In 2011 and 2012 Music-Makers presented concerts at St Bride’s Episcopal Church, a familiar landmark in Glasgow’s West End due to its distinctive square tower and prominent position in Hyndland Road.
The church has had a long association with fine music, not only within its own liturgical tradition but also as a concert venue for a range of choirs and instrumental groups, including Cappella Nova, Strathclyde Chamber Choir, BBC SSO Club, NYOS and McFall’s Chamber, to name just a few.
The building is also of architectural interest. Built from red sandstone, it is a fine example of the English Decorated or Gothic Revival style. The original design was by the noted English architect G F Bodley (1827-1907), whose other commissions included the Chapel of Queen’s College, Cambridge and St Salvador’s Episcopal Church, Dundee. However, only his Chancel and Nave were completed. The tower, north aisle, Lady Chapel and porch are all the work of the Edinburgh architect H O Tarbolton (1869-1947). The church was consecrated in 1915.
Bodley’s plans for a south aisle were never realised, giving the interior its distinctive shape and, perhaps, contributing to its excellent acoustic. It is a light, airy and versatile performing space, in addition to its visual appeal which features stained glass windows, intricate wood carvings and an early Madonna and Child statue by Eric Gill (1882-1940), beautiful in its restrained simplicity.
The church’s musical life has been greatly enhanced by its historic organ built by William Hill (1789-1870), the most progressive organ builder of the nineteenth century. Originally installed in St Martin’s Anderston, Glasgow in 1865, it was the first organ to be legally used in worship in an ‘Established’ Church in Scotland (after the Reformation). The instrument was moved to St Bride’s in 1972 and, apart from liturgical use, is enjoyed frequently in recitals. In 2017 it will undergo a complete restoration.
For a more comprehensive description of the building and its historic organ, see www.stbride.org.uk
In 2011 St Bride’s acquired a Steinway Model D concert grand piano which became the inspiration and focal point for our own series in 2011 and 2012 highlighting some of the greatest works of the solo piano repertoire.
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