Organist Jonathan Kingston is playing on a Regent Classic custom built digital organ, which has 69 stops, with all couplers managed from tabs above the Swell manual. Jonathan gives a short introduction to each piece, offering some background and tips about performance and registration. See the Organ Music Tutorial Series overview for links to more organ videos and information about them. There you will also be able to read more about Jonathan Kingston and the organs being played in this series. He became Director of Music at the Temple Church in London, as well as City Organist at Birmingham Town Hall, and his name is still held with great respect by the majority of organists. He dedicated his Elegy, apparently conceived as an improvisation to fill in time at the end of a BBC-recorded service during the war, to Walford Davis who preceded him as organist at the Temple Church in London.
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Ball until early adulthood "Thalben" was his mother's maiden surname. The level of his talent can be gleaned from the fact that he played the solo part in the first performance by an English-trained pianist of Rachmaninoff 's famously difficult Piano Concerto No. This event occurred in at the RCM, when he was aged In , he succeeded Walford Davies as organist and director of the Temple Church choir, a post he held for nearly 60 years.
Under his direction, the choir achieved in international fame with its recording of Mendelssohn's Hear My Prayer , featuring Ernest Lough as the treble soloist. This recording was followed by a number of others on the HMV label. 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.
This piece originated in an improvisation which Thalben-Ball played at the end of a live BBC daily religious service during World War II, when the service finished a couple of minutes earlier than expected. So many listeners to the broadcast telephoned the BBC to ask what the composition was, that he decided to write down his improvisation as well as he could remember it. He compiled, in addition, a complete set of chants for the psalms , most of them being his own work; this set was published as The Choral Psalter.
In 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". A regular radio broadcaster, Thalben-Ball also carried out numerous performances in many concert venues, not only in Britain; he gave the inaugural recitals on the organs of the Royal Albert Hall where he had the post of curator organist and the BBC Concert Hall.
In , he was appointed Birmingham City Organist and Birmingham University Organist, a post he held for three decades. During this tenure, he gave over 1, weekly recitals.
He wrote in an organ solo called 'Toccata Beorma' as a celebration of his links with the city. He had become a fellow of this institution in at the age of For many years he taught at the Royal College of Music, where his students included Meredith Davies , later to find fame as a conductor.
Thalben-Ball was throughout his life an unashamed virtuoso, whether as pianist, as organist, or as choirmaster. 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.
The latter honour was conferred shortly after his retirement from Temple Church. He was twice married: firstly, in , to painter Grace Evelyn Chapman, — with whom he had a daughter Evelyn Pamela, also a painter, — and a son John Michael, — ; secondly, in , to the concert organist Jennifer Bate marriage annulled From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Musical Times. George Thalben-Ball. Categories : English classical organists Male organists English composers Musicians from Sydney births deaths Australian Knights Bachelor Musicians awarded knighthoods Composers awarded knighthoods Australian Commanders of the Order of the British Empire Alumni of the Royal College of Music 20th-century British composers 20th-century Australian musicians 20th-century English musicians Holders of a Lambeth degree 20th-century organists 20th-century British male musicians.