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Mander Organs


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Posts posted by wolsey

  1. That's about right. Here's an opening benchmark from St Paul's Cathedral's Information for Visiting Organists playing Evensong (where, of course, Stainer was): "[...] Since the focus of Choral Evensong is the choral music, the staff organists normally conclude weekday services with reflective voluntaries. It is, however, perfectly acceptable to play something which develops the style or compositional period of the choir's music. 2'30" is a safe minimum to cover the procession back to [...] the Dean's Aisle, while 4'30'-5' is the upper limit. Sunday and major festivals tend to be on bigger in scale..." 

  2. On 27/09/2017 at 13:24, Jonathan Dods said:

    I...(plus the balletic nature of the part in the Gloria!) ...

    A tip passed on to me which I've always used: the bar/s at the very end before the 'Amen' is/are best played by having manual doubles (16') drawn and playing it on manuals. 

  3. On 09/08/2017 at 20:19, Contrabombarde said:

    Could anyone enlighten me as to the purpose of the 16 foot Holzregal on the Positive? I mean, I get having an 8 foot Krumhorn as the only reed on the Positive, though in this case the Krumhorn is on the Hauptwerk instead of a Trompete. But a 16 foot fractional length as the sole reed on a manual? When would you ever use it?


    I was taught by Alan Harverson in my gap year at the RAM before going to Cambridge, and sometimes had lessons at the Priory. Of course, he is not here to explain his reasonings, but as Maurice Forsyth-Grant says about the organ in his book Twenty-One Years of Organ-Building (Positif Press 1968): "In the meanwhile, however, Alan Harverson was very busy preparing the specification that he required. We have never, before or since, had such a full documentation for the specification of an organ. His main idea was to have a large two-manual specification but judiciously split over three playing manuals. [...] Not only were we given a stop-list but also the exact balance between the stops, and Alan Harverson gave numerous examples of the registrations he intended to use in the playing of the Dutch, North German and French repertoires, as well as in later and more modern music. No organist can ever have been so thorough in trying to get the organ exactly as he required. Because of his definite - and convincing - ideas in the matter, we were quite prepared to do the best for him, and [...] on the whole we did manage to fulfil his very exacting requirements."

  4. Interesting. If you look at the music list for HM Chapel Royal, St. James' Palace it gives Carl Jackson as Director of Music without making it clear if he is merely *Acting* DoM.





    I'm not sure how you can manage to confuse the Chapel Royal, *Hampton Court* Palace (whose website you have linked) with that at St James's Palace. I remain Director of Music at Hampton Court, while Joseph McHardy becomes my counterpart at St James's Palace from September.

  5. Update: The piece is now available through Boosey & Hawkes at this link. Inexcusably, the composer is listed as 'Joshua Fit' and the piece mistitled (is it any wonder it has been difficult to track down?), and Boosey assure me that this error will be corrected.

  6. 20 minutes' preparation (for all the tests) precisely mirrors life in the organ-loft or school music department for me today. In other words, it equates to being told towards the end of a choral rehearsal that such-and-such will need to be transposed for the service, or that the exam accompaniment which I have to play for an indisposed school colleague is handed to me fifteen minutes before an informal concert or grade exam by a pair of sweaty teenaged hands. The RCO's Chief Examiner and Academic Board are breathing new life into the diplomas - without losing the rigour, and I, for one, applaud their efforts. For those who have missed it, the introduction next month of the Certificate of Accredited Membership follows hard on the transformation of the CertRCO into the Colleague Diploma (CRCO).

  7. Pieces and test have always been separate sections, both of which had to be passed, even before the exams became modular. You had to pass both the tests and the pieces, or take the whole practical exam again. Now of course you can retake one half of the exam. But the principle remains the same - you can't fail the tests and make up for it by doing brilliantly in the pieces (or vice versa). The fact that the total marks available for tests are much less than for pieces does not affect this. You can however fail one test and make up for it in the others.


    Widening the discussion slightly, it is sometimes suggested that RCO keyboard skills are out of date or irrelevant. I think this is quite wrong, with the possible exception of FRCO score reading which requires playing from three different C clefs, rarely found these days apart from the Bach Gesellschaft. (Orchestral score-reading as mentioned by Wolsey might actually be more useful).


    'clarabella' said that the examinations are now modular, and this is quite true, but the sentence, "Now of course you can retake one half of the exam" needs clarifying - i.e. you can now retake either Organ Playing or Keyboard Skills sections as necessary. The FRCO syllabus from next summer repays careful study because score reading will no longer include C clefs, and there will be flexibility in that while sight reading will remain compulsory, candidates choose three of the four other available tests. The examinations have been 'tweaked' more frequently than every ten years or so, by the way.


    'Vox humana' wonders whether a further consideration might be the standard of performance expected.The detailed assessment criteria are already included in the examination syllabus (link given in my previous post), and even the Examiners' instructions are available on the College website for all to see.

  8. I really doubt if any of us here will be able to answer your question with much authority because the Keyboard Skills have been subject to constant revision, and unless we are now preparing candidates for these diplomas, our knowledge will be very out of date. The Keyboard Skills for ARCO changed this summer, and the ones for FRCO will change next summer. I suggest that the examination requirements which will be in force from next summer be studied here first of all. My own experience dates from passing the FRCO in July 1979 - at the end of my first year reading Music at Cambridge. At the end of my second year (then Part 1), I had to play a section from an orchestral score at sight on the piano. Such a skill is less often employed by a 21st-century organist in the course of their daily practical duties. Decades ago, my own organ teacher told me (and it was afterwards printed in the RCO examination syllabuses at the time) that the FRCO diploma was a graduate diploma (like the GRSM, GBSM, GLCM etc), and entitled Fellows to be regarded then as graduates for the purposes of the Burnham teachers' pay scales. In today's National Qualifications Framework, the FRCO still remains a graduate diploma, i.e. level 6.

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