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Voluntary in A Minor

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (06/01/18)
Composer: Robinson, John
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Baroque
John Robinson (1682 – 30 April 1762) was an English organist, and for many years organist of Westminster Abbey. He was born in 1682, and in 1700 was a chorister of the Chapel Royal, under John Blow. In 1710 he was appointed organist at St Lawrence Jewry in London, and in 1713 he became organist at St Magnus, London Bridge. The organ there, built in 1712, was the first in England to have a swell box, and in February 1712 Robinson gave the first public performance of this organ.

On 20 September 1727, after many years as assistant to William Croft, he became organist of Westminster Abbey, remaining in the post until his death. Benjamin Cooke became his assistant in 1746. Robinson was also a teacher of the harpsichord.

John Hawkins, in his book A General History of the Science and Practice of Music, wrote that Robinson had a florid style of playing the organ, which was popular with audiences; it was "calculated to display the agility of his fingers in allegro movements" rather than displaying "the full and noble harmony" of the organ.

Robinson died on 30 April 1762, aged 80, and was buried on 13 May in the north choir aisle of Westminster Abbey. John Blow and William Croft are buried nearby.

The edition that I've used for this fine little piece was edited by Lady Susi Jeans, and published by Novello in 1966 as No. 24 in their "Early Organ Music" series.

Like most voluntaries of the time, it begins with a short prelude played upon the diapasons, followed by a brisk movement played upon the Choir Cornet, and echoed on the Swell.

Towards the end of the piece, there are "consecutive octaves." While I normally "play the mistakes as written," I did use the alternate given, as the simple change really is much nicer.

The score is attached below, as well as a photo of the organ in the Church of St. Magnus the Martyr.

I could find no painting or drawing of John Robinson.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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