Current Issue

May 2017 - July 2017 (Number 380)

Issue 380 includes features on: as well as lots of news from the UK and abroad, reviews of choral and organ CDs, books, concerts, new organ music, new installations, letters, and more.

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The Organ of Santa Catarina’s Church, Calheta, S. Jorge Island – Azores

Organ of Santa Catarina’s Church, Calheta

Luis Henriques

The Church Matriz of Santa Catarina (St Catherine) is the principal church of the vila of Calheta, on the island of São Jorge, archipelago of the Azores. This church houses one of António Xavier Machado e Cerveira’s organs (n.º 29), one of the finest Portuguese organ-builders of the last decades of the eighteenth century. His workshop was credited to have built more than a hundred instruments of which around sixty have survived to this day. Of these, fourteen were commissioned for the Azores which makes him, together with Joaquim António Peres Fontanes, the most represented organ-builder of the 55 instruments extant in this Portuguese archipelago.

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An Overview of Iberian Keyboard Music ca. 1600-1830 – Part IV

Organ of Santa Catarina’s Church, Calheta

John Collins

17th century Spanish composers, both named and anonymous, not covered in parts I and III, including those whose works are found in MSS in El Escorial and in Astorga cathedral.

In part I of this survey of 17th century keyboard music from Spain and Portugal I offered an overview of those Spanish composers whose work surviving in printed editions (during the 17th century only the Facultad Orgánica by Francisco Correa de Arauxo dating from 1626 was seen into print by the composer) or in manuscripts has been republished in recent years in modern editions devoted to their complete extant compositions. In most cases these editions include pieces by just one composer, but in some cases two or more composers’ works are included where their combined output is relatively small. Part II, devoted to Portugal, covered the one publication of keyboard music (Coelho’s Flores de Musica, 1620), and the small number of MSS preserved in Portugal, with the exception of the handwritten appendix in the copy of Correa’s Facultad Orgánica held at the Biblioteca at the Palace of Ajuda, Lisbon, which, since the contents is by composers known to be Spanish, was referred to in part III, and also of the extensive MS1577 (now renamed as MM42, but since the former reference is so well-known I have decided to retain this) which is preserved at the Biblioteca Nacional, Oporto and described below; the great majority of the pieces in this MS are ascribed, but as the composers are almost certainly Spanish, I decided that those whose pieces are available in a complete edition fitted into part 1 and the others whose works are represented in modern editions either not at all or by only a tiny percentage, would be better discussed in this third part.


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The Enlightenment Influence: music of Mozart, Beethoven and Hummel


Iain Quinn

A new record of music by Mozart, Beethoven and Hummel has recently been released by Regent Records played by Dr Iain Quinn on the organ of Trinity College, Cambridge. In this article, he discusses aspects of the works he has chosen, outlining the occasional challenges they pose to modern transcribers, editors and performers.

Music largely written for smaller mechanical devices requiring pipes and wind expanded the musical language we associate with the instrument Mozart described as the King of Instruments. With a use of melody and harmony that to modern sensibilities reaches beyond the organ works of CPE Bach, we hear such pieces in the 21st-century as providing a bridge between the masterworks of the Baroque and the Classical discourse of the later period’s sonata and symphonic repertoire.

As such, the Enlightenment influence can be seen both in the composers’ sometimes audacious approach to a mechanical device that presented few limitations to the creative mind, as well as in the historical trend, firmly established in the 19th-century, considering these works as legitimate organ pieces written by composers who knew the instrument well. The addition of the Mozart works to the ‘standard’ concert repertoire by WT Best, the celebrated organist at St George’s Hall, Liverpool, and others in the 19th-century, filled what was considered a musical void in the solo organ literature that could otherwise only be achieved by bolder approaches in the transcription of orchestral and chamber repertoire.

The complementary works of Hummel offer an equally refreshing enlightenment with a style of writing that looked at the historical legacy of the repertoire as much as challenging the player and listener to think anew. With a harmonic language that can sometimes seem startling, Hummel’s use of chromaticism pays homage, in his Ricercare, to Sweelinck’s Fantasia Chromatica with its simple but wry elegance.


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The Durban City Hall Organ

Durban City Hall Organ

By Michael Harkinson

In 1880 the town council of Durban resolved to construct a town hall at a cost not exceeding £35,000, with a foundation stone being laid in 1883 and the completed building opened by the Governor of Natal, Sir Henry Bulwer on October 28th 1885. The main hall of the building measured 135 ft. by 56 ft. With a gallery on three sides surrounding a terraced stage area and with a volume of 285,000 cu.ft.

Provision was made for the installation of an organ in a deep recess 29 ft. wide at the rear of the stage, but it wasn’t until 1893 that the council accepted a tender from Messrs. Brindley and Foster to construct an organ at a cost of approximately £3000.

The instrument arrived in Durban on 20th September 1894 together with Mr Kemp, the organ builder responsible for the erection of the instrument. The casework for the organ was constructed locally to a design of Durban architect W H Powell and when finally installed the total cost of the instrument was £3462.14.00 including shipping and erection costs.

The instrument comprised three manuals of 61 notes (C-c4) and a pedal board of 30 notes (CC – f). There were 40 stops, two tremulants and 8 couplers with 8 combination pedals and 6 pneumatic thumb pistons. The action was tubular pneumatic of the builder’s own design, patented in improved form in 1897 and wind was provided by two, 2-horsepower hydraulic engines driving feeder bellows, with rotary hand cranks for emergency use.


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