The Genesis and Development of an English Organ Sonata: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Genesis and Development of an English Organ Sonata

1st Edition

By Iain Quinn


124 pages | 37 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138203822
pub: 2017-02-15
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This volume considers the influences and development of the English organ sonata tradition that began in the 1850s with compositions by W. T. Best and William Spark. With the expansion of the instrument’s capabilities came an opportunity for organist-composers to consider the repertoire anew with many factors reinforcing a desire to elevate the literature to new heights. This study begins by examining the legacy of the keyboard sonata in Britain and especially the pedagogical lineage that was to be seen through Mendelssohn and ultimately the early organ sonatas. The abiding influence of William Crotch’s lectures are studied to illuminate how a culture of conservatism emboldened the organist-composers towards compositions that were seen to represent the ideals of the Classical era but in a contemporary vein. The veneration of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven is then examined as composers wrote "portfolio" sonatas, each with a movement in a contrasting style to exhibit their compositional prowess while providing repertoire for the novice and connoisseur alike. Finally the volume considers how the British organist-composers who studied at the Leipzig Conservatorium had a direct bearing on the furtherance of an organ culture at home that in turn set the ground for the seminal work in the genre, Elgar’s Sonata of 1895.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Classicism in the English Organ Sonata Tradition

Chapter 2 The Earliest English Organ Sonatas

Chapter 3 The Highest Walks of Art

Chapter 4 The Leipzig Influence and the Path to Elgar

About the Author

Iain Quinn is Assistant Professor of Organ and Coordinator of Sacred Music at Florida State University. He holds degrees from the University of Hartford, Yale University and the University of Durham. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University, Visiting Composer in Chapel at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He is also a Fulbright Scholar and was awarded a fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Scholarly writings have been published in Tempo, MLA Notes, Journal of Victorian Culture, Interpreting Historical Keyboard Music (Ashgate), and in editions of Samuel Barber (G. Schirmer), Carl Czerny and John Goss (A-R Editions). He is also the author of 'The Organist in Victorian Literature' (Palgrave Macmillan) and has recorded thirteen CDs as a soloist or conductor on the Chandos, Hyperion, Naxos, Paulus, and Regent labels.

About the Series

Royal Musical Association Monographs

Royal Musical Association Monographs

This series was originally supported by funds made available to the Royal Musical Association from the estate of Thurston Dart. Its purpose is to provide a medium for specialized investigations of a topic, concept or repertory - studies of a kind that would not normally be feasible for commercial publishers and that would be too long for most periodicals.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General