A Bach recital for Early Music Day
Andrew Benson-Wilson, organ & Poppy Walshaw, cello
St Giles-in-the-Fields, London WC2H 8LG
Friday 18 March, 1:15
This is a special concert for international Early Music Day, an annual celebration of early music that takes place around the time of the 21st March birthday of JS Bach. This concert is part of the weekly Music-at-Hill series of lunchtime Midtown Concerts in the beautiful church of St Giles-in-the-Fields, home of one of the most important historic organs in the country.
The programme will include the Italian-inspired four-movement Pastorella pro Organo, a work that raises many questions about authenticity and sources, and the majestic Partite diverse sopra Il Chorale O Gott, du frommer Gott, whose nine variations seem to reflect the verses of the chorale. Distinguished Baroque cellist, Poppy Walshaw, will play Bach’s Cello Suite No.3 in C.
The organ dates back to the end of the 17th century. It was built in 1678 by George Dallam and was repaired in 1699 by Christian Smith, nephew of the famous organ builder ‘Father’ Smith. When the present St Giles-in-the-Fields church was opened in 1734, the organ was incorporated into a new case by Gerard Smith the younger. Much of the pipework from 1699, and some from 1678, survives today. It is one of the few historic organs in central London to have escaped 20th-century ‘modernisation’. With advice from organ historian and consultant Stephen Bicknell, William Drake restored the organ in 2006, respecting the historic pipework and musical nature of the organ.
Programme notes here.
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