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About S_L

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    Advanced Member

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    16360 Le Tatre, FRANCE
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    At one point my profile was quite extensive but, following some comments, I decided to delete it. Here is a 'cut down' version!

    I had a 'life' before this. I was a 'cellist! I studied with Pleeth and am the last English pupil of Pablo Casals.

    B.Mus. - a 'first', Master's (M.A., M.Phil.) and Ph. D level research and RCM/RAM Performer's and Teacher's Diplomas! I was lucky to be taught by and influenced by some of the most distinguished musicians of their day.

    Became an organist through necessity and a very part-time church musician about 30 years ago. I founded and ran a very busy and highly successful adult church choir.

    I have a number of publications to my name and have also been fortunate enough to have given concerts/recitals in some of Europe's most prestigious venues. I no longer play for my living!

    I enjoy this forum but I get frustrated sometimes with the pomposity of some members (and they with me!!!) and with the 'back of fag packet' organ designers!! Sometimes I make comments that infuriate members.

    Some members know who I am and are welcome to contact me via my website. If you want to contact me and don't have my website then you can do it via this board and I will always respond.

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  1. S_L

    C.S. Lang - Organ Music

    I'm sure that quite a few colleagues have used C.S. Lang's Harmony at the Keyboard & Exercises in Score Reading. I have a copies somewhere! The 200 Tunes for sight-singing were also excellent and, in the 'good old days' when A level students needed to be able to do this I used it extensively. I have it in my mind somewhere that I have heard the Evening Service in B flat - but I can't think where that would have been and, whilst I have a huge collection of 'Mag & Nuncs' it doesn't seem to be amongst them. Some of Lang's music is published by Novello - an interesting list: http://www.musicsalesclassical.com/composer/works/881/0
  2. S_L

    "THE" Toccata

    My condolences also! My own father died just three years ago. He was an atheist and a certain amount of pressure was put on the family to have hymns and prayers, led by a 'visiting clergyman', who wouldn't have known him, at the Crematorium. In the end I put my foot down and insisted that we had no hymns and no prayers and no visiting clergyman!! Instead I and my brother-in-law talked, briefly, about Dad, his remarkable achievements in a long life, his successes and his failures! He would have wanted us to laugh and we did and we ended, because Dad played the trumpet, by listening to the last movement of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto during which I invited the assembled company to remember him, in their own way, while we listened to the recording. My second son did the committal, without mentioning God! He had done it hundreds of times but said that it was difficult. Several over-pious relatives were a little shocked and twittered (not twittered - but twittered - if you follow my meaning!) - but it was what Dad would have wanted and that's why we did it like that! As David says above, if it is what your father would have wanted then, of course, you have done the right thing! May he rest in peace.
  3. S_L

    Priory Records DVDs

    Two of the really great players/scholars of the 20th century! I have, slight, and very different recollections of both. Of Peter Hurford giving an extraordinary recital/masterclass on the GDB in St. Martin's Hull and of Simon Preston giving a recital on the York Monster and making liberal use of the Tuba Mirabilis. I know a church that, rightly, prays for those who are sick and also adds 'and for those who care for them'! Your post, wolsey, has made me very sad!
  4. S_L

    Organ Scholarhips and Conservatoires

    Thank you wolsey. I apologise to Glasgow - I did know of the change of name! As an external examiner to three Russell Group University music departments I do have some knowledge of what is going on at Undergraduate level. It is true that it is difficult to keep up with change! I didn't mention Huddersfield either - and for the same reason that I omitted the above!
  5. S_L

