Regent Classic’s musical tutorial videos for 2017 feature pieces from the ABRSM organ examination syllabus. Organist Jonathan Kingston gives you 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!
Philip Moore’s Paean was written in 2010 as one of a series of works by contemporary composers included in the “Little Organ Book”, published by the Organists’ Charitable Trust in association with the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust. It features on the ABRSM Grade 7 syllabus. A Paean is really a song of praise or triumph, sometimes used of old when a battle was won, so this gives us a good idea about the performance style and suggests that such a work should be played with some vigour.
Moore held the post of Organist and Master of the Music at York Minster from 1983 until his retirement in 2008, upon which occasion he was awarded the Order of St William by the Archbishop of York. His compositional output includes a number of splendid and sometimes challenging choral works, as well as many works for the organ. He is currently President of the Royal College of Organists.
As Jonathan Kingston explains in his introduction, challenges when performing this piece include getting your head around the 5/8 and 7/8 time signatures, as well as management of the organ. The piece works most successfully on a three-manual instrument, he suggests. Articulation is critical, marking the natural strong beats, and one should be careful to stick to a steady tempo no faster than implied by the Allegro marking, otherwise things can run away.
As you’ll hear on this recording, Jonathan’s registrations are typically bright, up to mixtures to begin with, playing on the Great (coupled in this case to Swell and Choir); moving to the uncoupled Choir for the second section, with a quieter yet still bright registration. In the transition towards the final section extra fullness is added from Swell reeds, playing on the Great, with a gradually opening swell box. Reaching the main theme again at the end, we hear a somewhat stronger registration than at the start, up to Great mixtures and a full Swell, plus a few more Choir stops, supported by the addition of some pedal reeds. As with any registration scheme, though, you’ll have to work out what’s successful on your particular instrument, guided by the directions of the composer.
If you would like to watch the video tutorial right now – here it is:
More About Jonathan Kingston’s Musical Background
Jonathan studied the organ with Professor Ian Tracey and Ian Wells of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, home to one of the largest pipe organs in the world. He was appointed Organ Scholar, and subsequently Sub-Organist to Bradford Cathedral before securing positions as Assistant Director and Director of Music at two leading independent schools. He is currently Associate Director of Music at the Ordinariate Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Piccadilly.
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.
More About the Organ Being 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.