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Line drawing of the Marcussen organ by Jane Thorp c.1982

"And now there's a glass of wine for you and a Sanatogen for me..."

Review in The Musical Times

by Malcolm Rudland

Click HERE for a link to the recital finale

"For a recitalist to programme Dupré's Prelude and Fugue in G minor, a Rheinberger Sonata and a Bach Trio Sonata, and biographise himself as LLB, ARCM, and an amateur musician, suggested that we were in for a right hamming-it-up session.

However, the playing of Graham Hallett (17 October at St Mary's, Putney Bridge) was often better than that of so-called professionals. It left me wondering whether my confidence in him would now be extended if he also advertised himself as an amateur surgeon or dentist, for, after reading law at Sheffield University, he joined IBM in computers and software, but now runs his own company, Blackstuff.

There was no black stuff coming out of the marvellous Marcussen organ of 1982 - all the sounds were sweetness and light, and Mr Hallett often produced sounds to give the illusion of an organ twice its 11-rank size.

The lower part of the Krumhorn admirably suited Clérambault's Basse et Dessus de Trompette (from the 1st Suite), and the clarity and precision of Bach's third Trio Sonata was a joy to hear. Only in Saint-Saëns's Fantaisie in E flat did I feel that he had been a little too ambitious - for it really does need the three colours of three manuals to make the opening plip-plops effective.

The flutes gave ample warmth for Hollins's A Song of Sunshine, and, whereas Mr Hallett announced that most organists play Pietro Yon's Toccatina for the Flutes as an encore, it was for him a piece - which could provide perfect light relief 'Within' a programme."

Report for the Surrey Organists' Association

by Melvin Hughes

"The Parish Church of St Mary's, Putney - next to Putney Bridge - has a modest, but very fine organ by the Danish organ builder Marcussen, conceived according to the principles of the Orgelbewegung.

An impressive number of Association Members (plus friends and partners) gathered with parishioners and others on Thursday 17th October to hear an enterprising recital by our past-Chairman, Graham Hallett, designed, amongst other things, to show the versatility of the restricted specification (8,8,4,IV; 8,4,2,13/5,8; 16,8,16) as well as visual and tonal quality of the installation. In these respects the evening was an undoubted success.

The recital contained two groups of pieces, the first by Bach and his contemporaries, the second selected from the 19th and early 20th centuries, interrupted by Pietro Yon's deservedly well-known miniature for Flute solo. The smaller pieces generally worked better on this organ and the Krebs "Fantasia a gusto Italiano" and the two pieces by Hollins came over (surprisingly in the latter case) particularly well. The Clérambault "Basse et Dessus de Trompette" showed the player's fingers to be swifter than some of the action's response. At the core of the recital were two major Bach pieces, the "Dorian" Toccata and Fugue, which was played with plenty of vigour and impressive control, and the D minor "Sonata" which had good rhythmic impetus and showed careful attention to registration balance, although the manual reed is, perhaps, too prominent for use in this type of music.

The delightful "Fantaisie" by Saint-Saëns followed the one disappointment of the evening - Rheinberger's "Sonata No. 14". Rheinberger arranged his sonatas for piano duet so he could not have been too concerned about what sound they produced: thus playing them on a classical organ should not matter. But, in spite of a most persuasive performance, this writer was left feeling that the piece is really not of the first quality and that we should, perhaps, all of us, quietly discard our copies.

Dupré's "Prelude and Fugue in G minor" was played, by turns, atmospherically and energetically and rounded off a fine recital. Thanks to the performer for witty and informative introductions to each piece (a practice that could be usefully be adopted far more widely); the title of this article was the means by which the interval was announced."

The Programme

Johann Ludwig Krebs Fantasia à gusto Italiano in F
J S Bach 'Dorian' Toccata & Fugue in d minor
Clérambault Basse et Dessus de Trompette
J S Bach Trio Sonata No 3 in d minor
Pietro A Yon Toccatina for Flute
Josef Rheinberger Sonata No 14 in C
Camille Saint-Saëns Fantaisie in E flat
Alfred Hollins A Song of Sunshine
A Trumpet Minuet
Marcel Dupré Prelude & Fugue in g minor