A review of  the premiere US performance of the Messe Solennelle in D, for Choir and Two Organs, by Hammond, at The Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, USA.

“Not a household name here, although perhaps becoming one in the UK, he had proved his prowess [in this concert, already,] in the opening Widor. He studied with David Briggs and Naji Hakim (who has also performed at Holy Cross), held noteworthy positions in Chester and Bristol, and recorded on the Priory label; his biography of Pierre Cochereau was published recently, by the University of Rochester Press. And now we heard him as a composer.

Those who might have anticipated something avant-garde from this little-known composer were quickly put at ease. Hammond’s style is rather conservatively “modern Romantic” or as one of the audience later put it—not unkindly—“rather Duruflé, with a touch of Elgar.” Be that as it may, Hammond knows his idiom, and writes tightly in it. Following classic French format, the excellent small choir, at the front of the room, sang his pleasing and concise chant-based choral settings of the familiar texts, directed by Abbot, who also unobtrusively accompanied them on a digital instrument passing for what in France would have been an orgue du choeur. In between each, the gallery organ, played by the composer, broke in powerfully with interludes in improvisatory style, illustrating the mood of the texts, and one of the more impressive of these featuring roulades running cleanly up and down the keyboard. Despite the distance between the two participants, they were perfectly in synch all the way through, pulling off a virtuosic performance of this demanding new work, fully deserving of the ovation. This is a work that will be heard again in other places.”

(Barbara Owen)

“St. Mary’s Cathedral and the San Francisco Chapter, AGO, was pleased to co-sponsor an organ recital by Anthony Hammond, in which he played his reconstruction of an organ symphony improvised by Pierre Cochereau on the cathedral’s Ruffatti organ in 1972. The recital, which also contained some of Cochereau’s favorite repertoire as well as Hammond’s own improvisation, was impeccably played and well-received, and the performer received a much-deserved standing ovation. The lecture on the previous day showed the depth of Hammond’s research into the subject, which he was able to convey to the attending organists with great clarity.”

(Christoph Tietze, Director of Music St. Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco)

“There is immense artistic diversity in the life of Malmesbury Abbey, but Anthony Hammond’s breathtaking organ improvisations took us to a new and profoundly moving place, and deepened the devotional life of our community during Holy Week. Working with the actor Jason Durr reading the poetic texts of the Staions of the Cross, Anthony employed the full limits of the organ’s capabilities to paint the moods and character of each scene and to depict vivid narrative, from the noise of the crowd to stopping of Christ’s heartbeat. An astounding musician and a gifted communicator.”

(Revd Neill Archer, Vicar, Malmesbury Abbey)

“In October, 2012, Anthony Hammond gave a performance at Central Presbyterian Church, Montclair, New Jersey. In celebration of Halloween, we screened a silent movie, and Anthony provided organ accompaniment. I felt that his playing was excellent: sensitive to the organ and space alike, and immaculately timed to the film itself. He was completely in command, and delivered a very strong, confident performance. I would certainly recommend him.”

(Jonathan B. Hall, Music Director)

“Without doubt the crowning point of the evening was the improvised symphony. The themes were quite disparate, and on first sight I am sure did not lend themselves to easy integration. As a matter of interest I brought along a friend who has taught piano to diploma students for many years, but has organ as his second instrument. After the improvisation he was much reminded of the time in the ’50s when he heard Marcel Dupré improvise at the Albert Hall – and even after all these years that event is still clear in his mind.”

(Alf Fortnam, Secretary – Wiltshire and Bath Organists Association)

“The highlight of the evening was the improvisation. We didn’t know quite what to expect but were absolutely amazed at the mastery with which Anthony handled the two themes.”

(Mike Donkin, Director of Music – Oswestry Parish Church)

A Phenomenon without Equal

‘The cumulative effects are of grandeur and tremendous energy, fusing together the church style with elements of the cinema soundtrack. . . Blackburn’s magnificent organ copes brilliantly and Hammond has everything well under control.’

(Gramophone, March 2010)

‘Hammond possesses abundant musicality and prodigious technique that allow him to perform these challenging scores with aplomb and authenticity.’

