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About Zimbelstern

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  1. Zimbelstern

    Hymn tune SALZBURG

    After many hours researching this question, here’s where I’ve got to so far: The attribution of the harmonisation of the hymn tune Salzburg to J.S. Bach in all hymn books I have examined, must be wrong. It was extant before Bach was born, being published by Pachelbel in 1683 at the beginning of his choral partita Alle Menschen müssen sterben in Musikalische Sterbensgedanken. It should be noted that the metre of this chorale is 8787. This chorale harmonisation of Alle Menschen müssen sterben, later given the BWV number 262, was included in the collection of 371 Bach chorales published by C.P.E Bach, but there is no extant work of Bach’s in which it features, so it may be assumed his son found it amongst his manuscripts and included it, perhaps thinking the harmonisation was his father’s work. The collection of 371 chorales, republished several times during the 19th century, may have been the source of the choral harmonisation used by the compilers of the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1861, the musical editor of which was William Henry Monk. As far as the melody is concerned, the website hymnary.org states:”The tune SALZBURG, named after the Austrian city made famous by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was first published anonymously in the nineteenth edition of Praxis Pietatis Melica (1678); in that hymnbook's twenty-fourth edition (1690) the tune was attributed to Jakob Hintze (b. Bernau, Germany, 1622; d. Berlin, Germany, 1702).” The first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern 1861 sets the tune it calls Salzburg to the hymn “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”. This hymn is a translation of the Latin hymn “Ad regias Agni dapes” by the Scottish lawyer Robert Campbell. He published it in his collection of hymns known as The St. Andrews Hymnal in 1850, two years before he became a Roman Catholic. It should be noted that the metre of “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing” is 77 77 D, so the German chorale has to be adapted slightly. Not having access to “The St Andrews Hymnal” it is impossible to know if Robert Campbell set it to the German chorale melody, but it seems unlikely. Zahn, the 19th century cataloguer of German choral tunes, lists Hintze’s tune (Zahn 6778) as having the metre 87878877. There is another hymn tune called Salzburg. It is a tune by Michael Haydn who lived for many years in Salzburg. The metre is 7676 however. To complicate matters even further, the following entry can be found in “Hymn Tune Names: Their Sources and Significance” by Robert McCutchan (Abingdon 1957): “Tantum Ergo [878787 (4:drmf/ s f m r) ; from Samuel Webbe's Antiphons, 1792]. Tantum ergo are the first words of Part II, the last two stanzas, of the Latin hymn beginning, "Pange lingua gloriosi." It is a part of the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament of the Roman Church. Also called Alleluia Dulce Carmen, Benediction, Corinth, Dulce Carmen, Gloria Patri, Lebanon, St. Werbergh's, Salzburg, Walpole. Alleluia Dulce Carmen and Dulce Carmen: because used with the eleventh-century Latin hymn beginning, "Alleluia, dulce carmen." In Havergal's Psalmody (1871) it is called Salzburg because Havergal attributed it to John Michael Haydn, who lived in Salzburg for the last forty-four years of his life. In a footnote Havergal states the tune is "wrongly called Benediction or St. Werbergh." [878787 (4: d d d d). Interestingly, Samuel Webbe was organist of the Sardinian Embassy Chapel, a position which he held until 1795. He was also organist and choirmaster of chapel of the Portuguese Embassy in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the only place in London where the Catholic liturgy could be publicly celebrated. Hymns Ancient and Modern was published in 1861 by Novello. Vincent Novello, the founder, was a Roman Catholic. As a boy, Novello was a chorister at the Sardinian Embassy Chapel where he learnt the organ from Samuel Webbe; and from 1796 to 1822 he became in succession organist of the Sardinian, Spanish and Portuguese (in South Street, Grosvenor Square) chapels, and from 1840-43 of St. Mary Moorfields. Novello, a huge admirer of Mozart, and his wife visited Salzburg in 1829 to see Mozart’s widow Constanze and deliver a gift of money. So we have a group of very high churchmen, compiling a high church hymnbook, published by a Roman Catholic publishing firm, looking for a hymn tune for an English translation of a Latin hymn translated by a Roman Catholic. They were looking for a tune with 7777 metre, but knew that 8787 might work with a little adaptation. They had tunes, metres and texts swirling around in their heads, and countless hymnbooks and tunes in front of them, including probably Samuel Webbe’s with its tune for Dulce Carmen composed by Michael Haydn from Salzburg, which also fits Tantum Ergo, and thus Pange Lingua, the tune of which is included in Hymns Ancient and Modern adapted to 8787, although set to the hymn Now my Soul Thy Voice Upraising (including Neale’s translation of Pange Lingua - Of the Glorious Body Telling - itself would have been a step too far, because of its Catholic theology - Neale had already been accused of being a Vatican agent in the Church of England and had even been beaten up by a Protestant mob in Sussex.) The problem is that they need a tune for an 8 line stanza. They have J.S. Bach’s chorales in front of them and realise that the tune of Alle Menschen müssen sterben can be made to fit with a slight adjustment. But what to call it? Giving a Roman Catholic hymn translated from Latin by a Scottish Roman Catholic a German Protestant town name would seem ridiculous. But Salzburg? Perfect!
  2. Zimbelstern

