Grant Brásler (organ of St George's Cathedral, Cape Town)
The organ in St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town came from St Margaret’s, Westminster (the “MPs’ Church” next to Westminster Abbey) in 1909. Parts of this instrument date from 1675, and has undergone several rebuilds, extensions and work up until 1988.
The first solo recording of the William Hill instrument gives listeners a timely record of one of the city’s great musical treasures. This great English organ provides a perfect, authentic sound world for the music of Elgar and Whitlock, as well as being remarkably versatile in other styles and period.
Percy Whitlock: Organ Sonata in C minor
I. Grave - Animato
Henk Temmingh: Three Pieces for Organ
César Franck: Choral No.2 in B minor, FWV39
Edward Elgar: Organ Sonata in G major, Op.28
I. Allegro maestoso
III. Andante espressivo
IV. Presto (commodo)
Recorded in St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, South Africa on 9th to 11th May 2014
Booklet Design: Willowhayne Records
Recording Engineering: Mark Hartt-Palmer & John Balsdon
Recording Production: John Balsdon & Mark Hartt-Palmer
Total Time: 63.57
Release Date: December 2016
Grant Bräsler started organ lessons at the age of 14 with Garmon Ashby and continued his music studies with Dr Barry Smith at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where he completed his B.Mus (Hons) in 1998. He has also taken lessons with Professor Wim Viljoen and was awarded the Claude Brown Organ Scholarship at the Diocesan College, Cape Town(Bishops) in 1993 and was Organ Scholar and later Assistant Organist at St George's Cathedral. He was the overall winner of the Adcock Ingram Music Competition at the University of Cape Town in 1996 and the Stephanus Zondagh Overseas Organ Scholarship from UNISA in 2000. As an organ and harpsichord continuo player, Grant has been involved with various orchestras (including the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra) and as an organ accompanist he has performed with many Cape Town choirs, including overseas tours with the St George's Singers and the Philharmonia Choir. He has performed Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No.5, the D minor Harpsichord Concerto and Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, and is also a founder member of the Camerata Tinta Barocco.
Grant has been Organist & Master of the Choristers at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town since 2013 and also continues his busy career as a school music teacher, organ lecturer at the South African College of Music (UCT), organ and harpsichord soloist and accompanist.
Jonathan Hope is quickly gaining a reputation at home and abroad as one of the most dynamic young organists of his generation. Educated at George Abbot School in his hometown of Guildford, he studied initially with Stephen Lacey, John Belcher and David Sanger, and then at the Royal College of Music, London with Margaret Phillips and Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin.
Jonathan became Assistant Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral in March 2014, where he is the principal organist for the cathedral services, director of the Cathedral Youth Choir, accompanist to the Gloucester Choral Society, Musical Director of the Saint Cecilia Singers, and Accompanist to the Gloucester Three Choirs Festival Chorus. Choir tours have recently included visits to Canada and Sweden with the Cathedral Choirs, and Bavaria with the Gloucester Choral Society. In November 2015 Jonathan accompanied the choirs of Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester Cathedrals and the Three Choirs Festival Chorus in an anniversary concert at Buckingham Palace, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales. The 2016 Three Choirs Festival (held at Gloucester) was Jonathan’s first time as Festival Organist, involving performances of Elgar’s The Kingdom, the Enigma Variations and Mahler’s 8th Symphony (Symphony of a Thousand) amongst others. In the same festival, Jonathan conducted the Saint Cecilia Singers in a performance of Howells’ Requiem and the world premiere of Philip Lancaster’s War Passion.
Increasingly in demand as an organ recitalist, Jonathan’s concert career to date has taken him throughout the UK, as well as France, Germany, Italy, the USA and Australia. He has performed solo recitals at Westminster Cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Saint-Sulpice, Paris. Jonathan also regularly improvises to silent movies, which have recently included Lon Chaney’s The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the latter in the 2016 Three Choirs Festival), Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last and Cecil B. DeMille’s The King of Kings. Jonathan has arranged many orchestral works for the organ, including Brahms’ Academic Festival and Tragic overtures, Elgar’s In the South (featured on this recording), and other orchestral works by Dvořák, Dukas, Glinka, Mascagni, Rossini and Stravinsky.
In 2015 he released his first solo disc, Gloucester Experience (Willowhayne Records), featuring a new work, Homage à Paris, by John Hosking, works by former Gloucester Cathedral organist John Sanders and Reubke’s mighty Sonata on the 94th Psalm. In the summer of 2016 he released a DVD, The Grand Organ of Gloucester Cathedral, with Priory Records (featuring his own transcription of Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice).
Before coming to Gloucester, Jonathan was Organ Scholar of Winchester Cathedral (under Andrew Lumsden). At Winchester, Jonathan played for the funeral of the composer Sir John Tavener. Previously, Jonathan was Organ Scholar of Southwark Cathedral (under Peter Wright), serving as Acting Sub-Organist & Director of the Girls’ Choir in his final term, a term which included prestigious services for the 2012 London Olympics and HM The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Through his work in the Three Choirs Festival, he has played with the Philharmonia Orchestra and worked with guest conductors such as Simon Halsey, Martyn Brabbins, Sir Andrew Davis and Edward Gardner. Recently, he has played in performances of Bach’s St. John Passion, Elgar’s The Apostles, Duruflé's Requiem and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms at Gloucester Cathedral, and often plays with the BBC National Chorus and Orchestra of Wales at the Wales Millenium Centre and St. David’s Hall, Cardiff. He regularly broadcasts live as a performer on both BBC Radio 3 and 4 and BBC Radio Gloucestershire. Jonathan is also Area Chair of the Royal School of Church Music Gloucester Area.
WHR034 View Booklet (PDF)