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Denis O'Connor
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Two recent gleanings which may be of general interest.I heard that a recent cathedral appointment was made following a criterion that the successful applicant had to be a cathedral organist. This is surely a vey odd policy: if it were to be generally adopted it would only be a matter of time before there were any eligible candidates left!. I believe that an outside body-employment consultants/headhunters-was employed to assist the cathedral in making their choice.

In another diocese, the chair on a body appointing a diocesan organ adviser went on record as saying they did not want a candidate who would"rock the boat". Of all the qualities required in an organ adviser, I would have thought imaginative thinking,together with the ability to stick to one's beliefs,would have been a pre-requisite. You can't make omelettes without breaking eggs.

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Two recent gleanings which may be of general interest.I heard that a recent cathedral appointment was made following a criterion that the successful applicant had to be a cathedral organist. This is surely a vey odd policy: if it were to be generally adopted it would only be a matter of time before there were any eligible candidates left!. I believe that an outside body-employment consultants/headhunters-was employed to assist the cathedral in making their choice.

In another diocese, the chair on a body appointing a diocesan organ adviser went on record as saying they did not want a candidate who would"rock the boat". Of all the qualities required in an organ adviser, I would have thought imaginative thinking,together with the ability to stick to one's beliefs,would have been a pre-requisite. You can't make omelettes without breaking eggs.

 

 

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Two interesting factoids; both of which might benefit from a little scrutiny.

 

With regard to cathedral organists, I would have thought that this criterion is really just a matter of wording. Surely it is the case that almost all, if not all cathedral appointments, are filled from the ranks of O&MC's and cathedral Assistants. Assistants themselves are often plucked from the ranks of Organ Scholars, and although I would neither defend nor criticise cathedral music as it is, the fact that it is as it is does tend to require those who have gone throguh a full process of apprenticeship. In some ways, it is one of the last vestiges of an older system, based on practical experience and that of learning from a recognised master as right-hand man. Some, including myself, would regard this as a Rolls-Royce system of education and practical learning which, were it to be generally adopted across all professions, would cost a fortune. The legal profession used to work in this way once upon a time.

 

I don't know the facts and figures, but I would wager that virtually 100% of cathedral organists were once assistant cathedral organists, and I would further wager that they came through the ranks as organ scholars within a collegiate or cathedral setting.

 

Of course, the down side of this is a certain encrusted attitude, where little changes and where the spirit of adventure is seen as the anti-Christ...but hey-ho...that's tradition, I suppose.

 

Now with regard to Diocesan Organ Advisors "rocking the boat," I find this hard to fathom. The task of an advisor is to assess projects and to advise, but that advise carries no legal weight whatsoever, and the individual places of worship are free to ignore it should they so wish. Quite how this works in relation to the granting of faculties, I cannot answer. Others will know more, I feel sure.

 

If I want to be a diocesan organ-advisor, do I first need to be an assistant diocesan organ-advisor, and before that, an organ-advisory scholar?

 

MM

 

 

PS: After 60+ years, I have just realised that there are advisers and advisors. Would someone please advise as to which spelling is correct in the advisory/advisery capacity? I hate the English language sometimes, but not at all times..

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The Shorter Oxford gives "adviser" primacy, with "advisor" labelled "chiefly N. Amer." The Oxford Dictionary of English suggests that "adviser" is typically "less formal", whereas "advisor" "often suggests an official position". Chambers makes no distinction.

 

Paul

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...a criterion that the successful applicant had to be a cathedral organist.

Depends on one's definition of the term. :P Did they mean...

(i) a Cathedral Organist? - in which case the person concerned might have done very little organ playing recently, but spent most of his time directing the choir and ploughing through reams of paperwork and admin - or

(ii) a cathedral organist? - i.e. someone (probably an Assistant Organist) who has done most of the organ-playing in his previous post. :D

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The Shorter Oxford gives "adviser" primacy, with "advisor" labelled "chiefly N. Amer." The Oxford Dictionary of English suggests that "adviser" is typically "less formal", whereas "advisor" "often suggests an official position". Chambers makes no distinction.

 

Paul

 

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How amusing that the shorter is in conflict with the larger!

 

I must admit that I've always tended to use both spellings but in different ways. I tend to think, (whether rightly or wrongly), that an adviser is someone who gives an opinion, and an advisor is someone from whom opinion is sought. That 'formal' designation of advisor seems to be compatible with this.

 

Fascintaing!

 

Complettely off-topic, the full Oxford still doesn't know the origin of the war-time term, "Boffin."

 

I asked a farily dismally educated squaddie what he thought.

