PHI CD 226: The Doncaster Schulze

St. George's Minster, Doncaster

Paul Derrett - organ




[1-14] Johann Gottlob Töpfer (1791-1870)
Variations on 'Vive Henri Quatre' [11.50]
[15] Gustav Merkel (1827-1885)
Adagio in E [in free style] Op.35 [6.40]
[16-17] Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Fantasia and Fugue 'Ad nos, ad salutarem undam' [27.03]
[18] J.S.Bach (1685-1750) (arr. Karg Elert)
Shepherd's Music (from 'The Christmas Oratorio') [5.47]
[19-21] Gordon Phillips (1908-1991)
Suite in F minor Pontifical March - Minuet - Toccata [11.07]
[22] Wilfrid Sanderson (1878-1935)
Allegretto in C [1.19]
[23] David Rogers (b.1957)
Toccata Jubilosa [3.32]
[24] Magnus Black (1930-1998)
Pastorale in E [3.21]
[25] Bedrich Wiedermann (1883-1951)
Impetuoso [5.36]
TOTAL PLAYING TIME: 77.25
Acknowledgements:
Paul Derrett and Amphion Recordings are most grateful to Canon Christopher Smith, (Vicar of St.George's), Andrew Wilson, (Organist and Choirmaster) Christopher Clay, (Head Virger and Parish Clerk) June Dudgeon, (Assistant Virger) and Andrew Carter, (Organ Builder) for their kind assistance in the making of this recording.

Sources for the notes include 'The Schulze Dynasty' by Brian Hughes, published by Musical Opinion Ltd., and the church website http://www.doncasterminster.co.uk/

Recorded & produced by Martin Monkman, Amphion Recordings, October, 2008

Released 15/3/2010

Paul Derrett
Through broadcasts, his many recordings and over 400 recitals since 1981, Paul Derrett has established himself as one of the leading players in this country. A prize-winner of The Royal College of Organists, he studied at The Royal College of Music with Nicholas Danby, Richard Popplewell and Herbert Howells, but also trained as an organ-builder and this explains his reputation for being able to display each organ to best effect. Paul particularly enjoys reviving interest in neglected works and suggestions for additions to his repertoire are always welcomed. Recital venues in 2009 included nine cathedrals, amongst them St.Paul's Cathedral, London. His website can be found at www.paulderrett.piczo.com

THE PROGRAMME
[1-14] Johann Gottlob Töpfer (1791-1870) Variations on 'Vive Henri Quatre'
City organist of Weimar for many years, Töpfer was both a celebrated teacher and an expert on organ construction. Working in collaboration with Edmund Schulze's father (who built a fine organ for him in Weimar), he published proposals for the improvement of organ design, most particularly he codified a method to obtain optimum measurements for pipe manufacture. Briefly put, if a pipe an octave higher is made not only half the length but half the diameter of the original the resulting pipe no longer matches, being also half the volume! This challenge of setting a 'scale' had bedevilled both mathematicians and organ-builders from mediaeval times onwards. The 'Töpfer' method was credited by some for the success of Edmund's organs and is still in use in one form or another by organ-builders world-wide. A most influential figure in his day, Töpfer was a friend of Liszt, he also gave lessons to Alexander Winterberger who gave the first performance of Liszt's Fantasia and Fugue 'Ad Nos' which appears later in this programme. For the present Concert Variations, Töpfer took a popular French melody, and one may speculate that this was deliberately chosen in the year of the Paris Exhibition (1867) with the target of a high-profile performance in Paris.
Introduction: Full Great flue chorus from 16' with Cornet but without Cymbal is answered on the Full Swell; the softer section is on Choir Gemshorn, Flauto Traverso and Salicional 8'
Theme: Choir Lieblich Gedackt 8'
Variation 1: Great Hohl Flute, Swell Oboe, Pedal Sub Bass and Violoncello 8'
V.2: Choir Lieblich Gedackt with Quintadena 4'
V.3: Great Open Diapasons 1 and 2, Solo Orchestral Oboe
V.4: Great and Swell reeds at 8' and 4', Pedal flues 16' 8' and 4' with Fagotto 16' and 8'
V.5: Melody on the Pedals (Swell Horn) Great Bourdon 16', Stopped Diapason 8', Stopped Flute 4' and Gemshorn 4' with Solo Concert Flute 4'
V.6: Choir Salicional 8' and Lieblich Flute 4' are answered by Great chorus to 22/3' and 2' coupled to Swell fluework 8' and 4'
V.7: Great Stopped Diapason 8' and Stopped Flute 4' Pedal flutes coupled to Solo Flutes 8' and 4'
V.8: Great all 8' and 4' flue stops Pedals flues including mutations but without couplers c
V.9: Great all 8' Diapasons and Flutes, Pedal mf flues
V.10: Swell Trumpet accompanied by Great Hohl Flute 8' and Gemshorn 4' and soft pedal
V.11: Echo Harmonica 8'
V.12: Full Great without reeds, Pedal with reeds but without 32' stops
Conclusion: Registration as at opening, reducing to choruses for the fughetta, reeds are added near the end.
[15] Gustav Merkel (1827-1885) Adagio in E [in free style] Op.35
The present short work dates from 1861 and stands alone. A pupil of Schumann, Merkel was a prolific composer; his nearly two hundred opus numbers include nine organ sonatas which are slowly coming back into fashion after long neglect. Merkel was a native of Dresden and rose to become professor of organ and court organist there. Suiting this instrument to perfection, both form and style of this long-forgotten work may seem curiously familiar. This is because both Smart and S.S.Wesley wrote extremely similar works which we hear from time to time in recital programmes. Featured are Schulze's Clarinet (which was moved to the Solo manual many years ago) and one of the wonderful Flauto Traverso stops of the Choir. These pipes are made of solid beech, each cylindrical pipe bored out to make what amounts to a one-note flute. These pipes can be heard as a fluttering descant over the main melody at the close of the work. In between, both volume and pace increase & and storm clouds gather as in the classic Pastorale.

