PHI CD 162: Selections from EMI Great Cathedral Organ Series Volume Three Recorded 1964-1968
David Lepine Coventry Cathedral: J.S. Bach: Chorale Preludes on In Dulci Jublio BWV. 729 & BWV. 608.
Allan Wicks Canterbury Cathedral: Alan Ridout: The Seven Last Words (1965).
Conrad Eden Durham Cathedral: Sigfrid Karg-Elert: Homage to Handel Opus 75 (1914).
Arthur Milner: Prelude (1965). William Harris: Reverie from Four Short Pieces .
Arnold Schoenberg: Variations on a Recitative Opus 40 (1940).
Lionel Dakers Exeter Cathedral: Harold Darke: A Fantasy Opus 39.
Douglas Guest Westminster Abbey, London: Herbert Howells: Preludio 'Sine Nomine', No.1 of Six Short Pieces .
Herrick Bunney St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh: Herbert Howells: Psalm Prelude No.2, Set 2 (1939).
Robert Joyce Llandaff Cathedral: Ralph Vaughan-Williams: Hyfrydol from Three Preludes on Welsh Hymn Tunes (1920).
David Foster Lepine was born in December 1928 at Sidcup, Kent. He was educated at the King's School Canterbury, the Royal School of Church Music and at St. Chad's College, Durham. In 1953 he was appointed Director of Music at Dean Close School in Cheltenham where he remained until 1961. In September of that year, he was appointed the first organist of the new cathedral of Coventry in order to prepare the music for the service of consecration (also recorded and issued by E.M.I.) which took place in May 1962. He is remembered as a demanding but amiable teacher but especially as a choir trainer whose ideas produced tonal qualities unlike those usually heard in English cathedrals at that time (or since) and usually referred to as "continental tone". He occupied his position at the cathedral and as Director of the St. Michael's Singers with distinction until March 1972 when he died suddenly aged only 44 whilst on holiday at Buckland, Norfolk, during a visit to the parish church there. He was a man whose meticulousness in all aspects of his work held him high in the respect, admiration and affection of all who came under his care.
Edward Allan Wicks was born at Harden, Yorkshire in 1923. He was educated at St. John's School Leatherhead and at Christ Church Oxford where he was the Organ scholar 1941-2 and 1945 - 1947 with a three year intervention due to war service. In 1947 he became Assistant Organist of York Minster under Francis Jackson, where he remained until his appointment in 1954 as Organist and Master of the Choristers at Manchester Cathedral. In 1961 Dr. Wicks was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Canterbury Cathedral where he served for 27 years until his retirement in 1988. His work at the Cathedral during that time not only established a distinguished and distinctive style of choir training, but also as a tireless advocate and champion of contemporary British organ music which corpus would be considerably poorer had it not been for the many works commissioned by him in the 1960's. The Lambeth degree of D.Mus was conferred upon Dr. Wicks and in 1988 he was created C.B.E. He lives in retirement near Canterbury.
Conrad William Eden was born in 1905 in Wiltshire. He was a chorister at Wells Cathedral under Dr. Thomas H. Davis moving thence to Rugby School, the Royal College of Music and to St. John's College Oxford where he graduated B.Mus. He then returned to Wells becoming assistant organist to Dr. Davis in 1927 and succeeded him as Organist and Master of the Choristers in 1933. In 1936 Eden succeeded Dr. John Dykes Bower as Organist and Master of the Choristers of Durham Cathedral, a position he held with great distinction for thirty eight years until 1974. He is remembered, in addition to his work with the choir, as a recitalist with a staggeringly comprehensive repertoire, championing many unknown and unplayed works from this country and abroad and commissioning works from contemporary composers. After retiral from cathedral duty, Dr. Eden moved to Sherborne, Dorset where he died in 1995. His kindly generous nature, often fiery personality and innate musicality made him an interesting man to know and to hear. Sadly he composed no organ music although his Service in G Major gets an occasional airing. He made only three commercial organ recordings, all at Durham Cathedral.
Lionel Frederick Dakers was born in 1924 at Rochester, Kent and was educated at the Cathedral School there studying under Harold Aubry Bennett, the Cathedral Organist and later with Sir Edward Bairstow of York Minster. Important positions held prior to his appointment to Exeter Cathedral include Cairo Cathedral 1945 - 47, Finchley Parish Church 1948 - 50, Assistant, St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle 1950 - 54 and assistant Music Master of Eton College 1952 - 54, Organist of Ripon Cathedral 1954 - 57, then of Exeter Cathedral until 1972. He was also Lecturer in music of St. Luke's College Exeter from 1958 - 70. His has been a most distinguished and industrious service to English Church Music, occupying the directorship of the Royal School of Church Music from 1973 - 89. Dr. Dakers is the author of many acclaimed books on the subject of Hymnody and Church music in general, written during the difficult times of the 1970's and has also composed settings for Morning and Evening use in addition to anthems and much other church music.
