Christmas CD takes shape
EM Records will be releasing a
CD of Christmas Music by John Gardner this year. Recording will take place in
October. The CD will feature the Chamber Concerto, Op. 102 for organ and
10 instruments (soloist Stephen King), the Cantata for Christmas, Op. 82,
performed by the City of London Choir under Hilary Davan Wetton, and a selection
of carols from the new OUP publication, John Gardner Carols. The City of
London Choir will be joined by the choir of St. Paul's Girls' School, for whom
many of the carols were written.
St John's, Smith Square,
Sunday 9th December 2012
City of London Choir perform the Christmas Music of John
Gardner, including the Cantata for Christmas, Op.
Primrose Hill, Saturday 24th November 2012
Camden Choir under Julian Williamson will perform the
Cantata for St.Cecilia, Op. 195
Cathedral, Thursday 13th September 2012, 18:30
Catherine Ennis will play the Organ Sonata, Op. 204 at
her celebrity organ recital
Oriana Choir pay tribute to John Gardner
Stuff & Nonsense:
a summer celebration of John Gardner
Friday 13 July
St James, Piccadilly
John Gardner: Waltzsongs
John Gardner: A Shakespeare Sequence
John Gardner: Six American Hymns
John Gardner: Seven Songs
Richard Rodney Bennett: Nonsense
Eric Whitacre: Animal Crackers I and II
John Gardner: The Derby Ram
Mátyás Seiber: Three Nonsense Songs
John Gardner: Irreverent Rhymes
Tickets £12, £10 (no concessions)
Book tickets now
2012 - Concerts and recordings in planning
We know of a number of concerts
and recordings now being planned which we hope to be able to announce in more
detail in the forthcoming weeks.
Oxford University Press are
planning the publication of a collection of John Gardner's best carols - some
well-known and some not so well-known. We hope to launch this with a major
concert and CD release in London in December 2012. The collection should be on
sale in July.
Meanwhile, we can recommend a
visit to the
English Music Festival on 2nd June 2012 to hear the "Seven Songs", Op.36
which are being performed by the Syred Consort conducted by Ben Palmer.
And we hope to launch a charitable
trust before to long to promote John Gardner's music and make available funds to
assist recordings and performances.
tributes and miscellaneous links
PRS for Music - "M" Magazine
Old Eagle House Bulletin
Was John Gardner the Fifth Beatle?
Did classical composer write the ending for Eleanor Rigby?
Eleanor Rigby - the final chord resolved
given by Chris Gardner to the British Music Society in 2007 (opens PDF document)
John Gardner died on 12th December 2011. He
succumbed very quickly to a chest infection and died in the afternoon at a
Nursing Home in Liss Forest, Hampshire.
Oxford University Press announce that Five
Philanders will be on sale in November, approximate cost £7.00, order ref.
978-0-10-338004-2. They will be available from
"Five Philanders" is a five-movement suite
taking a light-hearted journey through different thees of love: Rejection,
Parting, Falsehood, Contentment, Fulfilment. In sharp colours but with great
economy, gardner paints his scenes: a woman coolly rejecting the advances of her
love, a heavy heart at parting, the boisterous energy of love fulfilled. this is
a varied and exuberant work that will delight choirs and audiences alike. "
7th July 2011...
A rare complete performance of Five
Philanders. Guy Protheroe and the English Chamber Choir are planning
to record this work next year, and Oxford University Press have recently
set all five songs and they are available from Good Music Ltd.
for more details of the concert
Brass and Organ CD is Recording of the Month on MusicWeb International
New release on Toccata Classics
Music for Brass and Organ
Catalogue Number: TOCC0048
Release Date: 17 January 2011
Easter Fantasy, Op.
