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Robert Bowles

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About Robert Bowles

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  • Birthday 24/07/49

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  • Location
    Clapham, London
  1. Help to choose an hymn book

    Our copies of Common Praise have now gone to a good home!
  2. Help to choose an hymn book

    "The Organist's Hymnbook" by Anne Marsden Thomas (Cramer Music ISMN: M-2209 - 0621 - 3) has 160 of the most common tunes (but no words!). They are printed on three staves, with suggested fingering and pedalling. Each tune appears twice, once "straight" with note values as printed in hymn books and once with assorted rests to assist with articulation and show what you really need to play to keep a congregation together. My church (in Clapham, South London) has, literally, just pensioned off "Common Praise" in favour of its successor "Ancient and Modern Hymns and Songs for Refreshing Worship" . We have about 200 assorted full music, melody and words only copies of CP looking for a good home. Send me a private message if you are interested!
  3. UK 5-manuals?

    Hmm. Perhaps it was after John Dykes Bower retired and Christopher Dearnley arrrived! After my time!!
  4. UK 5-manuals?

    Conductor? What conductor? Those were the days when things were only conducted if they were unaccompanied. The main use for the hinged panels was to allow the organist to see what was going on downstairs and draw extemporaisations to a close at the right time. There was of course no cctv and because the case extended well above head level on all sides, mirrors alone did not help. The two hinged panels behind the organist gave views of the high altar and choir stalls but these were replaced with real pipes when the north choir was installed. There were also two much smaller square "advent calendar" doors on the west side of the choir case which gave a view of the seats under the dome and west doors. They are still there, though they are hard to spot, the larger of them having a carved wreath on the outside to break up its outline. Signals to start were a separate issue, and here the telephone in handy. Other clues included a single chime on a bell in the Deans Aisle calling the Vicars Choral to order, the choir saying "amen" at the end of the vestry prayer, and the swish of the curtains as the choir left the aisle. The 1930 and 1900 consoles, without their pedal boards, are still hidden away in store in the triforium. So if you count these, together with the mobile console donated by Harry Gabb's son, the cathedral has four five manual consoles!
  5. Kings College on BBC TV

    I wonder if an even greater impact resulted from the move away from the tradition where, unless it was for a recording or a very special occasion, singing was only conducted if it was unaccompanied. Has anyone plotted the history of this particular development, which I think happened between 1965 and 1975? Would performances of e.g. Stanford in Bb be more "authentic" without a conductor.............
  6. Choosing chants...

    Aha! Saturday 19th July, perhaps? These are the psalms appointed for 19th evening under the system where the whole psalter was sung, in chunks, a bit at Mattins and a bit more at Evensong, every month. If you go to a psalter with chants, or to a chant book with chants that was put together to match that system, you should find a ready made set that go well together, in related keys, and someone has already decided whether there should be a single or a double chant!!! One set I know of even has the same (single) chant for psalm 99 and psalm 100!
  7. Royal Navy

    Not celebratory - but pehaps appropriate where something formal is required:- Thomas Attwood's Dirge composed for Nelson's funeral in St Paul's on 9th January 1806. Robert
  8. Ireland - Jubilate in F

    I'm not sure if I am a "wise one", and I don't have a copy of Ireland's morning service in F. I do however have a first edition, copyright 1915, of the evening service in F, (original printed price 3d, overprinted 4d = 2p). There are NO metronome marks in this edition. The words in italics at the start of the various sections include: Moderato, Dolce,Maestoso, Tranquillo ma non troppo lento. Those seem to me to be all about mood rather than metronomes! And the last one suggests that he was concerned that things might be sung too slowly... So if I were you, I'd ignore editorial metronomne marks in later edtions and just do what sounds right in the particular acoustic with which you are blessed!
  9. Period footwear?

