The articles below are taken from my monthly columns in St Edmund's Church parish magazine ("The King"), which includes full details of my organ voluntaries for that month.


BBC Four recently broadcast a fascinating programme called “The Prince and the Composer” with Prince Charles exploring the life and works of Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918). He is certainly the composer of the moment with no fewer than four of his compositions being performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Kate Middleton walked down the aisle to the anthem “I Was Glad”, written for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902 and performed at all subsequent coronations. The final hymn was Parry’s great 1916 setting of William Blake’s “Jerusalem”. Interestingly, Parry hated the title and wanted the work to be called “And did those feet”. During the signing of the register there was a performance of the 1887 ode “Blest Pair of Sirens”, a work highly regarded by both Elgar and Vaughan Williams, two composers whose music was clearly influenced by Parry. His March from his incidental music to Aristophanes’ play “The Birds” was played before the service.

Like myself, Hubert Parry was born in Bournemouth. Tragically his mother died just twelve days after his birth and Hubert was brought up at Highnam Court in Gloucestershire. He developed a love of music from an early age and played the organ in the local church from the age of eight. Hubert was educated at Eton and went on to read law and modern history at Oxford, his father discouraging a musical career. Hubert initially worked as an underwriter at Lloyds of London, studying music in his spare time. Eventually he left the insurance business and in 1883 was appointed Professor of Composition (and later Director) at the Royal College of Music where his pupils included Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Frank Bridge and John Ireland.

During the month, I shall be playing two of Parry’s fourteen Chorale Preludes which date from his final years - Melcombe (normally sung to “New every morning”) and Old 104th (normally sung to “Disposer supreme”).

Jul 3rd
10.00am Sung Eucharist – 2nd Sunday after Trinity (
Prelude: Prelude from “The Dream of Gerontius” – E.Elgar
Setting: Francis Jackson in G (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart)
Processional: O Worship the Lord (Was Lebet)
Psalm: I will bless your name forever, O God my King (A.Gregory Murray)
Gradual: Rejoice today with one accord (Ein’ Feste Burg)
Offertory: And can it be
Communion: I heard the voice of Jesus say (Kingsfold)
Post-Communion: He who would valiant be (Monks Gate)
Postlude: Pomp and Circumstance March No 4 – E.Elgar

Jul 10th
10.00am Sung Eucharist – 3rd Sunday after Trinity (
Prelude: Prelude (Act 1) from “Lohengrin” – R.Wagner
Setting: Oldroyd (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: As water to the thirsty (John Barnard)
Processional: All people that on earth do dwell (Old 100th)
Psalm: Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop (Finton O’Carroll/A.Gregory Murray)
Gradual: Lord thy word abideth (Ravenshaw)
Offertory: Light’s abode, celestial salem (Regent Square)
Communion: Just as I am, without one plea (Saffron Walden)
Post-Communion: Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
Postlude: Songs of Praise – Robert Prizeman

Jul 17th
10.00am Sung Eucharist – 4th Sunday after Trinity (
Prelude: Chorale Prelude on “Melcombe” – H.Parry
Setting: Arthur Rogers (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: Lead Me Lord (S.S.Wesley)
Processional: Dear Lord and Father of mankind (Repton)
Psalm: O Lord, you are good and forgiving (Joan McCrimmon)
Gradual: Ye that know the Lord is gracious (Rustington)
Offertory: O praise ye the Lord (Laudate Dominum)
Communion: Father we thank Thee who hast planted (Les Commandemens de Dieu)
Post-Communion: And did those feet (Jerusalem)
Postlude: Chorale Prelude on “Old 104th” – H.Parry
A Parry-fest today with both voluntaries and all but one hymn written by him. The communion hymn was a new one for us and a very strange tune shifting from duple to triple metre mid-verse.

Jul 24th
10.00am Sung Eucharist – 5th Sunday after Trinity (
Prelude: Chorale Prelude on “Song 13th” – P.Whitlock
Setting: Peter Heath (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: O Come ye servants of the Lord (C.Tye)
Processional: Immoral, Invisible, God only wise (St Denio)
Psalm: Lord, how I love your law! (A.Gregory Murray)
Gradual: Seek ye first the kingdom of God
Offertory: All my hope on God is founded (Michael)
Communion: Now let us from this table rise
Post-Communion: Sing to God new songs of worship (Ode to joy)
Postlude: Chorale Prelude on “Darwell’s 148th“ – P.Whitlock

Aug 21st
10.00am Sung Eucharist – 9th Sunday after Trinity (
Prelude: Chanson de Matin – E.Elgar
Setting: Arthur Rogers (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: Teach Me, O Lord (T.Attwood)
Processional: For the beauty of the earth (England’s Lane)
Psalm: Your love, O Lord, is eternal, discard not the work of your hands (D.Fishwick/A.Gregory Murray)
Gradual: Thou art the Christ O Lord (Gopsal)
Offertory: Light of the minds that know Him (Auralia)
Communion: How sweet the name of Jesus sounds (St Peter)
Post-Communion: Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
Postlude: Voluntary No 9 – W.Boyce
Back after a relaxing three week break in France. While there I managed to attend an excellent recital at St Antoine l’Abbeye which I wrote about in my September 2011 church magazine article.

Aug 28th
10.00am Sung Eucharist – 10th Sunday after Trinity (
Prelude: Salut d’Amour – E.Elgar
Setting: Nicholson (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: These are they that follow the Lamb (J.Goss)
Processional: Praise to the holiest in the height (Gerontius)
Psalm: For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God (Liam Affley/Stephen Dean)
Gradual: Take up thy cross (Breslau)
Offertory: Thy hand O God has guided (Thornbury)
Communion: King of Glory, King of peace (Gwalchmai)
Post-Communion: The kingdom is upon you (Wolvercote)
Postlude: Voluntary No 10 – W.Boyce


On Sunday May 15th I was joined by my brother for a St Edmund’s Classic Concert for trumpet and organ. It was Richard’s first major engagement since his change of career from professional trumpeter to train driver and I was pleased to see that his performing skills have not deserted him! I was also delighted that my Mother and Aunt were able to travel up from Hampshire for the concert and it was a real family occasion as nine of us sat around the table for an excellent tea in the hall afterwards.

