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!
Imperial March by Edward Elgar
Edward Elgar’s “Imperial March” features on the Grade 8 syllabus. It was originally written to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897, scored for full orchestra. Various organ arrangements have been made over the years, including a particularly successful one by George Martin (not the Beatles producer, but the organist of St Paul’s Cathedral from 1888).
It was first performed by massed bands at the Crystal Palace, and then at a royal garden party, a state concert, and at the Albert Hall by the Royal Artillery Band. At the time it was written it proved extremely popular, capturing the mood of civic pride and national confidence at the end of Victoria’s reign. It has retained its popular appeal as the years have gone by.
Tips on Performance and Registration
The piece comes off very well on the organ, having plenty of opportunities for dynamic contrast, orchestral registrations, and use of the building’s acoustics if you have them. Management of the instrument is a key challenge here, as is use of the swell box and control of tempo changes.
In Jonathan’s rendition for this recording, you can hear his effective use of the full swell in the later parts of the opening section, contrasting with the coupled great to sparkling mixtures. Some nifty piston pushing and swell box control at about 2’35” delivers a nicely graduated diminuendo into the central section. Here the choir and swell strings, partnered with a mellow great flutes and strings combo, are used to give a beautifully smooth orchestral texture.
From about 4’00 to 4’30” Jonathan builds a crescendo using the swell box and pistons, dropping back to a quieter registration on the swell at the beginning of the final section. When we reach the big final theme at 4’50”, he moves to an arresting great registration, coupled to the swell, with a fat tuba on the bottom manual to bring out the solo lines.
This is a noble and proud work, says Jonathan, so “lean into the big chords, drive through the lush harmonic textures, and don’t be afraid to wallow just a little”, especially if you have an acoustic environment that supports this. Above all, enjoy it!
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.