Five Dances for Organ, Op.179
Flourish for a Wedding, Op. 162
Sonata Secolare, Op. 117
Sonata da Chiesa sopra un tema di Claudio Monteverdi,
Theme and Variations for Brass Quartet, Op. 7
Paul Archibald, trumpet
Helen Sanger, trumpet
Stephen Peneycad, trumpet
Kate Hainsworth, horn
Alex Hambleton, horn
Craig Beattie, trombone
Fabian Schmidt, trombone
Yao Cong Tan, tuba
Stephen King, organ
Chris Gardner, conductor
November 2010 at Brentwood Cathedral, at 19:30
Cosmopolitan Brass, Stephen King (Organ)
and Variations Op.7 for Brass
Dances for Organ Op.179
Sonata Secolare Op. 117
talk by Chris Gardner about his father
is welcome, but please reply to
New publication....we are
pleased to announce a new collaboration with
Scorestore Music, an
excellent on-line music store and publisher run by David Walder, by
which they now publish John Gardner's Five Dances for Organ
This is available at the click of button for £11 plus postage and
packing. Scorestore can also supply copies to the trade.
|The Twelve Days
A lost score has been found. The score
for The Twelve Days of Christmas (no opus number) has been
discovered in John Gardner's study. A much-loved favourite at St Paul's
Girls' School we are pleased that we will have performing material
available for Christmas 2011. It is scored for unison voices and
orchestra (flute, oboe, 3 clarinets, basson, trumpet, 2 percussion,
timpani. piano, organ and strings.
We have a new CD coming
out soon on Toccata Classics (TOCC 0048) featuring the brass and organ
music of John Gardner. As well as new recordings of Sonata da
Chiesa Op.136, Theme and Variations for Brass Quartet Op.7 it
will include first recordings of the following works:-
Sonata Secolare Op.117
Flourish for a Wedding Op. 162
Easter Fantasy Op. 242
Five Dances for Organ Op.179
The performers are Paul Archibald
(trumpet) Helen Sanger (trumpet) Stephen King (organ), with Cosmopolitan
Brass and conducted by the composer's son, Chris Gardner. It was
recorded in the magnificent acoustic of Brentwood Cathedral and we hope
to announce a launch event very soon.
December BBC Music Magazine contains a "Top 10" of Christmas Carols.
At numbers 6 & 7 we find John Gardner's Tomorrow shall be my dancing
day and John Joubert's There is no rose. The chart was
compiled from a survey of leading British and American choral conductors
and provides an interesting contrast to the more ersatz lists published
at this time of the year by Classic FM..
The Westminster Boys' Choir performed
End of Term from the Irreverent Rhymes, Op.225 in BBC's
Choir of the Year competition in November. This has generated some
interest in the piece, and we are pleased to be able to offer this
delightfully witty piece as a single publication.
e-mail us to ask for details.
And we have also just heard that John
Turner has recently recorded 6 by 4 Op.181 and that the CD
containing it should be out in the Spring. More about this when we have
|We have recently come across a release
on the Boston Skyline label of the 1960s CDs of Christmas Music recorded
by Louis Halsey and the Elizabethan Singers. These CDs introduced many
new Christmas carols by leading composers of the day (incluing John
Joubert, Malcolm Williamson and Peter Maxwell Davies) in stunning
performances by one of the leading choirs of the day. The CD contains
three by John Gardner - the jazzy arrangement of We Wish You a Merry
Christmas with its Count Basie-inspired piano accompaniment, The
First Nowell, and When Christ Was Born of Mary Free.
Catalogue Number BS124, available direct from
Skyline Records in the USA
Meanwhile Alex James, the bassist with Blur explained his perfect Winter
Saturday evening to readers of the Independent in his column in
The Independent on 12th November this year:-
"The wind blew force 11 on Saturday night, harder
than it's ever hammered before, thumping on windows,
blowing clean through walls and slamming unseen
doors upstairs. Claire was out and I sat content and
alone, trying to concentrate on exactly what was
going on in the verses of John Gardner's rhapsody
"Tomorrow shall be my Dancing Day". I'm 40 next week
and I suppose that is about my idea of a perfect
Saturday night. Taking a song to pieces by the fire,
anticipating my wife's merry return. What a tune!"
