Chelsea Concert Series in 2019
Chelsea is home to many treasures more renowned around the world than in Chelsea itself. One such is the 18th century style Flentrop organ at Christ Church which, since its inaugural concert more than nine years ago, has been instrumental – pun intended – in the training of an international cadre of Royal College of Music graduates who today are heard in cathedrals, churches and concert halls around the world from Hong Kong to Sweden, Poland to Australia. There was an article about this organ by Fleur de Villiers on page 48 of the Chelsea Society’s Annual Report for 2014.
The history of this instrument which has been hailed as the finest of its type in London has been chronicled in the Chelsea Society’s Annual Report. Next year, however, members will have the opportunity to hear its unique voice in a series of early evening concerts by some of the leading organists in the country.
Their numbers include Charles Andrews, recognised as one of London’s finest liturgical organists and recitalists; David Graham, Organ Professor at the RCM who has taught his students on the Christ Church organ since it was commissioned; Joseph McHardy, former Christ Church organist, who for the last two years has been Director of Music at the Chapel Royal; Katy Silverman – who recently took part in the ‘Play it like a Girl‘ event at Pembroke College, Cambridge where a group of women organists played the complete works of Bach in 24 hours and live-streamed on the internet, and Roger Sayer; Director of Music at London’s Temple Church one of the country’s best known organists, who among his other achievements played the organ for its central role in the sound track in the 2014 film’ Interstellar’. One of the concerts will also feature Royal College of Music students from the UK, China and Italy.
The series – the dream child of Samuel Ali, Christ Church’s present organist – will be held on the third Saturday of every second month next year, starting in January and continuing (with the exception of the holiday month of July) until November.
Ali says ‘the nature of this organ gives a more authentic voice to much early and baroque music than most instruments in London, and it also allows composers like Liszt, Rheinberger and Reger to be heard with a more authentic accent than is possible on many English organs. I would love the people of Chelsea to support this series and discover what a musical jewel they have in their midst!’
Concerts will start at 6pm and will be free and unticketed – with a retiring collection.