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Stanford: Organ Works

Tom Winpenny

Stanford: Organ Works

...featuring premiere recordings
RES10104 (Resonus Classics)
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Format
Track Time Listen
1
Fantasia and Toccata in D minor, Op. 57 - Fantasia

Fantasia and Toccata in D minor, Op. 57 - Fantasia

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
05:57 Play $3.40
2
Fantasia and Toccata in D minor, Op. 57 - Toccata

Fantasia and Toccata in D minor, Op. 57 - Toccata

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
05:54 Play $3.40
3
Canzona, Op. 116, No. 2

Canzona, Op. 116, No. 2

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
06:57 Play $3.40
4
Prelude and Fugue in E minor (1874) - Prelude

Prelude and Fugue in E minor (1874) - Prelude

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
04:44 Play $1.70
5
Prelude and Fugue in E minor (1874) - Fugue

Prelude and Fugue in E minor (1874) - Fugue

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
05:07 Play $3.40
6
Prelude (in form of a Chaconne), Op. 88, No. 2

Prelude (in form of a Chaconne), Op. 88, No. 2

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
05:25 Play $3.40
7
Intermezzo founded upon an Irish Air, Op. 189, No. 4

Intermezzo founded upon an Irish Air, Op. 189, No. 4

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
05:32 Play $3.40
8
Epithalamium, Op. 182, No. 5

Epithalamium, Op. 182, No. 5

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
02:00 Play $1.70
9
Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193 - Prelude in C

Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193 - Prelude in C

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
02:19 Play $1.70
10
Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193 - Fugue in C

Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193 - Fugue in C

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
03:04 Play $1.70
11
Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193 - Prelude in C minor

Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193 - Prelude in C minor

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
01:45 Play $1.70
12
Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193 - Fugue in C minor

Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193 - Fugue in C minor

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
02:06 Play $1.70
13
Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193 - Prelude in B minor

Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193 - Prelude in B minor

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
02:37 Play $1.70
14
Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193 - Fugue in B minor (Fuga Cromatica)

Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193 - Fugue in B minor (Fuga Cromatica)

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
03:41 Play $1.70
15
By the Seashore, Op. 194, No. 1

By the Seashore, Op. 194, No. 1

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
05:08 Play $3.40
16
In Modo Dorico, from Op. 132, No. 1

In Modo Dorico, from Op. 132, No. 1

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
04:45 Play $1.70
17
Postlude in D minor, Op. 105, No. 6

Postlude in D minor, Op. 105, No. 6

Composer Charles Villiers Stanford
Soloist Tom Winpenny
05:06 Play $3.40
Total Running Time 72 minutes Purchase all tracks 
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Prices shown in US Dollars

Tom Winpenny performs several premiere recordings upon the organ of Queens' College, University of Cambridge.

This album is licensed for download from Resonus Classics.   

Download includes - cover art

The combination of instrument, repertory and Tom Winpenny's immaculate playing is beyond reproach. [...] a worthwhile and utterly reliable set of reference recordings; it is to the great credit of Resonus that it has taken on this project.' International Record Review  

‘[...] they've managed to place the microphones in an excellent position to get the full interaction of instrument and acoustic.' BBC Radio 3 CD Review  

‘The crisp and rhythmic playing of Tom Winpenny, coupled with a colourful use of the unspoilt Victorian Binns organ (1892) at Queens' College, Cambridge, brings these performances of Stanford's organ works to life.' Gramophone  

‘[I] found the recording made at Queens' College [Cambridge] impressive [...] the notes comprehensive and lavishly illustrated.' Musical Pointers  

'[...] this recording now leads the field. [...] I look forward to hearing more from Tom Winpenny, here making his solo recording debut, and Resonus, who have now scored an impressive three out of three with their initial releases.' MusicWeb International


Booklet Notes:

Charles Villiers Stanford: Organ Works

For much of his career, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford's reputation was founded on his ability as a composer of considerable technical and creative mastery. As a pioneering professor of composition at the Royal College of Music (RCM), he and his colleague, Sir C. Hubert H. Parry (1848-1918), were responsible for cultivating the talents of the lion-share of British composers of note from 1883. As the musicologist and biographer, Jeremy Dibble, has already noted, however, we know little about Stanford's musical activities during his time at Cambridge and before. Moreover, the selective information contained within the autobiographical Pages from an Unwritten Diary gives only partial insight into Stanford's musical activities at Cambridge and reveals less still about the organ works he composed during this period and beyond.

