It is probably better not to order direct from INTRADA (based in Heerenveen, Holland). If the piece is published by INTRADA, I will order it and then send it on to you and you pay me ( either cheque or bank transfer) once I have worked out the price.
I suggest you make contact via the contact form on the website or else e-mail me. I will let you know the cost + postage and then send the music on to you. You can pay by cheque or bank transfer.
Words; Paul Gerhardt (1607 -1676)
For Soprano solo, Tenor solo S.A.T.B. Choir Organ 2 Horns in F Strings
The composition of The Langwasser Cantata was a result of a request for a piece in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Ev. Luth. Church in Langwasser, Nuremberg, Germany taking place in 2011. This was a culmination of a series of pieces composed as a result of the link between St Laurence's Church, Ludlow (where Richard Francis was organist) and the Ev. Luth. Church in Langwasser. The hymn by Paul Gerhardt forms the basis of the composition along with the associated tune by Johann Crüger, dating from 1653.
The Langwasser Cantata is dedicated to Pastor Hans-Willi Büttner, Martin Schiffel (The Director of Music at Langwasser), Kantorei Langwasser, and all concerned with worship at the church. The first performance of the Cantata took place on May 15th, 2011 at a concert of music by Richard Francis. The soloists were Cornelia Schiffel (Soprano), Simon Hochburger (Tenor), Martin Schiffel (organ), Jochen Weiss and Marlene Kellner (horns), Kantorei Langwasser and Kammerorchester of the Paul Gerhardt Church. The performance was conducted by Richard Francis.
The Cantata makes use of all 18 verses of the hymn, appearing at various points throughout the piece interspersed with original material. The musical language is freely tonal and the music for the choir is not too demanding. There is very little divisi. The chamber orchestra plays an integral role in the piece and the organ has considerable importance throughout. The whole piece is dominated by a forward flow of celebration and radiance in keeping with the original words.
The Praeludium (Prelude) to The Langwasser Cantata was written as a piece to be played before a performance of the complete Cantata. This 8 minute piece for organ makes use of themes incorporated into the Cantata.The Prelude was first performed by Martin Schiffel (Director of Music at Langwasser) at the performance of the complete work on May 15th, 2011.
The Five Variations and Final March based on a Praeambulum by Heinrich Scheidemann were composed for the Nuremberg Barockbläser directed by Otto Gittel. This brass ensemble gave the first performance at a concert of music by Richard Francis on May 15th, 2011 at the Ev. Luth. Church at Langwasser, Nuremberg, Germany. The arrangement for organ was revised in 2013 and now appears under the title HERR SCHEIDEMANN'S DELIGHT.
Heinrich Scheidemann was one of the leading organ composers of the early to mid 17th century and was a founder of the North German organ school of composers. He was an important predecessor of Buxtehude and Bach. He studied with Sweelinck in Amsterdam and from 1625 was organist of St Kathrinen in Hamburg. The Praeambulum no.3 in D minor, on which the piece is based, lasts some 16 bars of 4 part polyphony. The Variations 1 and 2 are contemporary in style before a re-statement of the Praeambulum occurs (now elaborated).Variation 3 is a Pasadoble and Variation 4 a Galop. Another re-statement of the Praeambulum takes place (now in 5 parts) before Variation 5 appears as a Siciliano.The humorous Final March has Wagnerian overtones and includes a quotation from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance thrown in for good measure!
The suite for organ On from Vézelay was the second piece inspired by the region of Burgundy, France. The first was The Archangel of the Judgement composed in 2008. Both pieces received their first performances by Anthony Gritten. Richard and Barbara Francis met Anthony and Adele Gritten for the first time back in the summer of 2006 whilst staying with their friends Robert Purdie and Elisabeth Calman at Arcenay, a tiny village in the Morvan region of Burgundy. Whereas The Archangel of the Judgement was a virtuoso composition written in 2008 for performance on the Klais organ of St John, Smith Square, London, the suite On from Vézelay is much less virtuosic and was inspired by the famous basilica at Vézelay and its associated history.
