Choir & Organ, cover from current issue

November/December 2014 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


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


Maggie Hamilton, editor Choir & Organ

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


Whether anyone actually took up ex-Culture Secretary David Mellor on his comment in August that he’d ‘rather be thrown into a pit of scorpions than to have to sit through another of Judith Weir’s operas’, I don’t know – maybe he was killed in the crush. His admission that he finds Weir’s music ‘pretty impenetrable and, when penetrable, unrewarding’ betrays at best the lack of imagination that we have come to expect in recent decades from politicians who have held ministerial positions.

On one point, however, I agree with Mellor: that the important issue in Weir’s appointment as Master of the Queen’s Music is not whether she is a woman (after all, no broadcaster or newspaper has ever heralded previous holders of the post with the words ‘A man has just been appointed…’), but whether she is capable of doing the job. Our exclusive interview not only sets out her impeccable compositional credentials, it also reveals the warmth of her personality and her serious commitment to helping to make classical music less of an oddity in today’s society – as she says, ‘I love the idea of composing for places and people rarely touched by new music.’ 

We need composers like this: people who are willing to take us with them – out of our comfort zone, sometimes, but nonetheless to a place where we can view the world (and ourselves) through a different twist of the kaleidoscope; people who can lead us to a sense of just how small we are in the universe, and yet at the same time to a realisation of how infinitely capable we are of creative thinking and action; people who invite us to break out of our rut and learn to embrace with delight the unexpected. We may not necessarily connect with the music on first hearing (Nicholas Slonimsky’s Lexicon of Musical Invective is replete with damning critiques of works by Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner and the like, works that we now hold in great esteem). But if we don’t open our ears and minds to new experiences, we will be stuck in a world of functional muzak that deadens the soul. If anyone still needs convincing, try to catch on iPlayer the BBC Singers’ rendition at their 90th birthday concert in the Barbican of Weir’s exquisite miniature Vertue, or enter the draw in our Readers’ offers for a CD or scores of her music, for a chance to explore a world of intense beauty.

And if David Mellor is reading this, I’d like to extend a personal invitation to him to attend a Judith Weir opera with me; whether he accepts or chooses his stated preferred option is entirely up to him…

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

SIR ANDREW DAVIS – The world-renowned conductor talks about his enduring love for the choral music of Elgar. 

GALLERY – The new Casavant in the Maison Symphonique, Montreal. 

A SURE FOUNDATION – The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford, dates back to 1480 – but is keeping up with the times. 

RESTORATIVE MEASURES – A Father Smith organ in Finedon receives a new lease of life. 

GLORIA! – Conducting issues in Vivaldi’s best-known choral work. 

SUFFOLK SORTIE – NEW SERIES. Organs of note in the East Anglian county. 

Plus…The latest international news, specialist reviews, and supplement of digital organ builders. 

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