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Definitely Lee.

It was said of him that he “could make an organ smoke”, and  when playing the responses he accompanied the words “There is none other that fighteth for us ... “ using the pedal ophicleide.

There’s an interesting entry in Watkins Shaw’s “The Succession of Organists” about his appointment as Organist of Christ Church Oxford while still an undergraduate - and much more.  

Lionel Dakers used to tell a story about HL’s impromptu visit to St George’s Windsor and playing unrehearsed some complex work which he hadn’t looked at for quite some time, at the conclusion of which he turned and said “And there were enough wrong notes to fill five baskets”!  I can’t guarantee that I have recalled the number of baskets correctly, but I don’t think it was the full Biblical twelve.

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Thank you for these replies.  I had always thought Ley should rhyme with "see", but when I was organist at Henbury Church, Bristol, as a student, the Vicar always pronounced it to rhyme with "say" and since he was an Oxford man and may even have remembered HL, it sowed the seeds of doubt in my mind!

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When a choir boy at Christ Church I rescued from a pile of rubbish Ley's chant book.  All the psalm chants and responses for every day and every special occasion that can be imagined, written in beautiful script with not a correction required from one end of the book to the other.  Each chant written by an organist of Ch Ch was meticulously marked as such in red ink.

Paul

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That’s amazing, Paul. Do you still have it? In the end it should perhaps go back to Christ Church for an honoured place in the Library.

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That's a good thought.  Yes, I still have it (it's hardbound with a crest on the front).  It's time I got in contact with the organist anyway (for other personal reasons).

Paul

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On 17/01/2019 at 01:20, David Drinkell said:

Thank you for these replies.  I had always thought Ley should rhyme with "see", but when I was organist at Henbury Church, Bristol, as a student, the Vicar always pronounced it to rhyme with "say" and since he was an Oxford man and may even have remembered HL, it sowed the seeds of doubt in my mind!

The only person I know with that surname pronounces it "Lay", matching the pronunciation of the wetlands of Slapton Ley and Beesands Ley in Devon. Whether Henry of that ilk also pronounced it that way I have no idea. Can Rowland tell us more?

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Well, he was a Devonian.  

I have never heard any other pronunciation than ‘Lee’, and I’m certain that was how Lionel Dakers pronounced it when recounting the tale about the baskets of wrong notes.  sbarber49 (above) also seemed very certain.  

Paul Hodges will doubtless remember how it was pronounced by Sydney Watson and others at Christ Church.

 

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Thank you!  As an afterthought it occurred to me that we must have heard it pronounced by precentors and Radio 3 presenters - the BBC used to be meticulous about these things.

I gleaned very little about pronunciation when searching on Google, but discovered that HL’s pupils included Ralph Downes and Sir Thomas Armstrong, and that Psalm 138 was sung to HL’s chant in D at Westminster Abbey in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI in September 2010.

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That chant (I presume it's the same, as he gives it to Ps 138 - it starts with an upward arpeggio) is in Db in Ley's book that I have.  For some reason, it has been slightly altered in Ley's copy, in pencil by another hand, changing the Alto's Db in the antepenultimate chord to Bb.

Paul

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40 minutes ago, pwhodges said:

That chant (I presume it's the same, as he gives it to Ps 138 - it starts with an upward arpeggio) is in Db in Ley's book that I have.  For some reason, it has been slightly altered in Ley's copy, in pencil by another hand, changing the Alto's Db in the antipenultimate chord to Bb.

Paul

As I expect you will remember, that revised reading was retained in Sidney Watson's chant book of 1960. Is the book you have dated, Paul? Interestingly, Oxford Chant Book No.2  (1934), which was edited by Ley and Stanley Roper, has a different and much weaker final quarter and also alters the alto and tenor of the third chord to make it a first inversion dominant chord. I am wondering which version is older.

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Well, my copy is in his manuscript, presumably from sometime well before the end of his tenure at Ch Ch (1909-1926)*; it doesn't have the other changes you mention either.

Paul

* Edit: Inside the front cover he dates the book as "compiled in 1910 & revised in August 1923".  The revision was the addition of a few alternative chants on spare lines, and in a couple of places a whole sheet of newly written out chants for a service glued over the old.  On reflection, the change in writing style (specifically of the capital letter B ) means that my comment above about "another hand" was wrong, and the change I first remarked on was his (but either later or undecided, as it's in pencil).

P

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Thank you very much!  I thought that your book would have to be the earlier one.  That presumably makes the weaker, OUP version a later revision - which I find very curious.  There are actually at least four different versions of that last quarter in circulation, although whether they were all made by Ley I don't know. To my mind the strongest is Ley's first thought with the II7b for the antepunultimate chord.

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Around that time the Oxford Psalter came out with pointing which tended towards a shorter reciting note and more syllables on the later notes in each part.  Use of such pointing might make some discords uncomfortable if they needed to be repeated a couple of times.

Well, it's a theory, anyway.

Paul

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