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Songs of praise


Ronald Shillingford

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I enjoyed the broadcast from Arundel R.C cathedral on January 16th 2011. It was good to hear just the organ leading the hymns rather then all those fussy orchestral arrangements we seem to get. However, I did have one minor quibble and that was everything was incredibly too high for the congregation and choir to sing. Arundel unfortunately has a fine Hill organ that was restored recently by David Wells 2006. Except the Organ like Lichfield and Peterborough is tuned sharp. Why on earth could the hymns have not been transposed down a semitone ? It would of been more comfortable and less of a strain on the congregation and Cathedral Choir who were struggling at times to get the high notes !

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I watched it back earlier today and thought it was good. Good to hear Coe Fen without any descant or major harmonic alteration - I don't think these work for this particular hymn. I did notice everything was sharp! Was it me or did the organ seem very loud at the start of verses, particularly middle verses? Also, I observed the closing credits and noted that Daniel Moult was playing - why did the DOM who they did a feature on not play? If she can play the Widor surely she can accompany hymns!

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===========================

I'm quite sure that Elizabeth (Stratford) would have been more than capable of playing hymns. I haven't met her for about 30 years,

 

 

 

Mm, she must have been a very talented child then!

 

<In October 2002 at the age of 23, Elizabeth was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Arundel Cathedral, West Sussex. > (From the Arundel Cathedral website)

 

Michael

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I didn’t see the ‘Songs of Praise’ from Arundel and so I can’t comment about the pitch of the hymns or the loudness of the organ playing but I can, albeit from experience from just over 25 years ago, add my ‘two-pennorth’ concerning the whole ‘Songs of Praise’ scenario. It is a pet-hate – and correspondents may, when they have waded their way through this, see why!

 

About 25 years ago we were asked to do a broadcast from our little Abbey and two things surprised me about the whole experience. Firstly was the appalling way that, in those days, the ‘SoP team’ behaved and, secondly, and conversely, was the amount of care that went into the actual, non-musical, side of the broadcast.

 

It was Lent. Back then, and to a certain extent today, they seemed to think that Catholics did Lent rather well and, so, only ever went to Catholic churches during the penitential season. I have to say that doesn’t seem to have changed that much although Arundel, and I’m sure correspondents will correct me, seems to be an exception. We had hymns imposed on us. My Rector gave me a short list of hymns that would be sung, others to be added by other denominations in the village, and I duly started to write, or put together some ‘arrangements’ of those hymns. (For ‘arrangements’ read, the occasional descant or subtle alterations of organ or vocal harmony – not the type of full-scale instrumental ‘arrangements’ now heard on a weekly basis) Eventually the ‘SoP’ came back with their list of hymns which didn’t include any of the hymns I had been working on. Our Rector, who was desperate to be seen on TV, wouldn’t stand up to them and so all my work was wasted.

 

It was decided that the large Abbey choir of forty voices would fill the small chancel, as they normally did on a Sunday and the production team felt the, rather splendid Victorian chancel, would be better seen without the choir sitting in it – and so they were sent to sit as members of the congregation apart from one item, recorded right at the very end, when they were sent to change into choir robes and take their usual place in the church. Again I tried to fight the choir’s corner but was overruled by the Rector and the choir spent almost the entire broadcast in the congregation. At the time the BBC were involved in a dispute with one of the unions and so filming took place on one evening, rather than, certainly in those days anyway, the usual two evenings. At 11 o’clock at night we were still at it – the cameramen were having difficulties with our tiny Abbey and kept getting each other in shot, the ‘congregation’ were getting fractious and, in the choir piece, a ‘sop’ to their being relegated to the congregation and recorded at about 11pm, tiredness started to show. The pitch started to be affected and they looked tired. This was a good choir, with an extensive track-record of hard work and a lot of experience but these people had done a days work, had given up their time for the broadcast in the evening and had another day to do the next day!

 

The pre-hymn ‘interviews’ took place at a different time and were mostly held in the grounds in and around the Abbey. I have a recollection of a certain, very well-known, TV presenter, under stress to get the broadcast done because of the industrial action, shouting at a member of the community for walking down the cloister when they were trying to film and having to be, gently, reminded by the normally quiet, retiring brother “This is my home – I live here”.

