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Hyperion Records

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Bastille Day at Lorient (1892) by Henry Moret (1856-1913)
Galerie L'Ergasterre, Paris / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67458
Recording details: June 2003
Concert Hall of the Francis Winspear Centre, Edmonton, Canada
Produced by Paul Spicer
Engineered by Simon Eadon & Ron Yachimec
Release date: January 2004
Total duration: 8 minutes 6 seconds

'Herrick portrays it as a persuasive, powerful and utterly compelling entity in which every note holds the listener in thrall, while this huge 96-stop Canadian organ has more colour than even Liszt, in his wildest dreams, could ever have imagined' (Gramophone)

'He brings enthusiasm and boundless energy to whatever repertoire he tackles. Apt registrations, dexterous clarity, and phrase-making metrical verve inform his performances … The sound on this release is excellent' (Fanfare, USA)

'…other recitalists please follow suit!' (The Organ)

Variations on an Easter Theme 'O filii et filiae'
first performed on 31 July 1983

Majestic  [1'17]
A little slower  [0'40]
Slow  [1'23]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
John Rutter (born 1945) is a former Director of Music at Clare College, Cambridge. His fame as a composer and arranger of Christmas carols has tended to obscure his other works, and it is perhaps not generally known that he has written several works for the organ, including Toccata in Seven, God rest you merry, gentlemen, and the present piece, a relatively rare example of an organ duet, Variations on an Easter theme. The theme, ‘O Filii et Filiae’, is a traditional melody and was probably written at the same time as the text, which is by Jean Tisserau, a Franciscan friar who died in 1494. The first verse conveys the spirit of the whole text:

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
O sons and daughters, let us sing!
The King of Heaven, the glorious king,
O’er death today rose triumphing.

The variations are as follows:

4: Majestic theme on solo trumpet
5: A little slower theme on pedal reeds
6: Slow theme in high register, on solo stop; quasi-ostinato pedal
7: Fast and rhythmic theme in diminution
8: Slow and expressive B flat minor; theme varied, on solo stops
9: Fast — theme on trumpet, below toccata-like figuration
Broad and majestic — reeds
Fast theme on solo tuba

The work was given its first performance, by Ray and Beth Chenault (to whom it is dedicated), on 31 July 1983, at Washington National Cathedral, USA. Rutter’s title suggests something a little ‘churchy’, yet the music has much in common with the other works in this programme, especially the toccata-like figuration of the faster variations and the ‘bluesy’ harmony of the slow ones.

from notes by Relf Clark © 2004

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