The Grand Organ of Durham Cathedral

James Lancelot plays the following selections on the grand organ of the Durham Cathedral:

  1. Whitlock "Paean"
  2. J. S. Bach "Fantasia and Fugue" in G minor BWV 542
  3. Stanley "Andante: Largo" from Trumpet Voluntary (Voluntary in D Op. 6 No.5)
  4. F. J. Haydn "Three Pieces for Musical Clocks" Nos. 4, 13 and 25
  5. Rheinberger "Sonata No. 7" in F minor Op.127
  6. Stanford "Prelude" Op. 101 No. 5 on St. Columba
  7. Stanford "Prelude" Op. 101 No. 5 on Gartan
  8. Frank "Piece Heroique"
  9. Vierne "Intermezzo" (Symphony No. 3)
  10. Dupre "Placare Christe Servulis" Op. 38 No. 16
  11. Alain "Deux Dances a Agni Yavishta"
  12. Alain "Litanies"
  13. Hakim "Mariales"
  14. Mulet "Carillon-Sortie"

Priory specializes in church and organ music. This package has a Blu-ray, a DVD, and a CD. Released 2014, recording specs are unclear, and the Blu-ray disc has 5.1 Dolby Digital sound output. Grade: A

Here's another great title from Priory, this time about the organ at the Durham Fortress Cathedral in England, located on a peninsula formed by a big U-bend in the Wear River. Below you see the Cathedral from the south:

Here you see the north side of the Cathedral and the Fortress Durham Castle just to its north; all of this is on high ground surrounded on 3 sides by the Wear. The Cathedral dates to 1093, shortly after the Norman invasion in 1066:

Norman architecture:

This is an old building that was used a military prison under Lord Cromwell and once reduced to a ruin:

Today's Romantic organ was built by Harrison & Harrison in 1905:

Meet James Lancelot, Minister of Music and organist at the Cathedral. Lancelot assembled an especially serious selection of organ music for this recording:


Next below are three views of the interior of the Cathedral:


In 1650, Cromwell kept 3000 Scottish prisoners in the Cathedral, where more than half died from neglect and starvation. The prisoners burned all the wood in the building for warmth except this wood clock:

Here are some modern religious artworks of the style you see often in British cathedrals:

A local war memorial:

Priory always includes local-color features in their cathedral organ titles. Here's a silver mechanical swan that eats, on a regular schedule, jewel-like goldfish for delighted museum patrons. The swan's flexible neck is a masterpiece of automaton craftsmanship that you have to see to believe:

Relics of the Industrial Revolution:


A memorial in the Cathedral to the redoubtable miners of Durham:

Lancelot devotes 53 minutes to his bonus feature tour of the organ:


Lancelot patiently explains the connections of the stop controls to the various batteries of pipes. First he selects and discusses a stop. Then you see a view of the organ interior in which everything is blurred out except the pipes that are controlled by the particular stop. This has to be of keen interest to all organists:

(Alert: I'm not sure if the pipes in focus below are actually the ones connected to, say, Vox Humana:)

Another bonus feature shows 4 views simultaneously of Lancelot playing the César Frank Pièce Héroïque:

A rainbow promises another millennia for the Durham Cathedral and its organ:

This is the third Priory "Cathedral Organ" title I've reviewed. See also the Coventry Cathedral Organ and the Norwich Cathedral Organ. Lancelot plays splendidly and is a charming narrator in the bonus extras. The SQ is fine. The Coventry and Norwich buildings and surroundings were perhaps more interesting than what we see in Durham. But I think the program put together by Lancelot is the best of this group. Alas, I can't give an A+ grade to this because it was not recorded using 96kHz/24-bit sound sampling and does not have lossless surround sound output, both of which our rules require for us to give an A+ grade to a classical music title.