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Martin Cooke

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  1. This article by John Birch clears up a few points - https://newprairiepress.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1007&context=burgonsociety including the point about the size and shape of the FRCO hood though that is not what is illustrated on the Ede and Ravenscroft website.
  2. I think you have probably hit the nail on the head, Owen.
  3. It's difficult to imagine that there was anything more to it than a reappraisal with a view to something more worthy. The chocolate and blue was hardly glamorous though the RCO was not the only institution to use brown in its academical dress. I wonder, actually, if the brown colour was originally chosen to fit in with the Russet Brown in London BA, MA and DLitt hoods. More recently, and with the introduction of a new range of qualifications, the RCO has introduced hoods for all qualifications, including an updated version of the ARCO. Some of these utilise the old blue shade, but I don't think the brown comes into it at all. There is a very full illustrated explanation of all of this somewhere but I am blowed if I can find it. I think Francis Jackson is credited with pushing the new FRCO hood forward, though I don't know that that is true. As Rowland says in a previous post, it was John Birch who saw through the expansion of the RCO academical dress.
  4. Oh dear, that seems a shame that there is a non-silk version. Actually, the pic doesn't really represent the hood properly. The original 'new' hood introduced in the 60's had rounded corners to the cape in the shape of the London University hoods, but possibly a little smaller. I read somewhere though that the hood has been made in Oxford Doctors' shape which is a much larger hood with a rounded cape rather than just rounded corners, if you see what I mean. However, I can find no evidence to support this anywhere so I could easily have got this wrong.
  5. The RSCM has just published an organ only arrangement of A Gaelic Blessing which JR has undertaken. It's very effective. I am sure that many will have seen advertisements for Piano albums by JR with versions by him of some of his anthems, and then, just today, a Christmas album with carols - all very beautifully done. I played his All things bright and beautiful at church on the organ the other week but I haven't worked out how well the carols will fit the organ.
  6. Well, exactly! I'm sure a new one can't be more than £155. I wonder if there is just a chance that the old ones are slightly better quality - real silk etc?? Or, perhaps, this one belonged to someone famous - Howells or Vaughan Williams...!! (Unlikely, of course)
  7. Just been looking at RSCM's Sunday by Sunday list for next Sunday and the opportunity arises to use several books for pre and mid-service usage: Lent and Passiontide (Vol 3) for David Blackwell's lovely little Cantilena based on A New Commandment, and Alan Bullard's superb Prelude on Ubi Caritas - though he'll have to beat off Denis Bédard's variations to claim the prize. Pentecost and Trinity (Vol 5) yields up Paul Leddington-Wright's Shipston - Fugatives on the run. (His Engleberg in Autumn Festivals (Vol 6) is delicious, by the way.) And then there is a Meditation on Pange Lingua by Richard Jeffrey-Gray in the latest volume, Holy Communion (Vol 7). Volume 6 - Autumn Festivals - has come into its own several times recently, but I rate very strongly David Blackwell's Song on Thaxted for Remembrance Sunday, though, again, that faces strong competition from Charles Callahan's setting and also June Nixon's in Hymns Amazing.
  8. If anyone is looking for one, there is one of these for sale on eBay now - search for academic hood. Looks to be in very reasonable condition.
  9. Another recent discovery has been a small volume of Christmas organ pieces based on popular carols by Maureen Howell - it's about £16 here in the UK, so not very cheap for four items. I saw the recommendation in - I think - an RSCM publication, and I have to say, all four are worth a look. They are based on Once in Royal, Of the Father's Heart, On Christmas Night, and God rest ye merry, gentlemen. The second mentioned is a bit tricky as it combines the tune of the Sussex Carol with that of Ding dong! with the latter in the feet with four against three going on. If in these current straitened times anyone needing more material for Christmas might find all four pieces catchy, useful and enjoyable. Then, for some time, I have been on the mailing list of Fagus Music which is run by Geoffrey Atkinson. He has some very worthwhile items in his catalogue - anything by Paul Edwards (of No small wonder fame) is worth investigation, and I have recently discovered Stephen Burtonwood. His Arioso would make an excellent introduction to his music - ideal pre-service or during Communion, or if you are playing at an All Souls or Remembrance service soon. Much music can be emailed to you which keeps costs down. However, speaking of Paul Edwards, one first class liturgical piece of his that can't be sent by email is his Contemplation. This is a hymn tune prelude on the tune of that name (to the words, When all thy mercies.) This is one of those luxuriant adagios that I posted about a few years ago. It was originally published in a purple IAO celebratory compendium - probably 10/12 years ago. I am keen to stress that I am not in any sense an agent of Fagus - but I do recommend a rummage on the website. You will find Geoffrey a friendly and helpful person, too. Just before lockdown he had just published this. Sadly, I haven't had a chance to use any of these hymn arrangements, but we live in hope. Geoffrey sends out a newsletter/email every so often and I was very struck by his last one, received a few days ago which suggested that most activity had dried up. In my view his publishing venture is well worth support! Finally, we all enjoyed Jonathan Scott's prom recently. On the brothers' webpage, you can see and obtain a whole range of their organ arrangements. Again, well worth a look.
