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Choir & Organ, cover from current issue

July/August 2014 on sale from 30 June

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.


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Latest News

Chilcott writes memorial carol

12 December 2013

Composer Bob Chilcott has written a carol in memory of church organist Alan Greaves from Sheffield who was murdered last Christmas while on his way to Midnight mass.

Chilcott has generously allowed Oxford University Press to make the sheet music available free of charge.

OUP has been inundated with requests to perform it this Christmas and has made Chilcott's carol available to download from the OUP website. 

http://global.oup.com/uk/music/choral/bethlehemstar

LLANDAFF – STAY OF EXECUTION FOR CHOIR

9 December 2013

Llandaff Cathedral Choir
Llandaff Cathedral Choir

Following the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ decision to go public in condemnation of Llandaff Cathedral’s plans to sack all the adult members of its Choir due to a budget deficit, it has now reported that an extension to the period of consultation for those at risk of redundancy has been granted. Choir members were originally told they might be made redundant as soon as 6 December 2013.

The Cathedral had proposed to slim down the Choir in order to save nearly £50,000 against an anticipated deficit of £81,000. Seven men – five lay clerks, one choral scholar and the assistant organist – are at risk of redundancy and will be invited to take part in consultation meetings over the next few weeks. The move provoked outraged reactions from former choristers and the Friends of Cathedral Music, which had awarded substantial grants to the Cathedral in the past, and which had not ruled out further financial support in the future.

A spokesman said, ‘It is proposed that a budget be kept to pay adult choristers on an occasional basis for weekend services and special seasons, such as Advent and Christmas, to sing with the boy choristers in order to keep a choral tradition in the cathedral.’

The ISM, the professional body for musicians, led a campaign in response to the plans. Head of legal affairs, David Abrahams, told C&O, ‘This is great news. The ISM has been calling for an extension to the consultation period and this now gives the Chapter more time to consider the alternatives to redundancy as put forward by the ISM and others.’


FULL STORY IN THE JAN/FEB 2014 ISSUE OF CHOIR & ORGAN, ON SALE LATE DECEMBER.

AWARD FOR ALKMAAR DVD

22 November 2013

Fugue State Films’ DVD on the historic organs in Alkmaar, the Netherlands, has won the prestigious Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics’ Prize), one of the most respected and important German prizes, with an independent jury of high-class journalists.

 

Alkmaar – The Organs of the Laurenskerk celebrates the world-renowned Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger and Van Covelens organs of the Dutch town, introduced by the church’s two organists, Pieter van Dijk and Frank van Wijk, alongside cameos of the instruments in Leiden’s Pieterskerk and Amsterdam’s Nieuwe Kerk. Our reviewer described it as a ‘unique collection [that will] reward many hours of watchcing and listening.’

 

The award marks a second win for Fugue State Films, whose previous DVD collection, The Organs of Cavaillé-Coll, also received the prize. www.fuguestatefilms.co.uk

SIR JOHN TAVENER DIES

22 November 2013

© MALCOLM CROWTHERS

Sir John Tavener, the British composer whose musical trajectory mirrored his exploration of spirituality, has died at the age of 69. 

Many Choir & Organ readers will know Tavener’s music through singing some of his large body of religious music (The Lamb, Song for Athene, The Protecting Veil). He joined the Russian Orthodox Church in 1977, but his music reflected a far wider range of influences, as seen in his magnum opus The Veil of the Temple, the eight-hour all-night vigil (2002); indeed, the composer wrote that ‘it attempts to remove the veils that hide the same basic truth of all authentic religions.’ 

Tavener wrote a single work for solo organ: Mandelion (1981) is a 24-minute work commissioned for the 1982 Dublin International Organ Festival and was premiered in St Patrick’s Cathedral by Peter Sweeney. The composer described it as ‘a meditation upon the changing and distorting images of Christ’.   

Obituary in the January/February 2014 issue of Choir & Organ.

O come, all ye faithful

22 November 2013

Bishop Benson, first Bishop of Truro and initiator of Nine Lessons with Carols
Bishop Benson, first Bishop of Truro and initiator of Nine Lessons with Carols

On 17 December, Truro Cathedral will hold a service that reconstructs the first ever Nine Lessons with Carols. The format of Nine Lessons with Carols was an innovation by the 19th-century Bishop Benson, and the first service was held in Truro Cathedral at 10pm on Christmas Eve 1880 (the format was translated to King’s College, Cambridge – with which venue it is now most closely associated – in 1918). At that time, the Cathedral was a temporary wooden structure where services took place during the construction of the present Gothic Revival building. 


A copy of the original order of service survives and provides the framework for the 17 December event. However, the Cathedral explains that, given the changing congregational repertoire over the last 130 years, there will be a few differences so that ‘the end result … is a service people will attend, not an essay in a musicological journal. We have also considered the resources we have at our disposal today and attempted to integrate the 1880 service as seamlessly as possible with them.  Important among these is our cathedral choir, which still exists in its original form of boys and men.’   

The original service included the following items: The Lord at first had Adam made; Good Christian men, rejoice; The first Nowell; Once again, O blessed time; three movements from Handel’s Messiah; Bethlehem! of noblest cities; O come, all ye faithful; and a Magnificat.   Thanks to research by Richard Longman, the Cathedral says it is confident ‘that all of the items entitled “Carol” in the 1880 order of service were sung to music from Bramley and Stainer’s Christmas Carols, New and Old. Copies of this carol book are to be found alongside the 1880 order of service in Cornwall Record Office, stamped with “Truro Cathedral Choir”, and the collection contains all four of the carols used in 1880.’ 

The service on 17 December begins at 7pm; there will be a congregational rehearsal before the service begins to familiarise those attending with the slightly different versions of the hymns. www.trurocathedral.org.uk


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