Selected Recordings

Performance and Compositional


Roderick Elms: A Windy Christmas


A new CD of wind-based festive music by Roderick Elms.

This album was recorded in the beautiful surroundings of Brentwood Cathedral and Henry Wood Hall in London.

It features The Joyful Company of Singers, The Aurora Ensemble, Chaconne Brass, Illumina Duo, Richard Moore (organ), John Anderson (oboe), Joanna Smith (piano) and the conductor, Bramwell Tovey.

Track listing and audio samples

1 Calypso Carol— arranged for choir and brass quintet (or orch.) 2:42
Extract from Calypso Carol
The Joyful Company of Singers and Chaconne Brass
Conducted by Bramwell Tovey


2 A Windy Christmas — Christmas fantasy for wind quintet 8:17
Also available for brass quintet
Extract from A Windy Christmas
The Aurora Ensemble


3 Merry Gents — for organ and wind quintet 4:34
From Wassail Down the Wind for organ and orchestra
Extract from Merry Gents
The Aurora Ensemble with Roderick Elms organ


4 Christmas Mudley — for brass quintet 6:11
Extract from Christmas Mudley
Chaconne Brass


5 Advent Dances — for trumpet and organ 10:19
Extract from Advent Dances
Illumina Duo (Ellie Lovegrove trumpet, Richard Moore organ)


6 Crowns of Gold 3:17
For high voices (or SATB), oboe and piano
Extract from Crowns of Gold
The Joyful Company of Singers
John Anderson oboe, Joanna Smith piano
Conducted by Bramwell Tovey


7 Holly’s Nightmare — for wind quintet 5:05
Extract from Holly’s Nightmare
The Aurora Ensemble


8 It Came Upon the Midnight Clear  2:49
For high voices (or SATB), oboe and piano
Extract from it came upon the midnight clear
The Joyful Company of Singers
John Anderson oboe, Joanna Smith piano
Conducted by Bramwell Tovey

Sails at Dawn
— for oboe and piano 5:13
Extract from Sails at Dawn
John Anderson oboe and Joanna Smith piano

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
— arranged for oboe and piano 2:32
Extract from Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
John Anderson oboe and Joanna Smith piano

A Christmas Carillon — solo organ 4:26
Extract from A Christmas Carillon
Richard Moore organ


12 In Dulci Jubilo— arranged for choir and brass quintet (or orch.) 2:17
Extract from A Christmas Carillon
The Joyful Company of Singers and Chaconne Brass
Conducted by Bramwell Tovey


13 Rocking— arranged for choir and brass quintet (or orch.) 2:18
Extract from A Christmas Carillon
The Joyful Company of Singers and Chaconne Brass
Conducted by Bramwell Tovey


14 Pipe Dream — for trumpet and organ 6:42
Extract from Pipe Dream
Illumina Duo (Ellie Lovegrove trumpet, Richard Moore organ)


Three ‘Baroque’ Carols — for SATB and brass quintet (or orch.)
The Joyful Company of Singers and Chaconne Brass
Conducted by Bramwell Tovey

15 Past Three O’Clock (siciliana) 2:57
Extract from Past three o’clock

16 The Wexford Carol
 (sarabande) 4:10
Extract from The Wexford Carol

17 Deck the Hall 
(gavotte) 2:19
Extract from Deck the hall

Roderick Elms: A Little Fall-ish!


A CD of instrumental music by Roderick Elms.

This album, recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Stephen Bell, was made in the beautiful surrounding of the Temple Church in London.

It features Martin Owen (horn), Victoria Walpole (cor anglais), Janice Graham (violin), Stuart Nicholson (organ) Victoria Green (guitar) and Roderick Elms (piano & celeste).

Track listing

Concertino for Celeste Roderick Elms, celeste
1 i. Capriccietto

2 ii. Cantilena

3 iii. FineAle

Andrew Nicholson, fl ute Martin Owen, horn Suzanne Willison, harp

Four Seasonal Nocturnes Martin Owen, horn

4 i. A Little Fall-ish! (Horn Abroad)

5 ii. The Horn in Winter (Le Cor en Hiver)

6 iii. The Well Sprung Horn (Vorsprung durch Horntechnik)

7 iv. Little Horn in the Sun (Sol’ un Cornetto)

