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Brian Childs

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Posts posted by Brian Childs


  1. Having returned to the site today after a protracted absence it was a great sadness to come across this item. I too have fond memories of JJ being a pupil at KEGS when he was on the staff and a regular attender at evensong in the cathedral and at the Golden Fleece or Lion and Lamb afterwards.What a different world that was: what teacher today would dare to sit in the bar of a public house with some of his sixth form pupils whom he would have known were not of an age to be there? Not that I suffered in any way from the experience: on the contrary, I think it was he and his playing that started my lifelong love affair with the organ and its music. I remember he had a particular fondness for a bright red waistcoat that made him resemble (depending on your point of reference) a robin or a bow street runner. He was also, at least in those days, a great employer of the Tuba at all times and in all places and I recollect him complaining vociferously that he could not play a service without it when it started misbehaving one day and had to be taken out of use pending a vist from the tuner.We lost contact when I left Essex to go to University, never to return as a resident, but I always kept my eyes open for a recording of him playing. Sadly I never encountered one and to the best of my knowledge and belief none exist. If anyone has information to the contrary I would be glad to know of it.

     

    Brian Childs


  2. Hi

     

    To an extent, yes, but unlike the others I mentioned, these are more concert organs with theatre organ trappings added (not a bad things though) rather than being designed from the beginning as dual purpose organs. Compton seems to have had a pretty good idea of the market in his time.

     

    Every Blessing

     

    Tony

     

    But in the case of Hull City Hall some of the percussion stops, Pedal Drums, Choir Celesta and Solo Chimes & Glockenspiel ("Steel Bars") were put there in 1911 ! Sir Edward Bairstow famously wrote a letter deploring the inclusion of these "vulgar" contraptions. Compton certainly added more, and was responsible for the extended Tibia on the Solo , but the existence of these stops from before the First World War surely suggests that this instrument was conceived as a dual purpose one from its inception.

     

    Brian Childs


  3. Having been away from the Board for some time I had missed this item. A sad loss. As a student in Hull I attended a good many of Peter's recitals, the programmes for which I still have somewhere, not least the celebrity programme for the recital to mark his 50th birthday.

     

    By way of information for anyone interested the Guilmant Sonata on the Vista LP is Number 5, not number 2. Anyone able to access the recording of the Cook Fanfare will get to hear not only the Orchestral Trumpet but also the Bombarde and finally the Tubas. I have a letter from Peter in which he stated that he had alternated the first two before finishing up on the Tubas. What a pity it is that this performance like many others recorded by the late Michael Smythe are not readily available to a younger generation of organ enthusiasts .

     

    Brian Childs


  4. I made a modest contribution to the appeal fund when I was in Malta last May. I was moved to do so by the notice adjacent to the contribution box which read, to the best of my recollection: "The good news is that there is plenty of money to restore the organ: the bad news is that it is still in other people's pockets." Someone on this forum might find a use for that.

     

    As an aside, when visiting St John's Cathedral I was somewhat surprised on entering the building to be met by the sound of Whitlock's Toccata from the Plymouth Suite, complete with Tuba and assertive pedal reeds which it seemed highly unlikely were contained within the tiny cases either side of the altar. A little later came the Final from Vierne's First Symphony. My guess was that I was listening to Noel Rawsthorne playing in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral but I was in no position to confirm the truth of this. Anyone here able to provide additional information ?

     

    Brian Childs


  5. The Birmingham Town Hall organ has bells. They are most effective in the room and can be heard on a more recent recording. They are tuned so they can be used in pieces. A welcome come back for what is a wonderful musical instrument.

     

    Could anyone please tell me the title/number of the "more recent recording" mentioned in Jonathan's post. I know it is not "Restored to Glory" (Trotter) because a tiny print footnote indicates the Bells had not been installed at the time the CD was recorded. The only other CD of which I am aware is the Dupre disc with Van Oosten , which I have but do not recall hearing them unless possibly at the end of Cortege and Litanie. I would hate to think that there is a CD recorded on an English Town Hall organ missing from my collection!!

     

    Brian Childs


  6. Well I think it would do them good to be named here for their idiocy. Editors know they should check that everything is correct.

