My Diary

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 the 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.  March 2nd is a recital by Caius Lee, Organ Scholar at St Ann's Cathedral in Leeds, and Organ Scholar-elect at St Catharine's Cambridge, playing music by Bach, Franck, Andriessen, Moore and Fitkin, among others (Christopher has a hernia operation on Feb.21st). The 6th April recital  will hopefully see Christopher back with a recital of Howells (4 of the Six Pieces of 1940) and the first two movements of Leighton's Missa de Gloria. May will be Reger (Dankpsalm), Messiaen (Apparition de l'eglise eternelle) and Mendelssohn (Sonata 4), and June 1st the next instalment of Leighton's Missa de Gloria and Whitlock's Plymouth Suite. Other visiting organists to look forward to later this year include Anthony Gray in the summer and Gabrielle Lewis in September. See the church website for full programme details of forthcoming recitals:   

Christopher recently attended a lovely concert of Christmas music by the Elysian Singers at St Paul's Covent Garden, at which 'Blessed be that Lady bright' op 82 (2000) and the Salford Carol op 35 ('There was a boy') of 1979 were both sung exquisitely: they really made the music sound good! (The conductor, Sam Laughton and his sister Jane were both in the Marlborough Chapel Choir for the first performances of the Salford Carol.)

The music at St Margaret's leading up to Christmas included the Missa Brevis op 126, sung by a mega-choir including 16 members of Anthony Gray's Robinson Consort as well as St Margaret's choir. The Nine Lessons and Carols on the same day (Sunday 17th December) included a new arrangement of the song 'Nativity' originally in the C.S.Lewis cycle op 88; and on Christmas morning we sang the relevant sections of the Marlborough Mass op 40 (one of three sung masses in less than 24 hours!) January 2018 included the arrangement of 'We three kings' on Epiphany Sunday and the 'Prayer of St Richard' op 138 (2017) at evensong on Sunday 14th. On the 28th the choir had another go at the Short Service (Mag. & Nunc.) recently arranged for SATB choir and organ from the first Service for Trebles (op 42, 1979 - 81). Coming soon at St Margaret's: 18th March at evensong (6.30 pm): Out of the Deep op 79; Easter Eve (31st March at 8 pm) 'Easter' op 130; Easter Day (April 1st 6.30 pm) O Salutaris Hostia op 115.

Other future engagements: Halifax Minster, May 31st, at 1 pm (I think!) In Holy Week Anthony Gray is to play my 'Stations of the Cross' in Newcastle Cathedral (and may be performing the set in Pontefract soon too: watch this space!) In June the choirs of St Ann's Cathedral in Leeds are holding a 'Come and Sing' Faure Requiem and Caius Lee, the Organ Scholar, will play me new arrangement of the organ score (which I have been meaning to write down for decades!) 


The three Amphion recordings of The Music of Christopher Rathbone are still available: vol 1 (2000) includes the Cello Sonata op 52, the 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 live recitals at St Margaret's (over 79 minutes music!) and is available at £10 - proceeds to the St Margaret's Music Fund.


 Much of Christopher's music, apart from the titles published by 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*; & 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      * available in CD recordings


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

Song cycles: 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'; 'Easter' op 130; 'Blessed be that Lady Bright' op 82; and an arrangement of the C.S.Lewis song 'The Nativity' (op 88 no 2)

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') and 'Prayer of St Richard of Chichester' op. 138 (2017) 

Responses for unacc. ATB (2015) and the Short evening service (arranged 2017 from the first service for trebles op 42, 1979-81).

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 and 'Cranbrook' ('While Shepherds watched'). There is also a new gala descant for 'O for a thousand tongues' (Lyngham) with trumpet!

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        

            Last edited 16.ii.18  -  CBR