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Psallam spiritu et mente


Sir Sydney Nicholson
founder of the RSCM
Sir Sydney Nicholson (1875 - 1947) succeeded Sir Frederick Bridge ('Westminster Bridge') as organist of Westminster Abbey. The First World War had just ended, and the Abbey's fabric needed urgent repair, as did the music of its services. Raising standards dramatically, Nicholson also organised magnificent music for its grand national services. He founded the Westminster Abbey Special Choir, and, as chairman of the Church Music Society, campaigned to improve Anglican church music throughout the country. This led to the formation of the School of English Church Music, forerunner of the RSCM. Resigning from the Abbey in 1927, he devoted himself to the SECM, lecturing throughout the UK and visiting SECM members around the world. In 1938 he was knighted for 'services to church music'.

Nicholson wrote several hymn tunes that are still in use, including 'Bow Brickhill' ('We sing the praise of him who died') and 'Crucifer' ('Lift high the cross').


Educated: Rugby School, New College, Oxford

Teachers:
Walter Parratt
C.V. Stanford (Royal College of Music) &
Iwan Knorr (1853-1916) (Frankfurt am Main).
(Knorr, a pupil of Moscheles, Richter & Reinecke, taught Cyril Scott, Percy Grainger, Balfour Gardiner & Roger Quilter.)

Organist: Barnet Parish Church,
Eton,
Carlisle (1904) &
Manchester Cathedrals
(1908-1918),
Westminster Abbey (1918-1927).
 
  Nicholson's RSCM policy statement:

'The general policy of the RSCM is to deal with the whole question of Church music on a practical basis. Its aims are essentially constructive. Recognising the great variety both of what is possible and what is desirable in different Churches, it seeks to find the best in all styles and periods of Church music rather than to impose any one particular type; but it is regarded as a cardinal principle that whatever music is used it should be the best of its kind and should be performed as well as the available material permits.'
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