The organs of St Mary-le-Bow
The main organ in the west gallery was built by Kenneth Tickell & Company in 2010, replacing a former instrument by Rushworth & Dreaper. The casework, designed by John Hayward and made by Dove Brothers, dates from the rebuilding of the church in 1964 after its destruction by enemy action in 1941.
The case seems to be loosely based on the work of the Alsace Silbermanns and this French influence was carried into the stop-list. Hence fine mutation registers and reeds with great character. The organ has also a Germanic pleno, rendering it highly suitable for the music of J.S. Bach and other German baroque composers. The French influence enables authentic performances of all periods. In fact, the careful choice and blending of the sensitively voiced registers and the superb ambient acoustic in the church, makes it possible to play almost any style of music with convincing colour, richness and depth.
This organ is highly acclaimed for its ‘singing’ quality. It is also fitted with a MIDI interface, enabling it to drive synthesizers and computers. This opens up a further range of colour, making it possible for other sounds and sonorities, especially those of an avant-garde ‘electronic workshop’ nature (formerly called ‘prepared tape’).
The chamber organ’s origin and builder is unknown, but follows a modest early 19th-century design. It is often used as a continuo instrument, accompanying instruments and voices in the nave.
Alongside his role here, he is also the assistant Director of Music at the Temple Church where he is responsible for the musical education of the choristers. From 2014-19, Thomas was Director of Chapel Music at Worcester College, Oxford.
As a harpsichordist and continuo player, Thomas plays regularly with the prize winning period group Ensemble Hesperi, with whom he is undertaking research into late 18th-century Scottish Baroque Music. He is sought after as an organ and harpsichord teacher, currently teaching at City of London School, Radley College, and at the Royal College of Music. He is active as a researcher, working on historical continuo treatises and how they can be applied in musical education today.
The Cheapside Chorus
The chorus is especially geared to those wishing to rekindle a love of making music together, but who might not have the time to commit to weekly rehearsals. No musical experience is required, and all are welcome. Members will be expected to attend a minimum of four rehearsals before the concert performance as part of the church’s LIVE Festival.
Rehearsal Dates 6:15-7:30pm at St Mary-le-Bow
Monday 9th May Friday 20th May Monday 23rd May
Tuesday 31st May Monday 6th June Friday 10th June
Monday 13th June Tuesday 14th June Friday 17th June
Date of Performance at St Mary-le-Bow
Thursday 23rd June Rehearsal 6:00pm Concert 7:30pm
To register interest email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more, please email our director of music Thomas Allery: email@example.com
Toccata on ‘Oranges and Lemons’
Composer Alan Wilson writes:
Everyone will know the nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons’ with its reference to ‘the great bell of Bow’, and the cockney association if one is born within the sound of Bow Bells. The tower clock also chimes every 15 minutes to a melody by C.V. Stanford.
The origins of this toccata date back to an improvisation I did at an organ recital a few years ago and in the summer of 2016 I decided to write it down for future performances. I set about a carefully constructed piece using both the ‘Oranges and Lemons’ tune and the ‘Bow Bells’ carillon chime (on which I had previously written a Mass setting).