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J Maslen

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Everything posted by J Maslen

  1. Many thanks for your collective comments, gents. No, I never attended St. Paul's school, I'm sorry to say. The year I heard FG would have been around 1960. 'It's amazing how Germani's name comes up time and time again. Was he the greatest of his generation, I wonder?' He was refered to by a friend as the 'greatest in the world'. I heard him on two other ocasions, rather later, and by then that accolade was no longer justified, I'm sorry to say. He did play a Frescobaldi piece at one of those occasions that had the entire audience entranced - another great moment - but that is about it. 'I think I would find Emma Johnson pretty spellbinding even if she couldn't play a note!!' Now now!! Regards to all John
  2. Fernando Germani, many years ago in St. Paul's school. The first recital I ever attended. His performance of the 'Dorian' thrilled me, and I have loved the piece ever since, and I can't understand why it doesn't get an airing more often. Or have I missed something? I only wish I could play it! Simon Preston, again years ago, RFH. Don't recall the whole progamme, but it concluded with Liszt's B.A.C.H and then the Vierne Finale from Symphony 1 - stunning. Non Organ. A couple of years ago a Japanese Orchestra (Seiko Keinan - not sure how it's spelled or if that's even the right name) gave a performance at the Proms of Brahms 1 which was one of the most thriiling things I have ever heard. Even hearing it again when the recorded concert was re-broadcast later left me totally unprepared for the final brass entry. Emma Johnson playing Debussy in the heats of the Young Musician of the Year that she went on to win. It was so spellbinding it even stopped the kids fighting for five minutes! And after her final performance I was unable to speak for several minutes - a strange experience. Regards to all John
  3. I agree, the best electronic substitutes sound rather good, though still not the real deal - indeed, I doubt if they will ever be as good as the real thing. But I have to ask - why would you want to have an instrument that 'could be many things'? What's the point? The technology exists, of course it does, as it does for many other things, but why would you want to in the first place? The instrument I play each week is a small one, and the service relatively simple, but I would very unwilling to take on the tasks of lighting and audio mixer as well - I've got quite enough to do, thank you! I may be the guy providing the music, but I'm there to worship, to pray, to hear God's word, and to learn, as well. And as for a 'workstation of worship' - I shudder at the very thought! Imported internet files, fancy presentations - this is not what worship is about. We as a world seem to be obsessed with the idea that if a computer can do it, it should, and will do it better. Hence the popularity of digital cameras, MP3 players and the rest. Not improvements on what went before, but who cares? They all use the almighty PC, so have to be the right way forward! Please, let's maintain a sense of proportion, and not get carried away with the technical possibilties of the 21st century. Few if any will prove to be of much value in churches for worship purposes, for worship comes from the heart, not via a computer. Regards to all JOhn
  4. Absolutely right, but the chancel dates from medieval times and has side aisles the same height as the centre aisle; the Victorian architect (forgotten his name) simply continued what he was faced with. The chancel vault is also, I believe, the earliest Lierne vault in the country, and one of the few without a ridge piece. Unfortunately the Victorians didn't continue this part of the design, and the nave vault is IMHO less interesting as a result. Regards to all John
  5. I think you'll find it's the only medieval cathedral with the aisles the same height as the nave, rathe than the same height end to end. As far as the Organs are concerned, I've heard both played and like them both. The Cathedral has the better acoustics, St. Mary's being very dry, and the better seating. The pews in St. Mary's are the most uncomfortable seats I've ever sat in.
  6. I forgot - most of the hymns I have seen written by Fred Kaan leave much to be desired. He just hasn't quite 'got it' IMHO. If you like his stuff, fine - I'm not keen I'm afraid. Regards to all John
  7. 'Songs of Praise' often use Spirit of God, unseen as the wind, the the Skye boat song. Least said, soonest mended!
