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Posts posted by wolsey

  1. On 05/09/2020 at 17:50, General Cancel said:

    Having just inherited a box of redundant music from a retired organist which included Peter Hurford’s ‘Laudate Dominum’, [...]

    Is there anyone out there in the cyber-chancel who knew Hurford well enough to tell me how he went about composing his organ music / came up with this suite? Perhaps Wolsey, S_L or Ian van Deurne might know...

    Sorry, no. Suite 'Laudate Dominum' dates from 1961 (as S_L says), some eighteen years before my studies with him.


    On 06/09/2020 at 17:32, S_L said:

    improvisation wasn't Hurford's 'big thing'

    I'm afraid this is not quite accurate. His obituary in The Times last year mentioned that he was runner-up to Marie-Claire Alain in the improvisation contest at the Geneva International Music Competition in 1950. Moreover, improvisation continues to play an important part in the St Albans International Organ Festival. A little bit of research on the IOF website reveals that Catharine Crozier wrote in the Musical Times, August 1963: the IOF "was the first of its kind to be held in England. Its purpose was to revive a tradition of contrapuntal improvisation (my italics), and to encourage a high standard of musical style in performance... those who attended expressed the opinion that this had been a successful venture which should be continued." Notice that it precedes performance.

  2. On 19/03/2020 at 14:19, sotto said:

    Whilst social distancing at home I've been watching the latest series of "Outlander" which includes scenes in what looked like a large, and rather fine, American church with a large organ split across matching cases on either side of the quire. With a little bit of research it transpires that these scenes were filmed in Thomas Coats Memorial (Baptist) Church in Paisley, Scotland...[snip]

    Which episode?  I played the organ decades ago, and remember the Saxhorn stop on the Solo. It's a shame there aren't more examples of it.

  3. 5 hours ago, DHM said:

    Others will please correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the ADoM at Kings is primarily responsible for Kings Voices (the mixed-voice voluntary choir that sings on Mondays).

    That's certainly my understanding as well. As an aside to the matter of Oxbridge Assistant Directors of Music, more Oxbridge colleges should build on the pioneering work done at Downing College between 2015-18 by Christopher Robinson who acted as Mentor to the Organ Scholars. Downing's first Director of College and Chapel Music, David Lowe, is continuing this arrangement.

  4. On 25/11/2019 at 20:33, Martin Cooke said:

    ... I don't think we can manage any of the Stephen Cleobury arrangements, and in any case, haven't copies, but I might play an organ only arrangement of his Suo Gan at some stage...

    Joys Seven? There's a 4-pt arrangement of it in 100 Carols for Choirs, while the original 8-pt version is available separately.

  5. 2 hours ago, Martin Cooke said:

    ** What has happened to the Oxford and Cambridge BMus/MusB degree? My observations tell me that folk who stay on after their first degree these days seem to end up with MPhil, MSt, and MMus variously at O and C. Are the BMus degrees still awarded? 

    As far as Cambridge is concerned, the MusB was suspended in 2011. A quick Google at Oxford University pages suggests that the BMus is no longer awarded there either.

  6. 2 hours ago, David Cynan Jones said:

    I was only going on the information in the advertisement and not to get into the debate around his unfortunate departure. 

    It was not my intention to start any such debate. My point, however, is that both the advert and my message put the 'stepping down' in the past tense.

  7. 3 hours ago, Barry Oakley said:

    Some words from Olivier Latry:

    Dear all,

    In these tragic times for the Cathedral, you have been extremely numerous to send me words of support, more moving than the others res, either by e-mail, SMS, FaceBook, Instagram or by calling.

    I will never thank you for that. [...]

    With all my friendly thoughts.

    Olivier Latry

    He actually said, "I will never thank you enough for that."

  8. First of all, you have to be a member of the RCO in order to enter their diploma examinations. The RCO of 2019 is an up-to-date organisation, and I see from their website that the course Preparing for CRCO, ARCO and FRCO on 22 June includes "Thirty-minute aural lessons for CRCO and ARCO will be available with Simon Williams at 10:00, 10:30, 11:00 and 11:30 at a cost of £12 pounds each, payable on the day. These will be allocated in order of receipt of booking." I suggest you join and take full advantage of the resources which the College now offers.

  9. Catherine Ennis presented Peter with the RCO Medal in March 2013. This is the late Patricia Hurford’s acceptance speech at the RCO Presentation at Southwark Cathedral:

    It is sad that Peter is unable to be here to receive his medal in person; but he is comfortable and calm in a Home that is able to look after him properly. There are two things that I would like to say on his behalf, especially to all of you who have just received your ARCO or FRCO. He would want to congratulate you most warmly, and would be delighted that your musicianship and hard work have brought you thus far on the complex instrument that was foremost in his life and work. Secondly, he would want to say ‘Thank You’ for the honour of being awarded the medal by his colleagues, and how pleased he is to be in company with John Butt and Mark Venning.

