D'Arcy Trinkwon's Worth Abbey concert explores a spiritual struggle

Worth Abbey organist D'Arcy Trinkwon offers Visions of the Apocalypse: A Concert for Lent in Worth Abbey on Sunday, March 12 (7.30pm).

D'Arcy Trinkwon
D'Arcy Trinkwon

His programme will feature: Bach – Fantasia & Fugue in C minor, BWV537; Langlais – Cinq Méditations sur l’Apocalypse, op.157: No.5 – La Cinquième trompette; Franck – Prière, Op.20; Alain – Trois danses; Franck – Choral No. 3 in A minor.

All welcome; free admission with retiring collection.

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As D’Arcy explains, it will add up to a programme reflecting the spiritual struggle of life and death, good and evil, and the ultimate transcendence of faith, good and belief.

“Alongside Bach, as ever the arbiter of spiritual levels beyond words, are two dramatic French works: Langlais’ vivid depiction of the story of The Fifth Trumpet (Book of Revelations) that speaks of the star falling from the skies into darkness of the earth, the scourging plague of locusts and the ferocious calamities that follow during the Apocalypse. Alain’s Trois Danses expresses the struggling conflict of life, mourning and the dance of joy.

“The programme also includes two of the beautiful works of Franck: the searingly-intense Prière and his third, final Choral – a work whose exploration of profound feeling builds to a magnificent and optimistic end.”

As D’Arcy says, it is a programme entirely different to the programme he puts together for his monthly concerts at the University of Sussex where he is the university organist (45 Minutes of Music, The Meeting House, University of Sussex, Brighton, 12 noon, March 29; April 26; and May 31).

“This one is obviously in the hallowed grounds of Worth for the Lent season and the build-up to Easter. The programme is much more in a spiritual vein, more intense. The programme has to be something that reflects the spiritual meaning of Lent, but that doesn’t mean you have to be religious to understand the music or to be moved by it.

“Music has a power to move that perhaps words have differently. People can be very deeply affected by music, and with the programme you have to take people on a journey. You take them up and you take them down. There has to be a sense of purpose. It is not just baleful and mournful music because it is Lent and Easter. You have to give them a sense of uplift.”

But just as much as the programme has to be appropriate to the spirituality of the occasion, so too does it have to be appropriate to the venue – and also the particular instrument: “It is an enormous space. It is one of the biggest covered spaces in Sussex, someone told me. You can listen to music there and you can be religious there, but there is always such a sense of space and freedom for people. And the organ there has got such an enormous dynamic range of colour, that you just wouldn’t find in many other places. You need to play pieces that are appropriate for such a big instrument, big in terms of colour and dynamic shading. It is very important to play music that is right for the organ and the building.”

Worth Abbey is in Paddockhurst Road, Turners Hill.

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