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Dafydd y Garreg Wen

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Posts posted by Dafydd y Garreg Wen

  1. 45 minutes ago, Adnosad said:

    Even a full  ring of bells tends to take on the sound of scaffolding falling off the back of a lorry and rolling down the hill.   I have in mind here the huge amount of metal swinging about in the tower of Liverpool Cathedral .

    Oooh. Fighting talk!

  2. For that timing I think I’d probably play to the end of b.42 then go back to the start, ending in b.16 but incorporating the melody as it is in the final bar (b.89).

    That gives a reasonable ABA structure, and includes enough of the two-part oboe stuff to ensure that people won’t feel short-changed.


    1 hour ago, Tony Newnham said:


    Didn't Sunak say the other day that singing would be allowed?  However, I think a risk assessment will be in order, considering issues such as social distancing, particularly between rows of singers, and use or otherwise of masks.

    Every Blessing


    The current Church in Wales advice, issued following government permission (largely theoretical) to resume congregational singing, addresses these points:

    Particular care should be taken to ensure that a full 2-metre distance is maintained between all households at all times. For this reason, we advise against singing in procession at this time. Congregations must remain masked to sing. For those who find this uncomfortable, a number of places now sell face coverings designed for singers, with an internal frame to keep the fabric a few centimetres away from the mouth.


  4. 8 hours ago, OwenTurner said:

    The most extreme of these three is https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=S00098 compared to http://broughtonparish.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Organ-Spec.pdf. I should confess to not having heard the electronic but my memory of hearing the Ainscough was that it did the job well enough. If the spec of that electronic was pipes then there'd hardly be room for a pulpit in that building never mind a choir.

    My flabber is well and truly gasted. What an extraordinary specification (2005/2016).

  5. 19 hours ago, S_L said:

    "If tha' does that a'gin, I'll break thi' bloody neck!!!!"

    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'église éternelle.

    That was in Yorkshire too. Whether it was from a tenor history does not record.

  6. 7 hours ago, Nathan said:

    What is the 105 book like? Difficulty level and types of pieces. I'm trying to find end of service voluntaries.

    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. It’s 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:


    (I'm assuming above that you’re looking for louder pieces as out voluntaries, though of course there’s nothing to stop you playing a quiet piece occasionally (or a loud one before the service) by way of a change ….)

  7. Presumably the distinction isn’t between singing at sporting events (allowed) and between congregational singing (forbidden), but between outdoors and indoors.

    I haven’t 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 ….)


  8. Well, that’s 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).


  9. 7 minutes ago, bam said:

    In other words you can take the risk of spreading COVID if you are doing it for money but not if you are doing it for pleasure.  That is about as bizarre as it gets.

    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 you’re dealing with and epidemic or anything else.

    In this case a higher level of risk is deemed acceptable when it’s 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 it’s not illogical.

  10. 8 hours ago, OwenTurner said:

    Obvious I’m sure but have you thought about pinching one off the top note or another you might play less? I used to own a spinet with a gradually reducing compass until I got round to sourcing spares. 

    Bangor Cathedral got like that in the years before it was finally rebuilt by David Wells, Compton spares being hard to come by.

  11. 4 hours ago, sjf1967 said:

    From memory, some of the Benediction settings have fairly substantial accompaniments (I haven't programmed them yet as various circumstances have meant Evensong and Benediction has been off the table until quite recently).There's a little unison mass which is little more than harmonised quasi plainsong but very appealing. Yes, the Requiem is unaccompanied (good piece, we still use it sometimes, when there isn't a pandemic in progress). As you know he designed the ASMS organ - very cleverly. No slouch. If I get a moment  I might do a bit of digging in the archives one Sunday. Lord knows what's lying around the choir library. 

    Thank you again. The unison mass sounds as if it would be a useful addition to the repertoire.

    I’m sure board members would be interested to hear of anything else you unearth when you get a chance to go excavating.

  12. 17 hours ago, Vox Humana said:

    I can only echo the comments above. We have lost an exceptional organist who was always worth hearing.

    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.

  13. 8 hours ago, sjf1967 said:

    We’ve got a fair bit of unpublished, and published but long unavailable, Walter Vale in the Margaret Street library, but no organ music that I know of. It’s quite possible that he didn’t write any more - he was a church musician first and foremost and getting solo works into print wouldn’t I suspect have been among his priorities. We still sing his adaptations of Rachmaninov - Palm Sunday is by long tradition the day when we sing an entire day of WV’s adaptations. And his Benediction settings get an airing once in a while too. 

    Thank you. That’s very interesting. As you say, if choral music was his priority that would explain why he didn’t 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, isn’t 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.)

  14. 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). It’s 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.

  15. 3 hours ago, DariusB said:

    Well that was interesting, and unexpectedly entertaining! I’ll never look at the SMITF organ the same way again......

    “Inimitable” is, I think, the technical term for the late Mr Bicknell’s style.

    I wonder how literally we should take his specification for Walker’s for S. John’s. The point about a smaller instrument is well made, but is that really the absolute maximum? For instance, it’s all very well to denigrate “party horns”, but there’s 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. John’s.

  16. 2 hours ago, SlowOrg said:

    We find the usual Gt./Ch./Sw. in the original works, but I, II and III in the arrangements. I’ve also observed the same thing in the Stainer & Bell edition of the Opera 101 & 105. Which divisions do those Roman numbers actually indicate? Don’t most British three-manual organs have Choir as I, Great as II and Swell as III? Yet it seems that in the aforementioned cases “I” actually indicates Great (?). And what are II and III then? Could someone shed some light on this, please?

    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 I’m sure people will be able to cite examples that don’t fit this ...).

    So there’s 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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