Christian Wilson at St John’s Smith Square

David Matthews
Band of Angels, Op.85
Das wohltemperierte Klavier [The Well-Tempered Clavier] – Book II: Prelude and Fugue in E, BWV878; Book I: Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor, BWV849; Prelude and Fugue in B flat minor, BWV867
24 Preludes and Fugues, Op.87 – No.4 in E; No.15 in D flat [arr. Christian Wilson]
Hamburger Totentanz

Christian Wilson (organ)

Reviewed by: Edward Clark

Reviewed: 7 April, 2011
Venue: St John’s, Smith Square, London

Organ recitals are among the great pleasures in music listening – invariably drawing small but attentive audiences – and this lunchtime recital was no exception. Christian Wilson, of Christ Church, Oxford, is a widely travelled musician as organist and pianist and as a conductor of opera, an engaging performer whose wide sympathies were displayed fully here.

Starting and finishing with two rarities with a Swiss theme he combined the piece d’occasion by David Matthews, in which the composer incorporates a Swiss traditional melody with more flamboyant sounds surrounding it, with a truly uproarious piece by the Swiss organist Guy Bovet (the title remained unexplained!): a type of modern toccata which would help any adventurous bride on her exit from church! More serious sounds came from the three pieces originating from J. S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, played on the organ with relish. Wilson arranged the two Shostakovich works from the piano originals with deft regard for the organ. If No.4 was a bit ineffective (in any medium) the lively No.15 was more typical of the jazz-inspired pieces we know and love of Shostakovich’s for orchestra.

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