An organ recital by Eric Sweeney is a joy anytime and last Sunday at Christ Church Cathedral was special as he included one of his own compositions, The Bright Seraphim (not inspired by Handel but the key of D major; known as the bright key).
Eric Sweeney is on tour, as it were, with a late night The Phantom Of The Opera success at the Eigse Carlow under his belt, as he played the organ for the showing of the 1925 silent film version of the Phantom and next weekend his work will feature at a Fishguard recital.
The Bright Seraphim has urgent traffic-like sounds that insist on being heard less as interruptions that might detract but more as keynotes to heighten the pace and rhythm. The bass passages showed great footwork on the video projection screen.
He was suffering from an eye infection and wore dark glasses with his cool beige suit, white shirt, classy tie. Shades of Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles as he boogied away to the eccentric Variations on America by Charles Ives. The variations are in fact on God Save Our King/Queen. The pins and barrels sound of the organ added much to a fun piece as fairground images merged into majestic pieces.
The Cesar Franck, Grand Piece Symphonique, was a five movement bravura flourish with much tempi stately passages, clever oboe, clarinet and strings effects, some horror music theses, a zippy Allegro and a fireworks of a finale that built up quietly into a triumphant toccato that slipped into an almost I-do-like-to-be-beside-the-seaside, before bursting into life with an attacking flourish. Then a short anti-climax, a breather, before the dramatic, frantic big organ finish.
Way to go Steve Sweeney…
Next Saturday, 21 June, the famous American organist, David Higgs, will give the inaugural recital of the newly restored Bevington Organ at St. Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny