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Tony Price

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Posts posted by Tony Price

  1. Many thanks to the board member who passed my enquiry on to Stephen. As a result he has been in touch, and advised that he is playing:


    1. on Tuesday 18th August at the Tullamore International Summer Organ Festival on the Frobenius instrument in the church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Tullamore


    The programme includes music by Byrd, Bull, Mendelssohn, Bach and Dupre.


    2. on Friday 25th September a lunchtime recital with a visiting Norwegian choir at St. Anne & St. Agnes in Gresham Street, London



  2. I would imagine that there are relatively few churches that employ a competent organist who would insist on being paid whether or not he/she played for the wedding, but that the majority of people on this forum who play the organ for weddings fall into the professional or at least pretty high standard category, hence why so many here are defensive of the practice of charging for not playing.


    In all the weddings I've ever played for I can't ever remember the matter of paying the church's regular organist their due having arisen. Many of the weddings I play for are for friends, often in evangelical churches that tend to lack their own organist, and for whom I don't charge a fee (as invariably I get invited to the reception I consider that due reward in itself!). Weddings I play for where I don't know the couple I would expect to be paid a fee at the going rate, though again these are usually not at my regular church but by word of mouth and I'm usually asked to play by friendly local vicars who don't have their own regular organist and need someone who can "play the Widor". Thus most weddings I've ever played at have not been in churches with celebrated music traditions and resident organists to consider. (The one time I've played for a wedding in a cathedral, it was a Catholic caethdral doing conveyor-belt weddings and the organist was only too happy to take a break...).


    In practice perhaps this matter doesn't arise in all that many churches?


    Agreed. As an amateur parish organist who endeavours to provide the best possible music within my limited capabilities, I have never asked for a fee in lieu of my services when the couple require another organist (or CD player) to accompany the service. In my experience such a request generally occurs when a member of the family (or close friend) plays the instrument. When playing away from home I always warn the hopefully happy couple that they may also be required to pay the resident organist who may be acting professionally.


    Whilst I may not be dependent on such things for an income, I am always aware that others are.



  3. At the church I play at the organ is in the west end, in the gallery, console facing east - behind the altar is what is referred to as the retro-chapel, with the congregation facing west. I well remember promising a well known parishioner that I would slip in 'Happy Birthday to you' at some stage in the service for the occasion she would be celebrating on the day. I had, however, not been aware of just how many young nieces and nephews she would have around her on the day, or that she had advised them of my intentions beforehand. When I gently introduced the promised theme in the quietest moment during communion the result was the loudest 'whisper' imaginable from young voices of 'THERE IT IS!'.




    The relevance (which I ommitted to mention) of the east-west words was that the family were in the retro chapel, facing me when the word (and more) went up!



  4. At the church I play at the organ is in the west end, in the gallery, console facing east - behind the altar is what is referred to as the retro-chapel, with the congregation facing west. I well remember promising a well known parishioner that I would slip in 'Happy Birthday to you' at some stage in the service for the occasion she would be celebrating on the day. I had, however, not been aware of just how many young nieces and nephews she would have around her on the day, or that she had advised them of my intentions beforehand. When I gently introduced the promised theme in the quietest moment during communion the result was the loudest 'whisper' imaginable from young voices of 'THERE IT IS!'.



  5. I would therefore be most grateful if any of you who know about organ in state schools could let me know about them.


    Both of the Catholic comprehensive secondary schools in London Borough of Sutton have organs.


    The John Fisher School, Purley, has a two manual (N017989) that is remains in very active use, and is regularly maintained by Browne & Sons, Canterbury.


    I'm afraid I know nothing about the organ of St. Philomena's, Carshalton.





  6. Like many, I guess, I've rather lost the plot when it comes to deciding what has, and has not, been posted here. Nevertheless I hope the selection (distraction?!) below will stir one or two thoughts and a few emotions ;-)



    ..... from Christchurch Town Hall, with some nice views of the inside of the case (Lefébure-Wély warning!).



