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Jeremy Jones

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Everything posted by Jeremy Jones

  1. Couldn't agree with you more there, Paul. In my opinion, the decision to record the series with a mixed adult choir was one of the great missed opportunities in recent years. Just think what we could have had if they (Priory) had made the recordings with some of our finest cathedral choirs? This is not to cast aspersions on the Collegiate Singers, who are a fine choir and do a decent job. Of course, the new Beckerath at Marlborough is in many ways an organists' paradise, with full length 32ft flue and reed, fiery chorus reeds, translucent flutes, a bit of this, a bit of that, plus the old Tuba and some of the F&A pipework being retained. Stylistically, however, it leaves a lot to be desired (dog's breakfast, anyone?). Give me the integrity and honesty of the Beckerath organ at Clare College, Cambridge, any day.
  2. I was going to ask what's an avatar when it's at home, but then I realised I really don't want to know. Great to be back on 'board'.
  3. Well now, what with vacancies impending at St Paul's, Worcester, Liverpool Met, St John's Cambridge, and seemingly York, we live in interesting times. The problem, as I see it, is that we had a round of musical chairs only a few years ago when David Hill went up to Cambridge from Winchester and Malcolm Archer to St Paul's. What I'm getting it, really, is whether we have a sufficient abundance of talent available to fill these vacancies without, shall we say, scraping the bottom of the barrel. The danger could be that individuals will be promoted before they are really ready. When you look around, we already have some very young faces already in situ in their first top jobs in cathedrals across the country, e.g. Aric Prentice (Lincoln), Andrew Reid (Peterborough), Robert Sharpe (Truro), Simon Nieminski (Edinburgh). In these cases, having heard 3 out of the 4 choirs under their stewardship, I can vouch that these cathedral choirs are in very safe hands. The worry is not so much what will happen at York, St Paul's, St John's - they are such prestigious posts that they will attract the cream of the crop - no, the concern is further down the road as the game of musical chairs plays itself out and who replaces those who move on to the posts in London, Cambridge, York.
  4. Malcolm Archer is a fine man and musician and St Paul's loss is most definitely Winchester College's gain. In between his stints at Bristol and Wells, Malcolm held a similiar post to the Winchester one at Clifton College in Bristol, so his new job will be a known quantity. As for St Paul's, one name to consider is James O'Donnell. He appears to have survived the 'snakes in a sack' politics that comes with the job at the Abbey and, with his superb choir-training skills, would appear to have all the ideal qualifications for the St Paul's post. Is it just me, or are the Organists and Master of the Choristers being appointed these days getting younger and younger?
  5. I only have to hear those opening three notes of BWV565 to break out in a cold sweat, go down on bended knee and plead for mercy. It's quite scary, really. I'm with you on that one, Paul, but also the preceeding obligatory Bach In dulci jubilo. For me, the best way to end the Christmas service, as I think I have previously admitted, is for the final hymn to be immediately followed by Sortie sur Adeste Fideles by Pierre Cochereau, a work I would imagine the King's organ scholars could eat for breakfast!
  6. Q. What's the definition of a gentleman? A. An organist who can play the works of Tournemire, but doesn't. Q. How many cathedral organists does it take to change a light bulb? A. Change? What change?
  7. Put your anorak on and all will be revealed.
  8. Some of these consoles look more like the flight deck for a 747. Noticeable how few entries there are for the UK. We're such a conservative lot, aren't we?
  9. Amen to that! The 32ft reed still doesn't roar like it does 'in the flesh' but it's a good representation of that organs individual sound world.
  10. Bit of a tangent, admittedly, but earlier this week I took delivery of 2 choral CDs, one of Christmas music, the other Advent, both sung by two of our finest cathedral choirs. Without thinking, I played the Christmas CD first. After listening to both, I couldn't help feeling what a downer Advent is. Vox suggests there should be a sense of expectancy, but all I felt was: bread now, jam later.
  11. Earlier this year I purchased Martin Schellenberg's CD on Griffin Records. So that is how I have heard those infamous chamades. If I can find enough readies under the sofa, I'll probably buy the new CD too. Do you know what Martin's doing these days? When I was at Clifton College Preparatory School in 1982-3, he very kindly gave me a tour and demonstration of the J W Walker organ at Bristol Cathedral.
  12. And not a bad website either. As for those infamous chamades - well, as you say, they are bright and brash, but they don't spit or shriek.
  13. Well no shopping trips to Bluewater for you, my son. It's a hoody-free environment, don't you know!
  14. Better be careful, pcnd, or else Nanny (UKGov plc) might slap an ASBO on you!
  15. Why would you want to do that when you could probably write a better one yourself.
  16. I've only heard it on a recording played by Alex Mason at Lichfield. Fabulous!
  17. .... and just about as weak as the thread on sermon occupations for organists, eh eh pcnd?
  18. Sometimes I wonder whether some organists ever stop and consider for a moment the tolerance levels of their audience. Two pieces of evidence support my case for the prosecution: If you take a peek at organrecitals.com you will find that our hallowed cathedrals and abbeys are being as original as ever this Christmas in wheeling out the default Christmas repertoire, i.e. Messiaen's La Nativite du Seigneur. Sitting through the whole of this work is not my idea of fun, and I like organ music! Only Hereford, it would seem, has chosen instead to put on a mixed recital of Advent and Christmas music played by the ever reliable Peter Dyke. If I had to choose one work that really sums up Christmas and the celebration of Christ's birth, it would have to be Pierre Cochereau's Sortie sur Adeste Fideles. A wonderful piece to end a Christmas recital, one that is likely to have the audience walking on air as they file out. Kevin Bowyer's appointment as the University of Glasgow organist was quite a coup for that house of learning. When you couple in Harrisons recent rebuild of the Willis organ in the Memorial Chapel to produce, by all accounts, a fantastic instrument, and they would seem to be onto a winner. The problem is, however, that Bowyer's repertoire comes mainly from the extremist wing of contemporary music A cursory glance at the works he has programmed for the series of recitals in the Chapel proves to be a real turn-off, and you wonder just who, apart from his chums, is expected to come along and sit through this stuff. The only respite from this stuff comes next February when the Organ Scholar, Peter Yardley-Jones, is given a slot, and the people of Glasgow get the chance to hear the organ in a balanced and audience friendly programme featuring works by Bach, Widor, Eben, Howells and Leighton. If organists keep on programming works that are going to frighten the horses, why should we be surprised at the dwindling numbers attending recitals?
  19. You are so kind. It's not that I don't like chamades per se - I like the one's in St John's College, Cambridge, for example - it's just that so many of them sound like spitting cobras and not very musical.
  20. WARNING - POSTING BELOW GOING OFF AT TANGENT - WARNING I have to agree with pcnd, though not just about Bach, although the finest and most memorable performance of the Passacaglia in C minor I have ever heard was given by Peter Hurford on the Harrison at Bristol's Colston Hall, where the opening on the Pedals was given on full organ, 32ft Double Ophicleides et al. Darn it, I nearly forgot to go off at a tangent, but what I meant to say was that it does get tiresome when virtually every new recording of the Vierne Symphonies, for example, it seems obligatory to record them on a Cavaille-Coll, and preferably St Ouen. Vierne travels well, and I often find myself taking down from the shelves Martin Jean's recording of le six recorded on the Skinner organ at Newberry Memorial Hall, Yale. Pure pleasure on a spinning disc, and without any shrieking mixtures and chamades (sorry pcnd) Organ music by British composers, unfortunately, tend to fail pcnd's test in that it doesn't tend to travel well. I have heard Elgar and Whitlock performed on Klais and Rieger organs in Germany, and it just doesn't convince. Not great music, perhaps?
  21. Jeremy Jones

