Her Majesty The Queen marks Royal College of Organists’ 150th anniversary
Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh have marked the 150th anniversary of the Royal College of Organists at a special recital at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle today (Wednesday 9th April).
The recital programme, played by the celebrated concert organist Thomas Trotter MA, DMus, FRCO (Organist of St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, and Birmingham City Organist), featured:
Flourish for an Occasion (Sir William Harris); Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major BWV564 (Johann Sebastian Bach); Suite: Laudate Dominum (Peter Hurford); and Toccata, Symphony No. 5 (Charles-Marie Widor).
After the recital, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh met College members, supporters and representatives of the governing body and staff.
The Queen was then presented with the College’s highest honour, The RCO Medal, in a special issue to mark her patronage and the occasion of her gracious presence at this recital.
His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh was presented with a facsimile edition of a ceremonial organ work composed by Sir Walter Parratt (Organist of St George’s Chapel, 1882–1924) for the wedding of HRH Princess Beatrice with HSH Prince Henry of Battenberg in 1885. The manuscript is to be found in the Parratt Archive held in the College’s Library.
Speaking at the event, RCO President Catherine Ennis said: “We are very grateful that Her Majesty the Queen, our Royal Patron, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, has consented to be present today to crown our anniversary celebrations.
“Our Royal Charter, which was first granted in 1893, is vitally important to us. It defines the essence of our mission, which is, quite simply, to improve standards in organ and choral music in the United Kingdom. It also assists us in exerting our influence elsewhere, not least through our many members overseas who have successfully completed College examinations.
“Organ music and choral music play a fundamental role in daily church services throughout the land, and in combination this music provides the ‘soundtrack’ to the most significant events in our lives, both at a national and a personal level: Royal weddings, Thanksgiving and Memorial services, and family events such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals.
“Executed at a standard which is the envy of world, it is music which is lodged in our national psyche, and music which offers scope for individual and collective fulfilment and creativity at many different levels.”
The organ was played before and after the recital by Richard Pinel, Assistant Director of Music at St George’s, and at the conclusion of the event by Benjamin Bloor FRCO, a former organ scholar of St George’s and the recipient of the RCO’s Limpus Prize for organ playing (Fellowship) in July 2013.