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

    B.A. (M.A.) a 'double first'. Mus. B., M. Mus., M.Phil. and Ph. D. level research (RCM - Cambridge) 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 40 years ago. I founded and ran a very busy and highly successful adult church choir. Nowadays I, very occasionally, accompany, and improvise on, the Plainsong of the day in Notre Dame d'Oberzine, Angouleme

    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 am now retired and live in the peace and quiet of a little French village. I no longer play for my living but I do have a magnificent house organ.!

    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


    I've always thought of Alkan as being the writer of some horrendously difficult piano music and little else - sort of the Paganini of the piano!!! - Lots of notes and little music! Having said that I'm sure that I have played a Sonata by him - named, rather like the Beethoven Op. 5 Nr. I Sonata, for Piano and 'cello - with the piano part doing the brunt of the work! If you look on IMSLP there are quite a few really rather easy little pieces that you might think are worth a second glance! Be warned - some of it is not great music!!! Most of Alkan's organ music he writes on two staves. But for a period of his life he owned a pedal piano and wrote 12 studies for it as well as the Op. 54 Benedictus. The above were originally written for this pedal piano.
  2. Reported in 'The Church Times' of Friday: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/31-july/news/uk/petition-seeks-sheffield-cathedral-choir-u-turn
  3. I think that we will be living with Covid for much longer than any of us realise. It is very sad news that a firm of such distinction should be in the hands of an insolvency practitioner - but, I'm afraid, given the present economic circumstances, they won't be the only, highly skilled and highly specialised, firm that finds itself in this situation.
  4. The Dean's Address: Address at the Cathedral Eucharist The Very Reverend Peter Bradley Dean of Sheffield Sunday 26 July 2020 In place of a sermon this morning, I would like to tell you what is happening with our Cathedral Choir, and why this is happening. I would like to set Chapter’s decision in a wider context which I hope that you will find helpful. There have been real high points in our choral life, such as the live BBC TV broadcast on Easter Day in 2018, our Advent Carol service and Christmas Carol service this past year, and many others. However, for many years, there have been only one or two, sometimes nobody attending Choral Evensong on weekdays; fewer people are attending Choral Evensong on Sundays too. Our worship is offered primarily to the glory of God, but it must surely give us pause if we all put such great effort into our choral music, and only a handful of people join us. Attendance at Cathedral Choral Evensong nationally is very strong, with rising numbers. We are all aware too, that despite some really good work, recruitment to the Choir has been weaker than we would have hoped. Towards the end of 2018, Chapter decided to commission an external review of our worship and music. You might recall that every member of the congregation on our electoral roll was asked to contribute, and there was widespread consultation of Choir members and Choir parents, our Diocese, and the civic community. Chapter received the report in early summer last year. It was very encouraging that contributions to consultation showed broad agreement. To summarise the the findings: we want a choir that is full--which has not been the case for some time we value our choral tradition here very deeply, but we want the choir to be singing at services with much larger congregations we want greater flexibility, experimentation, and imagination in our worship we want to raise our ambition for excellence in singing, so that once again we will be one of the best, if not the best, Cathedral choir in the UK our Diocese and Bishop as for better provision for Diocesan services, not least in light of the new Diocesan strategy members of the congregation--very strongly--want systematic provision for choral worship every Sunday of the year To achieve all this, Chapter received the recommendation to close our current provision, restructure, and begin again with a fresh vision. Since last summer, Chapter has been planning to make these hopes a reality under God. In our discussions, we have also been considering these additional questions: will recruitment be stronger if we extend our reach, and work with a wider group of schools? As “a place for all people” we have been asking ourselves if our Choir can better reflect the diversity of our city. what might a more flexible provision of music actually look like? should we be considering entirely new ventures, such as a short Sung Eucharist on Friday lunchtimes when the city is full of people? should focus on a new student choir, and from which we can build up our provision? Do we need more choirs? how can we make proper provision for boys whose voices break? Would this be a VI Form choir for young men and women? are we able to offer choral Evensong at 17.00, when the city centre is much fuller? That’s already a long list, but as we reflected, Chapter discerned three further issues: It has become impossible to go into a mixed sex school and only audition younger boys, or older girls. Schools rightly require parity of treatment, and so do the Cathedral’s own values. Does this mean that we should have two choirs of younger children? Or one choir of boys, as at present, and one of girls at the same ages? We were already aware of the challenge of live-streaming but following COVID it is clear that we will need to live-stream all major services. How we can best live-stream choral worship in our building is not obvious, and in any case we will need to find significant new funding for the equipments such as permanent microphones and cameras As I say, this is a long list, and it has become clear to Chapter that to have any real chance of renewing our choral life so fundamentally, an incremental approach is unlikely to be successful. We came to the view that it would be best to stop, reflect, recruit and plan, and then systematically build our choral worship in a new way. Chapter keenly understands that many people have found this decision painful. We know that it has caused real grief, not least to those who are currently members of the choir and their parents, but also to many in the congregation and the wider community. We know too that this decision may mean that colleagues who have worked here for many years may be made redundant. Chapter is required to plan for the long term, and it is our prayerful discernment that a new beginning is in the best interest of the Cathedral’s mission. We fear that if we do not take this opportunity our choral life will simply decline. This morning, I would like to reiterate Chapter’s and my own thanks to the whole Choir community, children, young people--and the parents who have so generously supported them--Choral Scholars, and Lay Clerks. I know too that the whole congregation will join me in this thanks and appreciation. Our hope is that children and adults who will not be singing during the coming year will continue to be regular members of our worshipping community, and we hope that many of them will consider joining our new choir (or choirs). You will have heard in the press concerns about bullying. I cannot, for legal reasons, comment on these, except to reassure you that any complaints which have been raised are taken very seriously by Chapter, and will be dealt with through our robust official procedures. Chapter also thinks that this is the moment to review our provision for safeguarding in the Music Department. Therefore, in early July, Chapter commissioned a lessons-learned review of safeguarding in the Music Department during the past five years. Chapter has committed to publishing the executive summary of the review report when it is finished during the autumn. Please note that, unlike many other churches, Chapter is not seeking to reduce our investment in choral music. Finances remain very tight, but Chapter intends to maintain our current funding, and indeed will be seeking to increase music funding with the help of our funding partners. We are keeping national partners briefed during this whole process. I say this again: we are not seeking to save money, but to invest more. Our decision to make a new beginning for our choral life has certainly not been taken because of COVID; we had been discussing a fresh start for some time. Nevertheless, Chapter’s view is that if we are ever to restructure, now is the time to do so. In the lift of COVID many civic services in the autumn will not now take place, and even under optimistic projections we are not confident that sustained choral training will be possible during the autumn. It would, perhaps, have been easier to announce the end of the Cathedral choral tradition, and some commentators have understood that this is actually what we are doing. Can I once again state, as clearly as I can, that the Anglican cathedral choral tradition will remain fundamental to Cathedral worship in Sheffield Cathedral? The changes we are making will not diminish our choral life; rather, they should be understood as a sign of confidence in the long term potential of cathedral choral music here. Chapter’s vision is that by raising our ambition under God for inclusion and excellence, and by taking the many new opportunities we now discern for the development of our music, we will best fulfil our vocation to be “a place for all people” in service of our Diocese, city, and region. Share
  5. S_L

