Southwark and South London Society of Organists newsletter Jan 9th, 2021
From The Chair of SSLSO, John Webber:
Happy New Year! I’ll start with the next two meetings, both affected by the lockdown:
This Monday, January 11th, we can’t meet at Southwark cathedral, but we hope to return later in the year.
Saturday, February 20th, instead of the composite recital at Penge, we’re inviting our members to video-record a piece of music for time together on Zoom on the same day at 7.30p.m. We’d love to have plenty of offerings! Richard Pilliner (Vice-Chair) and Sam Gover (Committee member responsible for the website) will be delighted to receive a piece of music from you. Please e-mail it to Richard and/or Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need assistance, do contact Sam. He suggests: “for sending videos, it’s worth using a file transfer service as typical iphone type videos require about 130MB per minute, and most email systems can’t cope much over 10MB – wetransfer.com is free to use, you don’t need to register, just upload your file and enter your and the recipient’s email addresses. If anyone needs technical advice i’m happy to help”.
If you would rather provide an audio performance, that will be fine. Some of you will not be able to get into your church and some will have an organ at home. If you can play a suitable organ piece on a piano and send it, we’ll consider using it!
Please announce your piece before you play, or e-mail what you would like Richard to read out or print for the audience. Ideally we need a sentence to include your name, area where you live and a few words about you (e.g. main job is as a plumber / at school / Director of Music at St. Mary’s), then a brief word about your piece. Please keep the total to about thirty seconds.
Richard and Sam may need to edit what they are sent, e.g, the same piece twice, length of performance and quality of the recording. SSLSO will consider putting some pieces on to the website at a later stage and we’ll ask for the approval of the player.
This event is aimed at people of all levels of musical ability. We especially want to include members who don’t usually have a chance to play in front of others. Your inclusion is valuable and we encourage everyone to think about taking part.
All very exciting – get going!
1. We’ll let you know about the March meeting (Monday 15th.), which is the AGM and a short recital.
2. Richard Pilliner was a student of Arthur Wills RIP – see his obituary of his teacher here.
3. At the end of 2020, we heard of the death from cancer of Catherine Ennis. This is the link to RCO’s obituary. 2020 gave us the deaths of Jane Parker-Smith and Jennifer Bate as well, so we lost a trio of hugely talented women organists.
4. David Flood retired from Canterbury Cathedral at the end of 2020. He had been Director of Music there since 1988.
5. Finally, links to performances by members of our Society: Marilyn Harper played on an organ at the Horniman Museum; here is the link.
6. William McVicker says: “As we can’t go out much in Tier 4 I thought I’d send you a link to something I’ve worked on during the second major lockdown in November — a performance of Olivier Messiaen’s nine-movement symphonic cycle La Nativité du Seigneur (1935). Included are words and images which give added depth to the music. Each movement has a biblical quotation as a sub title and the Rev James Harratt has included some thoughts in respect of each of these passages. I am extremely grateful to James, the vicar at Bromley Parish Church, and to the Rev Sophie Sutherland and Reader Peter Cheshire for assisting in the compilation of what I hope will provide an appropriate meditative distraction from the pandemic as well as food for thought. The YouTube link is here.
Richard and Sam look forward to receiving your musical offerings!
The next newsletter will be no February 6th. Do let me know if you have any news or musical links which you would like to be included.
Richard’s Recital Round-up
Please see here the latest SSLSO Recital Round-Up, which I hope will whet your appetites!
To welcome the New Year in, there is a recital by John Webber at St George’s, Beckenham, on Friday 2nd January 2021 – details included.
I’m sure as many of you as possible will want to support John. Hopefully we can continue the New Year festivities in a hostelry after the performance…
Trust you are all surviving during the gloom..
Recital Series at St. John’s, East Dulwich, 2021
|April 10th||Paul Gobey (Rotherhithe)|
|May 8th||Irene Wolstenholme (South London)|
|June 19th||Marcus Wibberley (St. George’s, Beckenham)|
|July 10th||Bridget West (South London)|
|September 18th||Michael Overbury (Newark, Nottinghamshire)|
|October 9th||Michel Szostak (Poland)|
Church of St. John the Evangelist, East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AT
Saturdays at 11.00a.m, followed by coffee and tea. Admission free; retiring collection. Music lasts about forty minutes.
