The Organ

The Organs and Organists of Hereford Cathedral

Watkins Shaw and Roy Massey: The Organs and Organists of Hereford Cathedral
Hereford Cathedral Organ Committee, 5, College Cloisters, Hereford, HR1 2NG
ISBN 0-90464-216-X

This is a revised edition of the booklet first published in 1976. The new edition – now running to 72 pages - takes account of the changes to the organ since then and highlights the recent restoration by Harrison and Harrison. The first part is devoted to a history of the organists of the Cathedral. It is a fascinating read: the careers of countless organists and masters of the choristers, through the turbulence of the Reformation and the Civil War to the indifference of the 18th century and the revival of the 19th. John Bull and Samuel Sebastian Wesley are two of the most noteworthy musicians in the section until we reach the 20th century, when there is much to read about Sinclair, Hull, Davies, Cook, Lloyd and Roy Massey. The centre pages contain some charming pictures of directors of the Three Choirs Festivals over the years, together with composers such as Elgar and Vaughan Williams.

The second half of the book consists of Roy Massey’s history and critique of the organ, with many fine illustrations in both black and white and colour. Specifications of the instrument at various times – including 2004 – are given, and the booklet is completed by descriptions of the other organs in the Cathedral. This is a first-class production and a good read. DB