Campus Stellae (Compostela) is concerned with the martyrdom of St James and his eventual burial at Compostela. St Mary Magdalene, whose relics came to Vézelay, is depicted in a simple melody with matching harmony. Coquillards (Pilgrims) alternates a Pilgrims march with a Song of the Jongleurs, a reminder that the Pilgrims on their way to Compostela were well rested and entertained at Vézelay. Dieu le veut (God wills it) was the cry of the crusaders who left from Vézelay on their journey to the Holy Land. A loud fanfare precedes the ensuing march. A Stone Hurrah is a title given by Claudel to the statue of an angel carrying a horn which is visible among the pillars of the basilica. This is the most mystical movement in the suite and the closing section quotes the main material of the previous movements. On from Vézelay is dedicated to Robert Purdie and Elisabeth Calman.
The premiere of On from Vézelay took place on November 26th, 2011. Anthony Gritten played the organ of Malvern Priory. It was played again by the same performer at a recital in St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol in February 2012.
Diddlebury Chimes is a short piece of occasional music for organ composed for the Millenium of the Church to which it is dedicated. Following his retirement from the position of organist at St Laurence's Church, Ludlow, Richard and Barbara Francis moved to Lower Corfton in the Corve valley and Richard Francis now plays the organ in Diddlebury Church.
The piece was written as a contribution to the Millenium weekend in September 2010 and is dedicated to Reverend Ian Gibbs, the long-serving Rector at that time (now retired) and all at St Peter's Church, Diddlebury. The first performance was given by the composer at the Millenium concert on September 15th, 2010.
Diddlebury Chimes is based on the 4 note pattern of notes provided by the bells of the church. The piece begins as a series of fragments and gradually builds up continuity culminating in an appearance of the hymn tune the Old 100th. It ends as a kind of free fantasia.
Toccatina for the Flute "a la Widor" is a short occasional humorous piece for organ composed under the influence of the famous Toccatina for the Flute by Pietro Yon (1886-1943) written in 1946. " a la Widor" is a short humorous re-working of the famous Toccata from Symphony no.5 by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) reduced to being played on one manual with an 8' Flute stop, with a solitary 16' stop in the pedals. The piece largely follows the contours of Widor's Toccata and is interspersed with humorous quotations from various sources including Rule Britannia, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, For he's a jolly good fellow etc. the first performance was given by the composer at a recital on the Wyvern organ in All Saints, Little Stretton on August 13th, 2013.
Mr W.T.Best's Grand Symphony of Liverpool was composed for Professor Ian Tracey, Organiste Titulaire at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral as a token of thanks for all his recitals over the years at St Laurence's Church, Ludlow (where Richard Francis was organist). The piece was conceived as a kind of grand organ symphony in the manner of Widor or Vierne making use of actual pieces composed by organists of the City of Liverpool. It was revised in July 2013.
The Introduction to the first movement is an original piece making use of the tune "Rule Britannia". This then leads into an adaptation of March for a Church Festival which W.T.Best wrote in 1882. William Thomas Best (1826-1897) was the organist of St George's Hall, Liverpool from 1855 to 1895. His recitals on the large Willis organ are the stuff of legends! Best's piece is taken from a collection of 36 pieces for Church use published by Novello& Co.
The second movement is based on an Allegro alla Marcia in D minor composed by Albert Lister Peace (1844-1912) who was W.T.Best's successor at St George's Hall, Liverpool. It dates from 1899 and appeared in the Novello series The Village Organist.
The third movement makes use of a gentle, reflective Elevation in F composed by William Faulkes (1863-1933), organist of St Margaret's Church, Anfield. It was published by Ashdown in 1901. In this version, the piece has been re-cast in the key of D flat major and there is some doubling of chords
The fourth movement uses the Trumpet March in F by William Herbert Jude (1851-1922) which dates from 1866. Jude was an Evangelist as well as organist and apparently wrote this piece at the age of 15! He played the organ at the Blue Coat Hospital in Liverpool and was also organist of Stretford Town Hall near Manchester. He was well known for his hymns and apparently wrote several light operettas as well. The Trumpet March is a humorous amalgam of Rossini with the Salvation Army!
