur un thème de Clément Jannequin; Carl Rutti: Veni Creator Spiritus (written 1981)
Venue St Cuthbert's Parish Church (Venue 122)
Address 5 Lothian Road
Reviewer Charlie Napier

What a glorious start to this series - a most enjoyable demonstration of the capabilities of this marvellous organ. St Cuthbert's was the last city parish church to be fitted with a pipe organ: made and fitted by Hope-Jones in 1899; restored and augmented in 1928; then completely redesigned in 1956-57, with a further restoration and additions in 1997-98, both by Walker & Sons. All this gives it five manual departments (four manuals) and two pedal departments with a total of 67 stops, and very many couplers and computer-controlled combinations; resulting in a very powerful organ that is a pleasure to listen to when well played, as it was today.

The Vivaldi/Bach was a delight to listen to. The articulation was beautifully matched to the acoustics, making the contrapuntal sections clear and crisp. The registration used for the manuals-only slow movement showed off the two melodic lines extremely well. The contrapuntal parts of the Tomkins that followed were very clear, thanks to the bright registration.

What a contrast followed! The dark and brooding start to the Vierne, steadily building up to a full organ climax, using the new 32 foot pedal stop, built a sound picture of a typical Gothic cathedral, just like Notre Dame, Paris, where Vierne was organist. The fugue used a brighter registration but the parts in the dense fugal structure were very clear and it culminated in a fantasia-like finish.

The Alain showed an interesting use of 20th century harmonies to ornament a 16th century melody and led in perfectly to the Rutti, a piece based on a plainsong hymn. This virtuosic piece, with its exciting contrasts in tone colour and complex cross-rhythms leading up to its thrilling climax, allowed Greg to demonstrate his not inconsiderable technique and the capabilities of the instrument to perfection.
© Charlie Napier, 12 August 2002

Series Run: Aug 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 , at 12.45 (45 mins); Aug 16 at 20.00 (1 hr 15 mins)

St Cuthbert's Church
St Cuthbert's Parish Church
© Jarrold Publishing
Organfest - Festival of Organ Music (page 94)

Organist John Kitchen (Organist at Old St Paul's and the University of Edinburgh)
Music Herbert Brewer: Marche Héroique; Frank Bridge: Adagio in E; William Faulkes: Sonata in D minor; Finzi (arr. Robert Gower): Carol; Bernard Rose (1916-1997): Magdalen Chimes; Arthur Wills (b.1926-): Carillon on "Orientis partibus"
Venue St Cuthbert's Parish Church (Venue 122)
Address 5 Lothian Road
Reviewer Charlie Napier

If this programme, plus other recent programmes he has played, and his recent recordings are anything to go by, John Kitchen seems to be on a one-man crusade to resurrect the organ music of British composers, and not before time. There is no doubt that there is a lot of British 19th and 20th century organ music that is only known to church organists, and perhaps that is where it should stay, but there are many British organ works that deserve to be better known. Thank goodness John is doing something about it. A surprisingly small audience certainly witnessed a performance that almost literally "set the church on fire!"

John revels in exciting, loud and glorious music and the Brewer march, being just that, was a bright start to the recital. That is not to say that he cannot play the soft and expressive pieces. He certainly can and the two delightful quiet works, the Bridge and Finzi, were just joys to listen to.

Faulkes was a most prolific composer, publishing more than 500 organ works, most of which is forgettable. However, there are one or two pieces that deserve an airing, this Sonata being one of them. In places it is bombastic and sentimental, but has its good points. The first movement is loud and brash, but the second movement is sweet, sickly and sentimental. It was in the middle of the slow movement that the Lothian and Border Fire Brigade joined us. The fire alarm had gone off in the church, the recital had to stop in mid-movement and we all had to evacuate the church. It turned out that the alarm in the organ blower room had tripped. John thought that perhaps he had caused it to trip, as he admitted that he had already caused an organ to burn down in somewhat similar circumstances once, but it turned out that smoke from a fire lit by nearby workmen had drifted into the blower room and set off the smoke alarm. Fortunately, no harm was done and John restarted in the middle of the Faulkes slow movement (he couldn't bear to start at the beginning!).

