SELL OUT BETCHWORTH RECITAL ON NEW CHURCH PIPE ORGAN
St Michael’s church, Betchworth was packed by an enthusiastic and appreciative audience on the afternoon of 31 May for a very special event. The new pipe organ in the church was being played in public for the first time and the concert was given by the internationally renowned recitalist, Thomas Trotter.
A new church organ often has a long gestation period while fund-raising, design and building go on. The project at St Michael’s has been typical of many and was brought to a beautiful conclusion with a fine recital that put the excellent new instrument through its paces. It is a fine new musical resource for the local community and one the church and its staff are proud of.
The organ was built by the British firm, Kenneth Tickell and Company, has two manuals, an intriguing range of volume – from of near silence to arresting loudness – a wide range of tone – from reeds to brass, and even a tinkling of bells. It stands in the chancel of St Michael’s in a fine, towering case.
And both the instrument and the recitalist showed that they are virtuosi. Organist Thomas Trotter works extensively in Britain, Europe and North America, while having permanent responsibilities in Birmingham and at St Margaret’s church, Westminster.
Mr Trotter tested all departments of the organ in works from the classical period to those of the 21st century. If his chosen works by JS Bach and WA Mozart were familiar ones, they did not sound like warhorses in his faultless hands: his careful choice of timbre and tempo made the works sound fresh and new. He included his own arrangement of music from the 1550’s that had a real Tudor flavour, and he was just as idiomatic in works by Robert Schumann and Camille Saint-Saens.
But the knowledgeable audience, made up of local people and pipe organ enthusiasts, seemed to enjoy best modern works by Englishman Peter Hurford, a taxing minimalist piece by Dutchman Ad Wammes and, in an encore, a lilting and sensuous Caribbean dance from 1959 by Englishwoman Madeleine Dring, and that is when, to everyone’s delight, we heard the jingle of bells. This rounded off an invigorating and refreshing afternoon tour through many chapters of the history of European organ music.
written by: Richard Neville-Carlé
The Churches are part of the Church of England and in the Diocese of Southwark. We believe in Christ as the embodiment of God on earth. We believe that Christ died and was resurrected. Central to our worship is the celebration of Holy Communion also known as The Eucharist or The Lord’s Supper.
At St Mary and St Michael’s we follow what would be considered a central style of worship with great emphasis on a long tradition of classical music. We have strong and active choirs with excellent organists and musical directors who also seek the best in contemporary anthems. Our bellringers are an extremely committed group of people who greatly enhance the ambiance of our picturesque village.
We are a traditional but broad-minded congregation and try to ensure that the type of services we offer have something for all those interested in Christian worship. Monthly we have a Joint Family service, and at other times like 5th Sundays or special occasions we combine together. St. Michael's has a monthly choral Matins and Evensong. Both churches have a regular Parish Communion. In addition, at key Christian Festivals we will have additional services such as for All Souls and All Saints, Holy Week services, and Nine Lessons and Carols.
We are looking to develop our work with children and young people and currently have a Sunday School and Youth Emmaus Group. We also have junior members of our choir and as bell ringers.
Both Churches are central to the life of the villages and we are well supported by an active and friendly congregation. Our regular congregations also include many people from neighbouring villages and towns who are made most welcome. We hope that you will, at some time, choose to worship with us and enjoy being part of a part of village life. If you would like to find out any more or would wish to speak to someone about our church please contact the Rector, or Churchwardens.
The churches are open daily and visitors come to the church for a wide range of reasons. Some come for a time of quiet and peace in a busy day, others come on the recommendation of a friend or perhaps to a wedding service, a baptism or a funeral. We are pleased when such visitors return and find that they can worship regularly with us and become part of the community.
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