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Thomas Trotter on Songs of Praise


Philip
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I often watch SOP back later in the week, and this week's from Birmingham Town Hall featured a (brief) interview with Thomas Trotter and then an edited performance of the Widor. I was quite surprised to see them including an organ piece on its own, even in part, it seems somewhat unusual for SOP. I did wonder as it began whether we were going to get the whole piece, and indeed the middle section was cut completely, as well as the recapitulation of the main theme - the end of the first section led seamlessly into the coda where you get the sixth chords. Nonetheless, some good exposure for the organ.

 

Warning though: if you do watch it don't expect to necessarily enjoy the rest of the music - I can't say I'm a fan of the foot-tapping, big-band style renditions of the hymns on this programme.

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:(Warning though: if you do watch it don't expect to necessarily enjoy the rest of the music - I can't say I'm a fan of the foot-tapping, big-band style renditions of the hymns on this programme.

 

Apart from the organ bit, I found the rest of it rather a let-down - the choice of hymns lacked variety, if the organ was played for any of them it was inaudible, swamped by the band. It seemed a shame that having showcased the organ we weren't allowed to hear it in an accompanying role. The audience were 'twitchy' sporting inane smirks as if they'd all been on a magic mushrooms trip, and what's all this clapping at the end of every hymn, who were they applauding? Themselves maybe? And as for the conductor, well I know it's the pantomime season but he looked as if he was going onstage straight after the show. Otherwise, very enjoyable... :lol:

 

R

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I have a feeling that some of the hymns were re-used from previous programmes - I'm guessing they did a chunk of filming together and used it to fill 2-3 programmes. The whole programme didn't seem to have much of a point to it - there were odd bits about the city but there were musical solos and things too - sort of neither one thing nor the other.

 

If you want some iPlayer searching, you're probably better off seeking out 'The Choir' from R3 on Sunday night which featured an interesting interview with David Willcocks, although I didn't think the BBC singers sounded particularly good on the items they featured.

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Forgive me for saying it, but I am getting sick to death of SofP because they keep on singing the same hymns over and over and over again. It would be really interesting to run a count of the hymns over a twelve month period.

 

Last Sunday at BTH I couldn't help thinking that those hymns were all played far too fast - in fact they were played at such a breakneck speed that it is surprising that there wasn't time for the whole of the Widor 5th Symphony!!!! It seemed to me that certain of the hymns lost far more than they gained by being rushed through; and I've never heard "What a friend we have in Jesus" described as "the ever-popular foot-stomper".

 

Dare I say it, but I thought that the item by the Swingle Singers was far and away the best thing on the programme!

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I rarely find the time or the courage to watch Songs of Praise by when I did watch it recently - I certainly watched on Remembrance Sunday and possibly on one other occasion since then - I thought all the hymns were far too fast. I know that hymns and tempi of hymns is a contentious topic anywhere but I felt that there was a deliberate policy of going as fast as possible to get as many hymns as possible into the allotted time.

 

I can remember years ago that the whole programme was done from one church (it was once done from St Peter's Brighton with Eric Spencer playing and Christopher Moore conducting) and nearly all of it was hymn singing without all the interviews of local people that you get now. It depends what the BBC sees as the purpose of the programme but, speaking for myself, I find jumping from church to church, assorted carefully choreographed choirs arrayed in empty churches, theatrical lighting effects, interviews with people about how they found God and compering from Aled Jones all utterly off-putting.

 

But then I'm a grumpy old man anyway.

 

Malcolm

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I rarely find the time or the courage to watch Songs of Praise by when I did watch it recently - I certainly watched on Remembrance Sunday and possibly on one other occasion since then - I thought all the hymns were far too fast. I know that hymns and tempi of hymns is a contentious topic anywhere but I felt that there was a deliberate policy of going as fast as possible to get as many hymns as possible into the allotted time.

 

I can remember years ago that the whole programme was done from one church (it was once done from St Peter's Brighton with Eric Spencer playing and Christopher Moore conducting) and nearly all of it was hymn singing without all the interviews of local people that you get now. It depends what the BBC sees as the purpose of the programme but, speaking for myself, I find jumping from church to church, assorted carefully choreographed choirs arrayed in empty churches, theatrical lighting effects, interviews with people about how they found God and compering from Aled Jones all utterly off-putting.

 

But then I'm a grumpy old man anyway.

 

Malcolm

I couldn't agree more.

 

And I'm one of those too.

 

Ian

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I rarely find the time or the courage to watch Songs of Praise by when I did watch it recently - I certainly watched on Remembrance Sunday and possibly on one other occasion since then - I thought all the hymns were far too fast. I know that hymns and tempi of hymns is a contentious topic anywhere but I felt that there was a deliberate policy of going as fast as possible to get as many hymns as possible into the allotted time.

 

I can remember years ago that the whole programme was done from one church (it was once done from St Peter's Brighton with Eric Spencer playing and Christopher Moore conducting) and nearly all of it was hymn singing without all the interviews of local people that you get now. It depends what the BBC sees as the purpose of the programme but, speaking for myself, I find jumping from church to church, assorted carefully choreographed choirs arrayed in empty churches, theatrical lighting effects, interviews with people about how they found God and compering from Aled Jones all utterly off-putting.

 

But then I'm a grumpy old man anyway.

 

Malcolm

 

Mr. Kemp and I know all about theatrical lighting effects one evening at a certain church in Brighton...!

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Thank you, Stephen, for reminding me of one of my more amusing services at my last church!

 

Lay chairmen of deanery synods frantically fiddling with new lighting systems - and going from one extreme of luminosity to the other and back again - during the psalms at Choral Evensong is one thing - and quite funny at the time - but the BBC bathing, for example, the whole of St Mary's Primrose Hill in English Hymnal green is horrid. These BBC lighting schemes look so contrived and un-ecclesiastical.

 

Malcolm

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I watched today as it was coming from Southwark and I have very happy memories of my lessons there with Peter Wright a few years ago. He is such a fine musician and a good, caring person. Unfortunately all we saw of him on the programme was his hands. What a pity that the conducting on these programmes now seems to be restricted to about 4 people. This was one of the better programmes I have seen in recent times.

 

When I was having lessons there I always felt it was a happy place, staffed by good people and very pastorally caring and inclusive. Before lessons I used to sit in the Harvard chapel where there is a marvellous Pugin tabernacle from St Augustine's Ramsgate.

 

Malcolm

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I watched today as it was coming from Southwark and I have very happy memories of my lessons there with Peter Wright a few years ago. He is such a fine musician and a good, caring person. Unfortunately all we saw of him on the programme was his hands. What a pity that the conducting on these programmes now seems to be restricted to about 4 people. This was one of the better programmes I have seen in recent times.

 

Yes, this was a distinctly better effort, a good selection of musical items which contained something for everyone. I didn't care for that version of 'Give us the wings of faith to rise' - Ernest Bullock's version seems far better, but that is personal preference.

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