A Grand American Fantasy for organ was designed as a present from Richard and Barbara Francis for their friends from the USA, Sid and Irene Ritman who live in Palm Beach, Florida and New York. The suite is something of a hybrid in that it starts with an original composition - a Toccata ( making use of The Star-Spangled Banner) and then leading on to two pieces taken from the Woodland Sketches Op.51 for piano composed by Edward MacDowell (1860-1908) written in 1896 - At an old Trysting Place and In Autumn. Following a reprise of At an old Trysting-Place, there is a link to the final piece - an arrangement of the march: "Golden Jubilee" by John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) composed in 1928 for a celebration in Philadelphia marking Sousa's 50 years of association with marching bands. The Coda to this movement contains more original music including a brief return to The Star-Spangled Banner. The suite was extensively revised in July 2013.
Identical to the first piece in A Grand American Fantasy except for the final Coda.
The pieces from Woodland Sketches Op.51 (1896) by Edward MacDowell used in A Grand American Fantasy - namely At an Old Trysting-Place and In Autumn are joined by To a Wild Rose and From Uncle Remus. The pieces are joined by linking-sections and there are a few editorial changes, but the pieces remain largely the same.
Largely identical to the last piece in A Grand American Fantasy but without the final Coda.
Piano Sonata no.1 "Fantasy Sonata" was composed in 1969 following graduation from the Birmingham School of Music and prior to study for a Dip Ed at Reading University. It was extensively revised in 2006 and was performed by Duncan Honeybourne at a recital in Bristol Cathedral in 2007 (the premiere) It was performed a further five times at venues throughout the country (by the same artist). The piece was dedicated to the memory of William Fellowes (who taught Richard Francis the piano at BSM). The musical language owed a lot to John Ireland - a major influence at that time.
Piano Sonata no.2 "Irish Memories" was written in November 2010 and dedicated to Duncan Honeybourne who gave the first performance at a recital in Waterford Cathedral, Irish Republic on April 17th, 2011.
The first movement Introduction provides the germ of the whole work - a pentatonic chord and a major triad. The static, calm opening gradually becomes animated leading into the Storm - a quasi Lisztian movement of immense bravura and following the contours of sonata form. The second movement is a set of short variations on the folk song: "Slane". The hunting Scherzo which follows is highly energetic and a reminder that Ireland has very good horse-riding countryside. The Finale - subtitled "Killiney Strand" is based on a folk tune: "Maggie Pickens" The movement gradually subsides and returns to the static germ-material of the opening of the 1st movement. Sonata no.2 "Irish Memories" is very much a reminder of the composers' several trips to Ireland, and is subtitled "in memoriam" to Aloys Fleischmann and Ernest John Moeran.
Toccata with Pauses was written in October 2011 and is the sixth composition for Otto Gittel and the Nuremberg Barockbläser based in Langwasser, Nuremberg,Germany. The piece is largely playful in character and notable for many changes in time signature and a series of abrupt pauses - hence the title! In the middle section (slower), reference is made to the Terrific Tango, an earlier piece composed for the group in 2002. Toccata with Pauses has been played in Langwasser during 2012.
2 Fl / 2 Ob / Cor Anglais / 2 Clar (B flat) / 2 Bassoon
4 Horns (F) / 2 Tr (B flat) / 3 Tromb / Tuba
Timpani / Bass Dr / Side Dr / Cymbals (clashed) / Woodblock
Glock / Celesta / Harp Strings
The Beauty of Sweden, a suite for orchestra based on Swedish folksongs, was composed between October and November 2011 and is dedicated to the celebrated Swedish conductor Herbert Blomstedt on the occasion of his 85th birthday in July 2011. The idea of composing this suite came about by the chance meeting of Richard and Barbara Francis with Gudmar and Margarethe Johannes at an organ recital at All Hallows by the Tower, London in May 2011 featuring a work by Richard Fancis. This is the fourth suite based on folksongs following on from The Pride of Scotland (1970) The Glory of Wales (1977) and The Splendour of England (2005). Gudmar Johannes kindly provided copies of the folksongs that were chosen. All of them would be known to Herbert Blomstedt. The four movements, as well as being based on folksongs, also contain brief quotations from Swedish composers - Stenhammar, Berwald, Alfvén and Dag Wiren.
