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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.

    RCM/Cambridge. 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!

    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. I didn't know that you played for degree congregations at Hull - perhaps we do know each other after all!!
  2. Absolutely!! What a splendid idea!
  3. S_L

    Proms 2019

    This is absolutely true and when there were complaints concerning lack of organ music at 'The Proms' a couple of years ago I pointed out that, during the 'Proms' season, in London alone, there were over a hundred recitals/concerts of organ music in London alone! Admittedly 'The Proms' are seen as prestigious but there are, still, plenty of opportunities to hear first class performers playing a wide variety of music on almost every day of the year!
  4. If you look at the website the future seems rosy for organists at RBC. Then look more closely and the website is, seemingly, rather out of date! The opening sentence on the organ page reads "With 25 students, a world-class faculty and a new home on the horizon, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire enjoys a reputation as a leading centre for organ studies in the UK." Later we read "The arrival of a major new instrument at the University of Birmingham this year and the Conservatoire's move to a new, purpose-built home in 2017 (together with new instruments and state-of-the-art facilities) promises to provide a unique set of resources that will further equip our students to become leaders in the profession." The advert reads "...………………………………………………. there is no room to continue to house the instrument on site" One wonders!!!
  5. S_L

    Proms 2019

    AJJ - This is not the mutual admiration society - but I agree with every word you wrote!!! ……………………… and particularly about the student who turns up at church and hears general dullness from someone with 'over protective console syndrome'. I could compare that with a composition workshop given by Peter Maxwell Davies, years and years ago. Fairly 'traditional' students left the place buzzing!!! I'm glad there was a healthy audience for Latry on Sunday morning. I wonder how many of those bemoaning the fact that it was on a Sunday morning when they had 'other commitments', will make their way to Buckfast on Saturday!
  6. S_L

    Proms 2019

    There are multiple answers to this. It isn't simple. You can lay the problem at the door of Education. We all, I suspect, have recollections of school Carol Services where the Music teacher, or whatever he was called, played the organ or was the organist of the local church/cathedral. At my school it was my Maths teacher who was an ARCO! Nowadays the pressures on teachers make it almost impossible for them to hold positions of responsibility in schools and run the music in the local church. Unless, of course, they don't have family commitments. The post of Master of the Music in a cathedral is, likewise, far more outreaching than ever before. Music education has changed dramatically and it could be argued for better or worse, but youngsters today are exposed to a much broader spectrum of music than ever before. (I was taught, in my first three years, at school by an excellent musician, a graduate of the RCM and a wonderful pianist - who was the most awful teacher!) It isn't satisfactory anymore to play youngsters music and expect them to sit listening passively whilst you tell them how wonderful it is!! Thank goodness! I suspect more youngsters are learning to play a musical instrument than ever before. Certainly those of us who examine are finding our tours increasing in length to cope with the number of students taking examinations. In general students aren't taking to the organ and, again, there are reasons for this. Practice is an issue, getting an access to an instrument is an issue and the youngsters safety is an issue. Nowadays churches are, quite often locked! I can remember a time when the church was open, you got the organ key from the Verger who was always around and practised. These days have largely gone! The 'public schools' are producing organists because access to instruments isn't always the issue but a student in a state school wanting to practice has too many hoops to jump through! In general, youngsters aren't joining Parish church choirs. Now we have had this discussion before and members here know that I believe that you can sell anything to youngsters as long as it is seen to be high quality and 'cool'. But church choirs are, again in general, going through a tough time compared to 20, 30 or 50 years ago and so many organists started off as trebles, altos, tenors/basses and general assistant dogsbody to the organist, being given the opportunity to occasionally play and it progressed from there. Generally there isn't that opportunity, at least it exists in few places, for aspiring young players to learn the instrument, let alone find somewhere to practice. Another view, and I make no apology for saying this, is that 'the organist' is often regarded with suspicion! Too much publicity, in the press, of organists (and clergy!) who 'have strayed' away from acceptable behaviour, doesn't help the cause. And I will say no more on this subject. There was a time when 'the great classics' (whatever they are) could be heard, regularly and cheaply, being played on the organ and we know that people flocked to St. George's Hall in Liverpool to hear Best playing 'orchestral transcriptions'. Nowadays, of course, we can hear these played live, in their original form, or on the radio, CD, I-player or whatever! Latry's 'Prom' yesterday seemingly was a 'nod' to those days. You can't compare the UK with France, for instance. There might be great organists in Paris and in some of the major cathedrals but parish church organs barely exist and the standard of music, not only in some of the Cathedrals but also in the parish churches is pretty abysmal! Germany may be a different matter. But the French do go to organ recitals and concerts, particularly in the summer, are in profusion in Paris and in the provinces too! I could go on and on! I don't know the answer, I don't know if there is one!
  7. S_L

