in The Organ Autumn 2013 No365

« Cindy Castillo at Farnborough Abbey »

The current series of organ recitals on the 1905 Mutin organ (once thought to have been by Cavaillé-Coll) in Farnborough includes four recitals by organists from the continent.  One such, making her first appearance in the UK, was the Belgian musician Cindy Castillo, organist at the vast Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Brussels, teacher of organ at the Music Academy of Woluwé-Saint-Lambert in Brussels and producer and presenter of Le rendez-vous des musiciens on musiq3, the Belgium French-speaking classical radio station.  She opened her programme of music by Belgian composers with the Trois Pièces (Fantasia, Cantabile, Pièce Héroïque) by César Frank, a composer born just eight years too early to be truly Belgium.  This was one of the finest performances of these works that I have ever heard.  Cindy Castillo’s sense of musical structure, time and space, combined with her extraordinary control of the rather complex little organ, was absolutely magical.  Although very well deserved, I would have preferred to have heard all three pieces played without intervening applause. But this applause did allow Cindy to skip jovially out from behind the altar to take a bow.  This was just one example of her energetic, informal and friendly approach, something also evidenced by her attractively relaxed and informal talk before her recital.  She won the audience over before she played a note – such a refreshing change to the vast majority of organ recitals.  She continued her recital by alternating two pieces by Joseph Jongen (his impressionistic Chant de mai and bustling Toccata) with works by the impressive contemporary Belgian composer Benoît Mernier – his Invention II and Toccata, the later immediately followed by Jongen’s Toccata – an interesting contrast.  It was a joy to hear such an enthusiastic and talented musician. You can hear Cindy playing Mernier’s Toccata athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TeCttBs8s4. Organ information is at http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N08452. »

Andrew Benson-Wilson


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