ONE of the greatest organ works of all time will be performed at Durham Cathedral in memory of a musician who died in his prime.

James Lancelot, Master of the Choristers and Organist at Durham Cathedral, will play Messiaen’s La Nativite du Seignur on the cathedral’s Harrison and Harrison organ, at 7.30pm on Wednesday January 22.

Proceeds from the recital will go to the Michael James Music Trust - a fund set up in memory of a former organ scholar of University College, Durham University, who died aged 31 in 1981.

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The trust supports organ scholarships at many British cathedrals, including Durham, and it supports music at the Chorister School.

The recital will be a “very personal” experience for Mr Lancelot who once taught Mr James.

He said: “Michael was organ scholar at University College, here in the castle, long before I came to Durham.

“He trained the choir and played for services in the university’s chapel.

“He later went on Wimborne Minster where I got to know him, because he came to me for lessons.

“He got very ill and died very young. It was a tragedy.”

Mr James was an only child and his parents Raymond and Margaret set up the trust in his memory to discover, promote, educate and support gifted young musicians.

Mr Lancelot said: “This is one way of saying thank you and of trying to pay something back.”

Tickets at £8 (£6 concessions) are available from the Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre on 0191-334 3805 or on the day at the cathedral.