Keith Morgan introduces his first pieces

Keith Morgan introduces his first pieces

Keith Morgan returned to give another first Friday lunchtime organ recital on 4 October with a programme of great variety.

It was a very positive bright start to the concert with the 'Great' Prelude and Fugue in G major BWV541 by J.S.Bach (and the Great organ much in evidence). In the fugue much quieter and using the Swell organ.

Keith Morgan playing Bach on the Willis organ

Keith Morgan playing Bach on the Willis organ

This was followed by Ciacona in D minor by J. Pachelbel, a quiet piece on the Great, using the flutes then the choir playing a counter melody. Then in some of the later repeats on the swell. There were 17 repeats of the main theme.

Keith explained that the Concerto for Organ (Op. 4 No. 4 in F) by G.F.Handel was written for small organ and orchestra. Keith had transcribed it for solo organ. The Allegro had a sprightly melody on the bright smaller stops of the Great and less staccato lower stops on the swell. The Andante started quietly on the Choir organ, then the Great for louder contrast and back to the Choir, very melodious and a firm drive. The Adagio made use of the Corno Di Bassetto in the Choir for the solo tune, accompanied by quiet stops on the Great. The final Allegro was a contrasting piece on the Swell.

Keith Morgan playing the Willis organ

Keith Morgan playing the Willis organ

Before playing the Pizzicato from "Sylvia" by Leo Delibe which was arranged by Noel Rawsthorne, he paid tribute to Noel who had lead a full life as a leading organist and died earlier this year.

The Pizzicato made use of the Swell organ the 16ft diapason on the Great organ, alternating between the two for the tune, later playing the tune on the Corno Di Bassetto in the Choir organ.

The next piece was the Aria by Noel Rawsthorne, the shortest he ever wrote. Keith recounted how when he once turned up to play at a funeral in Melton Mowbray, the verger adamantly exclaimed that the Aria was always played at the start of funerals there (though this wasn't really true). The piece had the tune on the Choir organ, with quiet accompaniment on the Great, it was a gentle, contemplative piece.

Keith Morgan at the Willis console

Keith Morgan at the Willis console

Keith finished the recital with the Introduction and Passacaglia (Opus 132) by Josef Rheinberger. Keith explained that a Passacaglia was similar to a chaconne and was 150 years later than the ciacona. He warned that it had a very short introduction which is very loud. It is a very well known piece played for grand occasions, gradually gets very quiet. The Passacaglia used the pedal as a running bass with the melody in the swell, not loud, then lots of variations on different stops. There was a gradual increase in volume towards the end. Then quieter variations before a bright trumpet version on the Great.

It was a super lunchtime concert (preceded as usual by soup and rolls for lunch). I would like to thank Keith (and his wife who turned pages for him), the team who served refreshments and moved furniture, as well as the audience who came to enjoy a lunchtime of music making.

Words and photos by Anna Page