The Kingâ€™s School Ely created new interest in the much maligned instrument: the organ. In Prior Craudenâ€™s Undercroft, within sight of Ely Cathedral, a sizeable audience had the opportunity to watch a series of organists close at hand in a concert entitled â€œBombarde of Organists 111â€. To see fingers flying over four manual, feet gliding rapidly up and down the pedal board and hands rapidly changing stops gave new zest to a promising programme.
Arrangements of works by Elgar held a prominent position. Paul Trepte, Director of Music at Ely Cathedral, opened the event with excerpts from â€œSonata no.2 in Bb: Severn Suiteâ€. Jonathan Lilley, Assistant Organist at Ely Cathedral, played â€œSerenade for Strings â€“ Larghettoâ€ and â€œTriumphal March from Caractacusâ€. These two first-class musicians breathed life into the instrument showing how versatile, powerful and expressive the instrument can be â€“ arguably more than the ever-popular piano.
Saint-SaÃ«ns was another favoured composer. Edward Taylor gave a fine performance of his â€œSeventh Improvisationâ€ from the work of the same name. Will Gardner gave a masterful performance of â€œRecessionâ€ by Mathais, Farrel Gray clearly marked the separate voices of JS Bachâ€™s work, David Tagg-Oram revelled in the strong chords of Stanford and Benedict Todd introduced a fascinating array of effects in items by Couperin.
This highly entertaining event was made even more engaging with two final pieces played by Graham Griggs. Saint-SaÃ«nâ€™s â€œSoftly awakes my heartâ€ made full use of theatrical stops that had the audience in stitches, while the skilful tongue-in-cheek â€œHornpipe Humoresqueâ€ by Noel Rawsthorne left us in no doubt that the organ is a fascinating instrument capable of the highest of expressions, yet also an instrument of wit and fun.