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.
See the Organ Music Tutorial Series overview for links to more organ videos and information about them. There you will also be able to read more about Jonathan Kingston and the organs being played in this series.
Thalben-Ball’s Elegy was played at Princess Diana’s funeral
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 are ideal for Elegy
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:
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Regent Classic Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.