 

Having said all of this, at least I didn’t have a ‘Songs of Praise’ musician or organist imposed on me. A ‘visiting’ organist, it seems, played at Arundel. Frequently conducting is someone else. One is tempted to ask why? Doesn’t Arundel Cathedral have an organist who can accompany hymns? – we know this not to be the case! Why are the music staff, who work in the churches/cathedrals/abbeys used for broadcasts and know the buildings acoustics and peculiarities, frequently pushed to one side in favour of, I’m sure, a very fine ex-Cathedral organist?

 

Some 20 years ago I was interviewed for the post of Director of Music in a Cathedral. In my letter of application I commented that I thought the BBC’s whole attitude to religious broadcasting was going down the wrong road. At the interview I was asked about this. 20 years later I still think this to be so and possibly more so. I do worry about the BBC ‘pedalling’ their view of sacred music! I notice that broadcasts from Cathedrals are usually more conservative in their musical taste than when the broadcast comes from somewhere less exalted – presumably because the Precentor/Master of the Choristers etc has some veto on the ‘garbage’ the BBC wants to present!

 

Having said all of that I do have a few positive, but non-musical, points that I think might be worth making. In our broadcast the production team took enormous care in the way the building was presented. Yes, they booted the choir out of the chancel but we had two, very fine, Victorian painted glass windows at the West and East end of the church and the team spent two days building huge scaffoldings outside the Abbey on which to hang lights so that the windows would show to good effect when filmed, at night, from inside the church. More amazingly was the problem they encountered with filming in our little Abbey, at that time, the smallest building a broadcast had ever come from. Our central aisle was only just wide enough to take a movable camera. The problem was that it had uneven central heating grating on the outside of the aisle where the wheels of the camera went. The production team decided to ‘build’ a false aisle! They painted it red, the same colour as the carpet underneath and one man spent two days on his knees painting, onto the false aisle, the pattern of the grating underneath!!

 

I’m sure correspondents here have lots of positive comments to make about the programme. I apologise for the length of the comment – ‘Songs of Praise’ paid me a decent fee and I got a couple of ‘repeat’ fees too but it is one of my ‘pert-hates’, it wasn’t a good experience – and correspondents might be able to understand why!

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I didn’t see the ‘Songs of Praise’ from Arundel and so I can’t comment about the pitch of the hymns or the loudness of the organ playing but I can, albeit from experience from just over 25 years ago, add my ‘two-pennorth’ concerning the whole ‘Songs of Praise’ scenario. It is a pet-hate – and correspondents may, when they have waded their way through this, see why!

 

About 25 years ago we were asked to do a broadcast from our little Abbey and two things surprised me about the whole experience. Firstly was the appalling way that, in those days, the ‘SoP team’ behaved and, secondly, was the amount of care that went into the actual, non-musical, side of the broadcast.

 

It was Lent. Back then, and to a certain extent today, they seemed to think that Catholics did Lent rather well and, so, only ever went to Catholic churches during the penitential season. I have to say that doesn’t seem to have changed that much although Arundel, and I’m sure correspondents will correct me, seems to be an exception. We had hymns imposed on us. My Rector gave me a short list of hymns that would be sung, others to be added by other denominations in the village, and I duly started to write, or put together some ‘arrangements’ of those hymns. (For ‘arrangements’ read, the occasional descant or subtle alterations of organ or vocal harmony – not the type of full-scale instrumental ‘arrangements’ now heard on a weekly basis) Eventually the ‘SoP’ came back with their list of hymns which didn’t include any of the hymns I had been working on. Our Rector, who was desperate to be seen on TV, wouldn’t stand up to them and so all my work was wasted.

 

It was decided that the large Abbey choir of forty voices would fill the small chancel, as they normally did on a Sunday and the production team felt the, rather splendid Victorian chancel, would be better seen without the choir sitting in it – and so they were sent to sit as members of the congregation apart from one item, recorded right at the very end, when they were sent to change into choir robes and take their usual place in the church. Again I tried to fight the choir’s corner but was overruled by the Rector and the choir spent almost the entire broadcast in the congregation. At the time the BBC were involved in a dispute with one of the unions and so filming took place on one evening, rather than, certainly in those days anyway, the usual two evenings. At 11 o’clock at night we were still at it – the cameramen were having difficulties with our tiny Abbey and kept getting each other in shot, the ‘congregation’ were getting fractious and, in the choir piece, a ‘sop’ to their being relegated to the congregation and recorded at about 11pm, tiredness started to show. The pitch started to be affected and they looked tired. This was a good choir, with an extensive track-record of hard work and a lot of experience but these people had done a days work, had given up their time for the broadcast in the evening and had another day to do the next day!

