Coelos ascendit hodie Charles Villiers Stanford
Beati quorum via Charles Villiers Stanford
A Song of Peace Charles Villiers Stanford
Pray that Jerusalem may have peace Charles Villiers Stanford
Magnificat in A Charles Villiers Stanford
Nunc Dimittis in A Charles Villiers Stanford
Light of the World Edward Elgar
Seek him that maketh the seven stars Edward Elgar
Doubt not thy Father’s care Edward Elgar
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me Edward Elgar
Give unto the Lord Edward Elgar
Total playing time 64m 06s
The Spirit of the Lord
The Spirit of the Lord
Charles Villiers Stanford
Born in Dublin in 1852, Charles Villiers Stanford is considered by many to stand alongside Hubert Parry as a central figure in the ‘renaissance’ of British music at the end of the 19th century. His father was a lawyer and amateur musician and from a young age he was surrounded by culture, gaining insights into the music of many great composers, including Bach, Brahms and Mendelssohn. From a relatively young age Stanford was active as a composer, completing orchestral, chamber and sacred works before winning the organ scholarship to Queens College, Cambridge in 1870.
Stanford’s time in Cambridge was a fruitful one - he was appointed conductor of the Cambridge University Musical Society (CUMS) in 1873 and organist at Trinity College early the following year. He took time off from his duties at Trinity in both 1874 and 1875 to visit Leipzig and again in 1876 to visit Berlin, trips which surely expanded his already very broad musical horizons. Appointment as Professor of Music at Cambridge came in 1887.
It is as a pedagogue that Stanford is generally remembered beyond church music circles. As Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music (a post he held from 1883) he taught many of the next generation of British composers including Benjamin, Bridge, Butterworth, Dyson, Gurney, Howells, Ireland and Vaughan Williams. It is strange, therefore, that so few of his own works are heard today. In his own time his ‘Irish’ Symphony (No.3) was performed across Europe, most notably at the opening of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, as well as in New York under the baton of Gustav Mahler in 1911. One field he yearned to achieve success in was that of Opera – he even lead a petition to London County Council appealing for the formation of a ‘national’ opera in 1898 – yet success largely eluded him. His opera Shamus O’Brien was, however, performed at the Broadway Theatre in New York in 1897.
One issue that some analysts debate is that of Stanford’s ‘Irishness’. He was brought up in a privileged class descended from sixteenth and seventeenth century Englishmen. He supported the principles of the Act of Union (1800) and opposed Gladstone’s declaration of Home Rule in the later nineteenth century. He also banned performances of Shamus O’Brien in 1912, not wishing to be seen to encourage anti-Union sentiment. He must have, nonetheless, felt a spiritual bond with Ireland given the titles and material of many of his works. Even some of his organ pieces are based on Irish melodies.
Knighted in 1902, Charles Villiers Stanford died in 1924 leaving a substantial legacy in both his former students and in his music.
Born near Worcester in 1857 to William Elgar, a musician and shop-owner, and Ann, an educated woman with an interest in music and the arts, the young Edward Elgar was from a young age exposed to music. Though he received tuition only upon the violin, Edward attracted attention though his piano improvisations. By the age of ten he was already writing music.
A year working for a local Solicitor convinced him of his desire to pursue a career in music, and at sixteen Edward Elgar became a freelance musician, playing in many ensembles, both upon the violin and the bassoon. In 1884 he played first violin under Dvorˇák in the Three Choirs Festival of that year held in Worcester. By the later 1880s he had taken over from his father as organist of St.George’s Roman Catholic Church in Worcester.
Despite a brief and unsuccessful stay in London at the beginning of the 1890s, Elgar’s music increased in popularity and by 1899 – the year the ‘Enigma’ Variations were born – he was a national figure. The premiere of The Dream of Gerontius a year later was somewhat less successful, yet its effect was enough to demonstrate the works enormous importance. Over the next few years Gerontius was heard across the continent. In 1904 the remarkable happened, for the first time a festival of music by a living British composer was held in Elgar’s honour at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. The disappointment of Gerontius’ genesis was consigned very firmly to history and, the success he so desired having been won, Elgar moved once more to London in 1912. Through works such as the ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ marches and later the Cello Concerto, Elgar had won the heart of a nation and a achieved a popularity across the musical world that remains undimmed to this day – one only needs to witness the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ for evidence of this.
The greatest British composer of his day, his memory was honoured by the erection of a tablet in Westminster Abbey in 1972.
Christopher Stokes was appointed Organist & Master of the Choristers of Manchester Cathedral in 1996, having previously been appointed Organist of the Cathedral in 1992. Prior to that he worked in London, having held posts in two of London’s leading churches: as Organist & Master of Music at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square and Director of Music at St. Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey.
