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Bach: Fantasia (and Fugue) in C minor, BWV 562
by Peter Hurford
Peter Hurford (1930 to 2019) was an English organist and composer. Peter Hurford was born on November 22nd 1930 in Minehead, Somerset, England. After being educated at Blundell's School, he later studied both music and law at Jesus College, Cambridge, graduating with dual degrees and subsequently obtaining a reputation for both his musical knowledge and his organ playing. He later studied in Paris under the blind French organist Andre Marchal, exploring music of the Baroque period, and was probably best-known for his interpretations of Bach (such as featured here), going on to record the complete Bach organ works for 'Decca' and 'BBC Radio 3'. His expertise also encompassed recordings of the Romantic literature for organ, performances notable for attention to stylistic detail. Hurford was the appointed organist for Holy Trinity Church, Leamington Spa, from 1956 to 1957, and also the music master at Bablake School, Coventry, as well as musical director of the Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir during the same period. He was then organist and choirmaster of St Albans Cathedral Choir in 1958, going on to serve in this post for twenty years. While there, in 1963 he conceived the idea of an organ competition (partly to celebrate a new organ installation, designed by himself and Ralph Downes) - this became a successful venture due mostly to his growing stature in Britain and overseas. That competition eventually became the St Albans International Organ Festival, world famous and with past winners including Dame Gillian Weir, David Sanger, Thomas Trotter and Kevin Bowyer. Hurford travelled extensively during both his performing and recording careers, and was the artist-in-residence at Cincinnati Ohio University from 1967 to 1968 and Toronto, Canada, in 1977. He later became a consultant for the Sydney Opera House organ, held a number of Honorary Doctorates, and was appointed an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, in 2006. Also a past president of the Royal College of Organists, he received their "Medal" honour in 2013, and was later made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. His book, "Making Music on the Organ", was published in 1998 by Oxford University Press, and accompanied his other publications of choral music for the Anglican liturgy. (His "Litany to the Holy Spirit", to a famous text by Robert Herrick, is sung worldwide.) During his career, Hurford made more than 50 recordings, both as a solo artist and with other musicians, and notable recordings by him included Handel's "Organ Concertos, Op.7" with the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra. Although he suffered a minor stroke in 1997, he recovered enough to resume his performing career seven months later - however, in 2008 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and formally retired from performing the following year. Peter Hurford died from complications of his condition in St Albans on March 3rd 2019, aged 88. His wife Patricia pre-deceased him in 2017, though he does leave their one daughter and two sons. http://www.gramophone.co.uk/classical-music-news/the-organist-and-choirmaster-peter-hurford-has-died
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Hurford
Posted: 5th April 2019
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† REST IN PEACE † ✚
Hundreds of very talented musicians pass away each year, some without much recognition at all. On "Rest In Peace ✚", I aim to give them a fitting 'send-off', with a decent Tribute. I hope you will join me in marking their passing.....
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