Alistair Young, celeste

Cygncopations Victoria Walpole, cor anglais

Reverie et Danse for cor anglais and chamber orchestra

8 i. Reverie

9 ii. Danse

Stephen Quigley, vibraphone

10 Chiarore del Mare Janice Graham, violin

11 Paean Stuart Nicholson, organ

12 Elegie

13 Gazelle

14 Il Cygnet Victoria Walpole, cor anglais

15 Fandango Fantástico Stuart Nicholson, organ Victoria Green, guitar

Back to Bach

16 i. Sinfonia

17 ii. Aria

18 iii. Gigue


conducted by


RODERICK ELMS celeste, piano

Roderick Elms: Festive Frolic

NAXOS 8.570793

Recorded in St John’s, Smith Square in London, this recording with the Joyful Company of Singers and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Stephen Bell features many of Roderick Elms’ Christmas and festive composition and arrangements. Also taking part are the tenor, Mark Wilde and organist, Stuart Nicholson.

The recording features the first complete recording of Wassail Down the Wind – a suite of three drinking songs for organist & orchestra.

Track listing

1 Fanfare da Festa 1:31

2 O Come, O Come Emmanuel 4:01


3 Gabriel’s Message 3:10

4 Rocking 2:12

5 Angels from the Realms of Glory 3:40

6 Sleepers Wake! 4:12

7 Cherry Tree Carol 2:09

8 Away in a Manger 3:19


9 The Boar’s Head, Coventry 5:24

10 Merry Gents 4:08

11 Wassailing in the Dark 3:01


12 Coventry Carol 3:26

13 Silent Night 3:40

14 In Dulci Jubilo 1:57

15 Sheep May Safely Graze 3:50

16 Festive Frolic 3:13

17 Sleep, Sweet Babe! 3:03

18 We Three Kings of Orient Are 3: 37

19 Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer 2:48

Roderick Elms: Festive Frolic

NAXOS 8.570793

This CD includes Twelve Astrological Preludes for piano, together with recordings of the Two Festive Carillons for organ and Two Anglo Fandangos for guitar and organ. These are performed by Victoria Green, guitar and Stuart Nicholson, organ in the sumptuous acoustic of Brentwood Cathedral. Moody Moves – the sextet for piano and winds — is performed by the Aurora Ensemble with Joanna Smith, piano. Saxophone arrangements of the cor anglais pieces Cygncopations and Il Cygnet are performed by Kyle Horch, alto saxophone with Joanna Smith, piano.

Track listing

Moody Moves – sextet for piano and winds 1 Amorous Antiphon 1:52

2 Precocious Prelude 5:51

3 Retro Romance 5:38

4 Funky Fugato 2:09

5 Cool Cadenza 3:57

6 Saucy Saltarello 5:31

7 Il Cygnet* 3:42

8 Rêverie 5:06

9 Danse 1:56

Twelve Astrological Preludes*
10 Capricorn 1:38

11 Aquarius 0:51

12 Pisces 1:33

13 Aries 1:44

14 Taurus 1:42

15 Gemini 1:49

16 Cancer 2:47

17 Leo 2:00

18 Virgo 1:32

19 Libra 2:52

20 Scorpio 1:26

21 Sagittarius 1:55

22 Fandango Frívolo 5:57

23 Carillon Festivo 3:00

24 Fandango Fantàstico 5:17

25 Carillon da Festa 4:00

Total playing time 75:47

Spanish Fiesta

RPO 016

Recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Cleobury, this CD includes da Falla’s atmospheric Nights in the Gardens of Spain.

This recording is available through all good record stores or from Amazon.

Track listing
  1. RIMSKY-KORSAKOV – Capriccio Espagnol
  2. DE FALLA – Nights in the Gardens of Spain 
  3. RODRIGO – Concierto de Aranjuez (Guitar Concerto) 
  4. DE FALLA – The Three Cornered Hat (Suite No.2)

Conductor – Nicholas Cleobury
Guitar – Mark Ashford
Piano – Roderick Elms

The Gentle Art Of Percy Whitlock


Percy Whitlock was one of the great organists and composers of organ music of the first part of the 20th century.

This recording is available through the Shop section of this website.

