RACHEL LAURIN: April 2000
Due to the tragic circumstance of Joyce Jones' enforced withdrawal from the organ recital at Holy Rosary Cathedral for the third concert in this series, a brilliant Canadian organist and composer from Montreal, Rachel Laurin, played in her stead.
Miss Laurin opened with Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 903, composed by J.S.Bach (1685- 1750). This was followed by works composed by the recitalist: Organ Sonata, Op.7 (1985) Intermezzo, and three movements from Quatre pelerinages en Lorraine, Op.30 (1985) : I Cathedral de Metz, Procession (sur Gloria XV), II Sanctuaire Notre-Dame- de -Sion Invocations (sur les Litanies de Lorette) and III Basilique de Domremy, Fileuse (sur L'Alleluia de la fete de Saint Michael, Archangel).
The first of the pelerinages, was a gloriously triumphant piece ending with a fine crescendo. The second, Invocations, (sur les Litanies de Lorette) opened softly and tranquilly, with two voices answering throughout. The third piece had the rhythm and motif of the spinners of the town underlying a gently flowing melody. Beginning softly, the piece grew in intensity and sound and fell back to end in tranquility.
The first half of the programme ended with Sonata No.5, Final, by Raymond Daveluy (b.1926), again, a triumphantly glorious organ solo. Raymond Daveluy was Miss Laurin's organ professor at the Montreal Music Conservatory, with whom she also studied composition and improvisation.
Two Symphonies by Louis Vierne (1870 - 1937) comprised the beginning of the second part of the concert. Symphony No.2, Op.20 ,Scherzo, and a slow and melodious Cantabile, was followed by Symphony No.6, Op.59., Scherzo & Final. The Scherzo was a witty light-hearted dialogue in syncopated rhythm, while the Final was full throated, brassy and full of running passages at a breathlessly fast pace. A magnificent display of technique and musicianship.
The last item on the programme, Improvisation on given themes, was a delightful and very accomplished set of variations. Three short phrases were presented to the organist. These three themes were interwoven, played in canon, given a primary or an accompanying place in a huge variety of musical forms in various tempi and mood. An incredible improvisational performance which had to be seen and heard to be believed. Quite rightly, the audience spontaneously rose to its collective feet in appreciation of this outstanding artist. A short encore, composed by Rachel Laurin , received with another standing ovation, concluded an amazing evening.