PROGRAMME NOTES

Organ Works

All these works have been recorded by Jennifer Bate on Peter Dickinson: Complete Solo Organ Works (Naxos 8.573169 (2009)

See Paraphrase I (1967) in main list

1. A Cambridge Postlude (1953)
This was one of the first compositions after I went up to Cambridge as Organ Scholar of Queens’ College. I gave the premiere at Fairhaven Methodist Church, Lytham St Annes, on 9 January 1954.

2. Prelude (1954) unpublished
This introspective piece survived only because my father kept a copy in his collection of organ music.

3. Postlude on Adeste Fideles (1954)
This Postlude was my first published work (Novello 1964). It is based on the tune sung to ‘O come, all ye faithful’. The melody is marked out in the rapid keyboard figures over a statement of the same tune in slow notes in the pedal. It has been regularly performed for many years; was first broadcast by Peter Dickinson from Birmingham University Great Hall, in an organ recital recorded on 16 August 1972.

4. Preludes on Songs 46; 20; 34 (1954/55) unpublished
These pieces reflect my interest in Elizabethan music and that of Howells. They were never performed after I left Cambridge until Jennifer Bate wanted to revive them for the recording.

5. Toccata (1955)
I wrote this demanding piece for Ian D. Howard, a contemporary at Queens’ and a fine organist who became a physicist. Jennifer Bate revived it at the Albert Hall, Nottingham, on 6 June 1982.

6. Meditation on ‘Murder In The Cathedral’ (1958)
This piece arose from some incidental music I wrote for a school in Hampshire where I was teaching music and English. The first performance was given by Donald Reeves in Beirut, Lebanon, early in 1959.

7. Study in Pianissimo
The liberating atmosphere of New York brought a change in my musical style. The fragmentary but highly organised Study in Pianissimo – the only organ piece from my American period - uses elements of serial technique. The changes of texture and articulation are essential parts of the piece. It waited twenty years for a premiere which Jennifer Bate gave at St James’, Muswell Hill, on 26 June 1979.

8. Three Statements (1964)
The Three Statements arose from some work in improvisation I was doing with students at the College of St Mark and St John, documented in a series of six articles in the Musical Times. In No.1 the wide melodic leaps and note clusters were unusual in organ music at that time. The dramatic No. 2 has a sustained symbolic G major triad held throughout, always in the distance, and it expands slightly towards the end before returning. No.3 alternates between a type of chorale, based entirely on chords built in fourths, against two-part passages where the melody usually disagrees with its stepwise lower part. First performances by the composer.

9. Dirge (1963)
This portentous Dirge rotates its melody relentlessly over recurring chords. Published by Novello in Music before Service (1969).

10. Carillon (1964)
This study of bell sounds in variable metres was written for the wedding of Andrew Evans and Virginia Tomkinson where I gave the first performance at Kingswood, Surrey, on 8 August 1964. Published by Novello in Wedding Miscellany (1965).

11. Millennium Fanfare (1999)
When I wrote this Fanfare for Keith Bond at Aldeburgh Parish Church, I looked back to the loud chords at the start of my Organ Concerto and interspersed them with trumpet passages based on the musical letters found in the name Aldeburgh. First performance on 31 December 1999.

See: Peter Dickinson – From Organ Loft to Rags and Blues, in Peter Dickinson: Words and Music (2016)

© 2008-17 Peter Dickinson

pdRoman