Compositions from the Baroque to Romantic periods provided an ideal opportunity for soloist Joseph Nolan to demonstrate the organ of St George’s Cathedral in all its glory, with video screens enhancing the visual effect.

Joseph Nolan at the curtain call of his organ recital. Photograph © Greg Hocking

The program opened with the Bach Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, composed by Bach in his early twenties. Originally a stately Spanish dance form, the passacaglia of this work lends itself to adaptation and transcription. The tradition of playing the Bach keyboard works throughout in organo pleno(full organ) was widely followed during the composer’s lifetime. However, today’s organists usually favour a wider range of colours, and these contrasting timbres were brought to life in a splendid performance by Nolan.

Modulated dynamics of the work were shaded impressively. Marginal rubatiin the presentation of the main theme were perhaps questionable, but the clarity of the subject was never in doubt. The majestic main theme dominated, before developing into clearly executed semiquavers.   

The Julius Reubke Sonata, long regarded as one of the finest works for...