By the time Stanford arrived in Cambridge in October 1870 as organ scholar at Queens' College, he had studied the organ with (Sir) Robert Prescott Stewart (1825-1894), organist of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin (1852-1894). Stanford, whose father (a successful Dublin lawyer) sang in the cathedral choir there, had been a keen observer in the organ loft at St Patrick's for Sunday Evensong, known as ‘Paddy's Opera'. According to Stanford's own testimony, Stewart was a virtuosic player whose capacity to commit music to memory was as legendary as his prodigious ability to play the organ music of Bach accurately at a faster tempo than was commonplace. As Stanford commented: Stewart's innovative ‘treatment of Bach ... was only an intelligent anticipation of the principles of phrasing, upon which Schweitzer la[id] such stress. Stewart applied the same method of "bowing" to his organ music, that Joachim and others have laid down in practice and by precept for the violin works.'

While Stanford did write two sets of evening canticles at Queens'-the service in F major and the service in E flat major-and it is likely that both were performed in the Old Chapel, choral services having been restored there from 1854-it was as an organist and pianist, rather than as a composer, that his reputation came initially to be established in Cambridge, possibly as a consequence of Stewart's guidance as a teacher and performer.

During these early years in Cambridge a series of circumstances conspired to initiate Stanford's meteoric rise. In 1871, while still an undergraduate, he was elected Assistant Conductor of the Cambridge University Musical Society (CUMS) to aid the valetudinarian John Larkin Hopkins (1819-1873) who was CUMS conductor and organist of Trinity College (18561873). Stanford moved to Trinity as Hopkins's assistant in 1873. Upon Hopkins's death the same year, Stanford was appointed to both posts from 1874. As conductor of CUMS, he introduced women into the chorus and set about improving standards and modernising the repertoire. As organist at Trinity, he continued the formidable recital series begun by Hopkins in 1872 as a showcase for the new German-system organ installed by William Hill & Son the same year. Hopkins's innovative specification for four manuals and pedals included an independent pedal division that comprised a principal chorus up to 4', 16' and 8' reeds and a three-rank Mixture; while unusual in the nineteenth-century, such a stop-list would not be out of place on an English cathedral organ in the twenty-first century. Not only was it a suitable instrument for playing Bach, it was sufficiently well-designed to accommodate Stanford's introduction of a broad repertoire of works specifically written for the organ from 1874 alongside the staple diet of orchestral transcriptions.

It is likely that Stanford's earliest extant work for organ, the Prelude and Fugue in E minor, was composed during his first year as organist at Trinity. Alan Gray is thought to have given the premiere the same year. Gray had just started as an undergraduate at Trinity: he assisted the able organist and fellow, Gerard Cobb who took charge of the music during Stanford's two, six-month sabbaticals to Leipzig and Berlin during 1874 and 1875. In January 1876, the Prelude was published in the Organist's Quarterly of Original Compositions; from 1887, it was taken on by Novello. The Prelude, a Pastorale based on a sonorous eight-bar melody set against a semi-quaver, quasi-Alberti movement in the left hand, is redolent of the ‘Allegro assai' in Alexandre Guilmant's Organ Sonata No. 1 also published in 1874. Both melody and accompaniment are then inverted before reappearing in E major. The Fugue subject is based on the melody in the Prelude; like the Prelude, it also begins in E minor and ends when the subject reappears, augmented, after a series of episodes and interludes, in E major.

In 1881, the publication of the first complete set of the organ works of J. S. Bach in England, edited by (Sir) Frederick Bridge (professor of organ at the National Training School of Music) and James Higgs, rescued them from relative obscurity in England. When the NTSM closed in 1882, Bridge transferred to the RCM where he and Stanford became colleagues.

Given these developments and what we know of Stanford's early musical training in Dublin, it is hardly surprising that both movements of his Fantasia and Toccata in D minor, Op. 57 pay homage to Bach, albeit through Victorian eyes. It represents his first large-scale, mature work for organ: composed in July 1894, it is dedicated to his colleague, Sir Walter Parratt. Both men had known each other at least since the 1870s when Stanford had invited him on several occasions to give organ recitals at Trinity. Since 1883, they had been colleagues at the RCM. Stanford's dedication marked the culmination of a series of honours received by Parratt during the 1890s. In addition to being an innovative chief professor of organ at the RCM, Parratt had been appointed Organist at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle in 1882. By 1894, he had been knighted (1892), made Master of the Queen's Music in 1893-a position he retained during the two subsequent reigns of Edward VII and George V-and awarded the Oxford degree of Doctor of Music honoris causa.

