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Simon Preston - Toccata


AJJ

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The splendid choral evensong today from St. Albans (choir in fine form and didn't the organ sound good too) ended with a Toccata by Simon Preston - I've never come across this piece before. Does anyone here know more please?

 

A

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I am not sure if this piece is published, but no doubt Google could help us here.

 

I have only come across it once, and that was when Ashley Grote played it in the semi - final round of the Young Musician of the Year some years ago.

 

To be honest, the piece did not make much of an impression on me. I felt it to be a matter of sound rather than substance, and as such, not the best choice for a competition. I seem to remember Thomas Trotter making the same point in his adjudication. I would like to give it a second chance, although I would not expect to want to rush out and learn it myself.

 

Was Tom Winpenny playing it ? If it is not published, I imagine it is in private circulation amongst Kings organ scholars as Ashley Grote and Tom Winpenny were near contemporaries. I am sure an e - mail to either of them would help ; when I recently had cause to speak / e - mail to both of them, they were most helpful in their replies.

 

 

m

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The splendid choral evensong today from St. Albans (choir in fine form and didn't the organ sound good too) ended with a Toccata by Simon Preston - I've never come across this piece before. Does anyone here know more please?

 

A

 

I was rather struck by the broadcast from St Albans Abbey yesterday afternoon, too. The Simon Preston Toccata was new to me whoever it was that was playing, Tom Wimpenny or Adrian Lucas. One is never sure these days who it is who is playing the voluntary. It used to be the custom for the Master of Music to do so, the sub organist or scholar, whichever, giving way. In this case I have always admired the playing skills of Adrian Lucas and Tom Wimpenny.

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I was rather struck by the broadcast from St Albans Abbey yesterday afternoon, too. The Simon Preston Toccata was new to me whoever it was that was playing, Tom Wimpenny or Adrian Lucas. One is never sure these days who it is who is playing the voluntary. It used to be the custom for the Master of Music to do so, the sub organist or scholar, whichever, giving way. In this case I have always admired the playing skills of Adrian Lucas and Tom Wimpenny.

 

I have it from a friend in the choir that Tom Winpenny was playing.

 

A

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The splendid choral evensong today from St. Albans (choir in fine form and didn't the organ sound good too) ended with a Toccata by Simon Preston - I've never come across this piece before. Does anyone here know more please?

 

A

 

Ashley Grote played it at Westminster Abbeya in the 1st Annual Festival of New Organ Music.

http://www.afnom.org/2006/2006_programme.htm

For every piece in the 5 recitals there is information on duration and how to obtain a score - except the Preston Toccata where there is only the duration. I suspect it is unpublished.

RAC

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A life-time of performing music for Choral Evensong has left me, in my dotage, searching unsuccessfully for a relevance that this service might have to anything. At my stage in life I find modern Roman Vespers or even, if absolutely necessary, Common Worship Evening Prayer, far more relevant and helpful. That said, and spurred on by the postings on this topic, I listened to the repeat of last Wednesday's service from St Alban's yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.

 

I thought the service was superb and the choir was a great credit to those who train it. The choir, in fact, was superb. For me, the greatest highlight was the singing of Stainer's "Hail gladdening light" at the beginning. The psalm and the Magnificat followed close behind. The music was very cohesive and well chosen. Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed the service!!!

 

When we got to the Preston Toccata I did wonder, however, why we were being served up a pastiche of what other composers have done rather better. I used to think the same about "Alleluias" in the days when it was popular. Nobody is going to deny that Preston is an exceptionally fine player (Willcocks has been quoted as saying he has never heard him play a wrong note) and choir trainer but I remain unconvinced about him as a composer.

 

Malcolm

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When we got to the Preston Toccata I did wonder, however, why we were being served up a pastiche of what other composers have done rather better. I used to think the same about "Alleluias" in the days when it was popular. Nobody is going to deny that Preston is an exceptionally fine player (Willcocks has been quoted as saying he has never heard him play a wrong note) and choir trainer but I remain unconvinced about him as a composer.

 

Malcolm

 

I have a kind of fondess for Alleluias - but it seemed to be once of these pieces that you had to play in the same way as you could't get on a bus or train without seeing at least one person reading The Glass Bead Game, which is the book you had to be seen reading. But SP did a jolly fun arrangement of "I Saw Three Ships" which has featured on 9 lessons

 

Peter

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I have a kind of fondess for Alleluias - but it seemed to be once of these pieces that you had to play in the same way as you could't get on a bus or train without seeing at least one person reading The Glass Bead Game, which is the book you had to be seen reading. But SP did a jolly fun arrangement of "I Saw Three Ships" which has featured on 9 lessons

I've always liked Alleluias too. But the last time I played it I had a couple of unfavourable comments. A bit like people moaning about The Rite Of Spring being modern in 1990. :rolleyes:

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