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Everything posted by Philip

  1. I haven't watched the Eucharist but would commend the Evensong which included the dedication of the organ by the Archbishop of York. It features a rather interesting set of improvisations early in the service under the section 'The singing of the organ'. But perhaps even more ingenious is the sermon, which is accompanied by the organ in a descriptive manner - I'm not sure if this was wholly improvised although clearly Ben Morris had the text to follow and respond to. Add to this Demessieux Te Deum before, Lanquetuit Toccata after and that Ashfield triple chant for Psalm 66. At the end of Dyson in D Mag I'm pretty sure you can hear the (now) two 32' reeds in succession (smaller then larger).
  2. And they can be very effective. Southwell Minster has digital 32s (flue and reed) on both its organs and they are certainly effective.
  3. Having looked at the recording, and knowing the building, it was definitely the screen organ being played, so it is still working as normal. I think it has been covered in plastic for some time, going back to pre-Covid. And yes, the Nicholson arrangement is excellent!
  4. David, I have transcribed it from the brass parts and would happily send you the pdf, if you don't mind the fact the notation software I used for it is a bit ropey! I have the Hark the herald one too, but I rarely use that as I don't think it's as effective. Please PM your e-mail address if you're interested.
  5. I'm fascinated that this thread which I started so long ago has re-emerged! My choices would certainly be different now to those from back then, definitely featuring Howells canticles for starters... I think the trouble with Stanford in C is that folk tend to sing it too quickly but that it's hard work at a slower pace, especially in a less than gracious acoustic with a smallish choir. When it's sung with appropriate grandeur it sounds majestic. But I'd not put it as my favourite of the Stanford services (that's the A, I think). I get the whole point about 32ft reeds etc, but take the view that we should use the resources we have available. If Stanford had had an organ with a 32ft reed, would he not have used it for that enormous chord at the end of the Gloria with the top line on a top G? As for Coverdale...one of the finest 20th century tunes. Sorry Stanley!
  6. Would you believe it? Having grumpily played this morning on Gt and Pedal only, one of our basses who had been absent on Christmas Eve/Day after the service located the box which connects organ and speakers. Turns out the cable had become dislodged; plug it in, and suddenly everything works. A mixture of relief and frustration.
  7. Good idea! Sunday evening - joint carol service at the Methodist Church with joint choirs. Bedard, Bullard, Mulet and Gordon Young beforehand and Andrew Gant's Toccata on 'Mendelssohn' after. This is a heavy tracker action organ so I rule out some of the French repertoire for the benefit of my wrists! Although said organ is likely to be significantly altered before I'm next there in two years if current plans come to fruition, so maybe things will be different then. Christmas Eve Service 1 - crib service at Beeston - the Hakanpaa Richard mentions, having used it on Christmas Day last year courtesy this forum. Very effective for that sort of occasion! An unplanned assortment beforehand. Service 2 - carol service at St Mary's, Nottingham - I was sharing duties, and played Desseins Eternels as the last pre-service item and the Lanquetuit Toccata at the end. Service 3 - Midnight Mass at Beeston - Desseins Eternels before again, and Martin Setchell's Toccata on 'Joy to the world' to finish in an attempt at brevity at that hour of the morning. Christmas morning at Beeston. In the brief choir rehearsal I discovered that the Swell on our digital organ was virtually inaudible. I had detected a hum coming from a speaker since Sunday previous and the two mixtures had been offering a muffled garble rather than the sparkling brightness I'd expect. As our speakers are mounted high up on the west wall diagnosis from there was not easy although I did climb a ladder on Christmas Eve morning to have a look. All manner of playing about with divisional volumes and individual stop settings proved fruitless. Who says it's only pipe organs that give problems? This meant the service was effectively accompanied on Great and Pedal - fortunately with a decent chorus from 16' to Mixture plus Trumpet and Clarinet. The voluntary was going to be the Lanquetuit as per St Mary's, but given the problems I abandoned this for BWV 729 for which I knew I had the organo pleno chorus necessary! Sunday coming should be OK - Wilbur Held's God rest ye merry, which only demands one manual. Let's see when I get the repair company out...or maybe it will have righted itself by then! Season's greetings all!
  8. Like Martin we had two services. We did a slightly abridged Eucharist half an hour earlier, for which I played Parry's Elegy before and JSB's Kyrie Gott heiliger geist (BWV 671) after. Our second service, which is the civic service for the town/borough, works the opposite way round, starting at the war memorial with the silence etc and then filing into church. I played an assortment while the filing took place including Nimrod (arr. Gower from OUP Ceremonial Music), Angel's Farewell, St Anne Fugue, Rawsthorne Aria, Parry's Memorial Piece from the Little Organ Book and possibly others that I've forgotten. To go out it was Widor's Marche Pontificale - not a remembrance piece at all but with the grandeur for a big service. It took until the end of the repeat of the main theme for the dignitaries to have left, and nearly to the end of the whole thing before the church was clear. Last year it was BWV 546 - Prelude and Fugue.
