Christopher Herrick was a pupil at Cranleigh in the 1950s, where his talent as an organist blossomed. He went on to become organist at St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, and is now a world-renowned concert organist, noted especially for his virtuoso cd series (on Hyperion) ‘Organ Fireworks’. Mr Herrick has strong family links with Cranleigh village and his father, George, was a well-known village resident in his retirement.
Cranleigh School’s organist, Philip Scriven, explains that “Christopher was top of our list when we set up our current organ concert series. Not only is he an Old Cranleighan, but when I myself was a chorister at Westminster, I set my own ambition to be an organist when turning pages for him; ultimately we wanted him to perform because he is among the very greatest of living organists.” Philip adds, “Christopher’s famous rapport with audiences and his choice of a wholly secular programme made this concert a great introduction for the younger listeners, showing what a magnificent instrument our new Mander organ is and what a massive impact its sound can have in Chapel”.
Mr Herrick’s programme included a piece by his contemporary Cranleigh School old boy, Derek Bourgeois (who also taught at Cranleigh) and by his friend David Nield (long-standing Director of Music at Tiffin’s) who was in the audience to receive applause for his delightful ‘Fancies on English Folk Tunes’. The concert began with a groovy rhapsody by Stamm and ended with Mozart’s intricate Fantasia in F minor. A highlight was Christopher’s own arrangement of Bartok’s ‘Rumanian Dances’ but the most exhilarating playing of all came in the encore, ‘The Power of Life’, by his exact contemporary, the Norwegian Mons Leidvin Takle. Here Mr Herrick almost literally pulled out all the stops and hammered the pedals to produce a knock-out ending to an uplifting evening.