From Royal Wedding to Ravenshead date

A RAVENSHEAD church is celebrating a royal wedding coup.

For the organist who played for the Royal Wedding service and a global TV audience of two billion people, gave a recital just a few days later to an audience of 200 at St Peter’s Parish Church.

The small church secured the appearance of the eminent musician thanks to his grandmother, who is a member of the the church.

Robert Quinney, organist at Westminster Abbey, is the grandson of Enid Atkinson had been asked to take part in the recital to mark the church’s installation of a new organ two years ago.

The concert date was before the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton was announced - but Robert still fulfilled his promise despite his hectic recent programme.

Robert introduced his programme to a capacity audience, including two pieces he had played at the Royal Wedding - a prelude by Vaughan Williams and the well-known toccata by Widor.

The only request in the recital was Elgar’s Nimrod Variation, asked for by his grandmother.

Mr Quinney said: “I chose the programme for a good structure and balance and to show off organ colour.

“I’m especially pleased to have been able to include the Elgar because I’ve recently recorded a disc of his music on the Abbey organ, and this is expected to be out soon.”

Asked about the contrast between the two occasions, he added: “It was wonderful that there was the largest audience ever for the Abbey organ.

“It’s also wonderful to play for a smaller audience who can see you. They are equally enjoyable.”

His audience in Ravenshead was held spellbound by the music and, thanks to the hi-tech projection system installed a few months ago, had the bonus of being able to see the performer’s hands and feet in action.

In addition to his daily work at Westminster Abbey, Robert maintains a busy freelance schedule as a soloist and ensemble player. He is also frequently heard performing with period ensembles such as The English Concert, The Sixteen, and The Cardinall’s Music.

His double CD The Grand Organ of Westminster Cathedral was Instrumental Disc of the Month in BBC Music, earned a 5-star review in the French journal Diapason, and was an Editor’s Choice in Gramophone.

As well as the new disc of Elgar organ music, he has just begun a series of Bach recordings with the Trio Sonatas, played on the organ of The Queen’s College, Oxford.