The Organ of the Buckingham Palace Ballroom



 Following the success of Joseph Nolan’s appearance in Music for the Coronation of James II (SIGCD094), he returns to Signum with a solo disc of organ music, capturing music from some of the finest composers of the instrument. With J.S. Bach’s famous Passacaglia in C Minor to Noel Rawsthorne’s Dance Suite, (with inspiration from Michael Flatley’sLord of the Dance) this disc certainly pushes the boundaries of organ music.

Fresh from a tour of the USA in 2007, Nolan has found international recognition as well as his commitments as organist at Her Majesty’s Chapels Royal where he was appointed in 2004.



Passacaglia in C Minor
J.S. Bach
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Sonata No 3 in A
Felix Mendelssohn
Theodre Dubois
Dance Suite
Noel Rawsthorne


What people are saying

"A debut disc of a player demonstrating considerable musical and technical assurance, we should look forward to his next release" Organist’s Review

Joseph Nolan

Release date:4th Feb 2008
Order code:SIGCD114
Barcode: 635212011423

 Gramophone, June 2008

Having never been en-knighted, en-nobled not even en-MBE’d, I have never set foot inside Buckingham Palace. And a weird superstition prevents me from venturing there as a  tourist; I feel it my sworn duty only to enter when bidden by HM herself. As a result I must express deep gratitude to Joseph Nolan for revealing one of its hidden glories: the 28-stop three-manual organ by Henry Lincoln (1818)/Gray & Davidson (1855)/William Drake (2002).

To look at the specification in the booklet, one can see that if, as Ates Orga’s excellent essay asserts, Queen Victoria (for whose residence in Brighton this instrument was originally built) "followed every note with the careful attention of a professed musician", few of her descendents have shown such musical interest; this is very much an instrument of its day with plenty of solid 16- and eight-foot work and a sub-octave coupler designed to bring anything above eight-foot pitch down to more respectable levels.

The result is something which, as the Passacaglia and Fugue so obviously reveals, has that near-terminal stodginess which only the most astute musician can sidestep. Nolan is such a musician and, while neither the Bach nor he Vaughan Williams really make for happy listening, the Mendelssohn positively glows; after all it is the only piece here which can claim some connection with, if not this particular instrument, then at least its setting (the Musical Times reported that Mendelssohn played on an organ in the library of 1842 while Prince Albert and Queen Victoria sang along). Nolan not only draws real sparkle from the instrument, using its unprepossessing resources to amazing effect, but turns out a magisterial account of the Sonata’s first movement. And while a Dance Suite with strong Yorkshire affiliations (it’s based on "Ilkley Moor") by a composer with strong Lancashire ones might seem vaguely out-of-place in these august surroundings, surely Nolan’s ebullient last-movement antics would have amused old Queen Vic herself.




Marc Rochester

Choir & Organ, July/ August 2008

This is a fine sounding organ of rare historical interest; it was built by H.C. Lincoln in 1818 for George IV’s Brighton Pavilion and moved to its present location in 1855. With a varied programme of Bach, Mendelssohn, Dubois and Vaughan Williams, Joseph Nolan displays its qualities in style. Particularly enjoyable is Noel Rawsthorne’s idiomatic Dance Suite of traditional Yorkshire melodies, to which Nolan brings exactly the right touch – crisp, rhythmic playing but also a certain restraint which prevents this music from sounding merely vulgar or camp.

Andrew Thomson

  1. Passacaglia in C Minor BWV 582 – J.S. Bach – 13.47
  2. Rhosymedre – Ralph Vaughan Williams – 4.32
  3. Sonata No.3 in A, Con moto maestoso – Felix Mendelssohn – 7.07
  4. Sonata No 3in A, Andante tranquillo – Felix Mendelssohn – 2.18
  5. Toccata – Theodore Dubois – 6.46
  6. Dance Suite, March-On Ilkley Moor – Noel Rawsthorne – 1.57
  7. Dance Suite, Dancing Feet – Noel Rawsthorne – 2.03
  8. Dance Suite, Waltz – Noel Rawsthorne – 2.44
  9. Dance Suite, Dance des Papillons – Noel Rawsthorne – 2.35
  10. Dance Suite, Line Dance – Noel Rawsthorne – 4.13