Track listing

1. Sortie * 5:35
(Seven Sketches on Verses from the Psalms)

2. After an Old French Air 4:05
(Three Reflections)

3. Darwall’s 148th 3:07
4. Song 13 3:33
5. Deo Gracias 4:06

6. Pazienza (Three Reflections) 4:52

7. St Denio 2:40
8. Werde Munter 3:24
9. King’s Lynn 5:33

10. Dolcezza (Three Reflections) 3:27

11. Allegretto 2:38
12. Folk Tune 3:49
13. Andante Tranquillo 2:34
14. Scherzo 1:48
15. Paean 2:54

16. Salix (Plymouth Suite) 3:06
17. Fantasie Choral No. 2 in F# minor * 13:35

Organist: Roderick Elms
All tracks recorded in Rugby School Chapel in July 1985 except those
marked * which were recorded in Brentwood Cathedral in November 2009.

Frank Martin: Ballades


Recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mattias Bamert, this CD includes the haunting Ballade for Piano & Orchestra played by Roderick Elms.

This recording is available through all good record stores or from Amazon.

Track listing
  1. Ballade for piano and orchestra Molto andante 16:56
  2. Ballade for trombone and orchestra Largamente 8:00
  3. Ballade for cello and small orchestra Adagio 15:56
  4. Ballade for saxophone and orchestra Largo 14:45
  5. Ballade for viola, wind, harp, harpsichord, timpani and percussion and orchestra Molto lento 12:23
  6. Ballade for flute string orchestra and piano Allegro ben moderato 8:03

    Adrian Bending timpani
    Celia Chambers flute
    Ian Bousfield trombone
    Keith Millar percussion
    Martin Robertson saxophone
    Peter Dixon cello
    Philip Dukes viola
    Rachel Gledhill percussion
    Rachel Masters harp
    Roderick Elms piano/harpsichord

    London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Matthias Bamert

    Recorded in:
    Goldsmiths College, New Cross, London
    4-6 January 1994 

    Ralph Couzens

    Sound Engineer(s)
    Ben Connellan
    Richard Smoker (Assistant)

Charles Williams


Charles Williams was a giant of British light music with famous melodies ranging from the “Archers” theme to “The Devil’s Galop”.

This recording, made with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Barry Wordswoth, also contains the beautiful “Dream of Olwen” for piano and orchestra from the 1947 film “While I Live”.

Track listing

High Adventure (Friday Night is Music Night) (c1950)
Model Railway (1951)
Young Ballerina (The Potter’s Wheel) (1951)
The Bells of St Clements (1940s)
The Dream of Olwen (1947) *
Cutty Sark (1951)
Nursery Clock (1933)
The Night has Eyes (1942)
Devil’s Gallop (1948)
Starlings (1950)
The Voice of London (1946)
The Music Lesson (1955) *
Girls in Grey (TV Newsreel) (1950)
The Humming Top (1938)
Destruction by Fire (c 1940s)
The Old Clockmaker (Jennings at School) (1949)
Little Tyrolean (1935)
Throughout the Years (1951)
Blue Devils (1929)
Jealous Lover (The Apartment) (1949) *
Rhythm on Rails (1950)
Sally Tries The Ballet (1951)
Cross Country (1954)
London Fair (1955)

Roderick Elms (piano) *
BBC Concert Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth

All arrangements by Charles Williams except those by John Bell, Sidney Torch, Philip Lane, Bobbie Field, George Zalva, Robin White, Gavin Sutherland and Adolf Lotter

The Golden Age of Hollywood

RPO 017

This recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jose Serebrier, features two of the great “film concertos” for piano: the Warsaw Concerto and the Spellbound Concerto — played by Roderick Elms.

This recording of the Warsaw Concerto also appears on Classic FM’s “Classic FM at the Movies and features regular on the station’s playlists.

Track listing
  1. THE BIG COUNTRY – Main Theme (Moross)
  2. CASABLANCA – Suite (Steiner) 
  3. SPELLBOUND – Concerto (Rozsa)
  4. PSYCHO – Suite – Prelude (Herrmann) 
  5. PSYCHO – Suite – The Stairs (Herrmann) 
  6. PSYCHO – Suite – The Murder (Herrmann) 
  7. PSYCHO – Suite – Finale (Herrmann) 
  8. THE GUNS OF NAVARONE – Main Theme (Tiomkin) 
  9. BEN-HUR – Love Theme (Rozsa)
  10. BEN-HUR – Parade of the Charioteers (Rozsa)
  11. TAXI DRIVER – Main Theme (Herrmann) 
  12. THE SEA HAWK – Main Theme (Korngold) 
  13. DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT – Warsaw Concerto (Addinsell) 
  14. GONE WITH THE WIND – Tara (Steiner) 
  15. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN – Overture (Bernstein)

Conductor: Jose Serebrier

Piano: Roderick Elms

British Light Classics

Warner 2564634102

Recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Barry Wordsworth, this CD includes some gems of British light music including Hubert Bath’s perennial “Cornish Rhapsody”.

