News & Editorial

News articles are welcome and should be sent to news@theorganmag.com. Submissions may be edited, and this page is updated regularly. News is archived monthly, and news from previous months can be found here. More news can also be found in the current edition of The Organ. All editorial comment is that of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of The Organ.

Bob-Chilcott

UK News

ChurchOrganWorld Annual Concert

the Makin 'Gigue'

The 10th annual 'Sounds of the Summer concert' featuring Professor Ian Tracey is at the Mixbury showroom of ChruchOrganWorld on Saturday May 6th. Customers will be treated to four mini recitals on five different organs including the Makin 'Gigue' and 'Thirlmere', the Copeman Hart 'Tourer', the Rodgers 'Infinity' and the revolutionary 'LiVE' from Johannus. Previous events, attracting a wide variety of visitors, have invariably been highly successful.

Tickets, in advance only, are available at £10 each all of which goes to the Liverpool Cathedral organ fund. Customers will have the opportunity to enjoy the surroundings with the traditional buffet lunch out in the courtyard where the marquee will contain a wide range of sheet organ music, CDs , DVDs OrganMaster shoes and much more.

 

IAO MUSIC FESTIVAL July 23-27

The 2017 IAO Music Festival will be held in the historic university city of Oxford – “city of dreaming spires”. Oxford is home to the country’s oldest university and its colleges and university buildings boast a wealth of wonderful architecture, much of which is built of a particularly beautiful Cotswold stone. The Ashmolean Museum is the world’s first university museum and dates back to 1677; it reopened in 2009 after a major redevelopment. Home to probably more organs per square metre than any other UK city except Cambridge, Oxford is an obvious venue for an organists’ festival.

The Festival will include visits to six different colleges, with recitals at The Queen’s College (Frobenius ii, 1965), Keble College (Tickell iv, 2011), Merton College (Dobson iii, 2013), St John’s College (Aubertin iii, 2008), Exeter College (Walker ii, 1994), and New College (Grant, Degens and Bradbeer iii, 1969).

The Festival will also include a half day visit to Blenheim Palace where we will have a guided tour of the Palace and hear the famous organ in the Long Library (Willis, iv, 1891). There will also be a day trip to Eton College where we be given a guided tour of the College and see and hear some of the college’s collection of five organs, including the organ in College Chapel (Hill iv, 1885).

Oxford is home to the oldest purpose built music room in the country, so we will spend a day at the Holywell Music Room, where we will hear, amongst other events, a piano recital and a concert by the Edington String Quartet. The Festival Dinner will be in the Hall of Exeter College which dates back to 1618, and will be preceded by a service of Choral Evensong with a choir directed by Matthew Martin.

Artists performing include Dame Gillian Weir (Masterclass & Interview), David Goode (Organ), Matthew Martin (Organ & Choral Director), Benjamin Nicholas (Organ), Peter King (Organ), Robert Quinney (Organ), John Reid (Piano), and the Edington Quartet. An outline of events can be found at iao.org.uk/newsevents/festival

The full five-day season ticket is available priced £179 (with the Festival Dinner costing an additional £47.50). Full-time student tickets are £99. From June individual event tickets will be on sale.

 


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New Music for a Restored Organ

Northumberland composer Fiona Lander has been commissioned As part of the educational aspect of the project, I was commissioned to compose a children’s song telling the story of how the Nelson pipe organ in Holy Trinity Church, Horsley in the Redewater Valley, Northumberland, has recently been fully restored, thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding.

The organ had previously been housed in two others down the A68 in Tow Law, County Durham, and the song, 'Stops, Pipes, Pedals and Keys' was performed by over 100 children in December in the church and proved a big success. As well as the song, a new piece for pipe organ and saxophone was also commissioned, Lander joining forces with local composer John Roper to accomplish this. On April 30th the new work will be heard at the Inaugural Celebration Concert and Blessing (the blessing will be given by the Bishop of Newcastle). The event will feature other organ works including JS Bach's Fantasia in G BWV572.

Following this Inaugural Concert and blessing, there will be a series of concerts and recitals in the church throughout 2017 and into 2018 to help raise awareness of the organ and celebrate its restoration. Dr Gillian Ward Russell is to present her Ten Pieces for Organ in June. Further details about the Horsley Pipe Organ Restoration Project are found at: www.horsleypipeorgan.org.

 


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Sixth International Organ Competition Dudelange: Stahlhuth-Jann organ at St Martin’s Church in Dudelange (Luxembourg)

Details of this most prestigious competition in the organ world have been announced, a resumé of which is given below:

The Competition runs from September 10 – 15; the final round (public concert) is on September 15, with Masterclasses on September 15 and 16. The Jury comprises: Iveta APKALNA, President (Latvia); Lionel ROGG (Switzerland); Andreas ROTHKOPF (Germany); Alain WIRTH (Luxembourg).

Prizes: First Prize: € 5.000, plus  Concert in Festival d´orgue de Dudelange 2018

Second Prize: € 2.500;

Third Prize: € 1.250;

Public Prize: € 750;

Finalist Reward (finalist without 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Prize): € 500.

For further information and application forms: www.orgue-dudelange.lu


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Cirencester International Organ Festival April 22-29

Cirencester

This year’s Cirencester International Organ Festival looks set to be like no other, with a wine tasting organ recital, family concert, a silent movie improvisation and a performance by one of the most virtuosic performers of his time from the USA.

The opening Gala of the Organ Festival will be a recital by Stephen Tharp, who hasn’t played in the UK for over 10 years and has no further concerts booked or plans to return, and therefore is an unmissable event for classical music lovers.

