The Organ


Robert Crowley at the Harrison and Harrison organ of St Albans Abbey

I must confess that my knowledge of Humphrey Clucas's music in minimal and after listening to this disc, I somehow feel none the wiser, although I admire his ability to use plainsong tunes for the basis of many of his compositions. His Urbs Beata Suite was written for John Scott Whiteley and is based on Blessed City, Heavenly Salem and includes a march, a scherzo and interlude and a rousing finale. His Suite, written for Martin Baker, uses well-known plainsong tunes such as Tonus Peregrinus and Dies Irae. The fourth variation is based on Veni Creator Spiritus. This last piece was written at the request of the dedicatee, who asked for something where he could go completely ape. It did not appeal to me in spite of its all too obvious difficulties in playing it!

The Sinfonietta is another piece written for an organist - this time for Peter Wright and especially with the Lewis organ in Southwark Cathedral in mind. Here Tantum Ergo is heard with the German hymn tune Soll's Sein as a theme for the Chorale and a short toccata on the Welsh tune Suo Gan ends this likeable composition.

Ian Curror is the dedicatee of Three Plainsong Preludes - which I enjoyed and the final piece, written for Robert Crowley, Qui lux Es was the composer's first major work for organ.

I have a feeling that these pieces may grow on one.