Occasional Overture (Overture to the Occasional Oratorio)
– GF Handel arr. Henry Coleman (9:08)
1 Adagio (1:39)
2 Allegro (3:00)
3 Adagio, expressivo (2:29)
4 March (1:58)
5 Grand Choeur (Alla Handel) – Alexandre Guilmant (7:29)
6 Thema Met Variaties – Hendrik Andriessen (6:05)
7 Adagio in E major – Frank Bridge (5:26)
8 Pièce Héroïque – César Franck (9:07)
9 Ave Maria, Ave Maris Stella – Jean Langlais (7:05)
10 Fantaisie sur un thème norvégien (No XVIII from
Vingt-quatre pièces pour orgue ou harmonium) – Langlais (3:42)
11 Dieu parmi nous (No IX from La Nativité du Seigneur) – Olivier Messiaen (8:29)
12 Variations on ‘Torches’ – Alexander Mason (10:08)
Two Improvisations – Mason
13 March (5:19) 14 Suo Gan (5:24)
Total playing time: 77:23
Alexander Mason was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at St Davids Cathedral and Artistic Director of the St Davids Cathedral Festival in September 2007 and directs the choral programme of services, concerts, recordings and tours. He also conducts the Dyfed Choir and St Davids Cathedral Festival Chorus.
Alex was born in Cheltenham in 1974 and was a Chorister and Organ Scholar at Gloucester Cathedral under Dr John Sanders. He then went on to study at Worcester College, Oxford (Organ Scholar); The Royal Conservatory, The Hague (Improvisation) and The Royal College of Music (Choral Conducting). His teachers were David Sanger, Jos van der Kooy and Paul Spicer. He became an FRCO aged 18 winning the Turpin, Durrant and Dixon prizes and later received awards from the Countess of Munster, Ian Fleming and Eric Thompson trusts. He moved to London in 1995 and was subsequently Organ Scholar at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, Assistant Organist at HM Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace and Director of Music at All Saint’s, Fulham. During this time he was also Organist of King’s College School, Wimbledon, Acting Sub-Organist at Guildford and Southwark Cathedrals for two terms, a music assistant for ENO’s The Knack and the conductor of a number of choirs. He was appointed Assistant Organist at Lichfield Cathedral in 2002 and was also founder-Director of Lichfield Cathedral School Girls’ Choir, Associate Conductor of the Cathedral’s Chamber Choir and directed MusicShare, Lichfield Cathedral’s musical outreach programme. In addition, he was a tutor in improvisation at Birmingham Conservatoire.
He is a prize-winning improviser, taking First Prize and Variation prize in the Grand Prix d’Improvisation, Prix André Marchal, Biarritz, 2001 and was runner-up in the Tournemire Prize, St Alban’s, 1997. His debut solo CD of improvisations, Beyond the Score (www.signumrecords.com) earned a Critic’s Choice in Gramophone, 2001. In 2003 he became only the second organist in the programme’s history to improvise a voluntary for BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensong. He has given masterclasses at the RCM, Charles Wood Summer School and for the RCO, an improvisation lecture-recital at Symphony Hall and improvised to the silent movie Phantom of the Opera. In 2007 he was commissioned by the Birmingham Bach Choir to write an organ work for John Joubert’s 80th birthday celebrations and last year the Dyfed Choir commissioned a choral work for their 40th anniversary. His latest composition has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 by St Davids Cathedral Choir.
He has performed at Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral, in the Cheltenham, Norwich and Norfolk, Petworth, Ryedale, and City of London Festivals and toured in Europe, Bermuda, Lebanon, New Zealand and the USA. He has worked as an accompanist and continuo player for Ex Cathedra, Tenebrae, ECO, ESO and His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts and as an organist and tutor for the Eton Choral Courses. His recordings include music for Howard Goodall’s Organ Works (Channel 4) and The Vicar of Dibley (BBC 1).