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Brian Childs

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Everything posted by Brian Childs

  1. I fully agree that learning to read and developing the ability to appreciate music are not that much alike. I also completely accept that [some] young children can often absorb material of considerable complexity : as a 10 year old I read Harrison Ainsworth's novel Old St Paul's, which I found completely turgid,prolix and all but unreadable when I returned to it as an adult 40 years later. However, the target audience for "organ demonstrators" was not just children but "beginners" and adult beginners often find the learning process more difficult than do children. Of course, motivated and able adults will learn more quickly than unmotivated and less able children, but I assume that no one is setting out to make a case for only recruiting the intellectual elite as appreciaters of organ music. Even those of us with a distinct dislike for political correctness in all its forms would find that hard to swallow. And while you were indeed blessed to find organ music had a kind of natural appeal to you, you can hardly be asserting that the same is true for all people, or even most people, at a particular stage of development. Were that to be the case, then the organ recital would be a flourishing form of musical entertainment everywhere playing to packed houses and there would be TV broadcasts on a regular basis. Sadly, this is not the situation in the real world as even the most cursory glance at the topics discussed on this board amply demonstrates.
  2. The logic of this attititude is that (1) the best way to learn to swim is to be thrown into the deep end of the pool and be left to get on with it and (2)children/beginners should begin their encounter with literature by being asked to read Bleak House, David Copperfield , Great Expectations & War and Peace with Treasure Island orThree men in a Boat standing in for the Boellman. Though it is admittedly many years ago I seem to remember that my own children's first encounters with reading involved something that was purpose built to introduce them to the subject and had neither claim nor pretension to be great literature. I would have thought that "organ demonstrators" were intended to serve an equally practical and important purpose, paying due regard to the limits of the human attention span when asked to take on board something strange or new. To allow people to access literature or any other facet of the printed word they need both to master the skills of, and acquire the taste for, reading. Likewise, for people to appreciate the high points of the repertoire listed their attention must first be engaged and they must not be turned off. Anyone who thinks that you can achieve this with an unrelieved diet of Bach, Buxtehude, Brahms or Franck, even with the addition of a little Boellman, needs to get out more.
  3. While I am sure that you are both correct , it seems to me that in the era of e-bay and Amazon what is truly "available" is actually rather more than what is in the current catalogue. Quite apart from the service which Priory run of providing a custom made copy of any CD that has ever been in their catalogue , so all their material is "available" it is possible to use the Web both to find what people have for sale second hand and to indicate an interest in acquiring something. Of course the prices may be prohibitive but that is a different issue. So I think there is a plausible case now for including in any such review at least outstanding performances from the past (I am not going in to how you define "outstanding" - but as working definition subject to wide critical aclaim at the time might serve) so that those interested could snap up any they happened to come across or could persuade others to dig out of the attic. I wonder how many members here have LPs which they no longer play - and may even no longer have the equipment to play - which they would happily exchange for ready cash were it to be offered ?? BAC PS. Paul-Martin Maki at McMurray College, Illinois and that makes 30 !
  4. Just remembered a couple more: Arturo Sacchetti in his Organ History Series - this one called "Elgar to Arnell " and Daniel Matrone - at Saint-Sever - Elgar with a French accent. Brian Childs
  5. Both the Reubke and the Liszt Ad Nos each exceed 50 recordings in the last 40 years, while the Elgar Sonata must have at least 30. Off the top of my head and without checking sources in addition to the two mentioned there are:- Roger Fisher - Chester Cathedral Donald Hunt & Christopher Robinson - both Worcester Cathedral John Robinson - Carlisle Cathedral Christopher Stokes - Manchester Cathedral James Lancelot - Durham cathedral (CD & DVD) Hubert Best - Birmingham Cathedral John Scott - St Paul's Andrew Lumsden - Lichfield cathedral Christopher Herrick (Twice) - Westminster Abbey and Wellington Town Hall Jennifer Bate - Royal Albert Hall Carlo Curley - St Mary Redcliffe Keith John - Temple Church Stephen Cleobury and John Butt - both King's College Cambridge Simon Preston - Colston Hall, Bristol Catherine Ennis - Munster Cathedral Nicholas Kynaston - Ingolstadt Munster Frank Davis - Holbrook School Chapel Alastair Sampson - Eton College Chapel. Gareth Green - Chesterfield Parish Church ??? There are also recordings by Wolfgang Rubsam and Tom Murray of which I do not have the details to hand and I am aware of a couple of others but I would need to refresh my memory, one of which was at Coventry cathedral , possibly with Christopher Bowers-Broadbent. Will that do to be going on with ??
