Organ Recital July 2019


Introduction and Allegro in F minor/major for a mechanical clock, K 594

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART 1756 – 91


KennethLEIGHTON 1929 – 1988

Sonata no 8 in E minor op 132 (1882)

Josef RHEINBERGER 1839 - 1901

Introduction and fugue Intermezzo Scherzoso Passacaglia

Programme notes

Mozarthad a high regard for the organ, famously calling it the ‘King of Instruments’, but wrote nothing for the organ as we know it. There are several ‘Epistle sonatas’ for a small continuo-style organ with strings, but the works usually heard on the organ by Mozart are the three pieces which he wrote for a mechanical organ in a museum of curiosities in Vienna, where they were played several times an hour, and probably heard by more listeners than any of his concert music! Not being written for human hands/feet they are tricky to bring off with the usual ten fingers and two feet… The Fantasia in F minor K 608 and the Andante K 616 have already been included in these recitals, but not the ‘other’ Fantasia in F (major and minor) better known as Introduction and Allegro, K 594. It has an intensely chromatic slow introduction in F minor, which returns at the end, and a busy, often contrapuntal central Allegro, in the major.

Leightonwrote the short but telling Ode in 1977 for an OUP book of Preludes and Postludes. The final C major chord is hard-won!

Rheinbergerwas born in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, in 1839, where he is a national hero (he appears on Liechtenstein’s stamps.) He actually spent most of his life in Munich, as student, teacher, professor and director of court church music. He embarked on the project to write 24 sonatas, one in each major and minor key, with no 1 in C minor in 1868, which we heard last December. He never quite finished the project, as no 20 in F (op. 196) was composed only the year before his death in 1901.No 8 (op 132) is his best-known, largely because of its magnificent Passacaglia finale. The introduction (which returns to round off the Passacaglia) leads to a muscular fugue, and there are more light-weight movements before the monumental finale: a dreamy Intermezzo and a lively scherzo, headed Scherzoso.

Christopher Rathbone has been Organist and Director of Music here at St Margaret’s for almost 10 years, and has played most of these recitals in the First Friday series which began in October 2010. (This one is his 86th!) He was formerly, for 23 years from 1973, Organist and Assistant Director of Music at Marlborough College, and before that Assistant Organist at Carlisle Cathedral. He has over 140 compositions to his credit: he often includes his own organ works in the recitals, as well as persuading the choir here to sing his church music. There is also a CD of some of his many Chamber works, including a unique Quartet for organ and string trio.

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