Arthur Carnall (1852-1904)

Arthur Carnall was a prolific composer of organ music and was the organist and choir master of St John the Evangelist Church in Penge High Street for thirty one years. He lived at 20 Avington Grove.

Neglected throughout the last century, possibly because he was considered a tame Victorian Romantic/Religious composer, his music is being rediscovered through the internet. Various cathedrals and churches all over the country are incorporating his music into their repertoires.  Imagine a sedate Victorian Andrew Lloyd-Webber and you get some idea of the charm and artistry. His lovely piece Melody was played by organist Marilyn Nicholson at the Penge Festival organ recital of 2015. You can hear Robert Cooper playing Melody on the esteemed Lewis organ on the Penge Congregational Church page.

Here is Paul Winter playing Carnall’s March in C on the organ at Hereford Cathedral:

Paul Winter has also played his Minuet in D in Rotterdam cathedral so the renewed interest in his work is international.

Here is an Easter Anthem for soprano solo: In many cases his sheet music can be downloaded free.

Arthur Carnall was born on 7 May, 1852, in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, to John Carnall (1820-1860) and Rebecca Percival (1825-?). He became a chorister at Peterborough Cathedral. The family moved to Ely where he became a student of the esteemed Dr E. T. Chipp. He was educated at St John’s College, Oxford,  where he gained his Bachelor of Music.

After various jobs as an organist, he moved to and settled in Penge, at that time in Kent, where he became organist and choir-master of St John the Evangelist Church. He was twenty-one when he took up his duties in Penge, a many-talented individual who had much to offer. He ended his days in Avington Grove at the turn of the century and died on 3rd June, 1904.