Maxine Thévenot at Galloway U. Methodist Church, September
It happens from time to time that when I hear an organ I am familiar with
played by someone I have not heard before, I am pleasantly surprised by
exciting new sounds. So it was with Maxine Thévenot and the Galloway
organ, especially in the first three pieces: "Ballo del Grandua" (SwWV 319)
by Sweelinck (1562-1621) with varied registrations appropriate to the
period; "Praeludium, Fuge und Ciacona" (BuxWV 137) by Buxtehude (1637-1707),
opened with a pedal solo that included a light 16' reed sound (coupled
from the Great Trumpet); and finally, from Jean-Adam Guilan
(1680-1739), "Recit de tierce en taille" and "Basse de trompette",
from his "Suite de deuxième ton", again with appropriate registration and
slight variations in tempo to provide accents.
Next was Mendelssohn's Sonata V Op 65: The "Adagio", on full flues that
included a small 16' sound on the manuals; the "Andante con moto", and
the "Allegro", wih a big ending that included reeds.
In great contrast, from Frank Bridges' "Three Pieces for Organ" (H.63),
number II began very softly on the strings, increased gradually to
ff and then at its close was barely audible.
From Denis Bédard (b.1950),"Variations on Ubi Caritas" followed; the
different sections were connected as if they were part of a continuous
fantasia; the swellboxes were used extensively to enhance expression.
This was an experience packed with imagination, both from the composer
as well as from the organist. From "Five Liturgical Inventions", by
Victor Togni (1935-1965), nos. III - V were then played. "Adoro te
devote" was basically a canon, "Laudate dominum" was light and fast,
and "Alleluia" was fanfare-like, with interspersed softer passages.
In contrast, from McNeil Robinson (1943-2015), a choral prelude on
Llanfair was next and provided a brief and pleasant respite before
Franck's "Pièce Hèroïque" (from his Trois pieces pour grand orgue).
Here the registration, though traditional, was still varied and used
the swellboxes effectively.
Overall Thévenot played an exciting and imaginative recital which
held my attention from start to finish. I would be happy to hear her
- Glenn A. Gentry