    ..... St. Bonifatius Church in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg - a splendid trumpet + organ performance of the Allegro from the Albinoni Concert San Marco



    ..... a movement from Andrew Bishop's arrangement of Randy Newman's music for 'The Original' for Brass, Organ and Percussion



    ..... a splendid performance by Frederick Hohman of Lemare's arrangement of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries




    ..... Cameron Carpenter playing one of his own compositions (health warning for those who may never have seen every note (apparently) on a single manual played at once with one hand!)


    and finally, a master at work at



  7. See here http://stephenhicks.net/




    Thanks for that, Graham - fascinating, in that the web site seems to offer reviews (from the dates shown in the reviews quoted from) written in the 1970s. A little googling suggests that the CD pictured on his web site was, at least, post 1995.


    The reviews of the time lead one to believe that there might have been a promising career as an international organist ahead of him.......... sadly, it would seem, things did not work out.


    I did like the pic of him seated at what looks like an armchair in front of the console!!!



  8. When I was at college (St. Mary's, Strawberry Hill, between 1972 and 1975) a young and apparently upcoming Stephen Hicks was then, to my mind, well known in the organ world. I recall him borrowing my copy of the Bach 'St. Anne' and giving a excellent rendition of it at no notice to fill for somone else at a concert in the college chapel (a small 'cathedral'!).


    Whatever happened to him - or was he not as well known at the time as I recall?


    The instrument at St. Mary's was believed at the time to be the very last built by Kingsgate Davidson, and, allegedly, used up much of the remaining pipe-work they had in their workshops at the time. Can anyone substantiate this?




    I seem to recall a single rank running 16', 8', 4', 2' and 1' on the Positive.



  9. Then how about Bevenot's 2-part settings of the Latin text? I still use them (now andf then) but when he set the English text the result was not, in my opinion, so successful.




    The Bevenot settings (Masses in Mi, Re and Sol) were what I started with in 1970 – I’m tempted to dig them out again.


    We’re a humble ‘all welcome’ RC parish choir, and Bevenot led us to John Turner’s Masses (John the Baptist, St. Mary Magdalen and Good Shepherd), and onwards (and upwards, some might say!) to Charles Kitson – his Masses in D and C minor are largely unheard today, and, in my opinion, worthy of a wider hearing. Apart from the Bevenot Masses, all these remain in the current repertoire. Current favourites include the Trotman St. Luke Mass, Lloyd-Webber’s Prince of Peace, and Nicholas Wilton’s recently published Missa Brevis. On the ‘old school’ front, the Lotti Simple Mass remains a delight, as does Hasler’s Dixit Maria.


    We recently introduced the Dom. Gregory Murray Mass, at the request of the Parish Priest to do something in English (please!!) and it works far better than anything else I have come across of its kind, though Jack Putterill’s Thaxted Mass might be a worthy contender.


    All that said, the plainsong Missa de Angelis, with a large choir leading, and a large congregation willingly participating, takes some beating, especially with the incense billowing from the sanctuary!


    Humble stuff among most of you, I know, but another view-point from lower down the ladder, perhaps.


    Tony Price

  10. Life is full of surprises! On stepping into a subterranean passage while changing trains in Lausanne earlier today, I heard a familiar theme. A young busker was playing "that toccata" on an accordion. He played the whole thing from memory with stunning accuracy. It is a sound I normally dislike, but I had to admire the courage and skill involved. At the end I thanked him and put a generous contribution into his hat, but declined the CD. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to discover anything about his background. (And, no, I don't think it was the titulaire from Lausanne Cathedral!)



    The music is available here if you'd like to try it out, John!




    Meanwhile the 'other' Toccata:




    .... and its associated Fugue:




    Not for the purists, but suprising approachable to listen to!


    If Toccatas are your 'thing' then it's worth having a little dig around on this site.


    All the best,



  11. I have to confess that unless there is a sound financial necessity for charging to use the instrument, I would certainly never request payment from those associated with the parish and/or its music making. An external organist wanting to use the organ on a regular basis might receive a request for a modest amount if it was unlikely he would ever share his expertise with us.


    As one who was given the keys to the church when appointed in 1969, I am in the fortunate position of just making sure the church is not in use before popping in and practising. I have always ensured that any assistants I have had over the years have enoyed the same privilage, and it has never been abused (though it took a while to get a set of keys returned on one occasion!).