As well as the four anniversary composers I wrote about last month, Richard and I included a number of other well-known and not so well-known pieces, including two contrasting settings of the Ave Maria, both of which I shall be performing this month. The version attributed to the sixteenth century Italian composer Giulio Caccini was actually believed to have been written by the Russian composer and lutenist Vladimir Vavilov around 1970, although the melody and chord sequence are identical to the Jerome Kern song “All the things you are” which dates from 1939. The setting by Franz Schubert (pictured above) was originally part of an 1825 seven song cycle setting of Sir Walter Scott’s “The Lady of the Lake”. In the sixth song - “Ellens dritter gesang” (Ellen’s third song) - Ellen, the lady of the lake, is praying to the Virgin Mary. It was subsequently adapted to fit the traditional Latin Roman Catholic text.

I have made a recording of the items performed at the concert and these will be appearing on this website. Alternatively I can supply the recording on a compact disc in return for a donation to church funds.

This month I am also continuing my cycle of voluntaries by William Boyce in honour of the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Jun 2nd
7.00pm Sung Eucharist - The Ascension of the Lord (
Prelude: Christ Triumphant – John Marsh
Setting: Peter Heath in D (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: Cantate Domino - Pitoni
Psalm: God goes up with shouts of joy (Anne Ward)
Processional: Alleluia sing to Jesus (Hyfrydol)
Gradual: Celtic Alleluia (Christopher Walker/Finton O’Carroll)
Offertory: Hail the day that sees Him rise (Llanfair)
Communion: Eternal Monarch, King most high (Gonfalon Royal)
Post-Communion: Rejoice the Lord is King (Gopsal)
Postlude: Heut’ Triumphiret Gottes Sohn – J.S.Bach
After the service we were treated to a barbeque in the vicarage garden.

Jun 5th
10.00am Sung Eucharist – 7th Sunday after Easter (Sunday after Ascension) (
Prelude: Pavane – G.Faure
Setting: Missa de Sancto Albano – Healey Willan (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: O come ye servants of the Lord – C.Tye
Psalm: I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness
Processional: Christ Triumphant, ever reigning (Guiting Power)
Gradual: Hail the day that sees Him rise (Llanfair)
Offertory: Hail Redeemer, King divine (King Divine)
Communion: The head that once was crowned with thorns (St Magnus)
Post-Communion: At the name of Jesus (Evelyns)
Postlude: Voluntary No 5 – W.Boyce
This afternoon, a group of 15 of us set off around the parish boundary for the annual Beating the Bounds. A journey of around four miles, half rural, was undertaken in just under two hours in steady drizzle and a welcome tea was waiting for us on our return to church.

Jun 12th
10.00am Sung Eucharist – The Day of Pentecost (Whit Sunday) (
Prelude: Ave Maria – G.Caccini (attr.)
Setting: John Ireland in C (Gloria – Metrical setting to “Evelyns”)
Anthem: Litany to the Holy Spirit – Peter Hurford
Processional: The Spirit lives to set us free
Blessing of Water: Spirit of the living God
Gradual: Celtic Alleluia (Christopher Walker/Fintan O’Carroll)
Offertory: Come down, O Love divine (Down Ampney)
Communion: Be still, for the presence of the Lord
Post-Communion: Colours of Day
Postlude: Voluntary No 6 – W.Boyce

6.30pm Solemn Choral Evensong and Benediction for Pentecost (
Prelude: On a theme of Orlando Gibbons (Song 34) – C.Stanford
Introit: Come Holy Ghost – T.Attwood
Versicles and Responses: Ferial
Psalm 150 (Stanford)
Hymn : Rejoice, the year upon its way (Gonfalon Royal)
Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis: C.Stanford in B Flat
Anthem : Ye choirs of new Jerusalem – C.Stanford
Hymns during the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament:
Come, thou Holy Spirit, come (Veni Sancte Spiritus)
Therefore we, before him bending (Pange Lingua)
After the blessing: Te Deum in B Flat – C.Stanford
Postlude: Postlude in D Minor – C.Stanford
An excellent Stanford fest this evening, the only disappointment being the poor congregation turnout of just 16, although a rainy London day didn’t help! This morning’s Caccini prelude has an interesting story - the piece is believed to have been written not by the sixteenth century Italian composer but by the Russian composer and lutenist Vladimir Vavilov around 1970, although the melody and chord sequence are identical to the Jerome Kern song “All the things you are” which dates from 1939.
I have started to add audio clips of my recent recital program at St Edmund’s on my organ page

Jun 19th
10.00am Sung Eucharist - Trinity Sunday (
Prelude: Ave Maria – F.Schubert
Setting: Harold Darke in F (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: Hymn to the Trinity – P.Tchaikovsky
Processional: Angel voices ever singing (Angel Voices)
Psalm: To you glory and praise for evermore (Stephen Dean)
Gradual: Holy, Holy, Holy (Nicaea)
Offertory: How shall I sing that Majesty (Coe Fen)
Communion: There is a Redeemer
Post-Communion: Great is thy faithfulness
Postlude: Voluntary No 7 – W.Boyce

Jun 23rd
8.00pm Sung Eucharist and procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction – Corpus Christi (
Prelude:Picardy – Alec Rowley
Setting: Sydney Nicholson (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: Panis Angelicus – C.Franck
Processional: Alleluia, sing to Jesus (Hyfrydol)
Psalm: O praise the Lord, Jerusalem (Liam Affley/Anne Ward)
Gradual: Celtic Alleluia (Christopher Walker/Finton O’Carroll)
Offertory: We pray Thee, Heavenly Father (Meirionydd)
O saving victim, opening wide (Verbum Supernum)
Lord, enthroned in Heavenly splendour (St Helen)
Sweet sacrament divine (Divine Mysteries)
Therefore we before him bending (Pange Lingua)
Postlude: Finale on “Hyfrydol” – Henry Coleman