This arrangement of the Grison Toccata for organ was one of a series of arrangements that Richard Francis undertook at this time (2011). The piece was written in 1877/8 and formed part of the second collection of pieces for organ. It was originally published by Edition Costellat but also appeared in a publication by Gerard Billaudot. In preparing a new edition, the text was largely unaltered but in certain parts a few editorial changes were deemed necessary. This edition is designed as an alternative to the Billaudot version.
The German composer Otto Dienel was born in Silesia and was a pupil of A.W.Bach. he became organist of the Marienkirche in Berlin, a position he held most of his life. His compositions for organ were mostly published by Novello in England between 1886 and 1893. He composed 4 Grand Sonatas between 1881 and 1893. In editing and arranging these sonatas, Richard Francis was aware of their failings (i.e.excessive reliance of sequences, thin thematic material, exceptional length etc) as well was their good qualities (some excellent contrapuntal use of thematic material, effective use of the organ etc). In editing the work, the text has often been shortened and some sections re-scored in order to make the pieces more playable and effective. This is solely the responsibility of the editor. Sonata no.1 dates from 1881 and its 1st movement is serious in tone and cast in sonata form. The solemn march (movement 2) makes use of the Chorale: Was Gott thut, das ist wolgethan. The vigorous final movement is probably the weakest movement but would seem to be improved by some judicious pruning of material.
The first performance of the new edition of Sonata no.1 in D minor was given by Michael Rhodes at the Victoria Hall, Hanley, Stoke on Trent at a Gala organ Prom on November 24th, 2012. He also played the piece at Bury Park United Reform Church, Luton on November 29th 2012.
Sonata no.2 in G minor Op.11 dates from 1885. The observations associated with the 1st Grand Sonata would seem to be relevant here as well. The 1st movement, again serious in tone, is cast in sonata form with a chordal second subject in the relative major key.The second movement, in G major, is a kind of "aria" making use of a solo 4' Flute stop. The Toccata-like opening of the Finale is not really strong enough to sustain the movement, in spite of some good fugal writing. Cuts have been made and hopefully the movement hangs together in a more convincing manner.
Sonata no.3 in F major Op.18 dates from 1889 and is cast in a much larger format than the previous two Grand Sonatas. The extensive first movement makes use of the Chorale: Wie gross ist des Allmächt'gen Gute. Originally lasting some 344 bars, the movement has been cut to make a performance length of about 9 minutes. The exposition repeat of the original has also been cut in this version. The 2nd Movement Pastorale in F minor has Schubertian overtones and alternates between the home key and the tonic major. The 3rd Movement Allegro returns to the original key (F major). The theme of the 2nd subject (in C major) is given extensive fugal treatment in the middle section. The appearance of the Chorale: Wie gross ist des Allmacht'gen Gute is disappointing in the original score, simply being presented in block chords. In this version, a moving pedal part has been added to maintain interest to the end.
The 4th Grand Sonata in D major, subtitled the "Christmas Sonata" Op.32 dates from 1893. The dedication is to Professor D. Freiherr von der Goltz, Vice president of the Evangelical Church Union and Pastor of St Peter's Church, Berlin. Each movement of the Christmas Sonata makes use of music associated with Christmas. Movement 1 uses the Roman Catholic hymn "O Sanctissima" (which is also known in the form of a German Christmas Carol). The 2nd Movement uses "Stille nacht" ("Silent night"), Franz Grüber's famous melody. The 3rd Movement makes use of the German Chorale "Vom Himmel Hoch", a Chorale used by J.S Bach several times over. The bold opening of the Christmas Sonata perhaps owes something to Handel. A new theme is launched in the pedals which is developed before the appearance of a more lyrical theme in the dominant. The Exposition repeat is retained. The development section is mostly concerned with the 2nd subject which eventually launches the Recapitulation leading to a statement of "O Sanctissima" which combines with previous themes. The 2nd Movement Pastorale opens with a gently rocking Trio. "Stille nacht" appears in the left hand while the right hand indulges in gentle arabesques. Eventually the texture is cast in 4 staves with imitating arabesque writing in the manner of birdsong. The 3rd Movement Allegro launches a vigorous opening theme and is another large-scale sonata movement. In order to tighten the structure, several cuts have been made in order to intensify the experience of the appearance of the chorale "Vom Himmel Hoch". The treatment of the Chorale by Dienel is rather pedestrian so additional movement has been incorporated into the pedal line, and the whole section given a more Wagnerian treatment thus adding to the culmulative effect of the movement as a whole.
