ORGAN CONCERTO, Op 49
Written in three short movements which run without a break, this concerto is scored for two oboes, two horns, timpani and strings. As in many of my works, the first movement begins with a slow introduction in which some of the important thematic material for the rest of the work is exposed. The main part of the movement is an agitated allegro in which the florid organ writing is contrasted with more lyrical and generally more static writing for the rest of the orchestra. A shortened repetition of the introduction concludes the movement. The slow movement is immensely simple in design; a long chordal passage for strings of ever- increasing density and volume accompanies a highly ornamented single-line melody on the organ. At its climax, the chordal element is repeated in quicker notes by the horns and oboes, and finally the first section is repeated, but now the organ has the slow-moving chords and the strings the decorative melody. The finale is a toccata in rondo form, full of high spirits, and with the soloist and full orchestra sharing the material more closely than in either of the previous movements.
The Organ Concerto was commissioned by the St Albans International Organ Festival with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain.
The first performance was given on 5 July 1979 in the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban as part of the Tenth International Organ Festival. Allan Wicks was the soloist with the Orchestra of St John's Smith Square conducted by John Lubbock.