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19 July 2024
Redcliffe Experience

Jonathan Hope (organ of St Mary Redcliffe)

Jonathan Hope returns to Willowhayne Records to present the sixth release in their critically acclaimed Experience series. Played on the stunning Harrison & Harrison organ of St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, (of which Arthur Harrison considered the instrument his best work), Jonathan Hope has chosen a selection of pieces that are perfectly suited to show off all the colours of this magnificent instrument, the disc including his own transcriptions of Brahms' Tragic Overture and Elgar's In the South (Alassio). Several of the works on this disc are given world premiere recordings, including award-winning composer Cecilia McDowall's Sacred and hallowed fire.


Johannes Brahms, transcr. Jonathan Hope: Tragic Overture, Op.81 Neil Cox: Creation Dance Camille Saint-Saëns, transcr. Émile Bernard: Adagio (Symphony No.3 in C minor, 'Organ') Sergei Rachmaninov, transcr. Louis Vierne: Prelude in C sharp minor, Op.3 No.2 Cecilia McDowall: Sacred and hallowed fire Alfred Hollins: Concert Rondo Edward Elgar, transcr. Jonathan Hope: In the South (Alassio), Op.50

Recorded in St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, UK on 15thTRUE6th & 19th February 2019
Booklet Design: Willowhayne Records
Recording Engineering and Production: Mark Hartt-Palmer
Associate Producer: John Balsdon
Total Time: 77.32
Release Date: September 2019

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.

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