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St. Paul's Church - Birmingham England
The Church of England
the Church
Set in a timeless Georgian square, with rolling lawns and tree-lined walks.

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Annual Service
of the Birmingham Organists' Association
Monday 22nd September 2008; 7.30pm
at St Paul's Church in the Jewellery Quarter

extract from the Association's newsletter; November 2008

The Annual Service was held this year at St. Paulís, where our President, Paul Carr, is Organist and Director of Music. This late 18th century church, set in a Georgian square amidst a now reviving part of central Birmingham, is architecturally very beautiful with an acoustic to match.

Paul directed the slightly enlarged Choir from the console of the organ, which last had significant work done in 1964 by Hill, Norman & Beard. The instrument is in need of much attention mechanically, but Paul knows his organ inside out, and was able to coax some exciting and ravishing sounds from it.

The responses were sung to A Simple Setting in a Modal Style by Gibson, which complemented stylistically the plainsong-based canticles. Thus the Magnificat was sung to Tone II, with Paul contributing some magnificently improvised versets in a French late-Baroque style. The Nunc Dimittis was sung to Tone V, together with the evocative Morley fauxbordons.

A super Howells chant provided the music for part of Psalm 119, sung unaccompanied by the Choir. The anthem was the anonymous, but well known, setting of Rejoice in the Lord Alway.

The Rev'd Mary Gilbert gave a short and pithy sermon containing a good sprinkling of humour, and also contributed some excellently tuned intonations to the responses. The final voluntary was Regerís dramatic Introduction und Passacaglia in D Minor, played with great panache and sensitivity by Paul.

Our thanks go to all at St. Paulís for making us so welcome, particularly to Rev'd Mary, Paul Carr, and his Choir.

David Griffiths
Council Member of Birmingham Organistsí Association

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