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Bruce Buchanan

Noël Rawsthorne

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I was so sorry to read this news, and after having had a chat with his successor,  Ian Tracey, I have some further information to share about Noel.

NOEL RAWSTHORNE (1929-2019)

Noel Rawsthorne passed away peacefully in the early hours of Monday 28th January, aged 89 years.

He was Organist of Liverpool Cathedral for twenty-five years from 1955-1980, thereafter being succeeded by his pupil and Assistant, Ian Tracey, the current post-holder, and being given the honorific title of Organist Emeritus. After study at the Royal Manchester College of Music (now The Royal Northern College of Music), he won scholarships to study with both Germani & Dupré. From 1980-1984 he was City Organist & Artistic Director at St. George's Hall, Liverpool, and travelled widely as a recitalist in U.K. Europe and USSR. In recognition of his many achievements, he was awarded a D.Mus from the University of Liverpool in 1994.

Chrissie & Chris Rawsthorne and Liz, his wife, have requested a very private cremation, followed by a great service of thanksgiving and celebration at the Cathedral on Sunday 3rd March at 3.00pm, to which all are invited.

Noel's ashes will then be interred under the North side of the organ, alongside those of Goss-Custard, his teacher and predecessor, during Evensong on Saturday 19th October, preceding the 93rd Anniversary Recital.

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On a personal note, I'd like to express my sincere condolences to Ian on this  loss of one his great mentors.  I have always enjoyed to hear Ian regaling his recital audiences with tales of Noel's adventures, and I know that he will be hugely missed.

  

 

 

 

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Yes, very sad.

The second organ LP I ever bought (back in the '60s) was Noel Rawsthorne playing at Liverpool Cathedral.

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For anyone interested the Facebook page of Liverpool Cathedral Choir has some photos. https://www.facebook.com/LiverpoolCathedralChoir

A neighbour who was having a clearout gave me a vinyl of NR playing the organ of Liverpool Cathedral. Sadly I don't think I have a turntable for listening to it but I am sure I still have the record somewhere. May he rest in peace.

Dave

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Along with my late friend and former Hull City Organist and Master of Choristers at what is now Hull Minster, Peter Goodman, I lunched about 20 years ago with Noel Rawsthorne and his wife outside the pub in the Cheshire village of Great Budworth. Much humour erupted at the dining table prior to Peter Goodman giving a recital in the parish church on a newly built digital organ by another friend, the late George Sixsmith. May Noel RIP.

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I first met Noel in 1969 when page turning for him in St Andrew’s Cathedral Aberdeen.

My personal memories over the following 50 years abound with his fabulous musicmaking,sparkling humour and practical administrative efficiency.

Memorable recitals from the Festival Hall to the tiniest village in remotest Scotland received the same detailed preparation - his cathedral service musical dimension matching the edifice perfectly.

Post recital entertaining to the faithful with “famous organist anecdotes” or “playing the matches” which he always won!

Skill displayed whether in his host’s kitchen or in his own garden or improving the running of his beloved cathedral.

A warm endearing person to meet.

A world class artist!

 

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A wonderful organist and composer now residing in a higher organ loft.

My fathers studies at Manchester overlapped  with  Noel and I remember my father commenting years later that his technique and ability  were " somewhat considerable " at that early stage.

He took my father to Liverpool so he  " could have a go "   and when he saw the console he said he nearly fainted!

The two of them met up many years later whilst my father was playing quite a lowly instrument in a small church but Noel gave a marvellous recital on this organ.  I think the " fee " was a crate of Guinness "!

IMHO his finest recording was with his colleague Terry Duffy of Solers concertos -     pure bliss and magic.

The 93rd Anniversary recital promises to be something else I think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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