  10. Ha - yes, DyGW! A good idea!* It's a shame they didn't call it An Album of Useful Voluntaries or something similar, I don't know. I feel a bit sorry for my choir (which faces more or less directly down the church towards the congregation [in normal times]) when they are singing from the New Oxford Easy Anthem Book. All a bit unnecessarily dispiriting for them. * In my youth, I covered a fair number of my first purchases with fablon from the local ironmongers. Now, 50+ years later they look awful and the strength of the covering has had a deleterious effect on the structure as well as the appearance of many of my early Novello Bach volumes and several OUP anthologies. I guess I could do with a lesson in document conservation to last me the next 63 years!
  11. How's it going Tim? Tbh, now I have got into them, one or two of them seem less worthy of exploration than others, but I find with all these albums that I come back to them a couple of years on and find that something grows on me afresh.
  12. I am not sure if non-members of the RCO can read this article, but it is something I chanced upon the other day and it has caused me to look out a couple of Murrill's works. Obviously, I knew that his repertoire for the organ (for everything, presumably) was only slight, but hadn't grasped that he died young at 46. I have known Murrill in E most of my life and The King of Instruments ensured that I knew Carillon but I had never played through Postlude on a Ground or his Hymn Prelude on 'Wareham' until the other evening having been encouraged to do so by the author's commendation of them. I have two other hymn preludes on Wareham which I prefer - the one by Barry Ferguson is really interesting - but I shall now be including the P on a G as a voluntary for sure. Worth looking it out if you have the OUP volume. Of course, for years, I have been put off from playing anything from it because it's called An Album of Simple Voluntaries. One had one's pride, afterall! What I have come to realise is that each and every piece in the album except the Henry Coleman Alla Marcia is worthy of attention - the Darke Elegy and the Ley Adagio especially. Any thoughts on Murrill, anyone? By the way, spurred on by discussion of Sidney Campbell's organ music, I ordered and have enjoyed playing his Canterbury Interlude. I'm bound to say that the 'Full Swell' instruction soon after the opening seems over the top - even on John Porter's recording, I'm afraid. The simple addition of the Oboe and maybe a 4ft adds all the drama I feel appropriate at that point without it jarring. Otherwise it's great. And I think I saw an iRCO article on Campbell as well as I was going through them recently.
  13. Yes - see the video of Richard McVeigh reviewing one such system in the Philip Wells posting above.
  14. This plopped through my letter box this morning having just been published. It's volume 7 in the series that most forumites must have come across, but David Bednall has now taken over as joint editor from David Blackwell. Those who know the series will recognise many traits and the general formula but there are a number of new composers. As each page turns, so I think I have met the best item in the volume, but no... this is a volume of music that keeps on giving. There are so many highlights that it is both impossible and invidious to list them - especially since all contributors are alive, and at least one is a member of the Mander forum! But, I heartily recommend it. Unlike one or two of the other volumes, I don't believe there is a dud piece here and there is a lot to learn from it stylistically, as well. OK, I won't be playing every item this side of Christmas, some are easier than others - one begins in E flat minor, for example, but it's not difficult writing. Many of the pieces are really quite exciting, if they are written in that idiom, others are gentle and tranquil and ideal for the distribution and all are ideal to help with worship at the present time. One aspect of this series that some may struggle to appreciate especially in terms of value is the fact that probably half of the contents are based on hymn or song tunes from the other side of the Atlantic, and, actually, in this case, there are three or four that are British but are based on less formal hymns - Living Lord, for example and Christ be our light, and a couple that I don't know of that genre. I hope I can encourage forumites to cast aside reservations that such contents might put in your mind. I think congregations will love many of these pieces but perhaps a bit of explanation or the words from the US hymns printed in the pew sheet may help with the listeners' appreciation. Those of you who have, like me, been on this forum a while, will know that I have been very keen on this series from the start. Please remember that I am nothing to do with OUP and whilst I know and have met a couple of the composers across the series, I have nothing to gain in recommending these volumes, and I write this only as a result of the joy I have experienced in playing through this volume today. As I have said before, there is huge scope for the use of hymn and chorale preludes in worship at the moment when hymns cannot be sung. I am already looking forward to revisiting the Advent and Christmas volume where many of my favourites lurk. I have a couple of other recommendations to make and will post again shortly. If only I could stop buying new music!
