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Everything posted by davidh

  1. This could be understood to mean "the only thing that he could do was unlock the gate" or "only he could unlock the gate". Which meaning would occur most naturally to a child?
  2. I'm sorry if I have diverted this thread into theology rather than music, and I know and respect the fact that there are many different points of view on the subject, but the phrase does raise the questions, "Who demanded the price?" and "To whom was the price paid?" Some early theologians said that the price was paid to the devil - one of the theories of the atonement which few would accept today.
  3. John Wesley wrote, “Many Gentlemen have done my brother and me (though without naming us) the honour to reprint many of our hymns. Now they are perfectly welcome to do so, provided they print them just as they are. But I desire that they would not attempt to mend them – for they really are not able. None of them is able to mend either the sense or the verse. Therefore I must beg the one of these two favours: either to let them stand just as they are, to take them for better for worse; or to add the true reading in the margin, or at the bottom of the page; that we may no longer be accountable either for the nonsense or doggerel of other men.” In 1739 Charles Wesley published a hymn which began Hark! how all the welkin rings, Glory to the King of Kings It was perhaps because not many people knew what a “welkin” was, or perhaps because the tune wasn’t very inspiring, that it didn’t achieve great popularity. Martin Madan and George Whitfield published a new version of it in 1767, with the first lines changed to Hark! the Herald Angels sing Glory to the new-born King ! Other music was tried, including Handel’s See the Conqu’ring hero comes, and it is still sung to that tune in Ireland. In 1840 Felix Mendelssohn wrote the music for a secular cantata to celebrate Gutenberg, the inventor of printing. Festgesang's second chorus, "Vaterland, in deinem Gauen", was adapted in 1855 by William Hayman Cummings. Mendelssohn said of the song that it could be used with many different choruses but that it should not be used for sacred music. So, with amended words and a forbidden tune it has become one of the most popular Christmas carols.
  4. There is a green hill far away Without a city wall ... So why does a hill need a city wall round it? To keep out the appalling theology which follows those lines? ---------------------------------------- God rest ye, merry gentlemen ... Sorry, try again as it is NOT usually sung God rest ye merry, gentlemen ... ----------------------------------------- .......... My chains fell off ..... Known to Methodists as "the cyclist's hymn", it's not at all bad, but it begins And can it be that I should gain ... My infant school teacher would have explained to Charles Wesley that you can't begin a sentence with the word "And". She wouldn't have approved of "And did those feet ..." either. The Methodists published a small booklet of temperance hymns, but at least these were once in great demand by Cambridge students to sing as drinking songs. We no longer have one of Wesley's finest which begins O blessed appearance of death No pageant on earth is as fair Nothing else on earth Can with a dead body compare ... an anticipation of the popular song of 1933, "Ain't it grand to be blooming well dead... " ----------------------- Only a communist infiltrator could have set God bless our native land ... to the tune "Moscow". ----------------------- The first hymn that I learned was:- Gentle Jesus, meek and mild Look upon a little child, Pity my simplicity ... Now that was patronising, but it went on Fain I would to Thee be brought but we never found out what this "fain" was that we were supposed to be bringing.
  5. In the case of some historic instruments this would be a disaster, as we would lose information about the playing styles of the time that the console was built, and appropriate fingerings for compositions intended for that instrument. For a discussion of experiments with key sizes, measurements of players' hands, and changing dimensions through history, see:- http://www.steinbuhler.com/html/our_research.html and for more detail:- http://appca.com.au/proceedings/2009/part_...Boyle_Robin.pdf
  6. This is a hazard on many early organs on the continent. It's a useful reminder that the organists of the time never put fingers between the raised keys. Another reason for trying to learn appropriate fingering for early music!
  7. The "standard" typewriter keyboard, which the modern computer keyboard copies, was designed to slow the typist down, as early typewriter mechanisms were prone to the type bars jamming. Several far better layouts have been devised since, but none of them has been able to overthrow the de facto standard. When piano and organ keyboards were standardised, was there any rational, any systematic evaluation, or did it just happen? Was this determined by the kinds of music that people chose to play then, or considerations such as the lightness or heaviness of touch of the instruments of the time? Smaller key widths would certainly make many stretches easier, and would there be any disadvantage to players other than getting used to something different? The works of a number of composers, such as Francois Couperin suggest that either they had very large hands or they used narrow keyboards.
  8. At http://www.stpaulskingsville.org/organist.htm you will find the account of the "Stoning of the Organist" where there is a reference to "the Assyrian trumpet stop and the stop of the ram's horn and the stop that soundeth like the sawing of stone."
