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.
- 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 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 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 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.
St Albans winners
20 July 2015
Johannes Zeinler, 1st Prize and Gold Medal winner, Interpretation
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