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!
Grand Choeur by Salomé
This first tutorial deals with Salomé’s Grand Choeur in G major, which appears on the Grade 6 syllabus. Théodore-César Salomé was a Parisian organist and composer during the 1800s, who narrowly missed being installed as titular organist at La Trinité. He nonetheless remained as accompanist on the smaller Cavaillé-Coll choir organ. Salomé was great friends with Guilmant and stood in for him on the Grand Orgue when he was away on concert tours.
Tips on Performance and Registration
The Grand Choeur in G major is one of Salomé’s better-known pieces. A Grand Choeur would typically employ an arresting registration involving the big reeds, foundations, and possibly cornet of the Great, often coupled to fullish registrations on the other manuals. Opinions differ to some extent about whether the mixtures should be involved, but towards the end of the 1800s they would increasingly be included.
The Grand Choeur on some French organs was sometimes a separate coupler manual on which some combination of all the others could be played, for a full organ effect. In the registration that Jonathan uses here, you can clearly hear the tierce of the cornet in the overall timbre, while he largely avoids the 16’ reeds for improved clarity and articulation.
The outer sections of the piece take the form of a grandiose march, requiring suitable space and breadth. The middle section consists of a nimble fugue. Jonathan recommends reining in the reeds and mixtures for the central fugal section to ensure clarity across all the parts.
As far as articulation is concerned, Jonathan recommends that strength and direction is needed in order to drive the louder moments forward. The fugal section demands poise and consistency in order that the parts remain clearly defined.
Watch the Video Tutorial
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
Jonathan’s work with Regent Classic Organs encompasses performing and presenting promotional and tutorial material for the company and his freelance portfolio covers educational outreach, teaching, performing, examining and musical direction. He covers several areas for Regent Classic from sales, demonstrations, voicing of instruments and performing. His playing features on the current promotional DVD material, and 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 bespoke Digital Organ Being Played
Jonathan plays this piece on our Digital Organ custom built 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.