New Organ School for Dorset
26 May 2011
The all-new Škrabl organ
A serendipitous gathering of musical and organisational talent in the Dorset town of Lyme Regis has spawned an Organ School centred on the church of St Michael the Archangel, and its new Škrabl organ.
The idea of the organ school was conceived by Andrew Nicholson, who runs a bell-hanging firm (and who spearheaded the Appeal for the new organ), and Dr Richard Godfrey, a retired hospital consultant and prize-winning organ teacher with extensive experience from the Salisbury Diocese’s Pipe-Up! scheme in Dorchester.
With generous start-up support from the Tindall Trust, the School aims to be largely self-financing and will operate as a non-profit making trust overseen by Nicholson, the Ven Paul Taylor, Archdeacon of Sherborne, David Bruce-Payne and administrator Desmond Chaffey.
St Michael's Anton Škrabl organ replaced a worn out Hele organ built for St Mary Major, Exeter in 1907, and transferred to Lyme in 1939. The III/41 mechanical action organ arrived from the factory in Slovenia in September 2009, and the installation was completed after three-months of building and voicing. The local community raised £300,000 towards the cost over a five-year period.
A three-day Winter Workshop which attracted 21 participants from as far afield as Cornwall and Kent last February has now been made an annual event, and the School's plans for the summer and autumn include a technical workshop offering tips on playing the organ with Richard Godfrey (11 June); promenade recitals run throughout the summer with Richard Godfrey (3 July), Alastair Simpson (trombone/organ 10 July), Paul Handscomb (17 July), Peter Dillstone (24 July); Linda Nicholson (31 July); Graham Davies (7 Aug), Polina Gerasimenko (piano - 14 Aug), Alison Davies and Alex Davies (saxophone and organ, 21 Aug); organ masterclasses include 'Stylistic Interpretation and Technique' with Anne Marsden-Thomas (8 Oct) and Liturgical Accompaniment with David Bruce-Payne (26 Nov).
Olivier Latry comes to Southwark Cathedral
19 May 2011
Southwark Cathedral’s International Organ Recital Series in June closes with a recital by Notre-Dame de Paris incumbent Olivier Latry. Marking Liszt’s bicentenary, Latry is playing the ‘Ad nos’ Fantasia & Fugue and one of the composer’s many transcriptions: the Pilgrim Chorus from Wagner’s Tannhäuser. The cathedral’s director of music, Peter Wright, describes the Lewis organ as particularly effective in French romantic repertoire, so Latry’s programme includes Widor’s Allegro from Sixth Symphony, Franck’s Prelude, Fugue & Variation, and one of Latry’s own hallmark improvisations. Wright says, ‘Olivier last played here in 1997 to mark the centenary of the building of the organ. With the RFH organ still out of action, [this] organ is the finest instrument on the South Bank of the Thames… it is important that it be heard played by some of the world’s leading organists.’
20 April 2011
The Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2011, held in partnership with the International Organ Festival at St Albans, has been won by Joute (Duel), a duo for trumpet and organ by Valentin Villard.
Villard was born in 1985 in Lausanne, Switzerland; he is choral director for the parish of Sainte-Cécile, Morges (on Lake Geneva), and is studying for a Master of Arts in Composition at the Amsterdam Conservatorium. A full interview with Villard will appear in the July/August issue of Choir & Organ as part of our New Music series.
The premiere of Joute is being sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Musicians and will be given by two Company Yeomen (former WCM grantees) on 16 July in St Albans Cathedral as part of the IOF Prize-winners’ Concert.
John Alldis memorial service
8 February 2011
John Alldis inspired his singers, whether professional or amateurCourtesy Dominic Alldis
A memorial service for John Alldis will be held in St Mary Abbots Church, 2 Kensington Church Court, London W8 4SP on 1 April at 12 noon, followed by a reception.
John Alldis died on 20 December aged 81. He gained international renown as a choral conductor for his ability to interpret new music, the creation of the definitive performance, and the continuing development of vocal expression.
Full obituary in Choir & Organ March/April 2011, on sale from 22 February.
NEW COMMONWEALTH VOICES RELAUNCHES
6 October 2010
The vibrant young choir New Commonwealth Voices relaunches on Wednesday 13 October with a rehearsal at St Pancras Church from 7pm to 9pm (www.stpancraschurch.org). Their next public engagement will be the Commonwealth Carol Service in St Martins-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London on 15 December.