CONCERT REVIEW: Afternoon of organ magic to make ‘The Old Wig’ smile

David Whittle, director of music at Leicester Grammar School, was the guest organist for Music at the Priory, Priory Church, Deeping St James.  Photo by Oliver Wilson.
David Whittle, director of music at Leicester Grammar School, was the guest organist for Music at the Priory, Priory Church, Deeping St James. Photo by Oliver Wilson.

David Whittle (organ), Music at the Priory, Priory Church, Deeping St James

Former Boston Stump and Peterborough Cathedral chorister David Whittle was in his element on Sunday afternoon, playing music by German classical legend Johann Sebastian Bach.

Work by the 18th century pioneer of baroque-era, nicknamed “The Old Wig” by one of his 12 children, was the subject of Music in the Priory recital at Priory Church, Deeping St James.

Eight separate organ pieces were performed with reverence by David, director of music at Leicester Grammar School, who has committed himself to a five-year plan of playing the complete organ works of Bach at the school.

The music teacher, now in year four of his plan, picked out “Kyrie, God Father eternally” as one of his favourites.

David, who studied music at Nottingham University, said: “Of all the pieces of Bach’s I’ve discovered, there’s something about this piece in the way that it builds.

Priory Church, Deeping St James
.  Photo by Tim Wilson.

Priory Church, Deeping St James . Photo by Tim Wilson.

“It’s one of those pieces that builds itself up and so you don’t have to do anything but get it right.

“Bach is getting more fascinating, the more I play works by him and it’s surprising that he didn’t seem to have many bad days, if at all.”

Another highlight was “Dearest Jesus, We Are Here”, David’s self-confessed “favourite piece” and “Out of the Depths Have I Cried Unto Thee”, described by David as “a most extraordinary piece in the sense that there’s all these extraordinary things going on”.

The recital also included Prelude and Fugue in G minor, “a fairly earlyish piece” according to David, and “Where Shall I Flee which the organist first learned at piano grade seven or eight “and I’ve always liked it ever since”.

Bach is getting more fascinating, the more I play works by him and it’s surprising that he didn’t seem to have many bad days, if at all

David Whittle, director of music at Leicester Grammar School

What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the Deepings.

Winston Brown