Paul Carr’s Lunchtime Concert at St David’s Hall

Yesterday I went to my first-ever lunchtime event at St David’s Hall in Cardiff, which was a concert of organ music performed by Paul Carr. There wasn’t a very big crowd, which must have been quite unsettling for the soloist in such a big venue, but the recital was thoroughly enjoyable. The eclectic programme consisted of:

Alfred Hollins: Concert Overture No 2 in C minor

JS Bach: Trio Sonata No 5 in C, BWV 529 (3 movements)

Antonio Soler:  Concerto No 6 for two organs (Minué)

Hans-Martin Kiefer:  Die ganze Welt hast du uns überlassen (Blues Chorale)

Eric Coates, arr Edward Marsh:  The Dambusters March

Marco Enrico Bossi: Scherzo in G minor

Louis Vierne: Two movements from Symphony No. 1

The reason I attended – apart from just having the rare opportunity to hear the magnificent organ at St David’s Hall – was the Bach Trio Sonata. Bach wrote six of these and they’re all an absolute joy to listen to, so for me the concert was worth it just for that piece.  I have to admit that I was also intrigued to the music by Eric Coates for the 1955 film The Dam Busters played on an organ. Paul Carr actually pointed out that this piece is a nod in the direction of Elgar: its fanfare-like opening and big “very English sounding tune” is really reminiscent Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1. Indeed I gather the famous “bouncing bomb” melody has even been used for a hymn (“God is our strength and refuge”, based on Psalm 46). Anyway, the climactic ending of the piece, played on a huge organ like the one at St David’s Hall with all the stops out, is powerfully effective, and almost as noisy as I imagine flying in a Lancaster bomber must be.

The other pieces were completely unfamiliar to me before, but constituted a very pleasant menu for a lunchtime treat, all wonderfully served by Paul Carr. The only problem with lunchtime concerts, is that they don’t give you time for an actual lunch!

 

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6 Responses to “Paul Carr’s Lunchtime Concert at St David’s Hall”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Yes, I’ve heard the big theme from The Dambusters march often enough on an organ, in the hymn you name. I understand that Coates was explicitly writing after the manner of that famous Pomp and Circumstance march.

    Organ music is just about the only atonal classical music I like; somehow the atonality conveys great power effectively.

  2. “The other piece were completely unfamiliar to me before”

    Soler is a hidden champion.

  3. “I have to admit that I was also intrigued to the music by Eric Coates for the 1955 film The Dambusters played on an organ.”

    Jethro Tull used to end their concerts with this piece. I’m not a fan of live albums in general, but Tull’s Bursting Out is an exception. This piece can be heard there. It also contains a rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and instrumental extensions to the studio versions which are quite delightful (again an exception; I usually want to hear the song as on the studio album when I hear it live), many featuring the portative organ of (then) David Palmer.

  4. Actually, remembering yesterdays discussion of one, two, or hyphen, the name of the film is “The Dam Busters”. 😐

  5. Worth studying the organ just to be able to play the trio sonatas. In fact I can’t think of any other good reason.

    Had a request not so long ago to play “The Dam Busters” at the funeral of a lady who’d served in the WAAF during WW2. Was hoping that when the big tune came around the audience (congregation, whatever) would all stand up and do the wings thing, but none of them did. So disappointing.

  6. Anton Garrett Says:

    The only problem with lunchtime concerts, is that they don’t give you time for an actual lunch!

    Take sandwiches in…

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