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The Dutch Church, Austin Friars

David Titterington is a major figure in the organ world. I worked with him in recent years on a competition piece for the St Albans International Organ Festival, which he has directed since 2007, and he is also Head of Organ at the RAM. He tours worldwide and teaches internationally. How on earth he has also found the time to be the organist of London's Dutch Church for 35 years I have no idea. It seemed well worth holding a special organ recital to celebrate this extraordinary achievement.


I don't know who I was expecting to be at a 5.30pm Saturday recital in the depths of the City, but the church, not a small one, was packed. Helpful ushers were repurposing items of church furniture as extra seats, before David eventually got going on his extensive, partly Dutch-themed programme. I am not the person to ask about organ building, but under David's hands - and feet - the range of sounds and styles from this 2-manual organ (by Willem van Leeuwen 1954) surprised me, from cool North German to borderline-weird French.


The recital was also a fundraiser for the St Albans Festival. Having visited a few times, I know how much time, hospitality and actual money local residents donate to this cherished local event - it is also a major international occasion to which many organists travel worldwide.  I was struck by a sentence in the appeal: "The Festival does not qualify for national funding, and corporate sponsorship has all but disappeared". What a burden our festivals are carrying, even the most locally rooted yet world renowned of them.


PICTURED - dedication stone at the Dutch Church (1950) after the Church (founded in 1550 through a Protestant charter with King Edward VI) had been destroyed by bombing in 1940. HRH Princess Irene (still alive) must have been 10 years old when she laid the first stone of the reconstructed church.





1 Comment

Marko Petkovic
Marko Petkovic
3 days ago

Love your posts, Judith; keep them coming!







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