Percy Whitlock: Organist and Composer

 
9780905210643: Percy Whitlock: Organist and Composer
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Percy William Whitlock (1903-1946) was an English organist and composer. A student of Vaughan Williams at London's Royal College of Music, Whitlock quickly arrived at an idiom which combined elements of his teacher's output and that of Elgar. The result was immediately striking, particularly since his lush harmonic style also bore traces of Gershwin and other popular composers of the 1920s. Like Vaughan Williams and Delius, he often used themes that sounded like folksongs but were, in fact, original creations. Stanford, Quilter and Rachmaninov are other important stylistic influences. From 1921 to 1930 Whitlock was assistant organist at Rochester Cathedral, Kent. Later (1930-1935) he served as music director at St Stephen's Anglican Church, Bournemouth, combining this from 1932 with the role of that town's borough organist, in which capacity he regularly played at the local Pavilion Theatre. After 1935 he worked for that theatre full-time. He worked closely with the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra and gave dozens of live BBC broadcasts between 1933-46. Among Whitlock's organ works are Five Short Pieces (1929), Four Extemporisations (1933), Seven Sketches on Verses of the Psalms (1934), the Plymouth Suite and - perhaps his masterpiece - the Sonata in C minor(1936). His Symphony in G minor for organ and orchestra was revived by Graham Barber and the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra in 1989 and has subsequently been recorded by Francis Jackson and the University of York Symphony Orchestra and received several concert performances. His early death, a few weeks before his 43rd birthday, deprived English music of a refreshing voice. For decades afterwards he remained largely forgotten. This neglect has eased in recent times, with the increased popularity of romantic and postromantic organ literature; his oeuvre's representation on compact disc continues to grow.

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Riley, Malcolm
Published by Thames Publishing (1998)
ISBN 10: 0905210646 ISBN 13: 9780905210643
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