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Mander Organs
Martin Cooke

New OUP publications

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I have just taken delivery of Oxford Hymn Settings for Organists Volume 2 (Epiphany) and would strongly recommend it to church organists of reasonable ability. There are 20 new pieces here each with something to say and I feel it's a few bob well spent. Almost every piece here is a real gem - some are really delightful miniatures. Volume 1 (much larger) hasn't quite appeared yet but is imminent. You can read up about these volumes and see sample music on the OUP website.

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Volume 1 of this new series is out now - Advent and Christmas. This is a very substantial volume and, although I haven't tried many of the pieces, I would say that it will become extremely popular. Unlike many OUP albums of the recent past (Wedding Music, Christmas Music, Ceremonial Music, Lent and Easter, for example) these are brand new compositions so you won't find you have to but how ever many pounds worth of music it is just to get the two new pieces you thought you wanted. Not cheap, but very good quality, full of interest, and an album for any of us interested in composition and improvisation to learn something from, I feel.

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Sadly I don't have a local music shop that stocks this sort of publication, so before I buy online, would you say the quality of the compositions was superior to those published by other publishers, particularly those, say, who are based in the Suffolk area...? Incidentally, when I was last in London and browsing through the music in one shop, I picked up a book published by said Suffolk based publishers that had been rescanned and published from a copy full of an organist's pencil markings!

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Incidentally, when I was last in London and browsing through the music in one shop, I picked up a book published by said Suffolk based publishers that had been rescanned and published from a copy full of an organist's pencil markings!

 

Well at least it didn't have guitar chords added. I hope.

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Well at least it didn't have guitar chords added. I hope.

Tee hee!

 

Yes, I would say that, whereas most of my Suffolk-based publisher's albums go unopened year on year except to play a tiny number of quality pieces - (I'm thinking June Nixon, whose compositions I rate very highly, Chris Tambling, Richard Lloyd, Malcolm Archer and Philip Moore) - I see this generally as a collection of intelligently crafted short pieces. Two or three that I have perused in the Epiphany album are quite beautiful - I think particularly of a Trio on Carlisle by David Blackwell, for example. I know one or two will immediately be scornful of the chosen subject, but Ashley Grote's piece on Be still is also delightful. I am very interested in what people like him and James Vivian are composing - are they the new Heathcote Stathams and William Harrises of the new day, as it were? There is a feeling of fresh air and a new twist about these volumes and not one of 'same old, same old,' and I really look forward to going through them carefully. If one wants to avoid spending too much, perhaps start with the (smaller) Epiphany album and take stock - there are several pieces in here which translate perfectly sensibly to other seasons and it wouldn't be necessary to wait until Epiphany to launch them into your repertoire.

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I think Martin must be our OUP publicist!!

 

I decided to plump for these and ordered on Sunday evening (going for both meant a spend of over £20 which qualified for free delivery from the OUP website). They arrived at my work today in a box the size of a shoe box and stuffed with protective paper (for two volumes containing a combined total of less than 200 pages)!

 

I've had a flick through and am certain there will be items in here of use and value to me. As one would expect, the books are well-presented and the print crystal clear. The pieces are very much miniatures (none more than 6 pages that I can recall, many only 2) and there is a pleasing variety of styles and moods. I applaud the inclusion of suggested registrations - they can be easily adapted to suit resources but give a flavour of what the composer is trying to achieve. There is definitely a nod towards our American cousins with some of the tunes chosen, but that is perhaps no bad thing. While some obviously fit with seasons, others are less clear-cut, hence as Martin says much of the contents of the Epiphany volume could be used elsewhere in the year, although I struggle to see the relevance of 'Salzburg' to Epiphany - I don't know of it paired with anything other than 'At the Lamb's high feast we sing'.

 

I've not yet had a chance to get down to church and try these and a full appraisal will take some time because every piece is new. The good thing is that these volumes are out in plenty of time for the seasons they represent, giving ample time for study, and I trust others will follow to complete the series.

 

One thing though - and don't tell pcnd - there's another piece based on his favourite Kendrick ditty!

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...One thing though - and don't tell pcnd - there's another piece based on his favourite Kendrick ditty

 

GAK....BLEAH....

 

Great - and I was having such a nice evening off.

 

Probably not worth ordering these, then....

 

 

 

(*Goes off to burn another tambourine*)

 

 

 

It is a bit like mentioning the Scottish play.

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Sorry - it's late and I feel like making mischief so I will confess to selecting SJS for the final hymn last week, followed by the Fanfare on the same from the OUP Lent/ Easter book.

 

No one complimented it, but then neither did they complain - as they frequently do when given a list from CP; I think for 2 pins they'd get rid of it. Not sure anyone recognised the tune buried in there - so much for my careful forward planning!

 

Am tempted by this new volume from OUP, though.

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I think Martin must be our OUP publicist!!

 

I decided to plump for these and ordered on Sunday evening (going for both meant a spend of over £20 which qualified for free delivery from the OUP website). They arrived at my work today in a box the size of a shoe box and stuffed with protective paper (for two volumes containing a combined total of less than 200 pages)!

 

I've had a flick through and am certain there will be items in here of use and value to me. As one would expect, the books are well-presented and the print crystal clear. The pieces are very much miniatures (none more than 6 pages that I can recall, many only 2) and there is a pleasing variety of styles and moods. I applaud the inclusion of suggested registrations - they can be easily adapted to suit resources but give a flavour of what the composer is trying to achieve. There is definitely a nod towards our American cousins with some of the tunes chosen, but that is perhaps no bad thing. While some obviously fit with seasons, others are less clear-cut, hence as Martin says much of the contents of the Epiphany volume could be used elsewhere in the year, although I struggle to see the relevance of 'Salzburg' to Epiphany - I don't know of it paired with anything other than 'At the Lamb's high feast we sing'.

 

I've not yet had a chance to get down to church and try these and a full appraisal will take some time because every piece is new. The good thing is that these volumes are out in plenty of time for the seasons they represent, giving ample time for study, and I trust others will follow to complete the series.

 

One thing though - and don't tell pcnd - there's another piece based on his favourite Kendrick ditty!

"Salzburg" is given as a choice along with "St Edmund" to "Songs of thankfulness and praise" in at least one RC hymnbook

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