Magazine article Musical Opinion

David Patrick

Magazine article Musical Opinion

David Patrick

Article excerpt

Ten Years of Fitzjohn Music Publications

Robert Matthew-Walker profiles the distinguished organist, founder and director of Fitzjohn Music Publications, a company which has just celebrated its tenth year.

In 1994, David Patrick, the distinguished organist, pianist, harpsichordist, conductor, adjudicator and composer, found himself in the enviable position of having the opportunity to realise a long-cherished dream - that of being able to edit and publish new editions of long unavailable organ music by composers, principally from the 18th and 19th centuries, who were, mostly, neglected English masters. This came about, he explained, through an unexpected financial windfall, which enabled him to buy one of the first Sibelius programs, and 'I gradually drifted into publishing, setting up Fitzjohn Music Publications in 1998'.

Prior to that, in the previous twenty-odd years, David had been a Reader at the British Library, and had made editions for his own use of much of the music he later, through Fitzjohn Music Publications, went on to print and distribute for other organists. A glance at the various catalogues available from his company reveals that there are around 200 different titles now on sale, almost all of them edited by David, who has made available much music that was otherwise virtually unknown and also often very difficult to obtain.

We shall come to the highlights of the catalogue - and its important new publication of 15 Preludes and 8 Introductions and Fugues by Francis Linley (1771-1800), the blind Yorkshire-born organist, composer and publisher - later, but first we should trace the background of this gifted musician and entrepreneur, who was born in Essex into a doctor's family. His final school was Bancrofts' in Woodford, where Roger Fisher was in the year below.

David's first encounter with the organ was at the Regal Cinema in Ilford: 'one that appeared out of the ground with lights blazing upon it!', as he recalls, but - as curious coincidences do often happen that particular organ was moved to the Methodist Church in Ballards Lane, North Finchley where he encountered it again when he had to play it for the wedding of a couple from Nigeria in 1975. His musical talents had shown themselves early on, and from about the age of 5 or 6 he took piano lessons with Lina Collins - herself a pupil both of Paderewski and of Mathilde Verne (who in turn had studied with Clara Schumann).

David's musical experiences broadened when his father took him to the Royal Albert Hall in October 1947, for the last concert in the Richard Strauss Festival which Sir Thomas Beecham had mounted, with the 83-year-old composer himself conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The programme included Till Eulenspiegel and the Alpine Symphony - coincidentally (again!) Testament Records have this month brought out for the first time ever a double CD of performances from that same concert. After National Service, and working in the City of London, David became a pupil of and assistant to Harold Darke at St Michael's, Comhill, a very fine all-round musician who had been appointed to the church in 1916 and had established the Monday organ recitals which became a regular institution in London's musical life.

Music was to become an increasingly important part of David's life, and on leaving commerce in the City in 1967, he became a full-time musician, being app- ointed Director of Music at Queen Eliz- abeth's Boys' School in Barnet, although by that time he had already, as organist and choirmaster at churches in Ilford and Barnet, been able to commission anthems from such established composers as John Joubert, Harold Darke, William Mathias, Kenneth Leighton, John McCabe, Bryan Kelly, Heathcote Statham and Arthur Pritchard. …

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