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Ronald Shillingford

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Everything posted by Ronald Shillingford

  1. Enjoyed the service from the Abbey for HMS the Queen. However, could not help but have a chuckle over the zealous congregation in singing Ralph Vaughan Williams arrangement of all people that earth do dwell. Most of them came in on the second part of the introduction given by the organist which was unfortunate.
  2. Have just found out from the Church's website that the recital that was to be given by olivier latry on the restored Walker organ has been cancelled and has been put back till October 2011. They say the Organ is not ready and needs further work . I suppose it's makes sense to run the Organ in for a few months to alleviate any teething problems. Neverless it is a disappointment.
  3. On the subject of whether the recitalist speaks or not will depend on the audience and venue. For example Organs recitals held at the Westminster Abbey & St Paul's I have never seen a recitalist talk before the recital. I also do find it a little disconcerting when some recitalists come across as patronising and lecture the audience on the pieces they are about to play or will play if like the American said just got on with it. If programme notes are given I don't really see the point in wasting your time giving a lecture on the history of the composer and the background to the piece. Also, U are not a stand up comedian. So it's not necessary to add humour in order to persuade your audience it's gonna be the recital of the century they are attending. The audience will make it's own mind up if the recital was sucessful or not. Also, know your audience. Don't assume there is not other Organist's or possibly lecturers listening to what u have to say or indeed play.
  4. I agree with everything u have commented on SL. Anyone who has ever watched songs of praise will observed that it's always Paul leddington-Wright who conducts and either the Organist of that Church or a visiting one plays. I wrote a similar letter to the BBC songs of praise programme to ask why they felt the need to use large scale orchestral arrangements in the hymns ? I was taken back by their response as they said it was they had a lot of listeners who did not attend Church and the arrangements are meant to make the whole songs of praise experience interesting. What utter rubbish ! What is wrong with a organist leading a full strong congregation in a full bloodied hymn such as what was done at Arundel ? In any case the arrangements are incredibly fussy and in some cases we don't even here the melody clearly because the accompaniment or arrangement is over the top. Sl also mentioons the amount of hours and time that has to go into a broadcast. I once went along to a BBC radio broadcast to come from the Birmingham oratory on Newman and included some of his hymns in addition to excerpts from the Dream of Gerontius Elgar. Stephen Cleobury was Conducting the BBC Singers whilst the congregation were to sing chosen hymns. I can tell u it was frustrating been asked to sing the hymns over and over again. They either wasn't happy that they were sung fast enough or the congregation didn't know them ! And this was all down to the production team.
  5. I enjoyed the broadcast from Arundel R.C cathedral on January 16th 2011. It was good to hear just the organ leading the hymns rather then all those fussy orchestral arrangements we seem to get. However, I did have one minor quibble and that was everything was incredibly too high for the congregation and choir to sing. Arundel unfortunately has a fine Hill organ that was restored recently by David Wells 2006. Except the Organ like Lichfield and Peterborough is tuned sharp. Why on earth could the hymns have not been transposed down a semitone ? It would of been more comfortable and less of a strain on the congregation and Cathedral Choir who were struggling at times to get the high notes !
  6. Playing from memory is something only very gifted musicians could do. I am able to play some of the Mendelsohn Organ Sonats from memory and a few pieces by Widor. Everything else would require the score if not only to trust my fingering footing and registration changes. I heard Darius Battiwalla this week at Birmingham Townhall and what a first rate player he is too. He played all his programme from memory which consisted of the introduction passagalia & fuge by Healey Wilan. Most organist's would run a mile when they see the score with all those flats in it lol he also played the Clair de lune naiades and Toccata by Vierne from memory too. I was just taken back by his sheer consumate skill including organ management and direction of knowing his score like it was programmed into him. A uttterly convincing performance and fine player.
  7. In the final encore Pomp & cirumstance no.4 the organ didn't go out of tune. Thomas had been using the sequencer for most of his Recital this piston can be dangerous as depending on which order the stops were set to come on u can go back to a PP setting which explains why the organ might of sounded out of tune on the closing chords. Fortunately Thomas press another piston to revert to the full organ so it didn't really spoil the encore that much. Even concert organists like Simon Preston have got themselves into a awkward moment lol.
  8. I attended both the evensong and Recital of this weekend. The organ sounded magnificent at both events. I will give Thomas Trotter praise as he took the time and trouble to demonstrate the various divisions of the Organ throughout his recital in a light hearted approach. If I I do have one quirky reservation it would be u really need to go right into the Quire to hear the Organ. When I attended the recital I had a seat nr the crossing opp the transept Organ and I found the Organ is rather subtle . I can see why the Cathedral really needs three organs. The real test will be whether the Nicholson Transpet Organ will play in time with the Tickell organ without a undue delay.