 

The pre-hymn ‘interviews’ took place at a different time and were mostly held in the grounds in and around the Abbey. I have a recollection of a certain, very well-known, TV presenter, under stress to get the broadcast done because of the industrial action, shouting at a member of the community for walking down the cloister when they were trying to film and having to be, gently, reminded by the normally quiet, retiring brother “This is my home – I live here”.

 

Having said all of this, at least I didn’t have a ‘Songs of Praise’ musician or organist imposed on me. A ‘visiting’ organist, it seems, played at Arundel. Frequently conducting is someone else. One is tempted to ask why? Doesn’t Arundel Cathedral have an organist who can accompany hymns? – we know this not to be the case! Why are the music staff, who work in the churches/cathedrals/abbeys used for broadcasts and know the buildings acoustics and peculiarities, frequently pushed to one side in favour of, I’m sure, a very fine ex-Cathedral organist?

 

Some 20 years ago I was interviewed for the post of Director of Music in a Cathedral. In my letter of application I commented that I thought the BBC’s whole attitude to religious broadcasting was going down the wrong road. At the interview I was asked about this. 20 years later I still think this to be so and possibly more so. I do worry about the BBC ‘pedalling’ their view of sacred music! I notice that broadcasts from Cathedrals are usually more conservative in their musical taste than when the broadcast comes from somewhere less exalted – presumably because the Precentor/Master of the Choristers etc has some veto on the ‘garbage’ the BBC wants to present!

 

Having said all of that I do have a few positive, but non-musical, points that I think might be worth making. In our broadcast the production team took enormous care in the way the building was presented. Yes, they booted the choir out of the chancel but we had two, very fine, Victorian painted glass windows at the West and East end of the church and the team spent two days building huge scaffoldings outside the Abbey on which to hang lights so that the windows would show to good effect when filmed, at night, from inside the church. More amazingly was the problem they encountered with filming in our little Abbey, at that time, the smallest building a broadcast had ever come from. Our central aisle was only just wide enough to take a movable camera. The problem was that it had uneven central heating grating on the outside of the aisle where the wheels of the camera went. The production team decided to ‘build’ a false aisle! They painted it red, the same colour as the carpet underneath and one man spent two days on his knees painting, onto the false aisle, the pattern of the grating underneath!!

 

I’m sure correspondents here have lots of positive comments to make about the programme. I apologise for the length of the comment – ‘Songs of Praise’ paid me a decent fee and I got a couple of ‘repeat’ fees too but it is one of my ‘pert-hates’, it wasn’t a good experience – and correspondents might be able to understand why!

 

 

I agree with everything u have commented on SL. Anyone who has ever watched songs of praise will observed that it's always Paul leddington-Wright who conducts and either the Organist of that Church or a visiting one plays. I wrote a similar letter to the BBC songs of praise programme to ask why they felt the need to use large scale orchestral arrangements in the hymns ? I was taken back by their response as they said it was they had a lot of listeners who did not attend Church and the arrangements are meant to make the whole songs of praise experience interesting. What utter rubbish ! What is wrong with a organist leading a full strong congregation in a full bloodied hymn such as what was done at Arundel ? In any case the arrangements are incredibly fussy and in some cases we don't even here the melody clearly because the accompaniment or arrangement is over the top. Sl also mentioons the amount of hours and time that has to go into a broadcast. I once went along to a BBC radio broadcast to come from the Birmingham oratory on Newman and included some of his hymns in addition to excerpts from the Dream of Gerontius Elgar. Stephen Cleobury was Conducting the BBC Singers whilst the congregation were to sing chosen hymns. I can tell u it was frustrating been asked to sing the hymns over and over again. They either wasn't happy that they were sung fast enough or the congregation didn't know them ! And this was all down to the production team.

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I agree with everything u have commented on SL. Anyone who has ever watched songs of praise will observed that it's always Paul leddington-Wright who conducts and either the Organist of that Church or a visiting one plays. ....

 

This is not always the case.

 

I have played for two of these (both at 'greater churches'), and in each case, my boss conducted (and took the rehearsals) and I played.

