Op 3 A Sacred Tetralogy 1 – The Manger Throne

‘for Gillian Weir’    (21 mins)

Mystery              Lento espressivo – piu mosso
Peace                 Con moto tranquillo
Joy                     Allegro Jubilante

Subtitled “On first entering the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge”, The Manger Throne is part of the first of four virtuoso organ pieces (A Sacred Tetralogy) for the four principal festivals of the Church’s year . It is a meditation on the story of Christmas. Starting from the creation of the world, the music rises up from a pp, subsonic pedal C, over which sombre, chromatic fragments, in minor tonality, give way gradually to the superior force of  stronger, continuous motifs, in major tonality. At first the two coexist and interact, until with the gradual increase of tempo, intensity and registration, the stronger motifs predominate. At the moment of their total supremacy, the full resources of the organ come together in the major tonality of C, which fills the building with an overwhelming, climactic sonority, taking some nine seconds to dissolve. The music ends with a coda, as it reverts to the stillness of the opening, over the subsonic pedal C.

First performance 28 May 1960 London (Brompton Oratory, BBC Radio 3)
by Gillian Weir

 

Score ISMN M 708046 32 5


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Christopher Bowers-Broadbent   (Organ) Coventry Cathedral

I   Mystery       Lento espressivo – poco più mosso (10’ 44”)


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