(James Hildreth, The American Organist, May 2015)


Sir Edward Elgar: Music for Organ

‘Splendidly assured and uninhibited performances’

(Choir & Organ, July 2010)
‘Hammond gives a fine performance, revelling in the remarkable range of colour available to him on this magnificent organ.’

(International Record Review, May 2010)
‘An accomplished Elgarian plays a heavenly Bristolian organ. . . A sonic treat.’

(Gramophone, July 2010)


Improvisations for the Church Year

‘Well-known melodies are used as musical springboards for Hammond’s imagination and give the listener easy points of reference within his sound-world. Dr. Hammond’s fluency, energy, variety, and sense of colour . . . leave the listener in awe. This disc is an impressive achievement and is recommended listening for serious improvisers and doodlers alike.’

(Organists’ Review, November 2010)

Hammond has developed his own definitive musical language and expression… Hammond’s improvisations are clearly conceived and well-constructed, demonstrating a fecundity of creative ideas. He is a skilled practitioner of thematic transformation and manipulation… he has plenty of technical fire but uses it sparingly, preferring to demonstrate his mastery of varied musical styles… That these improvisations were made during ‘leftover’ time in 2007 following a recording of the music of Elgar (whose influence is scarcely felt in the improvisation!) is further testament to Hammond’s eminent skill as an improviser.’

(The American Organist, May 2011)


Great European Organs 81: The Organ of Cirencester Parish Church

‘The playing is expert, accurate, well-shaped, well-articulated, and displays this significant instrument well.’

(Organists’ Review, November 2010)

‘Brilliantly performed by Anthony Hammond… He plays the whole programme with superb musicianship and technical command. These compelling performances reveal hidden treasures…’

(The American Organist, May 2011)


Une Nuit de Noel: The Organ of Cirencester Parish Church

‘…both the organ and the organist are clearly in their element…’

(De Orgelvriend, January 2012)


Great European Organs No. 98: L’Eglise St. Vincent, Roquevaire, France

“Here’s a welcome addition to Priory’s Great European Organ Series….in a puissantly played recital with much to recommend it.” Awarded four stars.

(Choir & Organ, May 2016)

‘Hammond has given us a superb biography that all serious organists should read…’

Diapason Magazine (John M. Bullard, Ph.D)  To read a full transcript of this review, click here.

‘A model of scholarly research, Pierre Cochereau’s legendary career is extensively recounted and the influence forming his mature style as an improviser and composer expertly documented. The post- 1955 history of the Notre-Dame organ is by far the most accurate account in print today.’

(Jesse Eschbach, University of North Texas)

‘Hammond here offers a thorough account of the work of this passionate, attractive, and generous artist…showing how Pierre Cochereau’s legacy would inspire generations to come.’

Orgues Nouvelles (Carolyn Shuster Fournier)

‘A compelling read for all organists and, especially today, for the new breed of improvisers. . . . . In the discussions of Cochereau the improviser the story really comes to life. . . . A fine tribute to one of the 20th century’s true musical geniuses–and a great read.’

The American Organist (Rollin Smith)

‘Fascinating and welcome. . . . Daring, brave, and brilliant. . . . Defines and reintroduces us to a spectacular church musician, organist, educator, and “Premier Prix” in all his accomplishments. . . . Be sure to read this charming and intelligent book. ‘

Pastoral Music (William Tortolano)

‘Fascinating. . . . A most respectful account of his compositions, at a length and thoroughness to satisfy anyone as keen on the French conception of organ-music and organ-playing as he clearly is. ‘

Musical Times (Peter Williams)

‘In this most welcome first biography of Pierre Cochereau, Anthony Hammond gives us just what one would hope for: a detailed account of Cochereau’s life, a thorough look at the influences that shaped his work, a valuable assessment of his craft as an interpreter, and new understanding of his art as an improviser. ‘

Lawrence Archbold, Carleton College

‘Anthony Hammond makes me think of a young Charles Rosen, enthu- siastic and sincere, unafraid of new forms, and an advocate for performance as an intellectual act.’

Music Library Association Notes (Christina Linklater, Harvard University). Click here to read the full review, Music Library Association Notes March 2014.

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