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Gems From The Mayhew Collections

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It is always said about anything creative that doing it to please someone else will not work, and you have to do something to please yourself. For this reason, the Kevin Mayhew collections containing selections of pieces by their 'house' composers probably aren't among the most prized books in our collections, and the music they contain can sometimes seem a little contrived. However, undoubtedly there are some pieces among them which are worthy of note. Does anyone here play anything worthwhile from such collections?

 

I did discover one over Christmas, courtesy of the other organist at my home church. Andrew Gant's "Toccata on Mendelssohn" seemed to me to be ideal service music - not too long, with a clear theme the congregation will recognise and a fairly satisfying ending, as well not being especially difficult. He had it in a book of Christmas pieces which doesn't seem to be available any more, but it is in this collection of 14 pieces by Andrew Gant, very reasonably priced at £5.99, and one I'll be picking up in the near future. I'm also thinking of getting a copy of "The Organist's Liturgical Year" which contains pieces covering all seasons.

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I thought you were doing a leg-pull when I saw the title of this thread!

 

The only pieces I can think of are by Noel Rawsthorne viz. Hornpipe Humoresque, Chorale Prelude on 'The Londonderry Air', and a harmless little Air in F.

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I was actually thinking that the Rawsthorne stuff is probably also worthy of a mention. The Londonderry Air prelude is ideal for funeral/memorial services, while the Hornpipe is probably the best of the fun-style pieces.

 

I wasn't entirely sure what to call the thread to be honest. But there must be some things out there that merit a mention.

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I have just one Mayhew volume, which I picked up for a song on eBay more or less by accident because no one else wanted it. Service Music for Organ, it is called. I confess to being very attached to Stanley Vann's A Tender Spiritual (but then I've always had a healthy respect for Vann's compositions). It is, like most of the pieces in the book, thoroughly unashamed "easy listening", but it is tuneful, totally unpretentious and is a perfect "spoof" spiritual in the wistful, melancholic vein. Moreover, it's so easy that anyone could play it. It takes real skill to write technically simple music that bears repeated hearing, but I would venture to suggest that this is one such piece.

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Guest Echo Gamba

"The Organist's Liturgical year" is worth having. Fish's "Advent Aria" always pleases congregations: indeed all the Advent & Christmas pieces I find attractive. I particularly like Gant"s "Paean for the morning of Christ's Nativity". (I feel I should "know" the theme of the "Trio" section..................??) However, I am not sure of the relevance of Simon Clarke's "Aria" in the Advent section - is there a theme lurking there? Also, can anyone place the second (quiet, plainchant-like) theme in Bonighton's "Advent Reflections"?

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Yes, I play a few of these pieces. The album Swing Gently contains two pieces I am fond of: A Meditation by Simon Lesley and At the River by June Nixon. Soloing the Stops has a good piece called Tubas on Parade by John Marsh, which I have used for brides' entries.

 

I agree, and I have said before on this board, that neither the composers nor the publisher would probably make claims that this is "great" music but it is very useful.

 

Minbd you, in my opinioon Mayhew has been responsible for some dross, including some of the hymnals which still include the dreadful Israeli Mass and similar things.

 

Peter

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I had no idea that Kevin Mayhew was a composer himself until I came across a piece by him in The Source.

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I thought you were doing a leg-pull when I saw the title of this thread!

 

The only pieces I can think of are by Noel Rawsthorne viz. Hornpipe Humoresque, Chorale Prelude on 'The Londonderry Air', and a harmless little Air in F.

 

 

I too thought that the title of the thread was a new year oxymoron!

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If you're looking for a real bargain, KM publish "The Organist's Bumper Collection" (http://www.kevinmayhew.com/Shop/Products/42027/Kevin_Mayhew_Publishers/Music_Resources/Organ/General_collections/The_Organist_s.aspx) which has an immense variety of useful stuff, including some originals by Philip Moore and Stanley Vann that sound difficult but are not too hard to grapple with. There are a few howlers as well - organ only versions of "Jerusalem" by Parry - also Scott Joplin's "Entertainer" which is clearly in there for any Town Hall organists, or else for Church / Crem organists wanting to let their hair down. (Or maybe even to pre-empt the possibility that it might be requested for a wedding?!) If you only want one KM album, you could do far worse than to get this one.