  9. Simon Preston was always the greatest Organist i ever heard play when I first heard him at the Abbey in the 80's. It's hard to believe his reached 70 lol long may you continue to inspired us with your Organ playing.
  10. Having now heard the recent BBC Broadcast of Choral Evensong from here a few days ago I am delighted to hear the new Kenneth Tickell organ. His firm has done a good job considering they don't normally build Organs with electric Action as proposed to a direct mechanical action. Tonally it develops well in this rather dull acoustic. The full Swell was a revelation and the Mixtures I am glad to say are not too harsh and shout at u lol. The Tuba as well is very sucessfull . All in all it's quite a gutsy sound which is what I like to hear. The only thing thats misssing unfortunately is the Double 32's from the Transept Organ. So let's hope it won't be too long before this up and running. Well done to u Adrian for giving so much of your time to highlight the progress of the Organs on here and to your vision of what was long needed here.
  11. There is a God up there lol The current instrument was always very poor and a hotchpotch of pipe work from different periods. The organ Case and console was not pleasing to look at. The Nicholson will be a major improvement to the musical life of this Cathedral.
  12. I was in Worcester over the weekend and decided to call in and my friend Keith hearnshaw was playing the Rodgers Organ for evensong. Have to say the Rodgers certainly packs some punch and filled the Nave with sound very well. Now to the new Kenneth Tickell Organs. Can't really comment yet as I haven't heard the instrument but the cases look magnificent and almost reminds me of another Westminster Abbey although the design is not quite the same. As I under stand the 32's are not available until the building of the Transpet Organ. Nobody has explain why this case is being sited on the other side of the nave. other than there are some beautiful carvings behind the Transpet Case and the Dean & Chapter want to exposed them again. This seems rather silly to me. I don't really see how this is logical. In addtion to this, removing this case is a large undertaking how on earth do they intend to remove some of Hope Jones old diaphones buried in the case and thus silent for many years ? And I gather there is talk of another Organ at the West End to be built at some stage. Or is this suppose to be a Nave division similar to what Canterbury installed some years ago ?
  13. At a recent meeting in my local Birmingham organist's Association our president gave an address having just been elected. And one of the things that came back to me while he was talking was the notion that live music is cheap in Churches. He is right of course this couldn't be further from the truth when we as Organist's see how badly Congregations behave in Church. I had to bite my tongue Easter Sunday morning having just played for a high Catholic Mass and wrestled with a larger Congregation then usual. The noise and chatter was appalling. Have u notice it dosen't matter how loudly u play the congregation have this habit of talking even louder over what your playing. But I thought I am not going to give in to this u lot will be begging for mercy lol I happen to be playing the Vierne Final Symphony no. 1 Sure enough I soon got there attention when I drew the super octave couplers with the big reeds and added the big open Wood in the pedal. I could match there endless banter. So seriously why do we bother to spend hours practising and making sure things go smoothly at a Service when we have to put up with these evil congregations ?
  14. Have to say Briggs is at his best in this Recording . Stupendous majesty and awe. The arresting opening bars in the Vierne just sent shivers down my spine. I like the reeds in this Organ they just have the right amount of attack and bite without being too overblown more likely in some of our English instruments. I can't get enough of this CD !
  15. A few weeks ago here in Birmingham I attended a Musical Oratory which is a service of Music, Readings and prayer in regard to Cardinal Newman. The guest Organist for the Evening seated at the four manual Nicholson Organ was Dr Francis Jackson. Francis is a living legend and a testament to us that he has this incredible energy and drive to continue to blow us all away with his Organ Playing. We were not disappointed. Franics began with the Cesar Franck Fantasie in A with it's parasian like writing bold textures and majestic chords. Then we heard the Bach BWV Wedge Prelude followed by one of Francis's own compositions a scherzo. and a work rarely performed by Organist's was the Heathcote Statham Rhapsody on a ground simply stunning and again was well played. Francis concluded his recital with the majestic Fantaisie in Eb Saint Saens and after we had sung the final Hymn the recessional Voluntary was Hubert Parry's Fantasy and Fugue in G Here Francis didn't fail to exceed my expectation of how well he could play the work and left me with shivers down my spine still tingling form the stupendous majesty of the Birmingham Oratory. Francis may u continue to inspire us with your skills. FRANCIS IS TRULY THE DOM OF CHURCH MUSIC .
  16. I cannot see how any of this can be achieved. I have been Organist at a Catholic Church for some years now. I play for the usual Sunday Services and feast days etc 50 wks of the year. I am lucky to get 2 wks off and even then thats not without it's problems. My biggest problem is finding someone else who is competent to play while I am away. I fully endorsed what has been said about Organist's rights of Employment. But won't these Vicars just sacked u s all and used some other style of worship ? I can see it happening already there has been a dumbing down of Church Music for some years now.
