Repertoire evening 19th November 2014

A soirée at Nicky Jones’ house

Marilyn, our Chair, began by describing the organist’s job as a lonely one. We practise and perform in isolation, rarely having good opportunities to talk with another about musical matters. Our Repertoire Evening was an attempt to find out what prompted an organist to learn a particular piece. Marilyn outlined her thoughts about repertoire. How do we build a repertoire? Where do ideas come from? How do we decide what is suitable for particular occasions? Is it all serendipity and chance or do we act on well thought out plans?

Performances by members on Nicky Jones’ four manual and pedal Wyvern organ included John King playing JSBach’s Prelude in F minor BWV534, and Nicky Jones, Chant Donné by Maurice Duruflé.  John Mitchell contributed an unusual and interesting arrangement by Samuel Barber, his Silent Night Prelude and Marilyn concluded with the Fantasia (auf die Manier eines Echo, C3) by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, an important Dutch composer from the 16th century.

The answer to the original questions turned out to be chance: a teacher introduced it to us, it
has in a volume purchased for another purpose, it was heard at a recital or on the radio, a friend played it, we found a new composer and pursued his/her compositions, someone asked for it at a wedding or funeral, it is on an examination syllabus and so on.

In conclusion, few have conscious thoughts about building a repertoire at all. Perhaps this is a good thing. We all have varied and different sets of pieces that we play and like. How boring it would be if we all followed some set of rules.

In addition, a lively discussion about organ temperaments, pitch, and the essential differences between French, German, English and Italian organs, took place.

The evening ended at 11.00 pm.  Everyone had a good time, warmed by the generous hospitality of our hosts, Nicky and Penny.

Click on the adjacent picture to hear Marilyn playing part of the Sweelinck.

Others in attendance were: Peter Ramell, Woolf van Silver, Colin Stone and Martin Callingham.