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Michael Whytock

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About Michael Whytock

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  1. With regard to the videos... The first video is exactly how I tried to perform the works (without the hand movements but with feeling and musicality). I like his performance because I like the way he treats the music. The phrasing is very good and I love the way he finishes of each phrase and doesn't rush into the next phrase. There is breathing space and the piece doesn't appear to run away. I feel the holding onto/slight tenuto of the 4th note of each subject really adds something to this performance. I especially like the way he milks the end bars, taking time and adding trills to prolong it. I don't like the second Bach fugue video because I feel she plays it very straight. The fugue subject is metronomically in time and there is no freedom. It feels constrained to me and lacks breathing space. The only time she slows down is at the end and I feel that she doesn't need to slow down during the piece but could do with holding back a bit more. Having said this, the registration is good and it’s a note perfect performance. It just isn't anything special. I feel however, based on my marks, performing like the way she played in video 2 would have been better than performing it like video 1 The first video is exactly how I tried to perform the works (without the hand movements but with feeling and musicality). I like his performance because I like the way he treats the music. The phrasing is very good and I love the way he finishes of each phrase and doesn't rush into the next phrase. There is breathing space and the piece doesn't appear to run away. I feel the holding onto/slight tenuto of the 4th note of each subject really adds something to this performance. I especially like the way he milks the end bars, taking time and adding trills to prolong it. I don't like the second Bach fugue video because I feel she plays it very straight. The fugue subject is metronomically in time and there is no freedom. It feels constrained to me and lacks breathing space. The only time she slows down is at the end and I feel that she doesn't need to slow down during the piece but could do with holding back a bit more. Having said this, the registration is good and it’s a note perfect performance. It just isn't anything special. I feel however, based on my marks, performing like the way she played in video 2 would have been better than performing it like video 1
  2. This is there comment...'Your slow tempo militated against a sense of momentum, although you adhered to it with tenacity. The pedal 'theme' was delivered as a series of somewhat disconnected notes (well I am not going to play it legato and romantic am I??). Your varied registrations made for quite an engaging effect but the stylistic appropriateness of the ornamentation which you added seemed less certain (why? I was ornamenting in all the right places). Ultimately your manneristic delaying of the first beat of nearly every first beat vexed the ear and compromised the effective projection of this piece as a coherent entity (would they rather me not accentuate the strong beats of each bar?)
  3. Thanks all for you advice. Yes I have made presumptions about things which are infact presumptions made by my tutor. I posted this question having just received the result for my ARCO examination. The examiners are professional and I do not doubt their credibility, however failing me on a note perfect performance of a Buxtehude piece because they didn't like the ornamentation or any of the stylistic things I included in the piece has made me wonder if my excessive 'Historical performance' let me down? I put a lot of effort into what my tutor called ‘making music. Not just playing notes’ and transforming the piece into something to make the examiners sit up. I spent a large amount of time on the phrasing and the trills only for it to go unnoticed. Now my Bach Performance had many mistakes in it. Like the Buxtehude, I strived to get a musical performance that sounded historically accurate but the pedals let me down. We knew they would and my tutor said that may just pass it but, should the pedals go wrong, probably not. The pedals let me down and my ‘Authentic Performance’ went all wrong as my nerves set it and I lost all control. Anyway long story short…. I passed the badly played Bach with flying colours, despite the pedal mistakes, and the loss of control. The Buxtehude which, like in lessons, was played note perfect with great attention to style and historical performance failed not because of the wrong notes because there were not any, but because of the trills and the phrasing and the other stylistically baroque effects. I passed the pieces overall getting 60 when the pass mark is 60 (they didn’t like my Saint-Saens interpretation either!). I shouldn’t complain. They obviously have a marking criteria. M
  4. Ok well then forget Koopman. Anyway that doesn't answer the question.
  5. Hello all… I have a query regarding the RCO exams and Baroque performance. As most people are aware, one of the pieces you pick has to be by Bach – Baroque. There is also a whole list of other Early Music works to pick from the Renaissance to the Baroque Now in my eyes, there are two ways of playing Early Music This way is stylistically accurate and utilises traditional Early fingering and pedalling indication, traditional Early Music registrations, and traditional phrasing and articulation. To pull off the performance, the student has maybe played authentic instruments of the period found in Europe, and done extensive research into Historical performance – Think, Gustav Leonhardt and Ton Koopman This is, from what I have heard, the typical British way of performing Early works, performed by a large number but not all British organists. The Student has not played historical instruments and has only had experience of playing British organs such as Willis/Mander. The performance, though note perfect, lacks musicality and shows little understanding of Historical performance. Little research has been done in historical performance and the piece is often played in the same way most people play it without ‘thinking outside the box’ and thinking ‘how would it have been played in 1500’ Now, which was is best? The RCO has a mix of examiners who are experienced in a mix of fields though from experience, a lot of them appear to be traditional cathedral organists who are well versed in the British Church Music tradition. Would they rather you play it like option 1 or option 2? Can anybody from experience, tell me which is preferred? If you want to know why this question concerns me, then answer it and I will reveal more!! Thanks
  6. Hello all I'm at my wits end as the title suggests and need help from anyone, particularly those to whom this may involve. Let me tell you about myself... I went to a secondary school. Didn't do well in my GCSE's so didn't do A levels and did some music college course instead. However, I went on to complete a BA (hons) in music at Chichester University and an Mmus degree at Southampton University, studying composition under the direction of renowned composer Professor Michael Finnissy. I am an organist. I came into the organ through the piano route, not the route of a chorister. Until coming to university I had never worked with a choir and done any of that music. My experience was as a little village church organist. During my undergraduate degree I accompanied the chamber choir (to some reasonable standard) and formed and run my own chapel choir (no formal conducting training). During my MMus degree, I was the organ scholar at the parish church in Southampton working with the choir of choral scholars. Now I've left, I have a piano diploma and WILL be taking my ARCO diploma next January. Now the question....why can't I get a church music job? I understand that assistant jobs at cathedrals would probably require cathedral experience but I'm talking about not even getting organ scholarships! I won't mention names but I've sent off 5 application forms for organ scholarships for next year. 2 didn't even invite me to interview. The other three haven't even acknowledged by application form. Can anybody who is a scholar, anyone who works at a cathedral or anyone who has experience interviewing for such posts tell me what they are looking for in a candidate and why. I get declines from churches and cathedrals but, despite me asking for feedback, I don't receive it so I've got idea what part of application form is letting me down? My dad is trained in CV writing and works in a place where he often interviews people so I know that when I send the CV off, it's been checked by my dad and s very much passable. Thanks for a any help Michael
  7. Hello I'm having a slight problem with my pedal technique and I am wondering if anyone has any experience of my problem or if they can offer any solution? Now, I'm sure it's common knowledge that, to play pedals, you sit with your knees together and play with the insides of your feet (toes). Now my problem is that I am Pigeon Toed and have knocked knees which means when I put my feet together and point the toes in a straight line, my knees bend inwards. Now, I was told that you know you are playing pedals correctly when you can put both feet side by side of two white notes and play a trill. I can't do that because firstly I find it hard to play with the inside of my feet and secondly because of my knees. When I position the feet so I can play with the inside of my feet, my knees knock together and it is physically impossible to do, particularly when playing notes close together. When I play the normal way I do, playing with the outsides of my feet, it's ok but I'm told that's not the way to play pedals! Thanks for any help Michael
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