Jun 26th
10.00am Sung Eucharist – 1st Sunday after Trinity (
Prelude: Berceuse (“Peterhouse Chapel Windows Suite”) – B.Ferguson
Setting: Harold Darke in E (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: Lord that descendeth, Holy Child (Gritton)
Processional: How great Thou art
Psalm: I will sing forever of your love, O Lord (Stephen Dean/Ian Forrester)
Gradual: Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord
Offertory: Longing for light, we wait in darkness
Communion: When I needed a neighbour
Post-Communion: Lord for the years
Postlude: Voluntary No 8 – W.Boyce
“Peterhouse Chapel Windows Suite” was composed by Barry Ferguson, former organist of Rochester Cathedral, on the occasion of 2007 Peterhouse Society Annual Gathering, and was first performed by myself and five other fellow former Petrean organ scholars - Andrew McIntyre, David Lee, Mark Rowland, Barry Ferguson and Tim Hone. The ten-movement work was inspired by the Chapel's stained glass and wrote a ten-movement work.


On Sunday May 15th at 3.30pm, as part of the Classic Concert series at St Edmund’s, I shall be giving an organ recital. I shall be featuring music from four composers who are celebrating anniversaries in 2011, as well as other favourites.

Franz Liszt (pictured) was born in the Hungarian (now Austrian) town of Doborjan (Raiding) in 1811. His Fantasia and Fugue on BACH was written in 1855 for the consecration of the new organ in the German cathedral at Merseberg. In German notation, B represents B Flat while H represents B Natural. Thus the name BACH can be spelt out as a musical cryptogram B Flat – A – C – B. Bach himself used this four-note motif in a number of works, most notably in his monumental “The Art of Fugue”. Other composers who have used the theme were Schumann, Rimsky-Korsakov and Schoenberg.

William Boyce was born in London in 1711 and was a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral under Maurice Greene. Boyce was Master of the King’s Music and also held the post of organist at the City church of St Michael’s, Cornhill. He was the editor of “Cathedral Music”, an important collection of services and anthems by sixteenth and seventeenth century English composers. Boyce’s compositions included symphonies, sacred choral music, sonatas and music for theatre, although his Ten Voluntaries for organ or harpsichord are his only known solo keyboard works. They consist of a slow introduction followed by a quicker, longer section.

Alexandre Guilmant was born in Boulogne in 1837 and died in Paris in 1911. He held the post of organist at La Trinite in Paris for 30 years after which he followed the career of virtuoso performer and toured around the world. In the last years of his life, Guilmant succeeded Widor as organ teacher at the Paris Conservatoire. His Grand Choeur in D (Alla Handel) is in three sections with the main majestic theme surrounding a softer and more reflective section.

Percy Grainger was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1882 and died in New York in 1961. When he was thirteen, Grainger travelled to Germany to study. He moved to London in 1901 where he worked as composer-pianist until the outbreak of the First World War when he emigrated to America. He wrote 90 works for the piano, with a third of these based on works by other composers ranging from mediaeval carols to Gershwin songs. “Country Gardens” is taken from Grainger’s “British Folk Music Settings” for piano and is based on an English folk song called “Handkerchief Dance” collected and published by Cecil Sharp. Grainger wrote it as a birthday present for his Mother in 1918 and dedicated it to his friend Edward Grieg.

May 1st
10.00am Sung Eucharist - 2nd Sunday of Easter (
Prelude: Salix – P.Whitlock
Setting: Darke in F (Gloria/Credo - Merbecke)
Anthem: From the rising of the sun – F.Ouseley
Psalm: Give thanks to the Lord for he is good (John Jordan/A Gregory Murray)
Processional: Jesus lives, thy terrors now (St Albinus)
Gradual: The strife is o’er (Vulpius)
Offertory: Alleluia, Alleluia (Lux Eoi)
Communion: This joyful Eastertide
Post-Communion: Let all the world (Luckington)
Postlude: Grand March (“Aida”) – G.Verdi

May 8th
10.00am Sung Eucharist – 3rd Sunday of Easter (
Prelude: Duetto – P.Whitlock
Setting: Healey Willan (“Missa de Sancto Albano") (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: A Clare Benediction – John Rutter
Psalm: Show us, Lord, the path of life (Peter Jones)
Processional: Ye choirs of new Jerusalem (St Fulbert)
Gradual: Good Christian Men (Vulpius)
Offertory: Come ye faithful, raise the strain (St John Damascene)
Communion: Now the green blade riseth (Noel Nouvelet)
Post-Communion: Love’s redeeming work is done (Savannah)
Postlude: Voluntary No 1 – W.Boyce
Busy day today on the console as the conductor was away and we are currently without a regular bass. On these occasions the choir all sit on one side opposite the organ so that I can conduct them from the keyboard. Playing, singing and conducting the Rutter was interesting! Today I started a cycle of the Boyce voluntaries in recognition of the 300th anniversary of his birth. No 7 is included in an anniversary recital I am giving next Sunday which also includes music by Liszt (The BACH), Guilmant (Grand Choeur) and Grainger (Country Gardens!).

