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Colin Mawby


Martin Cooke
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Everyone has probably heard that Colin Mawby has also, very sadly, died in the last few days. I know very little about him apart, rather obviously, from his tenure of the Westminster Cathedral post. In 1968, in my St Paul's chorister days, there was a big City of London Festival, and the Abbey, W Cathedral and St Paul's all sang in a concert at St Paul's. The major item was a new, commissioned Magnificat by Lennox Berkeley (conducted by the composer) which has never really made it into the mainstream, repertoire. The only recording available is a live one of this occasion. But, each of the choirs sang a sequence of their own and I remember being very struck by the different tone of the Westminster Cathedral choir and the conducting style of Colin Mawby. I can't remember what we sang, but I suspect it included one or two of the Mendelssohn psalms which Christopher Dearnley newly introduced at around that time.

What I am getting around to is asking is if anyone has favourite organ music (out of a huge selection) of Colin Mawby's that they could point us in the direction of.  I know his Ave Verum (choral) is widely known and liked, but I have never settled to learning any of the organ music. I have, though, found a nice little manuals only piece based on the Coventry Carol which I look forward to squeezing into my Christmas organ repertoire. 

We're singing Torches in memory of John Joubert and I am playing a little Noel Rawsthorne piece based on the Ord Adam lay y-bounden before the Advent Carol Service on Sunday. I don't think we can manage any of the Stephen Cleobury arrangements, and in any case, haven't copies, but I might play an organ only arrangement of his Suo Gan at some stage and, as above, I have Colin MAwby covered, too. A friend said, don't forget Jessye Norman... Heck!

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Actually, I have just found a Mayhew album entitled Fanfares and Finales which I bought in 1992 but haven't used, and there are some very atmospheric items in there - ideal pre-Evensong music in a darkened church in the winter months, creeping about on Swell 8fts with the occasional solo passage. These are written on two staves but with clear pedal indications - judicious use of odd bits of 32ft tone would add to the atmosphere too.

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On 25/11/2019 at 20:33, Martin Cooke said:

... I don't think we can manage any of the Stephen Cleobury arrangements, and in any case, haven't copies, but I might play an organ only arrangement of his Suo Gan at some stage...

Joys Seven? There's a 4-pt arrangement of it in 100 Carols for Choirs, while the original 8-pt version is available separately.

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