    Organ Scholarhips and Conservatoires

    There was a time, quite a long time ago, when I was looking at where to further my musical education that certain, now well-respected Universities, were accepting undergraduates with Grade V on a instrument and 'some level of keyboard attainment'. In those days, if you were an instrumentalist, I was a 'cellist, and you were half decent you went to a Music Conservatoire - the RCM/RAM being the most prestigious followed by Manchester, the lesser London colleges, Birmingham and so on - and not necessarily in that order. Things changed and Universities started asking for Grade VIII as an acceptable entry qualification and the Conservatoires also started to become more and more competitive. I think it is true, and I expect to be shot down for this, to say that the RCM/RAM are still the most prestigious but the RNCM, The Royal Welsh, The Royal Conservatoire of Birmingham and the Royal Scottish are all institutions of excellence in performance and composition. I spent two years at RCM followed by five years in Cambridge where, it seemed that almost every undergraduate had Grade VIII on something or other!!! What has happened since my Undergraduate days I'm not too sure but I do know this that, some time ago I advertised for an assistant. We wanted an enthusiastic NQT with a good degree, they had to teach to A level, and a good level of performance - which we expected them to demonstrate at interview. The standard, with one exception, was woeful! We had candidates with Music degrees from all kinds of institutions who had little or no idea of the kind of standard of musicianship we required from our staff. As well as play on their first instrument I asked candidates to do three keyboard tests - some simple transposition, score reading and some keyboard harmony - things that I did every day! The transposition was laughable but the score reading (the first 20 odd bars of the 2nd movement of Mozart Symphony 40!) was horrendous. Members of the board will know that the music starts in the violas - several candidates began in the wrong octave or were not able to read the alto clef! The 'cellos then come in (Bass clef) followed by the 2nd violins (Treble clef), the 1st violins and then the horns - in E flat! It was carnage!! One candidate rang up to ask what the keyboard tests would be and, when told, withdrew her application. As an entirely separate comment I can say that, of the 50 or so applicants, the clear majority were female and those who made it to the short-list were entirely female. The lady we appointed was a first study flute player, a second study pianist with a 2:1 from a very decent red-brick University. It doesn't surprise me at all that Oxbridge colleges are despairing of the standard of playing. Last year I acted as External Examiner to a well known University Music Department. I was shocked by the overall level of performance! I think I had not better say anymore!
  6. S_L

    Can we all try a bit harder?

    I'm aware that I have upset a few people here! Equally I should tell fellow members that I have also received some pretty nasty private messages from members of this board and have shared them with those members I trust. I wouldn't disagree with Vox to say that the worst enemies of organists are their fellow organists! (If you don't believe me try conducting a 'once a year, local organists association Service' and, afterwards sit back and watch and feel the flack!!!)!) Nowadays, when I do post, I try to read my replies very carefully, to make sure that they are not misinterpreted, misunderstood or give any cause for offence! I have said before that, I think, we are at our best when discussing musical topics and, I believe, at our worst when we huddle over bits of paper disagreeing over a proposed specification and whether a Mixture should have a 'whatever' in it - without due consideration for the person/people who have put the proposal together and who know what they want from the instrument - and who, possibly, also read this board!! I look almost every day and some topics fire me with enthusiasm, others leave me cold - but that is the nature of this type of board. Sometimes I don't post because I have nothing to add to the knowledge on a particular subject. Like John Robinson I do not consider myself to be an organist (I can play to ARCO standard!) but I, mostly, enjoy the board and have learned a lot from members here - for which I thank them, sincerely!
  7. S_L

    Buckfast Abbey

    And an interesting, if slightly predictable list of music for the celebration. It will be good to watch it - from afar!!! Messe de Minuit (Gloria, Agnus Dei) - Marc-Antoine Charpentier Quem pastores laudavere - Hieronympus Praetorius Ordinary: Mass IX Cum jubilo (Kyrie, Sanctus) Hodie, Christus natus est - Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina Voluntary: Toccata-Gigue on the Sussex Carol - George Baker
  8. S_L

    Ecce Sacerdos Magnus

    Yes, I have grim recollections of Stadler too!! Clearly the Bishop in question had a certain amount of taste!!!
  9. S_L

    Westminster Abbey

    As usual with anything from Westminster Abbey - the service was beautifully conceived and executed!
  10. S_L

    Etymology of "Chrysoglott"

