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Oxford Book of Lent and Easter Organ Music for Manuals


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On retirement from a teaching career spent successively at St Paul's Boys' School, Barnes, Radley College, Oxfordshire, and Glenalmond College, Perthshire, (where he was also a Housemaster and Senior Tutor), Robert Gower worked as Organist at St Barnabas Catholic Cathedral, Nottingham, before moving briefly to the most northerly parish in the Church of England at Berwick-upon-Tweed. Returning to Scotland so as to be nearer to family, he is now Director of Music at Dundee Parish Church. Robert's commitment to English 20th-century repertoire is reflected through his founding and leadership of the Percy Whitlock Trust between 1981 and 2016 and in his longstanding Chairmanship of the Gerald Finzi Charitable Trust, from which he retired in 2022. He enjoys transcribing music for organ (with a wide range recently embracing both Leroy Anderson and Maxwell Davies) and in liturgical composition, completing a three-year cycle of responsorial psalms for the Church Music Society.


The formula established so successfully in the Christmas volume recently reviewed here is pursued again - a mix of arrangements, original works, and new compositions all based on seasonal melodies and presented with a level-headed sense of what is practical and pragmatic. Not everything is without technical challenges, but there is plenty of material for the less fluent organist to explore. Francis Jackson contributes a piece based on 'Hereford', and it's a gem. * Stephen Farr, Choir & Organ, July 2018 *
It is an excellent collection for organists who don't use their feet, for organists playing on an instrument without pedals, or as extra repertoire for organists who might otherwise be using pedals, since the quality of many of the pieces here is so high. Furthermore, as the compiler suggests, "organists who are at ease using the pedals will find it entirely possible to introduce these at times of their own discretion." . . . Palm Sunday introduces the first of the new pieces, a splendid Postlude on Sing Hosanna by Christopher Tambling. Other new pieces appear under Pentecost, with a Prelude on Hereford by Francis Jackson first heard at the funeral of his wife, Priscilla, and a Prelude on Skye Boat Song by Robert Gower himself . . . The range of music is extensive, the editing is performance-friendly, the music setting generous in lay-out, and the price is good value for 29 pieces and 76 pages. * Duncan Watkin, rscm.com, March 2018 *

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