  9. Posting intended for a different slot has been removed. Sorry. David
  10. My thanks to Vox Humana (one of my favourite stops) for that information. No need for a scan - that would simply have saved time if the entry had been very lengthy. David
  11. Nathaniel Cooke was born in Bosham, West Sussex, and until his death in about 1811 he was the organist of the Brighton Parish Church, St Nicholas in Dyke Road. He published "A collection of Psalms & Hymns, sung at the Parish Church, Brighthelmstone, to which are added several canons and a Te Deum Laudamus. Composed, Selected and Arranged for the Organ or Pianoforte." The first edition had 73 hymn tunes, most of them his own compositions, with names taken from Sussex towns and villages, and the two following editions had many other tunes added. Most are tunes with organ accompaniment, although some are in four part harmony. The ones that I have played through are pleasant enough, although none are now in common use. Their main disadvantage is that they are not easy for congregations to learn; for example, without practise it is difficult to know whether the next syllable goes with the next single note or a melisma of several notes. I have heard that there was an article about him in the first edition of Groves Dictionary of Music. If anyone has access to a copy and could scan it for me I would be very grateful. (Send me a PM to get my email address.) David
  12. The vast majority of organs are now tuned in Equal Temperament. It’s easy to assume that Equal Temperament can cope reasonably well with music from all periods, and that therefore older temperaments are not really necessary. We no longer use Mean Tone because most compositions written since about 1700 sound awful on a mean tone instrument. It is harder to recognise that music written for mean tone sounds awful on an instrument in equal temperament. It is harder to recognise because (a) mean tone is unfamiliar, and therefore, at first it sounds “wrong”, ( there are few instruments on which we can hear it, © we have grown accustomed to impurities in tuning, especially the major thirds, which would have absolutely unacceptable to listeners 300 or 400 years ago, (d) we not longer recognise what mixtures with pure thirds intervals can do, and (e) we no longer expect the expressive advantages of slightly unequal intervals between semitones and chords of different “tension”. I have been fortunate enough to hear and (briefly) play the organ in the Pieterskerk in Leiden, with some pipes dating back to 1446. After a number of modernisations it has been returned (as far as possible) to the state in which it was left in 1643 by van Hagerbeer. Since then I have listened to recordings of music played on that instrument, and compared it with the same pieces on ET organs. It’s not easy to describe the effects of different tunings, but to my ears, those in ET were in shades of grey, while those in MT were brightly, sometimes gaudily, coloured. For some examples, try :- http://mypipeorganhobby.blogspot.com/2009/...-hagerbeer.html and especially the Sweelinck Toccata in A. Now the laws of physics prescribe that we can have almost anything that we want from a temperament, but every choice which maximises some particular advantages will bring with it some matching disadvantages. Isn’t it time to recognise that no organ can have all of the virtues, nor be ideal for all periods and styles of music. When will we have frequent opportunities to hear early music on instruments which have not been compromised by the need or the desire to play too large a repertoire? (My comments don't apply only to very early instruments, but just as much to those in the recent thread about Victorian instruments.
  13. You are probably thinking of Marc Vogel www.vogel-scheer.de
  14. The late Charles MacDonald gave a series of lunch-time recitals in the Meeting House at the University of Sussex. He owned a music shop, and at the beginning of a recital he would hand out copies of some of the scores, with the words, "So that you can check that I'm playing the right notes." He is much missed.
  15. Sorry, on further investigation, the Inventionen are not among the nearly 100 of his works listed on that site. The orginal publisher was Ars Nova in Goes, The Netherlands. Perhaps one of the many Dutch second-hand music sites? David
  16. Try http://www.di-arezzo.co.uk/scores-of-Albert+de+Klerk.html
  17. Please forgive my lack of understanding, but on the pedal there are three transmissions to the Great. Echobass 16' Violoncello 8' Bourdon 8' From what stops on the Great do they come. Echobass 16' from Bourdon 16' ? Violoncello 8' from Viola da Gamba 8' ? Bourdon 8' from Bourdon 8' ? That seems to imply that the Echobass and the Bourdon use the same rank, so why the change in name? Likewise the Violoncello from the Viola da Gamba seem to use the same rank, but have different names (which would horrify any player of baroque string music). Perhaps there is a more rational explanation somewhere. David
  18. My, my! What a long way this thread has gone from the opening topic. Anyone who has joined the tail end of this discussion might look again at my first post. As a more general point, I think that it would be a good idea when a thread has deviated far from the declared topic, to start a new thread, e.g. "Harrison Open Diapason (was Cavaille-Coll). David
  19. Good news, but wouldn't it be wonderful to hear a Spanish organist playing Spanish organ music, if only there was an instrument in the UK really suitable for it.
