From Russia with Love : David Titterington in Moscow
The Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory should need no introduction. Regarded as one of Russia’s most important concert venues, the sense of history is overwhelming as you ascend the grand staircase leading to the Hall.
On 10 February, David Titterington was invited to perform on the recently refurbished organ of the Great Hall. There was a great sense of anticipation as the audience gathered beforehand watched over by the venerable marble busts of the greats that came before. Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Rostropovich and other illustrious Russian musicians are all represented in this ornate space.
The concert hall decorated with vast paintings of many of the great composers seats over 1500 people and for this performance it was completely sold out. The programme of J.S.Bach and other influences under the general title ‘The Universe of Bach’ clearly captivated the audience. To hear such a world-class musician performing on such an extraordinary instrument was an experience to be cherished.
The organ console faces the audience so unusually we were unable to see the hands and feet at work. Also hidden from view were the two assistants, both students at the Conservatory, who helped with the stops.
At the end of the performance, it was wonderful to hear such rapturous applause reverberating around the magnificent acoustic of the Hall.
The audience clearly loved it.
It is interesting to reflect that despite the strained relations between Britain and Russia at times, here was a cultural exchange in action between our two countries.
As one person commented as we stepped backstage to greet David Titterington, “это прекрасно (it is wonderful) ничто так не сближает народы, как музыка” (nothing brings people closer together than music…)
David Titterington has just been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of King’s College, London.
He is also Artistic Director of the International Organ Festival at St Albans