Simon Lindley writes:
ALAN SPEDDING, a church musician of devotion, distinction, very
wide influence, and a rare capacity for friendship, who was for 42
years Organist and Director of Music at Beverley Minster, died in
hospital on Ash Wednesday, after a short illness.
Trained in London at the Royal College of Music, where he
studied with John Birch, he served at St John's, Wimbledon (as a
successor to the great "King of Light Music", Albert W. Ketèlbey),
and for three years at Kingston Parish Church, before moving to
Yorkshire in 1967. It was at Wimbledon that he andhis wife, Ann,
were married. There are two sons and six grandchildren.
Besides his distinguished work for the church, Alan Spedding was
much in demand as choral trainer, conductor, and teacher,
contributing notably to the work of organisations including the
Royal College of Organists (of which he was a Fellow), the
Incorporated Association of Organists, and the Royal School of
Church Music. For many years he was Associate Editor of
Organists' Review, the IAO's house journal, and a
respected Council Member and Examiner to the RCO. He served as
first President of the Hull and East Riding Organ Group.
But it was the Minster work that was at the heart of all he did,
and the careful restoration of the fine Snetzler/Hill instrument in
1995, by Wood of Huddersfield, a project that he masterminded,
brought him much pleasure; his regular recitals there over the
years enjoyed widespread support. Beverley Grammar School and the
University of Hull also claimed his energies and commitment.
As colleague and friend, he wasa joy - steadfast, loyal,
mild-mannered, and delightfully good-humoured, with a great sense
A musician of real discernment, in his performances he fused
enterprise and excellence in a very special way. Recitals and
concerts bore the mark of scholarly and yet imaginative
preparation; broadcasts and recordings added to his reputation, and
that of the Minsterchoir he trained so effectively forso long. His
great work withHull Choral Union and the East Riding Choir was
The list of compositions for choir and organ increased as the
years went by,and his organ output includes well-craftedsets of
variant treatments of plainchant melodies - Urbs beata of
1998 and Victimae Paschali laudes from 2001 - dedicated to
Hull University Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Dilks, and his
wife, Jill, and Huddersfield Town Hall's organist Gordon Stewart
respectively. A third set of variations, founded on the Marian
office hymn Ave, maris stella, followed in 2010.
The recipient of an honorary doctorate of music from the
University ofHull 20 years ago, Alan Spedding was appointed MBE in
the Queen's Birthday Honours of 2003, and awarded the honorary
diploma of Associate of the RSCM in 2006.