A Musical and Visual Masterpiece by Organist Wayne Marshall


Wayne Marshall: By Charles Best Photography.

Review by Mercy Francis

It was a splendid organ recital by one of the world’s top five organists at the Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre in London. Wayne Marshall opened the evening with a discussion on his work in Germany followed by a demonstration of the power of the organ which in itself is a beautiful sight to behold.

Educated at Chethams School of Music in Manchester, Wayne Marshall’s talent has taken him to Europe where he studied and taught as he advanced his career from player to performer.

Back to the Southbank performance on the night of April 29th, Wayne is more used to conducting orchestras and yet this evening he made the organ sound like an orchestra, single-handedly playing a symphony with robust techniques.

At times he managed to make the instrument sound quiet and gentle during the Marseille Dupree Symphony No.2 ,Op26.

The pace changed and the musical fireworks and thundering of the wind pipes marked a playfulness that saturated the soul and led your imagination to faraway places.

After the symphony, the audience was invited to select possible themes listed below:

  1. Climate change
  2. Meters all. Change
  3. Fine day
  4. West End Story
  5. Beethoven
  6. Bach

Two renditions were of particular note: Improvisations on Beethoven Themes which next year will be celebrating 200 years and the Happy Birthday song.

At various points one’s legs began tapping and moving to the rhythm of the music.For this reason, Wayne Marshall is so loved by his audience as he interprets a two hundred year piece and makes it his own.

The organ took centre stage

The way the organ is positioned as a grand fixture is mesmerising to the audience as they watch Marshall, the focal point from every angle in the room create magic. Unlike organs in cathedrals and churches which are hidden from view, the organ became the visual centrepiece.

It was a concert well worth attending with a pick and mix of musical arrangements. The audience was spoiled for choice and left the Festival Hall wanting much more!

For more about events at the Southbank Centre see link: https://southbankcentre.co.uk/

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