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Hyperion Records

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Dieppe, 14 July 1905: Night by John Duncan Ferguson (1874-1961)
Reproduced by courtesy of the National Gallery of Scotland / C Perth and Kinross District Council Museum & Art Gallery Department
Track(s) taken from CDA66605
Recording details: February 1992
St Bartholomew's Church, New York, USA
Produced by Paul Spicer
Engineered by Christopher Greenleaf
Release date: July 1992
Total duration: 11 minutes 6 seconds

'Hyperion's organ recordings are in a class of their own, and this wonderfully mixed bag of goodies … represents unparalleled value for money. I doubt whether any of these pieces has ever been played better' (Gramophone)

'Herrick's performances need no recommendation to those already acquainted with his dazzling skills' (The Good CD Guide)

Variations on a theme of Herbert Howells, Op 87
Howells's 'Lambert Clavichord'

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Derek Bourgeois was a lecturer in the music faculty of Bristol University before becoming director of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. As a composer he is an accomplished symphonist and has a particular affinity with brass instruments. He was a composition pupil of Herbert Howells whose church and organ music claim a firm place in the repertoire of the Anglican cathedral tradition and who was born not far from Bourgeois’ home in the Forest of Dean. When Bourgeois was commissioned by the composer William Mathias to write an organ work for the 1984 North Wales Festival, Howells had recently died, so Bourgeois composed these variations in homage. The theme of the four variations is taken from the Elizabethan pastiche ‘De la Mare’s Pavane’, part of a collection which Howells called Lambert’s Clavichord.

The first variation is a dynamic exercise in rhythm, and the second a siciliano. The third variation has the solemnity appropriate to an act of homage, but the fourth (‘very jolly’) is a modern Mephisto waltz, of Bacchanalian irreverence, which attempts to quote on the pedals a tune which proves to be a close relative of the pavane, namely ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’. Decorum is restored with a toccata-style finale, although the gentle clavichord theme ends the work, transformed into a vehicle grand enough to carry the weight of full organ.

from notes by Ian Carson © 1992

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