Arnfinn Tobiassen appointed artistic director of the Norsk orgelfestival
8 September 2015
Arnfinn Tobiassen has taken over as artistic director of the Norsk orgelfestival. He succeeds Kolbein Haga, who co-founded the festival, as the event celebrates 25 years.
Tobiassen studied at the Royal Academy of Music with James O’Donnell, David Titterington, Lionel Rogg and Susan Landale. He was assistant organist at the Dutch Church in London between 2003 and 2010, during which time he also held positions as organ scholar at St Paul’s Knightsbridge and assistant organist at St Michael’s and All Angels, Croydon. In 2010, he was appointed Kantor at the Parish of St Olav’s, Avaldsnes.
He took part in the inauguration series of the new organ at Stavanger Konserthus in 2013. In October, he will release his first recording on LAWO Classics (featuring music by Trond Kverno).
Tobiassen said: ‘Taking over after Kolbein Haga was a wonderful challenge which was impossible to refuse. His fastidious work over the last 25 years makes this a most well run festival, and I shall look forward to continuing to develop the festival along with some fantastic colleagues in Stavanger and Sandnes.'
Now Scandinavia’s second longest running organ festival, the Norsk orgelfestival came about to showcase the new instruments which had been built in the Karmøy and Haugesund area. The city of Stavanger, which has hosted the event since 2006, acquired a IV/63 Ryde & Berg organ in 2012 and a newly renovated Reil instrument for the domkirke earlier this year.
DG makes first recording in the Sistine Chapel
8 September 2015
Sistine Chapel Choir and Massimo PalombellaBurkhard Bartsch © Governatorato SCV - Direzione dei Musei
The Vatican has permitted the first ever recording in the Sistine Chapel.
Cantate Domino, the Sistine Chapel Choir’s debut recording, will be released on Deutsche Grammophon on 25 September 2015.
The album features music written for the Sistine Chapel Choir by Palestrina, Lassus and Victoria. It also includes two pieces of Gregorian chant and the world premiere recordings of the 1661 Sistine Codex version of Allegri’s Miserere and a Nunc dimittis attributed to Palestrina which is still used during papal celebrations.
Deutsche Grammophon set up a special studio within the chapel. The mixing desk was set up in an ante-chamber, next to the Sala del Pianto (where the newly elected cardinal is first dressed as Pope). Producer Anna Barry described it as an ‘overwhelming privilege’ to be among Michelangelo’s frescoes.
Choir director Massimo Palombella said: ‘The music we have recorded was created for papal celebrations in the Sistine Chapel and by composers who wrote specifically for the Sistine Chapel Choir. The Sistine Chapel was consecrated in 1483 and has been home to the papal choir ever since. After an intensive period of study and scholarship of the sacred music in the Renaissance and its aesthetic pertinence, we have arrived at the point of making the first commercial recording, in this remarkable building, with this prestigious label.’
Pope Francis will receive the first copy of the disc.
Friends of Cathedral Music appoints new president
7 September 2015
Stephen CleoburyNick Rutter
The Friends of Cathedral Music (FCM) has announced Stephen Cleobury as its new president. He is to take over from Christopher Robinson, who is retiring, as the organisation celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2016.
Cleobury has been closely connected with cathedral music since he was a chorister at Worcester Cathedral in 1958. He held positions as organ scholar at St John's College, Cambridge and sub-organist of Westminster Abbey before becoming master of music at Westminster Cathedral in 1979. He became director of music at King’s College, Cambridge in 1982, and was president of the Royal College of Organists from 1990-1992.
The president-elect said that he was honoured to be linked with FCM, describing it as ‘an organisation which does so much wonderful work to support music in our cathedrals, churches and colleges at a time when there are increasing financial pressures on choral foundations.’
FCM chairman Peter Toyne said: ‘I am delighted that we have yet another internationally renowned and respected musician as our next president, and equally pleased that Christopher Robinson, who has been our inspirational president for the last twelve years, will continue to take an active interest in furthering the future development of our essential mission in safeguarding the priceless heritage that is cathedral music.’
Friends of Cathedral Music
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to have permanent organ
4 September 2015
The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
The main auditorium
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is to have a permanent organ for the first time, thanks to a fundraising initiative by the Merchants House of Glasgow. The £155,000 digital organ is being installed and voiced ready for its inaugural recital on 23 September by Ian Tracey, organist titular at Liverpool Cathedral.