Richard Francis was involved in the music in Bangor Cathedral, North Wales during his period of postgraduate study between 1977 and 1980. The Organist and Master of the Choristers, Andrew Goodwin regularly performed music by Richard Francis both choral and music for organ. In 2009, Andrew Goodwin retired from Bangor Cathedral and moved to Llangennech, near Llanelli where he married Alison Gunn. He is now associated with the music at St Mary's Church, Swansea where he is an assistant to Dr William Reynolds.On July 31st 2012, Andrew Goodwin gave an organ recital at St Mary's and following a discussion with Alison, the idea of an organ composition dedicated to Andrew based on Alison's favourite Welsh tune "Ar Hyd y Nos" (All through the night) became a reality. The piece was composed in August 2012 and given the title Reflections on Ar Hyd y Nos (All through the night). It begins with a harmonisation of the melody which is followed by a Bicinium (2 part) based on the tune. A peaceful section follows called Vision. The central section builds up to the grand climax of the piece and is of a somewhat agitated and disturbed nature, underlying the fact that dreams are not always peaceful and pleasurable! The harmonised section returns and the piece ends with a calm and tranquil epilogue.
The first performance took place at Bangor Cathedral on April 9th 2013 as part of a recital given by Andrew Goodwin on the organ he has known for many years. He later performed the piece at a recital in St Mary's, Swansea on August 6th, 2013.
In 2012 the organist Anthony Gritten (who has performed a number of works by Richard Francis) asked for a substantial piece to be written for the occasion of the 70th birthday of Gareth Lewis, his father-in-law who lives in Swansea, South Wales. The idea was for a piece to be played at a recital given by Anthony Gritten in February 2013, based on a Welsh hymn tune chosen by Gareth, to be followed by family celebrations at Gareth's home in Swansea. The resulting piece that was produced in October 2012 was called
The formal shape of the piece is as follows:
The final Toccata has a rhythmical theme with many changes of time signature which dances its way to an appearance of "Cwm Rhondda" in the pedals. The rhythmical theme is smoothed out in its reprise leading to a brief cadenza after which the movement dances its way to the stately final conclusion.
A Celebration of St Denio was written in December 2012 and January 2013 for the organist Anthony Gritten to perform at a recital in St Mary's Church, Swansea in celebration of his father-in-law Gareth Lewis' 70th birthday. The piece replaced A Grand Fantasia on the Welsh Hymn Tune "Cwm Rhondda" which on examination was clearly too long and too serious for the occasion. Anthony Gritten gave the first performance of A Celebration of St Denio as part of a recital at St Mary's Church, Swansea on February 23rd 2013. The piece was clearly what was required for that special occasion as the audience response was very positive.
A Celebration of St Denio is based on the Welsh hymn tune of the same name which first appeared in a collection dating from 1839 and having its origins in a ballad containing reference to St Denis, Bishop of Paris and Patron Saint of France who was martyred in the 3rd century AD. The tune was later given English words by Walter Chalmers Smith and is well known as Immortal, Invisible, God only wise.
A Celebration of St Denio lasts about 11 minutes and the musical language is tonal/modal and easily assimilated by an audience. The whole emphasis is on entertainment. It opens with a unison statement of the first line of the hymn on the Tuba stop and continues as an energetic fantasia. There is a sudden contrast in texture and a slower tempo leads to an expressive and somewhat sentimental middle section in which a soft solo stop meditates on the hymn with a gentle celestial accompaniment. After a Fanfare and brief Carillion based on the melody, a final Fugato further develops the theme before leading to a rousing complete statement of the hymn tune and a final stately conclusion.
Since the first performance, Anthony Gritten has played the piece in recital at St Stephen, Wallbrook (july 26th 2013) and St Mary Redcliffe (January 23rd 2014), York Minster (May 2014).