  15. A great recommendation, Richard - one can hear it here. Everything else in that album is also worth playing. I particularly enjoy the Postlude sur un Noël which you can hear here. But... I have just learned to my cost that some publications end up being wrapped up within other albums. So, the two works referred to above come in an album called Organ Works for Christmas, but the il est né and a little set of variations on a Huron carol are both in Organ Works Volume 2 - as is the whole of the Suite Liturgique, which I had also previously purchased. All in all, it may be worth a bit of research before you buy. All these albums come in nicely produced format from the RSCM. By the way, the Sortie from the Suite Liturgique is quite a good little crowd pleaser - tricky to manage without a page turner, mind - you will see that the performer in this video has it all stuck in his art book. Anyone seeking a less 'full on' or more gentle introduction to some quieter Bédard could try the two sets of Interludes which I have found very useful and attractive after they were recommended to me. All of his music is published by the RSCM. Anyone going to bring up Gordon Young?
  16. Brilliant, Paul - thank you for sorting that little riddle - and I have ordered the Three Pieces now so I am hoping to enjoy learning those up following your earlier recommendation. Meanwhile Praeludium from the Seven Pieces is growing on me, and certainly isn't difficult, and I have played through the Ravel and the Slane-based pieces in the Acklam Pieces set a few times, but as with quite of lot of FJ's music, I just don't 'get it'... the harmony doesn't seem in the least but attractive, but I'm not giving up yet... and, as I have said, perseverance has paid off with Praeludium - (which is also incorrectly done on the Apple Music list .
  17. That's right, Darius, D major and 5/4. I can't really say if there is another Impromptu but the piece on the CD I referenced is definitely not this one. This one is not very easy to hear on Apple Music as it's quietly played on flutes. It sounds A minor-ish with a dominant pedal running through the opening bars, unless I've mis-heard and its actually E minor-ish with a tonic pedal, of course!! It would be great to pin it down. Who is close to FJ and might be in a position to play it to him and ask him, I wonder? Do you think JS-W might be able to identify it? I have no idea how to contact him, though I would much like to over my Tertius Noble query as well! Actually, ho hum... it was Paul Hale who put together the Fanfare for Francis album. I'll see if he can help.
  18. These must be amongst some of the most prolific composers for the organ in modern times... (actually, I wonder if that is true...) and I rather see DB as a latter day GY. Anyway, there are some very well-known pieces by GY such as Prelude in Classic Style (though the title irritates me) but amongst the mass of other organ music, I wonder if I am missing anything that others have found enjoyable and/or useful. There is a Trumpet Tune in C major and a Lied in the style of Debussy that I also play. And then, this morning I have taken delivery of Volume 2 in the RSCM series of Bédard publications. Again... any hot favourites out there? I have several but will keep those for a future posting.
  19. Here's a puzzle if anyone has a spare moment or two: So... on Apple Music - search for the CD set of FJ playing his own music. It's the set with the pic on the front of him wearing his Durham DMus robes. Go down the list of items past the first set of 1-12 and No 2 of the send listing says Impromptu for Impromptu for Sir Edward B on his 70th. Except that, I don't think it is! It certainly doesn't correspond with my score in Fanfare for Francis. Or is it my mistake?
