CHRISTOPHER SMITH St Andrew's Hall, NorwichThough two-and-a-half centuries old, the Music For The Royal Fireworks never seems to age. In an arrangement of Handel's music by the aptly named Power Biggs, it was a good choice for the third of the summer's organ recitals in Barry Newman's lunch-stop series at St Andrew's Hall, which is now in its 21st year.
St Andrew's Hall, Norwich
Though two-and-a-half centuries old, the Music For The Royal Fireworks never seems to age. In an arrangement of Handel's music by the aptly named Power Biggs, it was a good choice for the third of the summer's organ recitals in Barry Newman's lunch-stop series at St Andrew's Hall, which is now in its 21st year.
The soloist was the young James Mooney-Dutton. Already well known to Norwich music lovers after his year as organ scholar at the cathedral, now he is developing his career in a similar position at London's famous St Martin in the Field.
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The theme for royal celebration was kept up in two marches that strode on resonantly in confident grandeur. Elgar's Imperial March was written for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. William Walton's Crown Imperial, first heard at the Coronation in 1937, also adopted the grand manner. Its strength lay in rather more originality and variety. These qualities were displayed both in its quiet interludes and in the clever way the composer postponed the climax before its inevitable conclusion.
In delightful contrast to these two works which called for the whole power of the full organ and its richest registration, a little Humoresque by the New York based Italian composer Pietro Yon used just the flute stops. The tone was delightful when the notes skipped by as if on tiptoe.
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Vaughan Williams' Hymn Prelude on Rhosymedre was not on quite so small a scale. But the gentle exploration of themes that clearly had their roots in British traditions seemed more like a watercolour of a rural scene than a fully worked up oil painting of some splendid state occasion.
Mooney-Dutton captured its relaxed approach in his subtle, gentle interpretation.