This recording is available through all good record stores or from Amazon.

Track listing
  1. Sir Malcolm ARNOLD English Dances
  2. Eric COATES Calling All Workers
  3. Arthur WOOD Barwick Green (My Native Heath)
  4. Vivian ELLIS Coronation Scot
  5. Hayde WOOD The Bandstand, Hyde Park Frescoes
  6. Hubert BATH Cornish Rhapsody
  7. Robert FARNON Portrait Of A Flirt
  8. Eric COATES By The Sleepy Lagoon
  9. Trevor DUNCAN March (from Little Suite)
  10. Charles WILLIAMS Rhythm On Rails
  11. Arthur BENJAMIN Jamaican Rumba
  12. Edward WHITE Puffin Billy
  13. Anthony COLLINS Vanity Fair
  14. Sir Edward ELGAR Chanson De Nuit
  15. Charles WILLIAMS Heart OLondon
  16. Robert FARNON Westminster Waltz
  17. Eric COATES Dam Busters March
  18. Charles WILLIAMS Devils Galop

Soloist: Roderick Elms
Conductor: Barry Wordsworth
Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

The Carnival of the Animals

RPO 017

This recording, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, includes Saint-Saens “Carnival of the Animals”. The solo piano parts are played by Vivian Troon and Roderick Elms.

It also included Prokofiev’s “Peter & the Wolf” narrated by Sir John Gielgud.

The Magic of Mozart

Warner 2564634102

Recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, this CD includes many of Mozart’s “greatest hits” including the slow movement of his piano concerto No. 21 K467 “Elvira Madigan”.

This recording is available through all good record stores or from Amazon.

John Ireland: Greater Love Hath No Man


A CD of some of John Ireland’s best loved choral and orchestral music.

This recording, made with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Hickox, features the splendid “Vexilla Regis” for chorus, orchestra and organ.

This recording is available through all good record stores or from Amazon.

Track listing
  1. Vexilla Regis (Hymn for Passion Sunday) 11:54
  2. Greater Love Hath No Man  6:51
  3. These Things Shall Be 22:12
  4. A London Overture 13:36
  5. The Holy Boy (A Carol of the Nativity) 2:43
  6. Epic March 9:13

Paula Bott soprano
Teresa Shaw contralto
James Oxley tenor
Bryn Terfel bass-baritone
Roderick Elms organ
London Symphony Chorus

London Symphony Orchestra
Richard Hickox
Recorded in:
St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, London
24-26 April 1990

Brian Couzens
Sound Engineer(s)
Ralph Couzens
Peter Newble (Assistant)

In Dulci Jubilo!


Recorded by the choristers of St Edward’s Church, Romford under their enterprising Music Director, Jonathan Venner, this lovely CD contains many of the high-voice versions of Roderick Elms’ carols together with some seasonal instrumental pieces.

They are joined by organist and pianist Stuart Nicholson, flautist Carolyn Wheadon & guitarist Victoria Green.

Track listing

1 In Dulci Jubilo – Chorale Prelude (Fantasia) Johann Sebastian Bach 

THREE CAROLS arr. Roderick Elms

2 Gabriel’s Message 14th cent.

3 Rocking Czech melody

4 Angels from the realms of glory Old French

5 Mater ora filium Charles Wood arr. Harrison Oxley

6 Myn Lyking R.R. Terry

7 Zu Bethlehem geboren – Chorale Prelude Helmut Walcha

8 Tomorrow shall be my dancing day John Gardner

9 Make me a light Philip Wilby

10 Patapan Burgundian arr. by Reginald Jacques

11 A New Year Carol Benjamin Britten

12 In Dulci Jubilo – Chorale Prelude Dietrich Buxtehude

13 Personent Hodie German arr. Gustav Holst

14 The Cherry Tree Carol arr. Roderick Elms

15 In Dulci Jubilo – Chorale Prelude (Canon) Johann Sebastian Bach

16 Balulalow Peter Warlock

17 Bethlehem Down Peter Warlock

18 Carol of the Children John Rutter

19 Corpus Christi Carol Benjamin Britten

20 Prélude No.1 for solo guitar Heitor Villa-Lobos

THREE MORE CAROLS arr. Roderick Elms

21 Coventry Carol Pageant of the Sherman & Taylors, 15th cent.

22 Silent Night Old German

23 In Dulci Jubilo 14th cent.

Total playing time: 66:10

Recorded in
St Edward’s Church, Romford • 2003

Roderick Elms
Jonathan Venner

Sound engineer
David Wright


Richard Addinsell

MARCO POLO 8.223732

Richard Addinsell wrote a good deal of attractive music apart from the legendary Warsaw Concerto. Much of it is highlighted on this disc from the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Alwyn.

