Bloomsbury Organ Day 2017

This excerpt from the February 2017 The Organ highlights Dame Gillian's masterclass. There's another opportunity next year... don't miss it!

Dame Gillian Weir’s masterclass can only be described as the masterclass of masterclasses! Insightful, probing, witty, challenging, Dame Gillian certainly cast a spell over the large audience (several hundred throughout the afternoon) and the allotted hour seemed wholly inadequate to survey the chosen works in detail; but nothing was lost as the opening sections of the chosen works were subjected to the most intense scrutiny.

The three students who submitted themselves to the challenge together with their choice of repertoire were Konstantin Gensitskiy - (Bach Trio Sonata 1 - 1st and 2nd movements); Hannah Gibson (Franck - 2nd Chorale) and Ashley Wagner (Mendelssohn - Sonata 1 - Adagio and Allegro Assai).

Although Dame Gillian may have retired from centre-stage performing, the sheer energy, stamina and bravura were as gripping as ever. At every opportunity Dame Gillian could be seen adding and subtracting stops, refining registration, demonstrating alternative fingering patterns, and it would be impossible to summarize the wealth of experience and erudition of this ‘hands on’ approach here. Questions which frequently vex organists such as the pros and cons of 8’ or 16’ pedal registration in the trio sonatas, choice of mutation stops and understanding the important concepts of rhythm and meter were all addressed. The Mendelssohn proved to be an ideal choice for defining accent and articulation in the opening bars of the last movement with the overlapping arpeggios- no hint of blurring tolerated here!

New Honour for Gillian Weir

Gillian Weir was made an Honorary Fellow of Grey College, Durham University. (2016)

New Honour for Gillian Weir

Gillian Weir has been given the signal honour of being made an Honorary Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. This venerable and distinguished Society, one of the Livery Companies of the City of London, dates back to at least 1360. Founded as a specialist guild for musicians, the modern Company promotes all aspects of the art and science of music. It supports musicians and musical education, awarding prizes, scholarships and medals.

The Honorary Freedom is the Company's highest Award. Other current Freemen are Dame Janet Baker, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, HRH the Prince of Wales, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and HRH Duchess of Kent. Past Honorary Freemen have included Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Hubert Parry, Ralph Vaughan Williams O.M., Lord (Benjamin) Britten, and Sir Yehudi Menuhin.

The Award was conferred on Gillian Weir by the Master, Andrew Morris, in a ceremony held at the ancient and beautiful Merchant Taylors' Hall, in the City of London. A Dinner for some two hundred members and guests followed, at which Gillian was the speaker.

Latest CD release!

LYRITA have issued a CD containing the world première of Peter Racine Fricker's Symphony No. 5 for organ and orchestra (in effect an organ concerto). The concert was broadcast live and Lyrita have been able to acquire the BBC's recording.

The work was commissioned by the BBC for the 25th Jubilee anniversary of the Royal Festival Hall, and the concert took place on May 5th 1976. Gillian Weir was soloist (as she was in his later Organ Concerto and other Fricker works), and Sir Colin Davis conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

The CD, which also contains his oratorio The Vision of Judgement, is available now, on Lyrita REAM1124.

On the Cover...

From the November 1966 Diapason, a description announcing Gillian Weir's first extensive North America concert tours.

Click on the image itself to see an enlarged version.

Diapason