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Gordon Lawson

List of Compositions

Music for Strings

Prelude on ‘Stille Nacht’
  £25.00 - score and set (30) of parts

This is a short but lovely piece which would surely be ideal for a Christmas Concert where the resources include a string orchestra. It is not difficult but does involve a fair amount of divisi writing.

If you want to photocopy your own parts the price reduces to £15.00.



3 Characteristic Pieces (B/C) 
Meditation on Psalm 121 - An Old-World Minuet - A Tuba Tune

These pieces are a little more straightforward in both idiom and technical demands than some of Gordon’s other work and have much appeal. The ‘Tuba Tune’ is as good as any in this vein, and something many of you ought immediately to get into your repertoire.


Suite: Sunday Mornings (B/B+) 
Processional - Intrada - Offertoire - Meditation -  Sortie
(5 Short Pieces for Organ) £10.00

As with Humphrey and Nigel above, Gordon’s music has always been popular.  The music here on offer is very approachable (perhaps, indeed, slightly more so than elsewhere) and is certainly ‘congregation friendly’, yet it is completely characteristic of the composer.


Ten Short Voluntaries (B/C)   £12.00

This is a a most useful collection of pieces in varied styles none lasting more than three minutes or so.  The style is in general reflective, though there are two fine postlude-type movements: the idiom is modern-tonal - interesting for the player but won’t frighten the grannies.


Elegy (C)   £5.00

This is a deeply felt and moving piece, suitable for a recital, or a funeral service.  As one would expect from this composer, the handling of the material is masterly.

This is a a most useful collection of pieces in varied styles none lasting more than three minutes or so.  The style is in general reflective, though there are two fine postlude-type movements: the idiom is modern-tonal - interesting for the player but won’t frighten the grannies.


In Contemplation (A/B)
Six Quiet Pieces

The title says it all. Your proprietor has happily played his way through all these as introductory voluntaries. Gordon’s most recent style is very approachable and the music is in a warm and mellifluous idiom that falls readily under the fingers (and feet).


Gordon Lawson Suite for Josep (Organ Suite no 2) (B-D)
In Memoriam (A.B.) - Cavatina - Scherzo - Meditation - Toccata

Gordon says of this piece: ‘Josep Giner lives in Denia and is a professor of organ at the Conservatorio in Valencia. He is a well-known recitalist in Spain. He organises the International Organ Festival in Pedreguer (Alicante Prov.) which is in its 15th year’. This suite was premiered to great acclaim in Spain in December 2010. Please note the ‘D’ rating above only applies to the Toccata.


Three Preludes for Passion tide (B)   £8.00

These are certainly useful for the designated time of year. The third prelude is a beautiful meditation on the tune ‘Rockingham’, which could also sit well at a reflective moment in a recital.


Folk Song and Slow Air (B)   £4.00

These pieces are reissued from the Oecumuse list. They have been revised and re-computer set. The ‘Folk Song’ is was written in appreciation of Percy Whitlock and his Folk Tune’. These pre-service pieces should been in everyone’s library.


Three Preludes (C+)   £12.00

The composer writes: ‘The first prelude is placid and contemplative except for a slightly more animated middle section.
The second prelude needs a light touch to ensure a sparkling 'festive' atmosphere. The middle section is in sharp contrast and is more ruminative and lyrical.
The final prelude is a free improvisation on the German melody ‘O Tannenbaum’. Its composition was instigated by my receiving a 'Jacquie Lawson' Christmas card which featured this most lovely melody. I immediately became attracted to it and vowed to 'dish it up' in one form or another. Its harmonisation is unashamedly 'heart on sleeve' but I hope it gives as much pleasure to those who are brave enough to play it as it gave me whilst writing it. The sender of the card, Mrs Yvonne Osborne is its dedicatee.’
This is a major issue containing much interesting material and it is warmly commended to competent players.


Four Christmas Preludes (B/C)   £7.00

These short attractive pieces on Christmas carols have no title as the composer would like the player to identify the tunes themselves. These pieces are not quite ‘sight-readable’, but lie well under the hand and will repay study.


Two Meditations on Hebridean Melodies (B/C)
An Eriskay Love lilt - Skye Boat Song

While Gordon has now retired to Spain he has not lost his affection for the melodies of his native Scotland. Both these tunes have now found their way into modern hymn books and thus would make a useful voluntaries if they turned up in a service. They would also go well as a lighter moment in a recital.


Balmoral (C/D)   £7.00

This fine piece is an Elegy written in response to the passing of the late Queen. The textures are quite complex but beautifully interwoven, and there is a haunting contrasting section.


A Harvest Anthem (A/B)
'For the beauty of the earth' One copy £2.00
Five or more, £1.50 each

Well, apart from the totally obvious pieces from Greene and Wood, how many other decent, singable, tuneful harvest anthems are there?  This is in the same idiom as Gordon’s best- selling carol ‘Love came down at Christmas’.  My choir has already purchased a set.


Ave Maria (B)
  One copy £2.00
Five or more, £1.50 each

Lovely singable lines here and the organ accompaniment removes much of what might otherwise be difficult.


The Ashwell Carol (A+)   One copy £3.00
Five or more, £2.00 each

The fine words by John Catterick are to be found in the Penguin Book of Christmas Carols and this setting was commissioned by the Northampton Bach Choir. It is dedicated to them and their director Lee Dunleavy. This is a good tune and a straightforward setting.


