The Organ of Chichester Cathedral


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This eclectic musical experience is evident in his organ music, which also demonstrates a technical ability acquired from his composition lessons with Ralph Vaughan Williams. The Allegretto and Scherzo share a whimsical humour; the Andante tranquillo has a wistful, Elgarian quality and Folk Tune a haunting melody which is heard three times with different registrations.

Paean is a Greek title for a choral hymn of praise to Apollo, but has come to denote an exulting musical piece. It is a ‘Tuba tune’ and was written for his then fiancée Edna May Kingdon. Chichester Cathedral Organ The earliest references to an organ in Chichester Cathedral suggest that an instrument existed inthe Lady Chapel in 1533.

This was probably dismantled following damage caused by Cromwell’s troops, to be replaced in 1678 by a new one-manual organ built by one of the most famous organ builders of the day, Renatus Harris. A number of pipes from this instrument remain in the present day organ, including some of the richly decorated front pipes.

The next two centuries saw various additions by John Byfield (the Choir Organ in 1725 or 1751 and a trumpet stop), Thomas Knight (a Swell Organ in 1778) and George Pike England, who added the organ’s first pedal department in 1806, putting Chichester amongst the first cathedrals in England to have pedals. Various tonal additions were made by Gray and Davison in 1844, and by William Hill in 1851.

Throughout his long association with the organ, Hill was careful to re-use existing pipework as far as possible, an act of wise stewardship for which listeners today have reason to be grateful. In 1861, the Cathedral’s central tower and spire dramatically collapsed. The organ, having just been moved to the north transept, suffered surpisingly modest damage, and was rebuilt in the 1880s. It remains a rare survivor of the gentle, early English style of organ building, having escaped the large-scale extension and romanticization found in many cathedral organs in the Victorian age.

A further rebuild was carried out in 1904 by Hele including the installation of tubular pneumatic action. By 1973, this was failing, and the organ had become so unreliable that it fell silent, until the major restoration of 1986 carried out by N.P. Mander Limited. Following the pattern of earlier work,this project preserved the historic pipework, provided new, mechanical action and enlarged the pedal department.

The majestic front case designed by Arthur Hill in 1888 was extended to the sides and back, and a new 5-stop solo organ was added, along with a nave section playable from its own onsole or the main console, to assist congregational singing in the nave. The organ’s future remains secure, supported in large part by the dedicated financial provision that exists as part of the ongoingwork of the Chichester Cathedral Restoration and Development Trust.

Sarah Baldock took up the post of Organist and Master of the Choristers at Chichester Cathedral in April 2008. She was previously Assistant Director of Music at Winchester Cathedral where she accompanied the Choir in daily services, tours, broadcasts and recordings. She founded the Winchester Cathedral Girls’ Choir in 1998, and was its Director until 2008. She has directed choral workshops in the UK, USA, Norway and Sweden and is a Patron of the Newcastle Cathedral Girls’ Choir, and a regular Director of the Girl Chorister Course at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York City.

Track Duration Title Composer
1 04:42 Double Voluntary in D minor, Z 719 Henry Purcell 91659-1695)
2 04:49 Prelude and Fugue in C, BWV 547 – Prelude J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
3 04:31 Prelude and Fugue in C, BWV 547 – Fugue J. S. Bach
4 06:29 Sonata in E minor, Op.132 No. 8 – Fuga Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901)
5 05:19 Sonata in E minor, Op.132 No. 8 – Intermezzo Josef Rheinberger
6 03:30 Sonata in E minor, Op.132 No. 8 – Scherzoso Josef Rheinberger
7 09:53 Sonata in E minor, Op.132 No. 8 – Passacaglia Josef Rheinberger
8 04:45 Three Chorale Preludes – Erbarm dich mein, O Herre Gott BWV 721 J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
9 02:29 Three Chorale Preludes – Herzlich tut mich verlangen BWV 727 J. S. Bach
10 02:45 Three Chorale Preludes – Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier BWV 731 J. S. Bach
11 07:36 Psalm-Prelude Set 1 No. 3 Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
12 04:45 Rhosymedre – from Three Welsh Hymn Preludes Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
13 02:28 Five Short Pieces – Allegretto Percy Whitlock (1903-1946)
14 03:37 Five Short Pieces – Folk Tune Percy Whitlock
15 02:16 Five Short Pieces – Andante tranquillo Percy Whitlock
16 01:47 Five Short Pieces – Scherzo Percy Whitlock
17 02:34 Five Short Pieces – Paean Percy Whitlock

Additional Information


Chichester Cathedral


Sarah Baldock (Organ)




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