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themythes

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About themythes

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  1. At very long last I feel that I do have something of possible interest to add to the profound and erudite discussions in this splendid forum; it is good to have returned from the brain dead. I write to recall that during a lesson with Ralph Downes at the RCM he told me that while planning the design of the organ to be built in the RFH he looked over the Albert Hall instrument and the quality of the H and H work convinced him that they should be the builders for the the new RFH organ. I like the 'flight' story: it reminds me of the time, many years ago, when on Radio 3 an LP of music by Britten was thus back-announced 'that was the Simple Symphony by Benjamin Britten, played by the Boyl Need Orchestra (slowly) conducted by Boyl Need'. For those who may not know much about Dr Boyd Neel a quick flick through Wiki P will tell all. Good to be back! David Harrison
  2. In reply to Wolsey's note of 10th April : Sorry to be rather 'en retard' with this response but I've been away and have only recently managed to prise an answer out of Lucasorg. The 'moth fretting a garment' effect was realised by drawing all the tremulants on a general piston without any notes being played. Now ya know. I enquired further of Lucasorg as to whether there were any other 'effects' and whether they were suitable for sharing; there were and they weren't. David Harrison
  3. I have been asked by Carlo's manager, Paul Vaughan, to add the following announcement. David Harrison CARLO CURLEY BBC Radio 4 “Last Word” I have been advised by BBC Radio 4 that the edition of “Last Word” which will include a feature on Carlo will be broadcast on Friday 31st August from 4.00pm Paul Vaughan
  4. I have been asked by Paul Vaughan, Carlo Curley’s manager, to reproduce here the announcement which he has issued in respect of Carlo’s obsequies. It should be stressed here that Mr Vaughan has been recognised officially and legally as Carlo’s representative in these matters and that messages that may appear in other media and which do not appear to tally with Mr Vaughan’s statement are, therefore, not official and may be viewed accordingly. “The funeral arrangements for the late Carlo Curley are properly in the hands of Paul Vaughan, who was his manager for more than thirty years, and Carlo's good friend the Rev'd Kenneth Crawford, with whom he left clear instructions. Carlo's simple committal and cremation is to be strictly private by request but will be followed later in the year by a Memorial Service in Thanksgiving and Celebration of his Life at which his ashes will be interred to which all will be welcome. Once arrangements are in place, announcements will be posted in the usual way". PV Media Limited 180812 If and when further details come my way I will post them here, subject to Mr Vaughan’s approval David Harrison
  5. I am aware that this thread last drew breath in late June but I have been unable to post for some months owing to various mental aberrations on my part and I have only just now managed to come up for air and shout (successfully) for help. Here I must record my thanks to a fellow board member who helped with some technical problems and also encouraged me to see it through at a time when I was all for hanging up my boxing gloves and skis for good. I have been much intrigued by the various posts on this subject and I fear that I can add nothing sensibly useful to the arguments already set out, apart from the suggestion that one plays it all as fast as possible in a large resonant building and no one will ever know if you've practised it or not (alright, Vox Humana, I'm coming out with my hands up). I used to play the organ in a small village church in North East Dorset; the elderly gentleman who ran the village garage and who occasionally played the organ if I was away once asked me if I had ever heard of an organist called Jehan Alain. I confirmed my acquaintance with the music of Alain and he told me that he recalled Alain staying in the village for a few weeks during the war. Alain returned to France and lost his life almost immediately upon his return to his native country. The old man was most unlikely to have made the story up and I wonder whether there are any who might, perhaps, be able to confirm this narrative. The village is called Wimborne St Giles, is about 10 miles north of Wimborne Minster and has a handsome Comper-restored church with a notable Harrison organ in the west gallery. It has, rather unusually, a full length 16' Open Wood on the pedals and is a remarkably effective instrument. It's nice to be back! David Harrison
  6. Some ten years ago my church PCC decided to send our greatly loved and deeply cherished Hymns Old and New to the everlasting bonfire and, for its replacement, they whittled down their final selection to CP and NEH. I perused both books carefully with a choirmaster friend and we both came to the conclusion that Common Praise probably had it just by a short head. NEH seems more suited to those churches that tend toward Anglo Catholicism, which we do not. All of which is my long winded way of saying that IMO David Drinkell has got it spot on. David Harrison
