Organ music


op 3 Diptych (sostenuto, allegro pomposo) 1965

This was my first attempt at writing organ music and was performed in Big School at Whitgift in my last term as a pupil, in Autumn 1965. There are two movements, one slow and gloomy and one fast and tuneful.

op 20 October Music 1969

(recorded on Wealden LP WS206)

This piece was an attempt to develop a large-scale form by contrasting static music with 'dynamic' music, and was composed at Cambridge in October 1969 as part of my MusB portfolio. It was recorded on an LP made at Marlborough College in 1978.

op 26 Paean

This short but eventful and exultant piece was recorded on the organ of Leeds Parish Church on the Amphion CD PH1 505

This piece was composed in 1972 for the wedding of the composer's younger sister, and was typeset in 2016 by the composer. 

(Pub. Typeset) Paean
op 39 Miniature Suite 1981

There are three brief movements: minute march, blue chorale, fanfare and epilogue (recorded on Amphion CD PHI 505). This was a commission from the Calne Festival for a recital, for which a 5 minute piece was requested - the Suite lasts for 6 minutes!

Miniature Suite 1981
op 43 Fantasy on “The Old Bath Road” 1975

This fantasia on the Marlborough College school song (by John Ivimey) was played at end of term services at Marlborough three times a year for about 20 years. It was recorded at Leeds Parish Church on Amphion CD PHI CD 503. It consists of an Introduction, 2 variations and a coda. (There is an orchestral version available.)

Fantasy on “The Old Bath Road” 1975
op 43 Fantasia on the Old Bath Road

This is a brief 'jeu d'esprit' in the form of an introduction, a statement of the theme (John Ivimey's school song, 'The Old Bath Road') and a variation, rounded off by a coda. It was performed at end-of-term services at Marlborough for many years, and was even orchestrated for concert performance. The organ original was later performed in Leeds Town Hall and recorded (live) in Leeds Parish Church in February 2000. The fantasia dates from around 1975, orchestrated in 1982.

Fantasia on the Old Bath Road
op 51 King Lear Fantasy 1990

This extended fantasia was derived from the music for Robert Avery's last production at Marlborough College, for which Christopher had devised and played music largely of clusters, fanfares and flourishes for the organ. A moment of relief is the gentle music of grief for the death of Cordelia. The fantasia has reworked versions of most of the theatre cues worked into a 13 minute continuous sequence.

op 54 Chaconne from violin sonata arranged for solo organ

This is a useful arrangement for organ of the slow movwment of the violin sonata op 54

op 64 Sonatina (Sonata no 1) 1998

This work can be regarded as the 1st Sonata (there is a second, op 106), and it consists of 4 movements: prelude (march tempo), adagio, scherzo (allegro), passacaglia (andante). It was written as a 50th birthday present for Isobel Rathbone. It was recorded im 2000 by the composer for Amphion on the organ of Leeds Parish Church. Newly typeset in 2016 for performances at Ilkley and Bathwick in March and April 2016.

(Pub. Typeset)
op 71 Toccata on “Puer Nobis” 1998

This exciting Toccata is based on the familiar Christmas hymn 'Unto us a boy is born' (heard on the pedal) and was composed a week before the 1998 carol service at Holy Trinity Meanwood where it was played by Peter Gunstone, who later also performed it at the RNCM in Manchester. The composer recorded it live in recital at Leeds Parish Church on Amphion CD PHI CD 503. E-mail the composer for a pdf of the typeset score.

(Pub. Typeset) Toccata on “Puer Nobis” 1998
op 77 Stations of the Cross

This is a suite of 18 short pieces, dedicated to Rev. Richard Wiggen (former Vicar of Meanwood) which can be used liturgically as interludes between meditations on the Stations, or may be played as a half-hour concert suite, with or without suitable readings to introduce each short movement. The 14 stations, plus an extra one, are followed by an interlude (the Harrowing of Hell) and a triumphant explosion of fanfares to represent Easter; the epilogue is a quiet reflection on what we have been through: prologue; 15 stations; harrowing of hell, resurrection/Easter alleluias/epilogue. This has been recorded at Leeds Parish Church by the composer on Amphion CD PHI CD 503. In addition there are private CD recordings of live performances in Ilkley and Bradford Cathedral (CBR) and in Leeds Town Hall (Simon Lindley, with readings by the composer). The music is now available in a typeset edition by the composer as a pdf, by return of e-mail.

