Recital by SSLSO Members, Penge Congregational Church, Saturday 17th June 2023, 2:30pm

SSLSO members are presenting Saturday’s organ recital as part of the Penge Festival at Penge Congregational Church, 172 High Street, Penge, SE20 7QS, 2.30pm start.

Admission free, donations invited for the upkeep of the organ. Refreshments will be served before and after.


Yiming GuoToccata on Amazing GraceJ Christopher Pardini (b1973)
Yiming GuoFanfareWilliam Mathias (1934-1992)
Michael CookeToccata & Fugue in D minorJ S Bach (1685-1750)
Sarah BestToccata in SevenJohn Rutter (b1945)
John WebberOrgan Concerto in B flat, Op.4 No.2, Movements 2 & 3 – Adagio e staccato; Allegro ma non prestoGeorge Frederick Handel (1685-1759)
Niall BaxterMelody from Three Short PiecesSamuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)
Bridget WestEsce mars, SwWV 321Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)
Alan LangridgeSortie in B flatAlfred Lefébure-Wély (1817-1869)


Welcome and Introduction

Yiming Guo

Yiming is the organ scholar at Beckenham Baptist Church, and an organ student of Douglas Blew at St Olave’s Grammar School. Already a Grade 8 pianist, Yiming took up the organ in 2022 and is currently working towards his Grade 6 organ in July.

J Christopher Pardini (b1973) – Toccata on Amazing Grace

Christopher Pardini was the Senior Organist at Crystal Cathedral (now known as Christ Cathedral) in the United States and performed regularly for the “Hour of Power” program. This Toccata was written for the program in 1999 and first performed by Pardini himself on the Hazel Wright organ, which is the 6th largest organ in the world. I once played this grand piece as a postlude at Southwark Cathedral and loved every bit of it, especially the final fortississimo section.

William Mathias (1934-1992) – Fanfare

This fanfare was written in 1987 by Welsh composer William Mathias, featuring exciting and untraditional harmonies. Mathias’ Fanfare could be suited for a range of occasions, such as an organ voluntary, or for a wedding. It is also my favourite Grade 6 piece, and a piece of organ music which I will cherish.

Michael Cooke

Michael Cooke started learning the organ at the Guildhall School under Mr Allan Brown, followed by Harold Dexter. He went to the RCM (Royal College of Music) in 1958. He studied under Dr Dykes-Bower and W S Lloyd-Webber. Michael attained ARCO in 1962 and FRCO in 1963 (Associate and Fellow of the Royal College of Organists), followed by ARCM (Organ (Performing)) in July of the same year. He held several posts, including Wesley House, Gibraltar for the two years he was with the RAF after which he completed the RCM course. Michael is currently organist of his own church of All Saints Whitstable where he has been since 1980. 

J S Bach: Toccata & Fugue in D minor

A familiar work …. or is it?

Sarah Best

Sarah is a freelance organist.  She was a ballet dancer, but the body doesn’t go on forever, so she took up the organ about 25 years ago.  She got inspired by having pretended to play (dubbed) for a wedding on “EastEnders”, and got interested in the instrument.  She is also an accompanist for the London Transport Choir.

John Rutter (b1945) – Toccata in Seven

John Rutter was born in 1945.  He is mainly known for his choral music, his style is tuneful and flowing.  He founded the Cambridge Singers in 1983.  His “Toccata in Seven” is a quirky, jaunty piece with – surprise, surprise – seven beats in the bar!

John Webber

John Webber became a church organist at fifteen, at St Swithun’s Church in Hither Green.  He has held similar positions elsewhere over the years, mainly in South London.  At one point John was Director of Music at St George’s, Beckenham (where his former student, Charlie Warren, now runs the show!).  John is nowadays based at St John’s, East Dulwich.  He also directs Beckenham Junior Choir and Beckenham Youth Voices, which cover the school years, as well as an adult group, the Elm Singers.  He teaches piano and organ.  On a day off, he is a London bus enthusiast.

