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Dec.30th Bbc Choral Evensong From New York


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The broadcast is on as I write and I am so brimming over with enthusiasm for the sound John Scott's choir is making that I cannot resist posting this.

No disrespect to Kings Cambridge, but today's choir has such a clarity, freshness, unanimity and care in performance that this is for me an experience of a completely different kind.

 

There are some quite superb choirs amongst our cathedrals, so I wouldn't dream of suggesting that St.Thomas' Fifth Avenue* have now got the finest Anglican Choir in Christendom, but they've certainly got something very special indeed. Reflecting on just why it should be so good - well, unlike many of our establishments they have funds and to spare (!), a lesson in itself. Most vitally, they have John Scott and he has been there long enough to see his chosen recruits come to the top of the Treble department ... what can one say? Superb!

 

 

Our loss is definitely the USofA's gain. I hope they appreciate what they now have.

 

*my correction, following the posting below.

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Paul - it was St Thomas, Fifth Avenue, not St John the Divine - and I'm kicking myself as I've just switched on as it's finishing.

 

I'm a total and utter idiot - of course it was!

It was the choir I thought it was, though?

John Scott's merry men (and boys)?

 

I didn't get that wrong as well did I?

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Listening to their daily webcasts can make one excedingly jealous of what new-yorkers have definitely. They could definitely 'sing-off' against any of our major choirs

They have surely improved since I heard them, about 4 years ago, singing the RVW Mass in G minor. "Brave" was the word that sprang to mind then.

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I'm a total and utter idiot - of course it was!

It was the choir I thought it was, though?

John Scott's merry men (and boys)?

 

I didn't get that wrong as well did I?

 

You were correct in every respect except the name, Paul.

 

I find St Thomas's a fascinating institution. Very high quality singing, an organ (and an acoustic) to die for, almost more English than any English church, and bells and smells to boot. Were I to find myself unaccountably in New York this is the one place I would be seeking out.

 

Am I not right in thinking I have seen pictures of a choir of about 40 men and boys processing in during Noble's time there?

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I spent the autumn of '04 in NY and went to St Thos most Sunday afternoons for Evensong and organ recital. John Scott had been there for about a month before I arrived, and other members of the (large) congregations frequently commented on how things had improved since he took over. I missed the broadcast, but I should imagine that his then probationers, presumably now fairly senior choristors, who have known no other, are pretty special.

 

My only other memory is that the 'requested amount' to be contributed by regular members of the congregation to support all this was eye watering (several hundred dollars) by UK standards - which goes to show - again - that what people value they pay for and what they pay for they get.

 

Off topic, but the other big NY music culture shock was introducing myself to the Director of the New York University Roman Catholic Chaplaincy Choir as a potential volunteer singer and being auditioned. Oxford Uni RCC wasn't like that...

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I heard some of the broadcast while driving, and I must say the choir sounded excellent; very clear, confident and fresh. I wouldn't bother with the BBC recorded webcast though. I don't know if it's me or the software they insist on using, but every time I've tried it the sound quality is worse than an old portable cassette recorder with flat batteries!

 

Regards to all

 

John

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You might want to give the BBC another try.

 

I listened to the King's College L&C and the St Thomas's Evensong via Listen Again and thought the audio quality greatly improved since the last time I tried it, the only minor niggle being the intermittent rumble at St Thomas's which I assume was generated by passing subway trains and, thus, couldn't be helped.

 

Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year to you all

 

J

 

 

I heard some of the broadcast while driving, and I must say the choir sounded excellent; very clear, confident and fresh. I wouldn't bother with the BBC recorded webcast though. I don't know if it's me or the software they insist on using, but every time I've tried it the sound quality is worse than an old portable cassette recorder with flat batteries!

 

Regards to all

 

John

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You might want to give the BBC another try.

 

I listened to the King's College L&C and the St Thomas's Evensong via Listen Again and thought the audio quality greatly improved since the last time I tried it, the only minor niggle being the intermittent rumble at St Thomas's which I assume was generated by passing subway trains and, thus, couldn't be helped.