The Fantasia is modelled on Bach's Fantasia in G minor BWV 542: the five contrasting sections in Stanford's work correspond directly to the five sections in Bach's ‘Fantasia'. Stanford's liberal employment of diminished sevenths echoes the Bach as does the chromatic link-passage between the final, contrasting section of the work and its denouement. Stanford, however, juxtaposes the fantasia sections in common time with the contrasting, softer sections in compound six-eight time which suggest the influence of the ‘Andante sostenuto' from Mendelssohn's organ Sonata No. 6 in D minor (1845). In Mendelssohn's Sonata, the fantasia develops out of the opening chorale (Vater unser im himmelreich), and is contrasted with a twelve-eight section, at the same speed (crotchet = 63) as the softer sections in Stanford's ‘Fantasia'.

The Toccata falls into five sections and a coda: Allegro (bb. 1-149), Animato (bb. 149169), piu lento e maestoso (bb. 169-176), Allegro assai (bb. 177-193), Maestoso (bb. 194-203) and coda (bb. 204-215). The quasi-fugal pedal opening (bb. 1-8), which reappears in extended form at bb. 32-42, gives way to a virtuosic semi-quaver passage in the manuals that is redolent of the Fugue in C minor from the Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 (BWV 847). Towards the end of the long first section, the syncopated cross-play between the pedal and manuals, similar to those found in the final ‘Allegro molto' section of the first movement of Mendelssohn's Sonata No. 6, leads into a semi-quaver passage in octaves shared between both hands and feet before the short, master (Animato) re-statement of the original manual semi-quaver passage. This section (bb. 149-169), which ends with a series of contrary-motion scales, broken chords and diminished sevenths over a chromatic pedal line, reflects Mendelssohn's use of broken chords and diminished sevenths in the ‘Allegro molto' section of Sonata No. 6. A short link passage (piu lento e maestoso) in the Toccata' appears to echo the first contrasting section of Bach's Fantasia in G minor, before returning to the semi-quaver material of the previous section. The coda in Stanford's ‘Toccata', which is in minims, appears to reflect Mendelssohn's re-statement of the chorale melody in the final bars of Sonata No. 6.

The Prelude (in form of a Chaconne), Op. 88, No. 2 from Six Preludes for Organ was written in 1903 and published initially in The Vocalist (1903-5), with Breitkopf and Härtel c.1905 and by Stainer and Bell in 1913. This is one of a number of pieces written by Stanford to ‘satisfy the demands of publishers rather than his artistic aspirations' (Dibble, 383); however, it was a mutually beneficial arrangement as Stanford needed the income from royalties.

Stanford takes the eight-bar opening theme, which first appears in the manuals, and forms a ground bass in the pedals. He then variously sets the theme against quaver, triplet, syncopated and semi-quaver counter- themes until it re-appears successively in the right-hand and then the left. A rich harmonic tapestry of dominant and diminished seventh chords, by now typical of Stanford's writing, alongside coquettish rhythmic devices conspire to heighten tension towards the interlude into the final section, which resolves from E minor to E major via a German sixth. The theme, in the right hand, on full Great, is set against an interplay of quaver arpeggios shared between the left hand and pedals. The Postlude in D minor from Six Short Preludes and Postludes Set 2, Op. 105 No. 6, was composed in February 1908 and published the same year. Along with the publication of Six Short Preludes and Postludes Set 1, Op. 101 (published in 1907), and the Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, Op. 103, it represents Stanford's first collaboration with the new publishing house, begun in 1907, Stainer and Bell. By happy coincidence, Stanford's friend and colleague, the Irish baritone, Harry Plunket Green (1865-1936), was one of two members of the music selection committee at Stainer and Bell, where a concentration on areas such as small-scale organ and church music conspired to provide Stanford with the perfect opportunity to publish his work.

The Postlude in D minor begins with a grand statement of the ten-bar chordal theme. The second theme, which is modal in character, begins in the pedals in A major but soon makes its way back to D minor and a return to the opening material through a series of chromatic shifts. The lyrical middle section, in D major, develops the theme of the second section that leads into a link- passage incorporating a re-working of the initial statement in the major over a dominant pedal. This, in turn, modulates back to D minor and the appearance of a heavily-embellished and extended recapitulation of first section.

