Organ Showpieces from St. Paul's Cathedral

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Organ Showpieces from St. Paul's Cathedral

Herbert Murrill (1909 - 1952)


Max Reger (1873 - 1916)

Toccata in D Minor, Op.59, No.5

Fugue in D Major, Op.59, No.6

Flor Peeters (1903 - 1986)

Aria, Op.51

Theodore Dubois (1837 - 1924)

Toccata (Douze Pi?¿ces, No.3)

Max Reger

Benedictus, Op 59, No.9

Cesar Franck (1822 - 1890)

Choral No.3 in a Minor

Jean Langlais (1907 - 1991)

La Nativite (Po?¿mese evangeligues, No.2)

Eugene Gigout (1844 - 1925)

Scherzo (Dix pi?¿ces, No.8)

Jean Langlais

Hymne d'action de grace Te Deum

(Trios paraphrases gregoriennes, No.3)

Louis Vierne (1870 - 1937)

Carillon de Westminster

(Piecex de fantaise, troisieme suit, Op. 54, No. 6)

The English organist and composer Herbert Murrill was born in 1909 andtrained at the Royal Academy of Music before becoming an organ scholar atWorcester College, Oxford. He was for a time music director for the Oxford Groupat the Westminster Theatre and subsequently worked for the BBC, before and afterthe war, while continuing to serve as a professor of composition at the RoyalAcademy, from 1933 until his death in 1952. His Carillon is a fanfare-toccata,an impressive piece of changing rhythms and metres. It remains possibly the bestknown of his organ compositions.

Max Reger, often spurred on by the desire to provide his friend Karl Straubewith ever more difficult works to perform, made very significant additions tothe repertoire of organ music. He was born in 1873 at Brand in Bavaria, the sonof a schoolmaster and amateur musician. After early lessons from AdalbertLindner, town organist of Weiden, he became a pupil of Riemann in Sondershausen.

In his many organ compositions, some 220 in all, Reger, although a Catholic,continues largely the Protestant tradition, particularly in his Chorale Preludesand Chorale Fantasias. After a period in Munich, he settled in 1907 in Leipzigas professor of composition and director of music, moving four years later toMeiningen as director of the orchestra .He spent his final years in Jena.

Reger's Opus 59, published in 1901, consists of twelve pieces. Three of these,including the Benedictus, are based on movements from the Mass, andcontain Gregorian elements. The D minor Toccata and D major Fugue

from the same set of pieces provide a magnificent development of earlier forms,justifying Reger's recognised position as the most important German composer forthe organ since Johann Sebastian Bach.

The Belgian composer and organist Flor Peeters enjoyed a distinguishedreputation as a concert performer as well as in his capacity as a teacher andeditor of early music. His well known Aria, which has been much transcribed, ismusic of particular charm.

Flor Peeters has been said to combine features of Flemish and French style.

Theodore Dubois belongs firmly to the great French tradition of organists, as apupil of Benoit at the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied the piano withMarmontel, winning the Prix de Rome in 1861. After serving as maitre de chapelleat Ste Clotilde and at the Madeleine, in 1877 he succeeded Saint- Sa?½ns at thelatter church, while serving as professor of harmony and composition at theConservatoire, of which he became director in 1896, succeeding his formerteacher Ambroise Thomas. He resigned as director in the aftermath of the affaireRavel, when he was succeeded by Faure. Dubois wrote a considerable amount oforgan music. His Douze pieces were published in 1886 and include thenotable Toccata, written, as so often, with the splendours of the Cavaille-Collorgan in mind.

For over thirty years Cesar Franck was organist at Ste Clotilde, with itsCavaille-Coll organ, installed there in 1859. Born in Belgium and originallyintended by his father for a career as a virtuoso pianist, Franck eventuallymade his career in Paris as an organist, teacher and composer, his innate modesty attracting a loyal group of pupils but militating against the wider success ofhis music in his own life-time. He is undoubtedly the greatest French organcomposer of his time. Among his most popular organ compositions is the ChoralNo.3 in A minor, one of a set of three written in the last year of his life. Internary form, the Choral has a slow lyrical central section, framed by morevigorous outer sections.

Jean Langlais studied at the Institut des Jeunes Aveugles in Paris and waslater a pupil of Marcel Dupre at the Conservatoire, where his compositionteacher was Paul Dukas. He had lessons from Tournemire, who was for forty yearsorganist at Ste Clotilde, succeeding him in 1945. His three Poemesevangeliques were written in 1932 and have programmatic elements, evidentin the second, La nativite. The three Paraphrases gregoriennes werewritten in 1934, the third of the set based on the Te Deum.

Born in Nancy in 1844, Eugene Gigout was trained and later taught at theEcole Niedermeyer, where he had been a pupil of Saint-Sa?½ns and afellow-student of Faure. He later succeeded Alexandre Guilmant as professor oforgan at the Conservatoire. He was appointed organist in 1863 at St. Augustin,where a Cavaille-Coll organ was installed in 1868, and remained in thisposition for some sixty years. It was Gigout who gave the first performance ofFranck's Choral in A minor. His Scherzo, one of ten organ pieces,provides a brilliant addition to French organ repertoire.

Louis Vierne, almost blind as a child, studied at the Paris Blind Institute,the Institut des Jeunes Aveugles and was a pupil of Franck and of Widor at theConservatoire, succeeding the latter at St Sulpice and at the Conservatoire, andin 1900 becoming organist at Notre Dame. The Carillon de Westminster is a wellknown show-piece, a large-scale fantasy that recalls the familiar sound of thebells of London's Westminster.

Andrew Lucas

Andrew Lucas was born in Wellington, in the English county of Shropshire, in1958 and studied the organ with John Birch at the Royal College of Music inLondon, where his composition teacher was Herbert Howells. After graduation fromthe University of London, he continued his study of the organ with Peter Hurfordand with Piet Kee at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. After earlierappointments, Andrew Lucas became in 1990 full-time Sub-Organist of St. Paul'sCathedral in London, his earlier recordings with the cathedral choir beingfollowed by his first solo recording in 1991. Andrew Lucas has also appeared asa recitalist on the mainland of Europe, in Australia and in the United Statesand has worked as a harpsichordist and organist with orchestras including theAcademy of St. Martin-in-the- Fields and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Disc: 1
Carillon de Westminster (Pieces de fantaisie, Op.
1 Carillon
2 Toccata in D minor, Op. 59, No. 5
3 Fugue in D major, Op. 59, No. 6
4 Aria, Op. 51
5 Toccata (Douze pieces, No. 3)
6 Benedictus, Op. 59, No. 9
7 Choral No. 3 in A minor
8 La Nativite (Poemes evangeliques, No. 2)
9 Scherzo (Dix pieces, No. 8)
10 Hymne d'action de grace Te Deum (Trois paraphrase
11 Carillon de Westminster (Pieces de fantaisie, Op.
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