May 15th
10.00am Sung Eucharist – 4th Sunday of Easter (
Prelude: Allegretto – P.Whitlock
Setting: Darke in A Minor (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: Rejoice the Lord is King – Malcolm Archer
Psalm: The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want (Fintan O’Carroll/Martin Hall)
Processional: Praise my soul the King of Heaven (Praise My Soul)
Gradual: Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord
Offertory: Come ye faithful, raise the anthem (Neander)
Communion: The King of love my Shepherd is (Dominus Regit Me)
Post-Communion: Tell out my soul (Woodlands)
Postlude: Voluntary No 2 – W.Boyce
Again I had to sing bass and play at the same time as our one regular bass is not well at the moment. I originally performed the Archer in 2005 at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich in a performance by over 200 girls from around the world. If you’re interested you can read about it here. My recital this afternoon seemed to go down well. My brother – a trumpeter – joined me for three items (Charpentier’s “Prelude to a Te Deum”, Schubert’s “Ave Maria” and a songs from the shows medley)

May 22nd
10.00am Sung Eucharist – 5th Sunday of Easter (
Prelude: Adagio (Symphony No 5) – C.Widor
Setting: Jackson in G (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: Sing, God’s Easter people, sing – J.Barnard
Psalm: May your love be upon us, O Lord (A.Gregory Murray)
Processional: Praise the Lord, ye Heavens adore Him (Austria)
Gradual: Celtic Alleluia (Christopher Walker/Finton O’Carroll)
Offertory: Lord enthroned in Heavenly splendour (St Helen)
Communion: From Heaven you came, helpless babe (The Servant King)
Post-Communion: Go forth and tell, O church of God awake (Woodlands)
Postlude: Voluntary No 3 – W.Boyce
The anthem was written by John Barnard, organist at John Keble Church in Mill Hill, who is probably best-known as the composer of the hymn tune “Guiting Power” (Christ Triumphant). It was performed last weekend at the RSCM London Area Festival at St Paul’s Cathedral.

May 29th
10.00am Sunday 29th May 2011
Sung Eucharist – 6th Sunday of Easter (
Prelude: Holsworthy Church Bells – S.S.Wesley
Setting: St Edmund’s Mass – Arthur Rogers (Gloria/Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: I give you a new commandment – P.Aston
Psalm: Cry out with joy to God, all the earth (S.Dean/A.Milner)
Processional: Tell out my soul (Woodlands)
Gradual: Sing Alleluia forth ye Saints on high (Martins)
Offertory: Lord of beauty, thine the splendour (Regent Square)
Communion: There is a redeemer
Post-Communion: The kingdom is upon you (Wolvercote)
Postlude: Voluntary No 4 – W.Boyce


At the beginning of March I attended a memorial concert in Great St Mary’s in Cambridge given in honour of my former organ teacher David Sanger who died in May last year. Great St Mary’s is the University church and all undergraduates must live within a three miles radius of the building. It is unusual in having two self-contained organs, the chancel organ which is used for normal parish worship while the west gallery houses the university organ which is used for formal university services.

David Sanger’s illustrious career as an organist recitalist was launched after he won the prestigious St Alban’s organ competition in 1969. As a performer he toured many countries and made over twenty CDs. For some years he was Professor of Organ at the Royal Academy of London and was also president of the Royal College of Organists.

The participants of the memorial concert read like a who’s who of the organ world. There were performances by current cathedral organists and sub-organists while I was one of a choir of thirty two of David’s friends, family, colleagues and students who performed two of his choral compositions. One of these was written for two organs and it was interesting to hear the spatial effect which this created in the building.

The concert was a moving occasion and I was glad to have participated in an event dedicated to a man who taught me a great deal during my three years at Cambridge and who successfully guided me through my Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists.

Apr 3rd
10.00am Sung Eucharist - Fourth Sunday of Lent - Mothering Sunday (
Prelude: Legende – L.Vierne
Setting: Nicholson
Anthem: For the beauty of the earth – John Rutter
Introit: Tell out my soul (Woodlands)
Gradual: Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning
Offertory: Shine Jesus shine
Communion: Jesus good above all other (Quem Pastores)
Post-Communion: Now thank we all our God (Nun Danket)
Postlude: Carillon Sortie – H.Mulet

Apr 10th
10.00am Sung Eucharist - Fifth Sunday of Lent - Passion Sunday (
Prelude: Herlich Thut Mich Verlangen – J.Brahms
Setting: Adrian Batten (Credo - Merbecke)
Anthem: Fling wide the gates (“The Crucifixion”) – J.Stainer
Psalm: With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption (Finton O’Carroll)
Introit: O praise ye the Lord (Laudate Dominum)
Gradual: Thou art the way, by Thee alone (St James)
Offertory: I am the bread of life
Communion: Soul of my saviour, sanctify my breast (Anima Christi)
Post-Communion: Take up thy cross the saviour said (Breslau)
Postlude: O Mensch, Bewein Dein Sunde Gross – J.S.Bach

6.30pm The Word Revealed – A service to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible
Prelude – Overture (“Messiah”) – G.F.Handel
Introit – “The Lord gave the word” & “How Beautiful are the feet” (“Messiah”) – G.F.Handel
Hymn – Thanks to God whose word was spoken
The Story I – The Formation of the Canon of Scripture
Musical reflection – Cantique de Jean Racine – G.Faure
Hymn – Lord, thy word abideth
The Story II – The Bible in English
Musical reflection – “How lovely are the messengers” (“St Paul”) – F.Mendelssohn
Hymn – Word of the Father, source of all things living
The Story III – The Hampton Court Conference (1604)
Musical reflection – “Behold the Lamb of God” (“Messiah”) – G.F.Handel
Hymn – Thou whose almighty word
The Story IV – Into all the world
Musical reflection – “Worthy is the Lamb” & “Amen” (“Messiah”) – G.F.Handel
Postlude – Fantasia in C Minor (BWV562) – J.S.Bach
A busy Sunday at St Edmund’s. The Stainer in the morning was interesting as there were no basses so I had to sing and play at the same time! We had an augmented choir of around twenty five for the evening service celebrating the KJB with the highlight for me being an excellent performance of the wonderful “Cantique de Jean Racine”. I am currently spending a few days relaxing in the Ardeche region of France with my parents in law before I return for the marathon which is Holy Week.

