Recital on the Wetheringsett Tudor organ

Recital on the ‘Wetheringsett’ organ, c1525
St Swithun’s, Church Street, Worcester WR1 2RH
Friday 23 June, 2017. 1.10
Andrew Benson-Wilson

the Wetheringsett organ which is a medieval replica coming on local to Halifax Minster from SuffolkThe ‘Wetheringsett’ organ is a reconstruction of a Tudor organ based on the soundboard of an organ that was found during alterations to a farmhouse in the village of that name in Suffolk. Until it was hidden away within the walls of the farmhouse, is seems to have been used as a dairy door. The many holes in the wood were initially thought to indicate some sort of protection from the evil eye, until a local organ builder recognised it as the soundboard of an organ – the bit hidden away inside the instruments where the feet of the pipes sit, and through which the air is channelled from the windchest to the pipes. Analysis of the number and size of the holes can give a pretty accurate account of the size, range and number of stops of the organ. Tree-ring dating suggests that the wood dates from around 1525, leading to suggestions that this could be the organ known to have been purchased by a large parish church in Debenham in that year.

Under the aegis of the Early English Organ Project this organ, along with a smaller instrument based on another soundboard found in Wingfield Church, Suffolk, was reconstructed by organ builders Goetze & Gwynne in 2002. Under the management of the Royal College of Organists, the Wetheringsett organ is now resident in the church of St Swithun’s in the centre of Worcester, a delightful Georgian church with box pews and a later 18th century organ.

For this recital, I will be playing English music from before, during, and just after the 1520s, with pieces from c1360 to one of Thomas Tallis’s two extraordinarily monumental Felix Namques, dating from around 1560. In contrast I will play a Voluntary by Samuel Wesley on the 1795 Grey organ, published just a few years after the date of the organ.

Robertsbridge Codex, c1360
Adesto / Firmissime / Alleluya Benedictus
John Dunstaple (Buxheimer Orgelbuch, c1460)
Sub Tuam Protectionem
Anon, c1530 (Roy 56)
Felix Namque (in 5/4)
Anon / Thomas Preston (d1563)
Uppon la mi re
Hugh Aston (c1485-1556)
A hornepype
Samuel Wesley (1766-1837)
Voluntary in B flat. Op 6/9 8’
Thomas Tallis (c1505-1585)
Felix Namque I (1562)

Admission is free, with a retiring collection.

Organ music by Tunder (d1667)

Organ music by Franz Tunder (1614-1667)
St George Hanover Square (Mayfair Organ Concerts)
Tuesday 9 May 2017, 1:10
Andrew Benson-Wilson

SGHS main organ

Franz Tunder was one of the most influential organists and composers of the early to mid 17th century in North Germany. Along with a group of Hamburg organist composers, including Jacob Praetorius, Scheidemann, and Weckmann, he created the musical development that culminated in Dietrich Buxtehude, Tunder’s son-in-law, and successor at the Lübeck Marienkirche. He was key to the development of the extended Chorale Fantasia and the dramatic Stylus Phantasticus.

In 1646 Tunder founded the famous Abendmusiken series of concerts in the Marienkirche. These were funded by, and performed to, Lübeck businessmen, and were continued by Buxtehude and then well into the 18th century. In Tunder’s day, the Abendmusik concerts were usually organ recitals. In this programme, you will experience some of the organ music that could have been heard during these concerts, which were very much in the tradition of today’s London lunchtime concerts.

The 2012 Richards, Fowkes & Co organ in St George’s, Hanover Square (Handel’s church) is eminently suitable for music of this period.

Praeludium in g
In dich hab ich gehoffet, Herr
Jesus Christus wahr’ Gottes Sohn
Auf meinem Lieben Gott (manualiter)
Praeludium in g
Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott

Admission is free, with a retiring collection.

Froberger & Blow: St Giles-in-the-Fields

Friday 24 March 2017, 1pm
St Giles-in-the-Fields
60 St Giles High Street. London, WC2H 8LG

Andrew Benson-Wilson plays organ music by Froberger & Blow

This recital traces the influence of Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-67) on the English organist and composer, John Blow (1649-1708).