Douglas Albert Guest was born in May 1916 in Mortomley, near Sheffield, Yorkshire and was educated at Reading School and the Royal College of Music before taking up the Organ Scholarship at King's College Cambridge from 1935 - 39, where he was also the 'John Stewart of Rannoch' Scholar in Sacred Music. He served as Major in the Royal Artillery during the war years and was mentioned in despatches during 1944. In 1945 he became Director of Music at Uppingham School where he remained until 1950 when he was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers of Salisbury Cathedral, a position he held with other teaching and musical appointments. In 1957 Douglas Guest moved to the Cathedral of Worcester, taking up other appointments there in addition to his work at the Cathedral. In 1961 he moved to Westminster Abbey where he was to remain until 1981. During his time at the Abbey, he was also a Professor of Music at the Royal College of Music in addition to duties as examiner and council member of the Royal College of Organists and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. He held the degrees of M.A. from both Oxford and Cambridge in addition to B.Mus and the Lambeth degree of D.Mus. In 1975 he was created 'Commander of the Victorian Order'. In 1981 Dr. Guest retired from Westminster Abbey and accepted the title of 'Organist Emeritus'. Not surprisingly after having led such a full professional life, Dr. Guest found time to publish only one organ piece and made only one solo organ recording from which these extracts are taken. He died in 1996.
Herrick Bunney was born in Surrey and educated at University College School, Hampstead, and at the Royal College of Music (1932-1939). He studied piano with Angus Morrison and Herbert Fryer and the organ with Sir Walter Alcock. Amongst other awards he won the Dannreuther Prize for a performance of the Rachmaninov Third Piano Concerto under Sir Malcolm Sargent. He became Organist of All Souls Langham Place London from 1938 - 40 and then from 1940-1946 he served in the Royal Signals, first as an Adjutant and later Major. Upon demobilisation in 1946 he was appointed Organist and Master of Music of St. Giles Cathedral Edinburgh. The same year he was appointed Organist to the University of Edinburgh, a post he held until his retirement in 1982. From 1950-70 he taught piano, organ and musicianship at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and was made an honorary fellow of the Academy in 1986. From 1967-76 he was also Professor of Organ at the Royal College of Music in London. He was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order in 1964, a Lieutenant in 1984, and, in he 1996 New Years honours, a Commander. He died in December 1998.
Robert Henry Joyce was born in Tynemouth, Northumberland in October 1927. He was educated at Tynemouth High School and between 1944 and 1946 at the Royal College of Music where he was a pupil of Harold Darke and William Harris. In 1946 he went up to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, studying with Boris Ord and graduating B.Mus in 1949, and later M.A. In 1950 he was appointed organist of St. Matthew's Northampton, a position held concurrently with those of conductor of the Northampton Bach Choir and the Northampton Symphony Orchestra. In 1958, Robert Joyce was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers of Llandaff Cathedral and conductor of the Cathedral Choral Society in which capacities he has premiered several important works, particularly from Welsh composers such as William Mathias, Daniel Jones and Alun Hoddinott. He retired from Cathedral life in 1973 in order to concentrate on lecturing and teaching at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff where he became Senior Lecturer. He made only two solo L.P. organ recordings, the other (Delyse recording) consisting of a notable early performance of the Guilmant First Symphonie.
This instrument was completed in May 1962 for the new Cathedral of Coventry by Messrs Harrison & Harrison of Durham. It was an instrument brisk in construction but long in gestation and involved much discussion by many as to its final form. In many ways, it was a pioneering instrument and certainly exceeds the brief that it should be an instrument upon which can be played the whole range of organ repertoire convincingly and yet do service in its traditional role in the accompaniment of English church music. The instrument comprises seventy three speaking stops plus couplers over four manual divisions and pedals, the pipework of which is displayed at differing heights on the north and south sides of the cathedral facing the nave. It must be explained at this point, that the cathedral is built, unusually, on a north / south axis rather than the usual east / west axis, thus, when facing the altar, the north division is (ecclesiastically) on the left. The organ is placed against solid stone walls and speaks with unrestrained magnificence and clarity into the building.
This instrument was built in 1886 by 'Father' Henry Willis incorporating several new mechanical innovations in both action and piston control such as were developed and used in later instruments as at Hereford Cathedral (1892). The organ was enlarged and altered further in 1905 and 1912, but it was not until 1939 that a major rebuild was planned. Due to damage to the Willis factory and to the cathedral by enemy action, this work was not completed until 1948. In 1968 a further rebuild took place, and with only some minor tonal modifications since, this is the instrument which can be heard on this recording. It was, at this time, an instrument of 98 stops, 68 of which were speaking stops and played from a four manual console situated on the screen. (The organ bench also had a backrest!). The pipework is hidden from view being situated in the south choir triforium, but this, in no way diminishes the magnificent sound it produces, especially when heard from its screen console. Since this recording was made, the organ has, once again, been rebuilt and a new nave division added and the whole furnished with a new three manual console and bench (without backrest!). Thankfully, despite the loss of some solo stops, the organ still retains its magnificence and character today.
