Southwark and South London Society of Organists Newsletter August 3rd, 2021

It may be holiday time for some, but this seems to be as busy a newsletter as ever. 

We hope that members of the Bromley and Croydon Association are having a good time in Birmingham this week.

To start, I enjoyed this statement at the Morpeth Arms, Millbank, SW1:
In wine there is wisdom,
In beer there is freedom,
In water there is bacteria.

We welcome David Garner to SSLSO.  David lives in SE1 and has Grade 8 to his credit.  We look forward to meeting him before long.

Events (to which members of adjoining associations and non-members are welcome):

August 14th  We have had to postpone our social gathering, as there wasn’t enough time to get it organised…..and some people had clashes in their diaries because courses which had been postponed by Covid were taking place in August.

Saturday, September 25th at 2.30p.m. at St. Paul’s Church, Rectory Grove, SW4 0DZ, Clapham – our President, Dr. Harry Bramma, will speak on “My Life as a Cathedral Organist”. All welcome.  Some of our members will be involved by playing a hymn and a short organ piece.  Harry was Director of Music at Southwark Cathedral from 1976-1989 (before Peter Wright).  From 1989 he was Director of the Royal School of Church Music.  Later, he became Director of Music at All Saints’ Church, Margaret Street in the West End of London.   

Saturday, October 9th. at 6.30 for 7.00p.m. at Brasserie Blanc, 119 Chancery Lane, WC2A 1PP – annual dinner, with guest speaker Katy Silverman, Director of Music at St. Mary’s, Battersea.  More on booking for this in September.  Minimum price £40.

Saturday, October 16th. at 2.30p.m. – up to three hours on French baroque music.  A workshop led by Norman Harper.

Wednesday, November 24th. from 7.30p.m. – informal social.  Details available.

Saturday, January 15th, 2022 – Education Day (afternoon) with Anna Lapwood at St. John’s, East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AT – this will be a highlight of our programme for next year and a joint event with the Bromley and Croydon Association.  Anna is based at Pembroke College, Cambridge and a regular broadcaster.  She will give a short organ recital and will be presenting awards for to winners of the bursary schemes to members of both societies.  A masterclass will take place with some or all of the award candidates involved.   There will be an interview with Anna, conducted by our member Charlie Warren, who was at Oxford at the same time as Anna.   Anna will be playing the solo part of the Organ Symphony by Camille Saint-Saëns in the Prom on Tuesday, September 7th. at the Royal Albert Hall.  Do listen on Radio 3!  

Saturday, February 19th. at 2.30p.m. – composite organ recital at Penge Congregational Church

Monday, March 14th. – AGM at St. Stephen’s, Norbury and Thornton Heath.  After the formalities, Barry Williams will speak on the legal aspects of conditions of employment for organists and directors of music, as well as on performing rights.  These are not dry-as-dust topics, as some people in our area have been adversely affected by what many will see as unfair dismissal (in a time of pandemic).

Friday to Tuesday, April 1st. to 5th . – trip to the Netherlands.  Our member Pieter Shaw has put a great programme together.  There will be a chance to try various instruments and to enjoy a relaxed visit, when the local food can be appreciated.  *This trip is now full.*  

Other plans for next year include a repertoire workshop with Richard Pilliner and a visit to churches in Merton and Wimbledon to be organised by Peter Smith.

Other events which members would like to draw to our attention:

1. Peter Smith invites us to this concert – Saturday 11 September 2021 at 7.30p.m; St Matthew’s Church, Durham Road, Wimbledon, SW20 0DE. Admission Free (retiring collection).  “THE LOST YEAR” – A whistlestop tour through a year’s worth of music both sacred and secular, including pieces by Elgar, Palestrina, Lassus and Morley.  Wimbledon Chamber Choir, Peter Smith (conductor) 

2. From Ian Giddons – CHRISTCHURCH, STREATHAM: I am organising a rota to play some quiet music during the Open House Weekend on Saturday 4th (am and pm) and Sunday 5th (pm only) September.  Previously a small number of organists each volunteering to play for 20-30 mins seemed to work well.  Needless to say we shall make arrangements to wipe down keyboards and stops between each player.  For those of you unfamiliar with the organ here’s the link on NPOR.  It is a fine and essentially unaltered William Hill 3- manual instrument.

If you are interested would you please contact Ian via the contact form here.