Finally, I Saw Three Ships,
the "quodlibet" which inspired a letter to the Times and discussion on
Radio 3 last year, is being performed on 20th December at the Alton
Maltings Centre, by the Alton Choral Society, with audience and
Peacock Press have added to their catalogue of
John Gardner's recorder music with the publication of Six by Four, Op.181,
settings of six texts by Shakespeare for cuontertenor, treble recorder, cello
and harpsichord. This retails at £13.50, catalogue reference PJT 112, and
Peacock Press now has an online store.
||Due out on 8th May, Lyrita have
re-issued the 1970 recording by the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble of the
Theme and Variations Op.7. This was the first work commissioned
by the PJBE, at the time when Philip Jones was in the Covent Garden
Orchestra and John Gardner was working as a repetiteur. It is on Lyrita
SRCD 307 and already listed on the Presto website.
Review on Music Web International
Link to Presto Classical
a lively performance of Fight
the Good Fight by the Scottish National Youth Choir conducted by Christopher
Bell. The original broadcast was in November 2006.
and on Radio
||Earl Rivers directs a lovely
performance of the Waltzsongs, recorded in February 2007.
||A search of the internet recently turned up a
recording of a work by John Gardner's grandfather, John Twiname Gardner,
who earned his living as a Doctor in Ilfracombe in the late 19th early
20th centuries. The work in question is Cunard White Star, which
has been recorded by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra on their More
Candy CD. We spoke to their conductor, Rick Benjamin, who believed
that this piece was the offiical theme tune for Cunard White Star and
would have been played by the orchestra on board Titanic. It was
a surprise to him to learn that J.T.Gardner was English and not
American. The CD is on sale direct from the
Paragon Ragtime Orchestra.
We are still working on plans for a CD of choral
music, and will announce the details when they are known. Meanwhile, John Turner
is planning to include Six by Four on a CD of British music for counter
tenor and recorder. This is due to be released on the Dutton label later this
year. The CD will also contain works by John Joubert, Nicholas Marshall, Richard
Steinitz, Arthur Butterworth and John McCabe.
A little controversy...
Shortly before Christmas, a letter from one of
JG's Paulina pupils was published in the Times. It described how JG would ask
the audience to sing What shall we do with the drunken sailor? whilst the
school choir were performing JG's arrangement of I saw three ships. The
story was taken up by a Radio 3 presenter who apparently invited listeners to
"try it at home". Of course, the two songs do not go together - and JG's
arrangement of three ships used the same harmonic structure as drunken
sailor. Geoffrey Brace, for whose school the arrangement had been written,
called the BBC to correct the mistake and apparently they duly broadcast the
John Gardner arrangement.
2007 best sellers...During
2007 we made a number of John Gardner's unpublished works available in print for
the first time. During the year the best selling titles included the following:-
Op.224 - this was performed at the birthday concert at Brentwood Cathedral
and also by the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, a professional choir whose
conductor Earl Rivers reported that "The engaging, playful English texts and
the manner in which Gardner progresses through distantly related keys were
delightful to the ear. For the musicians and audience members, Waltzsongs
proved to be the highlight of the program."
Five Dances for
Organ, Op.179. The New Zealand based organist Martin Setchell took the
Jig from the Five Dances on tour with him, and released it on CD
early in the year.
(Schubert, arr. Gardner). Written in 1974 for the piano museum in Ealing,
this classic "musical switch" was the ideal encore at many concerts in 2007,
culminating with Graham Johnson and Imogen Cooper bringing the house down at
Claus Moser's 85th birthday party at Covent Garden.
Entry of the
Three Kings (1951). Having been discovered as a result of the recording
by John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir, this little piece, which was
written for the 1951 Springhead Play continued to sell well in the run up to
Christmas and looks like establishing itself as a staple for the Christmas
season. It is particular suited to the ceremony of 9 lessons as there are not
very many carols which describe the arrival of the Three Kings.
the time of year when you are most likely to hear John Gardner's music,
thanks to the continuing popularity of Tomorrow shall be my
dancing day and The Holly and the Ivy. On 8th
Bearsted Choral Society welcomed John Gardner to
their performance of his Cantata for Christmas, Op.82
conducted by Peter Ashley and accompanied on the organ by Martin
Hogben. Pictured with JG in the front row are (l. to r.) Peter Ashley;
Maggie Bloor (soprano); Frances Coppola (mezzo soprano); David Clark
(tenor); Brian White (bass) and Martin Hogben.
