Malcolm Rudland - Royal Poinciana Chapel, Palm Beach, Florida
Splendid organ recital at Abbey

30 August 1980

ORGANIST MALCOLM RUDLAND, who gave a recital in Tewkesbury Abbey on Saturday evening, has many connections with this area.

He studied music at St. Paul's College, Cheltenham, and the organ at Gloucester Cathedral with Herbert Sumsion and subsequently taught music at Cirencester School, before moving on to London.

He is now, of course, an international soloist, who has given recitals in most of the British Cathedrals, at the Festival Hall and in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Austria. With America and New Zealand to come.

On Saturday he began with a Czech composer's work - Laudes I by Petr Eben. This is an attractive piece, with some interesting harmonies and a fairly majestic mood, ably performed, though the Easter Alleluia plainsong melody was not abundantly clear.

Bach was represented by his Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C, with a reasonably strong and noble opening and a fluent Allegro followed by a gracious Adagio in a quiet mood and a Grave of massive grandeur before the final light-hearted Fugue which sounded fluid and sunny.

To demonstrate the other side of Bach, Malcolm Rudland followed this large work by a calm, reflective account of Chorale Prelude "Liebster Jesu, wit sind hier" whose soft registration melted into the Abbey spaces.

Frank Bridge's Allegretto Grazioso was also gentle with beguiling flutes wandering above some comfortably warm chording.

There is nothing comfortable about John McCabe's "Dies Resurrectionist" and it was given a vivid and exciting performance from the Maestoso opening of the Toccata to the powerful and rhythmically insistent flow of "Filius in sepulchro" and the brilliant shouting splendour of "Filius ressurectus." The great final chord blazed out with undeniable triumph.

Francis Jackson's Impromptu once again returned to the contemplative mood, but grew into a vividly coloured central section, vigorous and clear, like sunlight breaking suddenly out of the shadows. But the contemplative quietude came full circle at the end.

The final - and biggest - work of the recital was Elgar's Sonata in G, with all its grandeur, romantic colour and expressively lyricism, not to forget a gently humorous second theme in the Finale. But it was the splendour that won.


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