Better late than never, thanks to a pandemic that some of you may have heard of, we bring you Viscount’s organ performance tutorials for 2021.
This series concentrates on recent works by composers associated with the Viscount showroom’s local area of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. You will get tips about playing each of the pieces from Jonathan Kingston, who discusses the style and some registration ideas with Francis Rumsey before giving a complete performance.
Featuring Regent 338 Organ in St Margaret’s Church, Oxford
This year’s tutorials were recorded at St Margaret’s, Oxford, the church where Richard Goodall, our Organ Consultant, is organist and choir director.
The pieces are all performed on the Regent 338, an instrument designed specifically to meet increasing church demand for a smaller three-manual instrument.
The hand-built English-made console houses 38 speaking stops. Offering illuminated drawstops, this high-quality solid wood console is only made to individual order, and is our only instrument that does not include an internal speaker system.
An Oxfordshire Organ Book & Organ Sound Colours, Volume 1
The works performed in these tutorials are all playable by organists of moderate ability, and come from two recently published collections.
The first collection, An Oxfordshire Organ Book, is the result of a project undertaken by the Oxford and District Organists’ Association (ODOA) to honour John Brennan, its President of more than 35 years, who retired recently. It contains pieces by 15 composers in a range of styles, from the medieval-inspired to the contemporary jazzy, and includes both quiet chorale-based interludes and bigger voluntaries.
From this book we include the “Fanfare” by Mark Burbridge, “Lullaby in Dorian Mode” and “Medieval Rondeau” by John Riley, a chorale prelude on “Cranham” by Relf Clark, the “Partita super Merton Chapel” by Magdalen Pemberton and Péter Szeles, and a chorale prelude on “Love Unknown” by David Burchell.
The second collection is Organ Sound Colours, Volume 1, containing 12 new pieces written in 2020 by Gloucestershire organist Ian Higginson (Parish Publications), about which you can find more in our recent blog. From this book we include Ian’s “Intermezzo”, and his “Sortie in B flat”.
Another recording of tutorial series successfully completed
The successful recording team from previous years’ tutorial series got together again to do a good job of capturing the sound and images. James Atkinson as videographer, Adrian Lucas as recording engineer, and Francis Rumsey as producer, enjoyed a happy day working with Jonathan on the project.
It seems there is always a new noise challenge to contend with—two years ago it was grass mowing, last year it was chainsaws, so we wondered what this year’s would be. Heavy rain did the honours—hopefully you won’t notice too much of it—perhaps you can think of it as organ blower noise.
I’m a retired academic, with a background in music and audio engineering. I’m currently a consultant for Viscount & Regent Classic Organs, as well as being a freelance organist, including a role as organist/choirmaster at St Mary’s, Witney. I sing bass with Oxford Pro Musica Singers and the Cathedral Singers of Christ Church, Oxford.