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The Chimes of Gloucester Cathedral

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (01/31/18)
Composer: Williams, Charles Lee (arr. by Brewer, A. Herbert)
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk
Genre: Romantic
This is a VERY unusual piece. Actually, it's a "set" of 4 pieces combined into a long "suite."

Gloucester Cathedral has an ancient (now modernized) chime clock that plays at set points during each day of the week. Sometimes hymns are played, but these 4 pieces were composed FOR the chime clock. It is these 4 melodies that are varied in these pieces.

Charles Lee Williams (1852-1935) was organist at Gloucester from 1882 until 1897, having been organist of Llandaff Cathedral before this. He retired due to poor health at the age of 44, and was succeeded by A. Herbert Brewer (1865-1928). Williams' health may have been poor, but he lived long enough to see Brewer's funeral (see attached photo) and the appointment of Herbert Sumsion.

These four pieces show that Williams had some skill as a composer. Their style and characteristics are obviously greatly influenced by classical composers, but these works do have moments of charm and originality.

These works (originally written for orchestra?) were published in 1915, and first heard at the Gloucester Three Choirs Festival. They are arranged by Brewer as No. 19 in his "Organ Transcription" series published by Novello.

The four melodies used are:

1) Tuesday - Mr Jeffries’ tune. This is the first of four eighteenth century tunes for the chimes, using an octave of bells plus Great Peter, the mediaeval hour bell. Stephen Jeffries was the Cathedral organist from 1682 to 1710.

2) Wednesday - Dr Hayes’ tune. William Hayes was a chorister at the Cathedral and later conducted the Gloucester Three Choirs Festivals from 1757 to 1763.

3) Saturday - Mr Malchair’s tune. John Baptist Malchair was an Oxford academic and a regular performer at the Three Choirs Festival between 1759 and 1775.

4) Thursday - Dr Stephens’ tune. John Stephens was also a chorister at Gloucester, and later became organist of Salisbury Cathedral, where he is buried.

The score and photos are attached.

Timings and notes in FIRST COMMENT.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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