Of course! A ‘senior moment’! I should have checked. I’m now unsure whether Robin Richmond’s dinner jacket was tartan - possibly plum red. It rather stood out, and the contrast with MD resplendent in white tie and tails and Madame Dupré in full length evening gown could hardly have been greater. This I am not sure of, but think MD wore a sash or some other insignia, and Madame was presented with a bouquet.
It’s intriguing that David Drinkell’s experience was a different occasion. Mine was definitely ‘billed’ as MD’s final appearance at the RAH, but, as I said in an earlier post, there have been instances of more than one happening.
Well, we don’t have the luxury of many Cavaillé-Coll organs in England to hear live performance of the Trois Chorals on them. There has been discussion on other threads about the future of the C-C organs at Manchester Town Hall and the Parr Hall, Warrington. Manchester is playable, and Jonathan Scott has made memorable recordings there. Unless I am mistaken, Paisley Abbey has substantial C-C pipework, restored under the direction of Ralph Downes, and the French Church, Notre Dame, Leicester Square in London certainly has some. Farnborough Abbey in Hampshire has a most remarkable organ - much debated whether Cavaillé-Coll or Mutin - but certainly the authentic instrument for this repertoire. (To further enhance the French authenticity, the organ stands directly above the Imperial Mausoleum containing the tombs of Emperor Napoleon III, his wife the Empress Eugénie and their son Prince Louis. Recitals during Summer on the first Sunday of the month.)
But I’m going to make a plug for the English organ. The performance by Sir William Harris which I experienced at St George’s Windsor, over 60 years ago, was life-changing for me. That was on the ‘old’ organ, about as English as you could get, but a superlative interpretation. Under the direction of his successor Sidney Campbell, the organ was rebuilt by H&H with definite French sympathies, and SC made a memorable recording of the first Choral (which you like). Someone, I forget who, told me that SC scoured the length and breadth of France to locate the ‘best’ vox humana (I suppose that should read “voix humaine”), and H&H were instructed to produce an exact replica for Windsor!
Our ‘Vox Humana’ may know more.
Rowland, thank you. I have been quite unaware of the "programmic" nature of this piece. Seen in the light of your comprehensive explanation, the work might be seen to gain dimensions of which I was unaware. Les Trois Chorals well may be the apogee of the French Romantic genre but I have to confess to a general lack of interest and practical experience in this repertoire, so I'm obliged to you for the insight. However, in my view, these and similar works - and I'm sure it's not my imagination - are best realised on Cavaillee-Colls. There seems to be an affinity here..
And; In all honesty, the RAH organ didn't sound very well that evening, but it was an historic occasion. My only regret was the choice of subject for the improvisation. I would have added the inclusion of 565. To me that ranks with the Four Seasons!
David, I did not know that Reginald Foort was a "straight" performer - I heard him a couple of times at Blackpool and thought him well deserving of his excellent reputation.
John, There must be more than a whiff of incense - in fact, at times you can almost see it here wafting up from the pipes - and utter belief in one's redemption. Best played on Henry's finest at Truro then!