The International Organ Festival takes place in the picturesque town of Cirencester in the Cotswolds, which boasts a beautiful church with a world-class Father Willis organ.

Tickets are now on sale for the event, an eclectic mix of ticket-only recitals and free lunch time concerts. Aside from the performance by Stephen Tharp, the festival is proud to announce the return of the popular ‘silent movie’ improvisation, played by critically acclaimed English concert organist, composer and musicologist Dr Anthony Hammond.

New to the programme this year will be the Gala wine recital. The California Wine Suite is an entertaining work of eight movements, composed by Hans Uwe Hielscher. At the event, guests will enjoy listening to each movement alongside a tutored wine and food tasting – perfect for wine and music lovers!

The free lunchtime concerts running each day will feature some of the brightest rising stars of the organ world, playing a varied programme, which will provide something for everyone.

Meanwhile the festival committee has added a further new item to the programme to bring organ music to a younger audience. The family concert will be a mix of organ music, poetry and picture show re-telling the story of Peter and The Wolf. For more information visit www.cirencesterorganfestival.co.uk.


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Highlights of 2017 Worcester Three Choirs Festival July 22- 29

Worcester Cathedral

The Three Choirs Festival has revealed highlights of its artistic programme for 2017. Taking place in Worcester between July 22-29, the festival will include music that reflects the historical tension a century ago between war-torn Europe and the contrasting atmosphere in the United States, where spirits ran high and the arts flourished, even as America entered the war.

Artistic director Dr Peter Nardone has placed Tippett’s A Child of Our Time at the outset of festival week, in the first evening cathedral concert by the Three Choirs Festival Chorus and Philharmonia Orchestra on Saturday July 22. ‘With its profoundly moving spirituals, acting like the chorales in a Bach Passion, and its strong underlying message of pacifism and reconciliation, the piece resonates with these echoes of the past, and sets the tone of our festival,’ he says. Tippett’s great oratorio is followed by late night events marking the release in 1917 of the first commercial recording of the Dixieland Jazz Band and the popularity of the vibrant ragtime of Scott Joplin, who died that year.

Shostakovich’s twelfth symphony ‘The Year 1917’, written in response to the cataclysmic Bolshevik uprising in Russia and dedicated to the memory of Lenin, is paired with Mozart’s ‘Great’ C minor Mass on July 28.

The theme of ‘Child of Our Time’ is carried through in the Three Choirs Festival Youth Choir’s performance on Thursday July 27 of Jonathan Dove’s There Was a Child, which traces a young life cut short at the age of 19, and is taken into the final concert by the Hymnus Paradisi by Herbert Howells, written in memory of his son Michael.

Choral repertoire for the evening concerts also includes Mendelssohn’s St Paul (July 24), Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius (July 25, conducted by Martyn Brabbins, recently announced as music director of English National Opera), Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass, and the Serenade to Music by Vaughan Williams. The Three Cathedral Choirs of Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester combine on the afternoon of Tuesday July 25 to perform Odes to St Cecilia by Handel and Purcell. The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, conducted by former Worcester Cathedral chorister Stephen Cleobury, will give a recital on the last afternoon of the festival.

This year’s festival will see the orchestral premiere on July 26 of A Welsh Night by Torsten Rasch, a setting of verses by the Welsh poet Alun Lewis, who died in 1944 while serving with the Royal Engineers in Burma. The original version for mezzo-soprano and piano was a 2015 Three Choirs Festival commission, performed in Hereford to great acclaim by Sarah Connolly and Joseph Middleton. Connolly will return on July 26 to premiere the new version, with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Frank Beermann, who conducted the German performance of Rasch’s oratorio A Foreign Field, premiered at Worcester Three Choirs Festival 2014.

The Philharmonia continues its residency at the festival established in 2012, and showcases Worcester Cathedral’s Kenneth Tickell quire organ, installed in 2007, in its concert on Monday July 24. Wayne Marshall will be the soloist in Poulenc’s Organ Concerto and the ‘Organ’ Symphony No 3 by Saint-Saëns. The concert also features the tone poem Aurora by William Lloyd Webber.

As ever, daily liturgical services with music provided by the cathedral choirs in various permutations reflect the festival’s spiritual roots, and are open to all free of charge.

Away from the cathedral, the festival celebrates the range of intimate, beautiful venues in and around Worcester with a programme of chamber choir, vocal and instrumental recitals, organ showcases and workshops. Counter-tenor David Hurley will give one of his first solo recitals since leaving the King’s Singers after 26 years. Mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately will perform a new work by Sally Beamish with texts by Alexander McCall Smith, and vocal trio Voice with cellist Matthew Sharp premiere Five Madrigals by Roderick Williams, which will include a setting of ‘The Cellist’ by Ursula Vaughan Williams.

Opus Anglicanum return with a Vespers workshop and the Cardinall’s Musick present a programme entitled ‘Tudor Masterpieces’. The National Youth Choir of Great Britain’s recently-established chamber group of young professional singers will perform a programme exploring the early works of much-loved composers.

Peter Nardone said: ‘I am proud to present these highlights of our programme for the Worcester Three Choirs Festival 2017: an inspirational cycle of concerts and events where the traditional, core elements of a Three Choirs Festival are inspired and informed by what was happening one hundred years ago.’

Michael Clarke, Chairman of Worcester Three Choirs Festival, said: ‘Breakfast conversations with featured composers and artists, pre-concert talks and performances of late-night original Dixieland jazz  or Joplin ragtime will provide opportunities to explore the themes running through the festival programme and set the evening concerts in context.’

Details of the full festival programme will be published at the end of March and booking will open in April.