George Frederick Handel (1685-1759): Organ Concerto in B flat, Op.4 No.2, Movements 2 & 3 – Adagio e staccato; Allegro ma non presto

Movement two: this is very like recitative, with florid right hand notes and occasional downbeats in the lower voices.

Movement three is in quick triple time with to-ing and fro-ing between the orchestra and soloist (in this case, the organ plays the role of both orchestra and soloist).

John says he enjoys playing this Handel Concerto because a mood of joy jumps from the page and the wonderful Penge organ creates many effective and contrasting sounds.

Niall Baxter

Niall is Head of Music at Woodmansterne School, Streatham, and is one of the organists at St John’s, East Dulwich.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912): Melody from Three Short Pieces

Three Short Pieces for organ was written in 1898 at the same time that Coleridge-Taylor was becoming established as an exciting new English composer, not least because of his cantata Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast, which was also premiered that year.

Melody is the third of these short pieces for organ. It has a charming tune that is simple and lyrical, passed between manuals with harmonies that demonstrate Coleridge-Taylor’s flair for composition.

Bridget West

Bridget took up the organ at Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, before continuing her music studies at the University of Bristol. Since then, she has played at churches in north and south London, including eight years as the Assistant at St John’s, Upper Norwood. Bridget works at the Church Times, edits the alumnus magazine for Christ’s Hospital, and was the festival co-ordinator of the Croydon Performing Arts Festival for several years. She has served on the committee of the Southwark and South London Organists’ Association, and is a member of the Society of Women Organists, including its adjustable-benches-campaign working party. Recitals include St John’s, Upper Norwood; Christ’s Chapel, Dulwich; All Saints’, Warlingham; and St John’s, East Dulwich.

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621): Esce mars, SwWV 321

Sweelinck was the organist at the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam. He wrote this work in 1614 or 1615 based on the secular song “Est-ce mars, le grand dieu des alarmes?” (“Is that Mars, the great god of battles I see?”).  The song had become very popular in France and had by this time reached Amsterdam. It consists of seven variations (with no “Theme” – it starts with Variation 1).

Alan Langridge

Alan joined his local church choir (St Luke Woodside, South Norwood) at the age of 9, had piano lessons from the age of 12 and then, when the need arose, taught himself to play the organ and took over playing for services and directing the choir. It was only when he arrived at the University of Leeds to study music that he switched to organ from piano and had his first organ lesson. During his time in Leeds, Alan was Organist and Director of Music at St Augustine Wrangthorn, St Mark Woodhouse, and All Hallows Hyde Park. After postgraduate music studies, church pastoral work, and teaching piano and music theory, he returned to London to study to become a chartered public finance accountant, and eventually became Assistant Director of Finance for a large local authority. He took early retirement and is now a freelance organist working across London, Kent and Surrey. In 2021 he updated his organ playing and general music skills and took the ARCO diploma (Associate of the Royal College of Organists).

Alfred Lefébure-Wély (1817-1869): Sortie in B flat

Alfred Lefébure-Wély was renowned as an extraordinary musical talent from an early age. He shared a lifelong friendship and artistic collaboration with the celebrated French organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, the developer of the French symphonic organ. As a young man  Lefébure-Wély worked alongside the great organist-composer César Franck at the church of St Clotilde in Paris. After study at the Paris Conservatoire, and organist posts at St Roch and the Madeleine, he became organist of the prestigious Paris church of St Sulpice (where his successors were Charles-Marie Widor and Marcel Dupré). It was during his time there that Lefébure-Wély published his collection “L’Organiste moderne” (1867), which contains 34 liturgical pieces including this Sortie in B flat.

A “sortie” is the organ music that closes the celebration of Mass and covers the congregation’s exit – we tend to call it “closing voluntary”. This sortie is a fun, theatrical, bravura piece that builds up to an exciting conclusion.

