GMC’s tribute to Notre Dame

GILLINGHAM Methodist Church’s organist Gordon Emery, organiser of the popular Music at GMC concert series, had already planned a concert of music associated with Notre Dame Cathedral when fire broke out on the roof of the Parisian landmark.

Now he, and guest organist David Briggs, are specially determined that  the concert, on Friday 21st June, will be a celebration of the great Gothic edifice.

The evening, which will be the biggest event of Music at GMC’s year, welcomes back  old friend and maestro David Briggs for a choral and organ concert celebrating the marvellous music that has been associated with the cathedral. The concert begins with an organ recital featuring some of the best-loved French organ music, climaxing with Vierne’s Messe Solen­nelle sung by the Farrant Singers.

David Briggs has an extensive repertoire spanning five centuries, and he is known across the globe for his brilliant organ transcriptions of symphonic music by composers such as Mahler, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Bruckner, Ravel, and Bach.

Fascinated by the art of improvisation since he was a child, David also frequently performs improvisations to silent films including Phan­tom of the Opera, Nosferatu, The Hunch­back of Notre-Dame, and Jeanne d’Arc, Metropolis, as well as  Charlie Chaplin films.

At the age of 17, David obtained his FRCO (Fellow of the Royal College of Organists) diploma, winning all the prizes and the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. From 1981-84 he was the Organ Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, during which time he studied organ with Jean Langlais in Paris. He was the first British winner of the Tournemire Prize at the St Albans International Improv­i­sation Competition, and also won the first prize in the International Improvisation Competition at Paisley.

Subsequently David held positions at Hereford, Truro and Gloucester Cathedrals. He was artist-in-residence at St James Cathedral, Toronto and  is currently artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York.

The Farrant Singers are the longest-established chamber choir in Salisbury, with close links to the medieval city,  surrounding Wiltshire villages and to Salisbury Cathedral, where the choir occasionally sings the services in place of the Cathedral Choir.

For more details of the Gillingham concert, email or telephone 07817 379006