Rare 18th-century organ restored
22 June 2015, Katy Wright
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.
Calling all composers! Choir & Organ launches two composition workshops for September 2015.
17 June 2015
The two workshops, run in partnership with the BBC Singers and the Royal College of Organists, will be run by Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir CBE, organist Thomas Trotter, and the BBC Singers.
Both workshops will be open to the public and composers are invited to submit compositions to be workshopped. Observers should book their free ticket online.
CHORAL COMPOSITION WORKSHOP
1 September 2015, BBC Maida Vale Studio 2, London W9, 2-5pm | Tickets: FREE
Choir & Organ’s 2015 New Music partners, the BBC Singers, conducted by Matthew Hamilton, will workshop up to 6 choral compositions, pre-selected by Judith Weir and Michael Emery, BBC Singers Senior Producer, who will offer constructive feedback to the composers.
Visit www.rhinegold.co.uk/workshops for full criteria and submission guidelines.
ORGAN COMPOSITION WORKSHOP
10 September 2015, St George’s Hanover Square, London W1, 2-5pm | Tickets: FREE | In partnership with the Royal College of Organists
Judith Weir and Thomas Trotter will workshop up to 6 pre-selected organ compositions, and will draw on other works submitted, all played on the church’s fine Richards, Fowkes organ. Constructive feedback will be offered to the composers.
Visit www.rhinegold.co.uk/workshops for full criteria and submission guidelines.Deadline for submissions for both workshops: 31 July 2015
Classical musicians recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015
16 June 2015, Katy Wright
Sir James MacMillanPhilip Gatward
James MacMillan, Karl Jenkins and Simon Halsey are among the classical musicians to be recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for 2015.
MacMillan, who was made a CBE in 2004, has received a knighthood for services to music. The composer, conductor and festival director considers his Scottish roots to be of great importance; the first Cumnock Tryst festival took place in his Ayrshire home town last year, and his works bear the influence of Gaelic folk music.
MacMillan said: ‘I am totally delighted to receive this honour. I am especially pleased that the world of music, and contemporary composition in particular, will receive greater focus and recognition as a result. I feel encouraged and re-energised in my commitments in these fields and especially in my work with the new festival in Ayrshire, the Cumnock Tryst.’
Karl Jenkins also received a knighthood for services to composing and crossing musical genres. Jenkins, famous for popular works including The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace and Adiemus, is the first Welsh-born composer to be honoured at this level. He said: ‘I am delighted by this great honour and the recognition of my music, and am grateful and humbled that my works have been able to reach out to so many performers and listeners around the globe.’
Just weeks after he was named conductor laureate of the Berlin Radio Choir, choral conductor Simon Halsey received a CBE. In response to the news, Halsey wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter: ‘Thank you to all the dedicated choristers without whom a choir conductor is entirely pointless!’Halsey took up the position of choral director of the London Symphony Orchestra and its chorus in August 2013. He plans to make the LSO chorus ‘the best in London’, as well as developing a community and youth chorus in partnership with a number of boroughs around the LSO’s Barbican base.
Other classical musicians to receive recognition include Sir Neville Marriner, who was made a Companion of Honour; opera director Jonathan Kent, who received a CBE; and violinist Michael Bochmann, who was made an MBE.
Andrew Wyatt appointed assistant organist at Chester
9 June 2015, Katy Wright
Review: James O'Donnell at Douai Abbey, Sunday 7 June
8 June 2015
James O'Donnell outside Douai AbbeyCiaran Morton
The organ at Douai AbbeyKenneth Tickell
by Ciaran Morton
Friends and supporters of the Nicholas Danby Trust were taken on a musical journey spanning four centuries in the contemplative setting of Douai Abbey. The unadorned beauty of the vaunted ceiling provided wonderful acoustics and a plain canvas upon which the music could provide shape and colour. The first three pieces were played on the Tamburini organ, a one-manual choir organ in the Italian style which showcased O’Donnell’s precise fingering in Frescobaldi’s Toccata prima. Purcell’s Voluntary in G was followed by a lively rendition of Toccata settima by Michelangelo Rossi.
O’Donnell then crossed the chancel to play on the three manual Tickell organ opening with the J.S. Bach Prelude & Fugue in D major. The location of the organ and the proximity of the audience gave a wonderful view of dextrous footwork required by the opening pedal scale.
Prelude, fugue et variation by César Franck delivered a change of mood that was built upon by two pieces from Jehan Alain (Deuxième fantaisie and Litanies), rendered with a tangible emotional intensity by O’Donnell. A reflective Adagio in E by Frank Bridge provided a contrast to a vigorous and powerful delivery of Paean by Herbert Howells, with a major chord conclusion that showcased the rich tones of the Tickell.
Douai Abbey’s original French location was famously visited by Couperin, so it was fitting that an encore from him provided an opportunity for calm reflection and repose at the culmination of an engaging and brilliantly executed programme by O’Donnell.
James O’Donnell is Organist and Master of the Choristers of Westminster Abbey
The Nicholas Danby Trust offers a major European postgraduate scholarship and undergraduate bursaries to young organists of exceptional promise.