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Froberger was an enormous influence on keyboard composers from the 17th to early 19th century, not least for his role in spreading the Italian style of his teacher Frescobaldi around Europe, and assimilating various European musical styles into his own compositions. Although only two of his works were published in his lifetime, Froberger’s compositions were widely circulated in manuscript copies.  They were known to have been studied by the likes of Pachelbel, Buxtehude, Muffat, Kerll, Weckmann, Louis Couperin, Kirnberger, Böhm, Handel, Bach, and even Mozart and Beethoven. He was a close friend of Matthias Weckmann, who helped to spread the Italian style to the important North German organ composers in Hamburg.

John Blow (1649-1708) was the teacher of Purcell, and his predecessor (and successor) as organist of Westminster Abbey. He was just 18 when Froberger died and was about 4 when Froberger made his disastrous visit to London. The influence of Froberger came through manuscripts that Blow copied, adding his own distinctive English Baroque ornaments in the process.

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Programme notes: Weckmann recital

The Grosvenor Chapel, Mayfair
Tuesday 1 November 2016

Andrew Benson-Wilson

Matthias Weckmann (1616-1674)

 Praeludium A . 5 . Vocum
Canzon in G
Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmain
Fantasia ex D
Toccata ex d
Komm, heiliger Geist, Herr Gott

 Matthias Weckmann is one of the most influential 17th century organist composers of the North German school. He was born in Thuringia, studied in Dresden with Schütz, a pupil of G. Gabrieli, and in Hamburg with Jacob Praetorius, a Sweelinck pupil. He settled in Hamburg in 1655 as organist of the Jacobikirche where he remained until his death. He is buried beneath the Jacobikirche organ. It was said that Weckmann “moderated the seriousness of Praetorius with the sweetness of Scheidemann, and also introduced many new elegant discoveries“. After Andrew’s Benson-Wilson’s performance of his monumental set of chorale variations on Es ist das Heil kommen her at St George’s, Hanover Square (on 11 October), today’s programmes looks at a selection of Weckmann’s free works, together with two contrasting three-verse works based on chorales.

The Praeludium A . 5 . Vocum is anonymous in the original manuscript, but there are stylistic reasons why it is likely to be by Weckmann, Continue reading

Grosvenor Chapel: Weckmann (b1616)

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Mayfair Organ Concerts
The Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street, Mayfair , London W1K 2PA
1 November 2016, 1:10-1:50

Matthias Weckmann  (1616-1674)

In the last of his three recitals of the organ music of Matthias Weckmann (in his anniversary year), Andrew Benson-Wilson plays the William Drake organ in the Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street, Mayfair in a programme of a Praeludium, Toccata, Canzon, Fantasia and two contrasting chorale-based works.

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Review: Weckmann ‘Es ist das Heil’ recital

Review from Classical Events
Andrew Benson-Wilson

Organ recital at St George’s Church Hanover Square, London
Tuesday 11 October 2016 13:10

This is one of series of the Mayfair Organ Concerts. The lunchtime concert was given by Andrew Benson-Wilson who specialises in the performance of early organ music, ranging from 14th century manuscripts to the late Classical Period. The original organ at St George’s was built in 1725 by Gerard Smith. The old case has been extended to contain a new organ which was completed in 2012.

The concert consisted of one work: Matthias Weckmann’s (1616-1674) monumental seven verses on the choral melody ‘Es ist das Heil kommen her’. At a playing time of about 35 minutes it is perhaps one of the longest and most extraordinary works of its time. The story follows that Luther, on hearing the melody sung by a beggar, was reduced to tears.

Salvation has come to us
from grace and sheer kindness
Works never help,
they cannot protect us.
Faith looks towards Jesus Christ
who has done enough for all of us.
He has become our mediator

Although the hymn has 14 verses there is little correlation with the seven organ verses. This evidences a performance as an individual work rather than part of a church service.

Andrew provided ample programme notes to describe the treatment of the chorale theme and gave a short introduction to the lunchtime audience. The performance had a confident and assured touch of someone who understood the musical style. His clarity of counterpoint allied to the programme notes helped the listener to identify the processes and individual lines of the music.

The original Classical Events review is here.