2 Horns in F
1 Trumpet in B flat
The idea of a Concertino Festivo for Piano and Chamber Orchestra came about during a visit by the composer and his wife to Germany when Richard Francis conducted the first performance of the Langwasser Cantata on May 15th, 2011 which he wrote in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Ev.Luth.Church in Langwasser, Nuremberg. The piece is designed to be a tribute to Martin Schiffel, the Director of Music at the Church in Langwasser who not only puts on choral concerts there but also concerts involving the Langwasser Chamber Orchestra. At a concert in 2012 Martin Schiffel was planning to include a Mozart Piano Concerto in the programme with himself as soloist. Concertino Festivo was written for use by him in any future concert when he might again be a solo pianist.
Concertino Festivo was written in September 2012 and lasts about 10 minutes. The piece is in three sections all following on from each other. Each movement is based on a German Chorale, and the piece makes reference to the Langwasser Cantata with which Martin Schiffel was very much involved with in 2011. The three Chorales used in the piece are Nun Danket alle Gott composed by Johann Crüger, Christ ist erstanden (12th century) and Ich singe Dir mit Herz und Mund also composed by Johann Crüger and used in the Langwasser Cantata. The piano part is not designed as a virtuoso display piece but fully integrates into the orchestral texture as a kind of Concerto Grosso.
Concertino Festivo is designed as a joyful, celebratory piece, easy to comprehend - 10 minutes of pleasure for both performer and listener alike!
A Dorset Divertimento was composed in September 2013 and consists of five pieces arranged as a suite, all making reference to various locations in the county of Dorset. The form of each piece is designed to rhyme with the place name. The Divertimento is dedicated to the concert pianist Duncan Honeybourne (who is also an organist). He lives in Weymouth, Dorset - hence the title. Duncan Honeybourne has performed music by Richard Francis on many occasions in the past, including the "Fantasy Sonata" and Sonata no.2 "Irish Memories". On September 21st 2013, he gave an organ recital on the very small organ at the church of Wyck Rissington neat Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire, as part of a Festival of English music, with which he is particularly associated. Duncan Honeybourne included in his recital Solemn Prelude on the hymn tune "Hereford" which Richard Francis composed in 2002 in memory of his good friend Rannald Ogston. As a token of his appreciation Richard Francis composed A Dorset Divertimento as a present for Duncan Honeybourne, in hope that he might perform the piece on a later occasion.
A Dorset Divertimento is written in what the composer would describe as a "retro style" first experimented with in "A Celebration of St Denio" - a flexible style involving use of tonality and looking back to music from the turn of the century (1900) but with a new slant, and meant to be comprehensive and appealing to the listener. Each piece in A Dorset Divertimento is relatively short and cast in the form stated in the title. The pieces can be used individually either in recital or as voluntaries.
A Shropshire Organ Book was completed in 2013 and follows a similar plan to the collection of pieces: A Dorset Divertimento, composed for the concert pianist/organist Duncan Honeybourne, also dating from 2013. The pieces in A Shropshire Organ Book all follow the same pattern - a musical form fitting the name of the chosen church. The collection is very much a personal document having strong resonances for the composer who in his time as organist of Ludlow Parish Church had connections with many of the village churches mentioned in the titles. The pieces are composed in what the composer calls his "retro style" used in A Celebration of St Denio and A Dorset Divertimento.
Many of the pieces in A Shropshire Organ Book make use of Victorian hymn tunes which appear in Hymns Ancient and Modern and are based on Morning and Evening worship. Many of these hymn tunes are fast disappearing and all are well known to the composer and have special memories. Those used include:
All the pieces in A Shropshire Organ Book can be played in recital (which would take about 60 minutes). They can be played separately or in a group in recital or can be used as organ voluntaries.
A series of transcriptions for organ of well known pieces by J.S.Bach. The Sinfonia from Cantata BWV 29is based on the latest Bärenreiter score and is as faithful to the original as possible without any "filling in". Two other movements are included from BWV 29 which could fill out a recital programme. "Sheep may safely graze" from BWV 208 includes the opening recitative. Again, the transcription is taken from the Bärenreiter score. The transcription of "The Air on a G string" avoids reference to the transcription made by August Wilhelmj (1845-1908) and makes use of the Eulenberg score and does not "solo out" the violin melody. The transcription of "Jesu, joy of man's desiring" again is based on the Bärenreiter score and does not put the melody into the tenor register "a la Harvey Grace". The chorale remains in 4 part harmony as in the original.
