I had a fabulous trip to Bradford to watch Chris play a recital at Bradford Cathedral. We headed up on Tuesday and after we checked into our hotel, we went straight to the Cathedral to meet him. Tuesday evening was all about setting up the organ, checking sounds, stops and trying it out. I was so lucky that throughout the three hours we were locked in to the Cathedral, Chris chatted to me about what he was doing and why. We discussed which sounds were better and why, we ran through some page turning (my job for the following day) and various areas of the pieces. I learned so much from the experience and am so grateful to Chris for allowing me to have such an opportunity during his valuable practice time.
Bradford Cathedral used to be a parish church but the building is almost two parts, yet so sympathetically joined. The original building is the bell tower and nave. The modern part is the chancel and high altar area, designed by the same architect as Guildford Cathedral. I could really see similarities, including the arches and location of the organ.
The following day when I met Chris he allowed me some time on the organ. It was noticed even more something we had discussed the previous evening, because the pipes are opposite the organ console the sound is very different to what is heard in the nave. I was delighted to meet Grace, who I have got to know through Twitter. Chris invited her to the organ loft with us while he rehearsed. It’s always good to meet another girl organist of my age!
The recital flew by and was tremendous. Some may think it strange, but I really enjoy being in the organ loft and page turning, I love following the music, I think it brings it to life even more. Bradford Cathedral have regular recital series and offer a buffet lunch before hand. I don’t know whether it is because of the lunch or because of the music, but they have a regular audience of around 100 and this recital was no exception.
When we left Bradford we dashed to Halifax to see the Minster which was another glorious building and organ.
As much as I adore old buildings however, the following day we ‘popped’ over to Liverpool to meet James Luxton at the Metropolitan Cathedral. The building is stunning. Sadly, the sun wasn’t shining to show off the stained glass to the full, but it didn’t matter. No matter where you are in the building there is something to look at. The organ pipes are directly behind the altar and are beautifully decorative and produce a glorious sound especially with the fabulous acoustic of the building. James was so generous with his time and allowed me to play the organ. He introduced me to Malorie who is about to start learning the organ, another girl of my age!
After playing for a while and hearing the many sounds of the organ we had a quick tour of the crypt and music school. It is all so impressive. James explained the crypt was part of the original build, but post war there was no money or materials to complete the build so the original design (a mix of St Paul’s and the Vatican) was not feasible and the ‘Wigwam’ was built instead. The space the building offers to the music department (as they take over more and more) is incredible, I have never seen such a well ordered or large collection of choral music!
Sadly we only had time to pop to the C of E Cathedral. It was super to hear the Lady Chapel organ being played (although no one knew who was playing!) but sadly this time I was unable to see or play the main organ. I shall just have to visit again!