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The Christchurch
Town Hall organ


Sundays at 3pm

Welcome to the website of the Rieger
pipeorgan home
in the Christchurch Town Hall,
New Zealand

Sunday 29 May, Christopher Herrick (UK)

Christopher Herrick

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Siyahamba  - John Behnke(1953-)
from three gospel songs

Blues - Toccata - Mons Leidvin Takle(1942-)

Six Roumanian Folk Dances - Bela Bartok
realised by C. Herrick (1881- 1945)

Matin Provencal - Joesph Bonnet
from Poemes d'Automne (1884-1944)

Fast Dance - Iain Farrington
from Fiesta! (1977-)

Suwanee River - Edwin Lamare

Toccata &Fugue in d minor - J.S.Bach

Sonata Eroica - Joseph Jongen

Berceuse - Herbert Sumsion
 (1899- 1995)

Variations on a basso continuo from the first movement of Bach's Cantata " 
Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, Angst und Not sind des Christen Tranenbrot"
-  Franz Liszt  (1811-1886)


'He is a virtuoso, no question. He was at the peak of his considerable form, combining precision with panache, interpretive freedom with sheer joy in virtuosity. The playing was, in a word, triumphal.'

The New York Times critic wrote this review after hearing Christopher Herrick play the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach during the 1998 Lincoln Center Festival. The invitation to undertake this challenging project - to give fourteen concerts on fourteen consecutive days - came directly because of the success of Herrick's Complete Bach recordings for Britain's finest classical recording company, Hyperion Records.

'The freshness and simple joie de vivre that Herrick brings to all Bach's music makes this cycle a winner,' says the Gramophone review of this sixteen-CD set. 'Christopher Herrick and the Hyperion team deserve the warmest praise for devoting the past decade to a Bach cycle that has provided such scintillating and compelling listening.'

These CDs are all recorded on Metzler organs in Switzerland: 'Herrick has been presenting a different instrument from this fine builder in each of his Bach recordings and every one is a revelation,' says the BBC Music Magazine's Top 1000 CDs Guide. The Good CD Guide in turn describes his playing as 'scholarly, erudite, infinitely rewarding and so easily communicative one is barely aware one is absorbing some of the most complex and intellectually demanding ideas.' These discs, originally issued separately, are now also available as a 16-CD box set.

The ten Organ Fireworks albums, recorded on great organs all over the world, continue to fascinate organ lovers and critics with their 'varied mix of familiar and unfamiliar repertoire'. The Gramophone continues 'the strengths of this hugely enjoyable and downright spectacular series lie in consistently first-rate recordings of some of the world's most aurally stunning instruments, and Herrick's playing, which can only be described as unfailingly brilliant.'

The year 2003 saw the fruition of a special Herrick/Hyperion project to record the keyboard works of Holland's greatest composer, Sweelinck. The recording was made in Sweden on a breathtaking, scholarly reconstruction of the 17th-century Stockholm German Church organ. This two-disc set brings his total of CDs currently released by Hyperion to over thirty.

During Herrick's ten years at Westminster Abbey he played for many Royal and State occasions and gave over 200 recitals. Since 1984 he has enjoyed a highly successful international career as a freelance concert organist, performing to enthusiastic audiences and critical acclaim worldwide. Recent highlights include the New York complete Bach 14-day marathon, his own 'Organ Prom' in the BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London, giving the opening concert at the Stockholm International Organ Festival, giving three inaugural concerts on the Rieger organ in Christchurch Town Hall, New Zealand, and dedicating numerous organs in North America, including last year a 96-stop Létourneau organ in Canada at Edmonton's new Winspear Centre Concert Hall, where he returned in June 2003 to record Organ Fireworks X, and in New Year 2004 to play two Organ Concertos with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra to launch the new Fireworks CD.

During 2004 he travelled widely as usual, giving the opening concerts on two organs, one in Eskilstuna, Sweden, and the other in Toledo, Spain. Organ Dreams 4, recorded on the beautiful new Dutch-built, French Romantic organ in Halmstad, Sweden, will be issued in 2005. Tours for 2005 include substantial trips to Australia, New Zealand and Denmark.

'Herrick is a musician with a powerful urge to communicate. And communicate he does, drawing on his enormous technical and intellectual resources to turn out performances which sometimes amaze, often astound, but never fail to stimulate.'

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