S Pascal Needham, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis

For choir and organ – Melbourne, 1886
Edited by Richard Divall
Australian Music Series – MDA037
ISBN 978-0-9925673-6-1 / ISMN 979-0-9009655-6-1


Needham Magnificat_0006    MDA037 pic2

Born in Temerton, Devon in 1847, Needham arrived in South Australia of 30 April 1857, aged nine. It is thought that he studied under George Loder (1816-1868), a composer and musician who lived in Adelaide after considerable music making in both Sydney and Melbourne. Needham was an accomplished organist. After marriage in Adelaide in 1869, he became a banker and was the manager of the Union Bank in Fremantle and organist at St John’s Church. It is there where he composed the Cantata Land of the Swan to the text of Francis Hart, which was performed at the Perth International Exhibition in November 1881. For a period he was the music critic for the West Australian newspaper.

In the 1880’s he moved to Melbourne where for a time he was the replacement conductor for the Melbourne Liedertafel, which was under the direction of Julius Hertz. He was also organist at All Saint’s Church in St Kilda. Needham was considered a cultivated man who read widely, and composed and conducted within Melbourne’s community. He composed an opera entitled The Fire King, and several songs there in the 1880’s which were published by Charles Troedel, of the printing firm Troedel and Co, which was founded around 1869. Needham is cited as being a member of the Freemasons Lodge No. 747 in 1887.

MDA037 pic1His Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis was published by Troedel in 1886 or 1887. Obviously composed for the Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral in Flinders Street, Melbourne it was dedicated to the Right Reverend Field Flowers Goe DD who served as Anglican Bishop of Melbourne from 1887 to 1901.