3. From Andrew Chadney – As you may know I have completed several charity bike rides over the last few years. This year I will be taking part in the ‘Deloittes Ride Across Britain’ in September. This is from Land’s End to John o’Groats in 9 days. I am hoping to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.


1. From Peter Smith, this time as composer – I have at last finished writing my Trio Sonata. The score, together with a recording of an imperfect performance by yours truly, can be downloaded from this link.  I hope that someone with nimbler fingers and toes than mine may be persuaded to play it, or at least some of it.  See also

2. From me – “Psalms, Psinging and Psandwiches!” Come and explore psalmody at this regional event of the Hymn Society on 2 October from 10:00am to 3:30pm, at St John’s East Dulwich, London SE22 9AT. All welcome, sandwich lunch provided. This will be a really interesting day studying psalms and the variety of ways they can be sung. It will be led by speakers from Bedford, Reading and Gloucestershire. To attend in person £10, livestream £5, on the door £12.

3. From Richard Pilliner – THIS WEEK! – I would like to encourage you to support the music festival at St Oswald’s, Norbury, from 1st-7th August.

Although not an organ event, there are three concerts, arranged by our member Ann Hubble, which offering an interesting variety of musical fare.

Tuesday 3rd August 5.30pm-7.00pm – Steel Orchestrato be held outdoors, weather permitting, with the opportunity to purchase food with a Caribbean theme!

Thursday 5th August 7.00pm in the church – The Galant Baroque Lute of Andrew Maginley.

Andrew Maginley is the first professional black classical lute player in modern history.   He specialises in lutes and early guitars and is a champion of the 18th century baroque lute.   This is a rare opportunity to hear this fascinating instrument.

During the interval a glass of Pimms, a beer or soft drink is provided and included in the ticket price of £15.

Saturday 7th August 3.00pm in the church – St Oswald’s Church Choir and Streatham Voices Choir with the Beaufort String Quartet

This ensemble will perform a selection of Vaughan Williams’ Folk Songs along with other folk-inspired pieces from around the world. During the interval a glass of Pimms, a beer or soft drink is provided and included in the ticket price of £15.

4. The Kent Association Secretary, Matthew Young, has forwarded the following from their member, Chris Clemence- St John’s church, Chatham, which has been mothballed for some time is re-opened for divine worship and it contains a Bevington organ which was reckoned to be the best in the Medway towns after the Cathedral. After years of neglect, this wonderful Organ has been brought back into use! The tuners found it to be in remarkable condition considering the length of time it had lain dormant in a very damp and cold church and they have tuned it successfully. The Organ will require some more work to bring it back to tip-top condition and it is hoped to achieve that through fund raising recitals etc. to pay for the works. David Poulter has agreed to give a recital on 17th September and apparently he played this organ during his time in Medway and was delighted to hear that it is working again.

There is a provisional poster at this address, which you may have to copy and paste to access:

5. From the Bromley Association – Nicholas Miller sends information about his forthcoming improvised accompaniment to a silent film; I am preparing for a candlelit late-night screening of Nosferatu (1922) for which I’ll be improvising the soundtrack, at St Margaret’s Putney on 13th August as part of the Putney Festival, and wondered if any members might be interested. The Festival is operating a 20% discount (available until the end of Sunday 1st August) using the promo code EARLYBIRD20. 

Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror (1922) – F. M. Murnau, Friday 13th August 2021, 9pm – 10.45pm. St Margaret’s Church, Putney Park Lane. Live organ & piano improvisation by Nick Miller. Tickets £11 in advance via Eventbrite:

Roger Fisher RIP

WHILE serving Chester Cathedral for almost 30 years, Roger Fisher, who died on 3 June, aged 84, influenced music far beyond the confines of his provincial organ loft.  A gifted choir trainer, pianist, and an organist of international renown, he inherited the mantle of his distinguished teacher, Harold Darke, his playing remaining firmly rooted in the pre-Reform movement of the English late Romantic school. At a time when mainstream playing styles among many younger players from all corners of the world seemed to have become more standardised, Fisher’s noted individualism rarely failed to offer an often dazzling snapshot of a more insular English tradition.

Organ Recitals:

Do let Richard Pilliner know of forthcoming recitals as soon as you can, including programmes if possible. Please contact Richard via the contact form here.

For next time:

If you have an event which you would like publicised or a comment to make, you are welcome to let me know.  The next newsletter is due to be published on Saturday, September 4th.

With good wishes,