December the BBC Radio 3 are broadcasting a number of pieces during
Afternoon on 3. These are When Christ was born of Mary
free, There is no rose, Sunny Bank Carol and
The Turning Year, Op.19. The broadcast starts at 1pm
and Gardner's pieces are interspersed throughout the afternoon with
works by David Matthews and Prokofieff. The full playlist is in the
Radio Times and also on the BBC website.
voting is open for Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol. They have
resolved last year's confusion by making the votes for Tomorrow
shall be my dancing day clear as between the Gardner version and
the traditional song.
70th, 80th and 90th
22nd November 2007: The BBC Singers,
conducted by Stephen Cleobury recorded a programme of uaccompanied
choral works by John Gardner (90), John Joubert (80) and Richard Rodney
Bennett (70 last year). These will be the first broadcast performances
for most of the works. The picture (right) shows Johns Joubert (left)
and Gardner (right), with Stephen Cleobury seated behind.
The new works were Joubert's Five
Songs of Incarnation and Richard Rodney Bennett's
Serenades. John Gardner was represented by The Turning Year,
Op.19, four settings of seasonal poems by Christopher Scaife which were
written in 1953, but revised for the first performance, given in 1966 by
John Eliot Gardiner. The programme was rounded off by 3 Christmas works
by Gardner; the well-known When Christ was born of Mary Free,
There is no rose, and Sunny Bank Carol. The
diary page has details of the broadcast.
And finally, some trivia... In 2001
the New Zealand post office produced a set of stamps inspired by
Christmas Carols. The 40c stamp was inscribed 'In Excelsis
Gloria', and described as follows:- "The text comes in this case
from the carol 'When Christ Was Born of Mary Free', set by John Gardner
in 1963 to a 15th Century text."
American Choral Directors' Association tribute to John Gardner...
In the September issue of the ACDA
Journal, Philip Brunelle has assembled some
impressive tributes to John Gardner in his 90th birthday year. Louis
Halsey sums up the sentiments in the article, "John Gardner has made
a sizeable contribution to the wonderful heritage of choral music. It
deserves to be sought out, performed, and enjoyed.", whilst Stephen
Cleobury writes "we salute you in your 90th year for your musicianship,
and for your great humanity."
The following conductors chose the
following works as their favourites:-
||Seven Songs, Op.36
||Four Carols, Op.109
||Hail the Day that sees Him rise, Op.24
||The End is the Beginning, Op.84
||A Latter-Day Athenian Speaks, Op.51
||Mass in D, Op.169
Reviews of the Naxos CD...
The Sunday Telegraph (Michael
The Symphony 1 of John Gardner, now 90, had
a big success at the 1951 Cheltenham Festival but was soon dismissed by
trendsetters who wanted only serialism and cacophony. This splendid recording
proves that it as good as one thought it over 50 years ago. It is a big work,
lasting 40 minutes, and a remarkable Opus 2. The Piano Concerto was also a
Cheltenham premiere (1957) but less successful at the time. It is a virtuoso
piece, well suited to Peter Donohoe's engaging advocacy.
The Gramophone (Edward Greenfield)
A brilliant birthday tribute to a shamefully neglected composer
This coupling of two of John Gardner's major works, plus a sparkling comedy
overture, could not be more welcome. Celebrating his 90th birthday this year, he has
always been astonishingly
prolific; maybe one reason for his neglect when there is so much to choose from.
The First Symphony (1946-47), the most
extended work on the new disc, is in four movements spanning more than 40
minutes. The idiom is more abrasive than in Gardner's later works, with a
grinding slow introduction leading to an Allegro
with echoes of Walton in its jazzy
syncopations, though with sharper harmonies.
