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Your RCO event details can be found below.

Please note that the 24-hour clock is used on all event listings, with all times being GMT/BST. To book courses and classes, please follow the Book Online link wherever you see it, and email or call 020 3865 6998 with any queries. Where events are free or not bookable online, please follow the instructions for that event.

French Baroque Organ Music and Chant

Saturday 18th May 2024 (14:00 – 18:00)
St Gregory the Great RC Church, St James' Square, Cheltenham, GL50 3PR

Many organists play a few selected movements by French Baroque composers but how many of us have experienced the music in the way much of it was intended to be used, liturgically and with movements played in alternation with sung chant? This day, promoted in partnership with the Gloucestershire Organists' Association, provides just such an opportunity, culminating in a service (in Latin) of Solemn Vespers for the eve of Pentecost and preceded by a masterclass and illustrated talk by two experts in this field.

14:00 Clérambault's two suites for organ—Dr David Ponsford, author of French Organ Music in the Reign of Louis XIV (Cambridge University Press, 2011), talks us through the suites coaching volunteer players in the performance of individual movements (see below for details of how to volunteer)
15:00 French Baroque organ music and chant—Dr David McConkey, whose MMus thesis was on the organ music of Nivers, talks about 'alternatim' performance and coaches us in singing the chant in the French 18th-century manner
16:15 Tea break (refreshments provided)
17:00 Solemn Vespers (in Latin) for the Eve of Pentecost, with all the chant sung by a choir of pre-rehearsed singers, and with Clérambault's First Suite played by David Ponsford for the Magnificat
c. 17:45 End

St Gregory the Great Church
This beautiful church, with a fine acoustic for music, is situated in Cheltenham Town Centre. Cheltenham is easily reached by road, rail and bus from many destinations. The organ, by the Dutch builders S. F. Blank (2008) is a mechanical action instrument with the necessary colours for the performance of French Baroque organ music. It is situated in an open posiiton in the Chancel with the console easily visible to those attending. 

Players for the 14:00 session
Anyone wishing to be considered as a player for David Ponsford's session should state this on the booking form. They will be contacted separately for details of which movement(s) of which suite(s) they can offer. We hope to make available some acclimatisation time on the organ immediately before the class.

Editions of Clérambault's Livre d'Orgue
The Schott/Kalmus edition edited by Guilmant is still serviceable.
Lyrebird music publishes a modern scholarlay edition with much useful prefatory material. Click here for details.

Attendance fees
Members of the Gloucestershire Organists' Association attend free of charge by virtue of the financial contribution being made to the day by the GOA. Please click here to send an email [events @] to register your attendance and to state whether you would like to play in the 14:00 session. All others (listed here) are asked to use the online booking system.
RCO Members £20; RCO Student Members £10; Full time students £15; IAO Members £25; Others £30



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For RCO courses and classes, the following key is used as a guide to level and suitability:
Beginner (Grades 1-4)
Intermediate (Grades 4-6)
(Grades 6-8 / CRCO)
Diploma 1
Diploma 2

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