From Bach to Britten: a musical journey with Anthony Halliday

World renowned: Organist Anthony Halliday has played for His Eminence Cardinal Hume of Westminster, Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth II. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric.

World renowned: Organist Anthony Halliday has played for His Eminence Cardinal Hume of Westminster, Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth II. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric.

The rich punctual beauty of the finale of Saint-Saens’s Symphony (No. 3) fills the Roman Catholic cathedral of St Patrick’s in Ballarat as Anthony Halliday warms his fingers, waiting for his organ-playing shoes to arrive.

Anthony Halliday plays Durufle's Toccata from Suite Op.5

Anthony Halliday plays Durufle's Toccata from Suite Op.5

Wait. There are organ-playing shoes? Surely not.

“Oh, absolutely,” says Mr Halliday.

“Organists need special shoes. They need to be narrow so you can strike two pedals at the same time.”

Anthony Halliday is a truly gifted artist, internationally recognised as a pianist, organist and composer.

Educated at The University of Melbourne, The Royal College of Music and The Royal College of Organists in London, Mr Halliday will be playing a Recital for Three Trumpets and Organ at the cathedral in this year’s Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields Festival.

Saint-Saens’s Symphony (No. 3)

The recital will feature works by Bach, Haydn, Durufle, Sdraulig, St Saens, Schein and Telemann.

Mr Halliday says the recital will take advantage of the magnificent acoustics of the bluestone building by placing the musicians around the interior.

“The three trumpets will be on the sanctuary at the front of the cathedral. One of the pieces, Benjamin Britten’s Fanfare for St Edmundsbury, was written to be played in the precincts of St Edmundsbury’s Cathedral, and each trumpet will be in a different place in the building,” said Mr Halliday.

Telemann's Concert for three trumpets

“The acoustics here are very lively and resonant, very good for organ and trumpet. I’m hoping that the effect will be something that reminds people of St Mark’s in Venice, where different groups of instrumentalists will play from different galleries.”

Mr Halliday says that while the great British composer didn’t write a great deal for the organ, the work he did write was very good.

“One of the very significant things about Britten is that he wrote for young people. Operas like The Golden Vanity – a set of very imaginative pieces for children who don’t have a lot of musical education.”

The organ in St Patrick’s was installed in the 1930s. It is fed air by hundreds of metres of lead tubes winding through and around the pipes and boxes which produce its magnificent sound.

A Recital for Three Trumpets and Organ will be performed on Sunday January 15 at 8pm at St Patrick's Cathedral, Ballarat. Tickets for the festival are available from Tuesday at Ballarat Town Hall.

Information about the complete program and tickets are available online by going to the website, click the booking link.