O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness
The Lord bless you and keep you
(For trebles or sopranos and organ) (C)

The first on these fine anthems was written for Lee Dunleavy and the boys of All Saints Church, Northampton, and if you have the resources this work is well worth considering.

The setting of the Aaronic Blessing is offered as an alternative to the one that seems to have cornered the market; it will be found a most enjoyable sing.


Ave Verum Corpus (B/C) £2.00

‘Dedicada a Jaime Morell y al Cor de la Rectoria’, this motet is for Soprano solo, Semi-chorus and SATB a capella. Gordon is happily spending his retirement in sunny Spain and is keeping his hand in with a series of commissions from local choirs, some of whom are clearly expert. (Two Christmas items will be issued in September next).

The piece show a mastery of lush harmonies and choral textures with a clear sense of purpose.


Hodie Natus Est (C) £2.50

 ‘Hodie’ is a Christmas motet suitable for a keen chamber choir. It is expertly written and exciting to hear.


A Mass for the Nativity
(B) £3.00

Spot the carols quoted in this attractive and very singable item for Christmas.


Little Boy Jesus (B) £1.50

‘Little Boy Jesus’ is lighter fare, for which Gordon has written the words.


Laudi alla Vergine Maria (B+)
SATB and Organ (or Piano)

The composer says of this work: ‘This setting of Canto 33 from Dante's Paradiso - the third and final part of his Divine Comedy - was written in recognition of the enthusiasm of the people of El Rafol D'Almunia, in the province of Alicante for their ninth consecutive Festival of Sacred Music. The mayor of El Rafol d'Almunia has written in his introduction to the festival that 'Sacred Music at the Rectoria is always a cultural challenge for a small (Spanish) village that wishes to learn from the greatness of culture expressed through choral singing'. It is to be hoped that its identity and tradition can be preserved.’

Choirs will find this work rewarding to sing. While it will take some learning, it is not overly difficult, and the singers are supported by a rich organ accompaniment.


Four Communion Hymns (A-B)
Unison Voices and Organ
Bread of Heaven - O most merciful - Bread of the World - May the Grace of Christ our Saviour

These are quietly effective items for use at Holy Communion and will be within the grasp of any competent group of singers.


An Anglican Mass (A)
For Congregation and Organ
  Melody and Organ score £3.00
Pew leaflet £1.00

The original version of this setting of the communion service was written for Gordon’s local community in Spain where he now lives. This edition has been translated into English where necessary. Gordon says it has been in use since 2002. It is smoothly mellifluous and ideal for its purpose. Strongly recommended.


The Pilgrim Song (A-B)   £3.00

This setting of John Bunyan’s famous hymn is dedicated to ‘Pete Williams and the Rydal Penrhos Senior Chapel Choir’. It is appropriately robust and very singable.


Four Spirituals (B+)
SATB + Soloists
Swing Low - Steal away - Deep River - Peter, go ring dem bells
  Ask for a quote

These are lush arrangements of four well-known Spirituals, and they will appeal to medium or large choruses. They are not particularly difficult, save that the unaccompanied textures are full and will require confidence from the singers and some disentangling in preparation.


It is a thing most wonderful (B)
Anthem for S. A. and Piano or Organ

This is an appealing setting which could be managed by quite a small group if necessary.


Stabat Mater (B-C)
Soprano, Contralto, Tenor Soloists, Chorus and Organ
  Vocal Score £16, or Licence to Print
(£4 per copy)

Reissued from Oecumuse 1993, computer-set score

This major work is dedicated to lan Schofield and the Portsmouth Baroque Choir whose recording is available on YouTube.

The nine movements last just under 32 minutes



Christmas Bliss (B-C)
A sequence of carols for unaccompanied mixed voices
  Vocal score £12, or Licence to Print
(£3 per copy)

Sweet was the song – I sing of a maiden – The seven joys of Mary – Susanni – I saw three ships

Reissued from Oecumuse 1987, Very tidy composer’s manuscript



Hymn Tune Variants

Reharmonised Last Verses (B) For Fifteen Well-known Hymns £12.00

Given the frequency with which some hymns turn up in our services it is always useful to have alternatives for the reharmonised last verse. The arrangements here are interesting but avoid the strange excesses that some composers have seen fit to produce in recent publications.



God be in my head (B)
S solo, SATB (minor div) + Organ
'For the beauty of the earth' One copy £2.00,
Five or more, £1.00 each

This is another exquisite anthem from Gordon, and while the text is very well known it can stand another version, especially one like this. Your publisher’s choir will be doing this at some time this autumn.


God be in my head (B)
Short Anthem for S.A.A.T.B. a capella

This is Gordon’s second setting of this well-known text, but shorter and simpler than the first one. It is very sympathetic to the voices and will ‘sing well’.


Service Setting

Jubilate Deo in E (C)

SATB and Organ

  One copy £4.00,
Five or more £2.50 each

Magnifict and Nunc Dimittis in E (C)

Unison Voices and Organ

  One copy £4.00,
Five or more, £2.50 each


Witten for Lee Dunleavy and the choir of All Saints, Northampton, the Jubilate is a companion to Gordon’s ‘Te Deum’ (available as an Oecumuse reprint). It is a splendid piece of work. The Evening Canticles (written for the boys) are extraordinarily beautiful and atmospheric. Provided the singers are happy with modulation there is nothing impossibly demanding here for them, and it is suggested that when they realise how effective and lovely the music is they will be eager to rise to the challenges.




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Last updated: 18 January 2024