Writing and an Organ Recording by Albert W Ketèlbey

Writing and an Organ Recording by Albert W Ketèlbey

Here is what Ketèlbey wrote about his famous “In A Monastery Garden,” a programmatic piece based on his own eponymous poem from 1915.

The first theme represents a poet’s reverie in the quietude of the monastery garden amidst beautiful surroundings — the calm serene atmosphere — the leafy trees and the singing birds. The second theme in the minor expresses the more personal note of sadness, of appeal and contrition. Presently, the monks are heard chanting “Kyrie Eleison” with the organ playing and the chapel bell ringing. The first theme is now heard in a quieter manner as if it had become more ethereal and distant; the singing of the monks is again heard — it becomes louder and more insistent, bringing the piece to a conclusion in a glow of exultation”.

The organ version by Hugh Ware is available at

You may remember that I have written that Ketèlbey was an organist. He wrote a few organ pieces but allowed others to create organ arrangements of his orchestral music. Here is proof that he could play on record, so to say. He plays the organ on this acoustical 78 rpm record of “Good King Wenceslas.”

Now, if only I could find an organ recording of Beethoven playing!

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