    Organs in Paris

    I'm sure friends know about the following website: https://organsparisn.vhhil.nl/ Very useful if you are visiting Paris with details of all of the 260 organs within the city and also with links to stop-lists, pictures, details of origin and rebuilds and the times of Services/Masses where the organ is being used. Hope it might be of some help.
  6. No you didn't - and I never said that you did!!
  7. This may be controversial! I'm not sure why 'we' have to be told anything! The Dean together with the Chapter have come to a decision that they want the music department to have a broader focus than it has at the moment. There appears to be no Director of Music in place at this current time and therefore, it seems, it is an appropriate time to consider implementation of their plan which they have been considering for some time. This has happened in other places too and there can be a multitude of reasons why the decision to 'start afresh' has been taken. It is easy to belittle someone without having accurate details and I would suggest that posting half-truths, assumptions and opinions when not in full receipt of the facts is not particularly helpful!!
  8. On the subject of Organ recitals, in the past ten years I suppose I have been to a few in this country and the UK! Two spring to mind. Both by ex-cathedral organists - who shall be nameless. The first was in a concert hall with about 20 people in the audience. The player played fistfuls of wrong notes, made no attempt to talk about the music he was playing and the programme notes were less than useless! It was dreary. The choice of music was dreary and it did absolutely nothing to endear anyone to go back again. The second was in a Parish church. It was quite full. The recitalist, as with the previous player, played fistfuls of wrong notes but he endeared himself to his audience with a 'good yarn' before each piece and it was a thoroughly enjoyable affair. And, on the subject of coughing! I remember sitting opposite Pau Casals when he was playing unaccompanied Bach. It was a wonderful experience and one that I will live with for a very long time. But at 'hairy' moments, if Casals ever had hairy moments, he would suck frenetically on his pipe!!
  9. Can I, with the greatest respect, Stanley, suggest that this is a fallacy - being an amateur, I mean!!!!!
  10. It's not only that - although, at a basic level, that does have something to do with it! It's a whole host of things - the programming of recitals, often the superior and 'stuffy' attitude of the small-town, or not so small-town provincial organist, the dreary playing that puts people off, the 'reputation' that some organists have lumbered us with!. And all of this, together with tedious music written for the instrument by 3rd rate composers or even 3rd rate music written by 1st rate composers!!! I could go on!!! I'm about to commit heresy but Bach organ music can be incredibly boring!! And then, every so often, you hear a performance that makes you sit up and listen and think - Wow!!! I have mentioned this performance before!!
  11. 'Even France'!!!! Organ Concerts in France are, in my experience, usually extremely well attended! Having said that, there may very well be organs in all the big Paris churches but out in the countryside it is a different story. Within 20 miles of my home there are only three or four instruments - all in good playing condition and all used every Sunday ! Who can we blame? - we could start by looking at ourselves!!!
  12. I've found two Impromptus by Walter Alcock. one in D and the other in D flat but I can't find the one in G. I did, however, watch the Daniel Cook performance. The music he is performing from looks interesting in that it has been cut out and stuck onto a much larger page, possibly for ease of performance. With one notable exception I have always found Cathedral organists hugely helpful in sourcing copies. Daniel Cook's website gives contact details. Why not drop him a line? Smashing little piece by the way!
  13. There is a copy of it here: https://imslp.simssa.ca/files/imglnks/usimg/4/47/IMSLP229788-SIBLEY1802.19503.0451-39087012035426op._129.pdf
  14. As you probably know, the BBC archive gives the full programme for Evensong - but, in true BBC fashion, omits naming the Voluntary.
  15. The 1940 specification is on NPOR. But the work, you mention, carried out in the 1960's isn't there. It's times like this when I think of the late David Drinkell - I bet he would have known the instrument and could fill you in!! I have some interest in the town hall in Middlesbrough. My late wife's great-grandfather, on her mother's side, George Hoskins, was the architect. NPOR gives a 57 stop, 4 manual originally built in 1911 by William Hill & Sons with work done in 1930 and, again, in 1970 by HNB. The survey of 2018 gives it 'in bad state of repair'.
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