The Organ

Nigel Ogden/Kerry Beaumont/David Flood

All Saints, Hastings
9th July/16th July/23rd July

In a change from the order of previous years, the opening recital on 9 July was given by Nigel Ogden, plaving with his usual panache and enthusiasm. A large audience, clearly a mixture of classical organ devotees, 'Ogden enthusiasts' and seaside visitors showed their appreciation for Nigel's varied programme. In his own words, the Willis, in excellent tune, deserves to be heard for so much more than Sunday services and it has, through the recital series, become an established summer event for visitors and residents alike.

In a variety of transcriptions ranging through Mendelssohn marches, Aida, Tchaikovsky waltzes, Debussy, Coates, Strauss and Elgar, elaborate changes of registration illustrated the versatility of the Willis compared to a more 'classical' programme. It is a quite extraordinary instrument and it is often hard to appreciate its limited capacity of twenty five speaking stops especially during Grainger's Country Garden as 'musically landscaped' by Nigel Ogden. A splendid opening to the series much appreciated by an enthusiastic audience.

On l6 July, Kerry Beaumont, now at Coventry Cathedral, opened with Bach's A minor BWV 543 played with great clarity, particularly with pedal coupled to Swell reed for the Prelude. Delicate use of the Choir and Swell flutes preceded the final Pedal cadenza and manual flourish. The Clerambault Basse et Dessus de Trompette which followed highlighted the Willis Great reed voicing with Choir flute accompaniment. A delightful change from Purcell/Stanley and a first for Hastings. The Edmundson toccata Von himmel hoch concluded a first half which included the Bach D Minor concerto memorable for a beautiful Siciliane with Choir solo reed against Swell strings.

Reuchsel's Promenades en Provence was a fascinating innovation including the fractionally detuned stops for the second movement, obviously only possible with original stop action - electric solenoids do not cater for this requirement! This was a real tour de force with wind pressure holding well during extended full organ passages. Flor Peeters' Ave Maris Stella op28 finished the official programme, but an eager audience extracted the Mulet Carillon Sortie as an encore. An excellent programme, meticulously played.

By popular request, David Flood from Canterbury played a similar programme to his 2006 recital on the nearby digital electronic organ in Fairlight village. Enthusiasts who attended both evenings saw the great benefit of a cathedral organist illustrating the resources of a classical parish church organ - be it pipe or electronic. David opened with the Gigout Toccata followed by Buxtehude F# Prelude and Fugue, Mendelssohn A major sonata and pre-interval Mozart F minor Fantasia. The use of the Great diapason chorus- open 8ft x 2, principal, fifteenth and three rank mixture 17, 19, 22 was a delight. Clarity and depth of tone in ideal acoustics, a tribute to builder and performer alike. The concluding half- Bach Eb Prelude and Fugue, Jongen' Chant de Mai, Elgar Pomp and Circumstance no 4 and Dubois Toccata was well received by an audience who had braved appalling weather. An encore of Dubois Fiat Lux completed the evening.