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  1. Yesterday's magnificent recital at St Paul's Cathedral by Sophie-VĂ©ronique Cauchefer-Choplin was concluded, as one might have expected, with an improvisation on submitted themes. When I read this in the programme I thought - I hope the themes are not trivial ones. But sure enough they were: The Archer's signature tune and Teddy Bears picnic, both of which are quite long as well as being stupid in this context. Naturally astonishing music was spontaneously produced, but how much better would it have been if the themes had had some intrinsic musical value? I think about 50% of the times I've heard improvisation on submitted themes in the UK they have been really silly themes, of no musical value. Reducing the improvisation to an extremely clever circus trick like feat. I'm sure that masters of improvisation such as Tournemire would have regarded this as a mockery of his skill and stormed off. I think those who suggest themes should make their selection from short themes or fragments of themes from the great composers or from church music (e.g. hymn tunes). I wonder what other Message Boarders think?
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