(Pub. Typeset) Stations of the Cross
op 80 Scenes and Antiphons 2000

This is an attractive organ suite for the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany season, a series of 8 antiphons and 8 “pictures” lasting about half an hour, a poor man's 'La Nativite du Seigneur', if you like. The premiere performance was given by Simon Lindley at Leeds Town Hall in November 2000, and the second a few days later in the McEwen Hall at Edinburgh University by the composer. It was recorded by the composer at Holy Trinity Meanwood on Amphion CD PHI 504. Now typeset by the composer and available as a pdf by return of e-mail. 

(Pub. Typeset) Scenes and Antiphons 2000
op 83 Meanwood Suite 2001

The 4 movements of this suite are entitled Grands choeurs (maestoso e libero); Scherzetto (allegretto); Plaint (andante); Trumpet tune/chorale prelude on ”Nicaea”. It was written in 2001 for the re-opening recital on the enlarged organ of Meanwood Holy Trinity, given by Dr Simon Lindley.

The suite has been typeset; a pdf of the Sibelius file is available by return of e-mail. 

(Pub. Typeset)
op 86 “Tree” arranged for solo organ

This is a simple, useful arrangement of the work for 2 violins with organ accompaniment.

op 91 City of God - jazz variations on the hymn tune “Richmond'

There are 12 variations (recorded on Amphion CD PHI CD504) all inspired by various styles of Jazz.This piece has been recently performed at Bradford Cathedral and at Pembroke College Cambridge by Anthony Gray. It is available in Type-set form from the composer.It was recorded on an Amphion CD by the composer at Holy Trinity Meanwood.

(Pub. Typeset) City of God - jazz variations on the hymn tune “Richmond'
op 92 2 pieces from “Requiem” arranged for solo organ

Two movements from the Requiem op 92 have been arranged for organ solo, the opening Requiem aeternam and the Lux aeterna.

op 95 Variations on “Dundee” 2003

There are 12 variations, mostly brief, some jazzy, with three more extended 'homage' movements inspired by Bach, Messiaen and Peeters. (recorded on Amphion CD PHI 505). Now type-set and available from the composer as a pdf file.

(Pub. Typeset) Variations on “Dundee” 2003
op 96 Variations on “Virgin-born we bow before Thee” 2003

There are 12 variations based on the beautiful French psalm tune (recorded on Amphion CD PHI 505). The music is published by BJM.

(Pub. BJM) Variations on “Virgin-born we bow before Thee” 2003
op 102 Variations on “Angel voices” 2004/5

This is a mammoth piece(20 variations, lasting nearly half an hour) which has been performed a few times by the composer, and has also been taken up by at least one other organist! A judicious choice of, say, 10 minutes worth is recommended. The choice is yours...

A selection is recorded on a private CD live recording.

op 106 Sonata no 2 2006

This is a large-scale sonata in three contrasting movements, lasting 15 minutes. It has been performed by the composer in many venues including Bradford Cathedral. There are two private CD recordings of performances in Meanwood PC and St Margaret's Ilkley.

It has now been type-set by Philip Rayner.

(Pub. Typeset)
op 107 7 short pieces 2006

These 7 short pieces are easy to moderate, unpretentious!

    1. Processional

    2. Sad scherzo (in 5/8)

    3. Tempo di menuetto

    4. Andante

    5. Scherzetto orribile

    6. Adagio (meditation)

    7. Toccata

A CD was privately produced of the first complete concert performance at Ilkley in February 2014. The pieces are now available in type-set form (pdf file) from the composer.

(Pub. Typeset)
op 109 A baker’s dozen of hymn-tune pieces for organ 2008

A cornucopia of preludes, postludes and variations:

Preludes on 'Lasst uns erfreuen'; Helmsley; Passion Chorale; 'A Virgin Unspotted'; Fulda; Gibbons's Song 1; Southwell

Postludes on Vulpius; Come Holy Ghost; 'Iste Confessor'; St Denio

Variations on 'Was Lebet'; Redhead no 46

This is a useful and very varied set of hymn-tune inspired pieces which should be at every organists elbow!

