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Choir Man

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About Choir Man

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    Advanced Member

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  • Location
    North London
  • Interests
    Exploring the mechanics of organs, listening to organ music. Playing the organ badly but with enthusiasm. Anything to do with steam engines!

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  1. I don't doubt that an experienced singer singing an open vowel will create little air movement (although lots of vibrations - see "Concerning Pipes & Sound" thread). However the fricatives which are formed by turbulent airflow in the throat, mouth and lips are more likley to pick up microdroplets of saliva. How singing differs from speech in this respect is as yet unproven by the scientific community. The direction that people should wear masks in enclosed public spaces applies to all, not just singers. We could, perhaps, listen to muffled choirs, but I don't suppose the sound will be as moving as that of half-muffled bells. I'm hoping that, at least in the interim, some allowance is made for choirs to practice with face masks and perhaps some minor distancing. The value in singing together will be immense after such a long hiatus, both to get people back into practice musically and also fostering community.
  2. We, the general public, will probaly never know the full reasons why the D&C chose to make the whole music team redundant. It ceratinly feels to me that it is not just musical direction that has led to this decision. Sadly this is not without precedent and there have been other well documented cases of church authorities disbanding groups that didn't fit with their ambition. Why now? Well, the choir won't have sung together since March. Now is the end of the summer term when many choral and organ scholars move on and, depending on set-up, many yonger singers may move on as well. The current COVID restrictions will have put a stop to usual recruitment activities and it is unlikely, unless some startling new scientific evidence to show singing is 'safe', that the choir will be singing together until Christmas at the earliest. So faced with a (potentially) 9 month gap in activities and then returning to a depleted choir makes some sense of the timing. I hope that the D&C have been engaging with the impacted people and their parents before the decision was announced to the public. I also hope that they have some plan to keep music alive in the cathedral in the interim before their new music department is up an running.
  3. How should a recitalist make an emotional connection with their audience? How can you create a sense of joy? A computer can play a piece perfectly via midi but I wouldn't want to go to a recital given by a computer. Likewise I haven't enjoyed some recitals that were note perfect (to my ears) given by an organist hidden away in an organ loft. One of the challenges for many organs is that the audience don't get to see the performer. Video relay can help but how many venues have a good enough projector to show a sharp bright image on a good sized screen with multiple cameras so you can see the hands and feet, but just as importantly the face of the recitalist? For me a good programme should blend familiar with the less well known and unknown and play to the strength of the instrument. A performer who lends their own interpretation to a well known work will help keep it interesting. (I think Olivier Latry's Bach To The Future album is brilliant). Finally it is a sad fact that nowadays many people have a shorter attention span than on years gone by. Couple that with the often uncomfortable seating found in churches could mean that some of the longer pieces of repertoire will have audiences shuffling in their seats. Some people say a recital should always contain some Bach, others don't like transcriptions. For me a good recital doesn't have to contain anything other than something that can make me sit up and say 'wow!'.
  4. Richard McVeigh's channel has been a favourite of mine. He's been keeping very busy, doing a full recital each week on top of three hours of hymn playing every Sunday afternoon. Richard is also very engaging with his audience, talking about the pieces he's playing and other matters relating to the organ (and cats). https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkdRXZZXDmLJM6XBnUpIoog/featured
  5. Looking at the diagram referenced above makes me think that with a side console you wouldn't need a roller board to spread the action from the width of the keyboard to the width of the chest, you just have different length track rods to reach from side to side of the chest. Combined with stop knobs above your head acting directly on the sliders, this would give a much simpler action.
  6. ...and without the organist... https://goo.gl/maps/tWjM3LFZeYn8d8ZA7 ...and inside the organ https://goo.gl/maps/cxdaMCJgiwURPHJJ6 A building worth exploring on Google as it seems the camera has been give "access all areas" including behind doors that are normally locked and on the roof.
  7. Just wondering how many church organists & DOMs have been put in furlough? My church furloughed the DOM back in March and he isn't expected to return until public services with hymn singing are approved.
  8. Cathedrals are both tourist attractions and places of worship. Personally I don't have a problem with paying to visit a tourist attraction and, as most cathedrals don't have a separate attraction as Hereford does, a general admission charge is appropriate so long as there is no suggestion of charging to enter for worship or private prayer.
  9. I have just discovered that Klais restored the organ of Maria Himmelfahrt in Niederschönenfeld. This has two keyboards on opposite sides of the case playing at different pitches... The organ is on a west gallery and which was originally divided and had a parish side and a nuns side. The keyboard on the parish side was used for congregational singing and was at a lower pitch. Whilst the keyboard round the back of the case was used for accompanying the nuns who sang form the gallery at higher pitch. To accommodate the challenges of playing different keys in non-equal temperament there were separate pipes for B flat and E flat to each manual, but the other pipes were shared. https://klais.de/m.php?sid=491
  10. Richard McVeigh recorded this recital in a deserted Arundel cathedral. His YouTube channel 'Beauty In Sound' has much to listen to as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6BO-mjQJas
  11. The chuch has two instruments. A French CC-style instrument on the west gallery by Gockel. The greatly enlarged Nelson instrumnet is in the south transept. Both organs are playable from the Nelson console
  12. Saint Fin Barres Cathedral are posting short Wednesday organ recital videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzD7qMSw3UgIH5R38xI8_9Q/videos An unique instrument with most of it in a pit to the players left - I wonder what it sounds like at the console?
  13. My church has successfully used zoom for the last 2 weeks and we love that it allows contribution from anyone and we have even had a number of guests with us from around the country. Various choir members have supported the singing in different ways - piano, viola & cello, unaccompanied. We haven't tried organ yet, but I think Colin has nailed it on the head in saying that the zoom platform is optimised for spoken voice. Steady continuous sounds will get treated as background 'noise' and tend to get filtered out, also auto-levelling will play havoc with your crescendos. My advice is to stick to the piano - so long as your congregation have a tune to follow they'll sing along.
  14. No audience at St John The Divine, but the recital went ahead anyway.
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