Music for Holy Week: Organ recital by Ian Ray (Hon Borough Organist), 1pm, 12 April 2022

Colchester’s Hon Borough Organist Ian Ray presents a recital of music for Holy Week. Free entry, retiring collection.


Les Rameaux (No. 3 of Trois Poèmes Evangelique) – Jean Langlais (1907 – 1991)

A tone poem depicting the noisy, jostling excitement of the crowd’s ‘Hosannas’ greeting Christ’s entry on a donkey into Jerusalem marked annually in the Christian year on Palm Sunday. The pedals declaim the ancient plainsong ‘Hosanna Filio David’ associated with this Feast Day.

Passion Chorale BWV 727 – J.S.Bach (1685 – 1750)

Chorale & Variation on ‘O Sacred head, sore wounded’ – Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809 – 1847)

Paraphrase on ‘See the conquering hero comes’ (from Handel’s oratorio Judas Maccabeus) – Felix-Alexander Guilmant (1837 – 1934)

This melody is traditionally sung to the Easter hymn text ‘Thine be the Glory, risen, conquering Son’

Sarabande for the Morning of Easter – Herbert Howells (1892 – 1983)

Variations on ‘Now the Green Blade rises’ (Noel nouvelet) – Philip Moore (b.1943)

Toccata (Symphony No. 5) – Charles Marie Widor (1844 – 1937)

This recital is supported by Miss Janet Crees

Ian Ray was appointed as Colchester’s Honorary Borough Organist in 1988 and up until the organ’s demise in 2004 he presided at the Moot Hall Organ for the annual Mayor-Making ceremony and the Oyster Feast as well as playing for a variety of miscellaneous cultural, social and official civic events.

Born in Hendon, North London, his family moved to nearby Dedham and he was educated at Dedham C of E Primary School and later in Colchester at the Gilberd School on North Hill. He gained his FRCO as a young man studying with Douglas Mews and Douglas Hawkridge and soon became well known in East Anglia as an organist, conductor, singing coach and pianist, regularly performing in various concert series in Hertford, Harlow, Chelmsford, Long Melford and Ipswich as well as presenting recitals in various London churches and directing performances further afield in Prague, Rheims, Rouen, Wetzlar and Snape Maltings.

Ian has devoted much of his life to teaching having retired in 2011 after a distinguished career of 40 years as a lecturer in music at Colchester Institute. Since 1969 he has been Director of Music at Lion Walk Church where he runs a popular lunchtime concert series. His passionate commitment to stimulating the musical life of Colchester is further evidenced by his work since 1976 as conductor of the town’s Choral Society, in which role he has been responsible for bringing a large number of eminent singers and instrumentalists to perform the major choral works as well as commissioning new compositions. In October 2015 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Essex in recognition of his services to music in Colchester and the surrounding area. Future plans include regular work as a free-lance voice coach, organist, conductor, accompanist and pianist and making a recording of popular organ music on the Moot Hall Organ. When not involved in music-making or family affairs he pursues his interests in English Literature and walking holidays.