New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
Reviews > Book reviews >

A Country Cathedral Organist Looks Back 1939-1978


Serendipity £12.95 (1-84394-168-6)

 The food of a lifetime, as well as of love: Helen Burrows enjoys some lively reminiscences of years spent in the organ loft

  THIS fascinating and absorbing autobiography offers a personal and anecdotal retrospective on the many characters who have populated the world of church music since the 1950s. Beginning with a brief family history, the author chronicles his personal and family life from his birth, through his education, and into the early years of his career as a cathedral organist.

Few of Gedge’s family, friends, colleagues, or acquaintances are missing from the pages, as Gedge traces his education through his time as a chorister at Southwark Cathedral and St Olave’s School, and his student years, to his appointments at St Mary’s, Primrose Hill, Selby Abbey, and Brecon Cathedral. Anecdotes abound, from those about the temperamental Sydney Cambell, a superb musician and perfectionist, who was prone to throwing hymn-books, to ones about the redoubtable Dr C. H. Moody, CBE, FRCO, who successfully objected to the proposed installation of Epstein’s statue Ecce Homo in Selby Abbey.

At the Royal Academy of Music, Gedge met his wife, Hazel Davies, and began a musical partnership that continues to this day. Both were students of C. H. Trevor, known to organ students as editor of the series The Progressive Organist.

Many a parish and cathedral organist will identify with the frustrations at lack of funding, support, and appreciation which are described here. The narrative is unassuming and honest; extremely funny at times; thoughtful; and even forceful on occasion. However, the overriding impression is one of conviction, hard work, commitment, and an enduring partnership.

With his wife, David Gedge’s life’s work has been raising musical standards so as to enhance the liturgy, first at Selby Abbey and then at Brecon Cathedral, where he has now been Director of Music for nearly 40 years. The narrative ends in 1978. I hope an account of the next 30 years is still to come.

Dr Burrows is Director of Music at St George’s RAF Chapel, Biggin Hill, and at Combe Bank School. She is also Examinations Secretary for the Guild of Church Musicians.

The book can be had from David Gedge at Garth Cottage, 29 Pendre, Brecon LD3 9EA (01874 622442) for £12.95 plus £2.50 p. &p.

Job of the week

House for Duty Priest

Wales

THE DIOCESE OF ST DAVIDS wishes to appoint a HOUSE FOR DUTY PRIEST TO SERVE IN THE PARISHES OF ST DOGMAELS & NEVERN & MONINGTON. The parishes comprise the village of St Dogmaels with the ru...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

New home, with room to grow

New home, with room to grow

The Greenbelt Festival made its first appearance at Boughton House. Paul Handley introduces our review of the weekend's events  Subscribe to read more

Question of the week
Should religion and ethnicity be considered as factors by the police and social services?

To prevent multiple voting, we now ask readers to be logged in. This is free, quick and easy, honestly. Click here to login or register

Top comment

Why boosts to self-esteem don’t cure all ills

Encouraging people to believe that they are special can be counter-productive, argues Glynn Harrison  Subscribe to read more

Tue 2 Sep 14 @ 23:09
RT @PhillipDawson1We welcome team @Lichfield_CofE & @dioceseoflondon to #Southgate on Thursday for the @churchtimes Cricket Cup Final! http://t.co/pR0R14lNDC

Tue 2 Sep 14 @ 15:59
RT @SCM_PressHow can a murderer ever fully confess a crime and experience thanksgiving in final release from the consequences? http://t.co/nOvyqsYbDc