The Canzona from Te Deum Laudamus, Fantasia and Canzona, Op. 116, was composed in c. 1909 and published by G. Schirmer, New York, and Winthrop Rogers in London the following year. Originally sixteenth- and seventeenth- century in origin, the term Canzona had developed by the nineteenth century to describe a song or lyrical instrumental piece. From the late-nineteenth century onwards the term was applied to a movement from a large-scale work for organ. Stanford's Canzona is based on a lyrical melody in D minor. The use of ornaments in the opening section and the double-dotting in the second section suggest a passing nod to a bygone age, one with which he would have been familiar from his composition teaching at the RCM. The opening theme (Andante espressivo), which appears after a short introduction in octaves, is stated on a soft Swell reed before fragments are reworked in the major as the piece transforms into a more chromatic texture. The dotted rhythm in the Piu animato section, which begins in the pedals, introduces a new, march-like theme that finally leads into a recapitulation of the original melody, which is developed over a semi-quaver pattern before the reintroduction of fragments of the opening theme in D major, which softens in dynamic to a short coda.

In Modo Dorico, from Op. 132 No. 1, originally composed in 1912 as part of the Six Characteristic Pieces (1. In Modo Dorico, 2. Romance, 3. Study, 4. Roundel, 5. Romance & 6. Toccata) for piano, was published in 1913 by Stainer and Bell. The set is dedicated to the Polish pianist, and pupil of Liszt, Moriz Rosenthal (1862-1946), who visited England in 1895. Material from In Modo Dorico was extensively reworked as the Prelude to Stanford's final opera, The Travelling Companion (1916), published in 1917 by the Carnegie Trust, and for which the English poet, Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938) supplied the libretto. The Six Characteristic Pieces were arranged for organ by Stanford himself at the request of Stainer and Bell. Stanford's marking, Adagio molto e solenne, sets the scene and gives the impression of a solemn church procession. As its title suggests, In Modo Dorico is based on the first of the church modes. The opening phrase-a harmonized scale beginning on D-establishes the Dorian flavour from the start. The initial sections are liberally peppered with sharpened sixths (B naturals); indeed, the first flattened sixth (B flat) does not appear until b. 24. The modal effect is emphasized further still by the parallel movement of the texture up until the coda. Thereafter the modal sonority gives way to diatonicism and a series of roulades in F major ending in a perfect cadence in D and a tierce de Picardy in the final chord.

Epithalamium from Six Occasional Preludes (1. At Christmas-tide, 2. Occasional, 3. At Easter-tide, 4. Requiem, 5. Epithalamium & 6. At Eventide). Composed in 1921 and published posthumously by Stainer and Bell in 1930, they provide the organist with a piece for a number of church services. ‘At Christmas-tide' is based on the theme of ‘Adeste fidelis', while ‘At Easter-tide' is based on a fragment of the tune ‘Easter Hymn' from the Lyra Davidica (1708). The word ‘Epithalamium'-literally ‘upon' ('epi') the ‘nuptial chamber' ('thalamos')- refers to a form of poem written to a wife on her way to the marriage bed. Set to music, it is thought to have been a song of praise to bride and bridegroom and sung at the entrance to the marital chamber (or to rouse the couple from sleep the following morning), and interposed, from time to time, by a hymn of praise to the Greek god of marriage ceremonies, Hymenaios. That Stanford's Epithalamium echoes the beginning of Bach's setting of Jesu joy of man's desiring would not have been lost on church congregations of the 1930s. Set in compound time (nine-eight) and marked Allegro con brio, the lyrical dance-like quaver opening passage, broadly in three beats in a bar, reflects the joy of bride and groom on their wedding day. The opening quaver passage in the manuals is picked up in the following phrase by the pedals and requires a youthful agility from the player. Thereafter Stanford paints a contrapuntal and harmonic landscape where German sixths, enharmonic shifts and interrupted cadences all conspire to produce a rich texture. The final section is characterised by a diminuendo, and a series of sighing phrases, as the bride and bridegroom finally reach their destination, appropriately illustrated by a pianissimo feminine cadence.

