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Devizes Festival: Organ recital, St John's Church
FOR those whose only experience of the church organ is at funerals there were treats in store at St John’s Church in Devizes on Saturday.
Chris Totney, the director of music at Devizes’ parish church, showed the range and versatility of the instrument in a recital as part of Devizes Festival.
St John’s lost its pipe organ in a disastrous fire in 2006 but its replacement, an electronic model, is capable of just as much power and beauty as its acoustic predecessor.
Mr Totney began with Boelmann’s Suite Gothique which, on its own, showed an immense range of emotion, from cosy to dramatic. He then followed with Frank Bridge’s lyrical Adagio in E and then a medley from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers.
The first half ended with the spirited Tuba Tune by Craig Sellar Lang.
Mr Totney dedicated the second half to the memory Michael James, a virtuoso organist who died tragically young in 1981, the year before Mr Totney was born. A foundation was set up in Mr James’s name that has benefited 550 budding organists, including Mr Totney.
Sigfrid Karg-Elert’s Marche Triomphale was followed by Elgar’s Salut D’Amour, Herbert Howells’ Rhapsody No 1 and Fasolo’s Jesu Nostra Redemptio.
Mr Totney kept the best till last, closing with J S Bach’s St Anne Fugue, completing a most memorable experience for the audience of 70 plus.
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