    Hymn tune SALZBURG

    The naming of hymn tunes seems to be an English practice, rather than a German one. It looks as though the compilers of the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861) may have given the tune this name when they matched it to the hymn “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”. Since then the chorale harmonisation has been attributed to J.S. Bach (BWV 262), but it now appears that it was in fact by Pachelbel, who placed it at the beginning of his chorale partita “Alle Menschen müssen Sterben” which was included in his “Musicalische Sterbens-Gedancken” (1683). None of this explains why the compilers of Hymns Ancient and Modern gave the tune the name Salzburg, if, indeed, it was they who did so.
  3. Zimbelstern

    Hymn tune SALZBURG

    Does anyone know why the hymn tune SALZBURG bears this name? In this country we use Bach’s harmonisation of it for several hymn texts, including “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” and “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”, but in Germany it is the tune of “Alle Menschen Müssen Sterben”. Apparently it was first published anonymously in the nineteenth edition of Praxis Pietatis Melica (1678); in that hymnbook's twenty-fourth edition (1690) the tune was attributed to Jakob Hintze (b. Bernau, Germany, 1622; d. Berlin, Germany, 1702). I can’t find any explanation for the name or any connection to the city of Salzburg.
  4. Zimbelstern

    St John’s, Smith Square

    The article actually says: ‘St John’s, Smith Square, London, is losing £250,000 a year. It does not receive any subsidy and without a fresh injection of cash its reserves will run out. Richard Heason, the director, said that it had to survive on ticket sales and donations and if it did not find “another source of extraordinary money of some sort, then the money would run out by the end of next summer”.’ An article in another newspaper today says that one cruise missile costs £667,000. Enough to keep St. John’s going for three years! Perhaps our esteemed representatives round the corner could save both St. John’s and a lot of lives at the same time.
  5. Zimbelstern


    I was privileged to be present at the organ recital at which this video was filmed. It is played on the Blancafort organ of the Concatedral de Santa Maria in Castellón de la Plana, Spain by the Italian organist Carlo Maria Barile. He’s improvising on the tune “Salve, Virgen del Lidón”, a local folksong dedicated to the patron saint of Castellón.
  6. Zimbelstern

    Prepared For

    One place where I believe “be prepared” will eventually translate into “it is finished” is the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, construction of which was begun in 1882. Present estimates for its completion centre around the year 2026. It’s quite hard to get concrete information about the organ, but some years ago when visiting I read that Gaudi’s original vision was as follows: specially designed tubular bells would hang in some of the towers and huge organ pipes would hang in others. On a Sunday morning the doors of the Basilica would be flung open and the entire population of Barcelona would hear a 1000 voice choir singing Gregorian chant, accompanied by giant tubular bells and the enormous organ. The remaining towers are gradually being built. I’m not sure if the plans still include pipes for the towers, but it seems there will eventually be at least 8000 pipes distributed around the building, The present organ, which will form part of the completed instrument, has 1500 pipes. The organ builder is Blancafort of Montserrat. I can’t wait to hear the finished organ! I wonder what they’ll play at the inaugural recital?
  7. Zimbelstern

