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Choir & Organ, cover from current issue

September/October 2015 on sale from 28 August

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

Choir & Organ visits Merton College, Oxford's Dobson organ

28 July 2015

In this new short-form documentary produced by Rhinegold Publishing, Maggie Hamilton travels to Merton College, Oxford, to discuss the 2013 Dobson organ with organist John Scott, and organ builders Lynn Dobson and John Panning.

Dobson and Panning explain how the organ was built to match its surrounding, and Scott demonstrates its touch and registration. 

The documentary was filmed on Saturday 26 April 2014, before the inaugural recital was given by John Scott.

Starring:

  • Maggie Hamilton, editor of Choir & Organ magazine
  • John Scott, former organist of St Paul’s Cathedral and current organist and director of music of Saint Thomas, Fifth Avenue, New York
  • Lynn Dobson, president and artistic director of Dobson Pipe Organ Builders
  • John Panning, tonal director of Dobson Pipe Organ Builders



With special thanks to Benjamin Nicholas, director of music at Merton College, Oxford.

You can read more about the Merton College organ in the March/April 2014 issue of Choir & Organ magazine:




John Scott: concert review

14 August 2015

John Scott at his Three Choirs Festival recital in Hereford Cathedral
John Scott at his Three Choirs Festival recital in Hereford Cathedralphoto by Gordon Taylor

On 31 July, John Scott's recital at the Three Choirs Festival in Hereford was a sensation (from a review by the editor of the Three Choirs Festival, to be published in the September/October issue of Choir & Organ)

… Scott demonstrated the versatility of the instrument in the big orchestral romanticism of Mendelssohn’s Overture to St Paul (arr. Best), Franck’s Choral no.2 in B minor, and a complete romp through Lemare’s Concert Fantasia; the simple elegance of Mozart’s Adagio and Allegro in F minor K594; and a registrational cornucopia in Bach’s Passacaglia & Fugue in C minor BWV 582 and Dupré’s Variations sur un Noël – I felt like a child in a sweetshop, sampling one delicious flavour after another. The programme also included two new pieces for the Orgelbüchlein Project – Cecilia McDowall’s Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält, and the world premiere of Anthony Powers’s O Gott, du frommer Gott – and Scott cleverly preceded each with a Bach chorale prelude that reflected a similar compositional technique: Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend BWV 632 before the Powers, written in a canonic texture, and Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier BWV 633, exquisitely embellished, before the McDowall, which also is characterised by delicate ornamentation …

 


JOHN SCOTT (1956-2015)

13 August 2015

John Scott at his Three Choirs Festival recital in Hereford Cathedral
John Scott at his Three Choirs Festival recital in Hereford CathedralCourtesy Three Choirs Festival

The death of John Scott yesterday has shocked the organ world.

 

Scott had returned to New York, where he was organist and director of music at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, after a European tour which had included a brilliant recital in Hereford Cathedral on 31 July at the Three Choirs Festival. He was hospitalised with a cardiac complaint and died yesterday afternoon, with his wife Lily at his side.

 

John Scott was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and was a chorister in the cathedral choir there before going as organ scholar to St John’s College, Cambridge University. Following assistant organist posts at Southwark and St Paul’s cathedrals in London, Scott was succeeded Christopher Dearnley as organist and director of music of St Paul’s in 1990. In the 2004 New Year’s Honours list he was appointed a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO).

 

An obituary will be published in the September/October 2015 issue of Choir & Organ. 

Rob Elliott announced as new director of Cornwall choral festival

20 July 2015, Rebecca Morton

Rob Elliott
Rob Elliott

Rob Elliott has been announced as the new director of Cornwall’s International Male Voice Choral Festival, following the retirement of Peter Davies, who held the post for nine years. Elliot will lead the eighth biennial festival in 2017, which encompasses workshops, concerts and tuition for directors and singers in venues across Cornwall.   


Festival chairman Bruce Taylor said: ‘We are delighted to be welcoming someone with Rob Elliott’s formidable musical and management credentials to lead the Festival team now and into the future.’   

Born into a musical family in South Wales, Elliott’s experience includes performing, conducting, teaching and lecturing. At the age of 21, he conducted the massed male choirs at the Welsh National Eisteddfod and in 1999 he directed the English National Symphony Orchestra at the Wiltshire Music Festival. In 2001 he founded the Wessex Male Choir, who became International Male Choir Champions at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in 2011. Since 2008 he has been musical director of the Parkinson’s UK charity Christmas concert in London.   

‘Peter Davies and the team have created an amazing legacy with the Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival,’ says Elliot. ‘It not only attracts choirs and their entourages from every corner of the globe, but creates a joyful five days of concerts, events, competitions and celebrations right across Cornwall which brings more than £1 million into the local economy. It will be my challenge to build on those achievements and to ensure that this event continues to flourish and grow in importance and popularity in the years to come.’   

Inaugurated in 2003, the non-profit festival aims to encourage the development of singers, composers and conductors of all ages and strengthen national and international relations in the male voice movement. 70 choirs participated in this summer’s event, which involved 2500 singers from across the globe.

Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival

St Albans winners

20 July 2015

Johannes Zeinler, 1st Prize and Gold Medal winner, Interpretation
Johannes Zeinler, 1st Prize and Gold Medal winner, Interpretation

David Cassan, Tournemire Prize winner, Improvisation
David Cassan, Tournemire Prize winner, Improvisation

The competitions at St Albans International Organ Festival finished with a flourish on Friday, with two competitors in the morning’s Improvisation final, and four in the Interpretation final in the evening.

Coming from Germany and France respectively, Lukas Grimm and David Cassan both gave convincing performances of Tournemire’s Improvisation sur le Te Deum (as transcribed by Duruflé) before improvising three movements in symphonic style on the plainchant Ave Maris Stella and two themes by Piet Kee. David Cassan took the Tournemire Prize with his impressively integrated performance.

The four Interpretation finalists – Johannes Zeinler (Austria), Michal Kocot (Poland), Zita Nauratyill (Hungary) and Davide Mariano (Italy) – each peformed a Handel organ concerto with the Orchester Wiener Akademie, directed by founder-director (and jury member) Martin Haselböck, before completing their programmes with a free choice of works by J.S. Bach and other composers. Each performer shone in different ways, but the overall winner and gold medallist was Johannes Zeinler, with Davide Mariano taking the second prize (sponsored by Choir & Organ's parent company, Rhinegold Publishing).

 The winners of the other awards were:

  • Peter Hurford Bach Prize: Davide Mariano
  • Audience Prize: Zita Nauratyill
  • Paul Patterson Prize for the best performance of the commissioned work, Paul Patterson’s Volcano: Zita Nauratyill
  • Douglas May Award: Thomas Gaynor, from New Zealand

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