 

Actually, I have to say I've found some remarkable stuff in the KM catalogue: their Recitalists Repertoire books include the only publications of Sonatas by Philip Moore and Andrew Gant (the latter of which is astonishingly gritty and demanding for Mayhew); also Noel Rawsthorne's Variations for pedal solo on the famous Paganini theme (again, quite a challenge for the advanced player) and some lovely pieces by Graham Steed including a Prelude on Down Ampney that was approved by RVW himself. (Indeed, according to the blurb, RVW was so taken by it that he submitted it to OUP on Steed's behalf - sadly, it was rejected, so we might presume that KM are now rubbing their hands whilst OUP are licking their wounds......)

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What an intriuging topic, and one which has caused many closets to open...

 

I have a volume called 'Encore' edited by Rawsthorne, sadly nla. It has the Hornpipe Humoresque, and has previously been mentioned, a few lunchtime encores (a shorter and easier version than Lemare of March from Aida, a playable Radestsky March, as well the Scott Joplin referred to in a previous post and an OK, if slightly unadventurous Occasional Overture transcription). However, there's a good Sortie on 'Nun danket' by Rawsthorne (needs a decent solo reed)himself and a transcription of the Sinfonia to Cantata No.29 (which is much less fussy than Dupre's and Guilmant's) that I use frequently and one or two other useful numbers.

 

I have a small volume of Stanley Vann music (I think called Six Preludes on Hymn Tunes) which I have found very useful, and an Lenten collection by some of the in house composers, inoffensive sight readable communion musack for emergencies.

 

I did explore the Ultimate Fun Collection, and More Ultimate Fun Collection as they were advertised for those who had got some mileage out of Hornpipe Humoresque. Sadly, I was a little disappointed, a case of over egging and not entirely my idea of fun.

 

I know pianists turned organists have found the collections called something like 'One Foot at a Time' very useful, a series of pieces with minimal, or easy pedal parts to give some confidence.

 

I would add to Peter's post about dross, Hymns Old and New, an inadequate volume on so many different levels.

 

 

PS: Please invite me to any crem service that involves the Entertainer!

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The Rawsthorne transcriptions in 'Encore', now appear in two volumes of Noel Rawsthorne Organ arrangements. Book 1 contains said (excellent) transcription of the Aida march, which I will be using on one upcoming Sunday, while Book 2 includes The Entertainer, the Hornpipe and a very worthwhile and pretty straight forward transcription of Sullivan's "The Lost Chord" (needs a solo reed again).

 

From the "Ultimate Fun Collection", of which I have the first book, the Hornpipe is obviously a good one to use (not one I've quite mastered yet), and Mawby's "Dance with the saints" went down very well on All Saints' Day. I can't confess to finding any of the other pieces hugely exciting, and both the Hornpipe and the Mawby are in the Bumper Collection recommended by msw, which might prove better value. A brief glance at the sequel to the ultimate fun book in the shops didn't reveal anything of particular interest for me.

 

I echo the thoughts on hymnbooks, particularly HON, which probably offers the best coverage of any book, but is distinctly lacking in terms of quality of print and binding, and musical and lyrical integrity. Mayhew's organ publications are well put together with very clear print, so why they had to scrimp on such thin paper for their hymn books I don't know.

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Thanks Philip for this. I did know about the new Rawsthorne collections as I had pointed someone in that direction a few months ago. I had trouble with the KM website earlier today when I was reading this topic, perhaps lots of people were, that's why it broke!

 

In the Fun Collection, I did once use 'Organists Country Garden', which involved the Grainger combined with various wedding themes. I do admit here that I slightly changed one or two small things to what I thought made a little more harmonic sense (please don't shoot...) and would consider using it again. I think they jumped on the bandwagon of HH success and said to the in house men, 'quick, do something similar and let's publish asap', they are not all as good as HH.

 

On furthur inspection at home, I did also find a book of Sousa Marches by one of our contributors here, and two quite good Delius transcriptions. I was introduced to Canticle of the Rose (Ridout), by Barry of the same name, and one or two of the movements were useful fillers. The more I look, the more KM I keep finding!

 

Could someone point me in the direction of the Rawsthorne/Paganini pedals piece, I couldn't find it on the KM site?