     

     

    In an ideal world this is certainly so. Regrettably we do not live in an ideal world. Amongst the many possible explanations/excuses one might consider

     

     

    1. Authors who deliver copy late and/ or with illegible manuscript amendments AND then go incommunicado switching off their phones and not responding to e-mail ! Journals are produced to a deadline and with a specified number of pages. If the day for sending the stuff to the printer has arrived, but the author has not been able to be contacted, the choice may be between going with the text as it stands or "pulling" the offending piece, the latter option being most unlikely to be available in the case of any substantial contribution because of the impossibility of finding replacement pages to fill the gap.

     

    2. Over-reliance on the spell-checker when copy is prepared on a computer. This is a truly wonderful tool but it cannot identify correctly spelt, but wrongly used , words eg grate/great nor words that should have been included but were left out, "not" being a very frequently encountered example.

     

    3. In many "learned journals" the author is supposed to be the expert on the subject, the function of the editor being to ensure the text is presented in "house style" in a reasonably grammatical form. Not a few authors would look askance at having their text "corrected" by an editor.

     

    Editors should certainly scrutinise carefully material they intend to publish , and correct any errors they discover, but they are surely entitled to expect that before the material reaches them its author will have checked it with sufficient thoroughness that there are none for them to find !


  7. I’m glad someone has made this posting…

     

    … is this really the Bach sound and style? Why have I wasted such a long time trying to play the organ…..? :)

     

    I think I must own up to not being one of the "erudite" members of this board : neither am I a professional musician. I simply listen to it for the pleasure it gives me which puts me firmly in the majority as regards the population as a whole if not the membership of this board. That may explain why I have some difficulty in seeing this situation in quite such dramatic terms. Koopman's is a Bach sound and style but why on earth should it be regarded as the only one ? I do not know (and neither in fact does anyone else) but I am fairly certain in my own mind that Bach did not play his own music in exactly the same way with exactly the same registration every time, any more than throughout his life he had exactly the same thing for breakfast every day and took exactly the same time to eat it ! Life is simply not like that.

     

    The dictates of "historical performance practice" should surely be regarded in exactly the same way as fire : "a good servant but a poor master". If a particular style of playing gives no pleasure to you as performer and no pleasure to those for whom you are performing what exactly is it that requires you to play in that style ? Why should you wish to do so ? Just as people have different tastes in food, in literature and in TV programmes , so it is perfectly permissible to have different tastes in the way you like your Bach to sound. Even better it is not a requirement that you be consistent : you do not have to pick a style and stick to it. I have Koopman CDs in my record library but I have just as many involving performances of Bach on quite inappropriate organs , employing Trombas and Full Swell. I listen to both styles with equal pleasure - no , truthfully, I prefer the Trombas as is my privilege.

     

    So do not get downhearted. If the way Koopman serves up Bach is not to your taste, there are, at least as regards recorded performances, a number of different serving styles available for you to try in order to find one better suited to your personal palate. And if you find a taste which you like does it really matter if others prefer it done differently ?


  8. I've searched everywhere I can think of without picking up any reference to this piece.

    I'd be very grateful if anyone could point me to a recording of this to help me get a handle on it. Google is unyielding, apart from an A M-T lesson on it which comes wrapped up in a free trial of an American magazine. I was hoping for a YouTube recording, even if it's not very good!

     

    Many thanks

     

    Melanie.

     

    I am afraid I cannot come up with a Youtube recording : indeed the only recording of this piece that I know of is on an LP recorded by Alan Spedding in Beverley Minster in 1972 (RCA VICS 1738 :"The Organ of Beverley Minster") Perhaps E-Bay might yield a copy ? I did hear Dr Spedding play this piece in the Middleton Hall in the University of Hull some time in the late 1960s, so he had it his repertoire at that time. I recall that he is either just about to or has just retired from his post at the Minster but you might be able to contact him via there and if he were willing to do so he obviously could offer advice based on long experience of the work.

     

    Hope this is of some help.