Apr 17th
10.00am Sung Eucharist - Palm Sunday (
Setting: Adrian Batten (Credo – Merbecke)
Anthem: The people of the Hebrews - Palestrina
Psalm: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (A.Gregory Murray)
Introit: All Glory laud and honour (St Theodolph)
Introit: Ride on, ride on in majesty (Winchester New)
Gradual: Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Offertory: My song is love unknown (Love Unknown)
Communion: O dearest Lord, thy sacred head (Belmont)
Post-Communion: Lift high the cross (Crucifer)
Postlude: Pomp and Circumstance March No 4 - Elgar
The service started in the Hall with the blessing of the palms followed by a procession out of the hall - the hymn being started on the hall piano and picked up by me on the church organ. The congregation make their way along the pavement in front on the church and then enter the west door. The gospel was a dramatised version by the choir of the Passion according to St Matthew. Choir again a little thin, with the conductor providing the alto line and the organist the bass line!
Last night I attended an excellent concert of Music for Holy Week given by the BBC Singers at St Paul’s, Knightsbridge, introduced by Richard Coles - former pop star turned priest - and conducted by David Hill. It featured music by Howells (Requiem), Walton (A Litany – Drop, drop, slow tears) and Rubbra (Three Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Motets) as well as two pieces by contemporary composers, Francis Potts and Richard Allain, both of whom were in the audience. The concert was part of European Broadcasting Union day of Music for Holy Week,a series of concerts from Britain, Portugal, Holland, Australia, Belgium broadcast live to Europe and beyond.
An excellent start to Holy Week.

Apr 21st
8.00pm The Mass of the Lord's Supper - Maundy Thursday (
Prelude: Ubi Caritas - Colin Mawby
Setting: Nicholson (Gloria – Merbecke)
Anthem: Panis Angelicus – C.Franck
During the washing of the feet – God is love (Ubi Caritas) & Meekness and majesty
Psalm: The blessing cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ (A.Gregory Murray)
Introit: Praise to the holiest in the height (Gerontius)
Gradual: Come risen Lord and deign to be our guest (Farley Castle)
Offertory: Love is his word
Communion: This is my body
Transfer of the blessed sacrament to the altar of repose – Of the glorious body telling (Pange Lingua)
Psalm 22 is read during the stripping of the sanctuary
The watch continues in the altar of repose until the Good Friday liturgy

Apr 22nd
Good Friday
11.00am Children’s activities in the Hall

12.00pm Children’s Good Friday Worship – a Good Friday Treasure Trail
Hymn – Kum ba yah

1.00pm A Meditation for Good Friday
Gethsemane – The Trial – The Crucifixion
Hymn – We sing the praise of Him who died (Breslau)
Hymn – Drop, drop, slow tears (Song 46)
Hymn – It is a thing most wonderful (Herongate)

2.00pm The Liturgy of Good Friday (
Psalm – Father, into your hands I commend my spirit (A Gregory Murray)
Hymn – There is a green hill far away (Horsley)
The Passion of our Lord according to John – Vittoria
Reproaches during the veneration – Vittoria
Hymn – When I survey the wondrous cross (Rockingham)
Hymn – Glory be to Jesus (Caswall)

Apr 23rd
8.00pm Easter Vigil and Eucharist of the Ressurection (
Setting - Arthur Rogers (Gloria - Merbecke)
The Exultet
Psalm – Send forth your spirit, O Lord (A Gregory Murray)
Psalm – I will sing to the Lord (A Gregory Murray)
Psalm – I will praise you, Lord (Finton O’Carroll/Ian Forrester)
Fanfare – Francis Jackson
Gradual – Celtic Alleluia (Christopher Walker/ Finton O’Carroll)
Offertory – At the Lamb’s high feast we sing (Salzburg)
Anthem – Up, up, my heart with gladness – J.S.Bach
Communion – Love’s redeeming work is done (Savannah)
Post-Communion – Jesus Christ is risen today (Easter Hymn)
Postlude – Processional – W.Matthias

Apr 24th
10.00am Sung Eucharist - Easter Sunday (
Prelude: Toccata in D minor – J.S.Bach
Setting: John Ireland (Gloria – Metrical setting to “Evelyns”)
Anthem: O thou the central orb – C.Wood
Psalm: This day was made by the Lord (A Gregory Murray)
Processional: Hail thee festival day (Salve Festa Dies)
Gradual: Jesus Christ is risen today (Easter Hymn)
Offertory: The day of resurrection (Ellacombe)
Communion: Christ the Lord is risen again (Wurtemburg)
Post-Communion: Thine be the Glory (Maccabeus)
Postlude: Fugue in D minor – J.S.Bach


On February 12th I attended a concert given by the choir of Christchurch Priory in New Milton, a New Forest town between Southampton and Bournemouth. New Milton was my home for twenty years and is still my mother's. Although there has been a church on the site since mediaeval times, the nave of the present Grade II listed church of St Mary Magdalene dates from 1832 while the chancel and Lady Chapel were added during the last century. The tower is older and dates from the 17th Century. I used to practice on the organ there and the Rector kindly gave me my own key so that I could come and go as I liked!

In his introduction, the Rector of New Milton mentioned that links between New Milton and Christchurch went back to the thirteenth century. In 1270, a wayside shrine was established in what was then just Milton where the Priors of Christchurch would come to celebrate mass. I was a member of the Priory choir from the age of seven and was later Assistant Organist. The current Director of Music is Hugh Morris; Hugh and I were both Organ Scholars at Cambridge and were students of the late David Sanger - I shall be singing at his memorial service in Cambridge at the beginning of March. The Priory is also fortunate to have the services of former Guildford Cathedral and Westminster Abbey assistant organist Geoffrey Morgan. Around thirty boys, girls and men gave polished performances of familiar and not so familiar items from their repertoire. The highlight for me was the Gloria written by Geoffrey Tristram, the former Priory organist who was my first organ teacher and my inspiration to take up the instrument. I remember singing the treble of part of this mass setting as a chorister in the seventies!