  9. Hilary Punnett to move from Lincoln to be Assistant at Chelmsford. Her husband Simon Hogan to leave Southwell to move south with her.
  10. As a regular accompanist at St Mary's, Nottingham, I started writing a post about the Marcussen yesterday and thought better of it, fearing it would stray into pipe vs digital territory. However, since we've already gone there... I don't think the choir at St Mary's was of the same standing as now at the time David Butterworth procured the Marcussen, as it pre-dates John Keys' tenure. It is a fine instrument but within the building scarcely ideal for anything - located in a side aisle so struggling to project down the Nave but round a corner when accompanying in the chancel (where it is perhaps perversely drowned out when the choir is at full pelt). It is perhaps a philosophical question as to whether an organ with only three 16' stops (manual and pedal!) would ever be suitable as the only instrument in a church whose nave holds 800 people. Tonally you can just about do most things but with heavy compromise - the combination of 16' reed and the (obscenely bright) Scharf mixture just about gets you a full Swell. The Scharf is deafening at the console with the box open (shutters directly above the player) and is more piercing since the nave floor was replaced, enhancing the acoustic (of which I'm not complaining!). Some items (Durufle Requiem being one) could not be done without a registrant. The same characteristics (lack of playing aids, awkward draw stops) apply as at Trinity, although I'm now familiar with the layout which makes things easier (the three couplers are foot levers, which I suppose count as a form of registration aid!). The toaster is a product of the work which included the floor replacement - after a period where the church was closed we were back in the chancel only, with the Marcussen not usable, so a digital had to be procured to cover. As everyone realised the practical and tonal benefits a campaign was launched and now it is a permanent fixture. It is a three manual Viscount, not as bristling with registration aids as it might be (only 16 memory levels, but divisionals and generals) and has about everything tonally you would want. Yes, it is no substitute for a pipe organ, but it makes the choral repertoire (and solo organ stuff too!) a heck of a lot easier. Interestingly, the issue of projecting down the Nave isn't entirely solved, only a west end organ (or set of digital speakers there) will really do that. There is a set of Nave-facing speakers which can be switched off for chancel services, but even still you need to give it some to get the sound down there if there is a big congregation. To allay fears, the Marcussen isn't going anywhere. It now has a historic organ certificate attached to it and is awaiting some necessary work which should enable its more regular use, even if on a minority basis.
  11. Thanks for your post Richard. Solely on that basis, I've downloaded the Adeste Fideles, thankfully it looks fairly straightforward on the pdf. I might copy you with doing it for Christmas morning. You must claim your commission for it! I've got carol services at Beeston on 23rd December and at St Mary's, Nottingham on Christmas Eve, and both will get the same set of voluntaries. Half an hour beforehand - Daquin Noël Suisse, Guilmant Pastorale from No 1, Mulet Noël (from Esquisses Byzantines), Bédard Noël Huron (a personal favourite, which means I use it too often), Langlais La Nativité (from Trois Poèmes Évangéliques) and finally Messiaen’s Desseins Éternels from La Nativité, which I think is just right for the final piece before the service. Guilmant Final from No 1 to finish. All French (if you can include Bédard, who is French Canadian!). At the Beeston Crib/Christingle service on Christmas Eve I think I'll do the Sortie from Petite Suite in Blue by Michel, from the Barenreiter Jazz Inspirations books. I seem to have got into the habit of alternating this with Lefebure-Wely E flat. Beforehand I usually play BWV 729 first and then an assortment including O Holy Night (transcription by W.J. Westbrook) and Walking in the Air from the OUP book. Midnight Mass is always Desseins Éternels beforehand, it feels just right with dimmed lights and a looming waft of incense. Not sure about afterwards, I'd thought about Lanquetuit but on checking I did that last year. It's also hard work for half past midnight!
  12. At danger of this going off topic...I agree with Vox that fast isn't always better. That said, Kerry Beaumont's pace is a bit slow for my liking, but having just tried the suggested speed (quaver = 200-208) it sounds like he is fairly close to 200, so maybe I'm wrong! I have to admit when I started playing this piece I didn't check the metronome marking and just played it how it felt right. This was not in a building like Coventry Cathedral, of course. On the second performance (and I hope what follows doesn't offend!) I quite like it at the speed you get at about 1:50 (the return of the opening material). This to my ear is slower than the opening though, which I agree is too fast. The return of the opening material is, from my knowledge of the piece, also played more accurately, and I wonder if these factors are connected (for instance, the first chords of bars 1 and 2 both sound wrong to me - they should be the same as in bars 4 and 5 which sound right). You can find a preview of the first page online if you don't know the piece and wish to refer. Indeed, I actually listened to this recording but opted not to link to it, largely for these reasons. As a disclaimer, I'm no professional and I know my playing isn't 100% accurate by any means, but in a piece with this rhythmic crispness I think some slips can become quite obvious. But those chords at the end are delicious. Great piece!