     

    BAC


  9. Whilst I second the point about the wisdom of avoiding over reaction, I too agree with the general tenor of replies so far. Apart from announcements which fall into the categories of "The Church is on fire and everyone should leave now" / "There is an escaped lion wandering about the churchyard and everyone should stay in the building" it is difficult to imagine anything likely to arise during the course of the service of such urgency that it requires an announcement to be made there and then : it is,of course, quite easy to imagine numerous instances where people wish to retrieve a situation caused by their own forgetfulness or inefficiency.

     

    In any event after 30 seconds of playing a sizeable proportion of the target audience are quite likely to have left the building, to be in the process of doing so, or to have become engaged in other tasks which will absorb their attention to the exclusion of anything happening at the front (unless the PA system is painfully loud or the speaker has the tones and volume of a Regimental Sergeant Major) so it is not a terribly efficient method of communicating important information !! Or even unimportant information.

     

    Brian Childs


  10. Among many other accomplishments Dorothy Sayers' creation, Lord Peter Wimsey, could play the organ and Percy Whitlock dedicated one of his works to "DLS and Harriet [Vane]", who must be one of relatively few fictional characters to be the dedicatee of a piece of music.


  11. Hello,

     

    some time ago there was a thread about the restored organ of Southampton Guildhall.

    I would like to know if the example 5 from the recordings is a written piece? And if so, were can I get a copy of this piece? I tried Peter Hammond but he could not help me. So I am trying my luck here and would appreciate any help.

     

    Cheers

    tiratutti

     

    The piece to which your link sends me is a transcription of March of the Bowmen from the Robin Hood Suite (1936) by Frederic Curzon (1899-1973) a celebrated composer of light music who was at one time head of the light music department at Boosey & Hawkes. It was a popular item with theatre organists, and I have a recording of it by Gerald Shaw on the organ of the Odeon , Manchester which is now in Stockport Town Hall. The sleeve of this denotes Boosey & Hawkes as the copyright holders, presumably of the original orchestral version. I do not know of a published organ arrangement but hopefully the above information might help you in tracking down one if it exists.

     

    Good luck

     

    Brian Childs


  12. Now my brain might well be more than usually befuddled at this late hour by my spectacularly unsuccessful attempts to wring some semblance of taste out of a singularly "unassuming" Benriach, but have I really read this correctly? The compiler actually preferred the more objectionable triple-measure tunes? ;)

     

    I do not think it is so much a question of the compiler's preferences (he does not expressly state any, though the implication is obvious) as of what he felt at liberty to reject. I took what was written to mean that the compiler did not feel able to deny a place to the least objectionable tunes but was prepared to do so to the more objectionable ones.


  13. Granted - but under the circumstances, one would be unlikely to be able to make any comment to this effect, and still retain anonymity.

     

    Surely that would depend on how you chose to present your comment. If you forego use of the "I" word and/ or are careful about your phraseology you might manage it might you not ? Obviously, calling yourself X and then writing "at my recent recital at Christminster Abbey" or wherever is unlikely to retain the feline within the confines of the receptacle but what if you wrote "I have it on impeccable authority (ie myself) that the recent recitalist at Christminster Abbey told his partner that he found it impossible to take what he was asked to play seriously but was not prepared to pass on the generous fee on offer" ?


  14. "I don't see that one's own degree of prominence is of any signiicance. I am a very insignificant provincial organist of no great skill, although I, like to think, a more able choir trainer and conductor. Its more a point of principal, if you believe in what you say why hide beneath an alias?"

     

    Whilst in principle I, like you, tend to favour openess, it is possible to think of a couple of practical reasons which would make people wish, or even need, to resort to an alias

     

     

    First, some people have day jobs and need to consider the sensitivity of their position (ie usually main source of income) or the wishes/attitudes of their employer. Not all employers display equal tolerance of people exercising the right of free expression if it is likely to produce reaction which may impact adversely on the business. It surely has to be a possibility that some people denied the opportunity to contribute under an alias would not feel able to contribute at all for fear of the possible consequences .