Mar 6th
10.00am Sung Eucharist - Sunday next before Lent (
Prelude: Death of Ase (“Peer Gynt”) – E.Grieg
Setting: Healey Willan (Gloria/Credo - Merbecke)
Psalm: Be a rock of refuge for me, O Lord – Fintan O’Carroll
Anthem: I give you a new commandment – Peter Aston
Introit: Ye watchers and ye holy ones (Lasst Uns Erreuen)
Gradual: A Celtic Alleluia (Christopher Walker/Fintan O’Carroll)
Offertory: How shall I sing that majesty (Coe Fen)
Communion: Lord of all hopefulness (Slane)
Post-Communion: Seek ye first the kingdom of God
Postlude: Praise the Lord, O My Soul – S.Karg-Elert

Mar 9th
8.00pm Sung Eucharist - Ash Wednesday (
Prelude: Meditation for Ash Wednesday – June Nixon
Setting: Merbecke
Psalm: Have mercy on us, Lord, for we have sinned (Stephen Dean)
Anthem: O Most Merciful – C.Wood
Introit: Just as I am, without one plea (Saffron Walden)
Gradual: Be thou my guardian and my guide (Abridge)
Offertory: Jesu, lover of my soul (Aberystwyth)
Post-Communion: Lord Jesus think on me (Southwell)
Postlude: Chorale Prelude on “Aus der tiefe rufe ich” – J.S.Bach (attr.)

Mar 13th
10.00am Sung Eucharist - First Sunday of Lent (
Prelude: O Lamm Gottes, Unschuldig – J.S.Bach
Setting: Batten (Credo - Merbecke)
Psalm: Have mercy on us, Lord, for we have sinned (Stephen Dean)
Anthem: God so loved the world – J.Stainer
Introit: Forty days and forty nights (Aus Der Tiefe)
Gradual: Be thou my guardian and my guide (Abridge)
Offertory: O love how deep, how broad, how high (Eisenach)
Communion: Lead us Heavenly Father, lead us (Mannheim)
Post-Communion: Guide me O thou great Redeemer (Cwm Rhondda)
Postlude: Toccata – E.Gigout

Mar 20th
10.00am Sung Eucharist - Second Sunday of Lent (
Prelude: Christe, du Lamm Gottes – J.S.Bach
Setting: Harold Rabson – Missa Quinta (Credo - Merbecke)
Psalm: May your love be upon us, O Lord (Anne Ward)
Anthem: O Saviour of the world – John Goss
Introit: Immortal, invisible, God only wise (St Denio)
Gradual: Christ whose Glory fills the skies (Ratisbon)
Offertory: Take up thy cross, the Saviour said (Breslau)
Communion: O love that will not let me go
Post-Communion: To God be the glory
Postlude: Trumpet Voluntary – John Stanley

Mar 27th
10.00am Sung Eucharist - Third Sunday of Lent (
Prelude: Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund – J.S.Bach
Setting: Adrian Batten (Credo - Merbecke)
Psalm: O that today you would listen to God’s voice (F.O’Carroll/A.Gregory Murray)
Anthem: O Strength and Stay (Bourgeois)
Introit: Dear Lord and Father of mankind (Repton)
Gradual: Father hear the prayer we offer (Sussex)
Offertory: I heard the voice of Jesus say (Kingsfold)
Communion: As the deer pants for the water
Post-Communion: Great is thy faithfulness
Postlude: Overture (“Messiah”) - Handel


2011 would have been the 100th birthday of French composer Jehan Alain. He was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in the western suburbs of Paris on February 3rd 1911 into a musical family. His father Albert was an organist and pupil of Louis Vierne and his three siblings were also to become musicians, most notably his organist sister Marie-Claire. From the age of thirteen, Jehan was assisting his father on the organ at the local church and in 1927 he joined the Paris Conservatoire, studying the organ with Marcel Dupre and composition with Paul Dukas (composer of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"). He graduated in 1936 with numerous first prizes and in the same year was appointed organist at Saint-Nicholas de Maisons Lafitte. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Alain became a dispatch rider in the French Army. On June 20th 1940, he encountered a group of German soldiers and engaged them, killing sixteen before being killed himself at the age of just twenty nine. He was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre for his bravery. His "Variations sur un thème de Clément Janequin" was written in 1937 and was first performed at L'Eglise de la Trinité in Paris the following year.

Feb 6th
10.00am Sung Eucharist - 5th Sunday before Lent (
Prelude: Sicilienne - Paradis
Setting: St Edmund's Mass - Arthur Rogers (Gloria/Credo - Merbecke)
Psalm: The Good Man is a Light - A.Gregory Murray
Anthem: I Give You a New Commandment - Peter Aston
Introit: Onward Christian Soldiers (St Gertrude)
Gradual: Come Holy Ghost, Our Hearts Inspire (Crediton)
Offertory: And Can It Be
Communion: Soul of My Saviour (Anima Christi)
Post-Communion: Go Forth and Tell (Woodlands)
Postlude: Short Prelude and Fugue No 5 in G Major - att.J.S.Bach
Arthur Rogers is a former organist at St Edmund's and his mass is an effective and straightforward setting. Similarly the Peter Aston works well for two groups (SA and TB).

Feb 13th
10.00am Sung Eucharist - 4th Sunday before Lent (
Prelude: Ave Maria - F.Schubert
Setting: Harold Darke in A minor (Gloria/Credo - Merbecke)
Psalm: They are happy who follow God's law - Diana Fishwick
Anthem: Thou Visiteth the Earth - Maurice Greene
Introit: Love is his Word
Gradual: Jesus Lord we look to Thee (Vienna)
Offertory: There's a wideness in God's mercy (Cross of Jesus)
Communion: Spirit of God (Skye Boat Song)
Post-Communion: Amazing Grace
Postlude: Short Prelude and Fugue No 7 in A Minor - att.J.S.Bach

Feb 20th
10.00am Sung Eucharist - 3rd Sunday before Lent (
Prelude: Apres un Reve – G.Faure
Setting: Francis Jackson in G (Gloria/Credo - Merbecke)
Psalm: The Lord is Compassion and Love – Stephen Dean/A.Gregory Murray
Anthem: Teach me O Lord – Thomas Attword
Introit: Ye that know the Lord is gracious (Blaenwern)
Gradual: All praise to Thee for thou O King divine (Engelberg)
Offertory: Come down O love divine (Down Ampney)
Communion: This is my body broken for you
Post-Communion: Forth in thy name (Song 34)
Postlude: Short Prelude and Fugue No 6 in G Minor – att.J.S.Bach

