17th September 2022

[Paul at Hull City Hall, 14th September 2022]

Hull City Hall has a gigantic organ, built by Forster & Andrews, rebuilt after war damage by the John Compton Organ Company, with an overhaul and console modernisation by Rushworth & Dreaper. It was my privilege to perform there on 14th September – my fifth appearance there over the years. What made it special and poignant was the timing – only a few days after the death of Her Majesty the Queen. I changed my programme to include Solemn Melody, Nimrod and The Angel’s Farewell from Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius. This latter piece seemed to take on a special intensity as I played it as slowly and reverently as I dared, letting the beautiful softer colours of the organ fold one into another and breathe out into the spacious acoustic. There was complete hush at the end, applause not beginning for quite a while. Afterwards, members of the audience told me how much it had affected them. What a privilege we musicians have, that in our music making we can reach so deeply into the hearts of listeners.