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Rochester Summer Festival


DHM
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I don't know how widely it has been publicised (my guess is not very), but I hope I may be allowed a plug for Roger Sayer's Summer Festival (featuring our Mander organ) which started tonight with a stunning performance by Wayne Marshall (an old college friend of Roger's).

 

He gave us, in the 1st half, Dupré's Allegro Deciso, Liszt's Ad Nos, and a couple of his own compositions. The 2nd half was Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, with Wayne on piano and Roger providing the orchestral parts on the Mander. Wayne finished the evening with an improvisation on "Colonel Bogey", and a big screen ensured that all could see the fancy finger- and foot-work going on in the loft.

 

Further treats in store for those within travelling distance of Rochester:

 

Tomorrow (Thursday) is Duruflé Day, starting at 1200 with the 4 Motets, Notre Père and the Missa Cum Jubilo.

At 1800 our (soon-to-be-ex-) Assistant Organist, Edmund Aldhouse, will play Duruflé's complete organ works before leaving us for further studies in Paris.

And at 2030 Roger conducts the Requiem with our 16-year-old Organ Scholar, Charlie Andrews, at the organ.

 

On Friday at 1930 Roger & Charlie play a duet programme, including some specially transcribed James Bond themes.

 

Saturday at 1300 there is a concert by the choir of St Philip's Cathedral in Charleston, North Carolina.

Evensong at 1515 includes Stanford in G and Wood's Glorious and powerful God.

At 1900 The Organist (Radio 2's Nigel Ogden) Entertains.

And at 2130 we have Dupré's Vespers, sung liturgically.

 

On Sunday the Cathedral Special Choir marks Dr Robert Ashfield's 95th birthday and celebrates Rochester's home-grown composers at all the choral services (0945, 1030 and 1515).

The final concert at 1930 on Sunday is by a Jazz Duo from Bach's own church of St Thomas, Leipzig.

 

Regards to all,

 

Douglas.

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Guest Roffensis

As ex medway towns man now living in Liverpool, it's great to know that things are still alive and kicking in my home cathedral. I was there a couple of weeks ago, and briefly stepped in to hear a little of the morning service (pretty well packed I might add) and hear the superb organ (as always) following its recent work. I wish it wasn't such a leg to get down there, there is obviously a lot going on there. Happy days (and memories)

 

R(offensis)!

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Guest Roffensis
I think I would be more inclined to support Rochester events if the town was a wee bit more attractive and had a decent pub etc. Unlike, say, York its not a place that uplifts your soul.

 

Aww, it's ok there, a bit of a backwater perhaps, but it's still worth going for the cathedral and music, both excellent.

R

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Aww, it's ok there, a bit of a backwater perhaps, but it's still worth going for the cathedral and music, both excellent.

R

 

Thanks to Roffensis for his enthusiasm and kind remarks. I'm not sure I would describe Rochester as a backwater, though lots of people certainly travel past or though it en route to another little church 30 miles down the road.

 

Note to "parsfan": try the Lay Clerks' favourite watering-hole - The Cooper's Arms in St Margaret's Street (just up the road from the Cathedral).

 

I am glad to report that the rest of last week's events were as excellent as the first one. Pity the attendances were so small - the performances deserved better.

 

To hear Duruflé's complete organ and choral works in a day was an unforgettable experience; I take my hat off to Edmund for the former, and to Roger, the Festival Choir, and Charlie the organ scholar for the latter. (Still only 16, he gave a virtually faultless performance of the organ part of the Requiem - a first for him - having also played the Langlais Messe Solennelle for the first time the previous Sunday).

 

Watch out for future performances of Roger & Charlie's duo act "The Midas Touch" - a thrilling pairing of master & pupil, including K608 and several specially commissioned arrangements by Robert Ramskill of James Bond themes.

 

I have to confess to having passed on "The Organist Entertains" (there are only so many things you can do in the course of a weekend which also includes directing four services!), but the late evening liturgical performance of Dupré's Vespers (commissioned by an Englishman, according to Edmund's programme note) was a beautifully restful end to the day - so nice to sit back and be ministered unto, rather than always having to minister.

 

The Jazz Duo from St Thomas', Leipzig, are indeed a virtuoso pair. We heard three major organ works of JSB (played straight) and several organ + sax improvisations (nothing like Jan Gabarek and the Hilliards, though) based on those organ works and on P+Fs from the "48". You have to admire the artistry, but they wouldn't be in my Desert Island selection.

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Sorry to hear that the attendances were small. I live and work in London and would like to attend more out of town events but sometimes the timing of recitals mitigate against this. I would love to attend the spring recitals series at Winchester but these are timed at 1945. Basically, I am not back in London until 2300 !!

 

Likewise, Guildford's recitals are at 1930. Plus there is the problem that I identified re Rochester. Where in Guildford is there somewhere decent to eat and drink? Plus to do so you have got to travel in the opposite direction of the Cathdral. And Stag Hill in driving rain is like Ben Nevis in February.

 

Nevertheless I might try and overcome these interminable problems and attend the Alexander Mason recital in September. I am quite keen to hear the Guildford intrument in recital. I went to Evensong on Easter Day a few years back and Stephen played the Scherzo Symphonique by Cocherau. Well worth the journey !!

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