Damin Spritzer plays original organ compositions by Harvey Grace (1874-1944), a British organist and editor of many volumes of organ music and transcriptions, and who was editor for 26 years of the journal, Musical Times. Fifteen of his 30 original works for the organ are played on the rarely recorded 1895 T. C. Lewis four-manual organ at the Albion Church in Ashton-Under-Lyme, England.
Harvey Grace Organ Works:Fantasia alla Marcia, Op. 12, No. 1
Legend, Op. 16
Epilogue, Op. 17, No. 3
Ten Compositions for Organ:
Meditation in E
Reverie on the hymn tune University
Organ Music of Harvey Grace (1874-1944)
by Damin Spritzer
"Anyone who has been in the habit of reading The Musical Times must feel that with the death of Harvey Grace he has lost a friend." Thus reads the first line of the March, 1944, obituary of Harvey Grace, who had been editor of The Musical Times from 1918 until his death on February 15, 1944. His lengthy and unattributed obituary was probably written by William McNaught who succeeded Grace as editor and whose father had been editor before Grace. Nearly a paean, it continues: "Grace has a knack for projecting his personality into anything that he wrote . . . since his was a particularly genial and stimulating personality his pages brought a rare sense of contact between writer and reader . . . a blend of literary quality and conversational tone. These qualities are surely embodied in his highly characteristic and involved organ compositions as well. . . . in short, Harvey Grace has a way of making friends with those who read him. . . to him music was an art for everyman."
Harvey Grace (18741-944) was an English musician, composer, conductor, editor, author, and teacher. The fourth of five brothers, he sang as a boy in the choir at Romsey Abbey where he first played an organ (a large J. W. Walker built 1858-60 and remaining substantially intact in 2022) and then continued his training as an organist at Southwark Cathedral (1897 T. C. Lewis organ, restored 1991) under Alfred Madeley Richardson, a widely published author and musician of note. Church positions followed at Binfield in Berkshire, St. Alpherge in Southwark, St. Agnes in Kennington, and St. Mary Magdelene at Munster Square, London. He served at least six churches as organist over the span of his career, perhaps most notably spending 1931-38 at Chichester Cathedral where he implemented plainsong regularly at the weekday services, something that remained very much a feature of his ethos and philosophy of liturgical solemnity. After Chichester, he served East Grinstead Parish Church from 1941-43. Grace was appointed Commissioner of the School of English Church Music in 1937, but resigned at the end of the year, and joined the staff of Trinity College of Music in 1939.
A champion of the music of César Franck, Josef Rheinberger, Ludwig van Beethoven, Edward Elgar, and J. S. Bach, he was the editor and arranger of editions of works by them. He is noted as an early author of books on the organ works of Franck and Bach in addition to respected books on music, worship, and the training of choral societies. His distinguished 26-year tenure as editor of The Musical Times, founded in 1844 by J. Alfred Novello (the music publisher, who had acquired two years earlier Mainzer's Musical Times and Singing Circular) and the world's oldest continuously published music journal, maintained a standard set by his predecessors and continued with his successors. Grace died in February 1944 in Bromley Hospital while awaiting surgery. Despite this successful and notable career, he is given but little mention in an important textbook addressing his contemporaries, British Organ Music of the Twentieth Century, written in 2003 by Peter Hardwick. But to quote Stanley Roper, former President of the Royal College of Organists, He had, more than most men, the gift of friendship and a great capacity for entering the lives and interests of others, and as church musician, organist, teacher, lecturer or councilor he moved among his friends happily and always without restraint.
Grace's original compositions for organ, believed to number fewer than 30 (including independent references to his works on published scores), should be differentiated from his arrangements for organ of works by other composers such as those listed earlier as well as by Henry Purcell and Franz Schubert. Grace's organ works are highly individualistic, through-composed, and beautifully crafted, replete with unexpected modulations and intricate pedalwork as hallmarks of the larger compositions, in particular. His highly contrapuntal writing frequently calls for double pedal in the dramatic closings of many pieces. In the softer works, long, lyrical melodies and tender endings convey a gentle intimacy to both the performer and listener. Though I recorded Grace's largest single organ work, Rhapsody, Op. 17, at Hereford Cathedral (Raven OAR-156 Rhapsodies & Elegies: English Romantic Organ Music), this recording explores further the wide range of Grace's compositions for solo organ on a beautiful and cherished historic organ very much like those he would have known.
