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Choir & Organ, cover from current issue

July/August 2014 on sale from 30 June

Choir & Organ is the leading independent magazine for all professionals and amateurs in the choral and organ worlds – whether you are an organist, choral director or singer, organ builder, keen listener, or work in publishing or the record industry, Choir & Organ is a must-read wherever you live and work.

Every two months our expert contributors bring you beautifully illustrated features on newly built and restored organs, insights into the lives and views of leading organists, choral directors and composers, profiles of pioneering and well-established choirs, and topical coverage of new research, festivals and exhibitions. In keeping with our commitment to music at the cutting edge, we commission a new work from a young composer in every issue, making the score freely available for download and performance.

Our international news and previews, with breaking stories, key awards and forthcoming premieres, combine with reviews of the latest CDs, DVDs and sheet music, and listings of recitals, festivals and courses, to keep you up to date with events and developments around the world.

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Maggie Hamilton, editor Choir & Organ

Maggie Hamilton - Editor
From the current issue of Choir & Organ


The maverick young teacher in Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys says of the first world war, ‘There’s no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it.’ This opinion may be controversial, even cynical – though we all have recent memories of our politicians solemnly laying wreaths at the Cenotaph while at the same time leading our country into yet another war. We Brits are good at ceremony; but how can we move beyond the safety of smart-suited, well-choreographed formal events and be touched instead by the gross obscenity of ‘the war to end all wars’, which killed an estimated 15-17 million combatants and civilians of so many nationalities?

Herein lies one intrinsic value of the arts: they have the power to connect with us at both an affective and intellectual level, extended over a drawn-out time span that is out of kilter with our sound-bite era, and able to be returned to time and time again, so that at each time of visiting we may be struck by something else, or enter the subject at a more profound level. Who has not discovered something new in each hearing of Britten’s War Requiem, each reading of Siegfried Sassoon’s A Working Party, or in each viewing of Paul Nash’s The Ypres Salient at Night? Arts organisers have put much thought into planning events (see p.58) that help us to encounter and reflect deeply on the happenings of 100 years ago. Newly commissioned works, such as Patrick Hawes’s tribute to Edith Cavell (Eventide) and German composer Torsten Rasch’s A Foreign Field (see also p.33), bring fresh perspectives alongside established war-themed pieces; and other works, such as Duruflé’s Requiem, take on additional significance when performed in this more specific context. Exhibitions and non-musical events help to put further flesh on the war; the Church has produced materials for quiet, communal meditation; and for personal musings from the Front, turn to our feature on part-time organist James Morton, who joined the Royal Flying Corps (p.54).

With so much attention given to marking this anniversary, there is a danger of its becoming almost ‘fashionable’ – a commercial opportunity, even – which can dull the senses; even worse, that it be misappropriated in the cause of a narrow nationalism. We can be grateful to the arts for resisting these trends, and for providing opportunities for us to reflect, that we may be confronted, moved and challenged to change.

In The Next Issue of Choir & Organ: SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014 ISSUE On sale from 28 August

GALLERY: 150 years of instruments by Orgelbau Kuhn. 

BOSTON PARTY: The Handel & Haydn Society celebrates its bicentenary. 

SHAKESPEARE IN MUSIC: Choirs around the globe are marking the Bard of Avon’s double anniversary. 

JENNIFER BATE: The organist looks back over her life and career. 

SINGING A NEW SONG: During their 90 years’ history, the BBC Singers have commissioned many new works. 

FREE SUPPLEMENTS: Scholarships & Voice Trials, and Choral Directions. 

Plus…The latest international news and previews, regular columns, specialist reviews, recitals and exclusive offers.

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