    Such an approach has generally ensured that the youngsters who have benefitted have always willingly made them selves available to play for us when returning home during university studies, and indeed in their post-graduate lives if still living in the area.


    We also offer young people undertaking GCSE and A-Level music studies formal accreditation for the Group Music making element of their examinations, which has encouraged a number of younger voices into the choir over the years. We don't charge them either!


    I appreciate that such an approach may not be viable with the larger churches and cathedrals where, perhaps, professionals are employed, and where there might deemed to be a greater element of privilage inherent in the use of the facilities.



  12. Has any of Lloyd Webber's orchestral music been transcxribed for organ? I am keen to get a copy, if available, of his Serenade for Strings (Barcarolle; Romance; Elegy). I had this on a CD called Invocations - now lost, alas. I think it would make a gentle recital suite.






    Whilst I cannot answer your question, Peter, you could always hire the string parts and practice your skill in reduction? ;-)


    I have been trying to find a list of William Lloyd Webber's published works, and can only come up with a list of his works currently available in print? Is anyone able to point me in the direction of a source at all?


    Lloyd Webber's choral output was very parish friendly, in that much of it is often liturgically appropriate, approachable by a parish choir and an average parish organist. I have recently used his Venite Exaltemus Domino (SATB + opt. organ double), and, this being the 25th anniversary of his death) his Mass, The Prince of Peace, both with organ accompaniment and with an orchestration authorised by the composer. For the organ his set of Christmas preludes is a delight, as is much of his organ music - I used the Cantilena during communion on Sunday. I also have a rather more robust Prelude and Fugue somewhere that I must dust off - it was trying to find mention of this on-line that prompted my question.


    I must pick up copies of his Love Divine, excerpts from which were heard during the Radio 4 broadcast about his (absolutely fascinating) life heard sometime in late May this year, and also available on the Invocation CD - delightful music.


    All the best,



  13. Depends on where you 'sit' with the school, Peter - I have never played for public thanks: a private bottle is enough for me! That said, as the school's 'encumbant' for many years, I'm generally viewed as an associate member of staff. If you were had been asked to play for the first time this year then, yes, I'd probably understand your position.



  14. But you are still ignoring the fact that there appear to be many genuine music-lovers here who are simply put-off by the style and performances of these two 'entertainers'.


    You, perhaps sadly, underestimate "genuine music-lovers": such people broadly have the intellect to make a very personal judgement, as with any other music interpretation they hear, according to their individual tastes - they are unlikely to be put off as you suggest. They are broad-minded enough to understand that music comes in many forms, in many styles, and with many interpretations, and attracts, or otherwise, an equally broad range of emotions.


    They do such things quietly and intellegently.



  15. I’ve been organist to a largish Catholic parish in Norbury south London since 1969, and am now organist and DoM in the same parish.


    Nothing more than a reasonably competent parish musician, with a philosophy (that most will not agree with) of wanting to involve the people in choral singing regardless of the level of their musical talents – not always easy, but always rewarding.


    F.H. Browne & Sons organ installed in 1972, and enlarged and improved twice since – hugely valued partners throughout my tenure.


    Nothing like a good tune to keep everyone happy!



  16. I have to say that I find it quite heartening that, all these years after his un-timely passing, Virgil Fox and his music (for that is what it is, whatever people might think of it) still have the strength of personality to engender often quite heated discussion about the instrument, the manner in which it is used, and the music played on it. He must be delighted!


    In this respect, I have some sympathy with Lee’s view that he (and likewise Carlo Curly still) was a great ambassador for the organ. I can think of very few others who had the huge charisma and technique necessary to achieve this in a manner attractive to a wide, and often hugely non-organ related audience.


    The service such people provide in encouraging a basic interest in the instrument that is not generally inherent in the provision of the organ repertoire for organists and the organ-literate cannot be understated. Equally, the service such people provide in encouraging a basic interest in an instrument that is hardly well catered for in terms of exposure to a mass audience must be equally valuable in encouraging a deeper interest from those, especially the young, who might not otherwise turn out for an ‘organ recital’, cannot be under-valued.