 

The only tricky moment was during the first rehearsal, when the BBC made a balance check, for which I was asked to sustain a loud chord (it honestly did not occur to me to include the chamades). Later during the evening, the congrgation was singing lustily, so I used the tutti for the last line of the hymn.

 

About two minutes later, an extremely pale and dishevelled gentleman, with headphones slung around his neck and his hair standing on end, came up the stairs to the organ console, looked at me with a kind of wild expression and announced in a hoarse whisper "If you EVER ******* do that again, I will...."

 

Well, you get the idea.

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This is not always the case.

 

I have played for two of these (both at 'greater churches'), and in each case, my boss conducted (and took the rehearsals) and I played.

 

The only tricky moment was during the first rehearsal, when the BBC made a balance check, for which I was asked to sustain a loud chord (it honestly did not occur to me to include the chamades). Later during the evening, the congrgation was singing lustily, so I used the tutti for the last line of the hymn.

 

About two minutes later, an extremely pale and dishevelled gentleman, with headphones slung around his neck and his hair standing on end, came up the stairs to the organ console, looked at me with a kind of wild expression and announced in a hoarse whisper "If you EVER ******* do that again, I will...."

 

Well, you get the idea.

 

I like that story - very amusing!! It reminds me of the story, probably apocryphal, of a young 'clever' organ scholar, I'm told at Halifax Parish church but that may be incorrect, who could hear a rather wayward tenor in the choir and decided to help him out in one of the hymns by 'decorating' the organ part and soloing the tenor part on the solo tuba! At the end of the hymn or whatever all that could be heard around the church was the comment - in a broad Halifax accent "If tha does that agin, I'll brek thee bl***y neck!!!"

 

As to the comment on my, rather too long, post. You will notice that I used the word 'frequently' - not the word 'always' when referring to musicians being 'imposed' on a church by Songs of Praise - Ron Shillingford has misrepresented or perhaps misunderstood this aspect of my comments.

 

I also, on purpose, didn't mention any names - and I don't think it was appropriate of him to do so!

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I like that story - very amusing!! It reminds me of the story, probably apocryphal, of a young 'clever' organ scholar, I'm told at Halifax Parish church but that may be incorrect, who could hear a rather wayward tenor in the choir and decided to help him out in one of the hymns by 'decorating' the organ part and soloing the tenor part on the solo tuba! At the end of the hymn or whatever all that could be heard around the church was the comment - in a broad Halifax accent "If tha does that agin, I'll brek thee bl***y neck!!!"

 

As to the comment on my, rather too long, post. You will notice that I used the word 'frequently' - not the word 'always' when referring to musicians being 'imposed' on a church by Songs of Praise - Ron Shillingford has misrepresented or perhaps misunderstood this aspect of my comments.

 

I also, on purpose, didn't mention any names - and I don't think it was appropriate of him to do so!

 

 

==========================

 

 

It was probably old Eric at Halifax, of fond memory. In his latter years he had a heart condition, and took pills, but the trouble is, he would wash them down with whisky. The two were fairly incompatible, and at a Christmas 9 Lessons & Carols, Eric processed to the back of the church for the "Once in Royal" solo, but finding himself variously exhausted and a bit unsteady, he slumped down into a pew; the church lit only by candle-light.

 

Suddenly, just as the note wafted gently from the organ, Eric exploded into voice; very loudly.

 

"Ey.....it looks reight grand wi all those candills....lovely int'it?"

 

The shushing sounds were not unlike all the bellows collpasing at the same time!!

 

MM

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It reminds me of the story, probably apocryphal, of a young 'clever' organ scholar, I'm told at Halifax Parish church but that may be incorrect, who could hear a rather wayward tenor in the choir and decided to help him out in one of the hymns by 'decorating' the organ part and soloing the tenor part on the solo tuba! At the end of the hymn or whatever all that could be heard around the church was the comment - in a broad Halifax accent "If tha does that agin, I'll brek thee bl***y neck!!!"

 

This is recounted by Gordon Reynolds in his humorous book Organo Pleno (Novello 1970): Chapter 7 - 'In statu pupillari'.

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This is recounted by Gordon Reynolds in his humorous book Organo Pleno (Novello 1970): Chapter 7 - 'In statu pupillari'.

