This month’s hymn, “Tell Out, My Soul”, is a Christian hymn paraphrasing the Magnificat written by Timothy Dudley-Smith (1926 – ) in 1962. In the early days this hymn was paired to a tune by Michael Baughen but it was later paired and greatly enhanced by the sweeping music of Walter Greatorex’s (1877 – 1949) grand tune, Woodlands. The tune’s title refers to one of the schoolhouses at Gresham’s School, Norfolk, where Greatorex was director of music.
Timothy Dudley-Smith is an English hymn writer and now retired bishop of the Church of England. Born in Manchester, United Kingdom, he was educated at Tonbridge School and Pembroke College, Cambridge before he studied theology at Ridley Hall. Dudley-Smith is a prolific writer of texts for hymns and a member and honorary vice-president of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland. In 2003, he was appointed an OBE “for services to hymnody”.
Walter Greatorex was an English composer and musician. Born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, and educated at Derby School and St John’s College, Cambridge. In 1900, he was appointed an assistant music master at Uppingham School. In 1911, he became Director of Music at Gresham’s School where he remained for the rest of his working life. In 1919 he composed his most famous work, Woodlands, which was used for the hymn Lift up Your Hearts and for Tell Out My Soul. The Woodlands hymn tune appears in the music of almost all the Public School Hymnals published during the last 100 years.
At Gresham Greatorex was known as ‘Gog’ or ‘Greatoxe’, and among those he taught at the school were Benjamin Britten, Sir Lennox Berkeley and W. H. Auden. Auden wrote of him that Albert Schweizer played the organ no better than Walter Greatorex. That sentiment might not have been shared by Britten who wrote some not so flattering things about Greatorex in his diaries and letters at the school. The distrust on Britten’s part and challenging relationship between the two is reported to originate from some disparaging remarks by Greatorex on Britten’s liking for Stravinsky.
This is played on a custom built Envoy 23-S, which is a very popular church instrument.
More About Jonathan Kingston’s Musical Background
Jonathan studied the organ with Professor Ian Tracey and Ian Wells of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, home to one of the largest pipe organs in the world. He was appointed Organ Scholar, and subsequently Sub-Organist to Bradford Cathedral before securing positions as Assistant Director and Director of Music at two leading independent schools. He is currently Associate Director of Music at the Ordinariate Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Piccadilly.
Jonathan’s Work With Viscount
Jonathan works with us as our very own in house organist – he covers several areas from sales, demonstrations, voicing of instruments and performing. His playing features on the current promotional DVD material for Viscount, and he would be very pleased to hear from any churches or individuals requiring an engaging and lively recitalist. If you would like to connect with Jonathan directly, please feel free to follow him on Twitter (@jonkingston) or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
More About the Organ Being Played In This Demonstration
Jonathan plays this piece on an instrument based on our Envoy 23-S. A ‘Physical Modelling’ based instrument with 23 stops in a real wood veneer cabinet. It has a huge internal library allowing the user to create 4 totally individual voice pallets from classic English through Baroque and Romantic. It benefits from a full complement of divisional thumb pistons and additional toe pistons. The standard 23-S organ has a 30 note pedal board while the instrument in the film has a 32 note board. For more information have a look at the specifications here.
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.