    New Cds

    Darn it, the man's stolen my thunder! Whoever was the balance engineer at the RFH, take a bow, for the organ actually sounds like a Harrison organ of its time rather than its usual "Darling, it's boiling!!!" incarnation, when you want to hide behind the sofa, quietly wailing: "Mommy, make it go away!"
  22. It's a monster! Presumably, given the size of the chapel, a veritable smorgasbord of tone colours was the aim, rather than sheer volume of sound. Even so, full organ with three 32ft stops on the instrument and a full battery of Trombas on the Great, must have been quite a foundation shaking experience. The only mention of it I could find on Google concerned the Swell 4ft flute which went to St George's Cathedral, Cape Town: "Yet another interesting addition took place in 1975 when the swell 4 flute was bought from Trinity College, Cambridge, when the Harrison and Harrison organ was replaced by the present Metzler. Strangely enough, the 1909 Cape Town Hill organ lacked such a stop on the swell and, as the Trinity organ contained much original Hill pipework (it had been rebuilt by Harrisons), the flute blends perfectly with its fellows. It also adds to the distinguished history of the Cape Town instrument as it was a stop regularly used by Stanford, Alan Gray, Vaughan Williams, and no doubt by Saint-Saƫns when he gave a memorable organ recital in the Trinity College Chapel on the occasion of his visit to Cambridge to receive an honorary D.Mus. in 1893."
  23. If true, I do hope it's Songs of Praise, or the Aled Jones Experience, as I tend to call it. I find SoP infuriating because they so often resort to choirs and soloists performing in daft locations miming to a pre-recorded version, and do other daft things like splitting the men and women in the congregation. It's all done in such a false way that I get angry and start shouting at the screen. So, if for no other reason than to avoid going nuclear each week and raising my blood pressure to meltdown levels, I tend to avoid it. Roll on Choral Evensong on Sunday afternoons to provide a soothing balm for troubled soles.
  24. Some interesting points here. Surely the point about broadcasting Choral Evensong on Radio 3 is not to serve the likes of most people who post on this forum, i.e. organists. The majority of people who might be interested in listening in, such as myself, are at 4.00 pm on a Wednesday afternoon either at work or on their way home by bus or train. Equally, most people don't have the technology to play back or whatever it is you call it programmes already broadcast. So, dare one say it, the proposal or fait accompi by Radio 3 to move Choral Evensong to a Sunday afternoon is to be welcomed. Of course, organists who at 4.00 pm on a Wednesday afternoon have their feet up in front of the fire, having already enjoyed their post-lunch siesta, will bleat like hell now that they will no longer be able to hear Stanford in C or B flat but instead are treated to the treacly tones of Brian K. Incidentally, on the recorded vs live debate, this week's Choral Evensong broadcast is a recording from Tenbury Wells. Sign of things to come, perhaps?
  25. It was some 20 years ago, but I seem to recall the ascent to the Choir console in Liverpool Cathedral is via a set of wide stone steps, passing en-route some huge pedal pipes. At Bristol you enter via a back door in the north aisle and up a wooden staircase inside the instrument to the console. Not much room, if memory serves. St Albans and Westminster Abbey organ lofts are both positively palatial, with room for an orchestra or choir.
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