KEVIN BOWYER/GLASGOW UNIVERSITY CHAPEL CHOIR *****
GLASGOW UNIVERSITY CHAPEL
GLASGOW University has spent just short of 500,000 rebuilding its chapel organ. The result was made public at a concert featuring newly appointed university organist Kevin Bowyer and the chapel choir under its new musical director James Grossmith.
In fact, this was an event revealing much more than just a rebuilt instrument. Over the past year, there has been a fundamental restructuring of music within the chapel. An operation that used to be run by one man is now under the direction of two. Grossmith and Bowyer proved that the new-found formula is a winner.
First, they produced a programme that was anything but routine. Bowyer's fondness for adventurous, contemporary repertoire was reflected in solo contributions that ranged from such modern conservatism as Francis Jackson's Toccata, Chorale and Fugue, to some extremely imaginative approaches by younger composers - Iain Matheson's obsessive Wondrous Machine and Peter McGarr's imaginative The Archaeology of Air.
In all of this - and in Bowyer's effortless accompaniments to choral works by Jackson, Walton, Giles Swayne and James Macmillan - the star was, undoubtedly, the remodelled organ. The character of the old stops has been rediscovered. Additional ones have added new flavours and a distinctive sheen. And to top it all, the chapel choir has developed a new polish of its own. Sunday felt like the start of a new era.