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Malcolm Kemp

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Everything posted by Malcolm Kemp

  1. Whilst hoping to avoid an argument about tierce mixtures or no tierce mixtures in Bach, could anyone please let me know (or tell me where I can easily find) details of the composition of the mixtures on Bach's organ at Weimar? Thanks Malcolm
  2. I have just sent pcnd5584 a PM via another forum trying to answer some of his questions and explaining why I don't wish to reply in public at present. Malcolm
  3. I was particularly interested because, as I told John Mander afterwards, I sometimes play services on an organ by Abraham Jordan which is eleven years older (1712) and which, having been heavily "restored" several ltimes over the last 300 years now sounds very different from the one in Southall. Interestingly, research today has revealed to me that originally the two organs were in churches a few hundred yards from each other - one in Botolph Lane and the other in Lower Thames Street. Malcolm
  4. Those of us who were with you on Saturday afternoon found the whole occasion most enjoyable and enlightening. Thank you. Malcolm
  5. I am intending to be there but will not require the 5.30pm buffet. Malcolm
  6. ...................And neither would any that I play for! Malcolm
  7. The boys' singing in this chorus from the St John Passion is absolutely and movingly beautiful. Quite different from the sound that, for example, John Birch used to get from his Chichester boys which was equally moving and beautiful, but the fact that two very different sounds are both so wonderful doesn't detract in any way from either. Thank you MM for posting this most recent link. Malcolm
  8. Thanks, Vox. For anyone who has any involvement with teaching or musical direction of any kind I would recommend in the strongest terms that, if you buy nothing else from GIA you get and read the quite small and short book "The Musician's Soul" by James Jordan which talks about all this and also spends a lot of time on mimetics as defined by Rene Girard. There are some very moving and personal appendix chapters written by three of his colleagues. Another, non-musical, book I have only recently discovered although it seems to be quite a cult publicaton, albeit less readable is "The Courage to teach" by Parker J Palmer. M
  9. The books are quite expensive but the DVDs and videos are not and usually arrive quite quickly. I'm very happy to discuss with Vox H over the phone sometime if he wants to; he knows where to locate my phone numbers. Let's give a very simple and obvious example which, now I think of it, ties with my own organ teaching technique. Suppose you regularly make a choir of any standard or composition rehearse every verse of every hymn and go over every tiny aspect of every verse in detail the most likely result, frankly, is that within three weeks you won't have a choir and very likely you will be out of a job. If you pick one verse of one hymn or even, if you are very daring, single verses out of two contrasting hymns and work on them in detail and then say to the choir now apply what we've just done with this verse to the other verses they will take personal ownership of it and do their best to get it right. They might even like you and want to come back next week because the rehearsal will have been varied and you have shown that you trust them to apply what they have done with one verse to the other verses. To use modern management parlance they will have taken "ownership" of the problem. If they don't, well, then you just keep on trying until they do. In some choirs some of them may even be better musicians than the conductor. Really it's all about personal relationships which is actually what Tony Price is saying above; he sang well and "gave his all" for Harry Bramma to a large extent because he felt Harry was interested in him as a person. James Jordan qiote a similar situation with Elaine Brown when she took her first rehearsal of a choir he sang in; every member of the choir felt she was engaged with and interested in every member of that choir and so they all sang well for her. There's a marvellous (non-musical) book called Lessons of the Masters by George Steiner which develops in details the necessity of the right "chemistry" between master and student in any situation. Really it's all so easy and obvious and yet we all fail sometimes and some of us have faile dmore than others. You won't change the sound or standard of a choir overnight; it frequently takes several years if you have only weekly rehearsals with them. As a number of people have said on this and other forums many times, it takes years to build up a good choir and it takes a new vicar or even a PCC less than one day to ruin it. I would add that two of the finest choral conductors I have witnessed in action over the last year were Andy Lumsden and Simon Bell at the SCF. Malcolm
