Download a copy of the programme booklet (in PDF) at this link.
Organ Recital (National Museum Cardiff)
Thursday 1 September, 7.15-8
ROBERT COURT (CARDIFF UNIVERSITY ORGANIST)
Introduced by Rachel Cowgill (University of Huddersfield)
‘“Temple of Tone”: A 19th-century organ hiding inside a Robert Adam case at the National Museum of Wales’
Robert Court will briefly trace this unique organ’s development and plays music by representative Victorian organist/composers.
Inspired by Victorian organ-builder George Ashdown Audsley (1838-1925):
The Organ―grandest instrument the hand
Of man has placed in Music’s galaxy;
In which all Nature’s wondrous sounds are linked
In golden chains of countless harmonies.
Responsive to the touch of man’s weak hands
As if a giant’s fingers swept its keys
And called concordant voices from the depths,
The diapason of the storm-struck sea,
The thunder’s peal, the wind’s wild whistling wail,
The songs of swift-winged warblers in the air,
And the soft sighing of the ambient breeze
Temple of Tone art thou! The shrine supreme
Of Sound’s mysterious powers and richest gifts,
God-given thought alone could have inspired
The human mind to frame so grand a work;
Great Organ―Monarch of all Instruments!
Biographical details: Robert Court pursues a busy freelance career as a keyboard player. He plays the organ and harpsichord regularly with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and has played with many of this country’s leading orchestras. Performing engagements take him all over Britain and he has also played in France, Germany , Austria, the Czech Republic, Norway and the USA. He appears frequently on TV and Radio and has played on many CDs. One of the more unusual instruments Robert plays is the harmonium – in 2013 he featured as a soloist on the soundtrack to the film Y Syrcas, and in 2015 played on the soundtrack to S4C’s film of Under Milk Wood.
Robert is a graduate of University College, Cardiff where he won prizes for organ playing and academic achievement. He followed this with an M.A in Baroque Music and a period of study in Paris with the eminent French organist Marie-Claire Alain. He is Organist at St. Augustine’s Church in Penarth, and has been awarded the Archbishop of Wales’ Award for Services to Church Music. From 1998-2010 he was the director of Cantemus Chamber Choir Wales.
Teaching is an important part of Robert’s musical life – he is Organ Tutor and an Associate Lecturer at Cardiff University; in 2000 spent a period as Artist in Residence at Kansas State University; and in 2002 directed Norwegian vocal students in an innovative project linking Oslo, Trondheim and Tromso in a simultaneous performance as part of the Norwegian Ilios Festival. In 2008 he was appointed as the first holder of the post of Organist at Cardiff University.
In 1988 Robert co-founded Cardiff Organ Events – an organisation dedicated to promoting the organ through recitals by celebrity recitalists and other related activities. Cardiff Organ Events, which is unique in this country, is now responsible for organising most of the organ recitals that take place in the area (including those at St. David’s Hall, Cardiff and the National Museum of Wales) and has been a major force in securing the restoration of local historically valuable instruments.