 

I wondered where I had heard it and thank you for reminding me. I had forgotten 'Organo Pleno' and 'Full Swell', both absolute classics with Gordon Reynolds' wit and Bernard Hollowood's cartoons making them some of the funniest little books I have read for a long time. And so I am idebted to the late Prof. Reynolds for the story. As an aside, I hadn't realised, until I read his obituary, that he was born in Hull, my own home city!

 

............................... of course, all of this is a long way from Ronald Shillingford's original post.

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I wondered where I had heard it and thank you for reminding me. I had forgotten 'Organo Pleno' and 'Full Swell', both absolute classics with Gordon Reynolds' wit and Bernard Hollowood's cartoons making them some of the funniest little books I have read for a long time. And so I am idebted to the late Prof. Reynolds for the story. As an aside, I hadn't realised, until I read his obituary, that he was born in Hull, my own home city!

 

............................... of course, all of this is a long way from Ronald Shillingford's original post.

 

Yes, I can remember the occasional appearance of Gordon Reynolds at the console of the Compton organ in Holy Trinity Parish Church, Hull. He was a pupil of the charismatic Norman Strafford, organist and master of the choristers at Holy Trinity, architect of the rebuilt Hull City Hall organ and Peter Goodman's predecessor as city organist.

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As the Organist and Master of the Choristers at Arundel Cathedral I'd just like to set the record straight for those of you who have posted in respect of the programme Songs of PRaise which was broadcast on BBC1 on 16 January 2011.

 

Yes, our organ is sharp. When we restored in 2006 the committee, which comprised a number of respected organists as well as Ian Bell, the independent advisor, was concerned that by altering the instrument to concert pitch we would lose part of the instrument's historic status therefore rendering us unable to pay for the entire restoration. It is sad that such matters come down to budget but unfortunately this is often an issue. In addition to the costs involved which would significantly have increased overall costs, the overall decision was to leave things as they were. I am acutely aware of the sharpness of pitch which fluctuates from less than a quarter-tone up and bear with it on an almost daily basis and mentally transpose so I feel happier.

 

The BBC use organists for Songs of Praise who are contractually engaged by them on a professional basis, many of whom are regular players for them. Yes, I would have been perfectly capable of playing the hymns myself but Daniel Moult, a highly respected organist, is part of the regular team and has played for Songs of Praise from the Royal Albert Hall, Coventry Cathedral etc etc. In addition he had recently accompanied the RSCM Millennium Youth Choir in a live broadcast from Arundel Cathedral and has also played here as a recitalist. He is known for not being fazed by such things and familiar to the BBC team. In addition, a number of the younger choristers were anxious about the process and I felt I was best placed with my choir rather than at the console, 300 feet away, turning pages. Songs of Praise also use animateurs - rather than straightforward conductors - but these are very limited in number. Those of you watching the Winchester programme which preceded ours may or may not have noted that even Andrew Lumsden did not direct the hymns. Gordon Stewart and Paul Leddington-Wright are the most commonly used animateurs in all the programmes - again, no reflection on the musicians that work in the buildings but part of a regular team of people who are imported.

 

I was extremely amused by MM's post saying we met 30 years ago. I was still in nappies then. Many of his other points were accurate, and if asked to accompany Evensong at York Minster now I'd rip his arm off. I have (since getting older) played at York Minster and a number of other places in this country. I have even been known to give recitals. I regularly play for weddings and funerals at the Cathedral here but most of my day to day work is with the choir.

 

We have had a number of comments about how glorious it was to hear the organ without brass. Again, a conscious decision but based on pitch as my advice to the BBC was not to try it (it's not easily done as the organ fluctuates).

 

Finally, the BBC team were fantastic. We had excellent communication all the way through and I cannot speak highly enough of them. The producer, Sian Salt, was sympathetic to the Arundel traditions and a great deal of research was carried out before any choices were made. At all times those who were part of the programme were respectful, courteous and on a musical front, sought my advice. For those who felt I didn't have much to do, I actually chose the hymns. So those who are rejoicing about Coe fen - that's my favourite!! I wanted a broad range of hymns for both programmes (the previous one went out in September) which related to Newman, Catholicity, Arundel and also incorporate familiar melodies and words. I feel that we met that aim.

 

I hope this answers some of the questions a number of you have been asking.

 

Elizabeth Stratford

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I'm glad, for Elizabeth Stratford and those at Arundel, that 'Songs of Praise' was a good experience.

