After the Notre Dame fire – saving France’s Cavaillé-Coll heritage

May 1, 2019

After the fire at Notre Dame, it was a relief to see images of Notre-Dame's Cavaillé-Coll organ seemingly intact, and millions of euros have been pledged already for restoration of the Cathedral, and presumably, the organ. There are other Cavaillé-Coll instruments in France deserving of restoration though, and film-maker Will Fraser has devised a way we can all help bring back to life a particularly good example of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll's artistry.

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Echoes of the Plantagenets – two medieval musical survivors

April 25, 2019

The RCO's Wingfield Organ is now in residence at St Mary's Church in Fotheringhay - all very appropriate, as both instrument and church are fascinating medieval survivors. Fotheringhay will be the setting for a special concert on Saturday 25 May exploring the vocal and organ music of late medieval England, with David Skinner and The Alamire Scholars, organist James Parsons, and historian Dr David Starkey providing the spoken narrative.

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Tournemire’s L’Orgue Mystique cycle at Westminster Cathedral

March 25, 2019

Charles Tournemire’s (1870–1939) L’Orgue Mystique is a cycle of solo organ pieces composed for use in the Roman Catholic liturgy. Tournemire wanted to do for the Roman Catholic Mass what Bach had done for the Lutheran Mass with his Orgelbüchlein. The completed work is subtitled '51 Offices of the liturgical year inspired by Gregorian chant and freely paraphrased', and Westminster Cathedral have begun a performance of the complete cycle (13 hours of music in its entirety) in a liturgical context: Martin Baker, Peter Stevens, Jonathan Allsopp and Adrian Gunning are among the organists taking part.

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RCO Conferment 2019 at Southwark Cathedral

March 12, 2019

Once again Southwark Cathedral was the setting for The Royal College of Organists' Conferment Ceremony. On Saturday 9th March, the College presented Diplomas and Certificates to 55 members of the College. The formal event concluded with a recital by Steven Grahl, followed by tea in the Cathedral Library - here's a gallery of photos summing up the day.

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Practice in Art Deco splendour, courtesy of the United Grand Lodge of England

February 27, 2019

Even in a big city like London, it can be difficult to find organ practice facilities. The United Grand Lodge of England have recently restored and enlarged the 1933 Henry Willis organ in the Grand Temple at Freemasons' Hall, and also installed a new three-manual and pedal Viscount Classic digital organ one of their meeting rooms there. They are generously offering practice time on these organs free of charge to RCO Members.

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Summer School 2019 – for all organists, at all levels

February 12, 2019

The RCO’s big Summer Course really does cater for all levels of playing – everyone gets an individual tailored timetable to suit their needs and abilities, and many people come back year after year as their playing progresses. Booking has opened for the 2019 Course. Read the experiences of three students in previous years, all at very different levels of ability.

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Children build an organ – the Orgelkids project

January 30, 2019

A project to engage young children with the pipe organ heritage of the Netherlands has created a global network of organisations allowing children to build and play a two-octave mechanical action organ. The original organ design by Wim Janssens is now being reproduced by professional organ builders in the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, Sweden, and now the UK, as part of the Orgelkids project world-wide.

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New Year, new repertoire

January 20, 2019

One of the more pleasurable of New Year resolutions is to decide to expand our repertoire and learn new pieces, and there's help here on iRCO, with no fewer than ten short videos on organ repertoire, presented by experts in their field. Each one provides inspiration on a different century, or a different musical culture, with advice on appropriate registration, style and performance.

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Lessons on the road to ARCO

January 13, 2019

Jonathan Davies regards achieving the ARCO qualification as his greatest personal achievement, though it was a long road from just wanting to play flashy pieces on the organ to acquiring the musicianship needed to qualify. He describes some of the techniques which led to final success, for the benefit of anyone else contemplating this examination.

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