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Mander Organs


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About Zimbelstern

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  1. Unusual audience member

    Two years ago I attended an organ recital at a church in the village of Nava del Rey not far from Valladolid in Spain. The occasion was the inauguration of the newly restored and extremely beautiful baroque organ. The recital was given by Juan de la Rubia, one of Spain's leading organists and organist of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The church was full to bursting (I estimate around 1000 people) with Spanish families. There were several babies in prams. They seemed to enjoy the recital greatly and the atmosphere was joyous.
  2. It was indeed St Nicholas in the market square, but the organ is now a three manual electronic instrument dated 1998. Like you I love King James and BCP. In the last few years I have been organist in both evangelical and anglo-catholic churches (my current church uses the Roman rite although it is CoE!). I find that if you make a real effort to get on with the incumbent and are positive, friendly, professional and amenable and contribute to the life of the church, you will normally be able to influence the music in ways to your liking, even if you don't always get your own way!
  3. Some years ago I for a while attended St Michael's Cornhill where only the Book of Common Prayer and the King James Bible were (and I believe still are) used. The incumbent at that time, who made quite a name for himself for his political views - frequently preaching them from the pulpit - was also in charge of St Sepulchre's. I decided to give Tuesday Evensong there a go, but was most disappointed to find that the congregation was tiny (unlike at St Michael's on Sundays where the church was nearly full). It is very unsettling to find one's chosen flavour of worship in a particular church overturned. However, no church can survive or maintain its character for ever in the absence of a congregation. I think it is unfair to dismiss "evangelicals" out of hand when often the only alternative is to close down the church. Many churches which have been taken over by evangelicals have restored their fortunes and filled them with worshippers, including the young. I know of one church - All Saints, Woodford Wells in East London - which has done an amazing job of attracting congregations of many hundreds on Sundays to its various services, which include both band-led worship and traditional style worship with choir and organ. They are currently in the process of raising tens of thousands to restore the organ. A CLESO organ recital held there last year attracted an audience of hundreds and raised £2,500 for the organ fund in one afternoon. The magnificent St Peter's, Brighton where I learnt the organ as a youngster, has in the last few years been taken over by Holy Trinity, Brompton. I believe it was dying on its feet before they restored its fortunes. The other day I popped into a church in the centre of Durham. The church had clearly had an evangelical makeover. There were volunteers sitting waiting to talk to visitors. "Do you have an organ?" I asked, rather perplexed by the layout. "Yes, it's over there. Would you like to try it?" I was was delighted to do so. It was in perfect working order and clearly regularly used. I am full of admiration for those who get off their feet and breathe new life into the Church of England. The church is there first and foremost to worship God. As an organist I see it as my duty to work with all and sundry in the church towards that end - I see it as a fascinating challenge rather than feeling that the place is collapsing around my ears.
  4. BWV 565

    His response might have been any one of the following: Wo soll ich fliehen hin, BWV 5 Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12 Es erhub sich ein Streit, BWV 19 Geist und Seele wird verwirret, BWV 35p Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, BWV 38 Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei, BWV 46 Ich elender Mensch, wer wird mich erlösen, BWV 48 Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid, BWV 58 Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende, BWV 90 Ihr werdet weinen und heulen, BWV 103 Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal, BWV 146 Mein Gott, wie lang, ach lange? BWV 155 Komm, du süße Todesstunde, BWV 161 Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding, BWV 176 Leichtgesinnte Flattergeister, BWV 181
  5. BWV 565

    For those who haven't already seen it, the current "Organists' Review" carries an article by Stuart Neame stating that there is statistical proof that Bach was, after all, the composer of the famous Toccata in D minor, BWV 565. Neame's very convincing hypothesis is that Bach wrote it as a teenager, deliberately making it appear to be an improvisation which he committed to memory and used when demonstrating the Arnstadt organ he had been commissioned to inspect, in order to impress the authorities there with his abilities in the hope that he might be appointed organist (which he was).
  6. Music That We'd Rather Not Play

    I think an organist, choirmaster/mistress, director of music has every right to make their views known regarding the musical content of a service. In fact, the Canons of the Church of England state that the incumbent should consult him or her, although the minister's word is final. Highly trained musicians are precisely that: experts in their field. Not many ministers of religion are these days, and would be wise to listen carefully to the expert they are paying to deliver the musical content of the service. Otherwise you might just as well put on a CD. It has nothing to do with elitism. Having said that, a very good musician should be able to take a song and make it better, to partially quote the Beatles. If I were asked to play Shine Jesus Shine I would consider whether the arrangement in front of me was suitable for the liturgical context, congregation, instrument and any other singers/ musicians involved. Perhaps consider showing the congregation how the melody could be used as the basis or theme for a high-quality improvisation, or prelude, or voluntary. It should also be borne in mind that renaissance composers of masses and motets wove popular tunes, such as "L'homme armé" into their works. And finally, there's nothing that can disarm the narrow, blinkered, musically illiterate brigade more than an allround musician who knows their stuff both in relation to classical music and modern band-led worship songs. There's a lot of dross out there, but there are also some very good worship songs, by writers such as Paul Oakley, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin and, yes, Graham Kendrick. I don't think Shine Jesus Shine is one of his best songs, and it's become hackneyed through overuse. But even this song, played well, at the right tempo, using the full resources of the organ, in a good arrangement, can be effective. What is far worse is good music played badly.
  7. Brilliant! Thank you so much! I've already ordered it from Abebooks.
  8. I'm very keen to buy the book "Mystic Modern: The Music, Thought, and Legacy of Charles Tournemire" (Church Music Association of America 2014), but it is not available in the UK, and in spite of Brexit it is extraordinarily expensive and complicated to carry out the simple transaction of buying a book from the USA. It's available from Amazon US or the publisher, but shipping time is around two months and costs £20, which on principle I'm not prepared to pay. I'm wondering if anyone on this forum is visiting the States in the near future and could buy this book for me. In return, I'd be happy to donate the £20 to the Organists Charitable Trust, with Gift Aid added in. This seems to be be the only book of any substance about this extremely important composer.
  9. Sheet Music on Tablets

    Further to my last post, I have discovered that there is a device on the market called the Bite Switch. It is apparently used by photographers and sky divers! It looks as though it fits on the head rather like those microphones that television presenters wear. It would be great if this could be used on the same principle as the tablet foot device.
  10. Sheet Music on Tablets

    I have one of these, but it's not much use for an organist who wishes to turn his or her own pages! Can some boffin adapt it to work with another (free) part of the body - perhaps something you hold between you teeth and clench when you want to turn the page. Or maybe a sensor that can be stuck under the keys of one of the manuals next to the registration buttons.
  11. Llandaff Cathedral

    I have been reading Alan Mould's marvellous book "The English Chorister. A History" (2007) and found some interesting information regarding the fate of the Llandaff choir in past centuries. In 1691 "funds became so short that in desperation the dean and chapter....disbanded the entire choral foundation, including their statutory four choristers" (p.140). "No steps were taken throughout the Georgian period to resume choral services" (p.150). Only in 1880 was there a "recovery of a full choral establishment with a choir school opened in Llandaff" (p.193). Plus ça change.