I was unable to attend the first of Philip Scriven’s seven 2012-3 organ recitals in which he will play the complete organ works of Mendelssohn, Brahms and Schumann. And for the second (on November 6th) there were only five ‘home team’ audience members to augment the two dozen visiting organ enthusiasts for whom these recitals are intended. The Cranleigh split lunch meant that I was the only member of staff or pupil (apart from the doughty page-turner) who heard the whole programme by dint of being free for both junior and senior period six. Thus I hope this web-site posting might alert some local parents to join us to swell the numbers for the remaining five recitals, the next being December 4th. A warm coat is recommended!
Philip’s extraordinary musicianship was recently warmly appreciated in a short tour of the USA, sadly I was in Princeton three days after his recital there, but few, if any, of the American organs he played rivalled the Mander that graces Cranleigh’s Chapel. This recital series is cleverly planned and October’s gave us 45 minutes of music preceded by ten minutes of helpful and illuminating introduction from the organist. I have to agree with Mr S that the second of Schumann’s Canonic Studies was the highlight of the programme (played with consummate sensitivity) and was grateful for the opportunity to hear it live as the off-putting title has never leapt off a cd cover to urge me to listen to it before.
November 6th was a sad day for music-lovers as we learned of the death of one of the two greatest living composers (the other being Pierre Boulez, not John Rutter), Elliott Carter, still writing music at the age of 103. Thus when Phil Scriven reminded us that the opening Chorale and Variations was composed when Mendelssohn was 14, it came as a strong reminder that he was much more gifted than Mozart or Arriaga in his teens and the substantial, albeit cobbled together Sonata no. 2 made a powerful end to the programme. A member of the Cranleigh Choral society sitting near me remarked, “How lucky we are to live in Cranleigh and be able to attend concerts such as this!” and, as said, it is for these music and organ enthusiasts who live near and far that these lunchtime concerts are intended and anyone chancing on this article (perhaps via a google search) is welcome to join us as the cycle unfolds.