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Lancaster Suite Overview

Lancaster Suite for Organ was composed and first performed by renowned UK based Lancashire Composer, Conductor and Organist Malcolm Archer. The work was commissioned by AHORP. It was the brainchild of the project's founder and chairman, Prof Dr Colin Parsons MBE, inspired by Percy Whitlock's composition The Plymouth Suite

 

THE STRUCTURE OF THE SUITE IS AS FOLLOWS:

Duchy Fanfare and March

 Click here to see an excerpt from the score to Duchy Fanfare and March A William Walton-esque opening, establishing a well-structured and dignified theme, whilst adding gravitas by reminding us that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the current Duke of Lancaster and paying homage to the town's long association with Royalty.

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Pastorale: The Trough of Bowland

 Click here to see excerpt from the score to Pastorale: The Trough of Bowland The site of the ancient but long since disappeared Forest of Bowland is an area of outstanding natural beauty, bordering the eastern side of Lancaster. Wild moorland is criss-crossed with narrow, twisting roads and once-muddy cart tracks, linking remote and picturesque villages.

[TO DO: A description of the actual music for this movement!]

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John O'Gaunt Gigue

 Click here to see excerpt from the score to John O'Gaunt's Gigue This movement celebrates Lancaster's mediaeval heritage and ancient castle. The Great Hall was likely used to host elaborate banquets, followed by dancing. As John O'Gaunt is a significant and influential historical figure in the life of Lancaster, it seemed appropriate to acknowledge him.

[TO DO: A description of the actual music for this movement!]

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Claire de 'Lune'

 Click here to see excerpt from the score to Claire de 'Lune' An amusing pun on the Debussy piece, this movement reflects the historical development of Lancaster. The once-vibrant port on the tidal river Loyne, as the Romans originally named it, was embryonic for the settlement of Loynecaster. (Indeed the City Crest's motto remains "Luck to Lune".) In more recent times the transportation opportunities offered by the Lune enabled the city's wealth to flourish - one fine example being the celebrated Lancaster based, cabinet makers Waring & Gillow. Curent (2012) family members became patrons of AHORP. 

[TO DO: A description of the actual music for this movement!]

Click on sample to expand >>


Centenary Toccata - AD 2010

Click here to see excerpt from the score to Centenary Toccata The showpiece of the Suite commemorates the first century of the Norman & Beard Concert Organ as originally installed in Lancaster Town Hall in 1909.

[TO DO: A description of the actual music for this movement!]

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A review by Kenneth Udy, Adjunct Assistant Professor Organ, University of Utah:

Composed at a time when the art of organ composition has mostly dehydrated to arranging hymn tunes or other's works, Malcolm Archer's Lancaster Suite, with its original, tuneful themes, is like an oasis in the desert. It provides for both player and listener the appeal, practicality and staying power of yesteryear's best organ compositions. Lancaster Suite was composed for the centenary of the Norman & Beard organ in the town hall at Lancaster, England where it was premiered by the composer in July 2011. The score is beautifully engraved and illustrated with pictures of Lancaster and the organ. Each of the five movements is delightful and reflects Lancaster's long history: (1) Fanfare and March takes up right where William Walton left off, with sassy fanfares and a quintessential British march brimming with royal pomp and dignity. (2) Pastorale evokes the tranquility of Delius with lilting melodies alternating between soprano and tenor. (3) Gigue uses a catchy 12/8 Celtic-style tune introduced over a bagpipe drone that builds over manual variations to full organ with the tune played on the Tuba over an exhilerating pedal point. (4) Claire de Lune overflows with an opulent cantabile theme in C minor reminiscent of Vierne. (5) Centenary Toccata is a stunning showpiece which at the same time lies easily under the fingers. Its tuneful, happy theme bookends a lyrical middle section and builds to an exciting climax  complete with “pedal rockets” and final “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” chords. None of the movements is longer than five minutes. Highly recommended.

A recording of the Lancaster Suite for Organ, played on the Ashton Hall Organ will be available on CD in the Summer of 2012.  Watch this space…