Grace's known, original works for solo organ:
1908. Fantasy after Rheinberger (op. 9)
1908. Lament (op. 10)
1912. A Christmas Postlude
1912. Fantasia alla marcia (op. 12, no. 1)
1913. Legend (op. 16)
1915. Organ Music (op. 17) (vol. 1, Rhapsody; vol. 2, Three psalm-tune postludes: 1. Martyrs, 2. London New, 3. The Old Hundredth; vol. 3, Monologues: 1. Meditation (In ancient tonality). 2. Caprice
1922. Ten Compositions for Organ (vol. 1, Laus Deo, Cradle song, Toccatina, In-voluntary, Scherzo; vol. 2, Ostinato, Meditation, Reverie on the hymn tune University, Plaint, Resurgam)
Notes on the Program:
Among several tributes appended to Harvey Grace's obituary in The Musical Times, Archibald Farmer (1899-1964, organist, music critic, and career British civil servant) wrote of the organ works, "Each piece is an entity, a charming epigram. Only from observation of his literary work do we gain an idea of how, over a long period, he loved to write well for the instrument he loved most."
This recording opens with Fantasia Alla Marcia, an extended, rollicking march that ranges further and further harmonically afield as it progresses. Legend, by dint of its title, is more programmatic, alternatively heroic or reflective. Though Op. 17 also contains Grace's largest organ work, Rhapsody (previously recorded by the author at Hereford Cathedral) it includes (in the Novello edition) two petite Monologues. Meditation (In ancient tonality), is a sonorous work for the extensive range of warm, full stops on the 1895 Lewis organ, with a harmonic language almost reminiscent of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Plainsong having been a vital part of Grace's writings, instruction, and work as a choral musician, it also beautifully sets the Gregorian melody, Ave maris stella, throughout the two final sections of the work. It is paired with a light-hearted and fast-paced Caprice, a lovely vehicle for the flute stops of the instrument.
In 1922, Grace published Ten Compositions for Organ in two groups of Five Pieces for Organ, each piece sold separately. The wide range of styles and textures in these character pieces are wonderfully paired with the range of colors and timbres on this historic Lewis organ. Book I begins with Laus Deo, dedicated to Edgar T. Cook. In ABA form, the work bookends a crafty fughetta with a grand march theme and coda. Dedicated to Molly, Cradle Song lulls gently and softly on the softer stops. For the brief Toccatina, dedicated to his wife and based upon the hymn tune Kings Lynn, he instructs the player to be fierce and brilliant. Well known for his humor, the title of next work, In-Voluntary, is a play on words and a charming voluntary indeed, dedicated to Percy A. Tapp. The first set of five concludes with a Scherzo, dedicated to H. G. Ley.
The second set of five opens with Ostinato, the theme moving between the bass line and treble as the work increases in complexity and volume. It is followed by an exquisitely lyrical Meditation, dedicated to Arthur S. Warrell. The next work, Reverie, is dedicated to Mrs. Alfred Holland and a gentle setting of the hymn tune University and this text by George Herbert:" The God of love my Shepherd is, And he that doth me feed; While he is mine and I am his, What can I want or need?"
The quiet fourth piece, Plaint, is again dedicated to his wife, and features a beautiful tenor melody throughout. Ending the second set is the second-largest and most complex of Grace's works for organ, the Fantasy-Prelude titled Resurgam, (rise again), dedicated to Canadian-American organist Lynwood Farnam. Nearly ten minutes in length, this concert piece incorporates reed fanfares, an intense scherzo, a crescendoing ostinato, and an heroic ending. At the time of this recording, it is Grace's best known organ work.
The final work on this recording is Epilogue, a challenging postlude that ends with a triumphant declamation of the hymn tune ST. ANNE, and a part of the significant set of Op. 17 works.
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ, "Harvey Grace," published online by Bardon Music
The Musical Times, "Harvey Grace (1874-1944)," Vol. 85, No. 1213 (Mar., 1944), pp. 73-78
The Musical Times, "Obituary, Archibald Farmer," Vol. 105, No. 1454 (Apr., 1964), p. 291
Hardwick, Peter. 2003. British Organ Music of the Twentieth Century. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press.
IMSLP, Harvey Grace
Wikipedia, Harvey Grace
Wikipedia, J. W. Walker & Sons, Ltd.
T. C. Lewis, Organbuilder
Thomas Christopher Lewis (1833-1915) was among the leading organbuilders of the late 19th century in Britain. His firm achieved wide fame for the tonal and structural excellence of his instruments. His initial training was as an architect.1 Like many organ builders of the time, Lewis was deeply influenced by the organ of German organbuilder Heinrich Edumund Schulze (1824-1878) which was displayed at the 1851 London Exhibition.
