Desmond Ratcliffe’s (1917-2001) first music teacher was his father William Ratcliffe who was a composer and organist at St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, London. The young boy used to go to the church with his father to hear him practise and sometimes Queen Mary would wander into the back of the church to listen. He learnt the piano and organ and after the early death of his father became a young chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, where he started to compose. He went on to be educated at Kingston Grammar School and was organist at a local church in Twickenham. He gained entrance to the Royal Academy of Music to study composition. Unfortunately the Second World War interrupted his studies when he had to go into the Army. When the war ended he took up his studies again at the Academy gaining many prizes. He went to work at Novello & Co Ltd in the Reader’s Room under the eye of Walter Emery the leading Bach scholar of his time. He was trained by Emery to become an excellent proof reader and music editor while he continued to compose choral and organ music and make many arrangements.
"Arioso", published by Novello in 1965, will remind you of the music of Hindemith, or, perhaps of Arnold Cooke, "the English Hindemith."
This work and a number of others that i'll be uploading, was prepared, as an "incidental work" for the Wednesday weekly recitals. However, since I was fired on Monday morning, I guess that point is moot - as they say...
I am heartbroken to lose the Wirsching... :-(