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Thanks ajsphead and Damian for your welcome replies.With the glimpse thought it may have been The Temple Church. I will have to study Alkan a bit more. Any reasonably easy ones to start of with?

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8 hours ago, Cantoris said:

Thanks ajsphead and Damian for your welcome replies.With the glimpse thought it may have been The Temple Church. I will have to study Alkan a bit more. Any reasonably easy ones to start of with?

 

I've always thought of Alkan as being the writer of some horrendously difficult piano music and little else - sort of the Paganini of the piano!!! - Lots of notes and little music! Having said that I'm sure that I have played a Sonata by him - named, rather like the Beethoven Op. 5 Nr. I Sonata, for Piano and 'cello - with the piano part doing the brunt of the work!

If you look on IMSLP there are quite a few really rather easy little pieces that you might think are worth a second glance! Be warned - some of it is not great music!!!

Most of Alkan's organ music he writes on two staves. But for a period of his life he owned a pedal piano and wrote 12 studies for it as well as the Op. 54 Benedictus. The above were originally written for this pedal piano.

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3 hours ago, S_L said:

I've always thought of Alkan as being the writer of some horrendously difficult piano music

Liszt looked up to him as an executant.

There are quite a number of lovely miniatures which are not especially hard.

Paul

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Kevin Bowyer has done a good edition of the pedal studies.  Some of them, being for pedal piano, went down to bottom A so he's provided transposed versions.  These are sometimes in keys which makes them even harder to play!  The first of the set of 12 isn't too hard - the rest are pretty challenging. 

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In view of the lack of choral music in Cathedrals at the present time I thought that members might enjoy this.

On 28th July the Choral Scholars of Tewkesbury Abbey, along with those of the Cathedrals of Bristol, Worcester, Exeter, Truro, Gloucester, Wells and Hereford raised money for the CCEF (Cathedral Choirs Emergency Fund) by doing a virtual Evensong. The fundraising target is around £1m and, as of 27th July, was at just short of £850k - see https://bristol-cathedral.co.uk/news/scholars-evensong.-tuesday-28-july-6.30pm - and the resulting service, which also features Romain Bornes (Organ Scholar, Bristol Cathedral) and Manuel Piazza (Organ Scholar, Truro Cathedral) is very good indeed.

MUSIC:

Pre-service organ music: Scherzetto from Sonata in C Minor (Percy Whitlock) Cantabile from 3 Pièces pour grand orgue (César Franck)

Introit: Lead me, Lord (Paul Mealor)

Responses: Bernard Rose ATB

Psalm: 23 (C. Hylton Stewart)

First Lesson: Micah 6 vv.1-8

Canticles: Wood in E for Double ATB

Second Lesson: Corinthians 13

Anthem: Let all the World (Roxanna Panufnik)

Hymn: Glory to thee, my God, this night (Tallis’ Canon)

Final Responses: Ferial (Edward Naylor)

Voluntary: Prelude and Fugue in B Major (Marcel Dupré)

CAST:

Altos: Ella Venn, Jessie Woodhouse, Alice Risdon, Esmée Loughlin-Dickenson, Adam Fyfe, Hope Pugh

Tenors: Michael Burgess, Matthew Jeffrey, Daniel Maw, Robert Murray John, Oliver Fulwell, Tomasz Holownia, Edward Dunne, Rufus Pawsey, Horatio Carr-Jones

Basses: Benedict Dimond, Tom Noon, Andrew Culver, Harry Hoyland, David Bevan, Tom South

Sorry for the black background to the music and names: I couldn't work out how to remove it.

HTIOI, and enjoy!

Dave

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is well worth hearing. The untouched 1737 Baumeister organ of the Klosterkirche in Maihingen, Germany. Still has original blowing mechanism (as an alternative to electric blowing, I think?), pipework, keyboards and all. Lovely sound.

Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...

I recently stumbled across this performance of  Sidney [not Sydney] Campbell’s Variations on the Plainsong ‘Vexilla Regis’.  I never knew him to play, or promote, his own organ compositions, but he did once recommend these to me, saying that he would ‘like to hear them again’. I did eventually learn them, but not until after he had died. John Pryer makes them sound very well here. The acoustic helps. Campbell knew how to tailor his compositions for a big space: his impressive Te Deum, written at Canterbury for the enthronement of Archbishop Ramsey in 1961 is another example. Some of the registration indications in the variations – RH Cornet, LH Trumpet; pedal Schalmei 4’; fanfare reeds – seem tailor-made for his organ at Windsor, but the piece was published in 1962, three years before the Windsor organ was built. Perhaps he had Coventry in mind. (The sung opening is not part of the piece. Why did the singers not use the correct English version of the tune that Campbell did?)

 

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Here is a very nice clip of the organs of Braga Cathedral, Portugal. I was fortunate enough to spend a day in Braga a few years back and the cathedral was a definite highlight. The music in much of this clip featured on Howard Goodall's "Organ Works" programme on TV several years ago when it was played on an organ in, IIRC, Salamanca.

The city is considered a major religious centre and was, at least for a time, known as the "Rome of Portugal" (its line of Bishops and Archbishops has, if records are correct, only been broken 3 times since AD45, specifically AD716-1070, 1641-1670 and 1728-1740 according to Wikipedia). The organs date from around 1735-1740.

