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British Winner at St Albans


Nick Bennett
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Just got back from ten days at the International Organ Festival at St Albans where there were three British contestants in the competitions (a fourth had qualified but withdrew). Two made it to the finals, and in the Interpretation Competition the First Prize and Audience Prize went to David Baskeyfield, who hails from Cheshire and is a former organ scholar of St John's College, Oxford.

 

There was an exceptionally strong field this year in both the Interpretation and the Improvisation Competitions, whilst the supporting events were of the higest quality and plenty of them.

 

The next festival, in 2013, will be the 50th Anniversary Festival. Strongly recommended!

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Nice to see that he doesn't use his technique to simply play everything at the fastest possible speed. In fact, some people thought he took some pieces in the earlier rounds rather too slowly.

 

It was interesting that the English competitors very noticeably had less assistance from their registrants than the overseas competitors and did much more hand registration. Some even did their own page turning.

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At the final David Baskeyfield's superhuman technique swept any potential difficulties to one side - he was totally in control of anything - take a look at this video from his site to get a picture. SUPERMAN PLAYS!!!!! :o:P:o

 

One is lost in awe....

 

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Fascinating and awesome in equal measure, but something interesting came out his biography. He plays theatre organ and regularly practices on a Wurlitzer in America.

 

Another young English organist who does similar things is Robert Suddall, who is just at home playing Cole Porter as he is playing the Durufle Toccata.

 

I find it refreshing that these two young performers don't feel the need to make excuses for this atrocious behaviour. :P

 

MM

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