Jonathan Kingston gave an Audience requests organ concert on the afternoon of 10 October for the organ festival.
He started the concert with a very well known piece: Toccata and Fugue in D minor JS Bach? - Jonathan explained how this is quite a controversial piece, with some claiming it was not Bach’s style.
After the phantom had stalked the church the night before in the Silent Movie, it was a lovely gothic way to start the recital on a glorious sunny afternoon.
The next request was the Canon in D Major by Pachabel. Jonathan noted that this piece has changed in its use at weddings in 25 years - it was often choice before the service or signing registers, now sometimes it is used as the entry of the bride music. This version was a transcription (it was originally scored for strings).
Much to my delight, Jonathan had used the next piece as his before the Eucharist service earlier in the day so I got to hear it twice in the same day: Mozart’s own rearrangement of Dona Nobis Pacem. It is also a canon and Jonathan said there are lots of different arrangements. I remember singing this at school.
Then Jonathan introduced the Trumpet voluntary which was thought to be by Purcell but was probably Jeremiah Clark and also known as the Prince of Denmark’s march. This particular arrangement was by Goss Custard, as Jonathan explained it is a ‘hugely great fun version’ and has some flourishes, which the purists might not like and some juicy harmonies which have nothing to do with Purcell or Clark!
This was followed by The Lost Chord by Arthur Sullivan, a fair bit of Victorian sentimentality. Jonathan explained that Sullivan set the words of a poem to music for a personal reason and it became very popular. Rich harmonies are supposed to represent the soul, it is often used as filling in music in mass when waiting for the priest to finish what they’re doing.
Jonathan said he is asked now and then to play Nun Dunket (Now thank we all our God). This is Noel’s Rawsthorne arrangement. Jonathan first played this in Liverpool.
Jonathan announced "Now for a piece much less loud on the ears". Over the border in Oxfordshire there is an Organists Association (and Northants and Bucks). Oxfordshire Organists Association commissioned some compositions and published them in a book. This is one of them: Prelude on My Soul is love unknown by David Birchill (1966). Jonathan was glad to be using his favourite solo stop for this piece, the oboe on the swell at the start which he described as "fine example of Henry Willis voicing". The music is a rather lovely little pastoral style.
The final piece in the concert was instead of the very difficult composition by Parry which had been requested. Instead he offered the first movement of the Organ Sonata by Elgar, the first time he had revisited this music in about 20 years.
Thank you Jonathan for a splendid concert for the Organ Festival weekend.
Words and photos by Anna Page