The Sonata for Organ was commissioned by Philip Rushforth, the dedicatee and organist of Chester cathedral. The sonata is the result of a previous collaboration when Philip recorded seven of the composer’s organ works in the cathedral in August 2022 for a CD album.

  • 2023
  • Duration: c. 14 minutes
  • Dedication: ‘for Philip Rushforth’

The work has three separate movements, all of which develop motifically, with extensive use of quartal chording and cross referencing of material throughout. The first movement contrasts its opening pomposo mood with several passages of scurrying semiquavers and numerous lyrical interpolations. The elegiac second movement refuses to relinquish the quartal harmony, and its opening melody is generated by the initials, or German transliterations, of four influential and revered composers: Edward Elgar (EE), Benjamin Britten (BB), J.S.Bach (Bb A C B natural = BACH), and Dmitri Shostakovich (D Eb C B = DSch). The finale also maintains the quartal chording in various styles, moods and textures within a somewhat distorted ternary structure. Its brittle, ambiguous tonality persists, with a concluding burst of quartal chords, fff – unresolved, yet uncomfortably triumphant.

The Sonata demands a wide range of tonal colour and imaginative registration – and encourages an orchestral palette in the solo melodic lines.

  1. Maestoso e deciso
  2. Larghetto e elegicamente
  3. Scherzosamente ma misteriosamente


Philip Rushforth, cathedral organist and master of the choristers,                                in a live performance at Chester Cathedral:




Sonata for Organ is published by UMP 


  1.  8 February 2024 Premiere: Chester Cathedral, UK. Philip Rushforth (cathedral organist).

Get our latest updates