Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

British Organ Music (2)
Gloria Tibi Trinitas
Four Marian Antiphons
Exultet Coelum Laudibus

rec (Gloria) 19 Sept 1981; (other works) 9-10 Nov 1998.
Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (organ of Coventry Cathedral)

Francis Routh was born in Kidderminster in 1927. At Cambridge he studied with Boris Ord later at the RAM with Alwyn, and Arnold Richardson. There were private studies with Mátyás Seiber. He is a dedicated promoter of contemporary music no doubt to the detriment of his own music. In 1963 he founded the Redcliffe Concerts of British Music. His works include concertos for violin and cello, a double concerto for both instruments, a symphony, and a Sacred Tetralogy for organ. There are also many songs. The present list is taken from a book published in 1975 so the situation has almost certainly changed since then.

Routh's organ music is extensive. Gloria tibi Trinitas is the final panel of the tetralogy. It is in three sections the first suggestive of airy heights and great spaces unconstrained by boundaries. The Lento continues this image in some miraculously hushed playing, The Vivace suggests a rolling and crushing wave. The Four Marian Antiphons range through worlds of quiet sincerity, resounding and troubled seas of loud counterpoint, a Howellsian contented cradling (as in 4.01 of Ave Regina), a steady noisy rising surge and in the Salve Regina a distanced sotto voce incantation. The Exultet displays a melodic gift delicate, equipoised and with a sense of moment and of a wide firmament. There is at work here a composer of eloquence, sincerity and communicative facility. This is not music difficult to listen to but equally it has nothing of the fairground about it nor any hint of pandering to the mass values of 'Cool Britannia'.

I am now very keen to hear the concertos and symphony(s).

Redcliffe Recordings is Francis Routh's own company. Its catalogue ranges far and wide amongst British composers so it is by no means a platform for Routh's music alone.

There is insufficient biographical background about Routh in the booklet and it is annoying that the dates for the works are not given. While Routh writes well the sleeve notes tend to speak from one musician to another - a pity.

Routh has been fortunate in Bowers-Broadbent and one can only wonder at the 17 years that elapsed between the making of the Gloria recording and the setting down of the other two works.

Rob Barnett

NOTE Redcliffe can be contacted at Redcliffe Recordings, 68 Barrowgate Road, London W4 4QU ( /Fax: +44 (0)20 8995 1223 Website

See also Biography by David Wright



Graham Whettam Sinfonia Intrepida BBC Symphony Orchestra Sir Charles Mackerras

Whettam's radically distinctive symphony is an affirmative message of triumph over the evils of the 20th Century. This landmark in British orchestral music was commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society and first performed by the RLPO under Sir Charles Groves on 18th January 1977.

Redcliffe recordings are proud to announce the release of the premier recording of this symphony performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.

This is only available in a limited edition subscription offer. For a subscription of £25 you will receive a signed copy of this CD plus a free copy of any other Redcliffe CD. The names of all subscribers will be listed in the accompanying booklet.

Order from Redcliffe Recordings, 68 Barrowgate Road, London W4 4QU
Tel/Fax: +44 (0)20 8995 1223
Cheques for £25 should be made payable to Redcliffe Recordings

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