Lewis is thought to have begun organbuilding about 18612 from his architect's office in Westminster, though the first known advertisement for his work dates from 1863. In 1868, Lewis established a factory at Brixton, in South London,3 and the total number of organs built by the firm before the year 1900 is thought to be more than 600.
Though Lewis was strongly inspired by the organs built by Edmund Schulze (the last scion of a dynasty of organbuilders begun in 1688), he was also influenced by French symphonic builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, blending these two styles into his instruments and voicing.4 From the influence of Schulze we hear flue choruses of great brilliance and power and Germanic stops such as the Geigen Principal, Flauto Traverso, Lieblich Gedact and Rohr Flöte. From the influences of Cavaillé-Coll come harmonic flutes, strings, and rich chorus reeds. Lewis's own words about the stops he chose are most descriptive: "Open Diapason - full, mellow, brilliant and powerful intonation. This stop is exceedingly grand... Geigen Principal - a German stop - bright and telling quality... Lieblich Gedact - peculiar to Schulze, of Paulinzelle, Germany... Salicional - reedy and quiet ... Vox Angelica - the tone is extremely thin and delicate, being the softest of all open pipes ... Viole de Gambe and Flûte Harmonique - both French stops." His instruments were expensive for the time and lavishly built from first- class materials, including spotted metal of thick gauge for reeds and flues down to 16ft length and mahogany for the windchests. Wooden boots and shallots were used for reeds greater than 8 feet in length while metal was adopted exclusively for manual pipework less than two feet in length.5
The Lewis firm received many important commissions, including the cathedrals of Ripon, Newcastle, Southwark, Westminster; St. Andrews Hall, Glasgow; and several major churches in London.6 Very few of Lewis's larger instruments survive intact or unaltered, and many organs were even destroyed during the second world war, particularly in London.
Lewis's first-class organbuilding eventually was supported by the Courage family of brewers, who controlled the Lewis firm by ca. 1897. Lewis withdrew in 1901 and worked independently.7 Though Lewis died in 1915, Lewis & Co. continued building organs until 1919, when it joined with Henry Willis & Sons, consolidating operations at the Brixton factory which was later destroyed by enemy action in 1941.8
1 Nicholas Thistlethwaite. The Making of the Victorian Organ. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990, p. 305.
2 Graeme Rushworth. Historic Organs of New South Wales. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 19m, p.304-5; The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians. London: Macmillan, 1980, v.10, p.708.
3 Lewis's Organ Building and Bell Founding. 8th ed. Brixton: T. C. Lewis & Co., 1 W3.
4 Maidment, John. "T. C. Lewis: a short biography." OHTA News, Jan 1991 (Vol 15, No 1) (updated 2006)
6 Rushworth, op.cit., p.304-5.
7 Stephen Bicknell. The History of the English Organ. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996, pp. 304, 308
8 W. L. Sumner. "Father Henry Willis." London: Musical Opinion, 1955, p.58.
Damin Spritzer is Area Chair and Associate Professor of Organ at the University of Oklahoma and holds degrees from the University of North Texas (DMA), the Eastman School of Music (MM), and the Oberlin Conservatory (BM). She has performed at historic churches and instruments in Germany, France, Iceland, England, Brazil, Israel, Italy, and Norway, and has been honored to contribute to convention performances and lectures for the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society, and the Association of Anglican Musicians. Spritzers acclaimed fifth CD was recorded in England where she was the first American and first woman to record at Hereford Cathedral. (Raven OAR-156 Rhapsodies & Elegies: English Romantic Organ Music.) The recording received five stars from the British organ journal, Organists Review, "Damin Spritzer's performance is spellbinding and her wide-ranging program notes are fascinating… on so many levels this CD impresses as a serious undertaking."
Alsatian-American composer René Louis Becker (1882-1956) was the topic of her doctoral research, which led to three first recordings of Becker's organ music performed in France at Saint-Salomon-Saint-Gregoire, Pithiviers; the Cathédrale Sainte-Croix, Orléans; and the Kimball organ of St. John's Cathedral, Denver. The fourth CD, Fantasia, was recorded with trombonist Donald Pinson at St. Monica Catholic Church in Dallas.
The Church & Its Organ
For the neo-Gothic edifice of Albion Congregational Church completed in 1895 and designed by architect John Brooke (1853-1914) of Manchester, T. C. Lewis of Brixton installed in the same year the four-manual organ heard on this recording. Lewis's tonal scheme remains intact, with a few stops and couplers added when the original tubular-pneumatic action was replaced with electropneumatic action in 1953 by Rushworth & Dreaper of Liverpool, and a new keydesk was placed in the original location, recessed into the front of the chancel case. The Tuba was relocated from the enclosed Solo and installed on a separate windchest.
