BBC Music Magazine
Born 1930 Organist, choirmaster, composer
An admired organist, Peter Hurford read both music and law at Jesus College, Cambridge, leaving with a degree and a promising reputation as a performer. His decision to opt for music, prompted by studies with Harold Darke, saw Hurford relocate to Paris where he studied with André Marchal. There he honed his improvising skills and explored Baroque repertoire. In the 1970s, he undertook the mighty task of recording all of Bach’s organ works, a set that remains something of a benchmark; his discography also includes the complete organ works of Couperin, Handel and Hindemith. In 1958 Hurford was appointed music master at St Albans Cathedral and he went on to found the St Albans International Organ Festival. In 2009 he retired after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He composed organ and liturgical music, and you can hear his Litany to the Holy Spirit on this month’s cover CD.