Posts Tagged ‘Liszt’

Review: organ recital by Jonathan Lilley in Ely Cathedral on Sunday 7thAugust 2011

August 8, 2011

On a warm summer’s evening, Ely Cathedral was filled with wonderful sounds from the Cathedral organ as Jonathan Lilley presented a fascinating programme in his recital.

Before climbing into the organ loft, he spoke to the audience offering fascinating information about the pieces he was about to play. One notable comment was his awareness of the attendance of Dr Arthur Wills, the composer of two of the pieces to be performed. ‘No pressure there’ Jonathan said with typical humour.

The recital opened with a grand and joyous performance of ‘Hora giocosa’ (‘Happy Hour’) by Marco Enrico Bossi. This was followed by ‘Prelude and Fugue (Alkmaar)’ by Arthur Wills. Apparently, this composition was written especially for the organ at Alkmaar which did not have sufficient notes for the prelude and fugue Arthur had originally planned to play. His simple solution was to compose this piece especially. But there was nothing ‘simple;’ about the tight structure of this composition. The prelude was an agreeable and clear introduction, encouraging the listener to look forward to the traditional fugue that followed. The intricately-designed fugue had a tightly-woven structure that nevertheless moved forward with a sense of momentum and purpose while remaining musically varied, effective and interesting.

Liszt’s ‘Evocation à la Chapelle Sixtine’ provided an inspiring contrast in the best of Romantic traditions. Jonathan played the piece with real empathy. His timing was exquisite, giving strength to the dramatic intensity or utter serenity of the music as it developed.

Jonathan drew attention to Arthur’s skill as a composer in his performance of ‘Scherzo-Fantasy: The Ely Imps’.  Inspired by a grotesque gargoyle in the choir of the Cathedral, this contemporary piece was brought alive by Jonathan’s technical wizardry. Sophisticated humour permeated moments of quirky mischievousness, ethereal calm or eerie expectancy and the discords in particular were put to good use.

This delightful recital ended appropriately with the more traditional ‘Grand Triumphal Chorus’ by Alexandre Guilmant. We are fortunate indeed to have such talent in our midst. Jonathan’s amazing ability extended to giving a piano recital a few days after this one – on Thursday11th August in the Cathedral — well worth attending.

Forthcoming organ recitals in Ely Cathedral on Sundays at 5.15 pm include:

14th August Paul Trepte, Director of Music at Ely Cathedral

21st August Sarah MacDonald Director, Ely Cathedral Girls’ Choir

28th August James Thomas, Director of Music, St. Edmundsbury Cathedral

Other concerts in Ely Cathedral:

Sunday, 4th September 5.15 Prime Brass, with Jonathan Lilley (organist) and Paul Trepte (conductor)

Sunday 11th September 5.15 ‘Organ Lollipops’ in which Paul Trepte and Jonathan Lilley play audience requests (send to

Monday 29th August 7 pm in the Lady Chapel, Cambridge Voices and the Orchestra of the Age of Reason conducted by Ian de Massini presenting ‘Messiah’ (unabridged)



Review Concert featuring Joo Cho (soprano) and Marino Nahon (pianist) as part of the King’s School Ely Concert Series in the Recital Hall, Hayward Theatre 12th November 2010

November 18, 2010

One of the purest forms of expression available to singers can be found in the Lieder repertoire and Joo Cho, a fine soprano from South Korea, took full advantage of the variety of expression and emotional depth in the works by Schubert, Liszt, Brahms and Schumann that made up the programme she presented on Friday as part of the King’s School Ely Concert Society Series.

Italian pianist Marino Nahon complemented her singing perfectly, fusing with the singer to enhance the sustained tension that pervaded the works. His amazing feats of exact articulation and his ability to create emotive, multidimensional textures were particularly impressive. 

The concert opened with a number works by one of the most valued composers of Lieder, Schubert.  These included Am Flusse (By the River), An Sylvia (Who is Sylvia?), Kolmas Klage, Im Frühling (In Spring), Die junge Nonne (The young Nun), Dass sie hier gewesen (That They Were Here), Der Zwerg (The Gnome), Nacht und Träume (Night and Dreams)  and Erlkönig (The Erlking). Her beautiful voice, exquisite vibrato and discerning shaping of the line, her clear diction and personal involvement in the colour and drama of the songs brought them to life. Kolmas Klage’s emotional darkness contrasted well with the lightness and freshness of Im Frühling   Together the performers moved through emotionally charged changes of mood and texture ranging from an almost tangible softness and sense of wonder to the heightened fury of the pain and suffering of death. 

After interval, Liszt’s Die Loreley, the tale of the maiden tempting sailors to their death was followed by an imposing homage to eternal love (Von ewiger Liebe) by Brahms.

The evening ended with Schumann’s Liederkreis op. 39 and included In der Fremde (In a Distant Land), Intermezzo, Wald gespräch (Conversation in the Wood), Die Stille (The Silence), Mondnacht (Midnight), Schöne Fremde (Beautious Foreign Land), Auf einer Burg (In a Castle), In der Fremde (In a distant Land), Wehmut (Melancholy), Zwielight (Twilight), Im Walder (In the Woods) and Frühlingsnacht (Spring Night).

The performers’ excellent sense of timing, their ability to capture the essence of expression in moments of bliss (in Intermezzo) intimacy (in Wald gespräch), sustained beauty (in Mondnacht) stateliness (Auf einer Burg) and anguish (in In der Fremde) were phenomenal.  

This was indeed a splendid evening and the encore well deserved.

The next Concert Series event will be The Mediterranean Piano Trio on Friday 21st January 2011 730 pm in the Recital Hall

Contact: Lisa Bushell (01353) 653931) email