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.


Pull out all the stops

The Neoclassical Organ and the Great Aristide Cavaillé-Coll Organ of Saint-Sulpice, Paris

Editorial

Maggie Hamilton, editor Choir & Organ

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


SONG BIRDS

Where were you when the Berlin Wall came down? I was in a garage having a tyre changed, and heard it on the radio. I’d returned the previous day from a four-month overseas visit where I’d had virtually no access to international news. I thought I was listening to a radio play, until the mechanic put me straight. Even now I can remember my sense of awe.

Many of the current members of the Latvian youth choir Kamer… had not even been born by the time the Soviet Union imploded. Yet they share in the musical heritage of the Baltic States, where singing has traditionally been a mode of non-violent resistance to political oppression as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been occupied by first one country, then another over the centuries. The Singing Revolution of the late 1980s included a chain of people stretching from Tallinn through Riga to Vilnius, with linked arms and open mouths, daring to express themselves in patriotic song. The importance of song as an expression of national identity remains to this day.

It was in this context that Kamer… came into being; and it is this history that the present singers are learning about – and communicating to audiences – through a tranche of their repertoire, as they told me when I met them in Oxford during their debut tour to the UK in March. Their concert programme included Ziles zina (‘The Tomtit’s Message’), a dramatic – almost violent – setting by Peteris Vasks of a poem by the contemporary Latvian poet Uldis Berzinš; my companion remarked that it was the first time he’d been scared by a piece of choral music. One singer commented that music like this helps them not only to understand something of the sheer horror of life under Soviet domination, it also resonates with fresh anxieties they have about Russia’s intentions in the light of recent events in Ukraine.

So these intelligent young people not only sing like nightingales, with perfect tuning, clear, strong voices, tight ensemble and balance; they also bring a depth of knowledge and understanding that lends gravitas to their performances, without which music is merely cosmetic. Congratulations to them as they celebrate the choir’s 25th anniversary this year – and if you missed their UK tour, why not enter the draw for one of their CDs.

In The Next Issue of Choir & Organ: JULY/AUGUST 2015 ISSUE On sale from 28 June

EDINBURGH ELITE

The top-notch Edinburgh Festival Chorus celebrates its 50th anniversary. 


HENRY WILLIS IN OZ
Brisbane City Hall’s ‘Father’ Willis – newly restored by Pierce Pipe Organs Pty – ranks among the builder’s finest. 

TUDOR PARTBOOKS
A fascinating research project is restoring two Elizabethan music collections by John Sadler and John Baldwin. 

PETER COLLINS
The organ builder looks back over 50 years in the business, and talks about a new instrument for St Albans. 

GOFFREDO PETRASSI
Introducing the choral music of this little-known 20th-century Italian composer. 

Plus…The latest news and previews, specialist reviews, exclusive offers, and international directory of pipe organ builders.

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