    To these two points I want to add one of my own. You will all have become such proficient organists for a variety of good reasons. To these I am going to add a further reason that you may not know about: Music, and organ playing in particular, are extremely good for your health, especially in later stages of life. Peter had a minor stroke when he was 67, and could not even lift his left hand onto the keyboard unaided immediately after it. The physiotherapist who came to treat him at our home said, "There is no exercise that I can give you that will help you nearly as much as playing the organ". Peter was giving concerts again within 7 months of his stroke. The blind French organist Jean Langlais recovered even faster, and gave a recital just 3 months after his stroke. Peter was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease – already quite advanced – early in 2008, but his playing was still superb. He gave his last public performance in 2009. By the end of 2011 his illness was much worse and there were all sorts of ordinary things he could no longer do; but he could still play Bach. For 18 months of the last two years Peter and I have been to weekly gatherings organised by the Alzheimer's Society called 'Singing for the Brain'. Everybody there joined in with the singing, including some people who could no longer talk, yet they could sing words set to music. Thus music, and organ playing in particular, can make all sorts of otherwise unattainable things possible. So if you ever have a difficult or dreary practice session, as you come down from the organ loft you could mutter to yourself, "Well, at least it did my brain some good"!

  10. I'll repeat here what I posted a little earlier on Facebook, that I am devastated to hear of his death. I have such happy memories of my two years of lessons with him during my second and final years at Cambridge, and I remain eternally grateful for the way he opened my ears and eyes to the playing of JS Bach (and others). He strove to ensure that musical line was at the heart of his students’ organ-playing - and, indeed, music-making in all its forms. I shall take down his boxed set of Bach Organ Works from the CD shelf (there's also the Franck, Hindemith and a more recent Bach recording), and relive his art. RIP Peter. Your influence on my musical development was immeasurable.

  11. On 04/02/2019 at 08:05, michaelwilson said:

    I've never been to any of the royal chapels (except St Peter ad Vincula many years ago) but I intend to correct that this year, hopefully when the choirs are present.

    Hampton Court Chapel's website is being overhauled, and details of services have not been updated. Current information is available here though. Information about the establishment at St James's is here; HM Tower of London; The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy.

  12. On 03/02/2019 at 10:28, Rowland Wateridge said:

    A lot of  information can be found by Google searches of both Chapels Royal.  I guess that both Directors of Music are busy today [...]

    The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy is sometimes included in some ‘lists’, but we will wait for the reply anticipated above.

    It has been a busy day, Rowland! The choirs of the Chapels Royal were not 'divided' as the OP suggests.

    The Chapel Royal today is still a body of priest and singers that attends on the sovereign. It’s based at St James’s Palace, and comprises the Dean of the Chapels Royal (Lord Chartres), and the Sub Dean who is assisted by three Priests-in-Ordinary.  The clergy and the choir of ten boys and six Gentlemen attend the Sovereign privately at such ceremonies as baptisms in Buckingham Palace, and publicly, such as the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They also attend the sovereign at the annual Cenotaph Service (which is why this service is conducted - until last year, exceptionally - by the Dean of the Chapels Royal) and at the Royal Maundy service.

    The Chapel Royal has three other daughter establishments at HM Tower of London, Hampton Court, and more recently, the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy (a royal peculiar, but inaugurated as a Chapel Royal in November 2016), each with its own Chaplain and choir.  The Chaplains of these three places, incidentally, have been appointed to the three Canonries of the Chapel Royal, ancient offices instituted by Edward IV in 1483 and revived by the Queen in 2010.

    Hampton Court Palace was part of the royal circuit until the reign of George III. Until then, services were regularly sung by the itinerant Chapel Royal whenever the monarch was in residence.  With the departure of the court from Hampton Court in 1737, there was a hiatus of 130 years before a permanent choir was established there in 1868. The 150th anniversary of this choir was celebrated in April 2018. The choirs of Hampton Court and the Savoy have a presence on social media, and a quick search on Facebook will keep one abreast of what is happening in the two locations.

    The information about John Blow (mentioned earlier) needs to be clarified. The Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal was not 'de facto Director of Music' in his time. Blow was sworn a gentleman of the Chapel Royal in March 1673/4, appointed Master of the Children (in succession to Pelham Humfrey) in July 1674, and succeeded Christopher Gibbons as one of the three organists of the Chapel Royal in October 1676. He was appointed Composer for the Chapel Royal (a newly created post) in 1699. The title of Master of the Children, according to the personnel list in David Baldwin's book The Chapel Royal Ancient and Modern (1990) is last used for Stanley Roper (Organist and Composer) who served from 1919-1953, and is shown as Master of the Children from 1923-1953.

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