This recording is available through all good record stores or from Amazon.

Track listing

1. Goodbye Mr. Chips: Theme 00:03:19

2. Ring Around the Moon: Invitation Waltz 00:03:41

The Smokey Mountains (concerto) *
3. I. First Movement 00:06:35
4. II. Valley Song 00:04:39
5. III. Old Joe Clark 00:04:13

The Isle of Apples
6. The Isle of Apples 00:05:51

7. The Prince and The Showgirl (Selection) 00:06:01

8. Tune in G major ** 00:04:56

9. Tom Brown’s Schooldays: Overture 00:07:58

10. Festival * 00:05:08

11. Journey to Romance 00:03:38

12. Fire over England Suite 00:08:32

13. A Tale of 2 Cities: Theme ** 00:03:42
Addinsell, Richard
Gamley, Douglas, arranger(s)

BBC Concert Orchestra
Kenneth Alwyn
Philip Martin piano *
Roderick Elms piano **

Benjamin Britten: War Requiem


Benjamin Britten’s immortal “War Requiem”. One of the giants of the repertire and presented here in a recommended recording with the London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus conducted by Richard Hickox.

This recording is available through all good record stores or from Amazon.

Mischa Spoliansaky


Mischa Spolianski emigrated to London in 1933 where he wrote 50 film scores during his 40 years in England. Two of the tracks on this album feature a solo piano: Voice in the Night (from Wanted for Murder) and Dedication (from Idol of Paris). They are performed here with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Rumon Gamba.

This recording is available through all good record stores or from Amazon.

Track listing

1-4 Suite from “North West Frontier”

5-7 Three Songs from “Sanders of the River”

8-10 Suite from “The Man who could work Miracles”

11 Voice in the Night from “Wanted for Murder”

12-15 Suite from “The Ghost Goes West”

16 Dedication from “Idol of Paris”

17-21 Suite from “King Solomon’s Mines”

22 Galop from “The Happiest Days of your Life”

23 Toccatina from “St Joan” (John Wright, organ)

Roderick Elms, piano
Mark Coles, bass

BBC Concert Orchestra
Rumon Gamba

Recorded in:
Watford Colosseum
23-24 September 2008

Neil Varley, Ralph Couzens
Philip Lane (track 23)

Sound Engineer(s)
Antony Askyew (track 23)
Jonathan Cooper (Assistant)

Praise to the Holiest


The album, Praise to the Holiest, celebrates thirty years of recordings by the Choir of St Edward’s Church, Romford. The Choir of St Edwards Romford is directed by Jonathan Venner and includes highlights from four previous recordings made during that period.

The album includes a substantial number of special hymn arrangements by Roderick Elms as well as others by David Willcocks, Jonathan Venner, Geoffrey Shaw and Harrison Oxley.

Track listing

1 Praise to the Lord  Praxis Pietatis

2 Angel Voices  Angel Voices   

3 City of God  Richmond

4 O God by Whose Almighty Plan  Melita

5 Kumbayah, my Lord  Spiritual

6 Praise my Soul  Praise my Soul

7 In Our Day of Thanksgiving  St Catherine’s Court

8 Glory to Thee  Love Unknown

9 The Cherry Tree Carol#  English

10 Of the Father’s Heart Begotten+  16th cent.

11 Rocking* Czech

12 Silent Night#  Old German

13 Unto us is Born a Son+

14 In Dulci Jubilo#  14th cent.

15 O Worship the Lord*  Martin Neary

16 Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken  Austria

17 Dear Lord and Father of Mankind  Repton

18 Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones  Lasst uns erfreuen

19 O Thou Who Camest from Above  Hereford

20 Spirit of God  Traditional

21 We Sing the Praise  Bow Brickhill

22 Were You There?  Spiritual

23 Praise to the Holiest  Somervell

Choir of St Edward’s Church, Romford
Wykeham Singers
Wykeham Sinfonia

Jonathan Venner, conductor

Recorded in:
St Edward’s Church, Romford
1988, 1990, 2000, 2003

Roderick Elms, Jonathan Venner

Sound Engineer(s)
Frank Wilson, Graham Bunce, David Wright



John Rutter’s Magnificat is the centrepiece of this album recorded by the Choir of St Edward’s Church, Romford, together with the Wykeham Singers and the Wykehan Sinfonia, directed by Jonathan Venner.