Several of the pieces have been recorded on private CDs of live concert performances at Ilkley and Bradford Cathedral, including the two extended variation sets. All are now available in type-set form from the composer.

(Pub. Typeset)
op 110 Adagio and allegro for organ duet 2008

This is a short duet dedicated to Stephen Power and frequently performed by him with the composer in their duet recitals.The first performance was given in Bradford Cathedral in October 2008.

This is now available as a type-set pdf from the composer at rathbone.c@btinternet.com

(Pub. Typeset)
op 113 Southwell Suite 2009

Five movements based on H.S.Irons's hymn tune 'Southwell', composed to celebrate Paul Hale's 20 years as rector chori and first performed by him in Southwell Minster on 3.v.10.Since then it has been heard in Bradford Cathedral, Llandaff Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral, Rochdale Town Hall and at the dedication of the new organ in St Peter's Nottingham (Paul Hale) and in St Giles's Cathedral, Edinburgh and elsewhere (CBR). It was type-set (not quite complete) by Stephen Power; the composer has made a revised version now available on a pdf file, in preparation for his performance at Halifax Minster in August 2016. It was recorded at Southwell Minster by Paul Hale for OxRecs in 2013 (OXCD-120)

The disc 'Southwell Splendour' was reviewed in the Organists Review, the Gramophone and Cathedral Music. Malcolm Riley in 'Gramophone' comments that the 'melody undergoes an exhaustively (though entertainingly) wide range of treatments and transformations, before rounding off the disc with (a) rousing Toccata'. Tim Rogerson in 'Cathedral Music' also refers to the 'exciting toccata'.

(Pub. Typeset)
op 128 Prelude and fugue

A 7-8 minute solo organ piece in a traditional form! First played in a service in August 2013, then in recital on 4.ix.13 at the Predigerkirche in Erfurt and on 6.ix.13 at St Margaret's. There is a private CD recording of the last of these, as well as of a more recent performance on 4.ix.15. The composer has published the piece in typeset form, now available in electronic form. A performance is scheduled for Bradford Cathedral on March 23rd 2016. 

(Pub. Typeset)
op 131 A Wantage Suite for solo organ

This suite is dedicated to the Community of St Mary the Virgin at Wantage. There are three movements, all related to the community, and the sad necessity for moving in the near future, as their wonderful Victorian buildings are too large for the remaining numbers of Sisters. The Elegy expresses this sadness. The fugue uses a subject derived from the musical letters 'CSMV Wantage'. The Prelude includes in the pedal the plainsong hymn 'Thee we adore'. The final Rhapsody uses the ancient hymn tunes: The Old 104th and Iste Confessor, and ending with a simple setting of the Salve Regina which Isobel and I enjoyed singing with the Sisters during the Octave of St Mary in August 2014. First performed at St Margaret's (and recorded by Stewart Smith) at the Advent recital on 5.xii.14.

1. Prelude and fugue

2. Elegy

3. Rhapsody on three ancient hymns

(Pub. Typeset)
op 135 Passacaglia and fugue

This is a major organ piece of about 10 minutes duration, composed over the last few months of 2016. The theme of both sections is the same: a 12-note theme gravitating around C major. The first performance is scheduled for Friday February 3rd 2017, 12.30 pm, at St Margaret's Ilkley.

(Pub. Typeset)
op 136 Fantasia for a dancing queen

This short piece was originally improvised at the funeral of Gillie Normington in March 2017, and written down in a fully worked out version in early April, and played (as an encore) at the monthly organ recital at St Margaret's on 7.iv.17. It acknowledges a debt to ABBA and is dedicated to the memory of Gillie.

(Pub. Typeset)
op 137 Two chorale preludes for the Orgelbuchlein Project

These two little preludes are my submission to the Orgelbüchlein project to complete Bach's projected but unfinished set. Mine are no 137, Christus der ist mein Leben, and no 115, Es spricht der unweisen Mund.

(Pub. Typeset)