Hope-Jones’s scrapbook discovered
22 September 2014
Robert Hope-Jones, 'Father of the Theatre Organ'
The scrapbook of Victorian organ builder Robert Hope-Jones has been donated to the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust’s Theatre Organ Heritage Centre, at Eccles, Manchester.
This 190-page scrapbook was compiled jointly by Hope-Jones’s two Company Secretaries, Arthur Speed and Alfred Foxworthy, and Robert Hope-Jones himself, who has annotated many of the cuttings and letters. It passed from George Andrews, an organ builder (possibly for Norman & Beard in Norwich), to John Candor; Mr Candor has now donated it to the Theatre Organ Heritage Centre, where it is being studied and indexed by Roger Fisher with a view to a future publication.
Hope-Jones (1859-1914) started work in Birkenhead, then went on to join the Wurlitzer Company in America, earning himself the title ‘Father of the Theatre Organ. The scrapbook covers Hope-Jones’s early period in Birkenhead, with newspaper, periodical clips and letters dating from the 1890s.
The scrapbook will be on permanent display in the Museum alongside many other Hope-Jones related items, at the LTOT’s Theatre Organ Heritage Centre in Eccles, Manchester. For more details call 0161 792-1836, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Composition Competition for 6 organs
22 September 2014
Applications are open for the International Composition Award ‘Organs of the National Palace of Mafra’. The six organs of the Basilica of the National Palace of Mafra (Portugal), built by the two most important Portuguese organ builders of the early 19th century – António Xavier Machado and Cerveira and Joaquim António Peres Fontanes – form a unique set in the world, having been built at the same time and originally designed to be played together.
The Competition aims to create a new repertoire for the instrumental ensemble, making use of its characteristics. The competition is divided into two categories, one for the composition of an original work (prize 10,000 Euros), and the other for transcription for the six organs (prize 5,000 Euros).
The jury comprises Roberto Antonello (Italy), Sérgio Azevedo (Portugal), João Vaz (Portugal), and chaired by Bernard Foccroulle (Belgium).
Competition rules and guidelines at: www.cm-mafra.pt/premiocomposicaoorgaos.cfm. Deadline: April 10, 2015
BBC launches Christmas carol competition
28 August 2014
The shortlisted carols will be performed by the BBC Singers
A nation-wide Christmas carol competition has been launched by the BBC. Applicants are being challenged to compose a brand-new carol which will be performed by the BBC Singers live on BBC Radio 3.
Entrants must set the words of specially commissioned poem ‘Can it be True?’ by acclaimed author Susan Hill. Entries can be written in any style, but must be either a cappella or with a piano accompaniment.
Judges among the competition’s panel will include Judith Weir, Master of the Queen’s Music and Associate Composer for BBC Singers, and David Hill, Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers. The judges will shortlist six carols to be performed live on Radio 3 on 16 December by the BBC Singers.
Listeners will then be invited to vote for their favourite carol, with voting closing on 22 December. The entry receiving the largest number of votes will be performed live on Radio 3’s Breakfast show on 23 December and a recording played on the station across Christmas Day.
The competition is open to UK residents over the age of 16. The deadline for entries in 10 November 2014; successful shortlisted entrants will be contacted by 25 November.
Kenneth Tickell dies
29 July 2014
British organ builder Kenneth Tickell died suddenly on 24 July, following a pulmonary embolism.
Having trained in organ building with Grant, Degens and Bradbeer, Tickell established his first workshop in Northampton in 1982. From that time, he built up a business of nine full-time staff members to match an impressive portfolio of mainly new instruments, among them chamber organs for Westminster Abbey and Canterbury, Lincoln, Bristol, Truro, St Davids, Hereford and St Paul’s, London cathedrals, and for Magdalen College, Oxford, and Jesus and Selwyn colleges, Cambridge; and from his first 3-manual instrument for Douai Abbey in 1993, large organs for St Barnabas, Dulwich, Eton College, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Lincoln’s Inn Chapel, London, St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne, and 4-manual organs for Worcester Cathedral and Keble College, Oxford. Though his commissions were mainly UK-based, Tickell also built organs for Italy, the EU Baroque Orchestra, the church of Nesbyen, Norway, the Venerabile Collegio Inglese, Rome, Pilgrim Uniting Church, Adelaide, and the University of Queensland, Australia, and most recently Rikkyo Gakuin University, Tokyo (featured in the July/August issue of Choir & Organ).
Tickell was an accomplished organist, having studied with Robert Weddle, Francis Jackson, Simon Lindley and Gillian Weir, gaining his FRCO in 1977 and graduating in Music from Hull University (where he was organ scholar) in 1978. For many years he was Director of Music at St Mary’s, Northampton.He was a founder member and first President from 1996-2001 of the Institute of British Organbuilding, and remained an Executive Board member.
Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2014 – Results
23 July 2014
Seán Doherty has won the Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2014, held in partnership with Merton College, Oxford, with his carol A Nywe Werk. Doherty declared himself ‘delighted’ to have won: ‘The opportunity to enter, with these jury members, was too good to miss.’
Entrants were asked to submit an Advent or Christmas carol for up to 8-voice unaccompanied choir (SATB div) of a suitable standard for the Choir of Merton College, and to a text of the composer’s choice. Doherty wrote an energetic SSAATTBB unaccompanied setting of the text of an anonymous 15th-century carol in the Selden manuscript: ‘A nywe werk is come on honed’ (A new work is come on hand).
Doherty, from Derry in Northern Ireland, studied at St John’s College, Cambridge, before engaging in postgraduate research at Trinity College, University of Dublin. Commissions have included a short opera, Number Seven, for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, and a choral work, Doire, to celebrate Derry/Londonderry City of Culture 2013.
A distinguished jury of Benjamin Nicholas (Reed Rubin Organist and Director of Music of Merton College, Oxford), Simon Halsey (chief conductor of the Berlin Radio Choir, chorus director of the CBSO Chorus, and choral director of the LSO and Chorus), Donald Nally (director of The Crossing, and professor at Northwestern University), Meurig Bowen (artistic director, Cheltenham Festival) and Matthew Martin (composer) chose Doherty’s piece from a total of 27 entries sent from France, Germany, Poland, the US, and the UK. Runner-up was Balulalow by Edward Nesbit, and third equal were John Wadsworth’s A baby is a harmless thing, and Shine Forth by Barnaby Martin.
Seán Doherty wins a prize of £1,000 and will be interviewed in the November/December 2014 issue of Choir
& Organ. The premiere of A
Nywe Werk will be given by the Choir of Merton College, Oxford, directed by
Benjamin Nicholas, on 4 December in Merton College Chapel, Oxford.