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Of Cyphers And Radio 4


Peter Clark
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I had a cypher yesterday, just before the opening hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel which was to be sung by the Brownies and Rainbows as they processed to the altar with their flags. It was a Great cypher (tenor d for those who care about such details) and so I was confined the Swell and Positive for a while; the cypher corrected iteself so by the time of the responsorial psalm, which I had written especially for th Brownies, all was well. As is my custom, I had previously listened to the morning worship on Radio 4 which this week came from Penarth, just down the road from me, and which was essentially a Wesleyfest. (By the way the Choral Song was taken at about twice the speed I believe it should go; anybody here hear it and agree/disagree?). Anyway, it occurred to me then, as I tried to make Veni Veni Emmanuel sound convincing (the 16' swell basson got used a lot) : what would happen if an organ got a cypher during a live broadcast? We did such a broadcast for the Sunday worship about 10 years ago (when the late Archbishop Ward was on the throne - indeed it was he who preached). With a shudder I thought - what would have happened should a cypher have occurred then? We had no-one on site - ie up in the organ gallery (it was a detached console in those days) who could do a quick fix; I was downstairs conducting (I even had to conduct the spoken bits) and anyway I am pretty useless inside organs (and some would say not much better outside) and an imported organist was at the console.

 

So, does anyone know of cyphers during live broadcasts of this or any other nature?

 

Peter

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By the way the Choral Song was taken at about twice the speed I believe it should go; anybody here hear it and agree/disagree?

 

It was at about the speed I play it (my edition - Tallis to Wesley suggests crotchet = 100) - but I get accused of playing things faster than some - by my Rector at least. Now the fugue is a different matter!

 

AJJ

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Not quite, but when the International Congress of Organists (or whatever) was held in Londonm in ?1957, John Dykes-Bower gave a recital in St Paul's which everyone attended and there was a cypher in the Fugue of the Prelude and Fugue in G major - JSB. It has been immortalised in the recent issue of a CD of this performance by Amphion. Another interesting situation was during a recital by John Birch at Norwich Cathedral when in the middle of the D minor "Fiddle Fugue" the blower burned out.

Martin.

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