Regent Classic’s musical tutorial videos for 2017 feature pieces from the ABRSM organ examination syllabus. Organist Jonathan Kingston is playing on a Regent Classic custom built digital organ, which has 69 stops, with all couplers managed from tabs above the Swell manual. Jonathan gives a short introduction to each piece, offering some background and tips about performance and registration. We hope they’re useful if you’re preparing for one of these exams yourself. If you’re not, just sit back and enjoy seeing and hearing Jonathan play one of our beautiful custom instruments in the beautiful setting of St. Mary’s, Witney!
Sir George Thalben-Ball was born in Australia, but lived in the UK for most of his life, becoming well-known as something of a “showman” recitalist in the grand late Victorian/Edwardian style. He became Director of Music at the Temple Church in London, as well as City Organist at Birmingham Town Hall, and his name is still held with great respect by the majority of organists. He dedicated his Elegy, apparently conceived as an improvisation to fill in time at the end of a BBC-recorded service during the war, to Walford Davis who preceded him as organist at the Temple Church in London. It’s perhaps an appropriate piece for the time of year during which Remembrance events take place, and was played during Princess Diana’s funeral.
Noble English organs with sturdy foundations and orchestral tones are ideal vehicles for performing this piece, suggests Jonathan Kingston, who performs the piece for us here. Players are well advised to take note of “GTB’s” registrational suggestions, says Jonathan, as well as concentrating on a legato delivery. Careful shading of the swell boxes with regard to the central crescendo is also an important feature.
At the start of the piece you’ll hear the broad and convincing eight-foot diapason tone of this Regent Classic custom instrument sounding the beautiful melody. Jonathan then moves into the following section where the theme is played entirely on the Great division with a slightly larger Swell registration coupled, adding stops on the Great with a Swell crescendo. Bringing on a full Swell with the box closed, he builds the ensemble, gradually adding stops up to Fifteenth and eventually mixtures and a Great reed at the climax. The performance drops away quickly from the climax to the opening dynamic, knocking off stops using a couple of Great pistons and manipulating the Swell box. The piece ends with the theme solo’ed out on an oboe and then a solo flute with tremolo, accompanied by celeste on the Swell.
If you would like to watch the video tutorial right now – here it is:
About Jonathan Kingston’s Musical Background
Jonathan was an organ student while studying with Ian Tracey and Ian Wells at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral before being appointed Sub Organist at Bradford Cathedral, aged 18. Assistant Director and Director of Music appointments followed at Stowe and Bromsgrove Schools before an appointment to The King’s School in Ely where he served Ely Cathedral as a deputy organist.
Jonathan is a recording artist for Naxos, Priory and EMI Records and is an ABRSM examiner and coordinator touring the UK and internationally. As an organist, he has appeared with many leading orchestras and choirs including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Halle, London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and English Symphony Orchestra as well as featuring in many live broadcasts on BBC radio and television.
He is the newly appointed Director of Music at Stony Stratford Parish Church where he presides over the magnificent Willis pipe organ.
Jonathan’s Work With Regent Classic
I am pleased to have Jonathan working with us – he covers several areas from sales, demonstrations, voicing of instruments and performing. He would be very pleased to hear from any churches or individuals requiring an engaging and lively recitalist. If you would like to connect with Jonathan directly, please feel free to follow him on Twitter (@jonkingston) or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Organ Played In This Tutorial
Jonathan plays this piece on our instrument buit especially for the Boston AGO of 2014. This has 69 speaking stops spread over 3 manuals and pedals. It is based on the very successful physical modelling ‘Physis’ sound technology used in all standard Viscount instruments. This particular instrument has a real oak console with Walnut draw stops and Walnut and Bone UHT keyboards. It has a internal library of over 500 alternative voice samples allowing the user to create totally individual voice pallets from classic English through Baroque and Romantic. For more information have a look at its specifications here.