    As a youngster I was given VF’s Wedding Album, an LP that introduced me to the ‘Albinoni’ Adagio. Equally, my first hearing of the Widor Toccata was on the ‘wireless’ in a programme called The Organist Entertains, possible in the late 1960s. Both were, in their own ways, inspirational in encouraging an interest I still have today. Like most young keyboard instrumentalists, I was never in danger of being taken to an ‘organ recital’ – something that is demonstrably still very much the case.



  17. I remember these getting a very good review, but it was quite some time ago. I'm thinking of getting them, so I looked them up on the net and can find only five discs covering nos 1-13. Were the later sonatas ever released? Is this still an ongoing project?


    According to Naxos, when I contacted them in November 1994, volume six was "likely to be realeased in 2005".


    I contacted them again in April this year and was informed that nothing further had been heard about the release, and they could not provide me with any further information.


    Hopefully it will arrive in due course - it would be shame if it didn't (not least because I'm particularly waiting for no. 14)


    Also of interest is the Naxos release of Paul Skevington, with the Amadeus Orchestra conducted by Timothy Rowe, playing Rheinberger's two organ concertos on the Steiner-Reck at St. Luke's Catholic church in McLean, Virginia.



  18. Hi.


    As a student currently 'on release' for a little while over the summer, i'm looking for some new suggestions for music to learn. The criteria are:


    1) Suitable for somebody between Grade 7/8

    2) Not a music student

    3) Something that will give the hands plenty of work (out of scales practice...!)

    4) Not ambitiously long

    5) Challenging enough to not be considered 'sightreading fodder' (as in, will hold my interest.....


    I have a few ideas, but some creative suggestions from people on here would be most welcome!




    Join (if you haven't already) the nearest library with a decent music section, and just explore. Look at what you feel you'd manage, and borrow it, and play it (or not as the case may be!). I can't be the only one here whose introduction to the organ and its music was steeped in the music (Rheinberger comes to mind - it was everywhere in the late 60s/early 70s, and is deservedly making a return) available to everyone to borrow freely from the local public lending library.


    Good luck, and keep at it!



  19. Just an idea or two:


    Count up the number of pipes in the instrument, and ask people, within and without the parish, to sponsor one or more. Give the largest pipes a really hefty premium price, and attract young people to the smallest.


    Talk up the project from the very outset with the congregation.


    Network like mad - local press especially.


    Offer sponsors the opportunity to be recorded in some way as such - local businesses like this, as do those who would like to make an In Memoriam donations.


    Do your maths beforehand, perhaps on a spreadsheet, so that you get the balance right. It's surprising how such a sum can be divided into acceptable chunks.


    Agree Special Collections (preferrably not of the 'retiring sort') during the period of fund-raising.


    Finally, take advatage of Gift Aid, which is something all churches (I believe) should be able to attract for donations, throught the collection plate or without, to a project such as this. 28p added to every 'Gift Aid £1' donated.


    I only had to raise £20,000 across 244 new pipes for an enlargement and refurbishment: I was humbled at the response, which comfortably exceeded this within the nine month fund-raising time-scale announced at the outset without further effort, and also provided for a new piano for the church. I was very fortunate in not having to drive things further.


    It may well take more than this, but hopefully the words might prompt a helpful thought or two.



  20. I agree with you.  But  the political correctness drive has led to a profusion of legislation in recent times, which, while I support the principles and believe them well intentioned, are all too often administered in a clumsy, thoughtless and ultimately self-defeating way.  There is not a widespread availabilty of common sense, and certainly not imagination, amongst many of the people who end up having to apply such legislation.  That is what I am getting at.


    Like most of us, I would suggest, I have no problem with the intentions of the well-meaning law as it stands. It is the interpretation that is so often the problem. If Diocesan Guidelines were to become a sticking point in the application of the DDA, and a legal challenge were mounted, then the lawyers would only be interested in the law, not in any well-intentioned Guidelines.


    As I understand it, tone-deafness is likely to be seen as a disability alongside near-blindness. The latter might be accommodated with large scale copies. The former?


    How far can you push an 'audition' without falling foul of things in time?


