"I thought she'd give us an encore," grumbled the man in the next row at the end of the concert.
True, encores have become de rigueur at recitals and this one was part of Dame Gillian's farewell tour as she prepares to retire from the concert platform after 48-years. Even so, his was a churlish demand after the doyenne of the organ had given us nine pieces which provided us with a brief but brilliant conspectus of the instrument's repertoire for the last four hundred years. There can't have been many, if any, unused stops as the Symphony Hall organ was given a vigorous workout.
We began with Bach (of course) and his Fantasia in G major BWV 572 showed the organ's compass, for the melody starts on high - sounding like the clarino trumpet Bach was fond of - and snaking its way down to the pedals. For sheer grandeur Peeters' Toccata, Fugue and Hymn on Ave Maris Stella, from 1935, trumped even Bach with its thunderous peroration. Sandwiched between these, Weir's nimble playing of Sweelinck's sparkling Variations on Est-ce Mars? was delightful, while Franck's Chorale No 1 in E major was an oasis of repose.
Saint-Sans Prelude and Fugue in B major Op 99 No 2 saw Weir revelling on one of the composer's sumptuous melodies while the allegro vivace from Widor's fifth symphony was a virtuoso tour-de-force - what an encore the final movement would have made! Slonimsky and Mushel's colourful twentieth century toccatas (showy but fun) rounded off the concert nicely.