Wednesday 29 April

Today’s music choice brings together ‘a few of my favourite things’. Organ music, Gloucester Cathedral and France. 

I play the organ, I’ve played the organ in Gloucester Cathedral. A cathedral I know well. And the music is by the French composer Saints-Saens. It’s part of his awesome Organ symphony. 

Saints-Saens said about this work: ‘I gave everything to it I was able to give. What I have here accomplished, I will never achieve again.” Along, with others far more expert than me, I think it is a significant fresh orchestral work. It is a kaleidoscope of tunes, orchestral colours and themes with an unforgettable ‘big tune’ and ‘big noise’ as its final movement climax. The organ plays a key role in this piece. One writer described it as the definitive ‘steampunk’ symphony. Although I’m not quite sure what steampunk is, and others will have their own definitions, to me it sounds like a blend of the innovative with the older tried and tested ways. As someone said: ‘Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.’ This music though rooted in past musical shaping and played on a ‘steam’ driven instrument certainly propels us into the future. 

This short excerpt is arranged for solo organ. And of course it’s played on the organ of Gloucester Cathedral.

David Briggs, organ, Gloucester Cathedral