Favourite Organs – August 2020
Our true and trusty chairman, John Webber, and committee member Norman Harper have opened a window into their favourite instruments, and Norman has included mp3 recordings of part of a recital that he gave at King’s College, Cambridge: Tranchell and Reger.
These two offerings are full of interest and I hope some more of you will come forward with some news and views of your favourite organs, to share with members of the society in September/October.
I also welcome news of forthcoming recitals and their programmes.
Newsletter November 28th, 2020
Newsletter October 31st, 2020
Newsletter September 27th, 2020
Richard’s Recital Round-up, July 2020
Newsletter August 29th, 2020
Newsletter July 30th, 2020
Newsletter July 2nd, 2020
Newsletter June 2020
Newsletter May 2020
Notification of Society Events in 2021
Committee member Bridget has put together the entire programme of events for 2021. Enlarge and download (if you wish) click on the image. As you will see there are number of new event taking place in forthcoming year. Further information will be emailed to you nearer the time of the event.
Recent Events and Notices
Sunday, November 15th A recital in the Mexican Festival of Baroque Organs by our former Chair, Marilyn Harper, broadcast on YouTube. The link is here (or click the photo). Marilyn writes: “The Mexican organs are well worth hearing, and spectacular to look at. The first recital is given by Gustavo Delgado Parra, the organiser, and the second by him and his wife Ofelia. Explanations as to how the organs work and have been restored are given in Spanish but the gist can be gleaned. The temperaments are far more extreme than the chapel organ so by the time you hear the Dulwich organ it will sound as smooth as a calm lake! Please give it a thumbs up! Thanks!”
Saturday, October 17th Following two highly successful online events over the summer, we had a discussion (on Zoom) on choral aspects of the work of church musicians. Members were invited to talk about their experience of running church choirs and singing groups, musical repertoire, recruitment, mixed ability (and ages) within choirs, and how they and their churches have managed recently. All SSLSO members received a link to join the discussion and members of other local societies were also invited to join if they wished. A note of the event is here.
On Saturday 6th June an online meeting, entirely informal in nature, was offered as a substitute for the day-trip to Thaxted and Saffron Walden parish churches, which sadly had to be postponed for the usual current reasons. A real shame, as the two towns and churches are very attractive, and in fine weather are glorious to behold. The organs, of course, are very special.
So instead, all members were sent a message via email, asking if they would like an invitation and link to take part in Saturday evening’s meeting, which took place using the zoom app. Please find a note of the meeting here.
Saturday 23rd May saw our former Chair, Marilyn Harper, lead the Keyboard Skills workshop. This was the Society’s first virtual event, hosted over zoom with four participants and seven observers. Keyboard skills, including transposition, figured bass, sight reading and improvisation are core elements of the three Royal College of Organists’ diplomas. Marilyn recommended starting young if possible! Indeed two of the workshop participants were among our younger members, Ben (aged 11) and Joe (aged 15). Marilyn started the workshop looking at exercises from the books written jointly by Anne Marsden Thomas and Frederick Stocken, Graded Keyboard Musicianship, which she thoroughly recommended. Published in two volumes by Oxford University Press, these provide 5 “lessons” at each of 8 “levels”. Each lesson covers Figured bass, Score Reading, Harmonising a Melody, Transposing and Improvising. Ben and Joe performed admirably, realizing the given chord sequences for figured bass, adding them for harmonization, and transposing melodies up and down a tone. Sight reading followed, which was accomplished equally as well. Next, Alan and Robert looked at transposing a four part hymn tune up or down by one or two semitones, which is a requirement for both the Colleague Diploma (CRCO) and Associateship Diploma (ARCO). Marilyn recommended working through the Hanon studies in different keys, to build up technique skills in transposition, and using a metronome for practice – always count in, and start at a slow tempo and work your way up. The workshop concluded with a discussion over zoom among all present, and we of course expressed our gratitude to Marilyn for a thoroughly enjoyable and insightful workshop.
SSLSO Improvisation Master Class has been created by Norman Harper for you to self learn. Improvisation is something everyone can do. Follow this link to get more information about this course and access to five short videos to help you.
Summary of the Society’s activities
These two inserts describe the activities of the Society – click to enlarge