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Stephen Cleobury


Guest Barry Oakley - voluntarily dereg

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Guest Barry Oakley

Has anyone else also heard the strong rumour that Stephen Cleobury is the main contender for the St Paul's job? He would undoubtedly be an excellent choice, but given his age I think I would much prefer life in Cambridge.

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Has anyone else also heard the strong rumour that Stephen Cleobury is the main contender for the St Paul's job? He would undoubtedly be an excellent choice, but given his age I think I would much prefer life in Cambridge.

 

I understand that he has been approached twice, in connection with this appointment. However, I do not know whether things have progressed any further.

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Guest Cynic
I understand that he has been approached twice, in connection with this appointment. However, I do not know whether things have progressed any further.

 

 

Over the last two or three months, I have heard (in confidence) from several (well-known) people who have been approached about this job and told the head-hunters exactly where they can put it. Whoever eventually succumbs to present blandishments, they are inheriting a seriously difficult situation as well as the opportunity of a lifetime.

 

The Gloucester appointment turned out to be a clever one, without any of our help*. Let us hope that this one works out well too.

 

*The pre-publicity and/or leaks etc. about St.John's Cambridge were thoroughly inappropriate and badly managed IMHO.

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Has anyone else also heard the strong rumour that Stephen Cleobury is the main contender for the St Paul's job? He would undoubtedly be an excellent choice, but given his age I think I would much prefer life in Cambridge.

 

We here have certainly heard the rumour.

That rumour also had it that the "official" shortlist included one other organist, currently working at a Royal Peculiar, and two singers/choir directors, one currently at a major cathedral outside the UK and the other being the director of an early music vocal ensemble with (allegedly) no experience of directing boys. At least two of those four were said to be no longer on the list.

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Over the last two or three months, I have heard (in confidence) from several (well-known) people who have been approached about this job and told the head-hunters exactly where they can put it. Whoever eventually succumbs to present blandishments, they are inheriting a seriously difficult situation as well as the opportunity of a lifetime.

 

The Gloucester appointment turned out to be a clever one, without any of our help*. Let us hope that this one works out well too.

 

*The pre-publicity and/or leaks etc. about St.John's Cambridge were thoroughly inappropriate and badly managed IMHO.

 

With so many turning down St Paul’s, where is seen as the top place these days?

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Guest Cynic
With so many turning down St Paul’s, where is seen as the top place these days?

 

 

Quite obviously, Winchester College!

Think of it...... a free georgian town house in Kingsgate Street, short terms, long holidays, one main service per week, a choir school (The Pilgrims) paid assistant, organ scholar etc. plus a little light teaching here and there to (mostly) willing students. Don't forget the Full Independent School Teacher's Salary........this would compare very favourably with any cathedral stipend. Not forgetting the fact that Win Coll Chapel enjoys (I fervently hope still) traditional services taken by educated and sincere clergy.

 

In the larger world, I think Oxbridge Colleges have a lot going for them.

 

In cathedral terms, when one is working with decent choir men and a well-established treble line, non-squabbling clergy, a nice free house and an organ that actually works there would have to be a seriously good reason for present incumbents to want to move on. Some are blessed with idyllic surroundings and respect for miles around. About half the cathedral organists I meet are perfectly happy where they are for (mostly) these reasons. Sadly, remuneration in these posts is always pretty small for the (shocking) reason that cathedral chapters see no point in offering huge sums when there are always a decent number of applicants who want to do these jobs for the love/kudos of it.

 

The cathedral organists I know that aren't content are either stuck in lesser posts than they probably deserve or saddled with clergy that cannot tell one portion of their anatomy from another. No surprise there!

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Ah, a singer. Interesting.

 

Anyone who has seen AC in action at The Edington Festival over previous years will have absolutely no doubts whatsoever over his brilliance as a choir trainer and organiser of massed forces. Brilliant!

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Anyone who has seen AC in action at The Edington Festival over previous years will have absolutely no doubts whatsoever over his brilliance as a choir trainer and organiser of massed forces. Brilliant!

 

Agreed - especially given the quality and sheer scope of the music at Edington.

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Why am I getting this vision of circling vultures?

 

Quite. I think this is a most wonderfully intelligent choice. St Paul's has always had a reputation for - how shall we put this? - not being entirely free of difficulty in ensuring a reliable and supportive back row. Carwood commands massive respect among singers, and for that matter all serious musicians I have encountered. His reputation in performing, organising and conducting highly successful events (both one-offs and over a sustained period) from early to contemporary music and everything in between is glowing. I don't know how well he plays, and frankly I couldn't care less - St Paul's is crawling with good players - I cannot imagine a better match of needs and skills.

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I think Andrew Carwood is a very good choice for DOM at St Paul's. Thankfully english cathedral's are starting to see the need for a 'conductor' to conduct the choir and not an organist. It has always seemed odd to me that Organists have by-in-large been appointed as DOMs over the years.

 

In a place like St Paul's you need a DOM who will command the respect of the singers. It would very hard for an organist to achieve this if they dont also have significant conducting experience.

 

Eugene Lavery

Assistant Organist

Auckland Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

New Zealand

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On the Cathedral's website:

 

http://www.stpauls.co.uk/page.aspx?theLang...qfY9J9153Zh4XPd

 

Quite amusing that the advertisement for the post stated criteria such as organist of distinction and an improviser of note. Mr Carwood appears to be neither of these. Not exactly recruitment best practice !

 

Maybe not, but maybe also the D&C should be congratulated on extending their search beyond the immediate confines of the job spec in the hope of finding the best person for the post of DoM. And, as David Coram says above, there is no shortage of talented organists at St Paul's.

 

The main thing, surely, is that there should be one professional in overall executive charge of the music; whether he/she is a singer or player - especially in a large and prestigious choral foundation like St Paul's - doesn't really matter. The main thing is that he/she can do the job and command the respect of colleagues.

 

JS

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If the appointee does not meet the original job spec (and I have no idea whether he does or does not), then I would have thought those who do and have been passed over might have a case against the cathedral if they are so inclined - not that I suppose they are. My very rudimentary understanding of employment law is that one is legally obliged to appoint the person most suited to the job and I would have thought that changing the job requirements in mid-process would leave one potentially open to action. Or is the church immune from this?

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