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Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Michael Kidd - the octogenarian teenager

It's a joy to spend time most Thursdays with Michael and Pat Kidd in Ashcott. Michael, for all his years and varied experience, is as enthusiastic as (the best type of) teenager.

He has had four books of his organ music published since the beginning of last year. I think that's amazing.

The first publication of this batch was a single piece, Fanfare for Freedom. He wrote it as a thanksgiving for the ending of the Falklands conflict, and for the safe return of his son who was involved in it. Last year was an important anniversary of the Falklands, so Michael thought people might like to have a celebratory piece available.

Then came two more volumes, the first two in A Portrait of Michael Kidd - and the third volume has just come out. Each volume contains five or six varied pieces.

They are all published by animus and are selling well.

Michael's musical style has been formed by his years of playing both in churches and in entertainment venues. He owned a succession of organs, notably a Hammond. So you can expect to find not only thoughtful pieces, but also pieces that would send a church congregation dancing out of the church doors. These lighter pieces have titles like Somerset Scherzo, Willow Waltz, Watch Your Step, and (a particular favourite of mine) Chaffinch.

Michael has let me make suggestions as we have transferred the music from manuscript to computer-printout. He hasn't accepted them all, by any means, but we have very polite and good-humoured arguments about them, and I think the end result is usually pretty good. I've also been allowed to make arrangements of some of the pieces for flute, violin or cello with piano. I hope some of these arrangements will be published, too. The tunes are too good to be hogged by organists!

Incidentally, when I showed two of my pieces of choral music to Michael, he returned the compliment and gave me his suggestions and criticisms, and what emerged was certainly an improvement on my original.

Michale has a website of his own, Michael Kidd dot org - we chose 'org' because it suggested 'organ.'

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