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Little Stanmore Suite (2006)

I – Come for tea! (Overture)
II – The blacksmith’s donkey
III – Canons in the park
IV – James Brydges’ knees-up
V – The pigeon and the woodpecker
VI – Ach, mein Wig hast blown off!

On occasions, I like to visit St. Lawrence Whitchurch in Little Stanmore (which is really Canon’s Park) to tinkle on the organ Handel once played; even though the only original rank of pipes is the open diapason on the swell. The church is beautiful and you get a sense of what it might have been like during the time Mr. Handel was employed by the Duke of Chandos, the well tempered Mr. James Brydges. His mausoleum is rather splendid, situated to the side of the main church building in a very peaceful setting, with lots of marble! When he was alive, the painted gallery at the back of the church would have been a great place to entertain the ladies during the morning service, and nurse one’s head against the pains of a self-inflicted night of indulgence. Nonetheless, Little Stanmore is a place of immense historical significance and (even though he was only there for three years) Handel’s presence is still felt, sort of. The original keyboard he used to play is in a glass case to the north of the chancel (during the winter a large amount of mould can be seen gathering on the ends of some of the keys) but the organ in the church is ‘modern’. Messers Goetze and Gwynn have done a good job recreating a suitable instrument inside the beautifully ornamented baroque case, which was carved by Grinling Gibbons around 1715, and the action sounds quite authentic even when no stops are drawn. All in all, St. Lawrence Whitchurch is a place to be seen; a time-capsule just off the B461 between the ends of the Northern and Jubilee lines, which could use some visitors!

The very first time the Messiah
Was sung by an amateur choir,
They hollered and spluttered
And somebody muttered,
“Let’s set all the copies on fire!”
(Limerick by Martin Stacey)

Work for solo organ or harpsichord

Duration: about 5 minutes / 6 pages spiral-bound with covers

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Little Stanmore Suite Cover

Little Stanmore Suite - Cover