By the Seashore, Op. 194, No. 1 is the first of Three Idylls (1. By the Seashore, 2. In the Country & 3. The Angelus), composed in 1922. Published posthumously in 1930 by Stainer and Bell, they were intended for the secular market and the Town Hall organ recital. Constructed in simple A-B-A form, By the Seashore opens with a dotted motif that reappears throughout the piece. The pianistic semi-quaver theme, marked up to full Swell to depict crashing waves, calms to a reflective second section in D flat major via an interrupted cadence. The material that follows is redolent of Stanford's own setting of Psalm 122, Op. 113 (I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills), also in D flat, and the smooth melody, which moves in crotchets and by step in the manuals, and is accompanied by a quaver figure in the pedals, seems to suggest that the storm has died away. A return to C major via one of Stanford's favourite devices, a German sixth, and the semi-quaver material of the first section, leads into the final section, which, although altered this time, and without Swell reeds, subsides to a Coda where a written-out rallentando, softens to a perfect cadence.

The Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 193, were composed in December, 1922 and published the following year by Novello. Both the Fugue in C minor and the Fugue in B minor were arranged for piano and published respectively in 1922 and 1923. And yet it is the Prelude in C minor, with its lyrical compound quaver arpeggio movement, that seems the most pianistic of the set. All three preludes are well constructed: none is longer than three pages and two out of three end quietly, indicating that it was Stanford's intention that both Prelude and Fugue should be played together. It also suggests that they were composed on demand and to a publisher's formula. The preludes are similar in scale to the preludes and postludes Opp. 101 and 105.

The Prelude in C major (No. 1) begins with a stately opening in the tonic but otherwise, conforms to no particular structure; rather, it continues through a series of chromatic sequences, suspension and resolution, across three manuals and pedals to a quiet ending. The Fugue in C major includes such an impressive array of technical devices- a tonal answer, invertible counterpoint, stretto, diminution and a redundant entry even gives the impression that there are five parts-one could be forgiven for thinking that this was a composition exercise had it not been crafted by an experienced technician at the height of his powers. The Prelude in C minor (No. 2) is in nine-eight and the initial four-note phrase in dotted crotchets in the left hand (C, A, B, C) is developed throughout the movement. The Fugue in C minor (marked Molto Allegro, alla Toccata), actually a virtuosic, three-part fughetta-there are no complete entries of the Fugue subject after the exposition-hence it was easily transferred to the piano. The Prelude from the final set in the group, the Prelude and Fugue in B minor (No. 3), is through- composed in six-four time. Marked Lento e solenne, the opening theme is developed through a series of dissonances that resolve finally at the cadence and only then on the final chord. It is the only Prelude in the set that ends loudly. Like the Fugue in C minor, the Fugue in B minor is also a fughetta.

Marked ‘Fuga Cromatica' the exposition leads into a semi-quaver episode via a short interlude where the angular subject is restated at various pitches before a final fantasia and coda. As in the Prelude, this movement is characterized by dissonance as Stanford appears to take his listener on a safari through every chromatic complexion by degrees, the resolution only arriving on the final chord.

Intermezzo (founded upon an Irish air), Op. 189 No. 4, from Four Intermezzi were composed c. 1923 and published the same year by Novello. Possibly the last pieces for organ composed by Stanford, the inclusion of Intermezzo No. 4, founded on the Londonderry Air, may seem innocuous enough and a prelude based on such a popular melody may have simply been destined for high numbers of sales as it could equally have been performed in town hall and church alike; however, it seems there may be more to it than that. Stanford was a pugnacious opponent of Home Rule in Ireland. He had grown up in a family that was part of the Protestant metropolitan Dublin Establishment. He believed that Ireland had benefited from being part of the Union with Britain and the civilizing influence brought by that relationship. Having emigrated to England at the age of 18 never to return to Ireland, and the fact that ‘he ardently supported political and religious held by a minority of the Irish population', suggests that he was, as Paul Rodmell puts it, ‘in love with the Ireland of his dreams rather than the Ireland of his experience' (Rodmell, 397f.) To have set a melody with such close northern Irish associations a mere six years after the Easter uprising in Dublin suggests that his views had not mellowed with age; equally, it may simply be that this Intermezzo represents a nostalgic look back to his homeland as he felt his life drawing to its close. The nineteenth-century instrumental intermezzo was a lyrical and melodic character piece. Despite having been written at the end of his life, the Intermezzo No. 4 is clearly a retrospectivenpiece both in terms of its genre and its style. While its harmonic language was undoubtedly beginning to sound outdated by 1923, it is simple and well-crafted and demonstrates, albeit on a small canvas, Stanford's considerable technical proficiency.

© 2011 G.W.E. Brightwell


With thanks to the President and Fellows of Queens' College, Cambridge, Madeleine Lovell, Dr Jonathan Holmes and Richard Barnes of Cathedral Music.

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