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Victorian Masterpieces - past and future (?!)


Martin Cooke
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What 'favourites' do members have, or what have we discovered? I've just discovered a Toccata and Fugue by EH Thorne which I think I'm going to have have to get my hands around as he was born a few miles from here (in Dorset). Does anyone play anything by Spark, Faulkes, Edmonstoune Duncan, Smart, Hollins (other than the obvious ones), Wolstenholme, et al? Good to share thoughts! I am fascinated by it, because there is SO much - but very nearly always disappointed in the reality when I try something. I sometimes play the last movement of the Sonata in D by A.L. Peace which I recommend - I think it's on IMSLP (or whatever the initials are), I play a whole Sonata in G minor by Cyril Jenkins (Augener), and there's a Grand Choeur in D by William Spence that I've known congregation members hang about to discover more about.

 

I imagine that much of the stuff that Kevin Mayhew has published over the years (with some excellent exceptions - Archer, Nixon, Fletcher, Tambling etc) will become the 'new' Hollins, Smart, etc in 100 years' time. I can't imagine that 50% of it ever gets played or has ever BEEN played even now! Does anyone know if Mayhew is still producing new organ music? It seems to have dried up and all one has got recently has been reissues in different colours or combinations. Is that right?

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A good resource for some the music of the period (if it's not sadly gathering dust in the corner of a music cupboard in the organ loft already!) is:

 

http://www.bardon-mu...ang=en&curr=gbp

 

Like much of the music of that period, many of the compositions are easy on the ear, approachable for the average organist, tuneful, and popular (my opinion) with congregations and audiences. The sort of music that many academics might treat as very much 'second class' but actually encourage average day-to-day congregations to engage with the instrument.

 

As an amateur parish organist, an accompanist and never a recitalist, with a love of the music of the late Victorian/Edwardian period, there is much to commend it. Yes, there is a huge amount from the period that might disappoint, but finding the gems is so satisfying. Stainer's short 'Song of Praise' comes to mind......... as does Faulkes's Prelude on Ein feste Burg (at, perhaps, the opposite end of the difficulty scale).

 

Don't be put off by the mechanical synthetic sound examples that are offered by Bordun Music - indeed, congratulate them for making the effort to offer them as a taster; then play them as you find them - warmly!

 

Tony

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I highly recommend the 'Victorian Organ Album' from Oxford, edited by Malcolm Archer. There are some compositions in here which are of great interest - particularly the fun little Caprice in D flat by Cuthbert Harris, and the Grand Choeur in D by William Faulkes.

 

I don't really care much for Wolstenholme - except perhaps his Sonata in the style of Handel, which I find far more satisfying than many of his other organ works.

 

Henry Smart's complete oeuvre is now available for download online - again, there are some pieces in there which are worth more than a passing glance.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, well, well!

 

Life is full of surprises; pleasant and otherwise. One of the more pleasant was a late discovery of a work by Parry, which was played by Anthony Gowing, quite brilliantly, after Evensong on Radio 3 to-day, from Sheffield Cathedral.

 

Why, I wonder, have I never once heard the Fantasia on "O God our help" (St Anne) before now?

 

Is ot too difficult?

 

Is it too old fashioned?

 

Is it poor quality music?

 

Well, it is an unusually fine piece of music IMHO, but could the reason for never hearing it be due to one single factor?

 

This is THE most Reger-esque British composition I've ever heard.

 

MM

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Because Parry wasn't French?.

 

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

 

No, because I've actually heard, (believe it or not), music of the period from Italy, Belgium, Germany, Austria, England, Czechoslovakia (as was), Russia (as was)....even Spain and America.

 

I reckon it's the Reger thing.

 

MM

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Apologies if I misunderstood you, MM. I thought you were asking why no one played the piece. I was suggesting (tongue in cheek) a possible reason.

 

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

 

 

No apologies necessary!

 

I'm just intrigued to know if I am in a minority of one with not ever having heard this Fantasia by Parry. I must have been to 600 recitals or so, and I have bought a huge number of recordings over the years.....never heard the Parry!

 

This is not a lightweight or poorly constructed work....so again....why?

 

I would recommend a listen on the BBC i-player to the Sheffield Evensong broadcast while it lasts; the Parry being played as the final voluntary.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01jz401/Choral_Evensong_Sheffield_Cathedral/

 

MM

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I'm just intrigued to know if I am in a minority of one with not ever having heard this Fantasia by Parry. I must have been to 600 recitals or so, and I have bought a huge number of recordings over the years.....never heard the Parry!

MM, it’s even on this one!

And yes, Max might have been able to mistake it for one of his own, at least from somewhere between pint #22 and #25.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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I'd heard that Reger liked his beer, but 25 pints..... :P

 

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

 

 

 

:lol: :lol: Excellent!

 

OK....having listened to the Parry again, I think I know the answer to my question.

 

I've just realised how difficult it is......things rushing about everywhere contrapuntally, including the pedals.

 

It's the sort of piece which prompts that immortal line, when asked if one plays it.

 

"Well, I did look at it in my student days."

 

Look, being the operative word, but covering a multitude of possibilities.

 

 

MM

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I'd heard that Reger liked his beer, but 25 pints..... :P

I’m afraid this is not far from the truth. Kafka’s friend and later editor, Max Brod, relates a credible story about a Prague pub crawl with Reger, at which, on last order’s call, the master ordered “the next table full of beer”. When being admonished by the publican that curfew was due, Reger answered: “Whatever the guest orders, he might finish” and continued drinking and telling embarrassing jokes to everyone who wasn’t out of the door quick enough.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Well, well, well!

 

Life is full of surprises; pleasant and otherwise. One of the more pleasant was a late discovery of a work by Parry, which was played by Anthony Gowing, quite brilliantly, after Evensong on Radio 3 to-day, from Sheffield Cathedral.

 

Why, I wonder, have I never once heard the Fantasia on "O God our help" (St Anne) before now?

 

I first heard this work - and two other Chorale Fantasias - ages ago on Graham Barber's 1987 recording from Truro Cathedral (Priory PRCD 226) - sadly now deleted.

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I first heard this work - and two other Chorale Fantasias - ages ago on Graham Barber's 1987 recording from Truro Cathedral (Priory PRCD 226) - sadly now deleted.

 

If you’re refering to this

 

mzi.wpejplno.170x170-75.jpg

 

recording, it is still available from Amazon and for download (iTunes).

 

M

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