Laurence explains about the music

Laurence explains about the music

Our first organ recital of 2017 was held on a Saturday afternoon so that people who didn't want to come out in the dark and cold to a concert could hear the organ.  The organist was Laurence Caldecote, who returned on Saturday 25 February to play the Willis organ for the first time since it was restored.  He had previously given an evening recital a few years ago on a very cold night then played for the 130 birthday celebrations on the Saturday morning at the 2012 organ festival.

Audience listening attentively to Laurence playing the organ

Audience listening attentively to Laurence playing the organ

His programme included a variety of music from different periods including some lighter pieces, one of which Laurence had arranged for organ. It also included one of Laurence's own compositions:

  • Toccata - Michelle Leclerc (1939 – 2006)
  • Balletto del Granduca - Jan Pietrezoon Sweelinck
    (1562 – 1621)
  • Prelude, Fugue and Chaconne in C (Bux 137) - Dietrich Buxtehude (1637 – 1707)
  • Trumpet Tune in E flat - Laurence Caldecote (b. 1983)
  • Thema met Variaties - Hendrik Andriessen (1892 – 1981)
  • Elegy - James Biery (b. 1956)
  • Sonata in D i) Allegro, ii) Adagio, iii) Allegro - Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach
    (1714 – 1788)
  • The March of the Tin Soldiers - Leon Jessel (1871 – 1942),
    arr L Caldecote
  • Handel in the Strand - Percy Grainger (1882 – 1961),
    arr. W Stockmeier
David poised to turn pages for Laurence

David poised to turn pages for Laurence

In addition to the volunteers, 42 people came to listen, including 4 children.  We had some lovely comments:

"Amazed me how he can play both hands and feet"

"I enjoyed it very much"

"Fabulous programme"

"Just the right length and lovely varied programming to show off the capabilities of the restored organ ... Laurence was really interesting and gave good explanations of how he was employing the different parts of the organ which really directed my attention."

The youngest member of the audience played to organ music

The youngest member of the audience played to organ music

We had the banners and the new photobooks about the organ on display.  One photobook chronicals the pictorial history of organs at St Mary & St Giles Church and the other photobook shows many photos of the restoration of the Willis organ.

Dai, Eillish and Sue helped with greeting people when they arrived and serving refreshments afterwards while David turned pages for Laurence when needed and two audience members helped turn chairs to face the altar afterwards.

Words and photos by Anna Page

Laurence at the console

Laurence at the console

Laurence plays the Willis organ

Laurence plays the Willis organ