Southwark and South London Society of Organists Newsletter February 6th, 2021
From The Chair of SSLSO, John Webber:
Welcome to the February newsletter of the Southwark and South London Society of Organists! I hope that you are all coping out there, especially if you are unable to play for services at the present. You are not alone and, believe me, we’ll all get there one day! Belonging to a group like this keeps people in touch. You are welcome to send in comments, questions, newsy items or even links for the next letter, which will be on March 6th.
Composite recital, Saturday, February 20th. at 7.30p.m:
You’ll know that we wanted to keep this event going, although, like so many things, it will be on Zoom. Please note that it will be in the evening. Richard and Sam are putting a programme together; this is now only two weeks away! If you would like to offer a recorded piece of organ music (if necessary, played on your piano), please let them know quickly, so that they expect to receive your piece. Video or audio-only items are welcome. You can find Richard and Sam on email@example.com We want particularly to hear from members who don’t usually get a chance to play in front of others. You are asked to announce (or to provide in written form) your name and any musical position which you may have, plus the name and composer of your piece. Please keep this brief.
AGM, Monday, March 15th. at 7.30p.m.
At this stage, I don’t know whether this will be held at St. John’s Church, East Dulwich, or online. I’ll let you know.
There will be a short presentation of organ music by Alasdair Friend (St. George’s, Beckenham), who lives near to St. John’s. The AGM will follow. The Committee would welcome new members; two are stepping down. We are flexible about Committee numbers and want to encourage our general membership to be involved. Anyone is welcome to be put forward, but we especially welcome women and younger members. If we have more than our allocation, we may be able to co-opt, initially for a year.
Trip to the Netherlands, April 1st. to 5th, 2022
Our member Pieter Shaw lives in the Netherlands and is starting to make plans for a visit to the area next year. Pieter will provide some thoughts on this for our March newsletter.
London Organ Day
The following message comes from our national organisation:
The IAO London Organ Day on 6th. March has been re-planned as a virtual event. Its Artistic Adviser, Tom Bell, has arranged for there to be two organ recitals, by Daniel Cook (Durham Cathedral) and Francesca Massey (Rochester Cathedral). There will also be a presentation by Fugue State Films. This online event will be free to all IAO members, although voluntary contributions to help defray expenses would be welcome. All information about how to join the event will be available at least one week in advance at https://iao.org.uk/london-organ-day/ .
Welcome to Charlie Warren – or rather, welcome BACK to him! Charlie was a member of SSLSO in his school days and studied piano and organ with me. He went on to Merton College, Oxford as organ scholar and has held positions on various London Churches ever since. Charlie is currently playing in West London and lives in Upper Norwood.
a. From our member Norman Harper: “Six Sixes” from Ripon Cathedral with Tim Harper – organ
Here is a series of links to Tim Harper’s recent online organ recital series from Ripon Cathedral. As many of you know, Tim is the younger son of Marilyn and Norman, and he is assistant director of music at the cathedral. The organ is a very fine 4-manual Lewis rebuilt by Harrison, and in these performances you get to hear it in all its grandeur and variety.
As the opening caption tells you, Tim is playing groups of works which come in collections of six: Bach Trio sonatas & Schübler chorales, Mendelssohn Sonatas, Howells Six Pieces, John Joubert Hymn-tune preludes for chamber organ and Vierne Symphonies – just the Final movements this time round!
The first recital contains all the ones, then the second all the twos etc etc.
The mobile console is on view most of the time, and is positioned variously in the choir stalls and the nave, so we see some of the building and quite a lot of candle-light. Enjoy!
b. This will take you to some lifelike faces, some being classical composers. See if you can work them out: https://hadikarimi.com
c. Good to see that Salisbury Cathedral offered organ music as well as vaccinations! Thanks to Marilyn H for this link
d. This is a performance of Handel’s “Hallelujah” from “Messiah” in an empty church
e. A delightful interview by a chorister from Portsmouth’s anglican Cathedral, about the workings of the organ: Exploring the Cathedral ‘Inside the Organ’ – YouTube
f. This is the “light relief”; animals enjoying themselves, sometimes by mistake!
Do forward these links, if you wish to.
So, get in touch with any news or other offerings for the next letter; I hope to see many members at the Composite recital on February 20th; a link will be sent nearer the time.
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
|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)|
|November 6th||Paul Gobey (Rotherhithe)|
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 February 6th, 2021
Newsletter January 9th, 2021
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