The album includes Three Carols and Three More Carols by Roderick Elms in their SATB arrangements with orchestra, as well as the anthem O Worship the Lord by Martin Neary, commissioned by St Edward’s Church to mark the church’s 150th Anniversary.

Track listing

John Rutter Magnificat 

Julia Wilson-James. soprano

1 Magnificat anima mea

2 Of a Rose, a lovely Rose

3 Quia fecit mihi magna

4 Et misericordia

5 Fecit potentiam

6 Esurientes

7 Gloria Patri

Roderick Elms THREE CAROLS

8 Gabriel’s Message

9 Rocking

10 Angels from the realms of glory

11 The Horn in Winter (from Four Seasonal Nocturnes) – Roderick Elms
Gary Smith, french horn


12 Coventry Carol

13 Silent Night

14 In Dulci Jubilo


15 Crowns of Gold  Jo Shephard, oboe

16 It came upon the midnight clear  Jo Shephard, oboe

17 O worship the Lord, – Martin Neary
Peter Smith, baritone

18 Carillon Festivo – Roderick Elms
Stuart Nicholson, organ

19 The Lord is my strength and song – Roderick Elms

Total playing time: 77:33

Wykeham Singers
Choir of Romford Parish Church
Wykeham Sinfonia

Stuart Nicholson, organ
Julia Wilson-James, soprano
Jo Shephard, oboe
Gary Smith, horn

Jonathan Venner, conductor

Recorded in:
St Edward’s Church, Romford

Roderick Elms, Jonathan Venner

Sound Engineer
Graham Bunce

By their very nature, organs have the power to excite, but the only real demands of playing this exciting chord are making sure the organ is still turned on, pulling out some stops, waiting for the previous section to finish, getting a nod from the conductor, and playing the chord. Contrary to what might be thought, there's absolutely no necessity to count the hundreds of preceding bars in which you don't play! This wonderful moment is actually marked to be played just forte (loud) – not very loud, not as loud as possible, and certainly not full organ. Playing at the indicated volume produces the required dramatic contrast with the extended and extremely quiet section that precedes it. However, some conductors and promoters routinely attempt to insist on this being played as loudly as possible. To do so is totally unnecessary; it's not what the composer asked for and shows the organist's hand ahead of the tumultuous ending of the work, complete with trumpets and timpani, therefore allowing no further excitement to be summoned from the organ.

Many of the available recordings are balanced to perpetuate the impression of the organ as a solo instrument, while others, notably Simon Preston with the Berlin Philharmonic, keep the instrument as an appropriate feature of the symphonic texture.

To think of this symphony broadly in respect of just one chord and the ensuing rumbustious section of this great piece, would be to do it a great disservice. For many, the second, slow section of the first movement is the jewel in the work's symphonic crown (the work is actually in two movements, each with two sub-movements). This slow 'movement' opens with the first and very quiet entry of the organ, providing a bedrock for the exquisite theme played by the violins. The organ plays just a textural and accompanying role throughout.

The second movement opens with a scherzo-like section, and this provides some fireworks for the orchestral concertante pianist. This part can be significantly more demanding than that for the organ, especially when the conductor decides to go rogue in the middle of the virtuosic scale passages! A particular pleasure afforded to the pianist is the camaraderie of a second pianist who joins him at the start of the finale to play a little tinkling piano duet – a most beautiful moment reminiscent of  The Aquarium movement from Saint–Saëns' The Carnival of the Animals. The second pianist's presence also affords some welcome company during the frequently slow progress of first-movement rehearsals, which can offer particular orchestral challenges, especially if an inappropriate tempo is set.

There are symphonic and choral works which have significantly more visible and challenging organ parts – you only have to look at the near virtuosic demands of the organ writing in parts of the first movement of Mahler's 8th Symphony, for example. However, this is not in any way to detract from the beauty and emotional power of this symphony, which displays all the wonderfully crafted features which would be expected from Saint-Saëns. Beyond 'the chord', the work's popularity and immediate appeal are a testament to the composer's innate craftsmanship.

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