Organ Concert – Thursday 23rd June 2022 – Norman Harper

St John Upper Norwood 23 June 2022

Cecilia McDowall b 1951 – Church bells beyond the stars

Fantasia – attributed to William Smith 1603-1645 edited  by Andrew Fowler

Chorale preludes for the Eve of St John Baptist:

Diderik Buxtehude 1637-1707 – Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam  BuxWV 180

Johann Sebastian Bach 1685-1750  – Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam  BWV 684 & 685

Alan Ridout 1934-1996  – Three Nativity Dances

Peter Tranchell 1922-1993 – Sonata for organ (1958)

Preludio Allegro molto ~ Andante ostinato ~ Tu es Petrus in Fuga

Thomas Hyde b 1978 – Lucis Creator (from Suite on Plainchant Themes)

Joseph Bonnet 1884-1944 – Elfes (Douzes pièces)

Max Reger 1873-1916 – Halleluja! Gott zu loben, bleibe meine Seelenfreud Op 52 No 3

Norman Harper was born in south Essex and was organ scholar at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge. He studied organ with Peter le Huray and Gillian Weir, and composition with Peter Tranchell. Later he studied organ with Noel Rawsthorne and David Sanger.

Following a career as recitalist, accompanist, teacher and choral director, Norman was appointed to the music staff of St George’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Southwark where he served as organist and director of music. During this time he accompanied and directed broadcasts of choral services on BBC radio and television, and released two CDs with the cathedral choirs: Music for the Mass (Priory) and Christmas at St George’s (Regent). Both recordings include contemporary works, some of which were composed especially for St George’s Cathedral choristers and lay clerks, and which were previously unrecorded and unpublished.

Norman has performed in cathedrals, churches, collegiate chapels and many other major venues in the UK, America, Europe and Australia, and has broadcast solo organ recitals on BBC Radio 3. His CD recordings include works by J.S.Bach, W.A.Mozart, Johannes Brahms, Nicolaus Bruhns, Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers, François D’Agincour, André Raison, Flor Peeters, William Russell, Timothy Craig Harrison and Thomas Hyde. A new CD of British organ music, Church bells beyond the stars, is due to be released on the Signum Classics label, including some of this evening’s programme.

The Sonata for Organ by Peter Tranchell, a former Precentor of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, was written in 1958 for Peter Geoffrey le Huray, a fellow lecturer in the Music Faculty of Cambridge University, and Director of Music at St Catharine’s College. The music is closely based on the dedicatee’s name, using A-H for pitch, and the remaining letters as Morse Code Rhythms; the third movement makes extensive use of the plainchant Antiphon Tu es Petrus. This performance is one of several being given this summer to mark the centenary of Peter Tranchell’s birth.

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