  6. From some of the responses so far it is clear that you are far from the only person holding that particular opinion although I would not go so far as to say that I "cannot stand Messiaen" -merely that for me a small portion is usually adequate. In fact, I am not all that taken with all Bach recitals either, even on more "authentic" instruments than the RAH organ could ever claim to be. Given that that is the organ to be used one would ideally like to see programmes that utilise the available resources to the fullest possible extent. To do otherwise is surely a bit like hiring a full symphony orchestra in order to select from amongst its members a string octet.
  7. Even the most wholesome food if taken in excess can make you sick. And outside the liturgical context I am not all that fond of Messiaen's organ music - I certainly would not pay to attend a concert where it was the only music on offer. In fact even if attendance were free I would prefer to stay at home and read a book. This may be a wholly personal reaction but then again it may not be, and I rather suspect there are more people who hold this opinion than would be prepared to own up to doing so, at least on a site with a membership like this one.
  8. "I love that saying, whoever wrote it, that says, "Rules were made for the obedience of fools, and for the guidance of wise men." Douglas Bader. " I have always been familiar with this quotation in a slightly different wording viz " Rules ARE made for the STRICT OBSERVANCE of fools and the guidance of wise men" . I would suggest that this formulation may make it slightly clearer that the point is not to condemn all obedience to rules but to commend the wisdom of knowing when to depart from them. (This would be just as valid when applied to split infinitives as to musical conventions) It was Virgil Fox who used to say that you had first to know the rules in order to break them, which, of course, in the opinion of many, he did with great frequency. But it brought him a fan base which still exists to this day, which must have some kind of significance, surely ? BAC
  9. Hi Chris, Barry is the acknowledged expert on all this stuff but I do not think you need to lose too much sleep over "problems down the road". While there are obvious practical relationships between employment status and tax liability, the basic rule of thumb is that your employment status is not the thing that determines your tax liability but the size of your taxable income! If the law makes income liable to tax, then it makes no difference to the basic need to pay what you owe whether you derived the income from paid employment or as a self employed person. Of course when and how you have to pay, what allowances you can claim etc etc do differ which is why the self -employed usually have accountants. Employees have "employment rights" derived from a variety of statutes eg the right not to be unfairly dismissed which the self-employed do not have (though they can always sue for breach of the contract under which their services were provided). Most health, safety and welfare type provisions are made to apply to "anyone employed or working on the premises...." so that they apply irrespective of whether a person is an employee or a self-employed contractor. My understanding is that you cannot avoid your tax liability by taking benefits in kind though HMRC will want the financial value of their share of the firewood rather than a percentage of the sticks !! At the end of the day income tax is normally meant to be levied on the taxable income you actually have (or in cases where measures to combat tax avoidance schemes are in play are to be treated as having - is this really likely to apply to you ?) and you are not usually expected to pay tax on income you have not (and never will) receive. I would agree with you about the Dulciana. Hope you find the culprit. Brian Childs
  10. But then perhaps not, since Philadelphia is in Pennsylvania.
  11. [something I have wondered, maybe it's the height of bad taste, but are there any organ transcriptions of piano concertos, with the piano part retained? Petit Mess Sodinghel excepted, there's not much music written for piano and organ, but I sometimes wonder how one of the great piano concertos would sound with a pianist playing the piano part and an organist filling in for the orchestra. Has this ever been done? It has certainly been done by theatre organists on recordings. In the 1930s Quentin Maclean recorded the Grieg taking both orchestral and solo parts himself, which must have been a considerable feat given the editing techniques (lack thereof) available at the time. More recently Jelani Edington has done the same thing on a CD entitled The Mighty Wurlitzer (RJE 2035) using the 4/38 Wurlitzer in Hardman Music Studio, Great Falls , Virginia. Large theatre organs of the American type which may well have more ranks of pipes than the average British organ clearly lend themselves to this. I have never heard of it being done live by two performers but are there not two brothers called Scott who are building something of a niche for themselves in combined piano and organ recitals ? Presumably if they have not done so already, they will be working towards something along this line.