  13. What fascinating replies, I've discovered three pieces I didn't know already. I'm now wondering if the Marsh Toccata is within my grasp, but for the price of a cheap download I might well chance it... In the same spirit, a couple of favourites from me. I've recently discovered the Organists Charitable Little Organ Book, which includes two excellent pieces which aren't difficult and in my view is worth the tenner spent for these two alone. https://www.musicroom.com/product-detail/product711528/variant711528/organists-charitable-trust-little-organ-book/ One is Philip Moore's Paean - this performance is a touch on the slow side for my taste. The other is David Bednall's Fanfare-Processional, which frustratingly does not appear to be on YouTube, although if you have Spotify you will be able to find a recording. Neither is especially difficult, and the Bednall in particular is a stonking piece (ideally needs a solo reed). Not in that book but another favourite of mine is Ernest MacMillan's Cortege Academique - again ideally needs a solo reed.
  14. Well yes, but Wills and Kate managed I was glad, Blest pair, a Rutter writes Rutter commission and Paul Mealor. I hoped we'd get another commission or, failing that, something a bit more interesting. To be engaged to sing for an occasion like that and then get told that's all you're singing - still, I'm sure they were all paid handsomely for it.
  15. You'd probably be appalled at some of the things I do Vox! I'll add Mr Bond's effort to the bank I'm building for future use...and a number of them come from Cathedral organists, although some are my own inventions. Agree it was excellent herding. For my taste in a big setting it could have been at a broader tempo (indeed, having read your post then watched it, not having seen the event, it was a wee bit faster than I expected). As an aside, if I was in the choir I'd have been extremely disappointed at the dull fare I was given to sing. Back on tempo, I still recall the only occasion I attended Evensong at King's, Cambridge when I was astonished at how slowly 'Blaenwern' was taken. But by the time we got to the last verse it felt majestic, and that has stayed with me as an example to follow. A couple of weeks back when we had this as the recessional hymn I took it steadily (if not as slow as at King's) and it felt effective (with lots of organ and an extensive last verse reharmonisation). Our curate had to be nudged to give the dismissal as she was literally 'Lost in wonder, love and praise'. I took that as a joint compliment to me, the choir and congregation, Wesley, Penfro Rowlands and God (in unequal and probably increasing proportions)! Incidentally, there's an interesting (perhaps understatement) take on 'Blaenwern' in the live BBC service from St Martin in the Fields for Pentecost morning. Apart from the incessant jazz harmonies and rhythms through the service grating on me, I was struck by how much I missed an organ accompanying it.
  16. Not a lot, in my opinion, they are fairly uninteresting, certainly compared to many later sets (Clucas, Rose, Shephard, Leighton, Radcliffe, Walsh etc). I'm not sure if they are in print but they are in the repertoire at St Mary's, Nottingham. An oddity is that no Amen is provided for the collects - the practice at St M's is to use the last two chords of the final response, which does make quite a satisfying resolution.
  17. On Friday 2 June, the 80th anniversary of Vierne's death, Southwell Minster is hosting a day honouring his music. Simon Hogan will play all six symphonies, starting at 9am, 10am, 11am, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm respectively. At 12.15pm there will be a performance of Vierne's less known chamber music by Paul and Ruth Provost. Refreshments served throughout the day and entry free.
  18. I bought this online on impulse a couple of weeks back. I have to say it really is a publication which should be on the top shelf as some of the arrangements are absolute filth (from me, this is a compliment!). Some of the organ introductions and accompaniments are quite challenging as well. I will certainly make use of it but edited highlights and just for the organ parts. Of note so far are Iain Farrington's harmonies for Amazing Grace (deliciously jazzy for a tune I have little time for), Ralph Allwood's Battle Hymn with two key changes and Paul Walton's Londonderry Air.
  19. I am playing the Tambling on Sunday (have moved the BWV 552 Fugue to the evening to mix it up a bit), not a bad piece with an interesting homage to CS Lang! I also played the Leddington Wright two weeks back when we finished the service with 'Christ triumphant'. I have to confess I've probably not made as much use of these volumes as I might have thus far - the latest one (Pentecost and Trinity) seems to have rather a lot of pieces based on American tunes.