A chartering Scherzo in triple
time leads to a Lento slow movement with whole-tone passages and orchestration
echoing Debussy and Ravel. The finale is strongly rhythmic. As always in
Gardner's music the orchestration is
brilliantly clear, and after an interlude of stillness, the work ends with a
ripe and optimistic D major chord.
The First Piano Concerto (1957) offers a contrasted idiom in its percussive
echoes of the Bartok concertos, suiting
Peter Donohoe's strong style admirably in a
performance brilliantly backed by David Lloyd-Jones and the
RSNO. The clangorous opening movement leads
to a still slow movement with echoes of
Bartok but also of John Ireland. The finale brings more echoes of Walton and Arnold in music that is invariably
attractive and distinctive. The disc is dazzlingy
rounded off with a rumbustious comedy
Ale, which I hope will bring renewed
attention to the composer's most attractive music.
Manchester Evening News
Classical Lost and Found
Colin Anderson in Classical Source
Andrew Clements in the Guardian
Naxos: David's Review Corner
Customer review on Amazon.co.uk
Albion Magazine Online
On 19th September at Brentwood Cathedral,
Stephen King is putting on a lunchtime concert for choir and organ which
will include some of Gardner's most popular pieces. This will include
Sonata da Chiesa, Op.136, Five
Hymns in Popular Style, Op.54, Waltzongs, Op.224
On Tuesday 9th October at 7pm we have the
British Music Society lecture recital which will survey Gardner's life and
On Sunday 14th October in the afternoon,
Antiphonia are putting on a
concert of music by Johns Joubert (80 this year) and Gardner.
The first sighting this year of
Tomorrow shall be my dancing day comes with the release of
recording by the Gloucester Cathedral Choir. Many more are listed in the new
John Gardner discography!
Finally, we hear that a performance of A
Burns Sequence is being prepared by Alleyn's School Choral Society, to take
place in November. More details when we have them....
The British Music Society
celebrates John Gardner's 90th birthday...
Lecture-Recital no. 12: John Gardner – His Life and Music
To be given by Christopher Gardner, on Tuesday 9 October 2007 at 7.00pm,
in the Jubilee Room , New Cavendish Club.
For additional details, please
||28th August 2007 - the Naxos CD is
finally released in their "British Piano Concerto" series. The
catalogue number is 8570406 and the disc is available from the leading
Midsummer Ale, Op.73; Piano Concerto No.1 in
Bb, Op.34; Symphony No.1 in D minor, Op.2
Peter Donohoe (Piano), David Lloyd Jones (Conductor),
Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Here's a link to the Presto Classical
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/wx/109153, and here's the write up
order who are also selling the disc:-
A victim of late ’50s
Darmstadtism, Gardner’s music is making a welcome comeback”
The English composer John Gardner has been largely neglected, in spite
of his prolific output. His career began with great promise before the
war, to be resumed gradually afterwards, but seldom with the success he
seemed to deserve.
This recording should help to re-establish his reputation with two
relatively early works written in the post-war years, the Symphony No.
1, “a superbly crafted work... by a subtle and imaginative
orchestrator” (Paul Conway/MusicWeb International) and the Piano
Concerto No. 1, both premièred by Barbirolli. The Piano Concerto here
receives only its third performance.
Midsummer Ale is a classic piece of British light music with
delightfully catchy melodies.
|July 2007 -
Peacock Press have issued
John Gardner's Petite Suite for Recorder and Strings, Op.245. This was
work was written for John Turner and has been recorded by him on the White Line
record label. The score is on sale and string parts are on sale or hire. The
piano reduction is in preparation. Peacock are also preparing Six by
Four settings of Shakespeare songs for 1 or 2 recorders, counter tenor,
cello and harpsichord.
can be contacted at Scout Bottom Farm, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, HX7 5JS. Tel 01422 882751, Fax 01422 886157.
John Gardner online
Recordings of a number of John Gardner's orchestral
and other works are now available as downloads from Classical.Com Use
the link on the right to find them.....
