Choir & Organ, cover from current issue

January/February 2015 on sale now

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

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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


CONDUCTIVITY

To the uninitiated, conducting can seem like a bit of a soft option. What do these conductors actually do to earn their money? After all, it’s the players and singers who are doing all the work, and as Sir Thomas Beecham notoriously said, as long as the performers start together and finish together, no one gives a damn what goes on in between.

Or do they? Watching a recent TV programme about Karajan, I was reminded of the only time I saw him conduct live: I’d started the Beethoven symphony relaxing back in my seat, and by the last chords found that I had gradually moved without realising it, till I was sitting and leaning as far forward as possible, right on the edge of my seat. Far from being little more than a human metronome to keep everyone together, or Wrong Note Detector in a rehearsal, it is the conductor who makes or breaks a piece of music; whose job is to live with it and let it mature within; to seek out the spirit of the composer’s intentions yet also bring their own unique dimension to it; to convey that to the performers, and draw from them an expressivity that transforms the music from being just an awful lot of notes (however meticulously played) into something that touches our souls. This is an interactive process – ‘conducting’ in the same sense that electricity is conducted.

Sir Andrew Davis is a Grand Master of this art, and no more so than in his interpretation of the works of Elgar (see our cover story). Having caught the bug at the age of 12 during a Proms Gerontius conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent, Davis embarked on the best of love affairs with the composer’s music – one that continues to yield fresh delight rather than boredom or jaded disillusion. Don’t miss the 5-star review of his Gerontius recording on Chandos or the chance to hear it for yourself (see Readers’ offers).

However plentiful the passion, inability to convert that into a way of eliciting a corresponding response results in mere theatricals. As we embark on another New Music partnership with the BBC Singers for 2015, we couldn’t ask for a better contributor than their chief conductor David Hill, who continues to give us practical advice on how to get maximum effect and polish out of a choir (see Raising Standards), the absence of which technique would prove a hindrance to getting to the heart of the matter – the music itself.

In The Next Issue of Choir & Organ: JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015 ISSUE On sale from 31 December

TO BURY A KING

From car park to cathedral – Richard III’s re-interment will be accompanied by a new work by Judith Bingham. 

SWISS PRECISION
Zurich Musikhochschule shows off the clean, modernist lines of its new Goll organ. 

SWING IT!
Rochester Cathedral Choir gets together with the James Taylor Quartet for a new take on the Mass. 

RELIVING THE PAST
Goetze & Gwynn have restored the oldest surviving English church organ – with most of its pipes and mechanism intact. 

BOB CHILCOTT AT 60
The composer talks about his life and work, plans for the future, and his newly recorded St John Passion

Plus…The latest international news, recitals, specialist reviews, and supplement of summer schools and short courses. 

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Choir and Organ calendar 2015

Choir and Organ calendar 2015

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