Review: organ concert, All Saints Church, Hastings Old Town.

REVIEW BY Marion Lovell

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 6:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th July 2021, 6:14 pm
All Saints organ

They say that there is a land of pure delight, and the audience of well over 100 – socially distanced - experienced part of it when they attended the first of the series of Organ Concerts on the fabulous Father Willis Organ in All Saints Church in Hastings Old Town

The instrument has recently had major restoration work done by B. C. Shepherd and Sons from Edgware and is sounding as good as I have ever heard it in all of 32 years since the series began. The woodwind, flutes, clarinet and oboe are particularly fine, and the deep pedals have a sonority which was previously missing.

The organ builders were present to hear this inaugural concert, just in case there were any problems, which there were not.

The performer for the evening was Dr. Gordon Stewart, who has played for every season since the series began. His delight in the organ and what he could do with it was palpable. He took some time to explain which stops he would use in each piece, and gave us a wide variety of glorious organ music by Handel, Clerambault, J. S. Bach – the fiendishly difficult Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor, the Dance Suite by Noel Rawsthorne, Guilmant, and finishing with a triumphant performance of the Toccata in F by Widor. The audience responded with the stamping feet more usually associated with the Proms! They asked for, and were granted, a lovely, simple arrangement of ‘Will ye no’ come back again.’ Yes he will at the end of August to give the concluding concert.

If you would like to hear the instrument for yourself, next Monday’s concert will be played by Matthew Jorysz from Westminster Abbey. He will play music by Bach, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Mozart, Handel and Vierne. The concert begins at 7.30pm and tickets at £10 are available at the door.

More details of the organ and forthcoming programmes can be found at http://www.oldtownparishhastings.org.uk

Marion Lovell