St Albans International Organ Festival

On Monday 13th July, 2015, I performed at the St Albans International Organ Festival, along with other members of the Royal Academy's Brass and Percussion departments.

The concert involved three choirs:
Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
Westminster Cathedral
St Albans Cathedral

The vocal music performed included works by Taverner, Fayrfax, Tallis, Byrd, Guerrero, Bruckner and Pärt. 

The highlight of the concert for me was the performance of Tu es Petrus & Fanfare by James MacMillan. This work was originally composed for the Pope's visit to Westminster Cathedral in 2010. Macmillan's writing is perfect for a space like St Albans Cathedral, with the thundering sound of the organ, brass and percussion resonating around the building. I particularly loved the moment just before we performed this piece - looking out into the audience, and seeing that they had no idea of what they were about to experience! 

 St Albans Cathedral organ

St Albans Cathedral organ

 

We also performed arrangements of works by Gabrieli in two different brass quartets. The counterpoint was very effective in the cathedral and it was a pleasure to perform chamber music in a such a beautiful place. 

St Albans Cathedral has the longest nave of any cathedral in England (84 metres!), so it was great to have an audience of over 800 people filling every corner. This was an incredibly exciting concert to be a part of, and poignant for me in that it was my last engagement as a student at the Royal Academy of Music.