A farewell from our organ scholar

Dear Friends,

It is bittersweet to announce my farewell recital from St. Paul’s Cathedral. I have learned such a tremendous breadth of knowledge from Canon Green over the course of my tenure here and regret that I will not be able to continue to learn from him and work with the wonderful choirs here.

Having grow up in the Boy’s Choir, studying organ was a natural step and working to become the Cathedral Organ Scholar fit right in with my proper Anglican education. Music here is done in the fashion of the cathedrals of Britain and our own church is in fact a member of the Royal School of Church Music; this has allowed me to be a small part of a magnificent tradition of sacred music. After over a decade of creating music at St. Paul’s, it is difficult to bring myself to leave and I will sorely miss it when I think of all the fond memories.

I have been fortunate to study with Canon Green for this long. As he works with the boys’ or girls’ choirs, he subtly establishes the fundamentals of musicianship so that even at a young age his Choristers are able not only to read but also effectively interpret music. Having such a solid foundation from the choir, we were able to focus on more advanced interpretation early in my studies and on constant musical growth. He has taught me all of that extraordinarily well and I will be ever grateful to him for my experience here. But most significant is the way in which he inspires the passion for music in his students- that is what has pushed me into the field.

At Canon Green’s suggestion, I also took coaching with Robert Plimpton. Mr. Plimpton and I worked largely on interpretation and pedal technique. He has helped me better understand how precisely-controlled a rubato can be and how to make it exceedingly expressive. He has helped me develop finer layers of nuance in phrasing and articulation. But from him the most important thing I could learn was how an intense spirituality both stems from and feeds moving musical experience.

Before I leave to study with Nathan Laube at The Eastman School of Music, I will play one final recital on August 18th after Evensong (at approximately 5:45). This will feature works that I have played many times at the Cathedral and some that I have never performed before. Selections will include the overture to The Meistersingers of Nuremberg, Bach’s “Great” Prelude and Fugue in a minor BWV 543, Widor’s elegiac Andante Sostenuto from the Symphonie Gothique, Mulet’s Tu es Petra, and more great works of the organ repertoire.

Nicholas Halbert

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