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German translation of organ anecdotes book


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Long time no see, everyone.


Sorry, have been giving surgeons hands-on practice so have been out of circulation for a bit. But the good news is that "Organ-isms: Anecdotes from the World of the King of Instruments" is now available in HARDBACK (no less) in German...


Many of you are frequent contributors to this forum, who very generously gave your stories and time towards the original book. Hans Uwe Hielscher was the faithful scribe who spent long hours turning my kiwi-isms and your yarns into the equivalent German read. It made for hilarious de-mystifying sessions in themselves!

After much ummming and ahhhing it's been called "Die Königin und Ihr Gefolge", a title that translates as "The Queen and Her Entourage". Copies can be ordered from publishers Dr J.Butz in Bonn. An order form can be found from here in the catalogue (books) area. You could always ask your local library to order it in - the ISBN is 978-3-928412-13-1. (And take time to browse through the music editions in the Butz store which I can highly recommend - some terrific finds here that you don't see elsewhere. Martin has just returned from a European trip with suitcases bulging after visiting the shop). So let your German-speaking friends know that it's now out and about, and prowling the streets. . .And, BTW, I am still collecting stories for the Second Volume. Get writing!

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Here's an offering for the next volume:


A local church celebrated Independence Day with some light-hearted organ duets. The two male organists told us that people who played duets had to be very close to each other, and said that they were married - but not to each other! One wife banged a dustbin lid to accompany the Liberty Bell.


I attended with a friend who prefers greater formality. The next week we went to another concert and one of the two organists was selling tickets at the door. He recognised my friend (who did not recognise him) and asked him, "What did you think of the recital last week?" to which he got the reply, "It was mercifully short."

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I've just come back from doing a funeral in a church I had never been to before. I got there early and found the organ lurking in a back gallery. It made a change, it was eminently playable, no problems. I went 'downstairs' to find the priest to see what he wanted me to do and was confronted by a church 'worthy'. "Are you the organist"? he asked. I replied in the affirmative. "Sometimes it trips its switch" he said, "If it does it during the funeral come and get me". I asked him where he would be "Oh", he said, without a further thought "I'll be serving the Mass on the Sanctuary".


I wondered for a moment what was going to happen if the organ 'tripped its switch' during a hymn and what I would do!!! It made a nervous hour!


Another electrical 'problem' which I think I have recounted before here was at a church in Birmingham playing a funeral on an electronic. The Priest was late and the church was locked and I found myself waiting outside with a lady who clearly knew the church 'set-up' "Are you the organist?" she asked. When I told her I was she told me "You know those buttons under the keys?. Well, don't press the second one along" I asked her why! "It cuts all the electricity out in the church.


During the service I had cause to, quickly, change registration and, without thinking, pressed the 2nd piston under the Great Organ. She was right - it did!!!


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Around twenty-five years ago I was asked to play for a funeral in a large Roman Catholic Church in Lancashire. The organ was miles away on a west gallery. The first hymn was Crimond and the second hymn was "How Great Thou Art".


Unfortunately, the priest announced "How Great Thou Art" first. Rather than fumble through the hymnbook, I though I would busk it, having played it many times in the past at an Evangelical Church where I was organist in my teens.


A very quick calculation suggested that the first part of the tune would sit farly comfortably in F major which it did. However, I broke out into a cold sweat as we reached the second part of the tune and experienced the terrible realisation that the congregation would eventually need to screech up to a top A - something reminiscent of the chipmonks had it been a little quicker.


At least - when it came - F major worked for Crimond.


It's never happened since, but I've always used a post-it to indicate where each hymn is... just in case...

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