  10. It has recently been pointed out to me, in a book by James Jordan of Westminster Choir College of Rider University that, historically, choral conducting has been around far longer than orchestral conducting, having grown out of the art of chironomy which is more a horizontal style rather than a vertical one and also that the human voice, where the sound comes from within the performer, has different physiological needs to people playing an (external) instrument. Good point. I hope nobody is silly enough to think that by conducting an average sized church or chamber choir exactly the same way - and with the exactly same sort of technique - as Boult would have conducted a full size symphony orchestra they will ever get a good musical result from their choir. What they will not get is good phrasing, vocalic flow or intonation. If you want to know why then read almost any of James Jordan's books; he talks more sense on the subjec than anyone else I've every come across. Interestingly, Jordon also says that as a conductor you never get good results by trying to control either the music or the performers and that you need to be open, centred and, above all, vulnerable. This amazed me at first but when I thought about it - at some length - I could see what he meant it. I then tried it with a professional standard unpaid choir I have worked with either regularly or occasionally over many years; I was quite surprised how greatly it improved both their performance and their relationship with me. If only these books - and their related videos and DVDs - (all published by GIA) had been around when I first started out things oculd have been so much better. I passed the RCO choir training diploma in 1975 but I reckon that most of what I really know about choir training I've learnt in the last three or four years, partly from GIA resources and partly from two very good singing teachers. Malcolm Malcolm
  11. I have a DVD which includes this 1954 carol service, the televised 2000 one and a lovely conversation between messrs Ledger, Willcocks and Cleobury. It's worth getting the DVD to hear this conversation. I also have a CD of Kings under Boris Ord singing Evensong to music by Stanford and Hadley. I cannot for the life of me understand why nostalgists claim that Kings under Ord was good; on this film of 1954 (the first Kings carol service ever to be televised) to me both the men and boys are awful. The solo boy in Once in Royal is Rodney Williams who ended up as senior lay clerk at Westminster Abbey and who was unnecessarily ridiculed in the autobiography of one of his colleagues there. To me, Kings were at their best in the early Willcocks days but like all the choirs the sound has changed dramatically over the years and will continue to change. It's all a matter of personal taste and people will continue arguing about it until judgment day. The present choir seems to sing well in spite of their conductor's strange gesticulations.. Malcolm
  12. I think it was probably around 1972-73 that I played it very briefly but, as I say, it was during a lunch hour and I can't remember a lot about it. M
  13. Many years ago I had a brief play on a Gern organ in Frant parish church, just outside Tunbridge Wells. I can't remember much about it now apart from the fact that it made a very nice sound. The late Leonard Lazell was organist there at the time. Malcolm
  14. Priory Radio keeps on playing a rather good organ transcription of this piece, apparently played by Thomas Murray. Is anyone able to point me in the direction of where I might find a copy, please? One website quotes a transcription by C H Trevor dating from the early 1940s but I don't know how I would get a copy of that in the UK or whether it's the edition Murrary uses. I'm not against playing occasional transcrpitions in recitals because they often go down quite well with audiences that are not greatly into serious church/organ music. Thanks Malcolm
  15. From my own listening on the radio and very occasionally being present at a service and the rehearsal beforehand my opinion is that the balance of sound in the broadcast is generally dreadful. The service from Lincoln was actually one of the better in this respect. Having heard the Lincoln choir live, on recordings and on radio on occasions since the days of Dr Philip Marshall when, by the admission of several lay clerks whom I knew, they were not very good, I thought the standard of the choir itself on Wednesday was the best I had ever heard it by a very long way and I was most impressed.
