Sir George Thomas Thalben-Ball CBE (18 June 1896 – 18 January 1987) was an organist and composer who, though originally from Australia, spent most of his life in Britain.
Born in Sydney, of Cornish parents who brought him back to the UK when he was four years old, he was known as George Thomas Ball or G.T. Ball until early adulthood
After graduating from the RCM, the young man was asked to deputise as organist at London's Temple Church by its then organist, Sir Henry Walford Davies. In 1923, he succeeded Walford Davies as organist and director of the Temple Church choir, a post he held for nearly 60 years.
Thalben-Ball composed several anthems and organ works, of which the best known is his meditative Elegy for organ, which was played, for example, at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. In 1935 he was awarded the Lambeth degree of Doctor of Music. From that time until his knighthood, he was generally known by his colleagues (as Walford Davies had been known before him) simply as "Doctor".
His style of performance (like that of his younger contemporary Virgil Fox in the USA) was rooted in the 19th century, and made full use of every facility of the modern organ. Even when he was playing baroque repertoire, there would be many registration changes, ample swell pedal and dramatic contrasts in volume. He could sight-read, transpose and improvise in any style and at any length to the highest standard without perceptible effort. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1967 and knighted in 1982. The latter honour was conferred shortly after his retirement from Temple Church.
This "Elegy" is NOT the famous one, but it shows the noble, "purple style" of the period at its best.