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The Priory Records story

Our journey to becoming Britain's Premier Church Music Label

Cathedral Outside

Priory Records was founded in 1980 by Neil Collier and Paul Crichton. Paul was, and is, a renowned audiovisual engineer, and Neil has had a life-long dedication to choral and organ music. Neil felt that important areas and aspects of the huge repertoire of church music were being seriously neglected and lost by recording enterprises specialising in this widely embracing branch of music, whose roots are historically buried in ancient times.

Priory’s first recordings pre-dated the CD era and were traditionally “on wax”, hence the name of the company (retained for sentimental reasons), but the new medium was quickly embraced in those early years and today with technical advancement the company has moved with the times and is now producing DVDs which bring the music of the world’s most wonderfully complete single musical instrument and the magic of the human voice to the TV screen.

..the largest catalogue of choral and organ music in the world..

Since its foundation, Priory has grown into a company with a big reputation for opening up a previously neglected but inspirational branch of music-making and has compiled the largest catalogue of choral and organ music in the world. Priory’s 500th recording, the 13th volume of the “Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis” series was issued in the summer of 1997; it was recorded in the magnificent Church of St Thomas in Fifth Avenue, New York, with its choir under the direction of Gerre Hancock and the organist, Judith Hancock. This series is one of a number which has proved highly popular with lovers of church music and has continued to receive high praise from the critics.

Priory Records recording

Priory’s series, “Great European Organs” features outstanding instruments in Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Iceland, Spain, and Switzerland played by organists including Graham Barber, David Briggs, and Gerard Brooks, Colin Walsh, John Scott Whitley and Jane Watts. Another milestone came in the 1990s when Priory issued the first complete recording of “The Psalms of David”, a series of all the 150 psalms which make up the psalter, and to enhance this unique project, 10 different cathedral choirs were involved to provide and illustrate the wide variety and contrast which exists in the interpretation of the music and words..

..10 different cathedral choirs were involved to provide and illustrate the wide variety..

The latest innovation to come from Priory is the series of DVD recordings of Grand Cathedral Organs, which has proved tremendously popular, being compared with EMI's classic Great Cathedral Organs series.

© Priory Records 2019
Priory Records Ltd., 3 Eden Court, Eden Way, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, LU7 4FY. (01525) 377 566. Registered in the UK, number 3442052.
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