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John Furse

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  1. I feel I must leap, timorously and tardily, to the defence of Sir Charles. He only wrote seven symphonies, six Irish Rhapsodies, a couple of concertos and a stunningly stirring (listen to the Prelude) Stabat Mater. This last, being choral, obviously has relevance to his day-to-day liturgical output for the church. Notwithstanding his oft-stated debt to Brahms, I can hear some Dvořák in this; possibly a result of the influence of Irish folk music. Yes, the ‘in C’ Canticles are probably too often performed (and too fast, definitely) by choirs who may not quite have them under technical control, and with conductors who do not adequately comprehend, then render, their symphonicism. That should not detract from any appreciation of their quality. Anyone who has not heard their orchestrated version should attempt to do so forthwith. They are transformed and, in this unfamiliar guise, they assume an immense - and symphonic - dimension. I take a composer’s specific technical issue with his Magnificat in A. As a ‘portrayal’ of a sound-picture, it is anachronistic and, in fact, impossible: rather akin to those Pre-Raphaelite depictions of Arthurian, etc., legends. Spinning-wheels did not exist 2000 years ago. In addition, I see this as a flawed image: Mary is hardly going to start manipulating a spindle when visiting her cousin, especially when her baby starts moving within her. I agree with Stanley Monkhouse, in his 29 January post, that it should be flowing. However, the final Pedal scalic passage deserves, nay demands, a 32’ reed, were the choir to be its equal. I wonder if this is how it will be done at King’s, going by their last Service of Nine Lessons . . .? In terms of quiet awe, the opening of the Magnificat of Leighton’s 2nd Service takes some beating. Gentle, the conductor in me would hope !
  2. Whilst I've played a fair number of Spanish instruments, and performed on a few, I had a substantial interest in them in an earlier incarnation. I wouldn't, however, claim to be an expert. There is an entity known by some as the 'Iberian organ'. Yes, there are similarities between the instruments of these neighbours: horizontal reeds (not solely of a fanfare-type); an undeveloped pedal department; many instruments are one-manual; divided stops on the manuals; wide-scale principal stops, measured as above; a panoply of cornet-type stops; Epistle and Gospel organs in many larger buildings. I'm sure I've forgotten lots, but this will do for a start. The music has, as might be expected, a marked individuality. Sombre Tientos (with meandering solos, in right or left hand and on a variety of stops) and coruscating battle-scenes (with flashing Trompetas - not, by any means, all en chamade) are two of the most characteristic. I blame E Power Biggs, and a certain LP, for my interest !
  3. Mea culpa - possibly. One of the translations of Cheio is 'stuffed'. This is why I assumed what I assumed. For two neighbouring and related languages, Portuguese is very different from Spanish. Perhaps I should stick to the latter.
  4. (In haste.) There are a couple of YouTubes. From 2010, a whole concert - with a choir in the latter half, console views and ORGAN conductor, for the first piece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsqARwUW1ZU And, from 2015, one piece: There may be more, but I don’t have time, today.
  5. Most of this wrote itself. All of my choices are familiar to me from either conducting, or playing them. It was only a slight surprise, on finalising the list, to realise that they were all English. Prelude: Henry Heron (Cornet) Voluntary no. 3 in D minor (ending on the same chord to start the Introit) Introit: Henry Ley Prayer of King Henry VI [Alternatives: a Cornet voluntary in C minor, into Henry Purcell Hear my Prayer] Responses: Rose (Smith, a close second) Psalms: 148, 149, 150 (Stanford) Canticles: Stanford in C (Howells’ St Paul’s Service ran this a very close second) Anthem: Vaughan Williams Let all the world Voluntary: Howells Psalm Prelude Set 2: No 3
  6. BuxWV 188 - Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ It don’t look as if Buxtehude has many fans, at the mo. I fear I may be straying from the ‘prelude’ stipulation. Nonetheless, and moving boldly forward, this unprepossessing melody, in mainly stepwise steps, inspired Dietrich to compose this superb and lengthy Fantasia. I often find his music more ‘interesting’ than Johann Sebastian’s and there are many pieces of that description in his chorale preludes. This work contains two bars in the Pedal part worthy of, and as tricky as, some of the most difficult Dupré - remembering only ‘historically informed’ toes should be employed. These are from around 7m10s in [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMde0Q9C2F8], where the score is viewable. Considerable bodily torsion is necessary to cover these two octaves in this short passage. I believe this gives a significant pointer towards ‘correct’ (i.e. quite free and loose) articulation in Baroque pedalling. It is also instructive to watch/listen to how ‘period’ ’cellists and bassists perform similar phrases. Another performance is on this fabulous organ in Gdańsk (not that the Schnitger isn’t rather good, too !): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wo8EHVpAyw
  7. David must have been the automatic choice to be the recitalist for the Inaugural Recital of Colchester’s restored Moot Hall organ, in May 2015. To a packed (invited) audience, he brilliantly displayed all the marvellous qualities of this important and historic instrument, which was built for that lovely Town Hall. Local lad made (very) good, he grew up and was educated in the Town (at the Royal Grammar School), before moving away to attend Bristol University. He was one of Colchester’s most distinguished sons yet, to use that cliché, he never forgot his roots. He was a fount of knowledge of all things ‘organ’, particularly those of his native East Anglia; each instrument, however small, contained some item of interest to him. We benefitted greatly from his erudition, always proffered modestly, on this forum.
  8. On this Monday of Holy Week, our prayers are required: for the building, its fittings and windows . . . and organ(s).
  9. There was me thinking, ‘I’ll have to put these dates in my Anna Magdalena notebook’ - then I saw them and realised I would be the other end of the country !
  10. That would be wonderful, thank you, Robert.
  11. If this happened in 1956, I would find that even more remarkable, Paul. If what you say is true (and I have no reason to doubt you) then, two years after the Royal Festival Hall organ (1954), with all its new-fangled German barockery, out of the blue (?) and in the Fens appears an Italianate confrère. I’m trying to put all this into context. Is there any ‘evidence’ that Drs Wills and Jackson communicated about this, with ‘influence’ going one way or the other ? Have you been able to unearth anything more, Robert (Sharpe), please ?
  12. The Schulze went to Northampton, Rowland: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=R01934. Here is another. This is a lovely-sounding instrument and a delight to play, in an attractive and historic church: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N05945 When I referenced the mighty (1851) tome, I seem to recall it was a special edition of the Illustrated London News. I used to read this in the British Museum - which then held the British Library.
  13. Don't be sorry, Aeron: you are correct to correct my mistake. I even looked at the book on a South American river, but am distracted with a current composition. Thank you.
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