William Thomas Best (13 August 1826 — 10 May 1897) studied at Carlisle Cathedral under John Norman and Abraham Young. Organist of the Pembroke Road Chapel, Liverpool, 1840-55; the Church for the Blind, Liverpool, 1847; the Royal Panopticon, Leicester Square, London, 1853-54; Lincoln’s Inn Chapel, 1854; St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, 1855; St. George’s Hall, Liverpool, 1855-94; Wallasey Parish Church, Birkenhead, 1860-63; Holy Trinity, Liverpool, 1863; West Derby Parish Church, 1879. Engaged in 1871 to give recitals at the Royal Albert Hall (stayed for only a short time). Solo Organist at the Handel festival at the Crystal Palace. Opened the organ in Sydney Town Hall, 1890. Was one of the greatest English Organists of his time. Received a Civil List pension of £100 per annum. Composed church services, anthems, organ pieces, &c. b. Carlisle, England, Aug. 13th, 1826; d. Liverpool, May 10th, 1897 (buried in Childwell Churchyard).
Best was certainly the most famous British organist of the time, and was proclaimed by none other than Franz Liszt to be THE greatest virtuoso on ANY instrument!
This work is the eighth in the collection of "Twelve Short Preludes on Old English Psalm-Tunes. The melody is by Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585), and known as the "Tallis Canon."
In this performance, all the manual parts are played on the Swell strings, and the pedals, which are the "leading voice" are played on soft 16' and 8' stops.
The effect is serene, but the music is fairly intricate, with some awkward stretches for the hands.
Despite the fact that these are short pieces, there is a lot of music in a short space of time.
I know this has nothing to do with Holy Week, but I just wanted to get the last ones uploaded in order to complete the set.
Photos of Best and Croft are attached below, as well as the great Willis organ in St. George's Hall, Liverpool.