Keeping you updated with the latest news


13 June 2024
2023/24 season finishes at Christ Church


28 June 2023
A Rousing end to the 2022/23 Season with Viva Italia!
9 June 2023
Cathedral Visits - Summer 2023
12 May 2023
Simon Toyne appointed as our new Musical Director
20 March 2023
Dame Ethel Smyth Mass in D - A resounding success!
13 February 2023
The Ethel Smyth full score has arrived











French Fireworks! From Widor to Castagnet

24 June 2018

A Network of French Composers

Yesterday, the choir pulled off a demanding programme of works celebrating the great heritage of French organist-composers, beginning in 1879 with Charles-Marie Widor, and ending in 2007 with Yves Castagnet. The concert included two massive Masses - the first, the Messe solennelle of Louis Vierne began the concert in thundering C sharp minor, gradually giving way to the heavenly clouds of C sharp major at the very end of the Agnus Dei. The second Mass, the Messe ’Salve Regina’ by Yves Castagenet (almost) closed the evening’s music-making. Both of these Masses are written for large choir and not one but <two> organs, and we were delighted that the virtuoso organist, Simon Hogan, was on hand to reduce the two organ parts onto one! It was a particular privilege to sing the Castagnet, having met him when he accompanied our singing when we were on tour at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris (2013). The real showstopping moment is in the Sanctus, when the organist plays seemingly hundreds of notes in every single bar, from beginning-to-end … simply stunning.,

Louis Vierne at the Organ Console
The Audience Assembles

The smaller choral works on offer came from the pens of Francis Poulenc and Marcel Dupré, and Simon Hogan got the opportunity to shine in two (and a half) organ solos; the Litanies of Jehan Alain, and the memorial to Jehan Alain, Prélude et Fugue sur le nom d’Alain, by Maurice Duruflé. Remarkable virtuosity was on display from beginning to end. It was mentioned earlier that the concert almost closed with the Castagnet, and that there were two and a half organ solos. Well, the concert ended with a well-deserved encore - Widor’s famous Toccata, not only played by Simon, but with some additional choral moments, designed by the late Sir David Willcocks.

Yves Castagnet at the Grande Orgue of Notre Dame