On February 20 at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, James O'Donnell, Westminster Abbey organist, is invited to give a concert celebrating philanthropist and CIOC friend Peter Partridge who passed away last October. This concert is taking place during our festival Frozen Pipes.
We caught up with him this morning over coffee to talk about London, organs and Peter's favorite organ pieces!
CIOC: Hi James! We can't wait to welcome you to Montreal...
This is my first time performing in Montreal (though not in Canada) - I am looking forward to it and to being able to dedicate my concert to Peter!
CIOC: Talk to us about Peter Partridge: how did you meet?
Over the years we became good friends. I met Peter Partridge at Westminster Abbey early in my time as Organist and Master of the Choristers. He was immensely proud of his connection with Westminster Abbey (he had been Assistant Organist in the early 60s) and was eager to support the Abbey’s music, culminating in 2017 in his gift of a new two-manual William Drake practice organ.
CIOC: Your program choice moved us.
It is a programme that would, I hope, have pleased him! (silence)
I’ve chosen to begin with a work with a direct personal connection to Peter – Sir William McKie’s famous transcription of William Walton’s Coronation march ‘Orb and Sceptre’. Sir William McKie was a great personal and professional mentor to Peter, who spoke of him often. The other works represent a wide range of organ repertory, culminating in Durufle’s magnificent Suite Op5 – one of Peter’s favourites.