Educated at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he was Organ Scholar, Iain Farrington (born 1977) is among the leading organist-composers of his generation. Celebration
and Stride Dance
are respectively the first and third numbers of Fiesta!
, a seven-movement suite for organ. Celebration
, written in 2002 to mark Christopher Herrick’s sixtieth birthday, is a lively, toccata-like work drawing inspiration from the modern French school of organ composition and displaying a dazzling rhythmic style and a remarkably rich harmonic palette. The key of C major, which is suggested at various points, is thrillingly confirmed by the final pedal notes and the added-sixth chord which brings the work to its close. Whoever is dancing in Stride Dance
is a sinister, feral creature slinking about in the gloomy shadows of F minor. The right hand’s syncopated chords are the chief protagonist here, the pedals and left hand providing a hesitant, off-beat accompaniment. The music increases in confidence and intensity, the opening F minor figure appearing in a number of major-key guises; but with that key the work disturbingly ends, the final sound comprising the basic ingredients of a tonic chord but with the sharpened fourth, sixth and seventh degrees added for good measure.
from notes by Relf Clark © 2004