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Recital and Talk

Herbert Murrill

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  • £15 for event only
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Discover the story, and compositions, of Herbert Murrill, conductor of the Bletchley Park Musical Society and BBC’s Head of Music.

10% off event price for Friends of Bletchley Park

Herbert Murrill

The rediscovered songs of a Bletchley musical phenomenon

Alongside the frenetic war-time work taking place in secrecy at Bletchley Park flourished another series of activities. Organised with almost as much vigour and dedication as their codebreaking efforts, The Bletchley Park Musical Society were ferocious in the number of performances and events they held.

Driving the society’s operatic, orchestral, and choral performances was conductor, and composer Herbert Murrill, who worked as a Sergeant throughout the war decoding Japanese ciphers. Outside his role in intelligence, Murrill was deeply involved with the BBC, eventually rising to Head of Music. At only 24 he had become the youngest ever professor of composition at the Royal Academy.

Whilst a tiny handful of Murrill’s compositions circulate worldwide, including widely acknowledged masterpieces, a large body of his prolific output has lain forgotten in the BBC archives since his untimely death in 1952.

After recently uncovering an archived collection of Murrill’s songs, unperformed since the 1940s and never recorded, Crispin Lewis is initiating a project to publish, record commercially, and perform all of them.

Eclectic in style – sometimes serious, at times absurd, with influences of Elizabethan music, jazz, French café music and colourful poetry, Murrill’s songs are attractive and surprising.

For the first time in 70 years, these songs will be gathered together and performed, in a recital and talk exploring Murrill’s place in Bletchley’s vibrant musical life.

Join baritone and conductor Crispin Lewis, his father Raymond Lewis (nephew of Herbert Murrill) and oboist Rachel Broadbent in this musical rediscovery.

Photo of Herbert Murrill courtesy of Crispin Lewis

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Baritone: Crispin Lewis
Singer and conductor Crispin Lewis studied at the Royal College of Music (postgraduate) and at Trinity Laban Conservatoire (undergraduate).  He has directed his own vocal ensembles many times, including at Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Hall One at Kings Place, the Royal Opera House, Linbury Theatre, the South Bank Centre, and in many BBC Radio 3 broadcasts. He also directs two choral societies. Crispin has performed opera roles including Salieri in Rimsky Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri; King Rene in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta; Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte; Figaro in Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro, and Leporello in Don Giovanni.  He gives solo vocal recitals regularly and is the soloist for many choral societies. He is also the director of Choritalia (, a summer school in Tuscany for choral singers.  Crispin has been a member of the professional vocal quartet at the church of St Giles-in-the-Fields, London since 2016, and has sung at all of the major English Cathedrals.  Further information and recordings can be found at:


Piano: Raymond Lewis
Raymond Lewis has followed a triple career as pianist, conductor and organist. As a pianist he has made several solo appearances at the Purcell Room and on the BBC. His duo partners have included the violinist, Ralph Holmes, Alexander Boyarsky (former principal cellist of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra), and Pablo Casals’ protege, Rohan da Saram. He made his London debuts variously as solo pianist, accompanist, in chamber music, as continuo player, and as conductor on the South Bank. A former recipient of the Ricordi Conducting Prize, he is an experienced orchestral and choral conductor. For several years, he was Director of Music of St Stephen’s Rochester Row in Westminster, and has been organist at various London churches. He has played at most of the major cathedrals in the UK and has given solo recitals at St David’s Cathedral, Rochester Cathedral, Southwark Cathedral, The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban, and Chichester Cathedral.


Oboe: Rachel Broadbent
Rachel Broadbent is the principal oboe of the Southern Sinfonia, International Film Orchestra, British Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the English Pro Musica, and is a regular member of the Brandenburg Sinfonia. Rachel has worked with many other orchestras including the Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra (UK), Brandenburg Sinfonia, Southern Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, London Mozart Players, London Chamber Orchestra, London Concert Orchestra, and Heritage Opera.  She has performed concertos with numerous orchestras and is a busy chamber musician and recitalist.


10% off event price for Friends of Bletchley Park

Please note: Your booking entitles you to entry to this event only. Please enter through the entrance of The Fellowship Auditorium (shown on the site map below). Doors open an hour before the start of the event.

  • If you wish to explore Bletchley Park (open 9.30-17.00) before the event begins, please enter through General Admissions and purchase an Annual Pass, or use an existing one.



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