The Organ September 1998

William Lloyd Webber – THE ORGAN (September 1998)



Soloists / Westminster Singers I City of London Sinfonia I Richard Hickox

CHANDOS CHAN9595 62.38

For church music enthusiasts growing up in the 30s and 40s William Lloyd Webber was an ideal role model. Doctored by examination at the age of 24 by London University his prowess as organist, choir trainer and teacher quickly aroused national recognition, which was greatly enhanced when his compositions appeared. For some strange reason all that promise was only partially fulfilled, despite the quality and individuality of his compositions, and no room was found for him in the New Grove’s twenty volumes. Seldom have I been given a CD to review which provided such unexpected delight.

The Serenade for Strings is a work of rare beauty, whilst the invocation sounds a fiercer note. There is more than a post-Mahler hint in the Lento in E for strings, and the symphonic poem Aurora presents complex musical thinking in splendidly lucid textures. As for the Missa Brevis Princeps Pacis, I would like to send every Cathedral organist a copy. It is a scandal that, so far as I’ve been able to discover, none of WSLW’s music currently adorns any Cathedral music list. Performances and recording are excellent.