Organ Spectacular - Nosferatu at Shrewsbury Abbey
30 Sep 2021
by Cathy Block


Shrewsbury Abbey is to host an 'Organ Spectacular' Weekend with some exciting and unusual events to celebrate the renovation of its gigantic 1911 William Hill organ.

The tremendous power of the newly restored organ will reverberate through the Abbey as organist Nigel Pursey provides a spine-chilling musical accompaniment to the 1922 Silent German horror film Nosferatu this October 16.

Restored William Hill organ

The restored William Hill Organ

The weekend begins with a formal recital from James McVinnie on Friday, October 15 at 6.30 pm.

Thomas Trotter had been scheduled to play but has, unfortunately, hurt his arm and so the Abbey now welcomes one of his former students - the wonderfully talented James, who has just played at the BBC Proms to great acclaim.

James made his debut at London's Royal Festival Hall in 2014 and has collaborated with many leading figures in the music industry, including Philip Glass. He will play a formal opening recital with a tribute to organist Catherine Ennis, former president of the Royal College of Organists, who died last year.

"It promises to be an evening of contrasts showing off the colours and power of the renovated and completed organ," says Isla Hunwick, events manager for Shrewsbury Abbey.

"In the calm of the 1,000-year-old Abbey, we'll be reviving memories and the spirits of monks past. Starting at 6.30 pm, bass Mike Sheehan and organist Nigel Pursey will present a sequence of ancient plainchants alongside organ music written around those chants, dating from Tudor times to the present day. All the colours of the organ will be demonstrated in a reflective and atmospheric presentation.

"After a drinks interval the evening’s serene calm will be shattered as the lights dim and we present the iconic silent horror film Nosferatu, with live organ music performed on the Hill organ by Nigel Pursey. From Baby Shark to Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, using standard (but scary) organ repertoire, well-known colourful snippets and some improvisation, he will create organ electricity to enlighten the horror unfolding on our giant screen."

The evening is intended to appeal to all age groups - come if you dare! Nosferatu is rated PG, but parental guidance is advised as the film is very atmospheric.

The Nosferatu Organ Spectacular at Shrewsbury Abbey on October 16 begins with plainchants and organ music at 6.30 pm, followed by an interval with a Gindifferent pop-up bar and then the film screening main event at 7.45 pm. Tickets £10.

Tickets for the formal recital with James McVinnie on October 15, at 6.30 pm, cost £15.

Buy tickets here!

A Special Post Concert Set Menu is available on both evenings at the Peach Tree – booking essential – please mention Abbey Concert Set Menu when booking.

Shrewsbury Abbey
James McVinnie

Shrewsbury Abbey

James McVinnie