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Guest Barry Williams

Composers have to earn a living. They are perfectly entitled to write that which will sell, so that they can pay their bills. No-one has to perform their music. In church we are obliged to listen to it.

 

Equally, we are free to criticise their music. It is almost as public an art as architecture.

 

In matters of competence, when composers set words badly, i.e. with false accents and handle musical devices with obvious incompetence, we are entitled to say so.

 

In terms of words and music, Dr Rutter's words are certainly good by any standard and those who dislike his music tend to dislike the style whilst, accepting the competence of the writing.

 

Mr Kendrick's words are poor poetry by any standards and the music is badly written when judged by ordinary standards. He admits his own lack of skill, stating clearly that he can hardly read music. His work is, of course, entirely acceptable to God and his sincerity can never be in doubt.

 

However, it seems inappropriate to expect a captive audience to listen to settings of indifferent poetry that, as Tony has so rightly pointed out, others could set to music very much more effectively. How would you feel if a surgeon were to operate on you with sincereity but an equivalent lack of training as these composers of 'CCM'?

 

All of this goes nowhere near the next issue which is that the standard of performance of most 'CCM' in parish churches is often abysmally low.

 

Barry Williams

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All of this goes nowhere near the next issue which is that the standard of performance of most 'CCM' in parish churches is often abysmally low.

 

Barry Williams

 

Hi

 

I'm with you on this issue! But then I've also heard some pretty dire erformances of traditional repertoire in churches as well.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I think Walton was only 17 or so when he wrote his Litany, even more of a miniature masterpiece than either the early Rutter hits or Darke's In The Bleak Midwinter in my humble opinion.

 

 

How about Benjamin Britten and his Hymn to the Virgin? I've forgotten exactly how old he was, but he was definitely still as school. Now that is an utterly magical item.

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Guest Barry Williams
Hi

 

I'm with you on this issue! But then I've also heard some pretty dire erformances of traditional repertoire in churches as well.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Sorry, but that is absolutely no excuse for bad so-called 'CCM' performances. Advancing defences of this type for 'CCM' demolishes your own case. Just because one performance is bad is no excuse for another in a different style being bad. It is my experience and, that of many, many others, that the standard of of 'CCM' (a definition I do not accept, but which I quote because of its use on this Board,) is, generally, far lower than that of ordinary (i.e. hymns) church music. Arguing from the particular to the general is invalid and, frankly, borders on the partial.

 

If I were to play the organ for hymns to the same standard as the average 'music group' I would not be invited to play again.

 

Barry Williams

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Five or six posts referring to Rutter have been deleted, and Lee Blick's ability to post to the forum has been suspended for 48 hours so that the moderators can get on with having a good weekend, doing things other than checking on his activity here.

 

Moderator, Mander Organs

 

I guess I logged on just a few minutes too late to see the exciting stuff then! :) Now I'll never know.....!

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Guest Barry Williams
I think probably not - but if one is competent enough to begin with, does one have to?

 

Mendelssohn hardly progressed in style from his early teens to maturity. His early string symphonies are quite as good as the later works.

 

Barry Williams

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I played for a wedding this afternoon where a visiting quire sang three pieces, including two by Rutter. They were pleasant enough: sugary, schmaltzy and appropriate for the occasion.

 

It set me thinking. Does Rutter write in this style to attract the lucrative, American audience or because he can't do any better? I tend towards the former view simply because I think his Requiem is a very reasonable work and the orchestration is nicely done.

 

Of course his early carol stuff is now 'classic' but a forty-year career based on a recurring formula (nice melody with pianoesque accompaniment - a harmony verse - a lower voice verse - an upper voice verse - a final verse with descant) could be interpreted by some as a lack of imagination.

 

Undoubtedly he is hugely successful - especially across The Atlantic - and has no doubt made a comfortable living from this style of music, but I do wonder....

 

Any thoughts?

 

A very rough trawl of the OUP catalogue for John Rutter's sacred music for SATB produces about 50 items; many responses here seem to based on knowledge of a handful of the oft-sung 'favourites'. As I write this, I have his double choir anthem Come down, O Love divine playing on the computer which shows another aspect of his musical language - and hardly 'sugary' or 'schmaltzy'. He is a gifted and successful composer and editor of considerable scholarship whose output, as far as Anglican church music is concerned, fills particular niches well.

 

The "exciting stuff" mentioned by Holz Gedeckt (no relation to Leeblick (sic) Gedeckt, I assume) was a highly inappropriate (arguably libellous?) remark on this public forum about a living composer - serious enough to demand action from the Moderator.

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A very rough trawl of the OUP catalogue for John Rutter's sacred music for SATB produces about 50 items; many responses here seem to based on knowledge of a handful of the oft-sung 'favourites'. As I write this, I have his double choir anthem Come down, O Love divine playing on the computer which shows another aspect of his musical language - and hardly 'sugary' or 'schmaltzy'. He is a gifted and successful composer and editor of considerable scholarship whose output, as far as Anglican church music is concerned, fills particular niches well.

 

The "exciting stuff" mentioned by Holz Gedeckt (no relation to Leeblick (sic) Gedeckt, I assume) was a highly inappropriate (arguably libellous?) remark on this public forum about a living composer - serious enough to demand action from the Moderator.

 

Nope, no relation whatsoever! Perhaps he's a member of the Gedacht family? Otherwise, I wood not know! :P:D

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The "exciting stuff" mentioned by Holz Gedeckt (no relation to Leeblick (sic) Gedeckt, I assume) was a highly inappropriate (arguably libellous?) remark on this public forum about a living composer - serious enough to demand action from the Moderator.

 

 

=======================

 

 

Nah! This is tame compared to the RCO thread!

 

I keep away from Leeds these days.

 

:)

 

MM

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