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msw's Achievements


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  1. There are accessible settings of "For the beauty" by John Joubert and Andrew Carter that might be within your choir's grasp. The former is available in one of the Novello "More than Hymns" books whilst the latter is part of a longer work entitled "Great is the Lord" and published by Morning Star in the USA. The last movement of said cantata, "Thou art the vine," is also worth a look though more suitable perhaps for a dedicatory service than a memorial.
  2. I suppose, now that Sir John has passed away, no changes can be made to the score as he can no longer approve them. Chester might even be prepared to take you up on your typesetting offer! Perhaps you should contact them again and see what the response is this time?
  3. I'll never forget his setting of "Hail, gladdening light" written in 2002 for Gordon Stewart on his taking over of the RSCM Millennium Youth Choir. It was to be broadcast as an introit for Radio 3 Choral Evensong from Durham School Chapel, as part of the RSCM's first International Summer School that year. Present for the pre-broadcast rehearsal, Dr Spedding broke into floods of tears after hearing it sung through - I reckon because the choir's performance far exceeded his expectations and made for a truly moving rendition of such a beautiful setting. Both the music and his reaction to that first performance spoke volumes about his character and his vision.
  4. As a right-handed organist, I find that one of the harder aspects of playing is working out and writing in fingerings for my right hand. I'm sure many other organists have shared that frustration of working out a superb fingering and then trying to remember as much of it as possible whilst taking pencil in hand and annotating the copy - whilst one can simply write in the fingerings for the left hand as one plays. Do left-handed organists, therefore, find it difficult to work out left hand fingerings but easy to work out right hand ones?
  5. They're long out of print but can be ordered in "authorised photocopy form" as a single combined volume (try Allegro Music if not OUP themselves) or, if you just want a particular piece, separate off-prints are also available.
  6. I hope members may forgive me for taking the liberty of posting with a request for copies, but as a wise friend of mine said not so long ago: "If you want to pick apples, you need to go to an orchard..." The Choir of St Mary’s Collegiate Church, Warwick, is seeking to replace its set of plainsong psalters (“A Manual of Plainsong for Divine Service” ed. H.B. Briggs and W.H. Frere, rev. J.H. Arnold: Novello & Co. 1951, hardcover) as these are now in poor condition. Are there any among you that have hardback copies that you no longer use or need? If so, St Mary's will be happy to purchase them off you or make a donation as required. Please PM me if you can help.
  7. Warwickians were treated to Chilcott's "Sun Dance" in the morning (during which the Boys, Girls and Men sang Mozart's Missa Brevis in F and the Hallelujah Chorus from "Handel" by Messiah) and in the evening came an even bigger treat - Rutter's "Variations on an Easter theme" (organ duet by myself and the DoM) at the end of Evensong that had included Smith's Responses, Stanford in C and Elgar's "Light of the world."
  8. Anyone who already owns a copy (and as far as I know, that Kevin Mayhew "Recitalist's Repertoire" volume is the only edition out there at present) should get in touch with Philip Moore and ask him about the revised ending... I got in touch with him earlier this year to let him know I'd be playing it in London, whereupon he kindly sent me a Sibelius file with a new ending to the third movement.
  9. I had a bit of a contractual issue recently, insofar as I'd just been offered a new job when my old employer suddenly threw a contract at me, with a quite long notice period thereon. Being an ISM member, I took advantage of their free legal helpline. As the advisor said to me over the 'phone: "Just accept the other job, give the old place at least a month's notice and don't sign the contract. If they couldn't be bothered to issue it until now, it's their own stupid fault that you can walk away at such short notice." This raises two pertinent points: 1) ISM membership can be well worth the annual subscription fee; 2) Contracts are binding, but only if you've signed them. And in order to that you need to have a copy. And churches are often very slow at providing copies! Having said that, my new place issued one within a month of my arrival. I'll be happy to sign it, for it seems to be well in order and the only quibbles I have are the typos in my name and address on the first page. (This place is clearly on top of its game!)
  10. I was referring to players I've heard live ... but I have heard Carlo on video and he is indeed a gifted speaker. Of course, it's his mission to extol the organ in all circumstances, so his style of presentation has been developed to reflect that objective.
  11. The old Estey organ in the St Helena Cathedral (Montana, USA) had a number of reed stops that were not actually reeds - most notably, one of the Swell ranks was a "Saxophone" made up of string pipes. Since the rebuild in 2008 by Wick (http://www.sthelenas.org/music/organ/) some of those stops have been altered, although it is apparently a far superior instrument now with plenty to excite and amaze.
  12. I like to speak to my audiences if at all possible, giving them potted history of composer and work, with at least one interesting bit of trivia or anecdote concerning composer and/or music in question. Sometimes, if I've put together a programme with a thread running through it - a common style, geographical links or other relationships between the composers, for example - I'll use my speeches to highlight that. If the audience has printed programme notes, I speak less - perhaps just to add some anecdote or other for which there wasn't room in the programme. In any case, I find it can help to save time and keep the music flowing more easily if I introduce some items but not others, or use a speech between two works to refer to both the preceding and following items. (E.g. "A lovely and sunny piece, I'm sure you'll agree, and it's unique amongst JSB's organ works, being his only Prelude and Fugue in A major. The next piece is from an earlier generation, and shows something of the influence on JSB....") Audiences almost certainly appreciate the odd relevant joke now and then: not only does it enhance their enjoyment of the performance but it "humanises" the organist, making him (or her) seem less like the stereotype of stuffy, dour and even strict person operating a dusty machine in dark stony churches. When introducing Lefebure-Wely's Sortie No. 2 to an audience recently, I told them that "he is very well-known in England for his Sortie No. 3 in E flat, which is extremely popular and sounds like a fairground piece. His Sortie No. 1 in B flat is also very popular and sounds like a fairground piece. This Sortie No. 2 in B flat is not at all popular ... and sounds like a fairground piece." That tickled them somewhat! Some of the best recital speeches I've heard have come from, in no particular order: Peter King, Ian Tracey, Roger Fisher, Francis Jackson, Simon Lindley, Timothy Byram-Wigfield, Martin Neary, Peter Dyke and Gordon Stewart. Each knows how to educate and amuse within the same breath!
  13. The Great Bourdon 16' at Selby - put it up an octave and it "outflutes" any of the others!
  14. msw


    Well, almost - he's leaving Kendal on 26th September and starting at Warwick on 1st October...!
  15. The interesting thing is that a Choral Evensong can include all the essential bits and still be over in half an hour. Recently, I went to one of the Thursday Evensongs at Hexham Abbey (which is sung by the Girls' Choir) and in exactly 30 minutes they got through: Preces (Morley) Psalm - 139 vv. 1-10 & 23-24 plus Gloria (Plainchant) 1st Lesson Magnificat (Philip Moore) 2nd Lesson Nunc Dimittis (Philip Moore) Creed Responses (Morley) Anthem - Take my life (Wilson) Intercessions (I think there were just three of these, followed by the Grace) Final Responses (Naylor) Organ Voluntary - Aria from Suite Modale (Peeters) A most refreshing experience, particularly as it was sung to such a high standard. (Michael Haynes, who has just left Hexham to do a P/G course in Music at Newcastle University, has built things up extremely well over the past 11 years; with the highly-experienced Marcus Wibberley poised to take over, Hexham should hopefully remain a place to treasure for its music for some time to come!)
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