    There have recently been several posts about organ shoes. They set me thinking. What did organists wear on their feet 100 years ago before organmaster shoes were available? Boots not shoes were the normal footwear. Did they play in their boots or change into something else? We are encouraged to use historic fingering in early muisic and play on period instruments . Are we missing something by not not also wearing period footwear?
  10. Ireland in A and St. Luke's, Chelsea

    I am not familiar with Ireland in A but I am with Ireland's evening service in F. (copyright 1915, when he was still at St Luke's). I remember thinking, as a treble, how, it was a bit like Dyson in D (which has lots of top A s) but much less of a screech! Its highest treble note is only top G. I also noted that it was the only work in the repertoire which required the trebles to sing A below middle C (...in the imagination of their HEARTS). Getting down there was a far greater challenge for us than getting up to top Bb s ! But.... If Ireland in F were transposed up a tone.... it would be on a screech level with Dyson in D and the trebles would have a chance to sing "hearts". So I'd support the idea that St Luke's organs (both of them, because surely nobody would have instruments tuned to different pitches in the same building) ) were tuned high.
  11. OrganMaster Shoes

    I've had several pairs and found that their length of life depends not so much on on how long you wear them for playing the organ, but how much you walk around in them when not playing, and on what sort of floors. Also they HATE getting wet. One of their advantages, in pedalling terms, is that the upper shoe tucks in where it meets the sole, and there is no external welt. However, the joint is glued rather than sewn. I've found that a policy of zero tolerance to any signs of the glued joint coming apart is the key to keeping them going. Keep the supa-glue handy! I think the glued joint may make re-sole-ing them more of a challenge than it would be with a pair of solid brogue walking shoes..
  12. Unfortunate namesakes.....

    At a well known Cathedral during the 1970s one of the Residentiary Canons had the same name as the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. Confusion was avoided by adding, sotto voce, the tag "not iscariot" whenever the the Canon was referred to. A few years later the Dean and one of the Residentiary Canons had the same name - Alan Webster. The "not iscariot" tag couldn't really be used, since which of them was "not iscariot" was a matter of opinion. Confusion was avoided by allocating to Canon Webster the nickname "Auntie". Then there was Canon Ball - no problem really, provided the glottal stop between the two words was properly articulated.
  13. John Dykes Bower (c 1962) used to release last chords at St Paul's by rolling -off from the top down. His hands and arms finished up over his left shoulder. Just as well that page turners stood on his right or they would have had to duck! When I asked him why, he explained that the cathedral's reverberation period was longer for high notes than for low notes. This technique helped the last chord to die away as a chord. He didn't want it to sound as if he'd taken the left hand and pedal off early. I presume he didn't do it in less reverberant buildings - but I never asked.
  14. Incomplete Hunter organs?

    This is a discussion board, not part of ebay or freecycle, but I hope our host will not mind if I ask for suggestions as to how to find a good home for various ranks of Hunter pipes, a 6 rank soundboard and two reservoirs. Alfred Hunter and Son often installed instruments with parts "prepared for", so I think there may be people out there with incomplete instruments who could be interested. Hunter didn't always leave out the same things. I am not a dealer - these are just the left over parts of a redundant Hunter which I bought to complete the instrument at my church. That was a fairly extreme example of preparing for things - a three manual instrument which had 10 ranks missing and no choir soundboard, box or reservoir. Apart from a 16ft pedal trombone and 16ft Swell Contra Fagotto all the missing bits are now installed, so we have marked ourselves 8/10. The result has transformed our instrument, and I'd like to help someone else do the same. We'd really like to score 10/10, so we are still hunting for the missing reeds. Any suggestions on that front? Anything we install has to be Hunter to satisfy an understandable condition applied by the Heritage Lottery Fund, who grant-aided the restoration of the incomplete instrument. If we use "any old pipes" (however distinguished the source) they will want their money back.
  15. Organists and Steam

    James was referring to Isambard Kingdom Brunel (not to be confused with his dad, Mark Isambard Brunel) who married the daughter of William Horsley, one of founders of the Philhamonic Society. IKB was a suscriber to the 1855 edition of Hopkins and Rimbault and there was a Gray and Davison organ in his house! I don't think IKB played - but I like to think he got called on to fix the odd cipher. So here's a question for you next choir quiz night "Whose father-in-law wrote the tune to 'There is a green hill far away'? " I bet they won't know. Lots of organists are keen on trains - but lots of engineers (myself included) are organists. Am I right?
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