  12. Hi Holz A great deal of sound advice has already been offered here with which I agree and see no need to repeat. However, I thought I would add a couple of points of my own from the perspective of the record collector with a reasonably comprehensive collection acquired over the space of almost 40 years and therefore embracing all generally available recorded formats - other than wax cylinders !! Unless you are selling only to friends and members of your own congregation (who are likely to buy anything which is produced out of loyalty) you need to be offering something which is different to what the potential purchaser already has. Whilst there is no need to go as far as including only pieces which have never been previously recorded, an offering consisting entirely of familiar works of which any serious collector will already possess (probably multiple) copies is a distinct disincentive to reaching for the cheque book - unless you have a unique angle. Do not forget your unique angle may be the organ you are using! Unpalatable as it may be to some to accept, the fact is that with recital discs some people are as interested in listening to the instrument being played as they are to what is being played on it. Accept this fact and you can turn it to your advantage by ensuring you showcase the instrument to its best and most extensive advantage and grab their attention. Ignore it on the basis that "you" (in quotation marks to signify no specific individual is referred to here) are above pandering to such vulgar taste and do not be surprised if a number of folk decide to keep their hands (and thus their money) firmly in their pockets. Resist the temptation to write overly learned notes. It is likely that the majority of your potential purchasers will already be familiar with the story of Bach's walk to hear Buxtehude and will not require another potted version of the tale, and certainly not at the expense of being told how two apparently balanced choruses were obtained from a very conventional English specification which does not seem to provide them. In other words never use space to relate things which the potential listeners will either know or can easily find out (Google answers an awful lot) at the expense of material which is not in that category. If you are going to make a major work the centrepiece of your CD , check whether, and if so how many, other recordings of it have been recently released. Works which have received a spate of recent releases are probably best avoided.For example, this is probably not the best time to offer the Elgar Sonata, since the number of other versions released or re-released in 2007 for the 150th anniversary are going to have an impact on the inclusion of this work as a reason attracting people to buy the CD. For the same reason avoid including a significant quantity of music for which the organ is either unsuitable or inadequate. CDs are intended for repeat listening and the compromises which may be tolerable in order to play Couperin as a concluding voluntary on an English organ rejoicing in a single reed unit borrowed everywhere at various pitches are infinitely less so when the performance is preserved for repeated listening. Good luck with the project. When it comes to fruition I will probably buy a copy whether or not you pay attention to the above advice but I am an unusually soft touch when it comes to organ CDs and I doubt there are enough like me out there to guarantee the financial success of any such endeavour.
  13. So the situation relating to the dinner could not have arisen in the recent past, if I read this correctly ? However, surely there is a point of more general application, ie that most income is taxable whilst the majority of gifts or presents are not. And the recipient of a dinner invitation might be forgiven for assuming it was intended as a gift unless expressly informed to the contrary.I distinctly remember being taught that if your granny paid you to cut her grass that was income and had to be declared but that if you performed the deed out of the goodness of your heart and in gratitude she bought you the set of CDs you had been coverting or slipped you a tenner that was an exchange of gifts and not declarable. (Perhaps Barry could comment on whether that is still correct, or once was and is no longer, or has never been so and I was misinformed.) One has some sympathy for a guest in the situation posited who might not choose to have his money spent for him in the way it apparently was. Brian Childs
  14. Peter, Which Kynaston recording ? There are two, (1) on the RAH (dating from the 1960s) and the other at Ingolstadt (from about 20 years later - cannot be more specific at the moment as most of my CDs are packed in boxes pending moving house.) I have both recordings although I have a preference for the former which is on LP, never having been reissued on CD as far as I am aware. In fact I have three different recordings of the Ad Nos at the RAH by (in order of recording) Nicolas Kynaston, Jennifer Bate and Gillian Weir. There must be distinct possibilities there for a comparative listening test for anyone with the time to undertake it since the players recorded at different stages in their respective careers and the organ was likewise caught at 3 stages of its evolution. Good luck with your preparation. If you ever get to the stage of recording it let me know and I will buy a copy for my collection. Brian Childs