After the excitement, matched by the last movement of the Faulkes, had died down, we heard a little musical palindrome based on the bells of Rose's Oxford college. This led on nicely to the last piece, a French-style toccata in brilliant style, based on a medieval French conductus, Orientis partibus, better known as the tune to the hymn Soldiers of the Cross, arise! (RCH 341). This magnificent piece, with the tune thundering in the bass and the sparkling virtuosic finger work above, provided the ideal finish to this exciting recital. A lunchtime to remember!© Charlie Napier, 20 August 2002. Published on EdinburghGuide.com

Series Run: Aug 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 , at 12.45 (45 mins); Aug 16 at 20.00 (1 hr 15 mins)

Organfest - Festival of Organ Music (page 94)
Organist Thomas Laing-Reilly (Organist and Director of Music, St Cuthbert's Parish Church)
Music J S Bach: Chorale Prelude "Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist" BWV671; Walton: Two pieces from "Music for Children", Passacaglia from "Death of Falstaff", March from Prelude to "Richard III"; Dubois: In Paradisum, Fiat Lux; Duruflé: Scherzo Op. 2; Dupré: Final from "Sept Pièces" Op. 27
Venue St Cuthbert's Parish Church (Venue 122)
Address 5 Lothian Road
Reviewer Charlie Napier

Thomas Laing-Reilly used this recital to show off not only his personal playing skills and techniques but also his skills in manipulating this mechanical monster of a pipe organ to produce the many different sounds, tone colours, textures and volumes that it is capable of producing. This is what an organ recital should be about.

He started with a powerful Bach prelude in the form of a fugal fantasia. The theme God the Holy Ghost thunders in the bass, showing off the latest addition to the organ, the 32-foot pedal reed (the Bombard), then made its way through the registers until the piece reached a tense and anguished climax. You could actually "feel" the sound from the Bombard.

It was appropriate to include works by William Walton on the centenary of his birth. Arrangements of extracts from his orchestral and film works made a pleasant change from religious music and hymn-tune variations. It was good to hear the instrument being used as a concert instrument for a change. One small complaint: the tune in the middle section of the Richard III March was a bit lost in the chosen registration.

The four French pieces that completed the programme demonstrated the different styles of the French school of 20th century composers. Another new stop, the Vox Humana, was effectively used to help depict Dubois' vision of Paradise and the soaring crescendo of his second piece certainly said "and let there be light". The Duruflé was a pleasant, relaxing five-minute interlude of varying tonal colours, textures, tempi and rhythms, which contrasted with the Dupré, and had power, energy, intensity, irregular rhythms, and chromatic chords leading to a glorious major chord that provided a fitting climax and conclusion to this recital.
© Charlie Napier. 15 August 2002

Series Run: Aug 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 , at 12.45 (45 mins); Aug 16 at 20.00 (1 hr 15 mins)

Otway's Next Hit! (page 94)
Venue ClubWEST
Address Crowne Plaza Hotel, High street
Reviewer Rez Guthrie

There's a boyish glint in John Otway's eye tonight. He's going to be fifty in October, and he knows what he's getting for his birthday: A hit record. Not only that but his huge fanbase has booked him to play the London Palladium the day the chart comes out. It's only been twenty five years since his last and only hit, but he's still as pleased as a pussycat to be back at the fringe. He's here every year. The rest of the time he tours round pubs and other festivals.

John Otway has been doing this show, with its deceptively simple blend of pub rock with slapstick and stunts and acrobatics show since time began. I first saw him about thirteen years ago and it's not changed, although it still retains a manic air of spontanaiety.It's obviously familiar to at least ninenty percent of tonight's audience, too. They know when to join in the heckles on 'House of the Rising Sun', They know he's about to unplug guitarist Richard during his solo, and are as delighted with it all as Otway himself.

If you're looking for lo-fi light entertainment with a bounce like Tigger, this is the show to see.

Run ended, but the tour continues elsewhere.

© Rez Guthrie 11th Aug. 2002

(O) 6 out of 66
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