In this all-Louis Vierne (1870-1937) program, John Scott conducts the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, The Saint Thomas Brass and organist Jeremy Bruns in the Messe Solennelle by Louis Vierne. Interspersed between movements of the Messe Solennelle are two works from the 24 Pieces in Free Style of Vierne. The album is completed with John Scott's performance of the complete Première Symphonie pour Grand Orgue, played upon the Arents Memorial Organ in the chancel of Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue.
The Saint Thomas Choir is considered by major critics to be the outstanding choral ensemble of the Anglican musical tradition in the United States today. Besides offering a full annual concert series with orchestra, the Choir of fifteen men and twenty-four boys sings at five weekly principal worship services of the Church, preparing an astounding four hundred pieces of sacred music a year. The Men of the Choir are professional singers; the Boys attend Saint Thomas Choir School, the only church-related residential choir school in the United States, and one of only a few similar schools remaining in the world. Saint Thomas Choir School is a fully accredited academic institution for boys from eight to fourteen years of age, with a study program of English, mathematics, history, sciences, art, Latin, French, music theory, and instruction on such instruments as piano, viola, cello, flute and trumpet. Newly situated in 1987 in a striking building a block from Carnegie Hall, the School provides a warm friendly atmosphere, where the Boys are taught by seven full time teachers and ten part time instructors. Maximum enrollment in the Choir School is forty-five.
John Scott was born in 1956 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, where he became a Cathedral chorister. While still at school he gained the diplomas of the Royal College of Organists and won the major prizes. In 1974 he became Organ Scholar of St. John’s College, Cambridge, where for four years he acted as assistant to Dr. George Guest and held the University John Stewart of Rannoch Scholarship in Sacred Music. His organ studies were with Jonathan Bielby, Ralph Downes, and Dame Gillian Weir. He made his debut in the 1977 Promenade Concerts in the Royal Albert Hall, the youngest organist to appear in the Proms. He won the first prizes from the Manchester and Leipzig J. S. Bach International Organ Competitions in 1978 and 1984 respectively. His career as an organ recitalist has taken him to five continents, where he has inaugerated new organs, performed extensive repertoire, and made many recordings.