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Jeremy Jones

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Everything posted by Jeremy Jones

  1. Ronald is a braver man than I for putting his head above the parapet. Cleobury has been at King's for some 24 years now and so many of our finest young organists have passed through his hands as King's Organ Scholars. That is some power base, and one that probably has quite a liking for wet lettuce (well, some people out there like Brussel Sprouts, so why not wet lettuce?). I am pleased to see that Andrew Nethsingha has a number of supporters here. I was at school with Andrew at Clifton College in Bristol, albeit he was a year or two above me, and I spent many an hour up in the organ loft watching him develop as an organist on the Chapels 4M Harrison organ, tackling ever more challenging organ repertoire. It has therefore been one of my life's little pleasures to watch at a distance his subsequent career flourish so spectacularly, first as Organ Scholar at St George's Chapel, Windsor and then St John's, as Assistant at Wells before finally taking up the reins as the country's youngest DOM at Truro and since 2002, Gloucester. Personally, I think Andrew is a little young for the job at St John's, and believe he would be better off staying put at Gloucester for a while yet (Gloucester hosts the 3 Choirs in 2007), providing he can live with its awful organ.
  2. According to GRAMOPHONE David Hill is to step down from his position as Director of Music at St John's College, Cambridge next summer to succeed Stephen Cleobury as Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers. St John's is a major post - any suggestions as to who might be in the running to take over? John Scott perhaps?
  3. I wear my anorak with pride. After all, as Barry says, it is people like me who attend and pay the entrance fee to organ recitals, buy the CDs that help to oil the wheels, and occasionally enjoy annoying the hell out of the professionals by demonstrating my ignorance on forums such as this and posting pie in the sky fantasy specs for Canterbury etc.
  4. A quiet day at the office, and with my fantasy football team in dire straits, it's fantasy spec time here
  5. Back to Canterbury ..... I came across this scheme here that at least echos in part what is proposed for Canterbury.
  6. I'd wager that Worcester's fate will be re-visited upon Gloucester in the not too distant future. As at Worcester, I predict the historic organ case will be retained but much else discarded. Unlike Worcester, however, I will not lament its passing, its spirit having been exorcised in 1971.
  7. OMG, this is just like straight out of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, with John playing the role of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine trying to turn Anakin Skywalker (Adrian) to the dark side. John makes it all sound oh so reasonable and common sensical. Aaaarrrrrggghhhhh!!!!
  8. Mmmmm bit worrying that toasting seems to be more and more acceptable these days. Strange, given the glut of 2nd hand instruments which they can't seem to give away these days.
  9. What seems to be getting lost here is that Canterbury wants to recruit just one organ-builder to provide a new 4M Nave organ and rebuild the existing 3M Choir organ as a 4M with added casework. This is a huge undertaking and there are only a small number of organ-builders with a big enough workforce that could in all probability take on such a project: Harrisons, Manders, Klais, Rieger and Letourneau.
  10. My mother taught me that if you can't say something nice, keep your trap shut! So I have sat on my hands whilst contributors have compared and contrasted Wyverns, Pheonixes, Johanssons, Bradfords, Allens. And then, amidst this land of good but misguided intentions, I came across an oasis in the form of a small, quiet voice that answers to the name of Paul Isom. Taking as inspiration and a bit of artistic licence, Winston Churchill's infamous retort to Bessie Braddock who when she declared, "Winston, you're drunk!", replied "Bessie, you're ugly, and tomorrow morning I shall be sober", a toaster, however good a toaster it may be, will tomorrow still be a toaster. Whereas a pipe organ, despite any intermittent wind problems, will tomorrow and for many more tomorrows still be a pipe organ, long after the toaster has blown a gasket.
  11. David's question is not an easy one to answer. If we are to take the question at face value, then instruments that have been rebuilt, restored etc are ineligible. The criteria must also be that it is an instrument one has either heard or played live. When you think about it, this narrows down the field considerably. For example, the Father Willis organs at Truro and St Dominic's Priory, Belisze Park, London could be included as they are essentially as heard in their original state. The same could not apply to Salisbury, Hereford or Lincoln which have all had tonal alterations. The Harrison at St Mary Redcliffe would also be ruled out as the Swell Organ was destroyed in the Second World War and a new one installed in 1947, together with a second 32ft reed. So where do we go from here? The Frobenius at Queens' College, Oxford is often talked about as being a superlative instrument, but then I've never heard it. Oh dear, I've tied myself in knots here.
  12. Jeremy Jones

