City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Five centuries of English organ music, St Andrew’s and St George’s West, Review

By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 11 August 2016

John Kitchen 10.jpg
Show details
St Andrew's and St George's West at Festival Time
Running time: 
Orlando Gibbons, Fantasia of foure parts; Thomas Tomkins, Voluntary Fancy; Henry Purcell, Voluntary in D minor for double organ; James Nares, Introduction and Fugue in A minor; William Russell, Voluntary III in G, Voluntary X in G minor; Cecilia McDowell, Celebration; C H H Parry, Three hymn tune preludes; Henry Smart, Postlude in C; Francis Jackson, Praeludium in E; Christopher Maxim, Toccata nuptiale.
John Kitchen (organ)

It may seem like a strange photograph above. In years gone by attendance at an organ recital at St Andrew's and St George's West would have the audience seated on the rostrum and facing the organ loft. Nowadays with modern technology the organist at the console is screened onto a wall of the church This way we can sit in the normal chairs to watch the organist in action.

There is no organist in Edinburgh better known and respected than John Kitchen, recently awarded the MBE for services to music. And he is respected not just for the way he plays an organ but for his very wide repertoire. Furthermore it is his choice of music which is so inspiring.

John Kitchen had chosen music, not from three centuries as advertised, but from five. Thomas Tomkins was born in 1583 whilst the youngest, Christopher Maxim, was born in 1971. The work we heard from 98 year old Francis Jackson, Praeludium in E, was composed seated outside the Thomaskirche in Leipzig when on a visit in 1985 to see and play historic organs in the old East Germany. The party consisted of a number of Edinburgh-based organists - including John Kitchen.

I have to say that I can't hear Henry Smart's Postlude in C played enough. But there was a wide range for all tastes - and that was what was so good about the recital.

Performance: Thursday 11th August 2016 at 12:30