SSLSO Repertoire Meeting, November 4th, 2023

The SSLSO repertoire meeting took place at Nicky Jones’ home on Saturday 4th November at 2.30 pm. The focus was on organ music for the Advent and Christmas periods. Present were Norman and Marilyn Harper, Alan Langridge, Andrew Chadney, Irene Wolstenholme, Norman Flower, Nicky Jones and Clare Perkins from the South London Music Shop.

Though relatively small in number, the gathering was productive, and enjoyable, as well as an opportunity to share music and ideas in a warm and convivial atmosphere.

Refreshments were provided towards the end of the afternoon.

Nicky said that he enjoyed playing pieces from Cramer’s The Church Year Book; from The Oxford Book of Christmas Organ Music; and from Organ Works for Christmas by Denis Bedard. He also recommended Veni, Veni, Emmanuel by Rebecca Te Velde in Oxford Service Organ Music for Organ Book 1 (manuals only), the easier sections from Variations Sur un Noel by Dupre, Vieux Noel by Cesar Franck in A Graded Anthology Book 3 by Anne Marsden Thomas and finally, Advent and Christmas pieces from Bach’s Orgelbuchlein.

Irene then recommended the Oxford Hymn Settings for Organists, Volume 1 (on hymns and carols) which she had found useful.

The Wyvern 4 manual organ was then made available.

Marilyn began by playing the following music by Flor Peeters:-

  • Veni Veni Emmanuel
  • Comfort Ye My People
  • Freu Dich sehr, O Meine Seele   
  • Of the Father’s Love Begotten
  • Chorale Prelude on ‘Es ist ein Ros’ Entsprungen’

Marilyn felt the above pieces would be ideal for playing before a service.

Andrew then played from Lloyd Webber’s Song without Words a piece on the theme of Good King Wenceslas.  He added that the music was rather Karg Elert in style.  Next Andrew played A Christmas Prelude on Divinum Mysterium by John R Watkinson from Novello’s  “A Christmas Collection for Organ”.

Irene then played A Chorale Prelude on Merton by David Thorne from the Oxford Hymn Settings for Organists, Volume 1 and then O Jesulein Suss by Rebecca Groom, Te Velde from the same volume.  She concluded by playing Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern by Telemann and it was generally agreed that this piece is best when played at a moderate pace. 

Next, Alan played Franz Schmidt’s Prelude in A “Weihnachtspastorale” (Christmas Pastorale).

Norman then played the following pieces by Cecilia McDowall:-

  • O Emmanuel
  • O Radix Jesse

Nicky wondered how long one can continue to play Christmas pieces and it was generally agreed that it could be until the end of Epiphany.

Towards the end of the afternoon and during the period for refreshments, Clare Perkins kindly shared with us some Advent and Christmas organ music from the South London Music Shop. This included Oxford Hymn Settings for Organists (Advent and Christmas) Volume 1; Festive Noels for Organ by Jubilate Music; and the Oxford Book of Christmas Organ Music for Manuals.  Marilyn shared that Clare had also obtained the Oxford Book of Christmas Music, Volume 2, which includes Adoration by Florence B. Price.

Norman reported that Clare probably has in stock a few copies of the Fagus Book of Advent Voluntaries (details below); and of Norman Harper’s Toccata on Divinum Mysterium, a.k.a. Corde natus = Of the Father’s Heart Begotten.

The Fagus Book of Advent Voluntaries, £27 (composers: Geoffrey Atkinson, Karen Beaumont, Gwilym Beechey, Richard Benger, John Ellis, Nigel Gaze, Norman Harper, Gary Higginson, Alastair Johnstone, Alan Smith and Evelyn Stell).

Norman Harper: Toccata on “Divinum Mysterium”;  “Corde natus” separate copy £8.  Norman Harper’s web-page :

Nicky Jones, November 2023