'The Last of the Gorgeous Georgians' – the final leg of a six-month romp through the eighteenth century, finally reaching the Regency!
Sunday 4 October – The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Henry Heron (1739-1795) and John Alcock junior (1740-1791)
Little is known of Henry Heron beyond the details given in the title page of these voluntaries. He was organist of St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge by 1745 and seems to have stayed there until the appointment of his successor in 1795. The voluntaries were first published in 1760 in an edition 'published for the Author'. They were later reissued in the edition used here in about 1765. His other published works hint at further musical activities; they include volumes of songs for Marylebone and Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and church music for the 'Orphans of the Asylum' and the 'Charity Schools in London and Westminster'.
Trumpet Voluntary – Henry Heron
An echo voluntary, with short phrases exactly repeated.
Cornet Voluntary – Henry Heron
Another echo voluntary, this time requiring an echo cornet.
Siciliano (Voluntary no.2) – John Alcock junior
The first movement only of a Cornet voluntary.
Voluntary in G – Henry Heron
In the style of a concerto, this single movement uses a ritornello on the Great, with free episodes on the Choir.
Sunday 11 October – The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
John Alcock junior (1740-1791)
John Alcock, Jr. received his Bachelor of Music degree at Oxford University at the same degree ceremony as his father received his Doctor of Music degree. John Alcock, Jr., published 'Eight Easy Voluntarys for the Organ' in about 1775. He was successively organist of St. Mary Magdalen, Newark-on-Trent and Walsall Parish Church, both of which had rather small and limited instruments which were hardly capable of playing these voluntaries.
Voluntary no.5 – John Alcock junior
An echo voluntary for Horns. Diapasons could be used as substitutes if no horn stops were available.
Andante Siciliano (Voluntary no.6) – John Alcock junior
The first movement of a trumpet voluntary.
Voluntary no.8 – John Alcock junior
The last voluntary of a set was usually a prelude and fugue for full organ. This fugue has a countersubject.
Sunday 18 October – The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
John Christmas Beckwith (1750-1809)
Beckwith, born on Christmas Day, hence his middle name, was an articled pupil of Drs. William and Philip Hayes at Oxford. He was successively organist of St Peter Mancroft 1794 – 1808, and Norwich Cathedral 1808 – 1809. His 'Six Voluntaries for the Organ, Harpsichord, etc', were published privately in London in 1780. The list of subscribers includes a large number of names from both Norfolk and Oxford.
Voluntary no.1 – John Christmas Beckwith
The opening voluntary of the set is in four movements: 1. a slow movement for Full Organ or Diapasons, 2. a fast fugue for full organ, 3. a canon for Stopt Diapason and Principal Chair Organ, 4. another fast fugue for full organ.
Voluntary no.4 – John Christmas Beckwith
Following a slow diapason movement, there are two movements for Bassoon (the Vox Humana stop used in the tenor register), accompanied by the two diapasons (open and stopped). To avoid the excessive use of ledger lines, Beckwith, in common with all eighteenth-century composers, uses the tenor clef for the solo part.
Voluntary no.6 – John Christmas Beckwith
A powerful prelude in C minor for full organ marked 'Tempo Ordinario Pomposo' is followed by a fugue in 6/8 time.
Sunday 25 October – The Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
Charles Wesley (1757-1834)
Son of Charles Wesley, the great hymn-writer and one of the founders of Methodism, and the brother of Samuel Wesley, also an organist and composer. He never married, living for most of his life with his mother and sister.
Although Charles Wesley junior is much less well known than his brother Samuel Wesley, he was like Samuel regarded as a musical prodigy in childhood, and he was playing the organ before the age of three. He became a professional musician in adulthood, and Matthews (1971) quotes the European Magazine of 1784 as reporting that "his performance on the organ has given supreme delight". However he did not enjoy public performance, and worked mainly as a private organist, at one time to the Prince Regent; he was connected with the royal family through much of his life, having first played at the Queen's House at the age of 18.
This concerto was one of a set of six written about 1778 and published in 1781.