The instrument, which has 76 speaking stops, has been designed specifically for the venue’s main auditorium. It has 56 full range and 8 bass speaker boxes with more than 170 independent speaker drivers. Installation began in July.
The new organ was designed in collaboration with organists James Hunter (honorary director of music at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum) and Matt Edwards (director of music at Thomas Coats Memorial Church, Paisley), while Tracey also played a key part in the consultation process. It was built by UK-based digital organ specialists Copeman Hart & Company.
Cllr Archie Graham, chair of Glasgow Life, said: ‘Glasgow’s fantastic range of music venues and facilities contributes to the city being one of the most exciting and enjoyable places to live and visit for music lovers. The new organ at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is a valuable addition to our vibrant musical landscape, and I would like to thank the Merchants House, whose fantastic work was invaluable to making this happen.’
The main auditorium
Raymond Williamson, the city’s former Lord Dean of Guild – who provided the driving force behind the fundraising project – said: ‘For over 400 years the Merchants House has played an important part in the civic and cultural life of the city and we are delighted to have raised the funds for a bespoke digital organ for the city’s Royal Concert Hall. Now, twenty five years after it opened, the city’s Royal Concert Hall will have a permanent organ for the first time in its main auditorium. I would like to thank the wide range of individuals and organisations who contributed.
‘Without their generosity we would not be able to build and install this new bespoke digital organ which I am sure will be at the heart of many performances over the months and years ahead.’
The inaugural recital, which begins at 7.30pm, will feature work by Soler, Pachelbel, Bach, Schumann, Whitlock, Franck, Warlock, Peeters, Tchaikovsky and Widor. Earlier in the day, James Hunter will host a special event in which Tracey will give a demonstration of the instrument before allowing local organists to inspect the instrument at close hand and try it out for themselves. The event, which will take place from 2.30-5.30pm, is free and will not be ticketed.
Glasgow Concert Halls
BBC Music announces Ten Pieces Secondary film presenters
3 September 2015
BBC Music has announced the presenters for its Ten Pieces Secondary film, which will be shown across the UK free of charge in October. The hour-long film will feature specially shot performances of the ten pieces featuring the BBC Philharmonic and members of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, conducted by Alpesh Chauhan.
The presenters are:
- TV presenter and journalist James May: Bach, orch. Stokowski – Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565 / Soloist: Wayne Marshall
- Singer Pixie Lott: Bernstein – ‘Mambo‘ from West Side Story
- Actor Bobby Lockwood and TV presenter and actor Naomi Wilkinson: Bizet – ‘Habanera‘ and ‘Toreador Song‘ from Carmen Suite
- Comedian and rapper Doc Brown: Anna Clyne – Night Ferry
- TV presenter and former footballer Dion Dublin: Haydn – Trumpet Concerto (third movement) / Soloist: Alison Balsom
- Radio 1 presenter Clara Amfo and composer Gabriel Prokofiev: Gabriel Prokofiev – Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra (fifth movement) / Soloist: DJ Mr Switch
- Poet and Broadcaster Lemn Sissay: Shostakovich – Symphony No. 10 (second movement)
- TV presenter Molly Rainford: Vaughan Williams – The Lark Ascending / Soloist: Nicola Benedetti
- Comedian Vikki Stone: Verdi – ‘Dies Irae’ from Requiem / featuring the Hallé Choir
- Actor Christopher Eccleston: Wagner – ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ from Die Walküre
The trailer for the film can be found here
Teachers will once again have access to a range of online resources to explore the works in their own lessons, encouraging pupils to respond to the music through composition, dance or art.
The initiative follows in the footsteps of Ten Pieces Primary, which has engaged more than half of UK primary schools (over 11,000 in total) since its launch in autumn 2014. The resources for Ten Pieces Primary will be available throughout 2015/16, with schools encouraged to continue their involvement.
From 28 September – 10 October, Radio 3 will present a Ten Pieces season. Each of the pieces will be played on Breakfast, while Afternoon on 3, CD Review, In Tune and Essential Classics will also feature the chosen works.
Schools can book free cinema tickets now for the nationwide screenings.
BBC Ten Pieces
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