 

What I wouild ask her to remember is that my comments were borne from an experience in about 1984/5. It wasn't a pleasant experience. It was a time of national industrial unrest in the country, those of us who lived through it won't forget it. The BBC was engaged in its own battle with the unions - which is why we had to record on one night instead, in those days anyway, of the usual two! The stress and threats of industrial action and a programme to record the following day from a Cathedral where the Dean & Chapter were being difficult about the union action, together with our tiny little Abbey, made the situation, amongst the crew, tense.

 

My comments about the Organist and Conductor/animateur being brought in were borne from a conversation I had with the, then, Director of the programme when I asked him what they did when either the organist or the conductor wasn't up to the job. "We get someone else in" was basically the tenor of his reply. Clearly, twenty five years later, things have now changed with contractually engaged musicians! I'm not sure I agree with the BBC policy on this - although I can see it has its merits.

 

I hope Elizabeth Stratford doesn't think my comments were, in any way, a reflection or criticism of the programme from Arundel. As I said at the outset of my original post, I didn't see the programme and, as a point of principle anyway, I would never criticise a fellow musician in public. They were comments, perhaps in reflection best left unsaid, from an experience twenty five years ago which has coloured my perceptions of the programme ever since.

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As the Organist and Master of the Choristers at Arundel Cathedral I'd just like to set the record straight for those of you who have posted in respect of the programme Songs of PRaise which was broadcast on BBC1 on 16 January 2011.

 

Yes, our organ is sharp. When we restored in 2006 the committee, which comprised a number of respected organists as well as Ian Bell, the independent advisor, was concerned that by altering the instrument to concert pitch we would lose part of the instrument's historic status therefore rendering us unable to pay for the entire restoration. It is sad that such matters come down to budget but unfortunately this is often an issue. In addition to the costs involved which would significantly have increased overall costs, the overall decision was to leave things as they were. I am acutely aware of the sharpness of pitch which fluctuates from less than a quarter-tone up and bear with it on an almost daily basis and mentally transpose so I feel happier.

 

The BBC use organists for Songs of Praise who are contractually engaged by them on a professional basis, many of whom are regular players for them. Yes, I would have been perfectly capable of playing the hymns myself but Daniel Moult, a highly respected organist, is part of the regular team and has played for Songs of Praise from the Royal Albert Hall, Coventry Cathedral etc etc. In addition he had recently accompanied the RSCM Millennium Youth Choir in a live broadcast from Arundel Cathedral and has also played here as a recitalist. He is known for not being fazed by such things and familiar to the BBC team. In addition, a number of the younger choristers were anxious about the process and I felt I was best placed with my choir rather than at the console, 300 feet away, turning pages. Songs of Praise also use animateurs - rather than straightforward conductors - but these are very limited in number. Those of you watching the Winchester programme which preceded ours may or may not have noted that even Andrew Lumsden did not direct the hymns. Gordon Stewart and Paul Leddington-Wright are the most commonly used animateurs in all the programmes - again, no reflection on the musicians that work in the buildings but part of a regular team of people who are imported.

 

I was extremely amused by MM's post saying we met 30 years ago. I was still in nappies then. Many of his other points were accurate, and if asked to accompany Evensong at York Minster now I'd rip his arm off. I have (since getting older) played at York Minster and a number of other places in this country. I have even been known to give recitals. I regularly play for weddings and funerals at the Cathedral here but most of my day to day work is with the choir.

 

We have had a number of comments about how glorious it was to hear the organ without brass. Again, a conscious decision but based on pitch as my advice to the BBC was not to try it (it's not easily done as the organ fluctuates).

 

Finally, the BBC team were fantastic. We had excellent communication all the way through and I cannot speak highly enough of them. The producer, Sian Salt, was sympathetic to the Arundel traditions and a great deal of research was carried out before any choices were made. At all times those who were part of the programme were respectful, courteous and on a musical front, sought my advice. For those who felt I didn't have much to do, I actually chose the hymns. So those who are rejoicing about Coe fen - that's my favourite!! I wanted a broad range of hymns for both programmes (the previous one went out in September) which related to Newman, Catholicity, Arundel and also incorporate familiar melodies and words. I feel that we met that aim.

 

I hope this answers some of the questions a number of you have been asking.

 

Elizabeth Stratford

 

 

=========================

 

 

Thank you for your reply, and my profuse apologies for mixing you up with someone else with a similar (not identical) name, it turns out.

