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Dafydd y Garreg Wen

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  1. Almost word for word the reaction when, as a teenager, a friend proudly played after a service the piece he had just learned - Apparition de l'矇glise 矇ternelle. That was in Yorkshire too. Whether it was from a tenor history does not record.
  2. Haven't read the small print yet (apart from the bit that says tenors are dangerous) but the Welsh Government is reported to be relaxing restrictions: Covid: Church congregations allowed to sing with masks https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-57540221
  3. Op. 105 is an excellent collection (especially if you like Gibbons). In terms of musical quality it perhaps has the edge on Op. 101. Like the other volume it alternates soft and loud pieces. Of the latter, nos 2 and 4 are straightforward. No 6 is a much more substantial piece; indeed it feels a little out of place, as there is nothing else on that scale in either of the two volumes. Its not difficult, but would take more learning than anything else in the two books: well worth putting in the effort, however. The music is long out of copyright and available on line if you want to check it: https://imslp.org/wiki/6_Short_Preludes_and_Postludes%2C_Op.105_(Stanford%2C_Charles_Villiers) (I'm assuming above that youre looking for louder pieces as out voluntaries, though of course theres nothing to stop you playing a quiet piece occasionally (or a loud one before the service) by way of a change .)
  4. Presumably the distinction isnt between singing at sporting events (allowed) and between congregational singing (forbidden), but between outdoors and indoors. I havent checked the English regulations but here in Wales outdoor singing is allowed and we have thus had congregational singing locally at open air services (even in the rain!). Now the weather is better I have wondered about suggesting that congregations that want to sing meet to sing two or three appropriate hymns outside the church before or after the service (rather as the Elizabethan Injunctions envisaged the use of metrical psalms - for those who like historical precedents .)
  5. Well, thats the trouble with modern risk management methods. The theory all sounds fine on the training course and in the boardroom, but when it meets reality it starts throwing up all sorts of anomalies (some of which may even turn out to be highly dangerous despite being approved by the process).
  6. Not really, though it does sound bizarre if you phrase it that way. Normal risk management deems different levels of risk tolerable depending on circumstances, and that approach applies whether youre dealing with and epidemic or anything else. In this case a higher level of risk is deemed acceptable when its a matter of earning a living (with the caveat that measures must be put in place to mitigate that risk). That judgement may or may not be correct, but its not illogical.
  7. Bangor Cathedral got like that in the years before it was finally rebuilt by David Wells, Compton spares being hard to come by.
  8. Thank you again. The unison mass sounds as if it would be a useful addition to the repertoire. Im sure board members would be interested to hear of anything else you unearth when you get a chance to go excavating.
  9. Indeed. May he rest in peace. A great loss. What sticks most in my mind is the meticulous way he would prepare everything he played, even voluntaries for the most humdrum of services where a small congregation might have little or no appreciation of music. Only the very highest standard was good enough.
  10. Thank you. Thats very interesting. As you say, if choral music was his priority that would explain why he didnt publish any other organ music, but it was the quality of the 7/4 Prelude that made me wonder whether he wrote more, if only as a private thing for his own personal interest. Do any of his choral pieces have a developed organ accompaniment? His (published) requiem in D flat is a capella, isnt it? (Incidentally, since the Prelude is one of the few pieces written in 7/4 up to that date, Vale would seem to have been quite a forward looking musician.)
  11. It reminds me of a Howells psalm prelude, not least in its structure, starting quiet, gradual crescendo to a climax, then dying away, but the harmonic language is more that of an admirer of Rachmaninov (which Vale certainly was). Its a bit different, so as Paul Isom says is worth a punt, even if lacking that certain something that would make it a really attractive work. Accomplished writing for the instrument, which makes it odd that nothing else was published. Vale must surely have written other organ music to reach that level of proficiency. I wonder whether there are any unpublished manuscripts.
  12. Inimitable is, I think, the technical term for the late Mr Bicknells style. I wonder how literally we should take his specification for Walkers for S. Johns. The point about a smaller instrument is well made, but is that really the absolute maximum? For instance, its all very well to denigrate party horns, but theres a fair amount of quite decent repertoire, both solo and choral, which requires a loud reed. It would be odd if such pieces were virtually unperformable at a place like S. Johns.
  13. In British usage I/II/III usually reflects the relatively importance (for want of a better word) of the division, rather than the physical layout of the instrument. Thus I=Great, II=Swell, III=Choir, IV=Solo (though Im sure people will be able to cite examples that dont fit this ...). So theres no relationship to the position of the various keyboards, which is (as you imply) normally Choir in the lowest place, Great above it, then Swell, then Solo.
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