 

Can anyone tell me about the reliability of the Bach and Mendelssohn editions published by KM?

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Now that the KM site is up again, I was mildy amused by the fact that music that involves a solo reed, eg Books 1 and 2 of 'Couple the Tuba', is listed under Organ and Other Instruments. Me thinks they are not quite sure of which Tuba?

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I have two volumes of KM music which I think are the Organist's Companion. Generally, I don't use much in these but there are a few pieces. In both there are some good reflective pieces by Stanley Vann (one called Meditation on the Divine Mysteries which I particularly like). Also there is a Processional by Christopher Tambling which has proved useful.

 

I know they aren't to everybody's tastes and it would be easy to dismiss the whole output. Nevertheless, they are popular; I heard recently of one of their 'house' composers earning well over £2,000 in royalties in one year alone. This would seem to indicate that they certainly shift the copies they print.

 

David

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Guest Echo Gamba
It takes real skill to write technically simple music that bears repeated hearing...

 

 

:rolleyes: I assume that KM have not published any of Caleb Simper's music due to copyright difficulties? :lol:

 

(That was a dig at Simper,, not Mayhew by the way!)

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In the Fun Collection, I did once use 'Organists Country Garden', which involved the Grainger combined with various wedding themes. I do admit here that I slightly changed one or two small things to what I thought made a little more harmonic sense (please don't shoot...) and would consider using it again. I think they jumped on the bandwagon of HH success and said to the in house men, 'quick, do something similar and let's publish asap', they are not all as good as HH.

 

I have used the Pasticcio by June Nixon from this book to amused effect - I had a game of "hidden melody" and "hidden composer" with it!

 

Peter

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There is also Rawsthorne's dance suite though this now appears to be out of print, a slightly more extended version of 'hh' in places

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There is also Rawsthorne's dance suite though this now appears to be out of print, a slightly more extended version of 'hh' in places

 

Yes, I can't understand this, I know lots of people who play either it all, or movements from it. I wonder if they have a reprint arrangement with anyone?

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I have a volume called 'Encore' edited by Rawsthorne, sadly nla. It has the Hornpipe Humoresque, and has previously been mentioned, a few lunchtime encores (a shorter and easier version than Lemare of March from Aida, a playable Radestsky March, as well the Scott Joplin referred to in a previous post and an OK, if slightly unadventurous Occasional Overture transcription). However, there's a good Sortie on 'Nun danket' by Rawsthorne (needs a decent solo reed)himself and a transcription of the Sinfonia to Cantata No.29 (which is much less fussy than Dupre's and Guilmant's) that I use frequently and one or two other useful numbers.

 

Yes, this is another good one, especially for recitalists. I believe it also contains (for the braver and more adventurous amongst us) Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumble Bee" and Strauss' "Blue Danube" which is a wonderful transcription but doesn't include the full introduction or coda sections for some reason...

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Yes, I can't understand this, I know lots of people who play either it all, or movements from it. I wonder if they have a reprint arrangement with anyone?

 

Allegro don't appear to do it, i have got in contact with mayhew this morning to try and get a copy from their archive. will keep updated

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In Playing them in & playing them out ("a huge new collection of processionals and recessionals") there is a toccata-type thing called Fêtes by Stanley Vann which is rather good and always goes down well. (I'm promoting it as he dedicated it to me!)

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On the subject of The Organist's Liturgical Year, I had been hoping to order this. However, the organ version is seemingly no longer available, which seems very bizarre to me, because the manuals version still is. I have sent a message to Mayhew asking if there are any plans to bring it back but I have received no reply as yet.

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On the subject of The Organist's Liturgical Year, I had been hoping to order this. However, the organ version is seemingly no longer available, which seems very bizarre to me, because the manuals version still is. I have sent a message to Mayhew asking if there are any plans to bring it back but I have received no reply as yet.

 

They're not very good at communication. I sent them an email a few months ago as I was led to believe they were UK agents for a foreign publisher, and still no reply. Even if the answer is no, I would appreciate a reply.

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In Playing them in & playing them out ("a huge new collection of processionals and recessionals") there is a toccata-type thing called Fêtes by Stanley Vann which is rather good and always goes down well. (I'm promoting it as he dedicated it to me!)

 

I tried it out this morning and, yes, it went down well. I've had the book for some time but had not managed to get that far.

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