    Historically, organists have lived to play despite huge disabilities - blindness is often the best recorded, and I worked as a youngster in the mid '60s with Fernand Laloux at Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, who had two wooden legs. But today, if a potential organist had a difficulty in mounting the stairs, ..................???



  21. Many thanks indeed for the thoughts so far. They are encouraging.


    I too have wondered about the difficulties inherent in making the choir more 'accessible', whilst the organ console remains 'inaccessible'. I also support a parish music group that operates from downstairs with a piano: I suspect the thought of moving the piano into the gallery, whilst asking them to continue their services from downstairs, would cause equal problems for them!


    As far as I understand it the DDA does indeed ask that 'reasonable provision' be made: equally, it stresses that there should be no change to the 'service' offered (cleary the demise of the Choir would be quite some 'change in 'service'!).


    The problem is that this is a very emotive subject for some, and the Diocesan Guidelines seem to be given greater importance than the law. I too would love to see some commonsense applied, but this is likely to be impossible to achive with the over-zealous (my opinion) approach made to me.


    I full support the aims of the DDA, and am more than willing to 'reasonably' comply with it. We are prepared to offer assistance into the gallery, and large print music copies, for example.


    I feel that if it went as far as a legal challenge, the law would be applied and not the Diocesan Guidelines which I am being 'theatened' with (letter to the PP etc.). That said, I would really not wish to have an unhappy clash of such magnitude with a parish I have been happily and productively associated with for all my 52 years, and part of my reason for asking for help is to try and find a gentle way through the emotion and quagmire of ill-understood legislation.


    The thought does go through my head that it is my role, as DoM, to encourage, develop, preserve and protect the music in the parish: it is the role of the parish to ensure that the sentiments of the DDA are met. To this end the boot should be on the other foot, with the parish informing me of the provisions it is aiming to take to enable the gallery to become accessible within the remit of the DDA. Am I being naive?


    We're only an amateur Choir, but as DoM with around 90 involved in the liturgical music-making in the parish, I am very keen to try and resolve things amicably for all involved and associated with us.




  22. I have been organist to a parish for 35 years, the last 15 as Director of Music. The organ console is forward facing at the back of a west-end choir gallery which is 'stepped' down towards the east end, and purpose built for a choir of 50+ which is still very much alive. It's a large parish, with c. 1,400 attending the five Sunday Masses.


    The parish has, quite rightly, a Disability Group which has recently conducted an audit of the building and requested that, in future, the Choir sing from downstairs in the main body of the church so as to enable access to the group for any disabled singers that may wish, in the future, to join. We have been asked to do so to comply with Diocesan Guidlines in respect of the DDA.


    The sight and sound lines between the console and the main body of the church would make such a move impossible to manage.


    I do not have any disabled singers wishing to join the Choir. Whilst I am happy to assist disabled singers in absolutely whatever way reasonable, to enforce such a move is likely to ensure the end of the Choir (and two other smaller Choirs that rely on organ accompaniment).


    Has anyone been on the receiving end of such DDA 'advice'? If so, I'd really appreciate some thoughts as to how to manage it. It does not seem realistic to disband a wholly successful parish choir on the basis that someone disabled, at sometime, may not be able to manage the stairs into the Choir Gallery.


    I understand that there was a case in a Catholic church in Nottingham along similar lines, that was settled by the Diocese out of court - this has been quoted to me, but I have not been able to find, or been provided with (despite requests), any details on the matter.


    Any thoughts you might have to help and encourage me would be very much appreciated.


    Kind regards, and grateful thanks in anticipation



  23. For Christmas, I was given "Everything Else An organist Should Know" by Robert Leach and Barry Williams. My (non-organist) mother couldn't put it down - it has lots of pearls of wisdom you can apply well away from the organ loft, despite covering topics such as "Clergy Discipline" "Dealing with the congregation" "Choir vs Music Group" "problem choristers - the foghorn, The arguer and Past Sell by date", such as employment law, tax and how to deal with your employer. Fascinating and surprisingly gripping reading. Strongly recommended.


    I couldn't agree more, Colin. An absolute 'must' for anyone, especially organists, involved in church music. The tome manages to combine an informative read with much factual information that is just not easily found elsewhere. Some delightfully irreverant moments as well!


    ISBN: 0955074908



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