     

    Secondly, I think "degree of prominence" may be significant on some occasions for not dissimilar reasons. A big name might well occasionally welcome the opportunity to express a genuinely held opinion which it would not be politic or sensible to own up to holding. If you enjoyed an international reputation and had just been the recipient of numerous plaudits for your recent all Messiaen recital, would you really want to broadcast under your own name that you found it difficult to take the music seriously and had only taken on the job of playing it because of the scale of the fee involved ?

     

    The idea of publish and be damned is doubtless a noble ideal but sometimes people would prefer to publish without being damned as a consequence and preventing them from so doing would not necessaily be the course producing the greater public benefit.


  15. P.S. Philip Marshall was on record as preferring the organ at Ripon to that at Lincoln (right to the end of his life), so he can't have disliked those Ripon reeds much!

     

    I have somewhere a letter from Philip Marshall written in response to an enquiry I made of him shortly after the Lincoln LP in the Great Cathedral Organ Series was released - two foolscap pages of single spaced typing when the usual response to such queries(if any at all) was a few words on a "With compliments" slip . A true gentleman. In that letter he wrote of admiring the brilliance of the Willis at Lincoln but missing the warmth of Ripon, and although he did not go so far as to express an outright preference for Ripon in terms the implication was certainly there "between the lines". He certainly mentioned the impact (or lack thereof) of the Solo Tubas at Lincoln , indicating that he had added them at the end of one take of a piece (probably the Parry) but had been told by Brian Culverhouse that they "made no difference" . I have n't gone back to check, so I may be wrong, but I do not think they appear on the version that was used on the LP.


  16. I see what you mean - but I was working on the assumption that the earlier post (by Holz Gedeckt) intended to imply that this was a good method of 'catching' people - in the sense of trying to convert them to more serious organ music. Perhaps I read too much into this, but at any rate, that was what I took his post to suggest; in which case, I am not sure that my comparison is so wide of the mark. However, I could be wrong (again).

     

     

    There are surely two quite distinct reasons why you might want "bums on seats" which may, but certainly do not have to, have the same objective in view:

     

    1. You may want access to the wallets and pocket books which accompany the aforesaid posteriors

     

    2. You wish to introduce more people to the concept of "serious" organ music.

     

    As far as (1) is concerned those who have the responsibility for funding the running expenses of a substantial pipe organ will be only too aware of the costs involved . If the choice is attract more funds or order a skip then the decision to widen the pool of potential providers of funds by catering to their tastes is a perfectly rational one. Some might object that it offends their principles in which case they are free to refuse to adopt this approach. However, they should not subsequently complain if adverse consequences ensue as a result, eg having to order that skip. Provided one remains within the bounds of the law one is entitled to adopt whatever principles one wishes but it is necessary to remember that, like lunch, there is a cost (to someone) attached.

     

    As to (2) I think the concept of "serious" organ music might not be entirely free of controversy. It cannot, presumably, mean simply music written for performance on the organ for if that were the case then the entire oeuvre of Caleb Simper would qualify. Nor can it just mean the organ music a particular individual happens to find congenial : personally I would much rather listen to Lefebure - Wely than Messiaen but I do not expect many here to share that preference. But if that much is obvious then the status to be accorded to the likes of Guilmant, Boellmann, and Rheinberger (dismissed with contempt in one of the first books on the organ that I ever bought) and the issue of transcriptions (but what about the Bach-Vivaldi concertos, perhaps BWV 565 itself even, and the Mendelssohn Wedding March ??) contain more than enough issues to sustain discussion for years to come.

     

    I bought my first organ LP (Simon Preston - "Crown Imperial) before some on this board were even born and as a consequence became hooked. I now have a collection which embraces all periods of the repertoire from Tallis and Tye to Hakim but I started with lighter fare. I doubt I am unique in having followed that particular route. Shortly after I got that LP I was given another by a colleague of my father's who was otherwise going to throw it in the dustbin. The man in question was certainly no philistine and had joined a record club to broaden his appreciation of classical music but as far as that organ LP was concerned he had "made himself" (his words I recall) listen to it once and had no intention of suffering such an experience again. The offending music ? Flor Peeters playing J.S. Bach including BWV565 and the Preludes and Fugues in A minor (BWV543) and B minor (BWV544).


