Our CD of the Month for March is Abbey Spectacular! , featuring a wonderful collection of organ music played by Daniel Cook on the Westminster Abbey organ.  Daniel Cook is the Sub-Organist at Westminster Abbey and has performed on many of the Westminster Abbey Choir’s recordings since taking up the position in 2013. 

Abbey Spectacular!

The current organ of Westminster Abbey was built by Harrison and Harrison and was installed for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937. Harrison and Harrison are a company with over 150 years of organ building experience and they still perform maintenance on the organ to this day. The earliest evidence of an organ within Westminster Abbey dates back to 1304 when reference was made to a pair of organs within the Lady Chapel which existed at that time. An organ has existed within the Quire of the Abbey since the late sixteenth century; however we do not have any details about what it was like. When a new organ was built for the Coronation of King George II in 1727, it was relocated to the entrance of the Quire. The organ was relocated again, when it was replaced in 1848, to the north and south sides of the Nave Screen. This is where the current organ also resides and it incorporates some of the pipework from the 1848 instrument. The two organ cases which were built for the Victorian organ were also retained and were coloured and reinstated in 1959. The organ plays an important role in the daily services which take place at the Abbey but is also given an opportunity to shine during weekly organ recitals which take place on Sundays.

 Westminster Abbey Organ

The CD is filled with classic organ music such as Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in F BWV 540, which demonstrates the incredible range of the organ. It also includes the piece of music Air on a G String which was originally composed for the cello but has been wonderfully rearranged as an organ piece.

If you are interested in more recordings of the Westminster Abbey organ, we have The Complete Organ Works Volume Four, also performed by Daniel Cook.