  20. Sorry to blah on... but linked to FJ and his East Acklam tune - I thoroughly recommend Philip Moore's variations on this that appear in Fanfare for Francis. These are not difficult but need a reasonably versatile organ with an athletic registrant ready to pay obedient service or set of (preferably) general pistons. Another good post would be all about Philip Moore's compositions. There are some lovely miniatures in the Oxford Hymn Settings for Organists series which I generally find more attractive and less strident than the earlier hymn preludes that were published by Mayhew.
  21. Yes, absolutely - thank you Paul. I have recently bought the Acklam Pieces but didn't take to any of them, including the Ravel piece, on first appraisal, but I shall settle to them again following your recommendation. The East Acklam piece is more to my taste - it's just a shame that the tune isn't better known. (It was originally conceived for God that madest earth and heaven, I understand.) It has recently been re-published by OUP in a blue ceremonial organ music volume, edited by Robert Gower. The other piece of FJ's that perhaps Paul might have included, in that it's easier and more harmonically digestible, is his Meditation on Love Unknown. This is a delightful piece and is to be found in the OUP green volume Lent and Easter Organ Music, also edited by Robert Gower. This is the album with Chris Tambling's piece based on Shine, Jesus, shine - and also David Bednall's Toccata on Aberystwyth. I very much hanker back to days, more than fifty years ago now, when FJ's Benedicite and his Communion Service in G were very much part of the diet. John Dykes Bower's spirited playing of the former on the Choir School piano was quite something! Until about 1973, that was the only Jackson I knew... and then one of the music masters at my senior school played the Fanfare (from A Festive Album - as played on the recording from Bridlington). And by the way, whilst we're recommending things... for those who like 'last verse arrangements' - do visit Paul Walton's website where some of his outstanding last verse and descant arrangements may be found - some are even free to download and others available for purchase having been afforded a glimpse.
  22. Thanks for pointing this out Mark - a great little recital. But what a crass caption for the photo! Sometime, I'd like to see a discussion of FJ's organ music on here.
  23. I agree with Vox's points entirely - variety of choice in the best sense, and friendly introductions to the music are what is needed in most settings. I can imagine it being different in a university college chapel or for a generally more erudite audience. In general terms, I find audiences and congregations are appreciative if they are told a little story about the music or composer and if they know why one has chosen to play something - a chance to hear a certain stop, or to mark a centenary or whatever. One of the things I have enjoyed doing pre-Covid is demonstrating the organ to visiting organists associations. For these I tend to choose snippets of repertoire that is not necessarily mainstream but illustrates the main features/families and solo stops of the organ in as musical a way as I can manage. Veering slightly off-topic, as we are wont to do... Yesterday was the feast of St Francis. I played the Bédard Cat Suite before the service - this became a tribute to dear Doorkins Magnificat, resident and very popular feline at Southwark Cathedral who died last week. See here. (I played the Suite in reverse order starting with the Toccata so as to arrive at a more gentle piece immediately before the service started.) At the gradual I used John Rutter's new solo piano arrangement of his own All things bright and beautiful. Then, at the offertory, I had been looking to play something based on Lasst uns erfruen, and the hymn All creatures of our God and King. I had been counting on the Choveaux but couldn't read it sufficiently well in my 'no page turner' score. Rebecca Groome te Velde's and also June Nixon's were both too short. Gordon Slater's is a tad dull, and in any case, I just didn't have time to do it justice, so I discovered Alec Rowley's in volume 2 of his cream Choral Prelude volumes - Ashdown. It's here. I found it really rather satisfactory - an arresting start, and nice languid middle section with plenty of opportunity to solo out some of the themes, and a powerful introduction to a stately final section. Not in any sense a foot-tapper, of course, but a 'good piece!' Plenty of rubato needed. Then I played Le Cygne during Communion which is always apt in Bradford on Avon as there are swans almost always on the river near the church. And, indeed, as I arrived yesterday, there were two noisily flying along the swollen river as I crossed the footbridge - quite a sight! I followed the Saint-Saens with the Meditation on Slane, calling to mind the hymn Lord of creation. This was by Charles Callahan - from his Celtic Suite - appropriately wistful but perhaps a little lascivious harmonically. I couldn't keep up the creation theme for the final voluntary and closed with the Wesley Choral Song.
  24. This sounds very interesting. Where is the sheet, please?
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