My Diary

M  My Diary


                                           - Organ recitalist and accompanist

                                           - Conductor and Choir-trainer

                                           - Pianist and harpsichordist 


Christopher plays the 4-manual Hill organ (1901) at St Margaret's Ilkley and directs the choir in a full programme of liturgical music every Sunday at 10.45 High Mass and at 18.30 Choral evensong. (Evening prayer is said during August.) Details can be found on the monthly Music Schedule, which is published on the St Margaret's website:

Every month Christopher or a guest organist gives a half-hour recital at St Margaret's at lunchtime on the first Friday of each month, starting at 12.30 pm.  On November 1st I shall play English music of the 20th century by Parry (St Ann), Whitlock (the astonishing Fantasie Chorale in D flat), Leighton (Hanover), Howells (his last ever organ piece) and Hollins (Grand Choeur, actually from 1895). The December recital by Anthony Gray has pieces by Nico Muhly and Cecilia McDowall based on the Advent antiphons - 'the Great Os'. In January I shall play my own Scenes and Antiphons, also based round the Advent Antiphons, and with 'scenes' from Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.  See the church website for full programme details of forthcoming recitals:

On Saturday 7th September the choir of St Margaret's sang Choral Evensong at Carlisle Cathedral for Choral Evensong at 3 pm. Music included Noble in A minor, an anthem by Dr Wadeley (organist at Carlisle 1910 - 1960) - and my own responses (2nd set). Special seasonal services coming up at St Margaret's include the Requiem for All Souls on Monday November 4th at 8 pm; the Advent Procession on Saturday 31st November at 6 pm; and the Nine Lessons and Carols on Sunday December 22nd at 6.30 pm.

The choir of St Margaret's recently recorded 33 minutes worth of music in 3 hours one Saturday afternoon: this included my Missa Brevis  (unaccompanied) and several anthems including God is gone up and Easter, God of New Beginnings, Prayer of St Richard and Jerusalem, my happy home, also Gjeilo's Ubi caritas, Wadeley's My peace I give unto you, and Burgon's Nunc Dimittis (with Catherine Cheater, Geoff Cloke and myself.) These will shortly be joined by some of my recent organ performances to make an attractive compilation CD. See below for other already available recordings. 


On Friday March 20th 2020 at 1 pm Christopher will be at Pontefract St Giles.

RECORDINGS - most of these are available from the composer via rathbone.c@btinternet for a donation of £8 each. (Not *)

There are a few copies of the Hyperion LP of Leighton's Organ Concerto available from CBR; it is apparently also available on YouTube. 

The three Amphion recordings of The Music of Christopher Rathbone are still available: vol 1 (2000) includes the Cello Sonata op 52, the organ Sonatina op 64 and the Stations of the Cross op 77; vol 2 (2002) has the song cycle The Turning Year op 45 and Scenes and Antiphons op 80; vol 3 (2005) includes the Requiem op 92, Pæan op 26 and two sets of organ variations, op 95 & 96.

'The Chamber Music of Christopher Rathbone' is a Meridian CD. Recordings from 2012 by 'Daniel's Beard' with the composer (organ) include the Terzetto op 55, Elegy op 56, Clarinet Quintet op 61, Bagatelles op 67, Organ Quartet op 100, Tarn Hows op 101, Daniel's Razor op 117 and Horn Quintet op 120 (the last two composed specially for 'Daniel's Beard').

A CD produced by Bradford Cathedral Choir in 2011 includes the original 2-part version of the Hymn to the Trinity from op 104.*

A CD was produced by Stewart Smith of Clematis Records in 2013 in aid of the Bradford Cathedral Organ Fund, of organ music by César Franck. The three Chorales and the Fantaisie in C are played by Christopher at St Margaret's and the Cathedral. Stewart also records nearly all of our recitals at St Margaret's, so there are 'private' recordings of most of Christopher's organ works, as well as much other repertoire available through Stewart (via CBR.) *

A CD (The Power of Music) features all the St Margaret's choirs, also recorded in 2013. It includes the church choir singing my own Nuptial Song op 105 of 2005 (with Nadine Wharton, cello) and God of New Beginnings op 118. *

Paul Hale (until recenly Rector Chori at Southwell Minster) has recorded the Southwell Suite op 113 on a 2013 Oxrecs CD, having played the piece nationwide in recitals over the past few years. The Organists' Review described the suite as 'varied and colourful', and the disc was also reviewed favourably by Gramophone (May 2014) and Cathedral Music (the journal of the Friends of Cathedral Music.) I still have a few copies of this disc available. PH recently played the Suite at the Scottish Federation of Organists' conference in Aberdeen, and a paragraph from the local critic, which was reproduced in the Organists' Review, read as follows: "The Hymn Tune 'Southwell' was used to fine effect here, embellished in many surprising and effective ways. The opening Fantasia was episodic, the Larghetto smoothly and continuously flowing, the Allegretto grazioso was light and splendidly playful, the Adagio was harmonically rich and the Toccata, with its short minor interlude, was absolutely splendid." I played the Suite in my 2017 May recital.