  7. I imagine that all of us can recall some embarrassing moments when we first started out as church organists. It wasn’t my first service but I was only 10 or 11 and organist of a village church near Salisbury; I had been in post a little while and I should, by then, have been accustomed to the problems of Roman numerals (the dreaded Black Psalter) but somehow I misread the number of the Psalm; it should have been LXV but I had got the wrong one. Harvest Festival, packed church, no choir and the congregation in disarray trying to work out what pointing I was offering them. It was then that I realised that I was about to encounter my “ne plus ultra” of sublimest moments. With the Rector’s brow becoming more and more knitted as gobbledegook verses went by I did the only possible thing and yelled “Gloria” which is, I suppose, the nearest an organist can get to “Geronimo”. Much as it pains me to introduce anything approaching a serious note at this point, MM raises an intriguing idea in his note about the treble hearing G for the opening of “Irby” and the choir coming with the right notes for verse 2. My own experience is that even amateur choirs have an innate sense, not perhaps of pitch itself, but of where” in the voice” they usually should be, particularly in well known music. Maybe someone who has had similar experiences of this sort of thing might care to expand the notion in a separate topic. I can, mirabile dictu, end with a nice little story about the “Irby” that wasn’t. It took place during one of those Christmas concerts so ubiquitous at the Festive Season. The student lady chorister deputed to sing the opening verse of “Once in Royal” became a touch distracted with the awesomeness of the occasion and started off with the tune of “Hark the Herald”. It fitted beautifully for a while but gradually she became aware that trouble loomed upon the horizon and nemesis was about to strike. Realising that, to quote the great Victor Borge, soon she would shoot one short of a line or so of words she carried on without batting an eyelid with a confidently brayed la-la-la. My correspondent didn’t tell me how this was received by the audience but it surely should come under the heading of “Great Moments of Carol Singing”. David Harrison
  8. I am advised by a relative who is a Learning Support specialist that this is a speech and language problem; I expect that John Erskine has already directed you in the right direction. David Harrison
  9. This is going a bit off topic, but I can't resist a response to MM's most entertaining post. The film to which you refer is "Raising the Wind"; it's a Carry On film in all but name with most of the usual regulars including a marvellous contribution from the incomparable Kenneth Williams who was trying to conduct the William Tell Overture for a competition prize. Both incidental music and the script were written by Bruce Montgomery who, as well as writing music was an author of crime novels, my favourite being "Holy Disorders", required reading for any organist/choirmaster. No spoilers but the way in which the cathedral organist was murdered will not fail to bring a smile to your lips. As well as the incidental music for the early Carry on films he was no mean crafter of some church music; should you require a simple but beautifully written little anthem for a choir of modest aspirations you need look no further than "My joy, my life, my crown". He wrote, too, "An Oxford Requiem" and "Christ's Birthday" both of which look interesting enough to suggest further investigation. Incidentally, Montgomery himself was conducting "For unto us a child is born" during the sequence to which MM refers. David Harrison
  10. MM has, as usual, given us well thought out responses in this topic. His knowledge of the history of church music of all denominations, especially in his own home area is, clearly, extensive. I feel confident that we can award him a Thoroughly Honourable Doctorate. It is obvious that the influence of Hook and the free churches in the earlier half of the nineteenth centuries played an important part in the growth of singing in the north. I wonder how much of this revival affected areas further south. In respect of the "targets" in this topic it will be noted that it was headed "The Anglican Choral Revival" and while I am in no way suggesting that the influences cited by MM had little or no effect it does seem to me, at least, that things began to take off in a big way with the advent of the Oxford Movement, as Vox Humana suggests. All that MM tells us about the fact that the singers were poached by the Anglicans from the Non Conformist Churches is, I’m sure, true, but I hope he would agree that the great surge in composition of suitable music for the Anglican Church came later in the century. Of course there was Walmisley in D minor and Wesley in E and other similar settings, not the least those from the Tudor period and the eighteenth century and doubtless some parish church choirs sang them but was not Walmisley writing for the choir of Trinity, Cambridge and Wesley for Hereford? It should also be pointed that the availability of printed music was considerably more of a problem then. What would we do now without Choralwiki! A further point that I’m sure I shall be accused of misunderstanding is the appearance of the church organ as the principal instrument for service accompaniment. In many country churches, the village band had usually led the singing from the gallery at the back before the Oxford Movement which Vox suggests as the time (the 70s and 80s) when the centre of worship shifted in the geography of the churches. There are, certainly, organs which predate this period, but my own observations suggest that there was a major surge in organ building during the period that the "revival" seems to have taken place. I am most certainly not an organ historian and I would be interested to hear from others as to the accuracy of my suggestion. There must have been a reason for this growth of interest in having a church organ and also in it being placed near the choir. I am frequently accused of not explaining myself clearly and I must, probably, hold up my hands with a ‘mea culpa’ in respect of my last post. I was hoping to find out how many church choirs still existed which were run along the lines that I suggested with the story about the church in Heaton. In PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves story entitled "The purity of the turf" which I take to be set in the period between the wars the village choir boasted a large number of men and children, probably boys, in it. I recall a distinguished figure in the RSCM stating, some time ago, that the prep schools could well be the last bastion of the traditional parish church choir and having some experience of such schools I thought it appropriate to include them and their secondary counterparts in my proposed survey. At the time most of the prep and public schools were all male. Let us pray that they are not the last resort, excellent though many of them are. I am sorry if I did not make myself clear.
