CHRISTOPHER SMITH Norwich Cathedral
They did not roll out the red carpet for Daniel Roth. No, they had a much better idea. To give us a chance to see this great organist at work they rigged up a big screen.
There he sat, a solid figure on the long bench, and as the chords rolled out we could watch his flying fingers and his hands stretching out high to draw the stops and unleash the thunder or else the most delicate of tones. His feet remained out of view, but even the movement of his knees was expressive when he added power to the base of the pedals.
As he came from St Sulpice, Roth naturally gave us a piece by Vidor, his predecessor at that fine parish church. Avoiding the obvious choice – thank you – he picked the Scherzo from the Fourth Symphony and made it sound delightful. Franck's Prayer introduced a more reflective mood.
His Bach – the Prelude in Fugue in E Minor – was hard-edged and rigorous.
This made a contrast with the more whole-hearted emotions of Lutheran themes in an arrangement of the Overture to Mendelssohn's St Paul, and Liszt's BACH Fugue had Romantic passion.
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An impromptu improvisation made a grand finale.