Richard Moore (Organ) & Ellie Lovegrove (Trumpet)
Wednesday 4 December 2019 – 1:00-1:50 pm
Wednesday 04 December 1 pm
|Today, Wednesday 4 December, we welcomed back Ellie Lovegrove and Richard Moore to Brentwood Cathedral to share with us their expertise and incredible musical compatibility, which we were delighted to hear again in their respective instruments. Please read full details of their musical experiences and achievements at the end of this review.
Ellie and Richard began by introducing the first of two premiere works by renowned English composer, arranger and pianist, Roderick Elms. ‘Advent Dances’ is the second of two pieces written for the Illumina Duo, and Roderick has expressed how much he enjoys writing for trumpet and organ, so clearly evident in the ten minutes of thrilling musical exchanges between the instruments. Ellie and Richard’s impeccable playing held our attention throughout this set of variations, based on the Advent hymn tune ‘Veni Immanuel’, with each section written in a different dance style. What a privilege it was for our Wednesday lunchtime audience to hear this vibrant new work in the beautiful surroundings of Brentwood Cathedral.
|Roderick Elms||Advent Dances|
|Robert Schumann (1810-56)||Canon in Ab|
|J.S. Bach (1685-1750)||Nun komm der Heiden Heiland|
|Petr Eben (1929-2007)||Okna (Windows) Movements 1 and 4|
|Roderick Elms||A Christmas Carillon|
|Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707||Nun komm der Heiden Heiland|
|Roderick Elms||Pipe Dream|
The second piece, for organ, was ‘Canon in A-flat’ by Romantic German composer Robert Schumann (1810-1856), written in 1845 and from ‘Six Pieces in Canonic Form’ (Op. 56 Etudes), dedicated to his first piano teacher and greatly inspired by J. S. Bach (1685-1750). It was immediately peaceful and reflective in its haunting phrases and central melodic theme, described by Richard as one of his favourites in the Schumann repertoire.
This was followed by ‘Nun komm der Heiden Heiland’ (‘Now come, Saviour of the heathens’), from Cantata BWV61 by J. S. Bach. This Lutheran chorale is widely used for the first Sunday in Advent, with Bach’s setting composed in 1714 and first performed in December of that year, directed by the composer. We heard the opening ‘Chorale Fantasia’, played with rich yet soothing tones, which Richard sustained with eloquence and reverence.
Richard was then joined again by Ellie, as they performed the first and fourth movements from one of the leading twentieth-century works for trumpet and organ: ‘Okna (Windows)’ by the Czech composer, organist and choirmaster Petr Eben (1929-2007). Inspired by the stained-glass artwork of Marc Chagall, Eben uses the movements to represent four different windows as a source of light, each dominated by a certain colour and exploring spiritual depths of personal significance. ‘The Blue Window’ depicts ever-moving waves of the sea, with fish and circling birds, which we envisaged vividly through this mesmerising movement. ‘The Golden Window’ further combined sight and sound, portraying richness of light, candles of liturgical ceremony and ‘fruit of the earth’. Adding to the visual experience, our eyes seemed naturally drawn to the golden glass candle-holders adorning the choir stalls, as we appreciated the beautiful contrasting harmonies. The organ’s underlying chorale theme accompanied largely free-style, soul-searching trumpet phrases, before both instruments united with a quicker, contrapuntal rhythm and refreshing conclusion.
In keeping with the spirit of Advent, Ellie and Richard performed the second of Roderick Elms’s premiere pieces, ‘A Christmas Carillon’, written in 2017 after the composer attended a service of Nine Lessons and Carols. In his words: “During that poignant moment of silence between the end of the last hymn, Hark! The herald angels sing and the organ voluntary, I had the idea for the opening of ‘A Christmas Carillon’ – based on the carol In Dulci Jubilo.” This uplifting piece is dedicated to Andrew Wright, which is extremely fitting and well-deserving, as it embodies the dedication and boundless musical energy of Brentwood Cathedral’s much respected Director of Music!
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Photos – Graham Hillman