15 Let the Music Sound November 2016

Norman Harper plays at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark

outsideSt George’s Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Southwark Archdiocese and the seat of the Archbishop of Southwark. Visit our webiste at www.stgeorgescathedral.org.uk

The original cathedral was built in the 1840s by the Gothic revivalist Augustus Welby Pugin, and opened in 1848. St George’s Cathedral was destroyed in April 1941 by an incendiary bomb, which gutted most of the cathedral building, but left Clergy House largely intact. It was rebuilt in 1953-8 by Romilly Craze, incorporating Pugin’s surviving chantry chapels; but, as with the original, money ran out before the tower and spire could be completed.

The musical tradition at St George’s is based on two chorister groups, girls and boys, who are trained to sing Masses on their own or together with our team of professional Lay Clerks.  The combined repertoire extends from the 12th   century Hildegard von Bingen to Duruflé, Britten, O’Neill, Tavener and Ives, taking in on the way Palestrina, Victoria, Tallis, Byrd, Haydn, Mozart, Vierne, Fauré and many others.

On certain occasions in the year the choirs combine, for example during Passiontide and Easter, Christmas and at some diocesan events They have appeared on BBC TV three times at Christmas Midnight Mass, and this coming January they will sing on Radio 4’s Sunday Worship. 

Organ recitals have been a feature of our musical life, though at present we are confining recitals to resident organists, as the 1958 Compton, though a very fine instrument, is becoming less reliable, pending major work. See the spec by clicking here or going to http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N12637 to see the history.

front-windowThe next recital will be given by Norman Harper on Saturday 17 December 2016 at 11.00 and will comprise Messiaen’s beautiful Christmas meditations La Nativité du Seigneur.  (Norman is also playing at  the Christs-Chapel-of-Gods-Gift-at-Dulwich on the 12th March 2017.  See the Notification page as more information becomes available -ed)

Other choirs and musical groups enjoy performing in the superb acoustics of St George’s, including Morley College, the Holst Singers and Libera.

I  demonstrate the organ by playing Herbert Howells’ Rhapsody Op 17 No 1. Click the stained glass window to hear him play this beautiful piece (6 mins) or here.

Norman Harper