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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.

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

Latest News

Margaret Phillips to perform complete Bach organ works in London

24 June 2015, Katy Wright

Margaret Phillips is to perform the complete organ works of Bach on the Richards, Fowkes & Co. organ at St George's Church, Hanover Square this autumn.

The concerts will take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 6pm between 24 September and 31 October. Except for the first and last, the concerts will last for approximately one hour.

The series will open with Bach's Clavierübung Part III, which will be framed by the Prelude and Fugue in E flat major BWV 552. For her last recital - which is also the opening concert of the London Bach Society's 25th Anniversary Bachfest - Phillips will play the complete Leipzig Chorales in order to mark the 3rd anniversary of St George's organ.

Phillips performed the complete Bach works earlier this year on the Peter Collins organ (2000) in the English Organ School and Museum in Milborne Port, Somerset. The Diapason praised Phillips on her 'remarkable' 16-disc set of Bach's complete organ works, commenting on her 'refined, polished performances', while Gramophone deemed her cycle to be 'a true and worthy successor to those groundbreaking Bach cycles by Lionel Rogg and Peter Hurford.''

Simon Williams, organist and director of music at St George’s commented: 'There has not been a chance to experience Bach’s complete oeuvre for organ in London for some years and I can think of nowhere else I would rather do so. My colleague Richard Hobson and I are delighted to be working in partnership again with the London Bach Society and its Bachfest 2015.'

Admission to all concerts, except the last, is free with a retiring collection. Tickets for the final concert will be available at the door and in advance from the London Bach Society.

St George's Hanover Square

Wren Choral Marathon (27 June 2015)

24 June 2015, Katy Wright

The Wren Choral Marathon offers the chance to hear concerts by 17 different choirs in 17 Wren churches in a single day, starting at 8am and concluding with a midnight Vespers.

Organised as part of the City of London Festival, the 'Wrenathon' will feature amateur, professional and children's choirs in repertoire ranging from medieval to contemporary, classical to gospel. Each performance will last 45 minutes, with 15 minutes for listeners to travel to the next venue.

The concerts include the National Youth Chamber Choir of Great Britain at St Michael Cornhill (8am); the London Gay Men's Chorus at St Michael Paternoster Royal (11am); Evensong at St Paul's Cathedral (5pm); and Collegium at St Mary Aldermary.

Those who attend all 17 concerts will be in the running for a special prize.

Wren Choral Marathon

Penderecki receives papal medal

24 June 2015, Katy Wright

The papal medal 'Per Artem ad Deum'
The papal medal 'Per Artem ad Deum'

Krzysztof Penderecki has received the papal medal 'Per Artem ad Deum' (Through Art to God) from the Pontifical Council for culture in a ceremony held on 22 June 2015. The distinction recognises his 'constant pursuit of God along the paths delineated with the staves and notes'.

Penderecki started writing sacred music in the late 1950s. His sacred oeuvre includes Psalms of David, Utrenja (Matins), Seven Gates of Jerusalem, St Luke Passion, Dies irae, Magnificat, the Polish Requiem, and Credo.

Upon receiving the medal, Penderecki said: 'This award is the crowning of my artistic activity.'

The composer Wojciech Kilar received the medal in 2009.

Per Artem ad Deum

Robert Hugill completes cycle of 70 motets

23 June 2015, Katy Wright

After 10 years, Robert Hugill has completed his Tempus per Annum, a cycle of 70 motets for the Church's year comprised of over 45 hours of music.

Setting the Latin introits for all the Sundays and major Feasts, the motets are intended to be of practical use. The majority are written for four part choir, the later motets in the cycle in five or six parts, with the final two, Dignus et Agnus and Gaudeamus omnes, each in eight parts.

Roderick Dunnett of Church Times praised the 'clear sense of design' of the motets, 'with unpretentious but interesting harmonies […] and inspired four-part writing [which] yielded gloriously rich and warm a cappella singing.'

Motets from the cycle have been performed both in concert and liturgically by choirs including the Choir of All Saints Church, Margaret Street, the Choir of St John’s Church, Fulham, London Concord Singers, Chapelle du Roi, the Amaryllis Consort, the eight:fifteen vocal ensemble, and Harmonia Sacra. The Advent Motets have been recorded by the eight:fifteen vocal ensemble and Paul Brough on the Divine Art label, and Harmonia Sacra and Peter Leech will also be recording one of these later this year.

All 70 motets are available for free download.

CPDL: Robert Hugill

Rare 18th-century organ restored

22 June 2015, Katy Wright

The restored organ
The restored organSRB Humphreys

A gala organ recital to celebrate the restoration of the 1735 Richard Bridge organ at Christ Church Spitalfields will take place on 30 June at 7 pm. Tickets are free, but must be reserved.

The instrument, one of the few large English organs to survive from the 18th century, was restored by William Drake Ltd. Drake dismantled the organ in 1997, but his colleague Joost de Boer completed the project after Drake died in January 2014.

With over 2,000 pipes contained within a solid mahogany case, the organ was the largest in England for nearly 100 years. The Spitalfields organ is the best-preserved and the largest example of Bridge's work, size meaning that it takes pride of place in Nicholas Hawksmoor's building.

John Scott, formerly of St Paul's Cathedral and now organist at Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue New York, will perform music by Peter Prelleur, George Frideric Handel, John Reading, William Boyce, John Stanley, James Nares, Samuel Wesley, William Russell, William Walond and Bach.

Scott said of the organ: 'There are few intact instruments from this era, and none which has more potential for being restored to a condition which will allow players to realise the riches of English organ music from this important segment of our musical heritage… In its restored state, the organ will be the most faithful instrument at our disposal for the performances of the music of Handel and his contemporaries.'

The Friends of Christ Church Spitalfields also announced a new travel bursary to allow pipe organ builders to develop their skills.

Christ Church Spitalfields

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