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Glorious in Heaven

August 1925
author of text

Percy Whitlock (1903–1946) was assistant organist at Rochester Cathedral between 1921 and 1930 when he moved to become director of music at St Stephen’s, Bournemouth, a post he held for five years. In 1932 he was appointed borough organist at Bournemouth’s Municipal Pavilion, where he played regularly until his death. His name shone brightly as a performer and he earned a considerable reputation as a recitalist and broadcaster. Recent years have seen a renewed interest in his work – notably his substantial Sonata in C minor for solo organ (recorded by John Scott on Hyperion, CDA67470) and Symphony in G minor for organ and orchestra. The efforts of the Percy Whitlock Trust – of which John Scott is President – in promoting Whitlock’s work, together with Malcolm Riley’s recently published book about the life and work of the composer, have contributed to sustained public interest in his music.

Many of Whitlock’s organ pieces are still regularly to be found in recital programmes today – principally because the music is tuneful and well crafted, exploring the resources of the organ of the inter-war years to full effect. The tendency to conservatism in his harmonic idiom has been frowned upon, but in an era when various strands in contemporary composition have welcomed a ‘revisionist romanticism’ his music seems more congruous with the musical world than it did in the years immediately after his death.

Glorious in Heaven is a motet for use on saints’ days; it was written in August 1925 and was published two years later by Oxford University Press. It was first performed on 20 September 1925 at St Mary’s Church, Chatham, and is dedicated to the choir there. Scored for five-part chorus, it is composed in an unfussy melodic style, with plenty of variation in texture and interaction between the parts which serve to engage the listener’s attention.

from notes by William McVicker © 2005


The English Anthem, Vol. 8


Track 3 on CDA67483 [3'15]

Track-specific metadata for CDA67483 track 3

Recording date
16 March 2004
Recording venue
St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. The English Anthem, Vol. 8 (CDA67483)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: January 2005
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