Weckmann – ‘Es ist das Heil’

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Mayfair Organ Concerts
St George Hanover Square, St George Street, London W1S 
11 October 2016, 1:10-1.50

Matthias Weckmann  (1616-1674)
‘Es ist das Heil kommen her’

Andrew Benson-Wilson plays the monumental set of 7 verses on the Lutheran chorale ‘Es ist das Heil kommen her’ written by Matthias Weckmann (1616-1674). Lasting about 35 minutes, it is the longest such organ work from the whole of the 17th century. It includes, as the sixth verse, the most extensive and most complex Chorale Fantasia of that era.

It is played on the 2012 Richards, Fowkes & Co organ in St George’s Hanover Square, based on North German 17th/18th century organs.
Admission free – retiring collection.
Programme notes below

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St Giles-in-the-Fields: Samuel Wesley (b1766)

St Giles-in-the-Fields 60 St Giles High Street. London, WC2H 8LG
Friday 29 July 2016: 1pm.
Andrew Benson-Wilson plays organ music by
Samuel Wesley (1766- 1837)

Samuel Wesley was born in Bristol 250 years ago. He was the son of Charles Wesley the hymn-writer and nephew of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church. He was a 2014-07-04-1716.jpgchild prodigy, writing his first oratorio, Ruth, aged 6. When he was 8, the composer Dr William Boyce referred to him as the ‘English Mozart’. His family moved to London when he was about 12, living in Marylebone. He led a colourful life, some of his apparent eccentricities possibly being caused by a serious head injury when he was about 21. An organ virtuoso, Samuel Wesley was the leading pioneer of the Bach revival in England. Bach seems to have been a strong influence on his Opus 6 Organ Voluntaries, published between about 1807 and 1820, and the focus of this recital.

The wonderful William Drake reconstruction of the Dallam/Smith/England/Lincon/Gray & Davison organ, contains some of the oldest pipework in London. It is very well-suited to Wesley’s music as, in its current form, it represents the English organ in the early years of the 19th century, with strong reminders of the earlier 17th and 18th English organ style.

Organ information: http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/NPORView.html?RI=P00119
Free admission, retiring collection.
The church is just behind Centre Point/Tottenham Road Court station.

 

 

 

Dulwich: College of God’s Gift 400th Anniversary Recital

The Chapel of Christ of Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift
Gallery Road, Dulwich, SE21 7AD

Sunday 10 July 2016, 7.45

The College of God’s Gift 400th Anniversary Recital

Circa 1616

Andrew Benson-Wilson will give a special organ recital to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the dedication of the the Chapel of Christs of Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift in Dulwich. Andrew will play music from the years around 1616 on the famous 1760 George England organ.

Benjamin Cosyn – ‘Voluntary’ (c1620)
Orlando Gibbons – Fantazia in Foure Parts (c1611)
John Lugge – Voluntarie.3.pts. Continue reading

Weckmann recital: programme notes

The Queen’s College Chapel, Oxford.  27 April 2016
WP_20151124_12_09_44_Pro.jpgMatthias Weckmann
1616–1674

Andrew Benson-Wilson

Praeambulum Primi toni a 5
Ach wir armen Sünder (3v)
Canzon V
Magnificat Secundi Toni (4v)
Toccata ex D
Gelobet seystu, Jesu Christ (4v)

Matthias Weckmann is one of the most influential 17th century organist composers of the North German – a compositional school that started with Hieronymus Praetorius and the pupils of Sweelinck and culminated in Buxtehude and, by influence, Bach. Weckmann’s contribution was to bring elements of the Italian style to North Germany. Unlike most of his contemporaries who were born in or near Hamburg and studied in Amsterdam, Weckmann was born in Thuringia. He studied in the Dresden Court under Heinrich Schütz, a pupil of Giovanni Gabrieli, and in Hamburg with Jacob Praetorius, a Sweelinck pupil. After periods in Denmark and Dresden (where he befriended Froberger, also born in 1616), Weckmann settled in Hamburg in 1655, becoming organist of the Jacobikirche and setting up the Collegium Musicum. He is buried beneath the Jacobikirche organ.

The Praeambulum Primi toni a 5 is a fine example of the mid-17th century North German style of free composition that led Continue reading

My 2016 organ recitals

 

Go to this website to activate the links for each recital, and for any updates – http://www.organrecitals.com/abw.

I am also giving a recital on the  famous 1723 Hildebrandt organ in Störmthal, Leipzig on Wednesday 15 June at 7pm (during the Leipzig Bachfest), playing music by composers with Central German connections in the years leading up to Bach, with pieces by Scheidt, Weckmann, Pachelbel, Böhm, Walther – and Bach. Bach gave the opening recital on this organ, so it is always a special privilege to play there.

