Concert Review

Jeremy Filsell (piano and organ)/Michael Bundy (baritone) Hommage a Dupré. St John's Smith Square, 30 May 2000.


This was an interesting but unsatisfactory recital. Jeremy Filsell is a highly regarded organist, whom I have enjoyed several times in live recital and on CD. However, on this showing his prowess on piano is less impressive, though some of the difficulty may be attributed to the acoustic of St John's, which does not favour the piano. I found his pedalling excessive, and although it was creditable that he had memorised some very obscure music, possibly that detracted from listening acutely to the sounds as they were being made. Maybe there was no opportunity to test the effect in an run-through beforehand with a trusted listener?

The other problem was some of the music chosen. Dupré's early piano preludes Op 12 showed little or no individuality and his Op 11 song cycle (1911) is a student work which outstayed its welcome and showed little promise of the composer he became. There are some interesting piano effects, such as long quasi-glissando scale passages, but this account with Michael Bundy, who had some vocal difficulties, did not persuade that it is an unjustly neglected song cycle. Other music by Widor and Grunewald was likewise rather generalised in its effect and left little inclination to investigate further.

Dupré's organ music is another matter and Filsell is well on the way to completing his recording of the whole lot. In this recital Filsell included the delicate Angelus and the substantial Evocation, which is discussed more fully in my review of Vol. 8 of his recording marathon [Guild GMCD 7183].

Peter Grahame Woolf


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