  20. I was in Foyles yesterday and unexpectedly found copies of 'Thema met Variaties' in their 'new arrivals' draw, priced at £9.99. I bought it without hesitation!
  21. FWIW I use the Robert Gower version in OUP 'Ceremonial Music'.
  22. As the organist at Beeston I feel compelled to write here. I cannot comment on the 1983 decision to replace the previous pipe organ, as I was not alive at the time! Arriving in the area in 2006, it was abundantly clear that the Makin organ was not good - it was perfectly reliable but the sound quality was very poor (it was a large 3-manual instrument), perhaps reflective of its age. Individual stops sounded passable but when you built stops together in a chorus musicality disappeared. While there would have been a good case for replacing the Makin anyway, the fact that it happened when it did was led by the fact that the interior of the church was completely re-ordered in 2007-8. The space in the old organ chamber (where a pipe facade had been retained and the speakers were inside) has now been used for other purposes. The project came at exactly the right time for the organ! Looking at the church now, with the organ chamber a memory, it is hard to think where we would put pipes without going to the expense of building a west end gallery. The other aspect to consider is that the work was part of an £800,000 project, so whether funding could have been found for a new pipe organ is doubtful. The alternative would have been installing a second-hand pipe organ, I suppose. The present organ is an excellent instrument of its type with a wide and varied tonal palette (39 stops over II+P) and none of the faults of the Makin that I mention above. The speakers on the west wall project very well into the body of the church (maybe too well!) and it can comfortably lead a congregation of 400+ as it is called to do on occasion. I don't know if I will be there in 2033, so can't comment on the last point! I confess that in my years in Nottingham I have yet to set foot in Christ Church. Maybe things have changed in the last 30 years, but in churchmanship this is a far more evangelical church compared with the moderate Anglo-Catholicism at Beeston, although I believe it does have an early service led by a small choir and perhaps the organ. I don't know what the state of the organ in Christ Church is, but I'd certainly not want so small an instrument in our church, given the choice. If anyone wants to visit and try the organ at Beeston I will be very happy to meet you, if you can find your way through the (thankfully now finishing) tram works. Incidentally, mention of Marcussen (clearly a reference to the instrument in St Mary's, Nottingham, amongst others) leads me to mention that in the last 12 months this church has also installed a 3-manual digital organ in the chancel for choir accompaniment; indeed, I was playing Blair in B minor and Blessed city on it on Sunday evening! For all its qualities, the Marcussen is an impractical and inappropriate instrument both for a building that size and for accompanying the repertoire sung by the excellent choir; Blessed city, for example, could not be rendered on it without a second person to register it.
  23. Well, it went down really well, his nibs said it was one of the best Holy Week things he'd been to in a long while! We just had simple opening and closing prayers, and then five readings and the five pieces with pauses for silence inbetween. Overall it lasted just under an hour, which seems about right. I was careful not to use the Passion Gospel as its heard (in two different versions) elsewhere in Holy Week so we had two biblical readings and three non-biblical. The Dupre provoked some comment as you'd expect, but nothing particularly adverse given the context. I'll have to think about something similar next year I suppose, so some more of the ideas above may well come into use. Does anyone have any experience of Alan Ridout's 'Seven Last Words' or 'Stations of the Cross'? One of these might be suitable. I think Tournemire's 'Sept Paroles' would be a bit too long for the context and for me to learn! Incidentally, listening to the YouTube link above I'm struck by the variety of speeds people take Crucifixion at. I have John Scott's fabulous double CD from St Paul's (he couples the Trompette Militaire for the big chords) where the performance weighs in at under 7.5 minutes. Plugging it into Spotify I get (amongst others) Phillippe Lefebvre who takes 10:49 and David Briggs at almost exactly 10 minutes! How many pieces can have such a different in playing time? For the record my interpretation is much nearer John Scott's.
  24. I was thinking in practical terms. We don't have an Evensong or similar where I could use this during Passiontide, and after a Sunday morning service the impact would be completely lost (the Stabat Mater at the end would be inaudible if registered as suggested! Which tonight it will be, of course). I wasn't ruling it out on grounds of style or content particularly, although after tonight his nibs may take a different view! I have accompanied all the pieces with a brief explanatory note to put them in context, which I feel with the Dupre in particular is important.
  25. Resurrecting this (wrong word for Palm Sunday!), I'm doing this tomorrow night. Organ music will be Buxtehude - Ach Herr mich armen Sünder Howells - Psalm Prelude Set 1 No 1 JS Bach - O Mensch bewein Dupre - Crucifixion Craig Phillips - Reflection on 'Were you there?' (from the OUP Hymn Settings Lent & Passiontide book) With five readings on the theme 'The Suffering Servant'.
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