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Strictly - a poser;


Martin Cooke

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This is partly connected to that other thread about organists being second class citizens...

 

A little bit of a debate going on at home last night... after watching the final of Strictly... could the concept be translated to music? Of course, I have no idea good those amateur dancers are in professional terms - (are we talking about chalk and cheese?) - but it seems to me to be impossible to imagine that you could take a group of people away from their day job, and with no previous training at all, get them up to the standard required to play, say, the Emperor Piano Concerto, or the Mozart Clarinet Concerto - or, perhaps a Widor Symphonie? Is that right? [i realise it doesn't matter is it's right or wrong as the populace wouldn't be interested anyway!.]

 

And can you imagine training someone from scratch to accompany evensong - you know, three psalms using psalter and chant book, Murrill in E and Blessed be the God and Father - that sort of thing - Oh! And an 'in' and 'out' voluntary - perhaps a little improvisation before the last verse of the hymn to cover the collection!!

 

And yet, the people who do this day in day out get virtually no recognition at all. I happened to be looking at the website of our just-departed Rector who has gone to a new parish. One of the menus says - 'PEOPLE.' The Rector, Curate and several assistants are mentioned along with the churchwardens, virger etc, but no mention of the organist.

 

Watch out for the New Years Honours again - how many organists will be listed?

 

 

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There was a programme a few years ago where the comedienne Jo Brand was coached almost from scratch to get through JSB's Toccata (not the fugue) in D minor on the RAH organ. She so impressed herself that she then ordered a loudspeaker organ which was installed in her shed.

 

It's not my intention to be sniffy or dismissive - I think (hope?) it was the sort of programme which might have attracted the interest of others who otherwise might not have thought about the organ at all.

 

(Subsequent edit: there's a whole thread about this on the forum entitled 'Jo Brand at the Albert Hall' which I didn't know about when writing the above post earlier today. Assuming I can make the link work, it's here:

 

http://mander-organs-forum.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/1086-jo-brand-at-the-albert-hall/?hl=brand

 

)

 

CEP

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The D minor Toccata, for the most part, lends it self to that sort of thing, doesn't it? The opening bars could be demonstrated and copied easily, as could the spread chords. the rest is mostly easy formulae. Even the triplets near the end, which are perhaps the trickiest to master under normal circumstances, reduce down to the chord of G, B flat, C sharp and E.

 

Finding other pieces which are equally simple in that way is more difficult. I have more than once coached beginners to play the first few pages and ending of the Widor Toccata because they didn't want to disappoint relations who were getting married.

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This is partly connected to that other thread about organists being second class citizens...

 

And yet, the people who do this day in day out get virtually no recognition at all. I happened to be looking at the website of our just-departed Rector who has gone to a new parish. One of the menus says - 'PEOPLE.' The Rector, Curate and several assistants are mentioned along with the churchwardens, virger etc, but no mention of the organist.

 

Watch out for the New Years Honours again - how many organists will be listed?

 

 

I can relate this to the recently broadcast documentaries on Canterbury Cathedral. Although I'm sure it was unavoidable to have to include the background sound of the organ, the BBC made sure that no direct mention was made of the organ or organist. A shame, as I was looking forward to at least a short interview.

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I can relate this to the recently broadcast documentaries on Canterbury Cathedral. Although I'm sure it was unavoidable to have to include the background sound of the organ, the BBC made sure that no direct mention was made of the organ or organist. A shame, as I was looking forward to at least a short interview.

 

Yes - I had thought of alluding to this very point in my original post—conversely, we spent ages with the person who manages the stewards. [still no news on the supposed new organ at Canterbury, is there??]

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