Sunday 1 November – All Saints
Matthew Camidge (1758-1844) and Charles Wesley (1757-1834)
The Camidge family were a family who supplied York Minster with organists continuously for 103 years. After some time as a chorister of the Chapel Royal under James Nares, Matthew returned to York where he lived the rest of his life. He served as his father's assistant and in 1799 he succeeded his father as organist of the Minster. Matthew Camidge was known for his brilliant organ improvisations. He organized huge music festivals given at York in 1823, 1825, and later. He frankly acknowledged, in the preface to his set of organ concertos published in 1817, that he was writing them in the "so long admired" style of Handel and Corelli. Matthew Camidge published works of practical material written for his work as a church musician and teacher as well as anthems and service settings in Cathedral Music, Hymn and psalm tunes, an edition of Henry Lawes' Psalmody for a single voice, Instructions for the Piano forte or Harpsichord and some songs.
Gavotte in A minor – Mathew Camidge
Voluntary 5 (slow movement) – Charles Wesley
The opening movement of a four-movement voluntary possibly written in 1812. Wesley was writing in what was then a old-fashioned style, as comparison with William Russell's voluntaries shows.
Gavotte in G minor – Matthew Camidge
Both Gavottes are movements from Camidge's concertos.
Sunday 8 November – The Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Theophania Cecil (1782-1879)
Theophania Cecil was for many years organist of St. John's Chapel, Bedford Row, London, where her father was minister from 1780 to his death in 1810. This voluntary is the first of a set of twelve published ca.1810 in the new Regency style, and uses the pedals, a feature first seen in Russell's voluntaries of 1804.
Voluntary no.1 – Theophania Cecil
Sophia Corri Dussek (1775-1831)
Sophia Giustina Corri was a Scottish singer, pianist, harpist, and composer of Italian descent born in Edinburgh. She studied voice with her father, composer, music publisher, and impresario Domenico Corri. She was well known as a soprano and composer of songs. In 1792, she married the composer Jan Ladislav Dussek. Following Jan's death in 1812, Sophia married the violist John Alvis Moralt.
Andante (Sonata for harp op.3 no.2) - Sophia Corri Dussek
A beautiful slow movement written for the harp.
Esther Elizabeth Fleet (1809-c.1870)
Esther Elizabeth Fleet was organist of St. Botolph's Church, Bishopsgate. Her Voluntary for the Organ in C major, an introduction, slow movement and Fugue, was published in 1826, and was one of only two published works by her. It is remarkable for its early use of metronome markings, the metronome only having been invented by Johann Nepomuk Maelzel in Germany ten years previously.
A Voluntary for the Organ – Esther Elizabeth Fleet
Sunday 15 November – The Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Samuel Wesley (1766-1837)
Samuel Wesley, son of Charles the hymn-writer, was born in Bristol. He was a child prodigy, writing an oratorio at the age of eight. He was one of the foremost organists of his day and was instrumental in introducing the works of Bach to England - a role later handed over to Mendelssohn, whom he met shortly before his death. The set of voluntaries Op.6 was published ca.1808.
Voluntary Op.6 no.1 – Samuel Wesley
The opening diapason movement is followed by an Allegro moderato based on a ritornello theme, and ends with an even faster fugue marked 'Spiritoso'.
Voluntary Op.6 no.7 (first movement) – Samuel Wesley
The first movement of Voluntary no.7 is a romantic Largo, approaching Beethoven in style.
Voluntary Op.6 no.8 – Samuel Wesley
The opening movement opens with a trumpet fanfare, leading into a more emotional middle section, before returning to the fanfare. A 'Spiritoso' fugue concludes the Voluntary.
Sunday 22 November – The Last Sunday after Pentecost
William Russell (1777-1813)
One of the two sons of the organ builder Hugh Russell, William was organist of the Foundling Hospital and of St. Anne’s, Limehouse. He published two books of twelve voluntaries, one in 1804 and the other in 1812. The new style of Russell, Cecil and Wesley is typical of the change of taste in the Regency period, parallelled by the general remodelling of organ specifications which took place then.
Voluntary 1 (1812) – William Russell
Voluntary 1 is a trumpet voluntary in E minor, the second movement sounding like a funeral march, but ends with a fast movement in the major.
Voluntary 7 (1812, first movement) – William Russell
A Siciliano for Diapasons, Trumpet and Hautboy on the Swell.
Voluntary 11 (1812) – William Russell
A Full voluntary in the form of a prelude in D minor and fugue in D major.