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Richard Lloyd R.I.P.


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The organist and composer Richard Hey Lloyd died yesterday.

Born in 1933, he had been a chorister at Lichfield, was Organ Scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge, assistant organist at Salisbury Cathedral and then Master of the Choristers at Hereford Cathedral and Durham Cathedral. He became Assistant Headmaster of Salisbury Cathedral School and retired, in 1988, due to ill health.

He was an important figure in the 20th/21st century in the English Cathedral tradition and leaves a large number of Anthems/Service Music for Choir - frequently beautifully crafted music.

May he rest in peace.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Richard Lloyd's funeral takes place in Hereford, I think, today. 

Daniel Cook posted this on the Durham Cathedral website:

“Richard’s time in Durham was transformative, and his legacy is still very keenly felt here. He made several acclaimed recordings with the Cathedral choir,  and the sound of the trebles during his time was characterised by a wonderful bell-like freshness and innate musicality which perfectly reflected Richard’s own gifts as a musician. He was very supportive of his successors, and I will particularly miss his unsolicited letters and emails offering congratulations and encouragement, especially after broadcasts. He left Durham 36 years ago, but it is a testament to both the work he did here, and the quality of his personality that his death has been so deeply mourned by our community. He is and will be sorely missed, but we are tremendously grateful that we were lucky enough to have known him.”

 

I am a little surprised that Richard Lloyd's death has brought no comments at all on this forum. I had thought that a number of contributors may have had experiences of his teaching or of his music during his time at Salisbury, Hereford and Durham.

 

Also announced recently are the deaths of the distinguished French Organist Dominique Preschez, aged 66 - the organist of  Eglise St. Augustin in Deauville and of the Dutch organist Liuwe Tamminga - organist of the Basilica de San Petronio in Bologna. He was 68 and also an authority on ancient instruments

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I would be interested in any recommendations of organ music of his that would be good to play. I have played his - Recollection, Sweet Sorrow, and hymn preludes on Melita and Ratisbon but not recently enough to pass comment without looking them up... which I will do shortly. His Church Parade  was published (as is lots of other organ music of his) by Mayhew a long time ago and I have played that sometimes around Remembrancetide. In one Mayhew volume there is a piece by him dedicated to 'the organist at Odstock' who is Richard Seal. If I get a spare hour in the coming few days I will undertake a bit of an analysis of what I have by Mayhew - I have also just ordered (from Oxfam) a second hand copy of a Mayhew volume that has one or two of his pieces in.

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I well remember his fine performances and those of the Durham Cathedral choir when I was an undergraduate.  RIP.

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I did mean to share a recollection when I first saw this news but time ran away with me. Richard Lloyd was my Grade 8 piano examiner so I only met him for the short duration of that exam and from what I remember he was very pleasant and I thought very fair as an examiner. Nothing particularly memorable about this part of the story but more the events leading up to my exam. I was a songman at Beverley Minster at the time and Alan Spedding, who also sadly died just a few years ago) was my choirmaster and also organ teacher. His wife was my piano teacher and dragged me and my minimal practice regime to the point where I was just about ready for the exam. In the run up to the exam she persuaded Alan, who was also an ABRSM examiner, to do a mock exam with her three grade 8 candidates. My Bach Gigue was not quite up to scratch but I could just about get through it at a very steady tempo. In his feedback Alan totally approved of my tempo much to his wife's disgust and the comment was made that only an organist would think that tempo was appropriate. Anyway after my last lesson before the exam I still hadn't quite got the tempo up and the comment was made again that I would only pass that piece if the examiner was another organist....well fate dealt me a kind blow when I walked into the exam room and I realised who my examiner was! I did in fact pass that piece and the whole exam with very positive comments about the tempo of my Bach!!

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23 hours ago, Martin Cooke said:

If I get a spare hour in the coming few days I will undertake a bit of an analysis of what I have by Mayhew 

Mmm... this is more of a task than I was expecting - he wrote a lot, and there are sometimes several pieces by him in each of the Mayhew volumes. In his weekly newsletter from Church Organ World, Dr Keith Harrington says that RHL had pieces in 44 of their volumes and that he wrote over 600 pieces of music. That's some output. I did start a personal reappraisal of some of the organ music yesterday and can only say that out of, say, ten I played through, I would have recommended eight. I shall keep going because I am playing a lot of music at church at the moment and there are clearly many delightful miniatures to enjoy and savour. I had forgotten a lovely piece called Recollection, for example - worth seeking out - and was taken by surprise by, I think, four contributions to a volume of music in the style of Lefebure-Wely, which could be very useful as crowd-pleasers at recitals, perhaps. If you have Mayhew albums that have slipped into disuse, this could be the moment to re-evaluate their contents as you look for a gem by Richard Lloyd. By the way, I recommend Keith Harrington's weekly mailing. Yes, of course, he's keen to sell Makin, Johannus, Rodgers and Copeman Hart instruments but you will remember that COW took on the Allegro Music stock, and in that capacity, Keith reviews and draws attention to new publications which might otherwise pass us by. I guess you just need to contact him via the Church Organ World website to get on the emailing list. 

