16 January 2018

Strange view

So it is when you attend an organ concert in a church. In concert halls they are up the front, but in churches, the organs are usually up the back, over the entrance, and the pews face forward. It’s a good opportunity to listen, and I saw some closed eyes for this concert, but also perchance to dream. This was New Zealander Martin Setchell playing the George Fincham & Sons, built 1930 with tubular, pneumatic action. It’s highly regarded. MS introduced his works, a Bach prelude, an air and gavotte by Samuel Wesley, Elgar Pomp & Circumstance no.4, a fountain reverie and four more works in the form of a symphony, but by four composers. An interesting caprice. This was a large organ, ably filling this huge space, varying though all manner of gentle tones through to the grand, deep pitches. I tested with some apps. The low notes seemed to be ~50Hz and the pitch was well below A=440. But that’s just tech. I feel there’s an artefact in organs with slow formation, especially of low notes. I guess it’s the nature of moving that air. But how satisfying is a big tone, the deep notes and the high floating tones ad what’s this festival without it.

Martin Setchell (organ) performed in St Patrick’s.

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