  11. Further thoughts have been going through my mind since this topic was first raised. Perhaps, when I set out suggestions for information about parish church choirs and the extent to which the traditions of the past have been continued, I should have included the many fine school choirs which often reach a very high standard indeed. This is especially true of the independent sector where many of the boarding schools maintain a firm link with both the Churches of England and Rome and their service patterns and traditions. In my last (preparatory) school, the proximity of Heathrow meant that many of our number were, like Home Thoughts, From Abroad and of a wide variety of world religions. There were all kinds in the chapel choir, including, probably, for all I knew, Hindus, Sikhs and even, like me, devout cowards together with, as I recall, a follower of Islam, whose mother, while expressing her pleasure at his being a member of the choir, asked that I did not choose him to carry the cross. I assured her that, delighted as I was for Abdul to be one of our elite his chances of becoming Head Chorister could safely be filed under the heading of Pie In The Sky and she could rest easy on the matter. The secondary independent schools, known, perhaps somewhat misleadingly, as public schools also have excellent choral traditions and, with most of them now being co-educational, have the opportunity to run choirs of considerable quality. I know of at least one of our number who might well feel able to tell us something about his clearly excellent and experienced school choir. I’m sure there are several others. David Harrison
  12. This is a fascinating subject that Vox Humana has raised. Leeds Parish Church and S.S Wesley certainly were beacons of light in the murk of English Church music which we find in the first half of the nineteenth century. Even the cathedrals were not above reproach at this time and the work of Maria Hackett will be known to many of us here; her book "A Brief Account of Cathedral and Collegiate Schools" spells out graphically the unsatisfactory state of choristers’ lives. Clearly the revival, as Vox proposes, began in earnest with the Oxford Movement with the number of choral settings of the canticles, not to mention anthems of all shapes and sizes descending upon us almost like a plague from this period onwards. It is might be fanciful of me to link the Oxford Movement in Anglican Church with the growing and greater awareness of the Roman Catholic Church, but look at the dates Vox has suggested for the "sharp decline" of the Anglican Choral Tradition; would it be equally mischievous to point to "Vatican II" and its undoubted effect on the Anglican Liturgy as being not entirely unconnected with the dates which he proposes? My predecessor as choirmaster at my church would often tell me about his time, during the 50s, as a chorister in the choir of St Gabriel’s, Heaton in Newcastle; the choir, run by his father, sang fully choral services every Sunday and there were the usual visits to sing services at local cathedrals, not to mention summer camps. Photographs suggest that there were probably 35 - 40 members of this all-male choir and it was certainly one of many up and down the country. However, like the lawyer Hoskins in "Rumpole", I, too, have daughters and consequently have absolutely no bias in favour of all-male choirs. I would be interested to hear from fellow posters about those parish church choirs, however constituted, that continue to maintain the sort of level of commitment and standard that compares with the church choir to which I alluded above. Rather like pcnd5574’s strictures in respect of a small cathedral organ, I think we are going to have to apply some rules; a fully choral setting each Sunday; and regular cathedral visits each year. And no quartets, may I suggest, please, at least 20 - 25 singers on a regular basis. David Harrison
  13. Somewhat after the event: but what was the result of your research, Vox? David Harrison
  14. Quoting a distinguished cathedral organist known both to Vox and me : the purpose of the church is to keep the rain off the organ. David Harrison
  15. Yes, I did read it, but it occurred to me that the correspondent whose post I quoted might not have had the correct name offered him. Obviously you have read the article which refers to the Abbey sacking a composer. There might well have been a touch of misunderstanding all round here. Anyway, we await the news of Mr Vinnie’s replacement and his destination. David Harrison
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