Manual labours reap rewards - The Leamington Observer

Manual labours reap rewards

Leamington Editorial 4th Jul, 2021   0

David Smith

St Mary’s Church,Warwick

Works for organ have been a mainstay of the festival down the years and a detour to St Mary’s in Warwick this year was rewarded by a fine display of miniature gems from one of the instrument’s towering genius JS Bach.

David Smith was an excellent guide through a series of Chorales and short Inventions all written with the small chamber organ in mind. Surrounded, quite literally, by the massed ranks of the church’s fine instrument, the chamber organ – without pedals and offering a limited range of pipe settings – more than held the attention.

As ever with Bach stripping away the layers on offer only serves to lay open the supreme inventiveness that underpins his entire output. Crossing melodies and ornamental counterpoint abounded in a fine programme.

Perhaps one might have wished for a better sense of continuity to the recital – some pieces shorter than a minute and interspersed with explanation was a little stop start, but the playing was spirited and bright. And in a recital dedicated to showing the composer’s musical inventions, it was an invention borne of necessity that will stick in the mind – the organist’s handheld weight used to keep a dramatic low note running while the hands were elsewhere.

Leamington Music Festival details and ticket booking can be found at 



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