The pipe organ is an instrument that is nearly synonymous with the Catholic church. Dating back to the 3rd century BC, these enormous instruments have rung through high-raftered cathedrals since the early 900s AD. While modern music ministers fill their ranks with all sorts of instruments, having an organ around is like keeping a full orchestra at the tips of your fingers – and toes, as the organ is played with both the hands and feet.
With so much history behind the organ, it’s important to keep its traditional tones alive, and there are two brothers who are working hard toward this goal. For years, the Scott brothers, Tom and Jonathan, have been touring the world to play the Church’s finest organs, with regular live-streamed concerts having garnered more than a million views since 2020.
Their journeys have taken them to play some of the largest non-church organs in the world as well, like the one in the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, also called Weiwuying, in Taiwan. This location boasts the largest pipe organ in Asia.
In 2019, they won the ECHO (European Cities of Historical Organs) competition to create a performance that introduces the pipe organ to a young audience. To achieve this, the duo combined superb musical performances with animation (produced by Tom Scott) that makes their performances more accessible to younger and less musically sophisticated audiences. These two Manchester boys took the program on tour through Europe in 2021.
The pair puts out a lot of music, including dozens of live recordings in scenic churches, piano duets, studio recordings, and more. Where their YouTube channel shines the most, however, is in Jonathan Scott’s solo organ performances.
Jonathan has an incredible touch on the keyboard. The rich and varied tones of an organ can often sound a bit muddled if the performer is not attentive enough, and this is an area where Jonathan excels, keeping the melody intact with deliberate and precise movements. This is especially noticeable in his treatment of Mozart’s “Lacrimosa,” from the composer’s Requiem.
Their worthy performances of sacred music highlight the acoustics of a given church, but their cinematography brings to focus the beauty of the setting. For example, when he played Schubert’s “Ave Maria” at St. Mary’s Church in Failsworth, the camera showed off the church’s excellent stained glass, statuary, artworks and, of course, the organ.
There is a ton of sacred music on the Scott Brothers’ page, but they also dip into more recognizable secular works, like the overture to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, or Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” (featured at the top). These pieces are an excellent way to bridge the gap between sacred and secular tunes, as they were written by composers who contributed a lot to the music of Christendom.
Visit the Scott Brothers YouTube channel for more of their exceptional videos.
Check out their website to learn more about the work of these dedicated English musicians.