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UK Recital Tour by Isabelle Demers July 2012


Guest Geoff McMahon
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Guest Geoff McMahon

July sees the first recital tour in the UK by the acclaimed Canadian organist, Isabelle Demers, who is rapidly becoming recognised as one of North America's most significant young virtuosic organists. Michael Barone, presenter of Pipedreams, described her during a broadcast as "definitely a talent to watch and hear". She is playing five recitals during this tour.

 

The first recital is at Ripon Cathedral on 3 July 2012. The programme for all the recitals can be downloaded here.

 

http://www.mander-organs.com/downloads/2012-july-recitals-isabelle-demers.pdf

 

 

http://isabelledemers.org/bio

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I must say that a little look at the programme for her recitals is worthwhile as is some quick follow-up research. The music I have consequently discovered by Rachel Laurin sounds worth pursuing though it is prohibitively expensive. I downloaded her Symphony No 1 and the Op43 Twelve Short pieces into itunes yesterday and these are worth a listen - the Toccata from Symphony 1 is terrific and I am sure many members would enjoy it and feel that the 79p cost of the download was worth it. A quick enquiry to Richard Priest at Allegro Music suggests that one of the volumes of the Twelve Short Pieces, published by Leupold, would be in excess of £40, unfortunately. Yikes!

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Just returned, mightily impressed, from Mlle Demers's recital here in Ripon - 'extra-ordinary' in the true sense of the word. 'Virtuoso' can sometimes be something of a backhanded compliment, but if taken to mean phenomenal technique combined with innate musicality, then it is a worthy accolade in this case. And not a trace of showmanship, unlike certain other virtuoso circus acts currently emanating from the other side of the Atlantic.

 

The Laurin pieces and the transcriptions, particularly, were a delight, extracting some quite remarkable tone colours from the Ripon Lewis/Harrison, many of them refreshingly new even to one like me, who has listened to the instrument, in various guises, over the best part of 40 years.

 

Do try to catch up with Isabelle - a charmingly modest young lady, too - at some point on her UK tour.

 

JS

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Sadly, I didn't; however, an organ builder who was there has described the recital on his Facebook wall as 'amazing'. She played from memory, and earned herself a double encore.

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Was anybody able to get to hear her at St Paul's? I'd love to hear more about it if possible.

 

Two friends of mine attended and were similarly enthusiastic. "One of those players you hear, and watch, and time stands still". Exciting, original programme played entirely from memory with quite remarkable technical control. Slightly provocative 'symphonic' rendering of BWV 543, but marvellously inventive, subtle and colourful use of all sections of the instrument in the Mendelssohn and Prokoviev transcriptions, as well as in the modern Canadian pieces. Most memorable, perhaps, as a recital refreshingly different from the normal run-of-the-mill offerings, the only slightly disappointment being the modest size of the audience.

 

JS

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