[16-17] Franz Liszt (1811-1886) Fantasia and Fugue 'Ad nos, ad salutarem undam'
The public appetite for the out-and-out virtuoso began with Niccolo Paganini, and audiences eagerly acclaimed Liszt as the greatest pianist of his day. He earned this position not just by exceptional dramatic performances, but by dint of sheer hard work. Never an organist, he respected the power of organ music and championed both builders and players, writing for them some of the greatest romantic showpieces of all. This Fantasia and Fugue on a theme taken from Meyerbeer's Opera 'Le Prophète' remains a cornerstone of the recitalist's repertoire. The Fantasia amounts to an unfolding, loosely-linked set of variations, introduced and interspersed with dramatic flourishes. Liszt's inspiration does not flag, and the daunting length (which made it the longest solo work for organ at the time of its composition) only serves to underline the stature of the work. It was composed in 1850 and it took the young organist Alexander Winterberger five years to prepare its first performance which was given on a large (new) romantic instrument in Meresburg Cathedral. The key scheme would have been revolutionary for the date of its composition. Liszt's modulations serve both to give fresh interest to each section, but also to emphasise the deliberate strangeness, the vitality of his imagination. The work begins in C minor, but before the central softer section starts in F sharp major (the most distant key possible from C minor!) there have been sections in A flat major and E major. Lyrical flowing sections have been interspersed with martial, staccato chords, contrapuntal sections alternate with rhapsodic, quasi recitative passages. Liszt is on record as having urged his organist friends to use the colours and variety of an organ to the utmost, he certainly gives scope for such imaginative use of resources here.
[18] J.S.Bach (1685-1750) Shepherd's Music (from 'The Christmas Oratorio')
Prolific composer and organist Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933) made a number of Bach transcriptions, some for art-harmonium, others for the organ. This pastorale movement is imaginatively scored for the instrument with many registrations specified that work perfectly upon this large German organ, some of them bearing little relation to the original orchestration. Not surprisingly, the result is not Bach's music as we would normally hear it, but a charming work results. Tonal effects to note include the powerful Norman & Beard Solo Gamba, Schulze's Swell Oboe and the complete (etherial) chorus of the Echo organ.
[19-21] Gordon Phillips (1908-1991) Suite in F minor
Pontifical March - Minuet - Toccata
Gordon Phillips was born in Slough, the son of a Baptist minister. He grew up in Nottinghamshire and trained as a teacher at the Nottingham University College Training
Department. He was passionately fond of the organ and from his teenage years dedicated his energies to passing professional examinations and writing for the instrument. Indeed,
several solo works were accepted for publication before he had completed his higher education. He returned to the South East to study at The Royal College of Music in 1934 where his teachers were Ernest Bullock (of Westminster Abbey) and the composer John Ireland. At this time, he was a frequent recitalist in and around London and several other players included his compositions in their programmes. Following the war, his attention turned towards the editing of lost treasures of English organ music and the design of a new organ for his church, All Hallows, Barking, which stands by the Tower of London. Over the succeeding years, he went on to give more than 3,000 recitals upon the Harrison and
Harrison organ there. As an editor, his work set new standards in both accuracy of text and practicality of performance. As a composer, his works contain an astringency which can
be bracing, even rather disturbing. In the 1939 Suite heard here, for instance, some chords are so unusual that one would normally suspect that a misprint or two was to blame. As
one gets accustomed to the cumulative effect, there is no doubt that these are intentional. This work in three movements was dedicated to the famous virtuoso George Thalben Ball,
BBC staff organist and director of music at The Temple Church for many years. It is both grand and quirky by turns and is very rarely performed; it must always have been so, since the Toccata is virtually unplayable!