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Last Sunday I played "Recollection" (from New Music for Organ, Book 1) and "Pavilioned in Splendour" (from Festival Finales). Both albums from Kevin Mayhew.
Both very attractive pieces, and not overly difficult.

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Todays Church Times:

David Hill writes:

RICHARD HEY LLOYD, who has died, aged 87, was a cathedral organist and choirmaster and a prolific composer of anthems, canticles, and organ music.

He was born on 25 June 1933, near Stockport, Cheshire, the younger of two children. He was a chorister at Lichfield Cathedral from 1942 to 1947, and retained strong links with the cathedral during his lifetime. He went on to be educated at Rugby School, where he was a music scholar. In 1952, he went to Cambridge as organ scholar at Jesus College. He read for a degree in music and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.

In 1957, he was appointed assistant organist of Salisbury Cathedral, where he also taught in the cathedral school. This allowed him to share his life-long love of English literature with the pupils alongside sport, particularly cricket, and music.

In 1966, he was appointed organist and master of choristers at Hereford Cathedral, succeeding Melville Cook. He became immersed in the Three Choirs Festival, directing three Hereford festivals in 1967, 1970, and 1973, where he brought a freshness of ideas and approach to programming. In 1973, he started the festival with Mendelssohn’s Elijah, which had not been heard in Hereford in the festival since 1914. His final work at the Three Choirs was Elgar’s Apostles, unheard there since 1904.

He was an avuncular, caring, and sensitive character, and so he found facing professional orchestras, not generally known in those days for emitting welcome or positivity to conductors, a challenging and draining experience.

On one occasion during a rehearsal, in which Dame Janet Baker was the soloist, the orchestra was not being helpful or supportive to him: Dame Janet stood up, faced the players, and suggested that they should pay attention, as “this young man has something to say about the music.” The rehearsal orchestra was duly admonished, and the rehearsal continued, but with a changed atmosphere. The orchestra soon realised that his innate musicality was something that they knew that they should respect. He was a “musician’s musician”, able to produce top-quality performances for which he was increasingly recognised. His contribution to the Three Choirs Festival was unquestionably significant.

In 1974, he was appointed to Durham Cathedral, where he spent 11 years, by all accounts, his happiest. He was loved by the choristers and lay clerks for his care in rehearsals and ability to draw the best from each person. They looked forward to the arrival of the latest composition and another descant to add to the roster of superb last verses of hymns.

Composing was always a central part of his musical life; he produced around 600 compositions and arrangements, many of which were written during his time in Durham. He has been an inspiration to many musicians, writing accessible, beautifully crafted music of very high quality for both parish and cathedral choirs.

Richard’s gift for melody and harmony came from his love of English music from the early 20th century, particularly Howells and Vaughan Williams, whom he would describe as “proper” composers, such was his self-effacing personality.

Richard had an unmistakable “voice” as a composer, unable to be a pale imitation of someone else. Some of his favourite compositions were recorded on two CDs by the Bede Singers and funded by his former choristers. The sopranos involved, none having known him or his work previously, all remarked on the quality of the music and how special the sessions were.

Richard’s sense of humour, never far away, would manifest itself in a myriad of ways. He would compile public music lists in which acrostics would be placed. A different set of Responses was sung each day, and, by printing Byrd, Ayleward, and Tomkins on consecutive days, he would be create “BAT” and another reference to cricket. His love of the sport extended to an acrostic in 1976 which read “Geoff (Boycott) gains the ashes.” This one made it to the Test Match Special Commentary team on the BBC.

He was a brilliant, intuitive musician with a particular gift for improvising, regularly witnessed and appreciated by the three assistants who worked with him: Alan Thurlow, who was sub-organist when he arrived at Durham, me, and Ian Shaw.

I was fortunate to be in the organ loft in Durham in 1982 when Dame Margot Fonteyn, Chancellor of the university, was arriving in the cathedral. Richard launched into an improvisation based on Tchaikovsky’s “The dying swan” (from Swan Lake) on full organ. I turned round only to see a wry smile and glint in his eye: it was quite brilliant.

He loved life, the countryside, food, wine, beer, cricket, literature, and his dogs; but, above all, it was his family that played the most central part in his life.

He left Durham in 1985 and returned to Salisbury to become deputy headmaster of the cathedral school, but retired after three years from ill health in 1988. He devoted himself to composition and examining for the ABRSM, while living in Anglesey and before settling in Herefordshire in 2001.

He married Morwenna, a nurse, in 1962. She has been the rock of love and support, and, with their four daughters, Emma, Julia, Catherine, and Olivia, survives him. He died in Hereford on 24 April after a short illness.

 
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 08/05/2021 at 07:44, Martin Cooke said:

there are sometimes several pieces by him in each of the Mayhew volumes.

If my counting is correct, there are 16 R.L. responses in 'New Psalms for Common Worship' compiled by Colin Mawby.

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