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  1. Yesterday
  2. Greetings all. I hope this post finds you and yours well in these continued troubled times. I recently found this clip, from 2016, of an Ordination of Priests service at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Washington (USA) and the opening music is an improvisation on the responsory Psalm which follows. The verses of the responsory Psalm, however, do not seem to be all from the same Psalm: I worked out, from a web search, that one of the verses- but not the rest - is Psalm 147 v15. Here is the clip: Does anyone know the name of the piece and the composer of it? If not I will ask someone within the cathedral directly but I wondered if anyone here might know. The piece, by the way, is worth a listen the whole way through. Cheers, Dave
  3. Having just watched this and also having wanted to applaud out loud, I thought we could all do with the experience. 😍 Two comments immediately arise from the general excitement for me - 1. What a good job they did of the recording, and 2. I hope this filmed footage means we're getting a complete Blu-ray release of the Duruflé album as well! I confess I'm waiting until Christmas to hear it...
  4. Last week
  5. The lack of equality of opportunity is not just about numbers of places in cathedral and Oxbridge college choirs. It’s about the ranking of those places in terms of the institutions that are most likely to launch their former choristers into musical careers at the highest level. The “strike rate” for choristers from Kings, St Pauls, New College, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral is, I’m almost certain, much higher than from, say (and I mean no disrespect), Derby (my home town), Ely, Truro, Carlisle.
  6. This subject cropped up yesterday on a ‘Christian’ blog where similar comments about inequality were being made. But on delving, I found that The Times reported in December 2019 that the girl choristers in English cathedrals then actually outnumbered the boys - by two! Of course that might have changed by now. I’m not sure that some of the above comments are up to speed. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the girls’ choir founded by Richard Seal at Salisbury Cathedral. After a bit of a gap - after all, it was considered revolutionary at the time - other cathedrals followed suit. Most, if not all, now have a girls’ choir, and one or two are mixed and have been for some time, so there has been no lack of opportunity for girls in recent years. Of course they have to pass the auditions just as much as the boys, but the 2019 figures suggested that they had achieved numerical parity then.
  7. What is wrong with having separate boys' and girls' top lines? Mrs Humana has four nieces (as well as a nephew) who as kids sang in single-sex top lines in cathedral choirs and they were deprived of nothing. One of them is now in the choir at Merton and another sang in the various first-rate choirs of Wells Cathedral School.
  8. Is it the first awarding of the Nobel Prizes which took place in 1901, the year the Sonata was published and the year Rheinberger died? It was divided equally between Jean Henry Dunant "for his humanitarian efforts to help wounded soldiers and create international understanding" and Frédéric Passy "for his lifelong work for international peace. Of course, I may be way of the mark!!! But it's all I can think of!!!
  9. I don't think anyone will disagree that being a chorister or choral scholar in a cathedral or college chapel is a wonderful experience which develops a level of musical excellence that can lead to many fantastic future opportunities. Is it right in this day and age that this should be limited to boys and men only? Or that girls and woman can participate so long as they are kept separate from the boys and men? I write as a father of two daughters with wonderful voices who never had opportunities that would have been available to them if they had been born male. I agree that a well trained boys voice is a beautiful thing to listen to, but so is a well trained girls voice or woman's voice, as well as man's voice. We should remember that, even without girls and women, the sound of choir now is very different from what it was 100, 200, 300 and more years ago. Repertoire, organs, music and singing styles as well as the liturgy are continually evolving and choirs have and will evolve as well. I welcome the inclusion of girls and women at St John's and I think the decision to form a mixed choir is bold and forward looking. For those that haven't read it, St John's press release can be found here: https://www.sjcchoir.co.uk/news/girls-and-women-sing-members-choir-st-john’s
  10. I've started thinking about the pre-service music for 14th November again, and though one wants to make sure the large congregation with a number of infrequent attenders feel 'at home' by playing some of the 'regular' Remembrance pieces, I wondered about including some of Rheinberger's Sonata No 20, marked 'Zur Friedensfeier' - 'To the Peace Festival.' I think I am correct in saying that this sonata doesn't get the best press, as it were, and it is certainly easier than many. But... and here I expose my woeful ignorance... I don't know, and nor can I find, what the Peace Festival actually was. Can anyone help, please?
  11. I’m relieved that there’s no debt. Thanks for putting my mind at ease.
  12. I'm all for gender equality now in both the student bodies and in collegiate choirs, but the idea that there's a "debt" of inequality that can be repaid by shifting the balance in the other direction is wrong.
