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 ninth in the collection of "Twelve Short Preludes on Old English Psalm-Tunes. It is based on the melody "Surrey" by Henry Carey (1687-1743).
In this performance, the Choir flutes combined with the Cello und Violone, in a sort of dialogue with soft flutes and diapasons of the Swell coupled to the Great.
The wonderfully "cello-like" pedal part is played on Violon 16' and Violoncello 8', and is very nice!
Despite the fact that these are short pieces, there is a lot of music in a short space of time.
Sorry to still be posting these during Holy Week. After this one, there is only one more to go... ;-)
Photos of Best and Carey are attached below, as well as the great Willis organ in St. George's Hall, Liverpool.