  20. Fugue State Films. Others who disagree might like to suggest some other candidates. Whether the greatest or not, if it is half as good as their previous projects, it should be well worth seeing. David
  21. Recently on this site and elsewhere there have been recommendations for the videos produced by Fugue State Films, including those on Bach's Art of Fugue, "The Elusive English Organ", "Virtuoso! Music for Organ" and "The Historic Organs of the Province of Groningen". There is also a DVD on "English Organ Improvisation" in production. Their latest project is on the organs of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. The Project To mark the 200th anniversary of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll’s birth, and the 150th anniversary of his organ at St Sulpice, Paris, in 2012, Fugue State Films plans to produce a DVD / CD boxed set containing the first ever full-length documentary about his life and work. Aristide Cavaillé-Coll was the greatest organ builder of the 19th century and also probably the most famous of all organ builders. Creator of such instruments as those in St Sulpice, Paris, St Ouen, Rouen, he devised a new way of building organs that led directly to the development of the French Romantic school of organ composition. Franck, Widor, Vierne and all their contemporaries and followers were directly inspired by the sounds and possibilities of Cavaillé-Coll’s organs. They composed pieces that pushed the boundaries of composition for the instrument and are now at the very heart of the organ repertoire. This music is indivisible from the organs of Cavaillé-Coll. Each is made for the other. The documentary will be accompanied by a plethora of recordings and filmed performances of magnificent works by Franck, Saint-Saëns, Guilmant, Boëllmann, Widor and Vierne on a superb selection of Cavaillé-Coll’s best organs – expect to see St Sulpice, St Ouen, St Sernin, and more. The performances will be given by the very best players – expect to see famous French titulaires as well as leading English organist Gerard Brooks. As well, a fully illustrated booklet will include photos, details and specifications of all the organs and essays about the composers and music. See http://www.fuguestatefilms.co.uk/cavaille-coll/default.html For as little as £40 you can place an advance order (including P&P) which will go up to £50 + P&P when they are released. The whole project will cost £80,000, half of which still has to be raised. In addition to supporting them with advance orders, there are opportunities at prices from £100 up to £10,000 to become more involved, from being included in the list of credits on the DVD, through to choosing the music for a track, visiting the locations during filming and taking a share of the profits. They have some of my money already! David Hitchin
  22. The same applies to the comparison of temperaments. It is easy enough to retune a harpsichord to different temperaments, and to play the same music repeatedly to hear how it works. The same process on a pipe organ would be unthinkable. You can obtain from www.frogmusic.com a CD of the music of J S Bach, "The Temperamental Mr Bach" in which the same midi files are played through the same e********* o**** in different temperaments. Apparently a nice experiment in which all of the variables are controlled! However, a live performer playing in some temperaments will be aware that some intervals are very rough, and will instinctively change the emphasis on some of those notes, giving them more or less stress according to whether the roughness is regarded as an expressive device to be emphasised, or a defect to be minimised. Once again, the perfect controlled trial seems logical impossible.
  23. Congratulations to the author on a useful piece of work. Of course it is open to some criticisms, but it would probably be impossible to create a perfect research design for this project, and it would be very difficult or expensive to make any large improvements. As it is, it seems to throw some useful light on an area which should interest us all. Of course, as Porthead, says, it is limited to musicians who are not organ enthusiasts. That might be an advantage, because the audience in many recitals may consist predominantly of such people. However, just as tastes change with increased exposure to particular instruments or composers, as people gain more experience of listening to organs their preferences might move on from the "easier" sounds, especially those nearer the sounds of other instruments, to other organs whose subtleties are only heard only after some practice and careful listening. It might be interesting to perform a similar study on the acceptability of different style of composition for organ to non-enthusiasts. Many performers like their programmes to include pieces which are easily enjoyed by general audiences, plus the right amount of challenging material to lead them to more advanced parts of the repertoire. How much do we know about what a non-specialist audience can accept?
  24. My attempts to download the pdf of "Come sweet death" fail, with reports that the file is corrupt or of the wrong type for the Adobe Reader.
  25. My thanks to innate for his suggestions, to kropf for assuring me that Brahm's large hands have also created problems for others, and to one person who sent a private message.
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