  17. Unlike at least one person here I found the Statham performance of Bach's Dorian Fugue inspirational and of far greater help in getting into the music than some other more "authentic" performances in my collection. Likewise I really enjoyed Jimmy Biggs' performance of the Dupre from St George's New York : much more to my taste than eg that of Rolande Falcinelli at Meundon. I suppose that just goes to show that one man's meat......


  18. If anyone out there is aware of or has a recording of the above - I would be very glad to know.

     

    Thanks

    AJJ

     

    Yes VPS 1030 The Organ in Ely Cathedral (recorded by Michael Smythe in January 1976). The other pieces are Bach BWV 532, Marchand Basse de trompette , Liszt BACH, Louis Couperin Chacone in C, Franck B minor Choral.

     

    Brian Childs


  19. I think it's a different recording - there's a distinct lack of 32' pedal reed at the end... B) ...but still a worthwhile buy at the bargain price of about a fiver...

     

    It is indeed a different recording done by Brian Culverhouse for Chandos in 1974 which first saw the light of day so far as I can trace on Polydor Select 2460 225.

     

    Right next to it on my shelves was my copy of English Organ Music 1690 -1790 (CBS 61495) by Piet Kiel Jr mentioned in an earlier post. I have always assumed that the surname was a misprint for Kee which slipped by the proof reader - the bigger the type the easier it is not to notice and the more embarrassing when somebody else does !! Does anyone actually know ? The cover picture is a very nice reproduction from Canaletto's "View of the Thames from Richmond House" - almost worth the price in its own right.


  20. Yup! Alpha Records ASM020. La Nativité - nothing else. I'm looking at it as I type, so I really exists! SM

    Or Saga 5339 - Volume 4 of the Saga Golden Treasury of Organ Music series. Unfortunately the surfaces on my copy were so poor that it was all but unlistenable and they certainly impaired appreciation of the performance which is why I have not heard it for years.

     

    I'll also add my name to those who like the Fricker Pastorale whether played by David Lepine at Coventry, FJ at York or Melville Cook at Hereford.

     

    The first Bach LP I ever acquired was Anton Heiller playing a Marcussen on the Phillips label and his performance of BWV731 on that would probably be one of my desert island choices - it would certainly be on the short list.


  21. I don't feel that those of us who play transcriptions need to defend ourselves! I'm quite happy to stand up and say that I enjoy playing and listening to transcriptions. Of course the organ can't provide the nuances that a number of orchestral instruments played by a number of performers can, but I enjoy them on the organ as a separate genre.

     

    Indeed, why should orchestras have all the best tunes? B)

     

    I agree. One might add that transcriptions were what many threatened town hall organs were designed to play along with Bach in a style that might well cause some members here to have a seizure - guaranteed if I add that I actually like to hear it played that way from time to time. It may not be authentic but it is a great deal more exciting than some historically informed performances Ihave heard in my time.

     

    One could also add that the great majority of "working organists" by which term I mean those who play for church services, wedding celebrations and at crematoria [??] perforce have to play transcriptions. What else are (and I use the names by which the general public would recognise them) Handel's Largo : Bach's Air on the G String, Sheep may safely graze,Jesu Joy ; Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary ; Mendelssohn's Wedding March and so on and so on. I strongly suspect that there are relatively few here who have not at some time performed one or more of the items on this list. Of course, whether or not they enjoyed the experience is a quite separate (and irrelevant) issue. Indeed in the case of quite a few amateur "organists" I have known in my time confiscating their collections of popular transcriptions would dramatically reduce their repertoire, in some cases to vanishing point or almost.

     

    Perhaps they do but I am not aware that pianists appear to experience the same angst about performing transcriptions or reductions of music intended to be performed by other media or music written for the harpsichord, clavichord, virginals or even the fortepiano all of which differ in marked respects from the modern piano . Until I discover that they do experience this sense of guilt I shall remain an unrepentant admirer of the organ transcription as played by,amongst others, Thomas Trotter, Nicolas Kynaston, Simon Preston, Dame Gillian Weir, Christopher Herrick, G.D. Cunningham, Edwin Lemare, Frederick Hohman, Ian Tracey, Marcel Dupre and a bloke called John S Brook.

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