Feb 27th
10.00am Sung Eucharist - 2nd Sunday before Lent (
Prelude: Variations sur un theme de Clement Janequin – J.Alain
Setting: Harold Rabson – Missa Quinta (Gloria/Credo - Merbecke)
Psalm: In God alone is my soul at rest – Joan McCrimmon/A.Gregory Murray
Anthem: Look at the World – John Rutter
Introit: Great is thy Faithfulness
Gradual: Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord
Offertory: All creatures of our God and King (Lasst Uns Erreuen)
Communion: Earth’s fragile beauties we possess (Kingsfold)
Post-Communion: Praise the Lord, ye heavens adore Him (Austria)
Postlude: Short Prelude and Fugue No 8 in G Minor – att.J.S.Bach
The Alain was played in recognition of the 100th anniversary of his birth and it was a huge tragedy and loss to the music world that he was killed in the Second World War at the age of just 29.
Harold Rabson was organist at the church of St Silas the Martyr in Kentish Town in North London for over forty years having been baptised, confirmed and married there. His daughter is a member and former churchwarden here at St Edmund’s.
Next Saturday I will be singing at the memorial service to my former organ teacher David Sanger at Great St Mary’s in Cambridge.


In November, I played the organ at a concert given by the City of Leicester Singers in the church of St James the Greater in Leicester. The first temporary church on the site was built in 1881. Work on the current building started in 1899 and took fifteen years to complete. The impressive Italianate basilica was modelled on Torcello Cathedral on the Venetian lagoon. Elma Orgill, who sings with COLS, is a former St Edmund's churchwarden and also sang alto in the choir. The concert consisted of music by Vivaldi (Gloria), Haydn (Te Deum) and Hummel (Mass). The excellent three-manual organ was built by local firm Stephen Taylor & sons and dates from 1923. It has been rebuilt twice, firstly in 1961 and then again in 2003. The City of Leicester Singers have around sixty members and was originally founded about fifty years ago. They give four major concerts a year.

My postludes for January and February are Bach's "Eight Short Preludes and Fugues". It is thought unlikely that Bach actually wrote these fine miniatures and they may well have been written by one of his pupils, Johann Krebs.

Jan 9th
Prelude - Prelude on "Dix" - Malcolm Archer
Postlude - Prelude & Fugue No. 1 - J.S.Bach

Jan 16th
Prelude - Prelude on "Stuttgart" - Flor Peeters
Postlude - Prelude & Fugue No. 2 - J.S.Bach

Jan 23rd
Prelude - Adagio for Strings - Samuel Barber
Postlude - Prelude & Fugue No. 3 - J.S.Bach

Jan 30th
Prelude - Adagio (Symphony No 3) - C.Saint-Saens
Postlude - Prelude & Fugue No. 4 - J.S.Bach


The word carol is thought to originate from the French word "carole" meaning "a song to accompany dancing" which were popular in the middle ages. The earliest carol, as a religious song for a particular season, dates back to the 13th century and the form developed over the following two hundred years. One of the earliest to survive in English is "The Boar's Head Carol", which describes the ancient tradition of sacrificing a boar and presenting its head at a feast, and which will be performed at the St Edmund's Carol Service on December 19th. Carols suffered a decline in popularity after the Reformation but survived in rural communities until the revival of interest in carols in the 19th century with such composers as Felix Mendelssohn ("Hark the Herald Angels Sing") and Arthur Sullivan ("It Came Upon a Midnight Clear").

For me, as I suspect for many people around the world, Christmas really begins with the service of Nine Lessons and Carols from the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge (above). This service dates from Christmas Eve 1918, although the format had been used in Truro Cathedral for the previous forty years. The service has been broadcast annually for over seventy years, even during the Second World War when the glass had been removed from the Chapel and the name of King's could not be broadcast for security reasons.

Earlier this year, the organ world was shocked to learn of the death of David Sanger. He was one of the world's most accomplished concert performers and a renowned teacher. I studied with David at Cambridge and he prepared me for my successful Fellowship examination at the Royal College of Organists. In March I shall be participating in a service celebrating his life which is being held at Great St Mary's in Cambridge. As a tribute, I shall be performing his "Christmas Rhapsody"- which contains references to no less than twenty carols - before Midnight Mass at St Edmund's.

Why not visit my Christmas page with loads of festive audio and video clips, including some from this article

Dec 5th
Prelude - O Come O Come Emmanuel - C.Hand
Postlude - Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland - J.S.Bach

Dec 12th
Prelude - Berceuse ("Peterhouse Chapel Windows Suite") - B.Ferguson
Postlude - Gottes Sohn ist kommen - J.S.Bach

Dec 19th (10am)
Prelude - Coventry Carol - Betty Roe
Postlude - Vom Himmel Hoch - J.Pachelbel

Dec 19th (6.30pm)
Prelude - Six Interludes on Christmas Carols - W.Lloyd-Webber
Postlude - In Dulci Jubilo - J.S.Bach & Toccata - C.Widor

Dec 24th
Prelude - A Christmas Rhapsody - D.Sanger (1947-2010)
Postlude - In Dulci Jubilo - J.S.Bach & Final (Symphonie I) - L.Vierne

Dec 25th
Prelude - In Dulci Jubilo - D.Buxtehude
Postlude - Sleigh Ride - L.Anderson


On my return journey through France this summer, I made my customary stopover in Paris. I always try to visit at least one church in the capital and this year I was drawn to La Madelaine (pictured above). The current building, based on the Roman Maison Carrée in Nimes and originally designed as a temple to glorify Napoleon's armies, was consecrated as a church in 1842. The organ was constructed by the famous French builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in 1846 and was his first to consist of four separate manuals. In 1849, the funeral of Frederick Chopin took place at La Madelaine with Louis Lefébure-Wely at the organ. Between 1895 and 1906, Gabriel Fauré held the post of organist, although he was assistant there for the previous twenty years. During November I shall be playing an arrangement of his famous Pavane.

