This event occurred in at the RCM, when he was aged In , he succeeded Walford Davies as organist and director of the Temple Church choir, a post he held for nearly 60 years. This recording was followed by a number of others on the HMV label. Thalben-Ball composed several anthems and organ works, of which the best known is his meditative Elegy for organ, which was played, for example, at the Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.
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Organist Jonathan Kingston is playing on a Regent Classic custom built digital organ, which has 69 stops, with all couplers managed from tabs above the Swell manual. Jonathan gives a short introduction to each piece, offering some background and tips about performance and registration. See the Organ Music Tutorial Series overview for links to more organ videos and information about them.
There you will also be able to read more about Jonathan Kingston and the organs being played in this series. He became Director of Music at the Temple Church in London, as well as City Organist at Birmingham Town Hall, and his name is still held with great respect by the majority of organists. He dedicated his Elegy, apparently conceived as an improvisation to fill in time at the end of a BBC-recorded service during the war, to Walford Davis who preceded him as organist at the Temple Church in London.
The Temple Church, where George was organist for many years Noble English Organs are ideal for Elegy Noble English organs with sturdy foundations and orchestral tones are ideal vehicles for performing this piece, suggests Jonathan Kingston, who performs the piece for us here. Careful shading of the swell boxes with regard to the central crescendo is also an important feature.
Jonathan then moves into the following section where the theme is played entirely on the Great division with a slightly larger Swell registration coupled, adding stops on the Great with a Swell crescendo. Bringing on a full Swell with the box closed, he builds the ensemble, gradually adding stops up to Fifteenth and eventually mixtures and a Great reed at the climax.
The performance drops away quickly from the climax to the opening dynamic, knocking off stops using a couple of Great pistons and manipulating the Swell box. If you would like to watch the video tutorial right now — here it is:.
[Musical Tutorial] George Thalben-Ball’s Elegy
Elegy For Organ