As a conductor in London, he directed the professional choirs for services at St. Martin's and St. Margaret’s at which royalty and ‘famous names’ from politics and the stage were often present. He also founded The Baroque Soloists of St Martin-in-the-Fields, (a group of leading baroque players and singers London). In Manchester he directs the Cathedral Choir, which, in addition to the essential Opus Dei, sings for regular television and radio broadcasts and has recorded a number of CDs. He also conducts the Cathedral Cantata Choir, which performs with the Manchester Camerata, and the Northern Chamber Orchestra.
Christopher is also one of the regular directors/organists for Daily Service on BBC Radio 4. He directed the music for the 2001 live transmission of the Ascension Day service on Radio 4, conducting the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Daily Service Singers. He again directed the service in 2002 with His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts.
As a soloist, Christopher has performed extensively both in the UK and abroad. In 1997 he was the first to record on the Marcussen organ in Manchester’s new Bridgewater Hall with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. In February 1999 he played Elgar’s Organ Sonata in G there as part of the ‘Concert Plus’ series for the BBC. Since then, he has given two further recitals in the Hall. He has appeared as concerto soloist with numerous orchestras including the Manchester Camerata, the Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Golden Age.
As a continuo player, Christopher has always been busy. He has performed, toured, broadcast and recorded CDs with most of Britain's leading orchestras including the Hanover Band; the London Mozart Players; the London Symphony Orchestra; the London Bach Orchestra; the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra; the Hallé Orchestra and the Northern Chamber Orchestra. He has also performed and recorded with the Salzburg Bach-Chor and the MDR Radio Choir. He has a great many television and radio broadcasts to his credit.
Whilst in London, Christopher was professor of organ at Trinity College of Music from 1976-1992, where he also studied from 1972-1976. He was invited to become Head of Organ Studies at Chetham’s School of Music in 1994.
He is a Council Member of the Royal College of Organists and serves on its Education & Events Group. He was also the Artistic Director of the Royal College of Organists’ Performer of the Year 2000 competition.
Jeffrey Makinson is Sub-Organist of Manchester Cathedral and Coordinator of Organ Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. He also teaches pianoforte at Chetham’s School of Music.
He received his musical education at the Royal Northern College of Music, graduating with honours in 1992, also gaining the highest award for performance offered by the college, the Professional Performance Diploma. During his undergraduate years he studied the organ with Ronald Frost and was Organ Scholar at the City Church of St. Ann, Manchester.
From September 1992, for two years, Jeffrey held the post of Organ Scholar at York Minster, developing a keen interest in choral direction and accompaniment. This he combined with postgraduate organ study at the RNCM with Gordon Stewart. For two years he won the Alice Shawcross prize for keyboard studies in Church Music. Jeffrey’s studies were also assisted by a Countess of Munster musical scholarship. During his time at York, Jeffrey gained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists.
As a recitalist, Jeffrey has performed throughout the country, at many of the major British Cathedrals, collegiate chapels, churches, and concert halls, including numerous recitals at Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral and King’s College, Cambridge.
For five years, Jeffrey held the post of Assistant Organist at Lincoln Cathedral, working with Colin Walsh. He also taught privately in Lincoln and directed two local choirs.
Since September, 1999, Jeffrey has been Sub–Organist at Manchester Cathedral, working with Christopher Stokes, playing for most Cathedral services, and directing the Cathedral Voluntary Choir. He is active as a recitalist, accompanist and teacher throughout the city and region. In September 2000, he joined the staff the Royal Northern College of Music as Tutor in Organ Studies and he now coordinates the department. In 2001 he was a tutor at the Oundle ‘Pulling out the stops’ course for young organists.
Jeffrey has numerous recordings and broadcasts to his credit, with York, Lincoln and Manchester Cathedral choirs, amongst others. He is a regular musical director and organist for BBC Radio Daily Service and in 2001 he played for the BBC pilgrimage in Rome. He has given first performances of works by Mark Blatchly, Martin Bussey, Bob Chilcott, Naji Hakim, Grayston Ives, Francis Jackson, George Lloyd, Richard Lloyd, Philip Moore and Andrew Sallis. Since 1998, he has been Organist in Residence at the Exon Singers Festival. In Manchester, he regularly performs with the BBC Philharmonic, Hallé and Northern Chamber Orchestras and the Manchester Camerata.
In 2004, Jeffrey has performed solo recitals at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, St. John’s College, Cambridge, Manchester, Chester and Carlisle Cathedrals and Temple Church, London.
Jeffrey is planning solo tours to the USA and Scandinavia in 2005.
Produced by Richard Tanner
Recorded and edited by Lance Andrews
Photograph by Paul Denby