Arthur Wills (musician)
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Dr. Arthur William Wills
OBE The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Catho ...
(19 September 1926 – 30 October 2020) was an English musician, composer and professor, born in
Coventry Coventry ( or ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, city in the West Midlands (county), West Midlands, England. It is on the River Sherbourne. Coventry has been a large settlement for centuries, although it was not founded and given its c ...

Coventry
. He was Director of Music at
Ely Cathedral Ely Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, is an Anglicanism, Anglican cathedral in the city of Ely, Cambridgeshire, England. The cathedral has its origins in AD 672 when Æthelthryth, St Etheldreda built an ...

Ely Cathedral
from 1958 to 1990 and also held a professorship at the
Royal Academy of Music The Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head ...

Royal Academy of Music
in London from 1964 until 1992. He toured extensively as a recitalist in Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. He also broadcast, appeared on television and made many recordings, both as a soloist and with Ely Cathedral Choir.


Works

Wills composed prolifically for the
organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (biology) In biology, an organ is a collection of Tissue (biology), tissues joined in a structural unit to serve a common function. In the biological organization , hierarchy of life, an organ lies betwee ...
and choir. His ensemble works include a concerto with strings and timpani, a concerto for guitar and organ and a symphonic suite, entitled "The Fenlands", for brass band and organ. His choral concerto, "The Gods of Music", for organ, chorus and brass with percussion ensemble was commissioned for the biannual keyboard festival of the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia, in 1992. Wills's secular music includes seven
song cycle A song cycle (german: Liederkreis or Liederzyklus) is a group, or cycle Cycle or cyclic may refer to: Anthropology and social sciences * Cyclic history, a theory of history * Cyclical theory, a theory of American political history associated w ...
s, and an
opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a s ...

opera
, '' Winston and Julia'', based on the
George Orwell Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950) known by his pen name A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym (or, in some cases, a variant form of a real name) adopted by an author and printed ...

George Orwell
novel ''
Nineteen Eighty-Four ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'' (also stylised as ''1984'') is a dystopian social science fiction novel and cautionary tale written by English writer George Orwell. It was published on 8 June 1949 by Secker & Warburg as Orwell's ninth and final boo ...
''. His book ''Organ'' appeared in the Menuhin Music Guide Series in 1984, with a second edition in 1993 and a third reprint in 1997. The Ely Choir has recorded a CD (HAVPCD 197) of his choral and organ music from 1955 to 1990 on Herald AV Publications. In May 1999
Hyperion Records Hyperion Records is an independent British classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Cl ...
reissued two recordings from the early 1980s on one CD (CDH55003): "The Fenlands" (featuring the City of Cambridge Band), in addition to music by
Edward Elgar Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, (; 2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestra ...

Edward Elgar
and
William Walton Sir William Turner Walton (29 March 19028 March 1983) was an English composer. During a sixty-year career, he wrote music in several classical genres and styles, from film scores to opera. His best-known works include ''Façade A façade ...
, together with his transcription of
Modest Mussorgsky Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky ( rus, link=no, Модест Петрович Мусоргский, Modést Petróvich Músorgskiy , mɐˈdɛst pʲɪˈtrovʲɪtɕ ˈmusərkskʲɪj, Ru-Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky version.ogg; – ) was a Russian c ...
's ''
Pictures at an Exhibition ''Pictures at an Exhibition'', french: Tableaux d'une exposition, link=no is a suite (music), suite of ten piano pieces, plus a recurring, varied Promenade theme, composed by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky in 1874. The piece is Mussorgsky ...
'' for solo organ. His recording ''Full Stops'' was first issued in 1978. It includes his variations on "
Amazing Grace "Amazing Grace" is a Christian hymn A hymn is a type of song A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at melody, distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and ...
". It was issued on CD (84305) in 1995 by Meridian. In celebration of Wills's 75th birthday in 2001,
Jeremy Filsell Jeremy Daniel Filsell (born 10 April 1964) is an English piano, pianist, pipe organ, organist and composer, who currently serves as Director of Music at Saint Thomas Church (Manhattan), Saint Thomas Church, New York City. Biography Having playe ...
recorded a CD of his organ music on the organ of
Tonbridge School (God Giveth the Increase) , established = , closed = , type = Public schoolIndependent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independ ...
chapel. Wills is the voice of the narrator in his variations on a theme of
Henry Purcell Henry Purcell (; September 1659 – 21 November 1695) was an English composer. Although he incorporated Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a ...

Henry Purcell
, "Wondrous Machine" (Guild GMCD 7225). Novello published Wills's transcription for organ of three movements from
Gustav Holst Gustav Theodore Holst (born Gustavus Theodore von Holst; 21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934) was an English composer, arranger and teacher. Best known for his orchestral suite ''The Planets ''The Planets'', Op. 32, is a seven- move ...

Gustav Holst
's ''
The Planets ''The Planets'', Op. 32, is a seven-movement Movement may refer to: Common uses * Movement (clockwork), the internal mechanism of a timepiece * Motion (physics), commonly referred to as movement Arts, entertainment, and media Lite ...
'' suite: Mars, Venus and Jupiter. These were recordings of
Joseph Nolan Joseph Nolan may refer to: * Joseph Nolan (politician), Irish nationalist politician * Joseph Nolan (organist), English-born Australian organist and conductor. * Joseph A. Nolan, United States Army soldier and Medal of Honor recipient * Josep ...
at the organ of
Ripon Cathedral The Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Wilfrid, commonly known as Ripon Cathedral, and until 1836 known as Ripon Minster, is a cathedral in the North Yorkshire city of Ripon. Founded as a monastery by Scottish monks in the 660s, it was refounde ...

Ripon Cathedral
on Herald AV Publications (HAVPCD 274). Robert Crowley studied with Wills at the Royal Academy of Music and recorded ''Icons'' (LAMM168D), a CD of Wills's organ music on the rebuilt organ of Ely Cathedral. The CD's record label, Lammas, is headed by Lance Andrews, who was a chorister at Ely Cathedral in the early 1950s when Wills was Assistant Organist. Wills's memoirs, ''Full with Wills'' (), were published by Pen Press in 2006. Wills died, aged 94, on 30 October 2020.Ely Cathedral, ''Dr. Arthur Wills OBE announcement''
Retrieved 2 November 2020.


Awards

Arthur Wills was awarded an
OBE The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Catho ...
in 1990.


References


External links


Herald AV Publications - HAVPCD197: ''The Praises of the Trinity''Herald AV Publications - HAVPCD274: ''SuperNova''
{{DEFAULTSORT:Wills, Arthur 1926 births 2020 deaths 20th-century classical composers Composers for pipe organ English classical composers English classical organists British male organists Organ improvisers Cathedral organists Officers of the Order of the British Empire Honorary Members of the Royal Academy of Music
Academics of the Royal Academy of Music Present and former teachers, staff, lecturers, professors, visiting professors and researchers of the Royal Academy of Music, a music school in London which has been a constituent college of the University of London since 1999. {{CatAutoTOC People ...
English male classical composers 20th-century English composers Organists of Ely Cathedral 21st-century organists 20th-century British male musicians 21st-century British male musicians