PHI CD 163: Selections from EMI Great Cathedral Organ Series Volume Four

Noel Rawsthorne Liverpool Cathedral: Purcell: Two Trumpet Tunes arr. Ley. Mozart: Fantasia in F minor, K.608. Vierne:Berceuse, from 24 Pieces in free style, Op. 31. Karg-Elert: Nun Danket alle Gott, Op. 65, No.59.
Douglas Guest Westminster Abbey: Festing arr. Thalben-Ball:Largo, Allegro, Aria & Two Variations.
Lionel Dakers Exeter Cathedral: Thalben-Ball: Elegy in B flat (1944)
Melville Cook Hereford Cathedral: Flor Peeters: Aria.
Christopher Dearnley St. Paul's Cathedral, London: Purcell: Two Trumpet Tunes from King Arthur arr. Dearnley
Howells: Psalm Prelude No. 1, Set 1 (1915/16). Bliss arr. Basil Ramsey: Three Fanfares.
Philip Marshall Lincoln Cathedral: Brahms:Es ist ein ros entsprungen from Eleven Chorale Preludes Op.122.
David Lepine Coventry Cathedral: Scarlatti Ed. Goldsbrough, Sonata Kk.288. Walond: Cornet Voluntary in G, No.5, Op.1.
Liszt: Prelude & Fugue on B.A.C.H.


(Christopher) Noel Rawsthorne was born on Christmas Eve, 1929 in Birkenhead. At the age of nineteen he became assistant organist to Dr. Harry Goss-Custard at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral prior to which he had studied with Harold Dawber, Caleb Jarvis and later with both Fernando Germani and Marcel Dupré. He succeeded to the position of Organist of the Cathedral in 1955, the post of Choirmaster being occupied by Ronald Woan. In addition to his cathedral duties, Noel Rawsthorne has enjoyed a career as an international recitalist, appearing in America, Canada and in Russia, as well as many radio broadcasts in this country. He retired from the cathedral in 1980 and has continued his recital career in addition to producing many compositions for the instrument. Since retirement, he has accepted the positions of Liverpool City Organist, Artistic Director of St. George's Hall (which houses a magnificent four manual organ by 'Father' Willis), and Organist Emeritus of Liverpool Cathedral. He lives at Childwall in the city.

Douglas Albert Guest was born in May 1916 at 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. In 1945, after distinguished war service, 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 and producing his only published organ piece, an Easter Voluntary. 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 remained 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'. Dr.Guest made only one solo organ recording from which this extract was taken. He died in 1996.

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.

Alfred Melville Cook was born in 1912 in Gloucester. He was a chorister at the Cathedral under Herbert Brewer (1923 - 28) and subsequently articled to Dr. Herbert Sumsion (1929 - 32), whose assistant he then became until 1937. In that year he became Organist of Leeds Parish Church but his tenure in 1939 was interrupted by the outbreak of war and service in the Royal Artillery. Remarkably during the war years Melville Cook gained the Durham degree of Doctor of Music. Upon recommencement of duties in Leeds, Dr. Cook founded and conducted many musical societies in Leeds and other West Riding towns in addition to his duties at the Parish Church. In 1956 Dr. Cook moved to Hereford Cathedral as Organist and Master of the Choristers, conducting the Three Choirs' Festivals of 1958, 1961 and 1964. In 1966 Dr. Cook took up the position of Organist of All Saints, Winnipeg, Canada, moving one year later to the Metropolitan United Church in Toronto. Upon retirement Dr. Cook returned to England and lived in Cheltenham. He died in 1993. Regrettably Dr. Cook made only three recordings in England, all from the L.P. era, which together with his only known (unpublished) organ piece, - a Sortie - give only a hint of the stature of his artistry.

Christopher Hugh Dearnley was born in Wolverhampton in February 1930, educated at Cranleigh School, Surrey, and at Worcester College, Oxford, where he was organ scholar from 1948-1952. He was appointed Assistant Organist of Salisbury Cathedral in 1954 under Dr. Douglas Guest, whom he succeeded as Organist and Master of the Choristers in 1957. In 1968 Dearnley succeeded Dr. John Dykes Bower as Organist and Director of Music at St Paul's Cathedral. He retired from St. Paul's in 1990 and he and his wife emigrated to Australia, ostensibly to live quieter lives as naturists, and for Dearnley to concentrate on his teaching. In the event, after his first post at Christ Church, St Laurence, in Sydney, he was approached by one cathedral after another to direct their music,- Sydney, Hobart, Perth, and Newcastle, all claimed his attentions, plus the University of Melbourne. He died on 15th December 2000.

