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Peter Hurford has died

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Peter Hurford has died

Postby IainStinson » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:29 pm

The organist and composer Peter Hurford (1930-2019) has died.

His recordings of Bach Organ works are outstanding and amongst my favourite interpretations. Whilst some of his organ music is very of the mid 20th century in style, some reflect the styles of earlier times.


[The information about his life and work is taken from various sources....]

"He studied with Harold Drake before reading music and law at Cambridge. He then opted for music and worked in Paris with André Marchal who introduced him to the riches of French organ music. In 1956 he took up the post of organist at Holy Trinity, Leamington Spa; he also taught music at Bablake School in Coventry. In 1958 he moved to St Albans where he served as organist and Music of Music for 20 years.

"During his time in the city, he also established an organ competition, inspired by the installation of a new Harrison & Harrison organ designed by himself and Ralph Downes. The competition, which blossomed into the St Albans International Organ Festival.

"He travelled extensively for both his performance and recording career. He was artist in residence at Cincinnati, Ohio University (1967-68), Toronto, Canada (1977), and consultant for the Sydney Opera House organ.

"He is best known for his interpretations of Bach, having recorded the complete Bach organ works for Decca and BBC Radio 3. His expertise also encompasses recordings of the Romantic literature for organ, performances notable for attention to stylistic detail. His playing style is noted for clean articulation, beauty of expression, and a sense of proper tempo.

"He wrote a book: Making Music on the Organ (1998, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-816207-3) and published a great deal of choral music for the Anglican liturgy, much of it issued by leading publishers such as Novello and Oxford University Press. His Litany to the Holy Spirit, to a famous text by Robert Herrick, is sung worldwide.

"He suffered a minor stroke in 1997, but recovered enough to resume his performing career seven months later. In 2008 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, hence he retired formally from performing in 2009.

"He died peacefully on March 3rd, 2019.
Last edited by IainStinson on Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Peter Hurford has died

Postby jcfelice88keys » Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:46 pm

Sad news. I have always admired Hurford's DECCA LP recordings. It was because of those recordings that I was inspired enough to learn and later submit the following performances to the CBCH: Carillon (Murrill), Solemn Melody (Davies), Berceuse (Vierne), Adagio in G Minor (Albinoni) and Chorale #2 (Franck).


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Re: Peter Hurford has died

Postby brooke.benfield » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:25 pm very sad.

I was privileged to turn pages for him at a recital he did at the Sunnyside Seventh-Day Adventist church in Portland, OR (41 stop 3M Rieger 1989) back in the early to mid 1990s.

While we were rehearsing I mentioned that should he want to use the crescendo pedal it required toggling a switch to enable it. He turned to me with a twinkle in his eye and said, "Well, we wouldn't want to do that".

If I am remembering correctly, he suffered from something akin to carpal tunnel syndrome from years of playing on heavy mechanical action instruments, and nearly had to stop playing. He had discovered that wearing a bandage like apparatus on both forearms that applied pressure at a specific place allowed him to continue his playing career.
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Re: Peter Hurford has died

Postby engrssc » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:45 pm

Alzheimer's is a very terrible disease, according to our doctor (a world acclaimed expert in this disease) at Mayo Clinic, worse than cancer. My wife (of 52 years) just passed from it. Not only is the patient a victim, so is the care giver. I cared for my wife for 5 years, so I know. :cry:

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