In Appreciation – Simon Preston

by Ben Hogwood

It is with some sadness that we have learned of the death of Simon Preston, a great English organist, at the age of 83.

From the warmth of the tributes paid to Preston on social media, it is clear he was well liked:

I was fortunate enough to interview Simon back in 2008 for the Classical Source website, where we spoke about the music of J.S. Bach, promoting an all-Bach concert in that years BBC Proms festival. It was a chance to thank him for some wonderful recordings made for Decca and Deutsche Grammophon, some of which we present below.

There is only one place to start – his impish recording of Charles Ives’ riotous Variations on America, which sounds like one of the most fun pieces to play! Also included are Preston’s exploits as a conductor, which are often overlooked, We have included his account of Vivaldi’s Gloria in a playlist that includes Bach (naturally) but also a few of his more Romantic offerings recorded for Decca:

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