Matthias Weckmann (1616-1674)

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Andrew Benson-Wilson plays music by
Matthias Weckmann (1616-1674)
on the famous Frobenius organ in the Chapel of The Queen’s College, Oxford. 

27 April 2016, 13:10.

A recital of organ music by the Hamburg master organist/composer, Matthias Weckmann, born 400 years ago this year. A pupil of Schütz who, in turn, was a pupil of Giovanni Gabrieli, Weckmann studied and worked in Dresden and Denmark. A friend of the influential Froberger, Weckmann settled in Hamburg in 1655 as organist of the Jakobikirche. He died in 1674 and is buried beneath the Jakobikirche organ.

Praeambulum Primi toni a 5
Ach wir armen Sünder (3v)
Canzon V
Magnificat Secundi Toni (4v)
Toccata ex D
Gelobet seystu, Jesu Christ (4v)

Programme note here.

Admission free – retiring collection.  Organ information here.
See also www.organrecitals.com/abw.

German Renaissance Organ Music c1460-1577. Programme notes

The Queen’s College Chapel, Oxford.  25 November 2015
German Renaissance Organ Music  c1460-1577

Andrew Benson-Wilson

Conrad Paumann (c1410-1473) Gloria de Sancta Maria Vergine
Paul Hofhaimer (1459-1537)      Salve Regina  5v.
Hans Buchner (1483-1538)         Gloria patri in la quarto toni
Hans Kotter (c1485-1541)           Kochersperger Spanieler
Arnolt Schlick (c1460-c1521)    Da pacem
Bernhard Schmid I (1535-92)    Ein gutter Wein ist lobenswerdt    –    Sicut mater consolatur

Queen's photo.jpgThe start of the Renaissance is difficult to define. In organ music, around 1450 seems a reasonable date, with music from the likes of the Buxheimer Orgelbüch and the Faenza Codex combining elements of Medieval and Renaissance styles. By this stage, the organ had a fully chromatic keyboard, sometimes more than one manual, and independent stops were beginning to be separated out from the Medieval ‘Blockwerk’ – the equivalent of single mixture where one note plays a chorus of ten or more notes.

The first piece demonstrates this transitional phase. Continue reading

The Queen’s College, Oxford. German Renaissance Organ Music c1460-1577

2014-03-12-850The Queen’s College Chapel, Oxford

25 November 2015, 1:10

German Renaissance Organ Music

Andrew Benson-Wilson

A rare chance to hear some of this fascinating and little-known repertoire, played on the Frobenius organ during its anniversary year.

Conrad Paumann (c1410-1473)       Gloria de Sancta Maria Vergine  8v.
Paul Hofhaimer (1459-1537)            Salve Regina  5v.
Hans Buchner (1483-1538)               Gloria patri in la quarto toni
Hans Kotter (c1485-1541)                 Kochersperger Spanieler
Arnolt Schlick (c1460-c1521)            Da pacem   3v.
Bernhard Schmid I (1535-92)           Ein gutter Wein ist lobenswerd
                                                             Sicut mater consolatur
Admission free – retiring collection.  Organ information here.

Renaissance Organ Music: 1448-1623. Programme notes.

St George’s, Hanover Sq, 20 October 2015
Renaissance Organ Music: 1448-1623
Andrew Benson-Wilson

SGHSThe start of the Renaissance is difficult to define. In organ music, around 1450 seems a reasonable date, with music from the likes of the Buxheimer Orgelbüch and the Faenza Codex combining elements of Medieval and Renaissance styles.

The first two pieces (by Adam Ileborgh von Stendal) demonstrate this transitional phase.  Ileborgh compiled his Tabulature in 1448 – its full title is Incipiunt praeludia diversarium notarum secundum modernum modum subitliter et diligentor collecta cum mensuris diversis hic infra annexis per fratrem Adam Ileborgh Anno Domini 1448 tempore sui rectoriatus in stendall. It include five tiny pieces called Praeambulum (the earliest known example of that title) and three variations on the popular song Frowe al myn hoffen an dyr lyed. The Praeambulum super d a f et g is the longest of Continue reading