This great instrument had at its core a Father Willis instrument built in 1877 although a total rebuild in 1904/5 by Harrison & Harrison effectively produced a new instrument both in concept and in voice. Further work by the same builder in 1935 culminated in an instrument of some seventy seven speaking stops as heard on this recording. It is an exceptionally rich scheme, the clarity of the principal choruswork, the prompt sonority of the open woods, the wealth of beautiful solo stops, the family of string stops complete from 32' to string mixture with tierce, and that the character of stops of similar names on different divisions are not merely scaled versions of one another with the same timbre. Remarkable too that only four years after this recording was made, the instrument was enriched further by the addition of yet more stops including an additional 32' reed and a controversial new positive division, the whole controlled by Dr. Eden's peculiar (but short lived) triadic piston system. This most English of instruments surely produces a sound which is unique in our cathedrals.
The organ of Exeter Cathedral was originally built by 'Father Willis' in 1859 and again by him in 1888 - 91. It was rebuilt along conservative lines in 1933 by Messrs Harrison & Harrison, under the supervision of Dr. (later Sir) Thomas Armstrong, the cathedral organist at the time. It was in this condition, just prior to another major rebuilding by the same firm in 1965, that this recording was made. At that time, it consisted of fifty six speaking stops, plus couplers, playable from a four manual console, the pipework being housed in a priceless carved wooden case of 1665 by John Loosemore which is situated on the choir screen.
The organ of Westminster Abbey was built by the firm of Harrison & Harrison of Durham in 1937 and first used at the Coronation of His Majesty, King George VI on the 12th of May of that year. The specification was jointly drawn up by Sir Walter Alcock, Sir Edward Bairstow, Dr. (later Sir) Ernest Bullock, (then organist of the Abbey) and Dr. (later Sir) Sydney Nicholson, in consultation with the organ builders. A very few stops from earlier instruments were incorporated, including two on the choir by 'Father Smith', but the organ was largely of completely new build. The old Echo organ was not reconnected as part of the scheme. It was, at the time of this recording, an instrument of 84 speaking stops and many couplers and other accessories all playable from a four manual console situated on the screen between two matching organ cases by Pearson, which are lavishly decorated in gold and other colours. The organ has since been enlarged and a new five manual console installed.
St. Giles Cathedral Edinburgh
The instrument heard here was built in 1940 by the firm of Henry Willis and company and was an instrument of seventy five speaking stops and thirty six couplers playable from a console of four manuals and pedals. Despite its comprehensive specification and regular maintenance, after a life of a little over fifty years, it was completely replaced by a magnificent new organ built by Rieger Orgelbau of Schwarzach, Austria. At the insistence of the then Cathedral Organist, Herrick Bunney, the full length 32' fundamental bass pipes from the pedal organ of the old instrument were revoiced and used in the new instrument, a sonority often missing from even the finest of continental organs.
The organ of Llandaff Cathedral has not enjoyed such a happy past and it is conjectural whether it should have been included in a series of 'Great Cathedral Organs'. The original organ of 1861 by Gray & Davison was sold around the turn of the century to the Parish church of Usk where it is still playable, the Cathedral of Llandaff having opted for a new instrument by Hope-Jones. This instrument was clearly unsatisfactory from the outset there being no stops above 4' pitch and despite work being done to the organ around 1915, including the addition of a new Solo organ, no mixturework or mutations were added. In 1938 Messrs Norman & Beard rebuilt the organ and added the sadly missed upperwork to Great and Swell only, but in 1941, a landmine fell into the Cathedral yard and badly damaged the fabric of the Church, effectively putting all but the sanctuary and Lady chapel out of use. The only instruments then available for all of the cathedral music, were a harmonium and later a second hand organ by Hill, which was installed in the Lady Chapel. It was not until 1957 that plans were put in hand to rebuild the Nave and to salvage the now derelict instrument to playing order. This was done in the spirit of the age, taking the opportunity to incorporate what were then thought to be 'Baroque additions', and which included a Positive division, detached from the main instrument and housed in a cast concrete tubular 'case' atop a parabolic arch, situated between choir and nave. This is the instrument as heard on this recording and which despite all its unfortunate history, manages to produce a hearty sound. How subsequent Llandaff organists must have bemoaned the unfortunate sale of the1861 organ which now sings to the musical advantage of Usk.
© David J. Rogers, Doncaster, May 2001