  13. In the case of my college, 531 years - and some of us were around in 1972 when it happened!
  14. For 500 years there were no women in Cambridge colleges.
  15. A point worth noting - following this change there will be a roughly equal number of boy and girl trebles in Cambridge, with Pembroke and St Catherine colleges both having girl-only choirs, King's and Jesus having only boys, and St John's being mixed.
  16. I saw this and was mystified by the reasoning. Currently St John's service schedule for the boys is Tue, Thur, Fri, Sat, 2xSun, which is six services a week This could easily be changed to daily giving eight services to support two groups of trebles singing four times a week each. Add to this over 11 hours a week of morning and per-service rehearsals which could remain much the same for all choristers. They also have probably the one of the shortest schedules of any such choir, singing only approx 24 weeks of the year, and not singing at Christmas or the long vac like King's do. Definitely scope to add more services. I don't buy the argument that two treble lines would have to result in a reduction in singing for each child such that there would be a consequent drop in the quality of the singing.
  17. I wonder why St John's has taken the decision to go mixed, rather than have a separate girls' top line in tandem with the boys? It is, after all, one of the very top church choirs in the country and, so far as I know, it isn't bust, so why is it being fixed? The college surely could fund both if it wanted to, so there must be other reasons. Is it getting more difficult to attract boys? I'm sure most DoMs would say yes, but I would have hoped that the very top choirs would not yet be feeling the pinch. On the other hand, there is an obvious disadvantage in that two top lines get only 50% of the singing experience that a single one does.
  18. I see that it has been announced that St. John's College, Cambridge has agreed to admit girls and women to the choir. Andrew Nethsingha has said: "Providing an opportunity for girls and women to sing as members of the choir of St. John's is a very exciting development for the choral tradition of the college. Choral singing is a specialised art form and our choir has played a formative role in the careers of many globally recognised musicians. Extending membership to talented female singers creates an exceptional new musical opportunity for women and girls, as our much loved choir continues to make a highly valued contribution to the musical life of St. John's and the wider world" I say "not before time!" - but others might disagree!!! ......................... and then there is the possible Brighton - to Cambridge move!!!
  19. Austrian recitalist, and organist of the Dominikanerkirche for 65 years has died at the age of 93. From the Domkirche in Passau: Reger Op. 95
  20. Earlier
  21. I've listened to the performance and I really enjoyed it. I think the organ handled the music really well, and I also thought the combination of accordion/bandoneon worked really well. I also find the Orgue Gulliver has a very wide dynamic range, especially for an instrument that only has one rank of pipes under expression. Overall I really enjoyed the performance and, and I would even love to have an album of. The one downside I have is that unfortunately the sound gets very distorted in the loud passages.
  22. The Toulouse organ festival will be live streaming a concert for organ accordion. The performers are accordionist Lionel Suarze, and organist Thierry Escaich (who will be performing on the new transportable pipe organ called Orgue Gulliver).
  23. A one-hour documentary on YouTube regarding the new organ for Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra Hall: Largely in English, but elsewhere with English sub-titles. (I was right about the pipes under the floor, BTW!)
  24. This moment has been long in coming and now after 110 years of incompleteness, it is definitely well worth coming to Shrewsbury tonight to hear the Hill organ played by James McVinnie at 6.30 pm. His recent performance at the BBC Proms attracted glowing reviews, and he is playing a varied and exciting programme concluding with a selection from the Stravinsky Firebird Suite. Tickets available on line or at the door.
  25. Thanks for this update. I see that there are some minor changes to the previous spec: The Choir has gained a Piccolo 1', and the Grand has lost its 16' Posaune and one of its mixture ranks. Also the Solo Unda Maris has been replaced by a Voix Eolienne, though I wonder whether this latter stop is the same other than a change of name?
  26. James Mcinnie gives the opening recital of the newly restored and completed Hill at Shrewsbury Abbey tomorrow Fri 15 October at 630pm. I say complete as it has taken 110 years to add pipes to the many "prepared for" drawstops but it is a beautiful instrument to play and hear. Details of a weekend of events and the new specification can be found at https://www.shrewsburyabbey.com/
  27. Yes, the new console will be moveable! It will live on the existing lift and be put under the stage when not in use, but it can be used on any part of the stage. That gives me an excuse to mention that we're on the final two organ recitals before removal - Richard Hills next Monday, and I'm giving the very last one on the 25th (followed by refreshments). And for those who are interested, the spec is now fully finalised and updated on the Nicholson & Co website here: http://www.nicholsonorgans.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/LTH-website-spec.pdf
  28. A Buckinghamshire Organists' Association member planning to relocate has had a clear out of a large quantity of music which is available for a donation to charity. If anyone is interested, please PM me and I will forward a PDF listing.
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