The 2010 Classic Mill Hill music festival kicked off at St Michael's Church on Sunday afternoon with an organ recital by Robin Kimber who is the Conductor of the local Pro Arte Choir.
In a thrilling programme he played a programme of superb English organ music sandwiched between Bach and Widor's famous toccatas. The concert for just £5 (which included a tea in Hartley Hall afterwards ) tempted out a very large crowd for the opening event.
Robin Kimber has an impressive CV with recital appearances at the major Cathedrals, Abbeys and concert halls of the UK. He did not disappoint. Opening with the Bach Toccata and Fugue he showed that he would play these pieces with a flourish and at a pace in line with the theme of toccata !
Two pleasant Preludes by Hershel were followed by the highlight of the afternoon which was Samuel Sebastian Wesley's Choral Song and Fugue which brought the sun streaming through the windows of St Michaels with this most essential English Cathedral classic . The very sweet S Wesley's Air and Gavotte - a much loved piece from the Old English Organ Music series was then delivered with great precision and sensitivity. The next two pieces were very interesting. Two movements of Whitlock's Plymouth Suite : Salix and Toccata were followed by the very modern rythmic Dance Suite by Ridout with its jarring harmonics accentuated by the warm acoustic of St Michael's.
The penultimate piece was the lovely Elegy by Thalben Ball : a moment of reflection that extended to Widor's Adagio before ending with his Toccata( from Symphony No 5)which literally shook the church with its brilliance and power.
Throughout Robin Kimber introduced each piece with a brief and crowd pleasing antidote and he was rewarded with a rapturous ovation at the end of the recital and some well deserved presents.
Dont miss the other concerts in this series at St Michael's this week. If the other concerts are even half as good they are must attend events.