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Vox Humana

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About Vox Humana

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  1. I have this pinned to my tool bar, where it takes next to no room and is easy to access. I find it useful, although I have memorised the ASCII codes for the most common characters and find that method the quickest of all, if limited by what passes for my memory..
  2. But it's OK to disturb people during the voluntary.
  3. On the choice of music in the Chapel Royal, here are some entries from the cheque books: 19 December 1663: "The service shalbe appointed by ye Deane or subDeane or his subtitute, with advice of the Master of the Children, for such Anthems as are to be performed by ye Children of ye Chappell." 6 October 1726: "And to prevent disturbance, which is necessarily occasion'd by sending Messages backward and forward in the Chapel, during the Performance of Divine Service, the Sub-Dean, or some other Appointed by him, shall on every Sunday & Holiday make known to the Quire, and also to the Organists, before Prayers begin, what Service and Anthem shall be Perform'd for that time, & on all other days he shall make known the Same, during the Voluntary." 2 August 1859: "The anthem appointed to be sung, will not be changed without the authority of the Dean, or of the Subdean."
  4. Thank you very much for that, Wolsey.
  5. The rationale for calling the choirs of both St James's and Hampton Court the Chapel Royal probably owes something to history. Originally our monarchs were a bunch of unsavoury persons of no fixed abode. They were peripatetic and the royal household moved around with them. By early Tudor times there was a marked preference for residence at the palaces of Greenwich, Westminster and, under Henry VIII, Whitehall, while after the fall of Cardinal Wolsey in 1529, the king took his palace at Hampton Court. As the court's peregrinations settled down a bit, so, too, did the lay clerks of the royal household chapel. Most chose to live in Westminster, from where it was only a modest boat-ride down to Greenwich, but some chose to live elsewhere. Tallis, for example, lived in Greenwich. By contrast, the secular court musicians, a large number of whom were foreigners, preferred to live in London, often grouped by nationality. However, all who were required would still have to resort to boat or horse when the court moved to places such as Windsor or Richmond. The ancient history of the organists is very obscure. There seems to be very little evidence before the first "Cheque Book" was begun in 1561. Presumably the early Chapel Royal followed the usual medieval practice of allocating the task of playing the organ to any lay clerk who could play. But that's just a guess because evidence is lacking. Once information becomes available in Elizabeth's reign it is clear that there were three specific organists (who still would have been primarily lay clerks): Tallis, Blitheman and Byrd. Thereafter, when one of the organists died, he was replaced by another organist. There continued to be three organists up to the death of Purcell in 1695, then two up to the death of Sir George Smart in 1867, after which there was only one. This body of musicians is the one that eventually became associated with St James's Palace. Unfortunately, I have no information about the establishment of the separate musical institution at Hampton Court. I would be interested to learn.
  6. I have no idea how the project is being funded, but it is probably unrealistic to expect a cash-poor public body to be able to fund a new pipe organ. However, I wonder why they are not relocating the Compton (assuming they are not). Playing Devil's advocate, I suppose that, for works with a prominent organ part, they could always hire a venue that does have an instrument, while for works in which the organ is just another member of the orchestra (e.g. Howells's Hymnus Paradisi; Holst's The Planets) a Hauptwerk set-up would suffice.
  7. I wasn't there, but I did have a reel-to-reel tape of the subsequent radio broadcast of highlights from the concert (which, with the benefit of hindsight, I think was a broadcast of the tape of the LP). As Paul says, it was clearly a lot of fun.
  8. In the far-off days when I was a student I heard Guillou give a recital at the Royal Festival Hall. It was quite riveting, if idiosyncratic. He played his Sinfonietta, only recently composed, I think. I was very much taken with its structure, language and sonorities. Sadly few English organs are spiky enough to do it justice. Here's the first movement on an organ that suits it very well indeed and player ditto.
  9. I doubt that's what they are saying. I was just wondering what they do mean by this statement, which is about as specific as promises about Brexit.
  10. "...and a commitment to explore new ways of developing that tradition for future generations." Erm...?
  11. There's a concert organist known at least by name to everyone here who insists strongly on avoiding the word "recital" for his performances because of its stuffy connotations. While youngsters might not have any preconceptions either way, it still might be a good idea to find a more inspiring title for the event.
  12. Thank you very much! I thought that your book would have to be the earlier one. That presumably makes the weaker, OUP version a later revision - which I find very curious. There are actually at least four different versions of that last quarter in circulation, although whether they were all made by Ley I don't know. To my mind the strongest is Ley's first thought with the II7b for the antepunultimate chord.
  13. As I expect you will remember, that revised reading was retained in Sidney Watson's chant book of 1960. Is the book you have dated, Paul? Interestingly, Oxford Chant Book No.2 (1934), which was edited by Ley and Stanley Roper, has a different and much weaker final quarter and also alters the alto and tenor of the third chord to make it a first inversion dominant chord. I am wondering which version is older.
  14. The only person I know with that surname pronounces it "Lay", matching the pronunciation of the wetlands of Slapton Ley and Beesands Ley in Devon. Whether Henry of that ilk also pronounced it that way I have no idea. Can Rowland tell us more?
  15. His hymn tune for Blake's "To mercy, pity, peace and love" in the Cambridge Hymnal is a wonderful little thing. I don't know that I'd use it as a congregational hymn tune, but it works a treat as a simple, short anthem for a modest parish choir.
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