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Aperitif Recitals: Concert Review

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There are some things we can take for granted at Aperitif Recitals and they are that the wine, soft drinks and canapés will be excellent but especially so will be the music. Peter Shepherd, the twenty three year old organist of the Collegiate Church of St Bride Glasgow, lived up to expectations during his recital at St Mary's Church on 18th October when he performed an attractive mixture of familiar and lesser known pieces to an audience of around 125 people.

He started with Bach's dramatic Fantasia and Fugue in G minor. 'The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba', by Handel, was suitably celebrated by a replenishment of wine glasses! In addition we heard part of Vierne's first Organ Symphony, played from memory, with a delicate lively touch as befits a scherzo. Music by two English composers formed the rest of the programme — two chorale preludes by Hubert Parry, and Herbert Howells's exciting 'Paean'. Finally Peter responded to persistent applause by playing, again from memory, a virtuosic encore — the Fugue on the Soissons Carillon by Maurice Duruflé.

The organ at St Mary's is a digital instrument and was built in Holland but it has been voiced with the French style in mind giving the organ both delicacy and power. Large video screens in the church greatly enhance the occasion as they ensure that the audience can see exactly what the organist is up to with both hands and feet.

These concerts continue to provide an excellent opportunity for introducing people to the world of the organ in a most pleasant, relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

Mike Butterworth

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