Lunchtime Organ Recital given by Gary Desmond 11th Aug 2016

Lunchtime Organ Recital given by Gary Desmond

A selection of pieces chosen by the audience

1. Coronation March ‘Crown Imperial’ (1937)gary
William Walton arr. Murrill

2. Jesu, joy of man’s desiring          J S Bach

3 Sortie in E flat major
Louis J A Lefébure-Wely

4. The Arrival of the Queen of Sheeba
G F Handel arr. Maynard

5. Carillon-Sortie                         Henri Mulet

6. Chorale-Prelude                          J S Bach
 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme BWW 645

7. Toccata (Symphonie V)             C M Widor


Gary Desmond’s organ recital, given on 11th August 2016 at St Mary’s, was a chance for those present to hear a really accomplished performer play music chosen by members of his audience. The eclectic choice of music ranged from Bach and Handel via Louis Lefebure-Wely’s unusual Sortie in Eb major to reach a thrilling conclusion with Widor’s Toccata.

Gary’s expertise was such that he was able to reveal all manner of variety of tone and mood from passages of quiet, lyrical beauty to moments of great power. Events such as this enable the listener to escape for an all-too-brief period from the mundane reality of the routine of everyday life into a world  of some richness and beauty. We were led to believe that this experience will be repeated in the future. The sooner the better: it was a privilege to be there to hear an artist reveal the quality of the Willis organ, even if that organ is in need of attention. The playing was of such a standard that no-one would have believed that the instrument was in anything other than prime health.

John C Lees


Organist Gary Desmond gave a lunchtime recital combining three centuries of favourites selected from requests by the audience. From Walton to Widor via Lefébure-Wély and Wachet auf, he demonstrated his versatility across a range of styles. Carefully considered registrations and deft finger- and foot-work explored all corners of the instrument to build pieces from quiet introspection or breathless excitement through to thrilling, bombastic climaxes. And very nearly concealing all the many deficiencies in the instrument, for which a retiring collection was made. His performance was deservedly well-received by a very respectable audience.

Tim Barrett


Acting Director of Music Gary Desmond gave a varied and beautifully executed recital of items, ranging from Bach to William Walton, that had been requested in advance by members of the congregation.   The provision of tea and coffee and an invitation to bring our own sandwiches created a relaxed and informal atmosphere and the event was well attended.

To give a public recital in aid of repair and restoration of the instrument being used might seem paradoxical especially when, in the hands (and feet) of such a skilled performer, the musical result was so completely satisfying, but the fact remains that beneath an apparently sound exterior the years are taking their toll of so many essential components of this most costly and complicated of musical instruments.   The minor problems that are already a regular occurrence can only escalate in severity and frequency and it is essential that every effort should be made to raise the substantial sum needed to ensure that this fine historic instrument will continue to be fit for its supreme purpose in enhancing the worship at St. Mary’s, as it has already done for so many years.

Anthony Crossland


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