Alan loves playing this piece and often wonders what the reaction of the St Sulpice clergy and congregation was when they first heard it.


Refreshments are served now at the back of the church.

Donations invited for the upkeep of the organ – thank you.


Yiming, Sarah, Bridget, John, Michale, Alan, Niall (left-to-right, back-to-front)

Specification of the organ of Penge Congregational Church


1915           T C Lewis & Co

1984/5        Rebuilt by Brian H Bunting, Epping, Essex
1986           Unknown

Cornet Replaced and Open Diapason No.1

Case           P Morley Horder FRIBA
Position:      Divided, each side of chancel

Pedal              1          Great Bass                             16’
                        2          Sub Bass                                 16’
                        3          Lieblich Bourdon                   16’
                        4          Principal                                  8’
                        5          Flute Bass                               8’
                        6          Fifteenth                                 4’
                        7          Flute                                        4’
                        8          Trombone                              16’
                        9          Trumpet                                  8’

Choir              10        Lieblich Gedact                      8’
                        11        Principal                                  4’
                        12        Stopped Flute                         4’
                        13        Piccolo                                     2’
                        14        Larigot                                     1 1/3’
                        15        Clarinet                                    8’
                        16        Tremulant
                        17        Trumpet                                  8’
                        18        Clarion                                     4’

Great              19        Open Diapason                      8’
                        20        Stopped Diapason                  8’
                        21        Octave                                      4’
                        22        Flûte Harmonique                  4’
                        23        Super Octave                         2’
                        24        Mixture                                    III
                        25        Cornet                                     II
                        26        Trumpet                                  8’

Swell               27        Lieblich Bourdon                  16’
                        28        Geigen Principal                    8’
                        29        Rohr Flute                               8’
                        30        Viole da Gamba                     8’
                        31        Voix Célestes                          8’
                        32        Geigen Principal                    4’
                        33        Fifteenth                                 2’
                        34        Mixture                                   III
                        35        Contra Oboe                          16’
                        36        Horn                                        8’
                        37        Tremulant


Console type: Detached
Stop type: Drawstop  
Label font: Sans Serif Caps  
Pedalboard: Radiating concave  
Angled Jambs
“Lewis” drawstop knobs


Swell to Pedal             Swell octave               Choir to Great             Great to Choir
Swell to Great             Swell suboctave          Choir to Pedal
Swell to Choir              Swell unison off          Great to Pedal

Blower  Electric


Balanced Swell Pedal
5 + 5 toe pistons
Gt-Pd toe piston
Great and Pedal pistons combined drawstop
5 Thumb pistons per manual
5 Reversible Thumb pistons to couplers
One additional Swell thumb piston which produces 8′ Oboe by drawing 16′ Contra Oboe with Octave and Unison Off
Ventil to Trumpet
Piston setter board with 186 switches

For further details of this organ, please see the National Pipe Organ Register website.

Thank you to the Minister, Rev Pam Owen, the Deacons and Members of Penge Congregational Church for allowing us to present today’s organ recital as part of the Penge Festival 2023.

If you are able, please consider a donation towards the upkeep of this wonderful organ – there are plates and also a contactless card reader at the back of church – thank you.

Penge Music presents monthly events at Penge Congregational Church. The next ones are:-

Open Mondays – This Monday 19th June, doors open 7pm, 7.30pm start. Come and listen, or book a 5-minute slot to play or sing – informal, relaxed, supportive. Bring your own bottle and nibbles. Admission £5 for performers and audience, Under 16s free. For further details and entries please email Jess at [email protected] or speak to her today.

Lunchtime Concerts – Saturday 22nd July, 1pm – Flute students’ concert. Admission £5, Under 16s free. For more details please email Vicky at [email protected] or speak to her today.

Southwark & South London Society of Organists (SSLSO) – we have a full and varied programme of events and you don’t have to be an organist to join the society. For further details and how to join, please see our website or speak to any of our players after the recital.

For more organ recitals near and far, please see