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Music at Lunchtime: Exploring British Organ Music

11th January 2023

Our first ‘Music at Lunchtime’ concert of the Spring term was given, as is tradition, by the School’s Graduate Musician. This year, Nicholas Tall, Oakham’s Graduate Organist, treated the audience to a programme of organ music by 20th-century British composers. With a video feed projected to the front of the church, the audience could see, as well as hear, Nicholas and the organ of All Saints’ Church in three pieces by William Harris, Healey Willan and Percy Whitlock.

Nicholas opened the programme with Harris’ Flourish for an Occasion, a musical celebration, full of technically demanding passages and energetic textures. With grandiosity and flair, it was a real musical showcase for the organ. This was followed by the second movement ‘Aria and Fugue’ from Healey Willan’s Fugal Trilogy. Offering a moment of reflection, the opening aria was gentle and restrained before giving way to a warm and intricate fugue, showing some of Willan’s best contrapuntal writing. The programme concluded with Whitlock’s March: Dignity and Impudence. With an imposing fanfare opening, a stately march theme, and a lyrical trio, the piece called to mind the march music of Whitlock’s earlier colleagues, Holst and Elgar. A final resounding flourish brought the march to a close, completing the recital and this impressive showcase of British organ music.

Our next lunchtime recital, on Wednesday 18 January, is given by Form 7 student Will, who will be singing Gerald Finzi’s song cycle Let Us Garlands Bring.

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