    New Cds

    Yes, but what I want to know is when are they going to do one north of the River Thames? It was very charitable of the RAM to venture into such territory, but we have some fabulous lesser known organs north of the river too that deserve to be heard, don't you know, including: St Augustine's, Kilburn (Willis 1871, Harrison 1915) St Dominic's Priory, Belsize Park (Willis 1883) Union Chapel, Islington (Willis 1877) Holy Trinity, Sloane Square (Walker 1891) St Matthew's, Bayswater (Walker 1913) London Oratory (Walker 1954) St Alphage, Burnt Oak (Willis 1857, Shepherd 2002) St Luke's, Chelsea (Compton 1932) St Cuthbert's, Philbeach Gardens, Earl's Court (Hunter 1900) St John the Baptist, Holland Road, Kensington (Gern 1896)
  13. Andrew, The record label GUILD recently issued a recording of Lincoln Cathedral Choir directed by Aric Prentice entitled 'Hail Mary' and very good it is too. With all the caveats about judging an organ or choir through the medium of recording, I have to say I thought the choir sounded in very fine fettle. JJ
  14. Amazing what a difference a typo can make to a sentence. Freudian slip, perhaps?
  15. Well, anecdotal evidence tends to suggest we get a better quality of shagpile here in the effluent south-east to the extent that sometimes I'm tempted to go barefoot. As for the acreage of carpet at HTH, have you tried removing it by stealth using a stanley knife, cutting back a cm or two a week?
  16. Do my eyes deceive me or is that a couple of acres of carpet on the floor of HTH? Tell me it isn't so, Paul, puhlease!
  17. John Scott Whiteley is playing at Canterbury this Saturday. Anyone know what the programme is?
  18. An article by Ruth Gledhill in todays' Times newspaper says Canterbury Cathedral needs £50m to rescue its crumbling infrastructure, including £4m for organ refurbishment. Clearly there must be more organ tucked away up in the triforium than previously thought! Anyway, I checked out the cathedral's shiny new website here where it says that "an instrument of unusual flexibility and size is required to provide thrilling music to accompany services and other events". Confusingly, it states that £4m is needed for organ replacement , as part of the overall conservation bill, but then further down the page it says the Grand Organ is now in need of refurbishment at an estimated cost of £4m. Well, which is it? Replacement or refurbishment? Does anyone know?
  19. In previous years I've shouted at the TV when they've started going round the country showing people standing in parks. Surely the RAH is the star and those in the parks are there because they couldn't get a ticket for the RAH. So do we really want to see shots of people watching us watching them? Gormless! This year, I tried to ignore the last night but got sucked in when flicking channels and happened to catch sight of Viktoria Mullova in something shimmering and gold. I resisted the urge to shout at the screen this time, but had to laugh when, only minutes after Mark Elder had warned about dumbing down, the Beeb showed fireworks going off in a park during Jerusalem. On TV the fireworks were silent and made a lovely backdrop, but I can't help wondering how in the park Jerusalem fared against them? Never mind the music, what fabulous fireworks! Just about sums up the Last Night, really.
  20. I have never heard Notre-Dame de Paris live, although I have visited the magnificent cathedral. But on record, it gave me one of the biggest shocks of my life when I first played the LP of Karajan's Berlin Philharmonic performance of the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony. Cochereau and the Notre-Dame organ were recorded separately and then mixed with the Berlin recording. I was about 10 years old at the time and did not know the Saint-Saens, so got the shock of my life when Cochereau unleashed hell at the beginning of the last movement. Full organ on the instrument as it then was pre-1990/2 rebuild was not a polite sound for sensitive English ears and it sent me running from the room in terror! What a baby I was then.
  21. Jeremy Jones


    The Boellmann Toccata is a wonderfully effective piece, provided it is done properly. What I hate is when organists slam on the brakes for the final chords. It ruins the effect of what should be a one-way ride to hell! In the days when I used to play for a service once a week, I just didn't have a big enough repertoire for the voluntaries afterwards. There are only so many times you can wheel out the CS Lang, popular though it may be. I found the more I improvised the better I got, and using the hymn sung during the service as the basis for the improvisation was effective, but also helpful. I always thought that one of the benefits of being an organist rather than a parishioner was that you don't actually have to pay attention to the pearls of wisdom, or otherwise, that routinely dropped from the pulpit. That so many of you appear to listen, and even let it effect what you play afterwards, really is something to behold!
  22. By all means 'spice' up a programme with unusual repertoire - the same Franck, Dupre, Bach etc does eventually become tiresome, unless played supremely well. Just make sure you don't include music, and by this I particularly mean works by living composers, either because you think it will be 'good' for the audience or on the justification that there is something inherently wrong about a programme wholly comprising works by dead people. You will not impress hard-core new music fans - they have their Kevin Bowyers or Bowers-Broadbents to feed that fix - but what is even worse, you will also irritate the hell out of the audience, some of whom may not come again. Remember, the public is always right, even if they're wrong. Oh, and if you are putting on a series of recitals with a theme or composer, but one of the visiting recitalists is a specialist in a particular part of the repertoire, be flexible. I've never forgotten how when introducing the evening's recitalist - a specialist in the French Romantic school - the resident organist pompously noted that when he first saw the programme (Franck, Vierne, Widor) he immediately telephoned, to say, "Oh, but we must have some Bach"!
  23. OK, its beginning to look like trains and organs are a shared interest. But what about the holy trinity: trains, organs and real ale? MM only had to mention real ale and I started hyperventilating at the mere thought of downing a cool pint of Fullers London Pride.
  24. Well it doesn't help if you get their name wrong, for starters. The 'd' in Sarah Baldock is most certainly not silent! And my money would be on Sarah to TNT her way through that concrete ceiling - she's more than made a dent already at Winchester. Other organists of the female persuasion working within the liturgical framework include: Julie Ainscough - St Mary the Virgin, Ewell, Surrey Claire Alsop - St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol Catherine Ennis - St Lawrence Jewry, City of London Julie Ann Tanner - Leeds Cathedral
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