Starting out four years ago with a public appeal to save Selby Abbey’s celebrated William Hill organ, a series of lunchtime rectials played by some of our most sought-after soloists, will add the final installment to the half million pound restoration.
Regarded a jewel among the nation’s instruments, it was back in the 1960s that the Pope’s organist at St Peter’s in Rome, the legendary Fernando Germani, made a series of recordings that took its very distinctive and individual sound around the world.
The project is now due for completion in the early summer, and the Tuesday lunchtime recitals, on a fabulous Viscount digital organ, feature a galaxy of renowned soloists opening with Selby’s Roger Tebbet playing works by Purcell, Bach, Wesley, Vierne and ending with Liszt’s formidable Prelude and Fugue on Bach (June 7).
Guests over the following weeks include Paul Derrett from Hull (June 14) and Lincoln’s Colin Walsh (July 5), though bringing Franz Hauk from Ingolstadt Minster is the big coup – the German-born organist and conductor has made a whole raft of CD recordings on the world’s top selling Naxos label (July 19). The triumphal conclusion comes when the Royal Northern Sinfonia, with John Scott Whiteley and D’Arcy Trinkwon as soloists on the Hill organ, perform Jongen’s Sinfonia Concertante and Guilmant’s Symphony No.2 (September 9, 7.30pm).
Eight Tuesday Lunchtime recitals June 7-August 2, 12.30pm. Admission free.
By David Denton