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Francis Jackson The Dom Of Church Music


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A few weeks ago here in Birmingham I attended a Musical Oratory which is a service of Music, Readings and prayer in regard to Cardinal Newman. The guest Organist for the Evening seated at the four manual Nicholson Organ was Dr Francis Jackson. Francis is a living legend and a testament to us that he has this incredible energy and drive to continue to blow us all away with his Organ Playing. We were not disappointed. Franics began with the Cesar Franck Fantasie in A with it's parasian like writing bold textures and majestic chords. Then we heard the Bach BWV Wedge Prelude followed by one of Francis's own compositions a scherzo. and a work rarely performed by Organist's was the Heathcote Statham Rhapsody on a ground simply stunning and again was well played. Francis concluded his recital with the majestic Fantaisie in Eb Saint Saens and after we had sung the final Hymn the recessional Voluntary was Hubert Parry's Fantasy and Fugue in G Here Francis didn't fail to exceed my expectation of how well he could play the work and left me with shivers down my spine still tingling form the stupendous majesty of the Birmingham Oratory. Francis may u continue to inspire us with your skills. FRANCIS IS TRULY THE DOM OF CHURCH MUSIC .

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You could not invent Francis - nobody would believe you! I shall be extremely grateful to be able to swing my legs over the stool at 90, let alone play the instrument thereafter.

 

His affability is amazing, too. I found myself next to him leaning on the rail overlooking Paris on the terrace at Sacre Coeur during the IAO Congress a few years ago. I said "Hello" and although he didn't know me from Adam, he said "Oh, hello, what are you doing these days" as if I were an old friend. I left his company with a list of people to whom to give his best wishes. Whenever I have seen him at Evensong in the Minster (not recently, admittedly) he always seems to end up holding court afterwards under the tower.

 

He gave a superb recital in Rochdale Town Hall about this time last year (or was it the year before?). His introductions to the pieces were wonderful, especially in those pieces where he had some connexion with the composer. Of the Bairstow sonata he said "I remember it took me three weeks to learn it". He played some rather light piece of which he said, with a chuckle, "Bairstow would turn in his grave!"

 

I get the impression that York is not one of those places where the organ is jealously protected from those who might wish to play it. Perhaps that reflects Francis's personality, too.

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I agree, but surely you mean 'The Don'? Unless you mean the German for 'cathedral'...

 

Although 'Don' also sounds vaguely Mafia........

 

AJJ

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I agree, but surely you mean 'The Don'? Unless you mean the German for 'cathedral'...

The event Ronald described appears to have taken place in a RC church, unless I have misunderstood his post.

I don't have any specialist knowledge of these things, but isn't "Dom" a title of some distinction in the RC church (e.g. Dom Gregory Murray)?

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Yes. It is short for "Dominus", which is the centuries-old title for someone in priest's orders. In medieval Britain it was translated as "Sir". So a name like Sir Jhon Doggesbodie is more likely to indicate a priest than a knight.

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The event Ronald described appears to have taken place in a RC church, unless I have misunderstood his post.

I don't have any specialist knowledge of these things, but isn't "Dom" a title of some distinction in the RC church (e.g. Dom Gregory Murray)?

 

 

It is now generally applied to Benedictine monks - Gregory Murray was at Downside but there have been other Benedictine organist/composers in Britain. The late Alan Rees was for a while Abbott of Belmont, and composed a lot of choral music. A CD of some of his works s available, In Tune With Heaven. Laurence Bevenot was a monk of Ampleforth though he spent most of his life here in Cardiff.

 

Peter

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It is now generally applied to Benedictine monks - Gregory Murray was at Downside but there have been other Benedictine organist/composers in Britain. The late Alan Rees was for a while Abbott of Belmont, and composed a lot of choral music. A CD of some of his works s available, In Tune With Heaven. Laurence Bevenot was a monk of Ampleforth though he spent most of his life here in Cardiff.

 

Peter

 

Does anyone know if Dom Sebastian Wolff is still around at Buckfast Abbey?

 

AJJ

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Well you learn something new every day...

 

I always thought it indicated he was a Dominican monk.

 

 

No such animal. Dominicans are friars. What characterisies monks (and Benedictine nuns) is that they take two vows: stability and conversion of manners, not the same as Dominicans (or indeed Franciscans, Jesuits and so on). The first means that they vow stability to a particular house - Ampleforth, Buckfast or whatever - for life (though in certain circumstances momks have been permitted to switch allegiance). Conversion of manners is an all embracing vow which means that you basically put all youi efforts into entering into a relationship with God through the opportunities offered by the monastic life. Within this, chastity goes without saying, poverty means having everything in common, and obedience is given to your "ordinary" ie the abbot (or sometimes prior).

 

All of which also applies to Cistertians, and all of which has nothing to do with Frasncis Jackson or the organ! But as one of my old tutors used to say: everthing connects.

 

(I write with a modicum of authority as I considered the monastic life very seriously at one stage.)

 

Peter

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