    P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    Well, this forum would be extremely dull if everyone agreed with each other all the time! In the end it all comes down to personal preference and taste. It is good to have a forum where people can share and debate their views, and politely disagree. Over the last few months I have read carefully the entire series of posts regarding this organ, as well as those from years ago regarding the new organ in the Royal Academy of Music (which I have played and greatly appreciate). Both topics include a great deal of useful information both regarding the individual organs and also organ building and design, but also very differing views. Personally, I have nothing against modern organ building styles and organ cases of any genre or any particular type. The most important criteria are how good the instrument is, and how appropriate it is for the liturgical function and/or repertoire that will be played upon it. The closer we are to a particular period in time, the more subjective the judgement is. All periods produce good and bad examples, and over time the removal of the bad results in a judgement of the period as a whole, whichever branch of the arts we are considering. Even after several hundred years, however, debates can still continue as to the merits or demerits of a particular organ - even if it no longer exists! A case in point is the Scheibe organ of the Paulinerkirche (University Church) in Leipzig, which Bach famously inspected and declared sound, although Johann Andreas Silbermann’s opinion several decades later was uncomplimentary. Academics are still arguing about it. One of the world’s most eminent musicologists has stated categorically in print that is was tuned to Chorton. Another has produced documentary evidence to prove that it wasn’t! So much for objectivity. When it comes to organs and their suitability for a church, it seems to me that, in addition to the location and acoustics, there are three aspects of the instrument which need to be considered: the sounds, the quality and reliability of the workmanship and the case design. I have seen organs whose sound I like, but whose cases I dislike in that setting. A couple of years ago I heard the new Klais organ in Leon Cathedral in Spain. I love the sound, but dislike the appearance of the organ, which I feel is out of keeping with the building, partly because of its location. Last year I heard the organ of St Eustache in Paris. I love the case, but the organ disappointed - all I could hear was a mush of sound when pieces were played fast. I’m sure, however, there are many who would disagree with me. It’s all a matter of taste I suppose. I haven’t heard the new organ in the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, but it looks stupendous. From what I have read in this forum, and having looked at the specification of the Turner Sims organ, it seems to me that, apart from anything else, it is rather limited in regard to the repertoire that can be sympathetically played upon it. The stop list seems to be informed by the fashion some forty years ago for so-called Neo-Classical instruments. I dislike many of the instruments of this kind which I have heard or played, mainly because of the sound they make, which doesn’t seem to resemble in any way the wonderful 18th century North German organs they were supposedly imitating. But there are, no doubt, good examples of the genre. I’m sure organs of this type have their admirers and they are just as entitled as I am to their opinion. The organ I play on in church is a 1914 two manual William Hill pneumatic action organ. It was so well built that after more than hundred years, still in its original condition, and no major repairs, it makes a sound I and most people like, is reliable, versatile, and can be used for a very wide repertoire, ranging from Bach, through Widor, to Messiaen. Yet countless instruments of this era have been thrown out or altered beyond recognition. Why? Perhaps because of fashion. Or perhaps because they weren’t very good. Who are we to say? Perhaps in the end we are all just dedicated followers of fashion!
  8. Zimbelstern

    P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    Doesn’t sound very promising!
  9. Zimbelstern

    P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    Sorry to disagree, but having seen the video I think it looks awful. It’s totally out of keeping with the building, partly because of its position on one side of the back of the church. Having said that, what I can see of the other organ is just as bad. I think it would be better to remove both instruments and start again with an organ designed specifically for that church, both acoustically and aesthetically.
  10. Zimbelstern

    Spanish nuns fined for restoring their organ

    I think you’ll find that the anti-clericalists, and their allies are at the opposite end of the political spectrum. The President of the Popular (Conservative) Party in Seville, Virginia Perez, condemned the actions of the Andalusian Government in fining the nuns in the strongest possible terms, as you can read here: http://www.europapress.es/andalucia/sevilla-00357/noticia-virginia-perez-ve-injusto-expediente-organo-santa-ines-culpa-junta-desidia-20171113165809.html Her party, the Partido Popular, is the one which currently rules in Spain under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a devout Catholic and defender of the Church (and presumably organs). He is also staunchly in favour of the return of Gibraltar to Spanish sovereignty.
  11. Zimbelstern

    Beginner Organist Tip

    If you want to be an organ scholar, and if you are aiming for RCO diplomas, you must build keyboard skills into your routine every day, right from the start. The three skills I would especially recommend you practising are: 1. Transposition 2. Figured bass 3. Four part score reading (FRCO requires 5 parts, but you can’t try for FRCO until you have ARCO). If you start practising these skills now, and spend an hour on them every day BEFORE you start practising your pieces, you will not only be able to actually do them after three or four years, but they will help you with all sorts of other skills that you will also need, for example improvisation, harmonising melodies at the keyboard or Bach chorales on paper (figured bass makes you feel the harmony automatically in your fingers). The foundation of transposition technique is transposing hymns, which are also extremely good for developing a good pedal technique. Good hymn playing is much, much harder than many people think. The pedal lines of many hymns are quite hard. Once you have learnt the basics of hymn playing and transposition, I would start every day by practising a hymn tune thoroughly, marking the fingering and pedalling and sticking to it. Then practise transposing it down and up a semitone and a tone (don’t bother with e.g. A flat if it’s already in A, or E if it’s already in E flat). Make sure you choose a different key every day (up to four flats or sharps). Good hymn playing and transposition also lead on to improvisation techniques. Learn the basics of figured bass using R.O. Morris’s “Figured Harmony at the Keyboard” - worth its weight in gold. You can download masses (and motets) of material for figured bass and score reading practice from the internet free of charge on IMSLP and ChoralWiki. If you have a tablet you can play them from that, rather than printing them out. Recently, Oxford University Press has published two volumes which will help you enormously from the start with these skills: they are called “Graded Keyboard Musicianship”. Progress in these skills comes only gradually to most people and sometimes they seem like a real drudge. But one day you sit at the keyboard and discover that you can actually transpose a hymn or play from figured bass or a four part score at sight, and it all starts to become rather enjoyable. Practising these tests requires great concentration, focus and self-discipline. That’s why it’s best to do them every day before practising your pieces. Remember: KEYBOARD SKILLS FIRST!
  12. Zimbelstern

