We introduced Hymn of the Month in 2016 and this continued in 2017 so we have a library of organ music now with 24 well known tunes for you to refer to for playing and registration tips.
New concept for Tutorial Videos in 2018
In 2018 we decided to change the format and publish just six items that focus on the organ as an accompaniment instrument with choir. Accompanying a choir requires that the instrument supports where needed but also takes a back stage at times to allow the parts to come through. It is also heard in solo role joining choral sections together or providing an introduction that set the tone of what is to follow.
Church choral music was chosen to illustrate the accompaniment of various parts of the liturgy and to highlight some well known anthems. Many will be within the range of typical church choirs. Listening to these performances you can hear how well just four singers bring these pieces alive. Of course, these are highly practiced professionals but it goes to show just what four good voices can add to the musical content of our church services.
The programme for the 2018 series
The programme had been developed by our colleagues Francis Rumsey and Jonathan Kingston. You may have seen Francis presenting the videos on our range of ‘Physis‘ organs. Francis is equally talented behind the camera, masterminding the schedule, as he is in front of it in his presenter role. Jonathan’s skills as a professional organist enabled him to quickly plan a registration scheme for the music you will hear here, and to accompany the works faultlessly during a tight recording schedule.
Some of the works we used, all listed below, have seasonal significance while others are appropriate any time in the church calendar:
- Magnificat in B Minor – Noble
- Thou Visitest the Earth – Greene
- Psalm 20 – Chant by Gerald Knight
- Kyrie and Gloria – ‘Little Organ Mass’ – Haydn
- O Thou the Central Orb – Wood
- Sussex Carol ‘On Christmas Night’ – Arr. Ledger
A beautiful church and stunning setting
St Mary’s, Chalgrove, is a beautiful medieval church stunningly restored in 2015. Music will no doubt have long been an important part of the worship in what was a very wealthy parish. As our small choir sang the Greene anthem dating from the mid 1700s I could not help but think it must have been sung here many times before but whether with such clarity and accuracy one can only surmise. It was a very moving experience on this bright sunny October morning to have this church for our private use and be treated to some wonderful music by this small group of very talented musicians.
Introducing the performers
Our singers are Emily Armour – Soprano, Elspeth Marrow – Alto, Joseph Thompson – Tenor and Jack Lawrence-Jones – Bass.
Emily Armour is a post-graduate scholar of Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Having done a French and Czech degree, she decided singing was more fun and has been pursuing it ever since. Career highlights include singing as a soloist at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, touring with The Monteverdi Choir, being a choral scholar at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, crooning with a jazz band in Bordeaux and singing Christmas carols to Her Majesty’s horses at Buckingham Palace.
Elspeth Marrow is a mezzo soprano from London who graduated with a Masters degree from the Royal College of Music in 2017. In 2012 she graduated from Royal Holloway, where she was awarded the Driver Prize for Excellence in Performance and the Dame Felicity Lott Bursary.
Joseph Thompson tenor, is a Masters graduate of the Royal Academy of Music. Joseph has sung as a soloist around the country and internationally with groups including Croydon Bach Choir, Sonoro, the Sweelinck Ensemble, Armonico Consort, Oxford Bach Choir, Southend Festival Chorus, Opera Barcarola, Caminetto Voices, Enfield Choral Society, and the resident choirs of the National Portrait Gallery, the New West End Synagogue, and the Guards Chapel London.
Jack Lawrence-Jones baritone, is a graduate of the Masters programme at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He recently made his Aldeburgh Festival debut, as a Britten-Pears Young Artist Alumnus. Operatic roles to date include Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and Pirate King in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. Jack created the title role in Clive, a new opera by Ben Ashby (Gestalt Arts), and played Thomas Bowdler in the UK premiere of Alex Paxton’s The Equivocal Harriet Bowdler.
Looking forward to the new year with excitement
We do hope you enjoy this insight into the organ in a very different role from hymn accompaniment. Here the organ takes a subsidiary role to the vocal parts that are rightly the stars of these performances but I am sure you will agree that Jonathan Kingston plays his parts brilliantly as well.
Jonathan’s continues to work with Viscount Classical Organs and his work includes performing and presenting promotional and tutorial material for the company and his freelance portfolio covers educational outreach, teaching, performing, examining and musical direction. He covers several areas for Viscount from sales, demonstrations, voicing of instruments and performing.