Glasgow University’s organist, Dr Kevin Bowyer, is one of world’s most outstanding virtuoso players on any instrument. He has a vast repertoire, including works of incredible difficulty which no one else can play, such as Sorabji’s wonderful second organ symphony, which he performed last year both in Glasgow and at the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall in Hamburg. While he has recorded the complete organ works of J S Bach and other composers, he is known especially as a champion of contemporary music.

Over several years he has organised a fabulous series of organ concerts at Glasgow University Memorial Chapel, featuring many first rate players as well as himself. The concerts, which are held on Wednesdays at 1.10pm or Fridays at 6pm, are free, funded by the University’s Ferguson Bequest. Currently he is giving a series of recitals of North American organ music, and last Friday as part of that series he performed three works in contrasting styles by contemporary composers Christopher Marshall and Timothy Tikker, and 20th century composer Morton Feldman.

The Marshall work is entitled Ataata, a double palindrome which in Samoa (where the composer spent three years) means to smile. It is a joyous, melodic work with tonal, atonal and contrapuntal elements and a reference to Brahms’ fourth symphony.

The Tikker work, entitled Sequentia: Dies Iræ, is based on a Gregorian chant sequence for the Requiem Mass. It consists of an Introduction, Passacaglia and Double Fugue. It uses scales created by the French composer Olivier Messiaen (known as “modes of limited transposition” because after a few transpositions they revert to the original key) and numerous contrapuntal devices, but technicalities aside, the work has a powerful and very moving dramatic effect.

Morton Feldman, a contemporary and friend of composers such as John Cage but also of American abstract expressionist painters including Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, wrote only one organ work, entitled “Principal Sound”. It is based on the soft and very pure sound of the organ stop known as the Principal, which Feldman loved. Its quiet, long-sustained notes and the spatial effects generated, were a magical reminder of the best of abstract expressionist painting.

There are more treats to come, including Philip Glass, in further eight recitals, which should not be missed.

Dr Mark Hughson