In 2017 a CD of Organ Music for Advent was produced by Stewart Smith of Clematis Records, mostly recorded at Christopher's live recitals at St Margaret's (over 79 minutes music!) and is still available at £10 - proceeds to the St Margaret's Music Fund.

Stewart has put together the three 'instalments' of the Leighton Missa de Gloria from recitals last year, to make a complete recorded performance. If anyone would like a copy do contact me and I will try to persuade him to produce a few more copies! 


 New pieces now available: a simple setting of the St Mark Passion, and two anthems setting George Herbert: 'Bitter-sweet' and 'My joy, my life, my crown' (op 139), and a short setting of a mediaeval (French) Latin Carol called Incarnation op 140 - originally in a simple tune and accompaniment form for a Christmas card, but now available in full SATB + organ form for next years Lessons and Carols! (all 2018). New music in 2019 includes a piano piece based on an annoying birdsong which kept me awake in Coff's Harbour, NSW, Australia in January; a choir and organ arrangement of the hymn Jerusalem our happy home - famous for keeping the citizens of Southwell awake - and the new Variations on St Matthew for organ op 142.

Much of Christopher's music, apart from the titles published my Banks or by BJM, is now available in self-published editions (as pdf files), type-set by the composer on Sibelius 7.5. These include: 

Organ music: 

Paean op 26*    Miniature Suite op 39*   Fantasia on 'The Old Bath Road' op 43 *

'King Lear' fantasia op 51 (1990)    Sonatina op 64*    Toccata on 'Puer nobis' op 71*

The Stations of the Cross op 77*     Scenes and Antiphons for Advent op 80*

Meanwood Suite op 83*    Variations on 'Richmond' op 91*    Variations on Dundee op 95*

Seven Short Pieces op 107*   Baker's dozen of hymn-based works op 109*

'Southwell' Suite op 113 (revised 2016)*    Wantage Suite op 131* 

Prelude and fugue op 128*    Passacaglia and fugue op 135*

Fantasy for a dancing queen op 136*     Two little chorale preludes op 137   Variations on St Matthew op 142 * 

        * available in CD recordings


The setting of Sorley's 'East Kennett Church at Sunset' op 124 

Song cycles: Bagpipe Music op 34 (T. and Clarinet); Palestine Songs op 97; 'The Turning Year' op 45 (16 songs); 'She' op 89; and Three Songs of C.S.Lewis op 88. 

Chamber music: (parts also available)

Horn sonata op 4; Cello sonata op 52*; Violin sonata op 54

Elegy op 56*; and Bagatelles op 67 for cello and piano*

Clarinet Quintet op 61*; and Clarinet Trio op 63 (Suite: Aire and Wharfe)* 

Organ quartet op 100 (Organ, vn, va, vc)*; Tarn Hows op 101 (Vn, vc, org)*

Sextet 'Daniel's Razor' op 117 (Cl, hn, vn, va, vc, pi)* 

Horn Quintet op 120 (hn, vn, 2 va, vc)*; Piano quartet op 122 (still unperformed)

Andante cantabile for viola, cello & piano op 125; Phrygian Suite for viola and piano op 129 

Wind Quintet op 132 and  Berceuse op 134 (Two Trumpets, org.)                         * available on CD recordings

Choral music:

Carols: 'This endris night' *; 'Blessed be that Lady Bright' op 82; an arrangement of the C.S.Lewis song 'The Nativity' (op 88 no 2); 'Easter' op 130*

Anthems 'A New Commandment' op 18 (our wedding anthem in 1969); 'The House of God' op 76; 'Out of the Deep' op 79; Two Short Prayers op 133 (2016, Choristers' prayer; 'Music'); 'Prayer of St Richard of Chichester' op. 138 (2017) * and 'Bitter-sweet' and 'My joy, my life, my crown' (George Herbert, Feb. 2018, op 139 nos 1 and 2); Incarnation op 140 (Nov. 2018) 

Responses for unacc. ATB (2015) and the Short Evening Service (arranged 2017 from the first service for trebles op 42, 1979-81). Also the St Mark Passion for soloists and 2-part choir (2018).

There is also an arrangement of 'Were you there...?' for SAT/B and piano/organ written for the choir of St John's Batheaston, plus arrangements for St Margaret's Choir (SATB/Org.) of Amazing grace, I vow to thee my country and Barbara Streisand's 'Evergreen'; also 'We three kings' (1998), 'Silent night', 'People look East', 'See amid the winter's snow', 'Cranbrook' ('While Shepherds watched') and Irons's Southwell (Jerusalem my happy home - 2019*). There is also a descant version for 'O for a thousand tongues' (Lyngham) with trumpet! Also a new arrangement of the organ accompaniments to Faure's Requiem! There are also about 50 Anglican chants, particularly suitable for evensong psalms.

All the above are type-set and available as pdf files from the composer, by return of e-mail. The e-mail address for orders is or        

            Last edited 4.ix.19  -  CBR