[22] Wilfrid Sanderson (1878-1935) Allegretto in C
After holding a number of organists' posts in and around London, Wilfrid Sanderson became Organist and Choirmaster of St.George's Doncaster, a post which he held from 1904 to 1923. He wrote a large number of songs which were popular in their day and several slight but attractive works for keyboard of which the present Allegretto is an excellent example. This delightful intermezzo holds its own with the works of contemporaries such as Hollins and Wolstenholme.
[23] David Rogers (b.1957) Toccata Jubilosa
David Rogers is a native of Doncaster and was smitten by organs in general and the famous Schulze organ in particular at an early age. For many years during the long tenure of Magnus Black, David was his acting assistant and in particular the two collaborated in the work of presenting an annual series of concerts on the Schulze. He is a graduate ofHuddersfield University, having learned composition with Arthur Butterworth. For some years he was pianist for The Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds. In recent times, he has become particularly active as a recording engineer and digital editor: reviews of several commercial CDs attest to his skill in this area. He has been organist at St.Peter-in-Chains R.C. Church, Doncaster for nearly ten years and continues to give occasional recitals, the most recent of which was in Durham Cathedral for a masonic charity. The Toccata heard here was written for the wedding of two friends, Roger and Pauline Hart, in 2006. In its original form it was quite short: simply enough music to take the happy couple from the chancel step to the photographer. For this recording a middle section and further development has been added. Fragments of a popular theme appear, sufficiently modified to avoid copyright problems (!) and the main melody can be heard in minor as well as major mode, even inverted at times. The final page (in its large chords) uses notes which spell out the names of the couple, these are arrived at by extension of the alphabet up the keyboard. The final four chords feature their initials and the joint surname. It is both a very generous gift to two young people and an exhilarating and happy work in its own right. The first public performance of the full version was given by Paul Derrett at a recital in Westminster Abbey in August 2009.
[24] Magnus Black (1930-1998) Pastorale in E
Organ scholar at Exeter College Oxford and then organist in London for a short while, Magnus Black came to Yorkshire to be Organist of St.George's, a post which he held for nearly forty years, 1957-1995. A fine player and much-loved choirmaster, he was also responsible for music at the local teacher training college. Magnus was extremely proud of the Doncaster Schulze and ensured that it was maintained without change during his tenure. He frequently visited Germany to give recitals and welcomed German players back to Doncaster where they were able to marvel at this unusual survival to the benefit of most enthusiastic audiences. Not many of his compositions were published during his lifetime,
the present Pastorale (which remains in manuscript) is thought to have its roots in a successful improvisation, it certainly pursues one main idea from start to finish. A single organ stop is used (the Great Stopped Diapason) and the result is a most unusual and gentle work.
[25] Bedrich Wiedermann (1883-1951) Impetuoso
Few works by Czechoslovakian composers have found their way into main-stream European programmes, but this work has steadily gained admirers since it was published after Wiedermann's death. An exceptional solo performer, Bedrich Wiedermann was professor of The Prague Conservatory and organist of St.Jacob's Church, Prague. His Impetuoso was clearly intended as a show-piece for his own repertoire, and without being stridently discordant, it has all the ebullience and character that one could want in a mid-20th century work. Clearly, rhythm is the most essential ingredient in the mix, followed by a fascination with octave leaps. The Schulze, with each and every pipe more than a hundred years old comes up shining, even the rather sinister Vox Humana combination in the softer middle section could not be better suited to the purpose!
© Paul Derrett, 2010


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