  16. What on earth has this got to do with organs? There are plenty of blogs and other websites devoted specifically to topics of this kind and very boring they are too! Malcolm
  17. Sorry, Peter, it's a long way from Brighton and there's a forecast of hail tomorrow. Good luck with it anyway. Malcolm
  18. And per the new issue of Choir and Organ Daniel Cook is going to be in charge of the music at St David's Cathedral. I thought he would be a likely cadidate for promotion before long because he has so much ability and enthusiasm and has probably reached a stage where he needs to be in charge. Malcolm
  19. I see in Church Times that Westminster Abbey is advertisinig for an assistant organist from January 2012. Does anyone know where Jamie McVinnie is going? Malcolm
  20. If anyone has a copy of said descant, I would love one as well. Thanks in hopefulness! Malcolm
  21. And that attitude to worship, friends, is why organists like me give up, why choirs - the best mission tool the church has - disintegrate and why congregations stop going to church. The standards of liturgy and music to be found in the vast majority of churches - certainly Anglican ones - is frankly appalling and such standards would not be tolderated elsewhere. I am currently so very fortunate; I go to weekday Low Masses at an Anglican church in Brighton where everything is done extremely well and I go (in the congregation) for sung services, mainly High Mass, at a London church where I also now ocasionally deputise on the organ. At the latter the music and liturgy could not be any more old fashioned and traditional yet, for a parish in which nobody has lived for probably 70 years now, it gets on average at least 50 people on a Sunday morning and these include people of all ages, types and genders. You might be surprised at how many young people, from age 1 upwards, enjoy this very formal and beautiful old fashioned liturgy, with professional choir, every week. Try it if you're ever in London on a Sunday and not otherwise occupied - 11 am High Mass (Last Gospel, Asperges, the lot!) at St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge, in Lower Thames Street. And at no church will you find a better welcome; if you don't stay to the free wine and light eats in the crypt afterwards we'll all be most offended. The point about St Magnus is that there is beautiful, dignified and old-fashioned liturgy and music, as well as very good preaching, and the bit where everyone is matey, genuinely friendly and welcoming, and a good social time is had by all, comes afterwards in the crypt or, if it's a BBQ, out in the attractive private courtyard. The two sides of church life complement each other but they don't interfere with each other. That, surely, is at is should be. Malcolm
  22. In my fairly wide experience of playing for funerals over the past few years, if the service is in a church, or if, as quite often happens, I am booked directly by the Funeral Director for a crematorium service they ask what the fee is. If you don't want a fee you either tell the FD when they contact you to book you or you tell your church's Priest or Minister and they tell the FD. I have never had any problems; I tell the church or the FD what my fee is and that's what I get. The only time I get a fixed-rate fee (with tax deducted at source) is when I'm booked by the City Council for a service at the crematorium owned and administered by them. All very simple and I've never had any problems. Local Anglican and RC priests in the Brighton area often don't want to be involved in fees and ask me to tell the FD idrect what my fee is. In the days when I was director of music at a church I would almost always waive my right to the fee if the services of another organist were requested although such requests were very rare. More frequently, I was asked to play for church services where the regular organist could and would have played and I have always told the parties involved that they must offer the regular organist his usual fee. Sometimes when I read posts on this forum - and similar ones like the ABRSM Viva Organ - I wonder about the sanity of some members. They seem to put up with so much aggro, agression and opposition, seemingly getting no satisfaction or enjoyment whatsoever from it and yet they carry on doing it! I endured a certain amount of this for a short while in my last job and just gave up. Life is too short to waste your time doing things you don't enjoy or that cause you aggro. Malcolm
  23. Malcolm Archer's tune Redland is also quite a pleasant change for King of Glory.
  24. I played the finale to Vierne 1 when deputising at a City Church in London three weeks ago and that, as always, was hugely popular with people of all ages and genders. The following week I played Guilmant's March on a Theme of Handel and that was also popular but not as much as the Vierne. If I'm deputising somewhere I always try to give them something that I know, or suspect, they don't normally hear. There is one church in Brighton where, for that reason, I would never play the Bach D major or the Stanley Suite for Organ (arr. H Coleman) and another where I wouldn't play the Dorian because I'm sure those congregations are thoroughly sick of those pieces. The church where I played the Vierne and Guilmant is one where I am in the congregation most Sundays so I know what they do and don't usually hear. Malcolm
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