A series of transcriptions for organ of well known pieces by W.A.Mozart. The Menuetto from the "Jupiter" Symphony uses the Eulenberg score and preserves as much of Mozart's original as possible without "filling in". The transcription of "Ave verum corpus" attempts to preserve Mozart's integration of Chorus, Strings and Organ so makes full use of 2 manuals to remain as faithful as possible to this absolute gem of a piece. The Larghetto from the Clarinet Quintet can be played on a Clarinet stop or alternatively an 8' Flute + Nazard or Sesquialtera. As much of the use of 3 part chords in the accompaniment is preserved as possible and the only changes instituted occur when the chords go out of the compass of the fingers. The cello part is retained as an 8' stop not a 16'. Some shortening of phrase ends has been necessary during the scalic interchanges between clarinet and first violin. The Rondo from "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" preserves the chamber-like quality of the piece and makes no attempt to fill it out orchestrally. The tutti makes use of 8' and 4' pitches and the softer episodes use a contrasted 8' and 2'. As much of the original material is used as is possible without any additions.
Diddlebury Pieces were written between July and September 2014 and were specifically written to be played by the composer during services at the church of St Peter's, Diddlebury in Shropshire. The organ was built by Nicholsons in 1925 and has 2 manuals and pedals and 10 speaking stops. All the registrations given are related to this organ. These pieces are not just the preserve of the composer and can be played by any organist who can adapt the registrations to their own instrument. The individual pieces are dedicated to a number of people closely associated with the church. The music is of no great technical difficulty and the musical style can be best described as "retro-tonal". "Carillion" contrasts a bell-like motif related to the 4 bells in Diddlebury tower with a more formal march-like idea. "Cantilena" makes use of a flowing gentle idea. "Introduction and Fugue" has a short rather austere introduction before leading into a fugue in E minor which is again based on the 4 note bell theme. "Vision" is a short expressive piece based on a cantilena melody set over mysterious slow moving chords. "Toccata" uses a repetitive, almost minimalist idea to generate its culmulative energy.
Grand Concert Variations on a theme of Greville Cooke were specifically composed for the concert pianist Duncan Honeybourne who has done much to promote the piano music of Richard Francis ("Fantasy Sonata", "Characteristic Pieces", Piano Sonata no 2 "Irish Memories"). In February 2014 Duncan Honeybourne released a CD of piano music by Greville Cooke for EM records together with music by Holst and Vaughan Williams. Greville Cooke (1894-1989) was a remarkable man who as a pianist gave his first recital in the Wigmore Hall aged 11. He studied with McEwen and Matthay at the Royal Academy and went on to study music and theology at Christ College, Cambridge. As well as being a Rector of Cransley, near Kettering, Cooke still found time to commute weekly to London as a Professor at the Royal Academy. His last years were spent in North Dorset and he died at the ripe old age of 95. Duncan Honeybourne devoted much of his CD to music by Greville Cooke that was entirely neglected following on his crusade for other English composers who have not received their due.
The theme chosen for this act of homage to Greville Cooke is the hymn tune "Golden Grove" which Cooke wrote to accompany the hymn "Stand up, stand up for Jesus" (which unfortunately has been totally eclipsed by the ubiquitous "Morning Light" by G.J.Webb). The style of these variations is a sort of "retro-tonal" harking back to the time that Cooke lived. There is an element of pastiche but no particular composer is highlighted except possible late Beethoven! The whole aim of this composition was to provide a concert piece lasting some 12 minutes which might act as a supplement to the valuable work Duncan Honeybourne has done in promoting Greville Cooke's music.
Following a statement of the theme, Variation 1 (marked Fantasy) is a mixture of highly dramatic elements combined with stasis - a degree of virtuosity that Cooke might have approved. Variation 2 is a two part Invention loosely based on the theme. Variation 3 is a March placing the theme in the alto register. Variation 4 is a highly virtuosic canon at the octave. Variation 5 - In the manner of an Eclogue has a pastoral air about it and combines elements of impressionism with late Beethoven. Variation 6 is the Finale and is a Fugue in 3 parts ( hints of the "Hammerklavier" sonata but nothing like as long! Eventually the fugue subject attempts to combine with the hymn-theme to bring the piece to a joyous conclusion.
