Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Prelude & Fugue in G minor, B.W.V. 535
Chorale Prelude: Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ, B.W.V. 649
Menuetto & Polacca from Brandenburg Concerto No.1,
arr. Francis Jackson
Trio Sonata No.5 in C, B.W.V. 529
Henry Smart (1813-1879)
Andante in F & Postlude in C
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
At the cradle, arr. Ramsey
Leon Boëllmann (1862-1897)
Ronde Française
Matthew Camidge (1774-1844)
Concerto No.1 in D
John Ireland (1879-1962)
The Holy Boy & Villanella
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Trios beaux oiseaux du paradis, arr. Francis Jackson
Louis Vierne (1870-1937)
Divertissement from 24 Pièces en style libre
for organ or harmonium Op. 31

Released 15/5/03


The celebrated organ builder Henry Willis was born in London in 1821, and played the organ from an early age. He frequented musical circles and aged 14 years became apprentice to the organ builder John Gray where he displayed much ingenuity. While still a teenager he became organist of Christ Church, Hoxton. After serving his apprenticeship he went to live in Cheltenham where he worked for the organ builder William Evans, and in 1845 Willis established his own organ building firm. At Gloucester he met and was befriended by Dr. Samuel Sebastian Wesley who was organist of the cathedral and in 1847 Willis was commissioned to rebuild the cathedral organ. For the Great Exhibition of 1851 Willis constructed an organ of seventy speaking stops in the West End Gallery. This instrument was the first to incorporate his new invention, thumb pistons. This was just one of the many patents and inventions he devised. Over the years Henry Willis built many organs for major cathedrals, town halls, stately homes and royal palaces as well as smaller instruments of which the organ at Haddo House is a very fine example. The firm of Henry Willis & Sons continued after his death in 1901 and remained in the Willis family until the retirement of Henry Willis IV in the late 1990s. The firm is now under new management and based at Petersfield, Hampshire.

Haddo House is unusual for Aberdeenshire in that it is not a castle. Designed by William Adam for the 2nd Earl of Aberdeen in 1732, but refurbished in the 1880s, the House elegantly blends crisp Georgian architecture with sumptuous late Victorian interiors by Wright and Mansfield. Noted for its fine furniture, paintings and objects d'art, Haddo also boasts a delightful terrace garden with geometric rosebeds and fountain, commemorative trees, a lavish herbaceous border, and secluded glades and knolls. A magnificent avenue of lime trees leads to Haddo Country Park with its lakes, monuments, plaques and memorabilia build up a fascinating account of the Gordon family who have lived at Haddo continuously for over 400 years. Paintings include works by Pompeo Batoni, William Mosman, Sir Thomas Lawrence and James Giles. Haddo House is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland and is open to the public during the season, for details visit the Trust's Web site:
The Chapel was designed by George Edmund Street in 1881, and was his final work before his death in that same year. Born in 1824 Street was apprentice to G.G. Scott before establishing his own architectural practice in 1848. Street became one of the leading English ecclesiastical architects at the height of the Gothic Revival. He received many architectural honours and his most famous work is the Law Courts in the Strand, London. William Morris was a pupil as was Burne Jones who designed the upper lights in the east window. The interior of the Chapel is of a simple and self-effacing character, reflecting the ecumenical simplicity practiced by Lord and Lady Aberdeen. The Chapel is in regular use for Christian worship with services conducted by Episcopalian, Roman Catholic and Presbyterian clergy.
The Haddo House Choral and Operatic Society was founded by their Musical Director, June Gordon - Lady Aberdeen, (the Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair) and her late husband David in 1947. The aim of the Society is to give cultural opportunities to residents in Aberdeenshire. For heath reasons Lady Aberdeen is no longer able to conduct the society regularly and has handed the baton to Tim Tricker with Ben Parry as Musical Director of the annual Opera. The Society is lucky to have been conducted or advised by luminaries such as Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, Michael Tippett and Sir Charles Groves and are able to produce authentic interpretations with the aid of notes made at the time by Lady Aberdeen. As well as having top-class lead soloists they specialise in giving opportunities to up-and-coming young professionals. Most of their performances are given in the timber built Haddo House Hall, which dates from 1890. For details of their performances see the Societies Web site:


Martin Monkman, Amphion Recordings