Choir & Organ, cover from current issue

November/December 2015 on sale now

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.

Give the gift of a magazine this Christmas!

The Neoclassical Organ and the Great Aristide Cavaillé-Coll Organ of Saint-Sulpice, Paris

Latest News

Remembrance Day concert at St John's Smith Square

4 November 2015

A concert at St John's Smith Square on 8 November marks Remembrance Day and the 75th birthday of conductor Roy Wales.

Wales will conduct the English Concert Orchestra - of which he is founder and music director - and the English Concert Singers & Chorus in a programme comprising Britten's Cantata Academica, Elgar's For the Fallen and the English premiere of Sir Karl Jenkins' The Bards of Wales.

Jenkins' The Bards of Wales was completed in 2011 based on a poem by Janos Arany, and was first performed at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall in Budapest the same year. The 40-minute piece narrates the legend that Edward I of England sent 500 Welsh bards to the stake after his 1277 victory over the Welsh to prevent them from destroying English rule by telling of the glorious past of their nation.

Sir Karl Jenkins will be present at the concert.

Remembrance Day concert

Original manuscripts to be auctioned for Children in Need

4 November 2015

Sir James MacMillan's donation
Sir James MacMillan's donation

The manuscript of Judith Weir's 'Praise Him with trumpet'
The manuscript of Judith Weir's 'Praise Him with trumpet'

The original manuscript of Eric Whitacre's 'Lux Aurumque'
The original manuscript of Eric Whitacre's 'Lux Aurumque'

Sir James MacMillan and Judith Weir are amongst those to donate original handwritten manuscripts to be auctioned in aid of BBC Children in Need.

Music lovers are able to bid for manuscripts and sketches on the Radio 3 website.

Eric Whitacre is donating the manuscript of his choral piece Lux Aurumque. He said of the piece: 'I knew that I wanted to try to create something very simple and very beautiful for this text, and as I wrote I waited patiently for the tight harmonies to shimmer and glow in my mind before I transferred them to manuscript paper.'

Sir James MacMillan has donated an original sketch from his tone poem The Confession of Isobel Gowdie, which he describes as 'one of my first works to reach a wide audience.' He added, 'I hope the auction winner will enjoy reading through this melodic line, an obsessive motif which emerges in the music as the mood darkens and the narrative becomes more threatening.'

Master of the Queen's Music Judith Weir said of her donation, the manuscript of her new work Praise Him with trumpet: 'It’s a piece I wrote for the Chapel Royal Choir, Hampton Court to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Hampton Court Palace. It will receive its first performance on Monday 16 November. It is a loud, energetic piece scored for choir, organ and two trumpets. The pages have a lot of crazy handwriting and coloured pen; maybe the auction winner might like to stick a page or two up on the wall.'

Radio 3 controller Alan Davey said: 'I am delighted Radio 3 is supporting Children in Need and the vital work the charity does for young people across the nation. Contemporary classical music is at the heart of Radio 3 so we’re thrilled and incredibly grateful that some of the greatest composers of our time are generously offering our listeners the rare chance to get hold of a piece of musical history, all in aid of a hugely important cause.'

BBC Children in Need is a charity whose aim is to make a positive change to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK, ensuring that they have a safe, happy and secure childhood and the chance to reach their potential.  

All of the manuscripts are now available for bids, with the auction ending at midnight on 13 November.

Radio 3

Choral at Cadogan 2015/16

30 October 2015

The eighth Choral at Cadogan series takes place between 22 October 2015 and 11 May 2016.

Daniel Hyde will direct the Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford for this year's Christmas concert. ‘Fantasia on Christmas Carols’ marks Advent with a programme exploring the Blessed Virgin Mary on 11 December 2015. 

Tenebrae (directed by Nigel Short) will present an evening of French choral music exploring ideas of penance and praise on 11 February 2016. The programme includes Brumel’s Lamentations, motets by Saint-Saëns, Duruflé and Poulenc, and the latter’s cantata Figure humaine.

On 17 March 2016, Alamire explore the music of Anne Boleyn’s Songbook with music from some of the greatest composers of the early 16th century. 

Peter Phillips will direct Tallis Scholars in the world premiere performance of Matthew Martin’s new set of Lamentations on 20 April 2016. The programme will also include Gibbons’ The Silver Swan and Lamentations by Nico Muhly, Tallis and Phinot.

Vox Luminis (directed by Lionel Meunier) close the series on 11 May 2016, with a programme of a cappella Elizabethan English music conceived around the theme of Light and Shadow.

Choral at Cadogan

Spitalfields Music Winter Festival 2015: choral highlights

30 October 2015

The Spitalfields Music Winter Festival 2015 runs from 4-15 December.

The first choral event in the festival takes place on 10 December, as Les Arts Florissants makes its festival debut with Monteverdi’s first three madrigal collections.

On 11 December, the Choir of Royal Holloway presents a programme titled 'Songs From the Northern Lands'. Directed by Rupert Gough, the late-night a cappella performance features music from the Baltics and Scandinavia, including Arvo Pärt’s Magnificat and Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Vespers from Vigilia.

The Sixteen explore the relationship between Mary and her child on 12 December, with music ranging from renaissance polyphony to more contemporary works, including pieces by Tallis, Byrd, James MacMillan and John Tavener.

The Marian Consort presents works inspired by the visitation of the shepherds at the nativity for its Festival debut on 14 December at Shoreditch Church. Directed by Rory McCleery, the performance is centred on Mouton’s motet Quaeramus cum pastoribus, and also features works by Guerrero, Morales and Victoria.

Solomon’s Knot Baroque Collective bring the festival to a close on 15 December at Shoreditch Church with a performance of JS Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. The ensemble will perform from memory and without a conductor. 

Tickets cost from £5.

Spitalfields Music Winter Festival 2015

Sanctiandree label releases second album

30 October 2015

The University of St Andrews is to release a second album of choral music on its Sanctiandree record label.

Ca’ the Yowes: A Traditional Tapestry features the St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, directed by university organist Tom Wilkinson.

The disc will feature performances of traditional songs from Scotland, Ireland and England including 'The Skye Boat Song', 'The Turtle Dove', 'Loch Lomond' and 'Auld Lang Syne', as well as a performance of 'The Land of the Mountain and the Flood' by Hamish MacCunn on the 1923 Harrison and Harrison concert organ at the Caird Hall in Dundee.

Wilkinson said of the release: 'St Salvator’s Chapel Choir represents a centuries-old tradition in a profoundly international cultural setting. In this context, the performance of folk songs has a special place in our repertoire and a special resonance with our listeners. This is especially true at our graduation ceremonies; a defining moment in the student rite of passage and a time when the University welcomes countless family and friends from all corners of the globe.

'The performance of traditional songs has become a cherished tradition at these extraordinary occasions and one which, as a result, has become synonymous with the choir. Successive university organists have, unsurprisingly, found themselves naturally drawn to the arrangement of folk songs: my own modest contributions follow in the rich tradition of my illustrious predecessors Cedric Thorpe Davie and John Kitchen, whose beautiful version of 'The Isle of Mull' opens the disc.'

To mark the release of Ca’ the Yowes, St Salvator’s Chapel Choir will give a concert in the chapel of Haddo House, Aberdeenshire on 21 November at 1pm. Tickets for this event, which include afternoon tea in Haddo House library, cost £10 and are available here.

Ca’ the Yowes will be on general sale from 23 November, priced £9.99. All proceeds will go to the University of St Andrews Music Centre to fund future choral activities.

St Salvator's Chapel Choir

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