The 1953 wiring, switching, and combination action were replaced in 2011 with solid-state equipment installed by Wood Pipe Organ Builders of Huddersfield. The organ retains its 1895 slider windchests. An electric blower had replaced an original gas engine by 1953.
Albion Church is located about six miles east of Manchester, England, in the market town of Ashton-Under-Lyne, county of Tameside and traditional county of Lancashire. The church is affiliated with the United Reformed Church, a denomination created in 1972 by merging the Presbyterian Church of England with the Congregational Church in England and Wales; Churches of Christ joined the denomination in 1981, and Scottish Congregationalists joined in 2000.
This fine T. C. Lewis organ was selected for the recording because of its beauty and excellence, because it dates within two decades of when most of Harvey Grace's pieces recorded here were composed, and because its style was well known to Grace through his work at Southwark Cathedral and its 1895 T. C. Lewis organ.
1895 T. C. Lewis (Lewis & Co., Ltd.), Brixton / 1953 Rushworth & Dreaper, Liverpool
Albion United Reformed Church, Stamford Street East, Ashton-Under-Lyne, England
Original Lewis stop names† in brackets; "RD" indicates Rushworth and Dreaper extensions & duplexes, 1953*
PEDAL 30 notes
1. 32 Acoustic Bass [Great Bass, low octave 10]
2. 16 Open Wood No. 1 [Great Bass]
3. 16 Open Wood No. 2 (from 16) RD
4. 16 Violone [Violon]
5. 16 Sub Bass
6. 8 Octave (from 2) RD
7. 8 Bass Flute [Flute Bass (from 5)]
8. 16 Trombone 16 [Posaune]
9. 8Tromba (from 8) [Trumpet]
10. 8Tuba (from 47) RD
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Choir to Pedal
Solo to Pedal
CHOIR 58 notes, unenclosed
11. 8 Lieblich Gedeckt [Lieblich Gedact]
12. 8 Salicional
14. 4 Flauto Traverso (**metal)
15. 2 Harmonic Piccolo (metal) [Piccolo Harmonique]
Sub Octave *
Unison Off *
Swell to Choir
Solo to Choir*
GREAT 58 notes
16. 16 Double Open Diapason
17. 8 Open Diapason No. 1
18. 8 Open Diapason No. 2
19. 8 Harmonic Flute [Flûte Harmonique]
20. 4 Octave
21. 4 Harmonic Flute [Flûte Harmonique]
22. 2 Twelfth [Octave Quint]
23. 2 Fifteenth [Super Octave]
24. IV Mixture 18.104.22.168
25. 8 Trumpet
26. 4 Clarion
27. 8 Tuba (from 47) RD
Swell to Great
Solo to Great
Choir to Great*
SOLO 58 notes, enclosed
41. 8 Harmonic Flute[Flute]
42. 4 Concert Flute
43. 8 Clarinet [Clarionet]‡
44. 8 Orchestral Oboe
45. 8 Cor Anglais
46. 8 Vox Humana [Voix Humaine]
47. 8 Tuba (relocated by RD outside of Solo expression box on new EP wind chest)
SWELL 58 notes, enclosed
28. 16 Lieblich Bourdon [Lieblich Gedact]
29. 8 Geigen Diapason [Geigen Principal]
30. 8 Rohr Flöte
31. 8 Echo Salicional [Salicional]
32. 8 Viola da Gambe [Viole de Gambe]
33. 8 Voix Céleste TC [Voix Celestes]
34. 4 Geigen Principal
35. 2 Flautina
36. III Mixture 15.19.22
37. 16 Double Trumpet
38. 8 Horn
39. 8 Oboe
40. 4 Clarion
Octave, Sub Octave, Unison Off*
Solo to Swell*
† Lewis stop names are taken from Lewis Order Book 01, p. 3, 1895 as preserved in the British Organ Archives and transcribed to the National Pipe Organ Register, except
‡ the Clarinet does not appear in the NPOR transcription of the Lewis record but is reported in the booklet accompanying Jonathan Scott's CD, SBDRCD006 and Scott's website.
*Couplers added on the 1953 console of 61 manual notes, the top three notes are silent; the top two notes are silent on the 32-note Pedal.
**The pipes are metal and original despite the Order Book notation as wood.