90th Birthday Dinner and
The dinner and concert at Eagle House on 20th March was a
sell out. We will be posting a report and some more pictures in due
The Naxos CD (Symphony No.1, Piano
Concerto No,1 and Midsummer Ale) is now scheduled for an August
release. (Naxos 8.570406).
Another birthday concert is being planned for
September and we would also like to draw attention to the fact that the
British Music Society will be holding an illustrated talk on John
Gardner's music on the evening of Thursday 4th October, in London.
Full details to follow.
Standford has written an affectionate tribute to JG
which has been published in the March/April
edition of Choir and
Organ, from which we quote: "John Gardner was quickly
recognised by real and practical musicians as a composer with a rare symphonic
instinct, imaginative orchestral command, lively, diverse and accessible ideas
and a particular aptitude for creating choral and vocal music." The article
will contain a number of previously unpublished photos.
John Gardner is also featured in article in the the current
Oxford Music Now, Oxford University Press's bi-annual composer magazine.
November 2006 - World Premiere recordings
Plans are now well advanced for the
release of three of John Gardner's most significant orchestral works. In
November, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by David
Lloyd-Jones recorded the Symphony No.1 in D minor, Op.2,
the Piano Concerto No.1 in Bb, Op.34 (with Peter Donohoe)
and the overture Midsummer Ale, Op.73. The CD is scheduled for
release by Naxos Records in September 2007. Pictured on the right are (l. to
r.) David Lloyd-Jones, Peter Donohoe & JLG.
its first performance at Cheltenham in 1951, the Symphony has been
performed and broadcast many times over the years by several orchestras
and conductors. The Piano Concerto did not fare so well following a
disappointing first performance by Cyril Preedy and Barbirolli at the 1957
Cheltenham Festival, and has only been performed one more time since, by
Malcolm Binns and conducted by Adrian Boult, at the Royal Festival Hall. The boisterous
Overture is another comparative rarity, and it is also being taken into the
repertoire of the Hampshire Youth Orchestra for performances next year.
Publication of Four Songs, Op.235
||July 2006 -
Peacock Press have issued
John Gardner's Four Songs to poems by Thomas Hardy, Op.235. This
11 minute work comprises
settings of The Selfsame Song, The Singing Woman, First or
Last, and A Bygone Occasion are scored for mixed
voices, treble recorder and 'cello. They are
dedicated to John Turner, who has prepared the edition for publication.
Vocal score, recorder and 'cello parts are available on sale.
Peacock Press Catalogue Number PJT 070
Peacock Press can be contacted at Scout Bottom Farm,
Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, HX7 5JS. Tel 01422 882751, Fax 01422 886157.
3rd recording for Sonata da Chiesa
||Michael Tunnell, the Professor of Trumpet at the
University of Louisville has recently recorded Gardner's Sonata da
Chiesa sopra una thema di Claudio Monteverdi Op.136 on
Centaur Records. This is
the third commercially available recording of this successful work for
two trumpets and organ. Written in 1976 for Michael Laird, John
Wilbraham and John Birch, it has enjoyed many performances and
broadcasts. Visit the
Press website for details of the printed score. For information
about Gardner's other works for brass and organ, visit the
Publication of the Petite Suite for Recorder and Strings,
|This charming work, written for the indefatigable
John Turner, and recorded by him on the White Line Label ("English
Recorder Concertos") is being prepared for publication with a piano
reduction by Peacock Press. We will provide full details when the work
Vocal Score for
Entry of the Three Kings now available
||In 1950, John Gardner wrote this 5 minute piece for the Christmas production at
Springhead, the childhood home of
the conductor John Eliot Gardiner. Scored for SATB chorus with oboe and
optional violin, vocal scores can now be purchased from this website.
Visit the unpublished works
page. The recording, by the Monteverdi Choir conducted by
John Eliot Gardiner is available on the CD "Once as I remember"
(Phillips 462050) is available from all good record stores, online shops
and from Napster and the iTunes Music Store. We are expecting soon to be
the first USA performance, taking place this Christmas....