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sbarber49

Llandaff Cathedral

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† 'Aware that my qualifications as an organist were higher than those of anyone else in the country'. p.63; At Cross Purposes; Michael Smith. Self-published (through Amazon); 2014. (In any case, I doubt that he was correct; take just one example: Paul Morgan, MA (Oxon), BMus (Lond.), FRCO(CHM), ADCM, ARCM, LRAM, who was at that time the Sub Organist of Exeter Cathedral.)

 

I haven't read the book and so may be missing the context, but might the "country" in question be Wales rather than the UK?

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I haven't read the book and so may be missing the context, but might the "country" in question be Wales rather than the UK?

 

I considered this point, too. However, he appears to be so arrogant (in some respects) - and given that there are only five other Anglican cathedrals in Wales - that I believe he may have meant England as well; not least because in a similar context, he cites the qualifications of the organists at three or four English cathedrals. In addition, he rarely seems to speak of the situation in Wales, but rather compares Llandaff (and himself) with many other English cathedrals and organists at several points throughout the book.

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I think his point, with regard to qualifications, was that he claimed to be the only cathedral organist with a Doctorate in Music by examination. This was included in his biographical notes for the Essex Man Organ Gala held at St. Paul's in 1993 in aid of the Chelmsford Cathedral Music Foundation.

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I think his point, with regard to qualifications, was that he claimed to be the only cathedral organist with a Doctorate in Music by examination. This was included in his biographical notes for the Essex Man Organ Gala held at St. Paul's in 1993 in aid of the Chelmsford Cathedral Music Foundation.

 

He certainly mentioned this as well - although he also assured us of the former on a few occasions, citing his ADCM as 'proof'.

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I too have read Dr Michael Smiths book and have found it to be a thoroughly disheartening read. I think there are certain lessons in life and careers that are not appreciated in his account:

1. Life is not fair.

2. You make your own luck.

3. Positive people generally progress further in their chosen careers.

4. You don't become a Cathedral organist to be rich!

 

Point 4 I have some sympathy with in view of how much hard work and dedication is required to achieve such a position especially when I see how much some relatively modest sports people and entertainers earn however I refer back to point 1!

 

I have absolutely no doubt as to Dr Smiths ability and in a way feel a little sad that he will look back at his own career with a lot of regret. In his defence, I guess that the attitude of the clergy must have been incredibly frustrating at times and after so many years would have doubtless made one very defensive and intolerant in equal measures.

 

The book is an interesting insight as to why there are so many very fine organists around who have chosen different career paths outside of the traditional Cathedral route.

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