HTIOI,

Dave

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The Braga link is fascinating.  I cross-checked with my DVD of the Howard Goodall programme and confirm it's the same music - unattributed on the programme listing on Howard Goodall's website (which just says "18c Portugese [sic] Battle Music").  It was played by Kimberly Marshall at Abarca de Campos - a small village church whose 1778 Tadeo Ortega organ was restored, I believe, under the advocacy of Francis Chapelet.  It's up on Youtube too if anyone's interested (watch the first ten minutes or so of the episode ... or all of it if you like!):  

 

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9 hours ago, SomeChap said:

The Braga link is fascinating.  I cross-checked with my DVD of the Howard Goodall programme and confirm it's the same music - unattributed on the programme listing on Howard Goodall's website (which just says "18c Portugese [sic] Battle Music").  It was played by Kimberly Marshall at Abarca de Campos - a small village church whose 1778 Tadeo Ortega organ was restored, I believe, under the advocacy of Francis Chapelet.  It's up on Youtube too if anyone's interested (watch the first ten minutes or so of the episode ... or all of it if you like!):  

 

Yes, I love that programme series and have the DVD.

Not only is Howard Goodall an excellent musician, but also I find some of his quips highly amusingly descriptive.  His brief description of the 'altitudinous' Austrian nobleman, the owner of an historic table organ, as 'six feet going on seven feet' to the background music of similar title from The Sound of Music.

 

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On 21/09/2020 at 12:42, SomeChap said:

The Braga link is fascinating.  I cross-checked with my DVD of the Howard Goodall programme and confirm it's the same music - unattributed on the programme listing on Howard Goodall's website (which just says "18c Portugese [sic] Battle Music").  It was played by Kimberly Marshall at Abarca de Campos - a small village church whose 1778 Tadeo Ortega organ was restored, I believe, under the advocacy of Francis Chapelet.  It's up on Youtube too if anyone's interested (watch the first ten minutes or so of the episode ... or all of it if you like!):  

 

Thank you for the correction on the location where that Battle Music was played. I watched HG's series at the time it was first aired and it was great seeing all those historic organs and the fabulous churches which house them. If you get a chance to go to Braga it is worth the visit. When I went to the Cathedral there the gallery at one end was open to visitors and the organ photos I got came out very well.

Dave

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On 17/09/2020 at 13:56, Vox Humana said:

I recently stumbled across this performance of  Sidney [not Sydney] Campbell’s Variations on the Plainsong ‘Vexilla Regis’.  I never knew him to play, or promote, his own organ compositions, but he did once recommend these to me, saying that he would ‘like to hear them again’. I did eventually learn them, but not until after he had died. John Pryer makes them sound very well here. The acoustic helps. Campbell knew how to tailor his compositions for a big space: his impressive Te Deum, written at Canterbury for the enthronement of Archbishop Ramsey in 1961 is another example. Some of the registration indications in the variations – RH Cornet, LH Trumpet; pedal Schalmei 4’; fanfare reeds – seem tailor-made for his organ at Windsor, but the piece was published in 1962, three years before the Windsor organ was built. Perhaps he had Coventry in mind. (The sung opening is not part of the piece. Why did the singers not use the correct English version of the tune that Campbell did?)

 

I like very much Campbell's Gaudeamus with its bouncy fugue subject (marked 'non legato' I think) and play it quite often. It's in one of the OUP albums. Has it been recorded? Are there any other good Campbell pieces I should know about?

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17 hours ago, Clarabella said:

I like very much Campbell's Gaudeamus with its bouncy fugue subject (marked 'non legato' I think) and play it quite often. It's in one of the OUP albums. Has it been recorded? Are there any other good Campbell pieces I should know about?

Campbell didn't write much. This is the full list, so far as I am aware.

Exultate (OUP, 1956).
This is in much the same vein as Gaudeamus, but is more of a carillon-toccata hybrid with the hands doing most of the work.

Gaudeamus (OUP, 1956) 


Epilogue on a Gallery Carol (in A Christmas Album, OUP, 1956).
This is a fine, short Christmas postlude on a tune beginning like ‘Tomorrow shall be my Dancing Day’. If you like Gaudeamus, you should like this.

Canterbury Improvisations (Novello, 1961)
        1.  Impromptu based on a French Church Melody.
             This is effectively a chorale prelude on ‘Grafton’.  

        2.  Lento
             This is harmonically very degenerate, as Campbell effectively admits in a footnote, but it was his favourite style amongst a seemingly inexhaustible variety for improvising the choir into the stalls before a service. 

        3.  Fugal Epilogue
             This does what it says, predominantly in 5/8 time.

Canterbury Interlude ((Hinrichsen, 1962) 


Pageantry (Novello, 1962).
I am very fond of this, even though it is a bit vulgar. There’s just a hint of the brass band about it.


Variations on the Plainsong Vexilla Regis (Novello, 1962)
As above

John Porter’s interpretations linked above are definitive: he captured Campbell’s manner perfectly.

In addition to these organ solos, the RSCM book of last verse harmonies has Campbell's arrangement of ‘Easter Song/Lasst uns erfreuen’, which I would go so far as to say is the most impressive last verse arrangement I know (which is remarkable, considering that Campbell didn't believe in last verse harmonies: he wrote it at Gerald Knight’s request). The only problems with it are (1) he sets the original A&M Standard rhythm whereas probably everyone nowadays uses the EH one with the extra beats (I did my own adaptation) and (2) it doesn't suit the modern fad for fast hymn speeds: it’s very much written with a cathedral acoustic in mind and requires a feeling for grandeur.

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