  15. As a matter of strict logic the identity of the publisher is surely irrelevant to the quality of the publication,be it CD, book, picture or anything else - though it would be perfectly possible to argue that the fact that something has been accepted by a major commercial house makes it more likely that it has certain qualities. However those qualities are far more likely to incline to commercial viability than to artistic integrity because businesses exist to make money and if they do not they cease to be in business, as is pointed out in the first paragraph. It ought to follow from this that the deduction most likely to be correct from the fact of the publication of a CD by a major company is the deduction that someone has calculated that this will be a profitable thing to do, ie it will sell lots of copies and certainly more than the things which it beat to the draw. (The fact that someone has made such a calculation does not necessarily mean that they are correct in their conclusion,of course.) Naturally many other things can also be deduced but the artistic merit/quality/worthwhileness of the project is pretty far down the list. This is true virtually across the board. At the time of writing the works of J.K.Rowling far outsell those of Charles Dickens but that does not make her a more important novelist in the history of English literature. It is possible that in time she may come to eclipse Dickens but it would be astonishing if the basis of that judgement depended to any measurable extent on the identity of their respective publishers . As someone who has been collecting CDs of organ music for more years than I care to admit to, I can say without fear of contradiction that the activities of major record companies (with the honourable exception of Hyperion and Naxos, if they count as majors) have been virtually insignificant to the growth of my collection of organ recordings ( I do collect other things and "the majors" can certainly supply my needs for Mahler and Sibelius symphonies, for example). True it may be also that Priory is now a candidate for inclusion in this category but they certainly were not when I first bought LPs from them of Guildford Cathedral and Huddersfield Town Hall. But apart from that company (as it now is) it has been to the likes of Amphion,Raven, Pro Organo, JAV, Lammas, Guild, and Regent that one has turned, not forgetting those like Vista and Wealden that are no longer with us. Many of these are indeed one man and/ or husband and wife operations and the line between publication by one of these and self-publication can surely not always be regarded as a clear bright line, especially if a guarantee against losses incurred on the project is provided by the artist . In other words, whatever may be said as to the significance of the adoption of the work of an individual by a "major" company in other areas of human endeavour, in the field of minority musical interests the significance of such an endorsement (or its absence) as an indicator of quality is rather less than clear cut.
  16. I know of at least 3 versions which appear to be currently available, the Naxos CD being a relatively recent release: the numbers are Naxos 8557787 : CLASSCD 252 : Mottette CD 40221. BAC
  17. Only just come across this and, since no one else appears to have supplied the information, you appear to be referring to VPS 1033 , a Vista LP issued by Michael Smythe in 1976. I am unaware of it being reissued as a CD, in fact as far as I know nothing recorded by Michael and issued on his own Vista label has enjoyed a life on CD - I would certainly like to have CD versions of Christopher Herrick's very first LP at St Paul's and of Peter Goodman at Hull City Hall, particularly the Cook Fanfare. To answer your specific question Ron's contribution to this LP was "Jerusalem du hochegebaute Stadt" from op 65. The other players were John Turner with a notable performance of the Willan, Richard Galloway, David Harrison and Arthur Wills showcasing his 1976 rebuild at Ely. Brian Childs
  18. Is your suggestion that he got his K for "completing" the project, in spite of the mutiny, or as a consolation for being sidelined ? Be that as it may, I would certainly add my vote to those of the others who hold that FAJ deserves to be added to their number
  19. Surely Sir Thomas H W Armstrong ought to be included (k 1957) and possibly, but much more dubiously, Sir Hugh Allen (k 1920). I suppose Sir Richard Terry (k 1922) is disqualified for playing for a foreign team ?
  20. I do not want to start this all up again but I followed up the quoted link and looked at the site in question. Not every lawyer with knowledge of this area would accept some of the statements it contains without further explanation or expansion. For example, contrary to what is implied, a statement does not cease to be defamatory if proved to be true, but it does cease to be actionable . This is a significant distinction. To say someone is a paedophile is clearly defamatory (it takes away the fair fame of the person) at the present time in our culture (in other cultures at other times it might not have been) , but no individual of whom this statement can be proved to be true can sue successfully in respect of it. That said, I fully agree with the approach which avoids courting trouble in the first place. prevention is in almost all circumstances better than cure.
  21. Is Lewis Hamilton not the name of the head of the (civic) guards in Paul Johnson's series of books about Quint Dalrymple in a futuristic, post apocalypse Edinburgh ??
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