    And from http://organstops.org/c/Celesta.html A percussion stop consisting of a set of metal plates struck by hammers actuated by a pneumatic or electric mechanism. According to Sumner, it is usually of 4' pitch, and may utilize “tuning forks” instead of plates. According to Audsley, the plates are placed over tuned resonators. This stop is most often found in theatre organs. Skinner describes the Celesta as “an orchestral reproduction developed by the author”, of 4' pitch and full 61 note compass, and considers it synonymous with the Glockenspiel, and with the Harp at 8' pitch. He reports that when the stop was originally developed, the bars and their resonators were arranged chromatically, and some notes in the lower register were nearly silent. When the bars and their resonators were rearranged so that adjacent notes of the scale were no longer physically adjacent, the problem disappeared. Maclean lists Chrysoglott as a Wurlitzer synonym for Celesta; it is found only in theatre organs. Irwin, the only other source to mention Chrysoglott, lists it separately from Celesta but gives them identical descriptions. Examples Osiris contains dozens of examples of Celesta. The earliest known examples date from the 1910's but the earliest known Skinner examples date from the 1920's. Osiris contains ten examples of Chrysoglott, all but one by Wurlitzer. ………………………. but, of course, you have read this before!!
  11. S_L

    Etymology of "Chrysoglott"

    Does that help at all - or does it just confuse the issue?
  12. S_L

    Manchester Town Hall

    That's a misapprehension that you, in the UK, seem to make all the time. The Dutch and German firms are busy but so are British firms. Look at the number of big, major, new projects, in the UK, ongoing and in the last couple of years! Off the top of my head - Manchester, Canterbury, Buckfast, Llandaff and the list of major rebuilds and restorations, ongoing or in the pipeline, is even bigger - York, Bristol, Norwich - and half a dozen more! And then there are the smaller instruments and some from abroad and the historical magnificent reconstructions - Christ Church Spitalfields for instance! Given time the list of exciting ventures in organ building in the UK is considerable! A bit more 'half full' and less 'half empty' would be a good start! 'Getting off backsides' is one thing but getting rid of 'long faces' and stopping complaining about how hard done by the organ world is another! It's not all doom and gloom by any stretch of the imaginiation! A year or so ago there was a thread on lack of organ music at the 'Proms'. I remember spending half an hour looking at the number of organ recitals, in London alone, during the 'Prom' season. If I remember it amounted to over a hundred recitals - given my eminent players and, perhaps, some less eminent players. but, on here, it was pushed aside in favour of 'no organ music at the Proms'!! And I won't get on my hobby-horse and comment about what we are like when a new instrument comes our way!!!. Sorry ladies and gents - it's early - I'll go back to bed!!!
  13. S_L

    Manchester Town Hall

    I don't disagree with any of that! Perhaps it is time for those in charge of these instruments to 'get off their backsides', stop whinging about how hard it is and about how little the authorities care and do something about it! There is money to be had out there. It isn't always easy to find but, with imagination, and, sometimes, a little cheek, money can be forthcoming. Years ago I took a church choir to Rome. I needed money to do it. The church I worked at had a religious community attached to it. They had a number of cars, in the community, which they bought from a local dealership. I went, cap in hand, to the dealership and got £500 out of them - a good deal of money in 1989! Remember the Porsche console at Leipzig!!! Manchester has two of the richest football clubs in the country - that must be worth a touch! And the list goes on! Sometimes it is worth employing a fundraiser to get in money - it's out there - it just needs finding!!!
  14. S_L

    Manchester Town Hall

    As a former orchestral player I can give you a list of, well-known, conductors who we took little, or no, notice of! I heard the Huddersfield Methodist Choir 'do' 'Messiah' in the early 70's. That was accompanied by Brass Band too! I believe that was also a Huddersfield tradition.
  15. S_L

    Manchester Town Hall

    I looked at the 'What's on' brochure and you are so right. Lots of exciting music performed by some of the world's great players and orchestras. I noticed all kinds of absolute 'gems' - including a performance, conducted by David Hill, of 'Messiah' - accompanied by Black Dyke Mills Brass Band!! I went to, what I think, was the opening recital, after the Wood Wordsworth rebuild in 1972, given by, I think, Flor Peeters - but I'm sure I will be corrected on that if I'm wrong! The organ is reputed to be the largest 3 manual in the country - and, at 84 speaking stops, I can well believe it! But, I know, if I'm wrong there will, again, be someone on here to correct me!!!