Visit to Blackburn Cathedral
21st April 2007
Review by 'Tracker'

It was very much because of Alan White's contacts and his regard for the refurbished organ that this visit was possible, and as a result ten people were prepared to make a long journey to savour a precious ten minutes on this large four manual instrument.

Needless to say we all realised beforehand that it would rather require ten days to fully explore the sounds available, but such luxury is not available on organised society visits. However our bewilderments were mollified by the generous individual assistance provided by James Davey, Assistant Director of Music at the cathedral, who also gave us an improvised demonstration at the start of the visit. Some of us were able to recall our previous visit to the organ as a three manual version demonstrated by Gordon Stewart, and remember the same almost over-powering reverberation provided by the architecture which transformed this building from parish church to cathedral. This reverb-eration is of course a problem to be solved in performing much of the large scale, particularly French, repertoire; a situated ably demonstrated by Mark Shinwell's dazzling performance of Vierne.

The cathedral has the advantage of serving a large populated area and provides a very active musical programme at a high standard. As mentioned in a previous review, further organ visits will require similar long distance events. Alan concluded the visit with a well deserved presentation to James Davey of the usual bottle of alcoholic lubrication, together with our thanks to James and to Alan.

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