Angels of Creation (Organ) | Convivium Records International
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Angels of Creation: Uplifting New Organ Works

Sebastian Thomson

  • Catalogue
    CR034
  • Organ
    Sebastian Thomson
  • Console Assist
    Keely Jones, Anna Lapwood
  • Engineering
    Adaq Khan
  • Producer
    Benjamin Giddens
  • Editor's Notes
    Kenneth Tickell
  • Photography
    Ellen Taylor, Mike Peckett
  • Creative Dir
    John Bevan
  • Exec Producer
    Adrian Green
  • Genres

Sebastian Thomson: Angels of Creation

Introduction

The Angels of Creation commissions are a collection of organ works composed for and premiered by Sebastian Thomson. The project’s inception began with David Bednall’s Rhapsody, which was premiered at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2010. All subsequent commissions—Simon Whalley’s Festal Paean, Thomas Hewitt Jones’ Angels of Creation (from which the title of the project originates), Neil Cox’s Laudate, and most recently, John Hosking’s Fourteen Stations of the Cross —have been premiered at Keble College, Oxford. Additional contemporary works by David Briggs and Philip Moore compliment this recording.

Keble College, Oxford: The Organ

Keble College is one of the masterworks of the eminent Victorian architect William Butterfield. The magnificent, lofty chapel, completed in 1876, is a riot of decorative brickwork, tiling and mosaics. The original organ was provided by William Hill; Butterfield designed its case, and is said to have personally executed the stencilled decoration of the front pipes.

In 1892 the memorial side chapel was created to house William Holman Hunt’s The Light of the World, and the organ was elevated to its present gallery position. From that time it saw a series of rebuilds and enlargements, but by the 1980s had fallen into serious disrepair. Earlier proposals for a new organ did not reach fruition, and from 1992—2011 the chapel music relied on an electronic instrument.

The new pipe organ aims to have a consonance with its Victorian surroundings, and an important aspect of the instrument was the cleaning and conservation of the decorated prospect pipes, which have an architectural integrity with Butterfield’s magnificent chapel. The building boasts perhaps the finest acoustic in Oxford, with generous reverberation, and the organ benefits from its placement in the wide, shallow and tall transept loft.

The core departments of the new organ recognise the spirit of the late nineteenth century, enriched by the colours of the third and fourth manuals and enabling the performance of a wide repertoire, both solo and choral.

Kenneth Tickell

Sebastian Thomson

Sebastian Thomson is currently Head of Academic Music and Assistant Director of Music at Bloxham School. He was a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford before moving to Harrow School with the top music scholarship. Sebastian was then awarded the Bristol University Organ Scholarship where he studied with Mark Lee. After this, he moved to Chichester Cathedral as Organ Scholar. In 2005, Sebastian was appointed Director of Music at St Matthew’s Church, Northampton, a post held alongside teaching piano, organ, and theory at Eton College.

Aside from teaching, Sebastian continues to pursue a freelance career as a choral conductor and organist. Having studied the organ with David Goode and David Briggs, he is in demand as both a recitalist and an accompanist. His recent solo engagements include recitals at Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, King’s College Cambridge, and St Paul’s Cathedral. Sebastian has also made appearances as a performer and speaker on local and national television and radio. He has also been invited to give a recital at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, in 2017. Sebastian is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, and a prize winner in the Choral Training Diploma examination from the College.

From the Composers

“Sebastian Thomson is to be whole–heartedly praised and admired for his vision in commissioning these new works, and for committing them to CD in performances of such intense musical intelligence and technical grasp. It has been a great privilege to have been asked to be part of this, and one can only hope that the pieces here will find new audiences and promote the creation of new music for the King of Instruments." 

(Dr David Bednall, Composer and Organist)

“Truly stunning playing and the best organ disc I have heard recently without a doubt. It is always good to have your compositions performed by safe hands (and feet); when they’re lifted off the page and utterly transformed, it is something else altogether."

(John Hosking, Organist and Composer)

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