 

Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year to you all

 

J

 

Thanks for the tip. I've just listened to the broadcast on the BBC replay service - the sound is indeed far better than it was, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well done BBC! Shame about the introit though - it was 'orrible!

 

My regards, and a very happy, musical and peaceful New Year to you all

 

John

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At the end of the broadcast the BBC said it was recorded earlier this year. There are more examples of this superb choir on the St. Thomas church web site http://www.saintthomaschurch.org/Stream.html

 

Thank you for this link. At the very bottom there is also a series of ten Buxtehude recitals by John Scott on their Taylor & Boody gallery organ, hand- or rather foot-winded, no less. The instrument and the performance is refreshingly light and mild; What a pleasant way to conclude the year!

 

Happy Near Year to everyone.

 

Justin (first post, and about time too)

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Thank you for this link. At the very bottom there is also a series of ten Buxtehude recitals by John Scott on their Taylor & Boody gallery organ, hand- or rather foot-winded, no less. The instrument and the performance is refreshingly light and mild; What a pleasant way to conclude the year!

 

Happy Near Year to everyone.

 

Justin (first post, and about time too)

 

 

 

I listen to the broadcast from St Thomas Church Fifth Ave New York. I can only say how lucky they are to have someone like John Scot there. The boy trebles were excellent and Basses sounded very english with no tiring of voices at any time. Even in the large scale work of Taverner though I found this a bit tedious at times. My real delight was the singing of the Psalms done with such clarity and delight it bought tears to my eyes at time. And what a organ ! That is some beast they have there with guts in it. My God u could hear those 32's roaring around the building creating a spatial effect everywhere while the high mixtures shimmer on top of all that. Yes please lets have more from this noble Church and edifice.

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Yes, it was a very good and most enjoyable broadcast. I didn't think the Tavener a particularly good piece, despite some very original sounds, but the performance was more than adequate. I must say, though, that I have heard tighter ensemble in Tudor music from English choirs - even in the same Tallis and Sheppard pieces (and what a glorious tapestry of sound that Sheppard is!) However, any "looseness" might well be due to the size of choir and/or the geography of the building - the space between the choir stalls looks to be on the wide side - so who am I to judge? The psalm singing was indeed splendid. Didn't much like the pointing though (St Paul's psalter?)

 

The organ you can keep. Very American to be sure and vive la différence and all that, but it was a bit too brash for me. The playing was magnificent though - the Edmundson at the end was quite breathtaking.

 

Thank you for this link. At the very bottom there is also a series of ten Buxtehude recitals by John Scott on their Taylor & Boody gallery organ, hand- or rather foot-winded, no less. The instrument and the performance is refreshingly light and mild; What a pleasant way to conclude the year

Yes, the Buxtehude recitals are quite a treasure trove!

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The broadcast is on as I write and I am so brimming over with enthusiasm for the sound John Scott's choir is making that I cannot resist posting this.

No disrespect to Kings Cambridge, but today's choir has such a clarity, freshness, unanimity and care in performance that this is for me an experience of a completely different kind.

 

There are some quite superb choirs amongst our cathedrals......

 

 

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

 

 

St.Thomas, NY have had a wonderful tradition over a very long period of time. John Scott inherited an already good choir, under the very capable direction of Gerry Hancock and his wife: Gerry Hancock being an ex-Kings' organ-scholar, I believe, when Sir David Wilcocks was at the helm.

 

We may not hear a lot about them, but there are some excellent church and cathedral choirs all across America.

 

MM

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

Gerre Hancock being an ex-Kings' organ-scholar, I believe, when Sir David Willcocks was at the helm.

The Canadian (Professor) Hugh McLean - who celebrated his 78th birthday yesterday - was a King's organ scholar, but he served under Boris Ord. David Willcocks was Fellow and Organist at King's from 1957-73.

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