Its that time of year again and the Battle of the Organs is back on at Selby Abbey. The event takes place on Friday 1st September 2023 at 7pm.
We’ll see the return of internationally renowned organists Martin Baker and John Scott Whiteley, who will be taking turns on the Abbey’s magnificent Hill pipe organ, and the impressive Regent Classic 3-Manual instrument, with traditional console, which will play through the speaker system permanently installed in the Selby triforium.
As you know, Martin retired from Westminster Cathedral, and has also played at the BBC proms, and John Scott Whiteley was, for many years, the organist at York Minster, where the pipe organ underwent a magnificent restoration not long ago.
Ticket Information for Battle of the Organs
Tickets available in advance on Selby Abbey’s website from £22 per person (scroll to the bottom of their event details page to see the buying options).
Date: 1 Sept 2023
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Cost: £22 per person
Selby Abbey, The Crescent
Selby, Yorkshire YO8 4PU United Kingdom
Programme – Battle of the Organs
Join us, as we welcome Martin Baker and John Scott Whiteley for our annual Battle of the Organs. These world class organists play two of the best organ consoles, battling against each other. Its a concert not to be missed.
- Overture: Der Freischütz (Carl Maria von Weber) – both organs played
- Centenaries & Anniversaries section of solos:
- John Scott Whiteley playing: Menuet-Scherzo Op.53 (Joseph Jongen) & Fanfare (Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens)
- Martin Baker playing: Fantasia in D Minor (William Byrd) & Fugue (No.6 from Twelve Pieces Op.59) (Max Reger)
- Concerto in F Op. 4 No. 4 (G.F. Handel) & Carillon-Sortie (Henry Muket) – both organs played
- The Nutcracker Suite Op.71a (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) – both organs played
The Organists – Martin Baker and John Scott Whiteley
John Scott Whiteley is Organist Emeritus of York Minster, having worked at that great institution for 35 years until his retirement from it in 2010.
In 2014 he was elected to the Worshipful Company of Musicians, in recognition of his promotion of the organ and its music. He is a well-known and successful recitalist, and has made numerous recordings. A particular specialism is the music of J.S. Bach, and John recently worked on a comprehensive series of broadcasts for the BBC entitled “21st Century Bach”, which aimed to cover the composer’s entire works for the organ.
Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral for 20 years, from 2000, and President of the Royal College of Organists (2017-2019), Martin Baker was born and educated in Manchester, progressing from the Royal Northern College of Music Junior School, Chetham’s School of Music and St Ambrose College to an Organ Scholarship at Downing from 1985-1988.
Martin is regarded as one of Britain’s finest choral conductors and organists having held distinguished posts at both Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London.
As an organ soloist he won first prize in the Improvisation Competition at the St Albans International Organ Festival in 1997, and he performs solo recitals regularly throughout the UK as well as in Europe, the USA, and Russia. He is known particularly for his skill in organ improvisation.
About the Organs
The Organ of Selby Abbey is one of the finest romantic instruments in Britain. Built in 1909 by William Hill & Son, it is considered a magnificent example of one of the most highly-respected organ builders and a valuable survivor of this period of the firm’s work. The superb solid oak organ case was designed by John Oldred Scott, son of the celebrated George Gilbert Scott.
The Regent Classic instrument to be played in Selby Abbey was built in 2008 by Renatus, and has recently had its sound engine upgraded to the latest Physis technology. It has Fatar TP 60LW solid wood-filled keyboards that still play like new. Glorious to listen to and to play.
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.