    Proms 2019

    Of course it can be done but I'm afraid that, for one reason or another, organists have a bad press in this country.
  8. S_L

    Proms 2019

    I don't disagree with a lot of that! The timing does, at a glance, seem bizarre! However! Even if the Latry concert wasn't on a Sunday morning I doubt whether 'thousands' of organists would have turned up! I'm thinking of a number of recitals I have been to by great players that have been sparsely attended by, for instance, the local organists association or local organists. I organised a recital, years ago, with Francis Jackson and no more than a handful of the local organists turned up. It was embarrassing. As for going to London - depending on where you are travelling from the cost could be astronomical - I read of a guy whose train ticket to 'the smoke' cost him more than a flight to New York! I'm sorry but I don't see organists flocking to the Albert Hall to hear Latry especially when he does seem to be a regular visitor to the country. Are you going to the Saturday concert he is giving at Buckfast the week afterwards? The timing of the concert would have been finalised before the fire at Notre Dame so I don't think you can lay that at the door of the BBC. £150 for a trip to Paris? I'm interested to know where you would be staying and how you would be getting there!! Your £150 wouldn't go far and you might just make it to Gare du Nord!! But I don't disagree about a subscription service - good idea! I spent time working for the BBC. I do have a certain amount of antipathy towards the organisation, I wouldn't have gone so far as 'detest' though! Anti Christian, certainly anti-Catholic! Anti organ - I'm not sure!
  9. S_L

    Proms 2019

    Yes. There was a time when if you missed something that was it but Isn't it wonderful that, now, if you do miss something on the Radio or TV you can listen or watch it later on at your leisure.
  10. Yes! Thank you for the links Martin!! ................................................... and, of course, remembering that the instrument's primary function is to accompany the liturgies of the Cathedral.
  11. Thank you for that. But, apart from my second sentence "not, I suspect, the church" the rest of my post applies. However, if you knew the answer I am mystified why you posted the question.
  12. I don't know! But not, I suspect, the church. Most, even in the 'well-thought-of' places, are paid very little, much less than a Director of Music or Organist in an English cathedral, which is why they usually combine their position as 'Titulaire' with a teaching post in the local Conservatoire de Musique or supplement their income by giving recitals! Playing for the Mass, is left to the player of the orgue de choeur who, even in a cathedral, might be, though not necessarily, quite amateurish. However if the Gloria or Credo is sung antiphonally, as at St. Eustache in Paris, for instance, the antiphony is between the choir accompanied by the orgue de choeur and the congregation 'accompanied' (interesting word!!) by the Grande Orgue. The Titulaire will play before the Mass, often an improvisation during the offertory and at the end.
  13. You, clearly, don't understand the separation of Church and State that exists in France
  14. I'm not suggesting - I am saying that is a French Government responsibility which is why Macron (and not Pape Francois or ++Michel Aupetit) was able to say that it would be rebuilt in five years. A statement that he may well live to regret! The French have a strange relationship with Notre Dame. My neighbour was in tears when he heard the news of the fire. His wife took exactly the opposite view. As far as she was concerned the money donated could well be better spent on other things. The 3,800 people who live on the streets of Paris feel a bit the same, so I'm told. The rebuilding has got absolutely nothing to do with the Roman Catholic church. Outside Beauvais cathedral there used to be a sign, put there, I suspect, by the clergy. It explained, I can't remember the exact wording, that the building was the property of the state and, as such, the state was responsible for it's upkeep. The RC church was responsible for the spiritual welfare of the parish and those who visited. …………………… or something like that! It doesn't work like in the UK!! It's not the Church of England!
  15. The organ doesn't belong to the Roman Catholic Church - it belongs to the French State - as does the Cathedral of Notre Dame!!!
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