 

I recall an old Anglican Priest, who said, "You know, if the Archangel Gabriel walked down the road, someone would say something awful within a couple of minutes."

 

I'm sure I will have been forgiven for my mistake, but in case I have not, I want everyone to know that Elizabeth is the finest organist & DOM in the country.

 

MM

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What I wouild ask her to remember is that my comments were borne from an experience in about 1984/5. It wasn't a pleasant experience. It was a time of national industrial unrest in the country, those of us who lived through it won't forget it. The BBC was engaged in its own battle with the unions - which is why we had to record on one night instead, in those days anyway, of the usual two!

 

Hi

 

At least your programme got broadcast. The church I was at back in the '70's was scheduled to do a Sunday Service for ITV. Due to industrial action, it didn't happen!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

At least your programme got broadcast. The church I was at back in the '70's was scheduled to do a Sunday Service for ITV. Due to industrial action, it didn't happen!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

 

I remember that period! We were recording a 'Songs of Praise' at St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall and a wee runt of a technician came up to the console and said 'Are youse EmYew?' We said, 'Why?'. 'If youse are EmYew, ye cannae play. The EmYew's blacking the BBC.' I said I didn't give a snuff about the MU, but as organist of St. Magnus Cathedral I was going to play anyway. We had a bass in the choir at the time, 6'3", from Fife. 'I'm MU - what ye gonnae do about it?' Exit technician.....

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I remember that period! We were recording a 'Songs of Praise' at St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall and a wee runt of a technician came up to the console and said 'Are youse EmYew?' We said, 'Why?'. 'If youse are EmYew, ye cannae play. The EmYew's blacking the BBC.' I said I didn't give a snuff about the MU, but as organist of St. Magnus Cathedral I was going to play anyway. We had a bass in the choir at the time, 6'3", from Fife. 'I'm MU - what ye gonnae do about it?' Exit technician.....

So it does all come down to size in the end.

 

What was so wrong with the principle of a collective acting on behalf of its members that the hard-won right to combine is now seen as anachronistic?

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I remember that period! We were recording a 'Songs of Praise' at St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall and a wee runt of a technician came up to the console and said 'Are youse EmYew?' We said, 'Why?'. 'If youse are EmYew, ye cannae play. The EmYew's blacking the BBC.' I said I didn't give a snuff about the MU, but as organist of St. Magnus Cathedral I was going to play anyway. We had a bass in the choir at the time, 6'3", from Fife. 'I'm MU - what ye gonnae do about it?' Exit technician.....

 

Hi

 

I heard of another example where the response (when an orchestra was involved) - are they all communicant members of the Church of England?

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

I heard of another example where the response (when an orchestra was involved) - are they all communicant members of the Church of England?

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

====================================

 

That would be the Incomm Union I expect?

 

I believe that they operate out of an old office block in Lambeth, but so far as I know,they are not TUC affiliated.

 

MM

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  • 3 years later...

The BBC has announced a rehash of Songs of Praise. I won't comment, but instead will simply point you to the link on their website today:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30070899

 

If the link rots or doesn't work for other reasons, the article is entitled "Songs of Praise to change format as part of relaunch" which might help in searching the BBC site.

 

I am sure forum members are eminently capable of forming their own views, and some might even be moved to post them.

 

CEP

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Hi

 

I watch it sometimes. The description:- "From Sunday it will drop its traditional format of an Anglican service recorded in a cathedral, parish, or other church." hasn't really described the programme for a very long time - if ever! A lot of recent programmes have been in the"magazine format" and have used recording of hymns & songs from previous SoP broadcasts anyway - programmes on the cheap (i.e. the expensive bit requiring a full OB unit replaced with repeats of earlier material).

 

IMHO SoP lost its way decades ago. Not sure how much real difference this "change" will really make - except probably even less shows majoring on traditional hymns, and less coherence within the programme. We sshall see.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I never watch more than 2 minutes of it. I won't deny that there was a place for "fly on the wall" broadcasts of services for the benefit of the housebound, shift-workers etc. and this should have been extended, proportionate to their representation in the population, to all denominations and all faiths decades ago. But as soon as it became more about presenters, presentation, camera angles, and (no offence intended to anyone involved in doing it) the conducting of the "congregation", the programme lost its essential purpose.

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