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Stephen Bicknell Is No More With Us

Pierre Lauwers

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Guest Barry Williams

Stephen's death deprives the organ world of that rare combination - an adviser who was also a qualified organ builder. His artistic skill with casework was considerable and promised much for the future. HIs pragmatic approach to church that had little money was rare and always sensible.


If there is any news of a funeral or memorial service, could it be posted here for us to know please?



Barry Williams

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It seems to be overstating the obvious to agree with Pierre.


Fortunately, Stephen built his own memorials. Not just the organs, but the literature - in print and and on the Web.


I have described 'The history of the English organ' as one of the best books in the English language, not just for its thorough factual content, but for style... Members of the board won't need me to point out that an absorbing hour can be had, just by going to piporg-l and searching the archives for 'bicknell'. Or, hilariously, re-visiting the Essays.



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I have described 'The history of the English organ' as one of the best books in the English language...........






I'm not quite certain what a literary league-table would reveal, but I was always enormously impressed by Stephen's use of the English language and the elegance of his prose, which elevated the writing to the status of high-art.


As someone who writes quite a lot, (and not really about organ-matters for the most part), I know just how self-critical and perfectionist one needs to be to get the polished result: changing a word here or a word there, re-casting a sentence in order to get that elegant prosaic flow and sometimes just starting again from top-left when something seems to go badly.


Stephen had that patience and artistry, and it may well be his most lasting memorial.


Although I never met Stephen Bicknell, we corresponded from time to time, and even locked horns on one particular forum; the whole thing getting a little out of hand and rather personal. Naturally, he was absolutely right, and I was absolutely wrong!

What impressed me was the speed at which his private regrets winged their way to me, and his geneorosity in sending me a signed copy of his book.


I shall always treasure that, and like so many others, I will continue to derive as much pleasure from the literary quality as I do from the content.




PS: The last person to impress me similarly, was the late Sir Thomas Armstrong. What a magnificent writer he was!

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Guest Geoff McMahon

Message from Stephen Bicknell's family:


"The late Stephen Bicknell's close friends and family are most grateful for the many kind expressions of sympathy they are receiving, and have asked for it to be made known that Stephen's funeral, expected to be in the first week of September, will be a very quiet private service, but that in due course a memorial service will be arranged and announced through this and similar channels."

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I note that on Diapason-l, someone wrote that Stephen was found dead at home and had been suffering depression. No more was said, but that raises certain implications, one must assume.


I knew that Stephen was gay, but I did not know that he was HIV+


It makes the whole thing terribly sad, and in many ways very difficult to understand. He had so many admirers (myself included), and many to whom he could have turned when need arose, without fear of prejudice or judgement.



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No matter who he was, and how, this is not our matter;he was a giant,

he has given us quite much, and still had lots to give.

Whenever you research and write about things

that are completely overseen in your time, forgetted

and not understand, there is something like a "drift"

between yourself and the others, and you feel quite

alone, no matter do you have lots of friends or not.



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