  8. Not sure what happened there - my apologies. What I was trying to say before technology got the better of me was that he used these wonderful sound bites ('a conjuring trick with bones', for example) which were picked up by the press and enthusiastically misquoted. What he actually said was that the resurrection 'was not just a conjuring trick with bones' - a perfectly vaild comment on the theology of resurrection. I suppose that having edited 'The Myth of God Incarnate' some years earlier, with all the attendant fuss, he didn't stand a chance. Those who experienced his ministry as Bishop of Durham thought very highly of him, I understand. Regards to all. John
  9. There was a story I heard some years ago regarding a vicar who took as his sermon them 'I shall come down and dwell among you'. He repeated it several times, thumpiong the pulpit vigorously each time. Unfortunately the pupit was past is prime and collapsed. At which point some wag said 'Well, you did warn us!' David Jenkins. His biggest mistake was to use wonderful sound bites, which were then misq
  10. Thanks for that - I'll have to try harder! Regards to all John
  11. The man who taught me to play the Organ had a book called Tales of Organists. It included such delights as the Organist's 23rd psalm ('The Ford is my car, I shall not want another ... it anointeth my head with oil ...' - I can't remember more) and the story of an old verger, much given to quoting the psalms. One day, helping put up the marquee for the Village Fete, something went wrong and he found himself buried under a great pile of canvas. When they pulled him out, he looked at the mess and said 'This lot has fallen on me in a fair ground'. Well, I thought it was funny! Regards to all John
  12. In May this year I played an Allen two row for a wedding (with the church 'band', unfortunately). To say I was pleasantly surprised by the tonal quality would be an understatement - it was very good indeed, with the usual exception (to my ears at least) of the pedal 16' reed, which was just not quite convincing. Good - must try harder. It 's a comfortable thing to play, once I propped the stool up to a height that didn't mean my knees were around my ears (I'm 6ft+) but the Gt. pistons were all set up to cancel Sw-Gt - every one of them. IMHO such couplers should not be on pistons at all, and all should have their own reversibles, which these did not. Nor am I convinced of the need for a switch changing the sound to 'Baroque'. Interesting idea, but I prefered the English sound. It also could be set to different temperaments, but to be frank, although I didn't play around with that much, I didn't see (or hear) the point of it. Like so many things electronic, (and the Channel Tunnel, come to that) it's there because they can, not because it's needed. But I quite enjoyed myself, for all that. Later this month I have to play another wedding, this time just me on a big, recent, three row C-H. I had the chance to try it a few weeks ago, and I have to say that good though the Allen is, this is in a different league entirely. Excellent choruses, a nice range of mutations, beautiful individual voices - the thing is a delight, and the console superb. The only thing that stopped me enjoying myself, an hour later (and I had no music with me, and always have had difficulty with playing from memory, and improvising) was choir practice starting!. But again, good though the instrument is, the Pedal 16' reed is still not quite there. The acid test, I suppose, is 'could I live with one like it?' You bet! Would I, money aside, choose it over a comparable, or even, a smaller pipe job? Not on your life. It's good - very good - but it ain't the real thing. In practice, though, for most churches the cost is the crunch point. Churches aren't there to house Organs, much though I love the things, and money is tight these days. Regards to all John
  13. When I first joined 'the trade' I was assured by the man I worked with that the best swell boxes had solid wood, vertical shutters, with double beveled edges. He disliked horizontal shutters because they could drop dust on the reeds. In some circumstances they may be inappropriate, as others have said, but that was his opinion, and I wasn't going to argue - not with him! Wurlitzer swell fronts had a number (8?) of vertical shutters, moving independently, but unlike other fronts I have seen (and made!) they were of differing widths, and opened in two stages, giving 16 stages of crescendo altogether with 8 shutters. The narrowest opened first. I don't much like cinema organs, but if my memory is correct the crescendo was OK. It's a long time ago now, though, and I am happy to bow to those with more recent experience! Regards to all John
  14. I'm sorry to say that if you heard my pathetic attempts at improvisation, you would know at once why I don't do it in public. What David is talking about is on a whole new plane compared to me, and more power to his elbow says I - if you've got it, use it. Trouble is, I haven't. He appears to be spending a considerable amount of time and trouble effectively composing special music for each Sunday, except he isn't writing it down on paper. As far as preachers are concerned, if a) they have spent a considerable amount of time on their knees in the preceding week, and a considerable amount of time reading, and reading around, the word of God in the same time, and c) have spent time assimilating the news, national and local, and d) have also spent time listening to their congregation, to their concerns, feelings, hopes, prayers, etc., then they have done their preparation, and it is not surprising if the Good Lord gives them words to speak to the congregation which will be relevant, Godly and helpful. But this approach is the same as practise for a musician, surely. Preparation is the key to a good result for both, whether playing music written by another, or 'on the spot' by those who can do these things; or preaching from notes or a script, or extempore. Isn't it? Regards to all John
  15. 'O Jesus I have promised' can be sung to the 'Match of the day' theme. Hmm. Regards to all John
  16. 'I have no connections with this church or with anyone mentioned. Am I the only person on this forum who disagrees with the style and content of this posting?' No, you aren't. If we wish to criticise, fair enough, but let's keep names out of it. Regards to all John
  17. Thanks to all - fascinating reading. I started to play the piano when I was around five, and the Organ at eleven/twelve - can't remember which now. Left school at eighteen, spent some years in the Organ building industry - G & D in their dying days, then HNB, leaving just before Frank arrived - great fun, but in 1973 went into retail, where I've been ever since. Was organist of St. Mary's Henbury (Bristol) for some years, (2 man Daniels), then trained as a Reader (I try not to preach for ages!). Currently Organist and Reader at another Bristol church (not at the same time, I hasten to add!) whose Organ leaves much to be desired, though it does the job OK. Married for 36 years, two daughters, two and two half grandchildren of whom I am inordinately proud. Musical interests; just about anything that has a decent tune/harmony, but not opera, thank you. Musical dislikes - anything without a decent tune/harmony. Why is so much modern service music so ugly? Regards to all John
  18. What about the little Toccatina by Pietro Yon? Never heard of anything else he wrote. Just wish I could play it properly! Regards to all John
  19. 2004 I think, maybe 2003. It was not particularly well finished as I recall (I only had about 10 minutes), but I think I'm right in saying the job wasn't quite complete. My recall isn't that great (sorry) I'm afraid - we enjoyed the wedding though! Regards to all John
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