Philip Marshall was born at Brighouse, Yorkshire, in 1921. His earliest appointments both as teacher and organist were in that county, successively in Keighley, Leeds and Halifax, After graduating B.Mus.(Dunelm) in 1950, he was appointed Organist at St. Botolph's, Boston, Lincolnshire, (the famous Boston "Stump" Church) during which period he obtained the Durham Degree of Doctor of Music, by examination, after study with Dr. Francis Jackson. Dr. Marshall returned to his native Yorkshire in 1957 as Organist and Master of the Choristers of Ripon Cathedral where he remained until his appointment in 1966 to Lincoln Cathedral, which claimed his industry for a further twenty years in great distinction. He is highly regarded not only as a fine organist and accompanist, but also for his structured improvisations and as a composer in a wide variety of genre, including a distinctive Piano Concerto. Dr. Marshall is a ready wit and raconteur who since retirement in 1986 lives quietly in Lincolnshire.

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 the May of 1962. He is remembered as a demanding but amiable teacher and 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.

Liverpool Cathedral
The organ of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral was built by Henry Willis and Sons and was completed and inaugurated in an incomplete cathedral building in 1926. At the time of this 1963 recording, the organ had 145 speaking stops over 5 manuals and pedals, plus the usual (and several unusual) couplers. It was, and still is the largest cathedral organ in Britain, and speaks with its original voice into the vast space of the cathedral which was finally completed in 1978.

Westminster Abbey
The organ of Westminster Abbey was built by the firm of Harrison & Harrison of Durham in 1937 and was 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 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 is now playable from a new five manual console.

Exeter Cathedral
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 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 magnificent carved wooden case of 1665 by John Loosemore which is situated on the choir screen.

Hereford Cathedral
This instrument was built by Father Henry Willis in 1892/3 to a specification drawn up by George Robertson Sinclair, the cathedral organist, and Father Willis. It incorporates some pipework from the 1686 Harris instrument. This organ is believed to be the first organ in the country to have been fitted with console adjustable pistons of Willis's own patented design. The 1933 rebuild consisted of extensive action work and a new detached console. It is a magnificent instrument of sixty-five speaking stops playable from a superb console sited above the north choir stall, from where the instrument can be heard (and the casework seen) with great clarity.

St. Paul's Cathedral, London
This magnificent instrument contains pipework dating back to the first instrument built for the cathedral by Father Smith in 1694 - 7, and contained within casework carved by Grinling Gibbons. The builders Byfield, Shrider, Gray and Hill, amongst others, all worked on the organ at various times until 1826. In 1872 Father Henry Willis rebuilt the organ after an unsatisfactory repositioning of the instrument and created virtually a new organ. The Gibbons case was literally divided into two equal halves and, with the addition of a replica chaire case for the north side, the two halves were mounted in the chancel facing one another and contained Father Willis's new organ. The Dome pedal organ and tubas were added in 1897 and 1900 and the Dome Diapason Chorus in 1949. Further additions were made in 1960, including the Dome 32-foot Pedal Bombarde. Despite the dismantlings both out of structural necessity and of enemy action, this is essentially the organ as heard on this recording. The organ has since been rebuilt and now incorporates a new west end division resplendent with 'Royal' Chamade trumpets.
Lincoln Cathedral
This organ was built in 1898 by Father Henry Willis to a specification drawn up by Dr. G. J. Bennett the cathedral organist at the time, and is the last of seventeen Cathedral instruments built by Father Willis. This instrument, as heard on this recording remains tonally unspoilt as the 1960 Harrison rebuild only added new stops to the pedals (Dulciana), and Choir (Mutations and Mixture). Only the Choir Lieblich Bourdon was softened slightly and the Pedal 32-foot Contra Posaune - (actually Willis II) was revoiced. This instrument is rightly regarded as a national treasure.

Coventry Cathedral
This instrument was completed in May 1962 for the new Cathedral of Coventry by 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. The organ is placed against solid stone walls and speaks with unrestrained magnificence and clarity into the building.

© David J. Rogers, Doncaster, April 2002