Hopefully, Duncan Honeybourne will premiere Grand Concert Variations on a theme of Greville Cooke sometime in 2015.
Diddlebury Pieces for organ - Volume 2 were composed between April and May, 2015 as a set of short organ voluntaries for use at the small church of St Peter's, Diddlebury, Shropshire. This is an on-going series and Volume 3 may appear at a future date. As in Volume 1 the pieces are all relatively short and can be played in services or on other occasions. In April 2015 the 1925 Nicholson organ was cleaned and regulated and a new Fifteenth rank (2') replaced the Great Dulciana (which is now in store).
The pieces are registered for the Diddlebury organ but can be adapted to any organ. The music is of no great technical difficulty and the style can be best described as "retro-tonal" ( i.e. suggestions of the past but with one or two surprises!). "Processional" is a majestic piece in triple time and could be very suitably played at a Wedding for the entrance of the bride. "Soliloquoy" is a soft Trio using a theme which fluctuates between minor and major mode."Fantasia" makes use of scalic patterns with mixolydian overtones. "Elegy" is a profoundly personal piece written in memory of a childhood friend - Johnny Brazier who died tragically at the age of 14 in 1964. Memories of Johnny abide from our playful days in the late 1950s and early 1960s at Bouldon (near Diddlebury). "Hornpipe" has a hint of the nautical about it and was composed as a contrast to the 4th piece.
"Praise, my soul" was composed in May 2015 for the recital organist Anthony Gritten as a complimentary piece to "A Celebration of St Denio" dating from December 2012 and January 2013 which was premiered by Anthony Gritten in February 2013 in Swansea. The piece starts with an imposing majestic introduction before launching into a jazzy Allegro giocoso based on the hymn tune. A reflective slower section follows after which a fantasy section ushers in a brief repeat of the Allegro giocoso. There then follows a majestic Passacaglia leading to a triumphant conclusion. The piece lasts about 8 minutes.
The Suite for organ "The way to Montréal" was composed in June/July of 2015 and followed on a visit to Burgundy in 2012. The Collegiate Church of Our Lady of Montréal is situated on top of a hill near the town of Avallon in the Yonne district of Burgundy. The church dates from 1446 and is a place of pilgrimage.
Each movement of the suite is related to various artefacts in the church. "The Crowning of the Virgin" is a 16th century Burgundian painting probably by Nicolas de Hoey. "The Cross of Stone" is a superb 14th century stone cross moved to the Transept from the Cemetary. "The Rose Window" is a fine example positioned above the main gate to the church. "The Two Drinkers" is a wood carving on the stalls and was carved about 1522 by the two brothers Rigolley ( probably a self-portrait, a scene from Burgundian life - without inebriation!). "Our Lady of the Mission" is a Sortie based on a sculpture by Xavier Bouzerand of Beaune dated 2007, designed to be carried in procession during a Festival of the Virgin. This final piece makes use of the plainchant "Regina Coeli". The Suite lasts about 15 minutes in performance.
This piece is an arrangement (dating from June 2015) of piece no.58 from the "Skovgaard Frescoes" and is intended to be a Finale for the organ pieces centred around Burgundian themes. It is at once colourful, rhythmic and virtuosic, making use of the tune "O Filii et Filiae" (O Sons and Daughters) as well as making reference to the theme of Jehan Alain's piece "Litanies"). It lasts about 6 minutes.
"Mystical Vision" for organ dates from September 2007 and is dedicated to Serena Derrett, the wife of concert organist Paul Derrett. The piece was included on Paul Derrett's double CD of the organ music of Richard Francis which he recorded in 2007 at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. The form of "Mystical Vision 2" is largely similar to the earlier pieces but the main differences are in the details. The ending is expanded in scope with the piece now reaching a major climax before subsiding into tranquillity. The new piece is intended as an Intermezzo forming a link between the Suite "On from Vézelay" and the second suite "The way to Montréal".
The whole cycle of works for organ based on the theme of Burgundy now becomes:
This arrangement for organ of the famous Canon by Johann Pachelbel was made in July 2015 to try and make a practical realisation of the endless crossing of parts of the piece composed for 3 violins and continuo. This version uses one manual only (plus pedals) and makes use of registration changes.