    Spanish nuns fined for restoring their organ

    There’s probably a lot more to this story than meets the eye. Amongst the reader comments in the Spanish newspaper cited above, there is a claim that the huge fine on the nuns was linked to the political opposition of certain politicians and parties to the Church in Spain. Whilst Spain has traditionally been a very devout Catholic country, there is also a strong anticlericalist tendency, going back at least a couple of hundred years. There have been periodic attacks on church buildings, monasteries, priests, monks and nuns, thousands of whom were killed during the 1930s. Organs seem to be a favourite target of both religious and non-religious fanatics, as we know only too well from the wholesale destruction of organs in England in the 17th century. Dutch organs only survived iconoclasm because they were placed high in the church and belonged to town halls, not to the church. The church itself in Spain does not seem to value organs very highly - there are many ancient organs rotting away unused and unloved. The two major “reforms” of the Catholic church with regard to music and liturgy since 1900 were carried out to the letter in Spain, unlike in France where, after some initial upset, things seemed to carry on as before. Pius X’s Motu Proprio of 1903 (“Tra le Sollecitudini”) specifically limited the use of the organ in worship in favour of Gregorian chant. Whilst this had the positive effect of encouraging and furthering the singing of chant in Spain, a few decades later all this was overturned by Vatican II and most choir schools were lost. Organists in Spain are rarely paid, even in cathedrals, access to organs by anyone other than the incumbent organist is virtually impossible, and the number of organists in training is tiny - hardly surprising in view of the nonexistent career prospects.
  13. Zimbelstern

    What is an “International Concert Organist”?

    St. Alphage’s advert for its organ recital series in the current issue of Organists’ Review has two “International Recitalists”, one “Organ Recitalist and Concert Pianist”, one “Organ Recitalist and recording artist” (I don’t understand the logic of the capital letters for one title and not the other), two “Organists” (of their respective churches) and one performer who is modest enough to just state where he lives. One of the recitalists actually takes up five lines listing his various posts. Are we in the future to expect that adverts for organ recitals will give full length CVs for performers? Surely the fact that someone is giving an organ recital is sufficient for us to conclude that he or she is very probably an organist.
  14. Zimbelstern

    Appointments 2

    I’ve just had a look at the job spec. £15,000 for 20 hours per week for a top class, highly experienced allround musician, organist, conductor, manager and administrator with a list of skills, duties and responsibilities as long as your arm. Presumably a graduate with an FRCO. All for around £15 an hour. For that you can get a job in London as a handyperson, a door-to-door fundraiser for Shelter, a labourer, a mini-cab supervisor, or a housekeeper (all advertised on Gumtree). The Shelter advert actually says: “Ideal for Performing Arts Graduates!” Super flumina Babylonis ibi sedimus et flevimus.
  15. Zimbelstern

    What is an “International Concert Organist”?

    Whenever I read comments such as those preceding, I am reminded of the opening words of the Preface to the 1549 Book of Common Prayer: “There was never anything by the wit of man so well devised, or so surely established, which (in continuance of time) hath not been corrupted.” Or in the words of Ecclesiastes: “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.” I understand that in the higher echelons of a German company these days, a doctorate, earned or honorary, is no longer sufficient. One must now have the title of “Professor”. When I was at university, I was in awe of professors. Yet today, it seems, we are adopting the American usage of the term - anyone teaching in an institution of higher education is a “professor”, even if delivering only the occasional lecture or class on a casual basis (in which case one is a “visiting professor”). Spare a thought for poor old J.S. Bach who was keenly aware of his lack of academic title. Perhaps if he’d had a doctorate he’d have written better music.