  17. Grande piece Symphonique Ian Tracey Simply mind blowing and a rare chance to hear the Widor 4th Symphony recorded in full. Toccata incandescent Joseph Nolan at the Organ of Coventry Cathedral Joseph's playing of The exciting Toccata By Jean Guillou just blew me away. This guy clearly knows how to communicate a performance depsite the fact its difficult music requiring someone with sound Organ Techninque. David Coram at the organ of Romsey Abbey. Only just bought this CD a few days ago but its a real gem. My favourite tracks are the Bach trio on Alein gott The Franck B mnor Chorale and the clever registration used in the Bach Sixth Trio Sonata. A delightful CD demonstrating every facet of the Walker Organ.
  18. U might be interested to know that the Organ is currently being rebuilt by Nicholson. However, is anyone familiar with the history of this Organ ? I have never heard it played myself.
  19. Ok Douglas. Well I am one of the five Organists that play in Birmingham Crematoria. There are three Crems that they owned. The Organists work as Self-employed servants we are paid less then eleven pounds per service each day. The rate we are paid is set by the local authority and not the Funeral Director. I have been working in this role for 10 yrs now and the pay is abysmal. Information as to pay is always from the local authority who determine the rate. We are all professionally trained Organists we have tried to push for the ISM Rate but they were having none of it. According to them they compare the rates around the Country from other Crems local authorities so theres not a lot we can do. We all have contracts of what we are required to do including paying for another Organist if your away from work and etc.
  20. I did notice two Organs in the Church and yes one was a Electronic. But I really couldnt tell it was the Electronic they were using for the Hymn Jerusalem.
  21. Splendid programme and a rather lucid approach about the King of Instruments. I was particularly taken with the charming two Manual organ in St Sepulchre without newgate. Only a small specification but whats on it is amazing including the double Diapason 32 in the pedal. I agree the keys could of done with a bit of a polish and buff up they were not at there best. Pity about the Grumpy Old Man sounding off about not wanting Young People having anything to do with the Organ. With regard to the Hymn Coe Fen I have a recording of Winchester Cathedral Choir singing this Hymn and the descant written by David Hill is out of this world. It certainly sends shivers down my spine !
  22. I beg your pardon ? What exactly are u implying by the tone of that comment ? I do pay tax on the little income that I do earn. And for your information since your remarks were so crass I am single person on low income. In fact I earn so little as a self-employed Musician one does not exactly carry a Organ around , I was due for a tax rebate in the last tax year April 2007. I work part time as a cleaner in the evening on the PAYE just to make ends meet. So I pay my Tax like everyone else as u so put it. Don't u dare imply I am not declaring all my earnings. My books are audited by my Accountant every April. I f u had bothered to read the post it's the Church Auditors that have been sniffing around into my Tax affairs.
  23. I have a dilemma. I have been self-employed as a Classical Musician since 1999 and earn my principal income from Crematoria work and more recently from a Catholic Church I play at on Sundays. The priest pays me a cheque at the end of the year for 2.000 per annum. He knows I pay Tax because his Church Auditor asked to see verification of my Tax and earnings from my Accountant a few months ago. Now the Priest has told me over the last few days before he can pay me for the coming year the Auditor wants a letter from my Accountant to verify I am declaring this income for tax purposes. Why are they picking on the Organist's ? I have nothing to hide as my income is well below the average of my tax allowance. I have heard too that if your paid for any Funerals by Cheque by a Funeral Director they have to tell the inland revenue who they paid the cheque to in case the Organist is not declaring it on the Tax Form. I am worried that I might be investigated by the inland revenue. What do I do ? I am inclined to resigned from my position as I don't see what it has to do with the Church Audiors who conducts my Tax affairs. I don't have any type of contract with the Church as its different in Catholic Churches. The majority of Catholic Churches don't pay the Organist . Some are paid a ex gratia payment for their services. But I don't know of any Catholic Church where the Church Organist would have a contract and have their Tax and National Insurance Contribution deducted from a proper salary for the year. Has any one any further clarification or experience of this ?
  24. I listen to the broadcast from St Thomas Church Fifth Ave New York. I can only say how lucky they are to have someone like John Scot there. The boy trebles were excellent and Basses sounded very english with no tiring of voices at any time. Even in the large scale work of Taverner though I found this a bit tedious at times. My real delight was the singing of the Psalms done with such clarity and delight it bought tears to my eyes at time. And what a organ ! That is some beast they have there with guts in it. My God u could hear those 32's roaring around the building creating a spatial effect everywhere while the high mixtures shimmer on top of all that. Yes please lets have more from this noble Church and edifice.
  25. All this talk about playing in a cold church with frozen fingers makes me so cross. Are these churches so hard up they cannot afford to heat the Church properly. I think theres a case here for health & safety. What happens to the body when u are cold. U shiver and may need the loo more often as well as the fact your skin just turns all blue. I would not put my health at risk I would certainly refuse to play .
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