Saturday, February 02, 2008


Christopher Kingsley at Danbury Parish Church


The Walker organ in St John the Baptist, Danbury, is a little over 70 years old. For the last 40 years, it has been played by Christopher Kingsley, first as Organist, latterly as Director of Music.

His celebration recital began with Purcell's familiar tune from Abdelazer, and then explored the repertoire in a varied selection of pieces. J S Bach, of course, including two contrasting Chorale Preludes and the Prelude in G, with its deceptively simple descending scales. And the less familiar John Alcock, organist at Lichfield in the 18th century.

From the rich Nineteenth Century repertoire, I especially enjoyed Franck's delightful Prelude Fugue and Variation, and a couple of bonbons from the irrepressible Parisian Lefébure-Wély.

Before a final Festal Flourish, from the unlikely pen of Gordon Jacob, we heard a Minuet in Classical Style, by Armstrong Gibbs, the composer who did so much to establish the strong choral tradition at Danbury.

No organ loft in this lovely church, so Christopher Kingsley was able easily to share his erudite but accessible thoughts on each piece, rightly described in the vote of thanks as “enlightening and enlivening”.

As well as celebrating a remarkable tenure, the recital raised funds for the Cirdan Sailing Trust.

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