St Bride's: Music - Oliver Macfarlane – organ

St Bride's: Music - Lunchtime Recitals

Oliver Macfarlane – organ

Friday, 25 October at 1:15pm - FREE ADMITTANCE - Retiring Collection

Oliver Macfarlane – organ

J S Bach

Fantasia in G BWV 572

F Mendelssohn

Sonata for Organ no. 4 in B flat

1. Allegro con brio

2. Andante religioso

3. Allegretto

4. Allegro maestoso e vivace

C-M Widor

from Symphonie no. 5

4. Adagio

Pietro A Yon

Humoresque - Toccatina for Flute

L Vierne

Pi├Ęces de fantaisie op. 54

Carillon de Westminster

Also known by the title Piece d'Orgue the Fantasia in G is Bach's grand representation of a piece in French style. The 3-part work centres round the Gravement with its dense texture of 5 voice counterpoint, magnificent chords and many suspensions. In contrast to the grandeur of the central section the piece opens Tres vistement with a Toccata like dazzling fanfare for manuals only and the concluding Lentement is a mysterious sequence of broken chords played over a descending and slow tolling pedal.

Mendelssohn's 6 Sonatas for organ are sometimes thought to be an organised set of 'Voluntaries' as requested by his publisher in 1844. The 4th Sonata however with its 4 movements conforms to the over all structure a classical sonata. The 1st movement Allegro has two contrasting themes - the first a free flowing sequence of arpeggios and running passages in a pianistic style, the second is in a jaunty march style. The short 2nd movement is slow and contemplative after which the 3rd movement Allegretto is reminiscent of a Mendelssohn 'Song without Words'. The final movement starts with an arresting march-like theme before a fast moving fugue subject is introduced in the pedal. The 4-part fugue has the intensity of Bach toccata and the work concludes majestically with a brief return of the opening march theme.

Widor's Symphony no. 5 is justifiably one of his most popular with the concluding 5th movement being the famous Toccata. Immediately preceding is the short and slow Adagio, a movement of quiet and quasi religious reflection. The lyrical theme is heard on the manuals using the string registers of Gamba and Voix Celeste and in canon in the pedal on a solo flute.

Pietro Alessandro Yon was an Italian born organist and composer who from his early twenties made his career in the USA. His Humoresque is a somewhat tongue in cheek pastiche of a classical Toccata. The subtitle Toccatina for Flute gives a succinct and apt description of the piece.

Carillon de Westminster by Vierne is based on the chimes of Big Ben. The fast-moving repetitive figure that opens the work suggests the busy capital coming to life. The chimes of Ben Ben are introduced in sequence from the quarter hour through to the hour - albeit the half hour chime, either by accident or design, a variant of the Westminster original. In the second section the sequence is heard again this time with the chimes sounding an octave higher. In the third section a fog seems to descend with the theme cloaked and reverberating in the low register of a 32' pedal. As the piece progresses the atmosphere becomes more energetic and powerful with a dramatic crescendo building to an exciting and thrilling conclusion.

Oliver Macfarlane is a concert organist based in Guildford. He spent four years at the Royal College of Music where he gained his graduate and performing diplomas in both piano and organ. He studied organ with Richard Popplewell, Gillian Weir and at the International Summer Academy in Haarlem, Holland. Recently he has taken up further studies in French repertoire with Ben van Oosten in The Hague. Recitals have included the Bristol Cathedral, Portsmouth Cathedral, Truro Cathedral, St Michael's Cornhill, St Stephen's Walbrook and All Hallows by the Tower. Oliver is also a deputy organist for St Mary's Stoke D'Abernon and Christ Church Esher.

Oliver Macfarlane is concert organist based in Guildford. He spent four years at the Royal College of Music where he gained his graduate and performing diplomas in both piano and organ. He studied organ with Richard Popplewell, Gillian Weir and at the International Summer Academy in Haarlem, Holland. Recitals in 2019 have included Truro Cathedral, St Michael's Cornhill and Holy Trinity Gosport.