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St Matthew’s Continues its Showcase of New Organ

2 July 2012

For Immediate Release

St Matthew’s Continues its Showcase of New Organ

Michael CW Bell, Organist and Director of Music at St Matthew-in-the-City is pleased to announce that internationally acclaimed organist Robert Costin will give an organ recital at St Matthew-in-the-City on Sunday, 8 July at 2:30pm.

“This is the second in a series of concerts to showcase our recently installed Willis organ. The inaugural concert with Olivier Latry was breathtaking. We expect this concert to be equally stunning,” commented Mr Bell.

Mr Costin is well-known in New Zealand, having held organist positions at St Paul's Cathedral, Wellington and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland. He established a busy recital and broadcasting career in New Zealand before moving back to the UK. He is presently Director of Music at Ardingly College, West Sussex.

International venues he has performed at recently include Notre Dame de Paris, Washington National Cathedral and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. He last visited New Zealand in 2011 when he made his debut with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra.

His programme will include:

1. Prelude in E flat, BWV 552 - J.S. Bach (1685-1750)

The imposing Prelude which opens Clavier-Übung III was first published in 1739. It is built on three motifs that refer respectively to the majesty of God the Father (French double dotted rhythms and imposing chordal writing), the love and compassion of God the Son, and the sublime other-worldly nature of God the Holy Spirit descending to edify Christians These motifs follow one another rather like a rondo structure in seven sections, seven being the biblical figure of Creation.

2. Cantabile - César Franck (1822-1890)

The Cantabile was composed as the middle of his Trois Pieces, written in 1878. The other two pieces (Fantasie in A major and Piéce Heroique) are of symphonic scale and length, but the Cantabile is shorter and, on first inspection, simpler - a solo voice with chordal accompaniment. We hear distinctive Franck/Cavaillé-Coll textures, with the foundations of the organ accompanying the trumpet and oboe stops.

3. Incantation pour un jour Saint - Jean Langlais (1907-1991)

The celebrated French organ composer and teacher Jean Langlais held the position of organist at the Ste. Clotilde Basilica, a post formerly held by Franck. The Incantation pour un jour Saint (Incantation for a Holy Day) is based on a chant from the liturgy for the Catholic Easter vigil. Organist Patrick Russill provided an apt description of the piece when he wrote that "the incessantly repeated invocations of the Litany of the Saints combine prayer and dance in a crescendo of spiritual fervor."

4. Rhapsody on a Ground - Heathcote Statham (1889-1983)

Statham's magnum opus was composed in 1944. He was by this time Organist of Norwich Cathedral, having previously held positions at Calcatta Cathedral. The Rhapsody combines the rigour of the ground bass variation structure with the harmonic language of the English pastoral composers of the inter-war years.

5. Gaudemus in loci pace - James MacMillan (1959-)

Macmillan is the pre-eminient Scottish composer of his generation. Gaudemus in loci pace (Let Us Rejoice in the Peace of this Place) was his first substantial organ work. It was written in 1998 to celebrate the golden jubilee of the re-foundation of Pluscarden Abbey, the Benedictine community near Elgin, Moray, in the diocese of Aberdeen. The composer serenely unfolds the melodic line of a plainchant melody against a free and high-pitched ornamental line, which sounds at times like birdsong - an inescapable feature of the tranquillity of Pluscarden - and further evokes its sense of timelessness.

6. Toccata and Fugue 'The Wanderer' - C. Hubert H. Parry (1848-1918)

The Wanderer Toccata and Fugue was still being revised at the time of Parry's death. Parry was a keen yachtsman and the work was named after his favourite vessel. The 'Wanderer' motto appears as a subsidiary theme in the toccata and its rhythm dominates the entire work. Parry was remarkably successful in varying its repetitions and his rhythmic fluency is evident throughout. Each movement can be seen as a voyage on the seas, culminating in a triumphant climax.

Date: Sunday, 8 July 2012

Time: 2:30 PM

Venue: St Matthew-in-the-City, Corner of Hobson and Wellesley
General Admission: $10.00
Ticket sales at the door

ENDS

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