To mark the recent publication of "Sing Praise", a new hymn book, the Church Times and the Royal School of Church Music commissioned a survey searching for the best hymn or song used in worship today. It was stressed that this was not a quest for the most popular or favourite hymn but one whose words and music combine to lift worship. The winner was "How shall I sing that Majesty" to the tune Coe Fen and we shall be singing this hymn at St Edmund's on November 21st. The words are by the seventeenth century clergyman and poet John Mason and the tune was written by Ken Naylor. Naylor was Director of Music at the Ley's School in Cambridge which is located next to a rural meadowland known as Coe Fen. Co-incidentally, Peterhouse, my old college, backs on to Coe Fen and my first year rooms overlooked these meadows. Second place in the survey went to Charles Wesley's "Love Divine" while Robert Bridges' "All my hope on God is founded" to Herbert Howells' great tune Michael was third.

Four years ago, "Songs of Praise" surveyed the nation's favourite hymns with "How Great Thou Art" coming out in first place, "Dear Lord and Father" in second and "The Day thou Gavest" in third.

Nov 7th
Prelude - Le Banquet Celeste - O.Messiaen
Postlude - Prelude in F Minor - J.S.Bach

Nov 14th
Prelude - Nimrod - E.Elgar
Postlude - Fame and Glory - A.Matt

Nov 20th (7pm St Edmund's Day)
Prelude - Rhapsody No 1 in D Flat - H.Howells
Postlude - Toccata (Symphonie V) - C.Widor

Nov 21st
Prelude - Pavane - G.Fauré
Postlude - Concerto in A Minor - J.S.Bach

Nov 28th
Prelude - Wachet Auf - J.S.Bach
Postlude - Crown Imperial - W.Walton


Reims was the first overnight stop during our recent trip to the South of France. A two and a half hour drive South East of Calais, the city - rather confusingly pronounced rance rather than reems - has an ancient history. It was founded by the Gauls and was a major Roman city. Reims Cathedral was the traditional site of the coronations of the Kings of France and as we were visiting on a Sunday we attended part of the Mass with the organ at the heart of the service.

In 1429, during the Hundred Years' War, Northern France was controlled by the English. There were two rival claimants to the French throne, Charles (VII of France) and Henry VI of England. A sixteen year old peasant girl, Jeanne Darc (Joan of Arc), has been hearing divine voices telling her that she must bring Charles north to Reims so that he can be crowned King. She leads the French forces against the English and successfully delivers Charles to Reims where he is crowned on July 17th 1429. Two years later, Jeanne is captured by the English who try her for heresy and burn her at the stake in Rouen.

Reims is also the centre of the Champagne region and the boasts the impressive headquarters of a number of grandes marques including Mumm and Pommery, which we saw during an interesting open top bus tour of the city.

Maria Theresia von Paradis was born on May 15th 1759 and died on February 1st 1824. She was a composer, singer, pianist and organist who was blind for most of her life. She established a music school for girls and was also instrumental in establishing devices used by the blind to score music. Her compositions included operas, cantatas, piano concertos, sonatas and songs. She studied with Antonio Salieri and Mozart wrote a piano concerto for her. Her most famous composition is the beautiful Sicilienne and is of slightly dubious authenticity. The piece was 'discovered' by Samuel Dushkin and several scholars believe him to have actually written the piece.

My brother and I performed this piece at Alex's baptism (hear it here) and I shall be performing it on October 24th on the occasion of his confirmation.

Oct 3rd
Prelude - Vocalise - Rachmaninov
Postlude - Toccata - Mushel

Oct 10th
Prelude - Andantino - Lemare
Postlude - Carillon Sortie - Mulet

Oct 17th
Prelude - Bailero - Canteloube
Postlude - Postlude in D Minor

Oct 24th
Prelude - Sicilienne - Paradis
Postlude - Sortie - Lefebure-Wely

Oct 31st
Prelude - Priere a Notre Dame - Boellman
Postlude - Toccata - Boellman


On Sunday September 19th, Cardinal John Henry Newman will be beatified by the Pope at an open air mass in Cofton Park in Birmingham, Newman's adopted home and final resting place, during the Pontiff's four-day visit and I shall be playing the Prelude from Elgar's "The Dream of Gerontius" on that day in honour of this event.

Born in London in 1801, cleric and poet John Newman was ordained into the Church of England in 1825. He was a major figure in the Oxford Movement and coverted to Roman Catholicism in 1845. He founded the Birmingham Oratory in 1848 and was made a Cardinal in 1879. His most famous poem, "The Dream of Gerontius", written in 1865, concerns the prayer of a dying man and his soul's subsequent journey towards judgement and purgatory. In 1900, Edward Elgar used the poem for his oratorio "The Dream of Gerontius" which was first performed in Birmingham Town Hall. The poem includes the hymns "Praise to the Holiest in the Height" and "Firmly I Believe and Truly". He also wrote the hymn "Lead Kindly Light" during a voyage from Sicily to Marseille following a serious illness.

Beatification is the first stage in becoming a Saint. In 2001, Jack Sullivan, an American deacon, attributed his recovery from a spinal cord disorder to Cardinal Newman. This alleged miracle was investigated and approved by the Vatican and has paved the way for his forthcoming beatification which will give him the title "Blessed". A second miracle must then be established before he can become the first British Saint for forty years.

Sep 5th
Prelude - Allegretto Grazioso - F.Bridge
Postlude - Allegro Marziale - F.Bridge

Sep 12th
Prelude - Lyric Melody - C.Armstrong Gibbs
Postlude - Jubilate Deo - C.Armstrong Gibbs

Sep 19th
Prelude - Prelude (The Dream of Gerontius) - E.Elgar
Postlude - Cantabile (Op 3 No 1) - E.Elgar

Sep 26th
Prelude - Brother James' Air - H.Darke
Postlude - Final - L.Boellman

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