St. Matthew’s is justifiably proud of its music, and its choir and organ play an important role within the rich and varied liturgical tradition for which the church is widely known. The fifteen-strong choir of men and women sings at Solemn Mass each Sunday and at Evensong with Benediction once a month, as well as at many of the special services that St. Matthew’s holds each year. Most notable among these are the Advent Carol Service, the All Souls’ Requiem and the deeply moving services during Holy Week and Easter.
Great care is taken to choose music that comments on, reflects and enhances the readings and prayers, and the music is integrated into the liturgy with thought and invention. The choir is privileged to be able to contribute to the church’s worship in this way. Repertoire is chosen from all periods and covers a range of styles, from Renaissance polyphony through Bach and Brahms to the present day. The organ, a 1992 instrument by Goetze and Gwynn built along mid-seventeenth century lines, makes its own characterful contribution to the worship, and is also used regularly for recitals and concerts in its own right. It produces an extraordinary variety of colours for such a small instrument. It is placed on a gallery at the west end, from where it provides strong and lively support for the singing. Further information can be found below.
The clergy and congregation are supportive and welcoming, and members of the choir find that they quickly become involved in other aspects of the church’s life. There is a strong tradition of fellowship at St. Matthew’s which continues into the present day. The church treats seriously its challenging mission to a resurgent city centre and to the thousands of new residents in the parish. Exciting times lie ahead for a church at the very heart of city life.
Choral scholarships are available to singers aged sixteen and above. This is a relatively new scheme designed to inject new life into the church’s musical activities, and in addition to forming an important part of the choir here at St. Matthew’s, scholars are usually also heavily involved in other musical activities in and around the city. Largely they are students from one of the city’s two major universities, but all singers are welcome to apply for a scholarship, whether or not they are a student. The Scholarship is intended to pay for singing lessons and other ongoing musical development.
The Church also offers an Organ Scholarship. The Scholar’s duties will include playing the organ, conducting the choir and assisting with the administration of the music. The exact nature of the appointment will be tailored to the successful applicant, so the Scholarship should be seen as a fairly flexible arrangement. Applications and enquiries are invited from those interested.
We are currently recruiting, and aim to appoint new singers in all parts. Enquiries and applications are warmly invited at any time, and should be addressed to the Acting Director of Music, whose contact details you will find below. Appointment is subject to a short informal audition and interview with the Vicar and the Director of Music.
Andrew Linn was born in Cheshire and began his organ studies with Roger Usher at Chester Cathedral and as a music scholar at Shrewsbury School. In 1986 he won an organ scholarship to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he studied English and was an organ student of David Sanger. After graduation Andrew worked as a regional organist in southern Norway before returning to Cambridge to take an MPhil and a PhD in Linguistics. During this time he studied the organ with Peter Hurford and was assistant organist at Queens College. After three years in St Albans Andrew took up a post at the University of Sheffield, where he is currently I Professor of the History of Linguistics and Head of the Department of English Language and Linguistics, as well as Director of Music at St Matthew’s, Carver Street. he holds diplomas from the Royal College of Organists and the Royal College of Music, and has given recitals throughout the UK, in Scandinavia and in the USA.
The Director of Music
The organ, by Martin Goetze and Dominic Gwynn (1992), stands on the west gallery under the tower. It is based on the early work of ‘Father’ Bernard Smith, between his last work in Holland (at the Grotekerk, Edam, in 1656) and his first work in England (the King’s private chapel at Windsor Castle, 1673). Elements are taken from the organs at Noordwalde, Eenum (1695) and Adlington Hall (circa 1695). As such it is an instrument of great historical interest and it is often used for recitals and demonstrations.
The specification is as follows:
Upper manual (C – g3)
Lower manual (C – g3)
Pedal (C – f1)
Couplers (foot pedals): I-II I-P II-P
*denotes stops available on the other manual at half-draw.
Wind is provided by a 2m x 1m single-fold wedge bellows, with a sprung regulator for the Pedal. Wind pressure is 68mm on the manuals and 75mm on the pedals. Manual pipes are made of metal while pedal pipes are wooden. The pitch is a1 = 440; the tuning is a modified meantone based on Roger North’s instructions.
We are pleased to announce the release of a new CD of the St. Matthew’s organ, played by Andrew Linn (Director of Music) with choral contributions from Sheffield chamber choir Viva Voce. The recording, on Regent Records, is a fine testament to the versatility and beauty of our Goetze and Gwynn organ.
The programme, arranged in liturgical order tracing the Church’s year from Advent to Easter, offers a study of the organ chorale, following the genre from its greatest exponent J.S. Bach through the romanticism of Brahms up to the twentieth century astringency of Kenneth Leighton. Popular works such as Bach’s Wachet auf! ruft uns die Stimme and In dulci jubilo rub shoulders with the greatest exercise on a chorale melody ever written, the Canonic Variations on Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her. Brahms’ Eleven Chorale Preludes were the last works he wrote and these organ pieces provide a striking contrast to the sumptuous versions of the hymns with which they are married on this recording. Richard Popplewell’s Easter Hymn brings the disc to a triumphant conclusion. Other noteworthy works on this CD are the original versions of the hymns, When I survey the wondrous
Cross and Jesus Christ is risen today, beautifully sung by Viva Voce.
Copies of the CD may be bought in local record shops or direct from Regent Records. Alternatively copies may be ordered by sending a cheque (made payable to St Matthew’s Church) for £12.00 (£10 plus £2 p&p) to:
Organ CD, St Matthew’s Church, Carver Street, Sheffield S1 4FT
Music information Booklet
Music list until Christ the King
Information – Press for details
Masses Monday – Friday 12:30 p.m Saturday 8:30 a.m
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