The Organ

Benchmarks: Vol. 7

Paul Derrett plays the Organs of Ludlow and Leominster

Having reviewed a number of Paul Derrett's CDs in the Benchmarks series finding no fault in any of them, with Paul's performance and musicianship and his long experience as an organ builder to his credit, I need not further dwell upon his excellence, merely congratulating him on the series as a whole.

The programme note on William Wolstenholme is another matter; and I have to point out that Wolstenholme and Alfred Hollins did not both attend the Worcester College for the Blind Sons of Gentlemen (to quote its full title in those days), for Hollins went firstly to the Blind School at York and then to the College for the Blind at Norwood, London.

Next, Wolstenholme's work Bohemesque, published in 1922 (not 'Bohemeske' as in the notes) was issued by the National Institute for the Blind under a scheme for the encouragement of Musical Art, and was actually performed by Hollins at the opening of the Johannesburg Town Hall Organ.

Wolstenholme's archive can be consulted at the Central Library, Blackburn - his birthplace - which contains many wonderfully written (or rather typed) letters from Hollins, a born letter writer. Hollins' own autobiography, A Blind Musician Looks Back (Blackwood 1936) is, I think, the best ever written by an organist. (this autobiography was recently republished - Web Editor)

Paul Derrett plays the organs of Ludlow Parish Church, the Old School, Orleton (two small residence organs), All Saints' Church, Monkland, St Cuthbert's at Clungunford, and Leominster Priory and, incredibly, were recorded in only two days, showing that quite small organs can give excellent results and listener satisfaction.

With works by C.P.E Bach, Richard Francis, S.S.Wesley, Walton, W.T.Best, Pietro Yon, William Wolstenholme, Francis Jackson, York Bowen and John Weaver, I can wholeheartedly recommend this excellent CD.