Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

Live Wire - Organ Music by Iain Farrington

Iain Farrington, organ

Priory Records

This recording features organ works composed from 2003 to the present day. Here is music inspired by jazz, swing, big bands, gospel, blues, Stravinsky, and modern Classical. It comes from 'outside' the traditional Anglican church: this is music of parties, jazz clubs, gospel singers and animal caricatures.

Recorded at St John’s College Chapel, Cambridge

CD available to purchase here and here

Album available on Spotify here


1: Live Wire

2-8: Fiesta! - 1: Celebration, 2: Conversations, 3: Stride Dance, 4: Song, 5: Fast Dance, 6: Nocturne, 7: Finale

9-20: Animal Parade - 1: Entrance, 2: Giraffes, 3: Barrel organ monkey, 4: Hippopotamus, 5: Critics, 6: Blue whale,  7: Sparrows,

8: Penguins, 9: Cheetah, 10: Piranhas, 11: Alley cats, 12: Exit

21: Free Wheeler

22-26: Lay my burden down - 1: When I lay my burden down, 2: Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, 3: Amazing Grace,

4: Steal Away, 5: Every time I feel the spirit

Reviews of the CD:

Choir and Organ, June 2020 - Strap yourself in for an exhausting but hugely entertaining rollercoaster ride through recent pieces by Iain Farrington. With the composer himself on performing duties, it’s a recital of adrenalised, knockabout energy, animated humour and startling colours shifting between stained glass delicacy and neon-bright delirium. Variety is king here: the exuberant title track (2008) is a deft marriage of improvisatory, jazz and baroque ritornello, while Fiesta! (2003) channels Stravinsky at his most rhythmically vital and unpredictably variegated. The ten miniature caricatures of Animal Parade (2007) – complete with a wickedly dyspeptic depiction of Critics – is a hallucinogenic Disney film, Free Wheeler (2014) a dizzying jazz-swing Big Band in perpetual motion, and Lay my burden down (2017) adroitly drawing on African-American spirituals.

Organists’ Review, June 2020 - While moderately concerned to see a movement entitled Critics among the beasts in the Animal Parade, one is somewhat relieved to discover that hardly any criticism is required of this highly entertaining programme. A sparkling showcase for Iain Farrington, both as composer and organ virtuoso, imaginatively exploring the N.P. Mander instrument in St John’s College, Cambridge, the 1994 replacement and partial rebuild of the original 19th century Hill organ… Let’s start with the marginally more serious stuff: Lay my burden down, the title Farrington has applied to his five stand-alone works based on African-American spirituals and traditional hymns, ‘freely using influences of gospel, soul and jazz’. The composer has tapped into the spirit of each song and transmits it with emotional range, fervour and energy. The two suites in the programme, Fiesta! and Animal Parade could almost be a ‘young person’s guide to the organ.’ All kinds of influences peep out, including ‘usual suspects’ Lefebure-Wely and Saint-Saens, in works that combine extreme cleverness with laudable superficiality, and Farrington sneaks in references to numerous composers with a facility which has huge potential for wit. It would be wonderful to hear them on a cinema organ in a theatre acoustic… and one might also look forward to hearing Animal Parade with the narration written by Esther Eidinow. The recording quality sparkles with clarity and, with that burnish and all the above in mind, the instruments portrayed in the jazz band cover design imply something with greater sfumato. It’s probably not an anthology to enjoy all in one go, but is great fun to dip into.