I had not found a number of references to Mr Soorjoo Alexander
William Oliphant Chuckerbutty in the Musical Times, I would
not have believed that he existed. I would have been convinced
that, apart from being a resident of Ken Dodd’s Knotty Ash,
he was a pseudonym or perhaps even a ‘committee’ of musicians.
Yet seemingly he existed and spent his life both as a church
and cinema organist. He supposedly wrote the ‘better sort’ of
light music. However the Paean: A Song of Triumph is
certainly a good opener for any recital. Perhaps not the one
I would have chosen – but not bad at all!
as we all know wrote Six Pomp & Circumstance Marches
– I understand the last, a realisation, is still to be released
on CD to an expectant musical public. However the Fourth
is nearly as well known as Land of H & G and, if
I recall correctly, it was played at Prince Charles’ and Lady
Spencer’s wedding. Originally written for orchestra it was transcribed
by the dedicatee, George Sinclair, one-time organist at Hereford
Cathedral and friend of the composer.
German is one of the forgotten names of British music. Most
often remembered for the light opera Merrie England,
he has a quantity of fine orchestral pieces to his name, including
two symphonies. However the first of the present offerings from
this composer derives from the incidental music for Henry
VIII. Not great music perhaps, but competent and evocative
of an earlier age seen through the eyes of an Edwardian master.
second German number is the Coronation March and Hymn
written for the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary.
It remained in the repertoire for a number of years and was
used at the 1937 Coronation for the arrival of the dowager Queen.
me, O Lord, from The Lost Chord! Do not get me wrong
- I love the music of Sir Arthur Sullivan. But not this – it
is the most sugary piece of Victorian tat in the repertoire.
I would rather Mr Setchell had played ‘Buttercup’s Song’ from
HMS Pinafore or “Skipping Hither, Skipping Thither” from
Iolanthe. Anything but this wretched tune! But it will
be, I suppose, somebody’s cup of tea - my late father used to
Spicer’s The Land of Lost Content is a masterpiece. It
was written especially for this recording and I presume dedicated
to the Mr Setchell. The composer told me that he completed it
in December 2006. It is really a short tone poem that explores
both the landscape of the ‘Shropshire Lad’ and “the regret,
longing, the unease and the whole issue of loss in war” about
which A.E. Housman wrote. It is musically in the tradition of
West of England organ music and deserves to be played often
– both in Shropshire and the rest of the country.
am not too sure why Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite is
excerpted on this disc. Good as it is, I am not convinced that
it needs to be ‘dished up’ for organ. It is seriously good for
string orchestra and there is plenty of original music for organ!
However, they are well transcribed by Setchell.
Charles Burney was a Shrewsbury man. His fine Introduction
and Voluntary for Cornet Stop should be in the repertoire
of all organists – assuming that they have a suitable ‘cornet’
stop on the pipe rack!
well known Toccata by Robert Prizeman that introduces
the infuriating (recording the Christmas programme in July type
of thing) television programme ‘Songs of Praise’ is a good choice
for this semi-popular CD of organ music. The only problem with
this work is that it tends to lose interest in itself beyond
the opening credits!
Gardner’s ‘irreverent’ Jig (No.3 of Five Dances) is fun
and has a slight touch of ‘blue note’ jazz. No doubt somebody
would be traumatised if it was played at Evensong: my Uncle
Eric was seriously chastised by the church officer for playing
Tiger Rag in Methodist church in Ashton-under-Lyne just
before the war! I think it was the glissando ‘roar’ on the pedals
rather than the tune that caused the problem - so perhaps Gardner’s
piece may only raise the odd eyebrow!
Walford Davies is usually remembered for the Solemn Melody
used at the Remembrance Day Parade in Whitehall. However the
fine Coates-like RAF March Past is in a totally different,
secular vein. But did you know that he wrote a Symphony
last work in this pot-pourri is a pot-pourri in its own write
(right). Magnificently entitled Introduction & Grand
Concert Variations on a Hymn Tune by Sir Arthur Sullivan (the
not-so-young-person’s guide to the organ) it lasts a good
sixteen minutes. It is a sweeping up of a gross of different
styles and a dozen quotes from famous organ and orchestral works.
Too many to itemise – but look out for Widor – you cannot really
miss him. Just the sort of piece to bring the house – or perhaps
the Cathedral or Parish Church - down after a serious (mind
numbing?) evening of Reger or Bach or Hindemith!
is a good CD featuring a number of composers who were born in,
live/lived in or had associations with Salop. As a compilation
it is very much a mixed blessing. However the good parts will,
I guess, be seen differently by various listeners.
production, good booklet complete with organ specification and
historical notes. The playing is superb and the sound quality
very good if a little quirky.
it did interest me to read that Oliphant Chuckerbutty can be
anagram-ised to “Pick truly hot Bach tune” – I wonder…