 

Without hesitation he replied, "Easy mate! We call a coffin a box in the army. A box contains something, so we have brain-boxes; meaning someone who has a lot of brains in their head. So if you convert box to coffin, you get a brain-coffin.....a boffin for short." :o

 

I have the funny feeling that he was absolutely right.

 

Should we tell the OED or keep it to ourselves? ;)

 

MM

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I understood that the assistant organist of the cathedral in question asked whether he might apply and was told that he could if he liked but could not be considered.

 

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

 

 

Absurder and absurder.

 

That stated, it does tend to be a very exclusive club, where decisions occur behind closed doors. I have heard tell of representations being made to specific people, usually through a third-party.

 

It's exactly the same in higher academic circles.

 

MM

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

 

 

Two interesting factoids; both of which might benefit from a little scrutiny.

 

With regard to cathedral organists, I would have thought that this criterion is really just a matter of wording. Surely it is the case that almost all, if not all cathedral appointments, are filled from the ranks of O&MC's and cathedral Assistants. Assistants themselves are often plucked from the ranks of Organ Scholars, and although I would neither defend nor criticise cathedral music as it is, the fact that it is as it is does tend to require those who have gone throguh a full process of apprenticeship. ...

 

... I don't know the facts and figures, but I would wager that virtually 100% of cathedral organists were once assistant cathedral organists, and I would further wager that they came through the ranks as organ scholars within a collegiate or cathedral setting.

 

Not quite so much, these days. I can think of a number of exceptions, some of whom are known to me personally.

 

Now with regard to Diocesan Organ Advisors "rocking the boat," I find this hard to fathom. The task of an advisor is to assess projects and to advise, but that advise carries no legal weight whatsoever, and the individual places of worship are free to ignore it should they so wish. Quite how this works in relation to the granting of faculties, I cannot answer. Others will know more, I feel sure.

 

If I want to be a diocesan organ-advisor, do I first need to be an assistant diocesan organ-advisor, and before that, an organ-advisory scholar?

 

MM

 

 

PS: After 60+ years, I have just realised that there are advisers and advisors. Would someone please advise as to which spelling is correct in the advisory/advisery capacity? I hate the English language sometimes, but not at all times..

 

The OED allows both as acceptable - but not 'advisery'. However, it also states that the '-or' ending tends to be more common in North America, whilst the '-er' ending is a particularly British spelling'. As far as I am aware, there are no particular rules by which to establish a preference. However, your phrase 'but that advise carries no legal weight whatsoever' should read 'advice'.

 

Pedant mode off.

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The OED allows both as acceptable - but not 'advisery'. However, it also states that the '-or' ending tends to be more common in North America, whilst the '-er' ending is a particularly British spelling'. As far as I am aware, there are no particular rules by which to establish a preference. However, your phrase 'but that advise carries no legal weight whatsoever' should read 'advice'.

 

Pedant mode off.

 

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

 

 

I dumoxed myself! :wacko: (Now there's a good word which isn't in the dictionary).

 

I think I knew that it should have been advice, but I write so quickly

 

One of the great problems of having had an American partner, and then having spent time in America, is that I really have to stop and think how interchangeable are the endings -ice -ise -ize.

 

This reminds me of the poor Yorkshireman who lost his wife, and went along to the monumental mason to arrange a headstone.

 

Having been advised that the headstone was finished and in place, the man went to inspect the finished article. To his horror, the wording on the headstone read:-

 

SHE WAS THIN

 

Outraged, the poor man went to the monumental-mason and said, "You left an E out of the script on my wife's headstone."

 

The monumental-mason apologised and said he would rectify the matter.

 

The next time the poor man went to pay his respects, the headstone read:-

 

 

E SHE WAS THIN

 

 

 

MM

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One definition of a cathedral organist is someone who could once play well enough to be an assistant.

 

There are a number of cathedral organists now who were appointed on strengths other than organ playing - singers or choralists. There are also a number of places where there is a Director of Music and an Organist - there were a few previously (Liverpool, Manchester), but there seem to be slightly more these days. It appears very sensible, but in practical terms the traditional system seems to produce a better result, illogical though it is.

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One definition of a cathedral organist is someone who could once play well enough to be an assistant.

 

 

 

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

 

 

Francis Jackson said something similar when the RCO appeal was underway in, I think, the 1970's.

 

I think I can recall his words exactly:-

 

Holding the FRCO demonstrates that an organist is, (or at least once was),on the right lines.

 

:lol: Love it!

 

MM

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Reporting to a Cathedral Organists' Association conference about a meeting of the then recently-formed Assistant Organists' Association, Paul Trepte (I think) mentioned the date and said, 'that would have been the day you all put down Stanford in B flat and played yourselves'.

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