Cathedral Musicians in London

From Ailene Hunter:

Andrew-westminsterI happened to be in London on Sunday, 14th August when both Andrew Forbes, Glasgow Cathedral Director of Music and Dr Malcolm Sim, Cathedral Organist were playing recitals in the greatest London churches. Sadly, I was not able to hear Malcolm’s recital on the organ of St Paul’s Cathedral, which I believe went well (or his recital at Westminster Abbey the following week) but was able to attend both the Choral Evensong service and Andrew’s recital at Westminster Abbey, part of his prize for winning the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition in 2014.

At Evensong there were familiar words and music from the excellent visiting choir from Trinity Church, Boston, USA, which I had visited a couple of years ago.

Later, determined to get my usual front row seat,  I got to the front of the queue waiting for the recital. I fell into conversation with two Australian ladies and in one of life’s strange coincidences it turned out we had met a couple of weeks previously when they visited Glasgow Cathedral and I was on duty as a Guide!

Elgar’s Imperial March seemed an appropriate choice to start the recital in a setting so familiar from televised broadcasts of great Royal and national events but Cecilia McDowall’s modern ‘Church Bells beyond the Stars’ was popular with listeners, including my neighbours from Japan. An enjoyable Prelude and Fugue by Saint-Saens was followed by the rousing Finale of Widor’s Seventh Symphony.

As he acknowledged the applause at the end of his performance, then came down to be greeted by family and friends, it felt very special to have heard ‘our’ Andrew perform on the great organ of this special place.

Congratulations and Thank You, Andrew!

Ailene Hunter.