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Wayne Marshall


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Absolutely first class. Well deserved.  A guy who possesses prodigious talent in several musical spheres.

Quite obviously a staggering number of members of this site  think the same.

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Happy birthday Wayne! I’ve been fortunate to hear him live twice. Once at a Proms recital in 2008 (which he finished off with an improvisation on themes from Turangalîla), and more recently at the 25th anniversary recital for the Dunblane Cathedral Flentrop in 2015, an recital alternating Bach chorales with improvisations on the chorale themes. Both were extraordinary events.

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I wish we could see more of these awards going to organists and our top cathedral/church musicians. As well as these drying up, Lambeth seems to have abandoned its degree awards which could be counted upon - think Dearnley, Birch, Jackson, Thurlow, Massey et al, who all got Lambeth DMus degrees, but although Durham gave James Lancelot a DMus in his final couple of years, just some new-spun medal from Welby, which, to me doesn't cut the mustard. FRCO at 16 and Organist etc at Durham for a huge period of loyal and devoted service with notable milestones prior. Not good enough, I feel. How long does James O'Donnell have to wait for something like a CVO? He has been in charge at countless royal events in the Abbey, and yet, no award - and Andrew Carwood, too... and many others. 

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James O' Donnell most certainly.  Though surely rather more than a CVO.  Many of this predecessors have had knighthoods, and, as you say, he and his choir have performed at a number of important Royal occasions. Besides he is one of the best choir trainers even and a great organist.

Martin

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Interesting that you and Martin Cooke should mention Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s in this context.  It is more than half a century since the organist of either had a knighthood.  In fact in the case of Westminster Abbey it is closer to 70 years!  The last there was Sir William McKie 1941-1963, and his three immediate predecessors, starting with Sir Frederick Bridge, 1882, were all knights.

Martin C will be aware that Sir John Dykes Bower was the last knighted organist at St Paul’s, from 1936-1968 (where have those years gone?)!  Of JDB’s five immediate predecessors four had knighthoods, beginning with Sir John Goss, 1838, the only exception being Charles Macpherson.

There have been cases of cathedral organists declining knighthoods, although not in recent times I fear; they don’t seem to be offered.  Two that I know of were Samuel Sebastian Wesley and his successor once-removed William Prendergast whose 90 years-old recording I posted recently.  I’m sure there have been others.

Dates quoted above are of appointments and periods in office, not the date of knighthood being conferred.

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Christopher Dearnley was given an LVO towards the end of his time, I think, but was not promoted to CVO upon retirement as he certainly deserved... at the very least. And we have seen others fairly recently who have made massive contributions at the organ or with choirs given an MBE which feels insulting to me. Yet in other walks of life it seems almost automatic that awards come one's way, followed by promotions after a fairly short amount of time. Of course, some of this inactivity might be attributable to those in high office in our cathedrals etc who don't submit names for honours.

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1 hour ago, OwenTurner said:

I've no feel for this but how does the frequency of awarding of honours to cathedral musicians compare to honours to senior clergy, perhaps deans?

Interesting. Deans of prestigious cathedrals normally have high status and a lovely house but I’d say that cathedral organists and DoMs are much more likely to have job satisfaction or at least hugely rewarding moments. I may well not be in kilter with the general thoughts of this community on this but I have a feeling the time for a massive overhaul of the honours system, or its abolition, is overdue.

To avoid doubt I’m in awe of Wayne Marshall’s prodigious talent and musicianship.

 

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Subject to correction, I can’t recall any cases of cathedral deans being honoured in the sense that you mean.  The two Archbishops and the Bishop of London are automatically Privy Counsellors (hence Right Honourable).  

On the subject of salaries, in his famous pamphlet A Few Words on Cathedral Music and the Musical System of the Church, with a Plan of Reform (1849), Samuel Sebastian Wesley argued that cathedral organists should be on equivalent terms to bishops “as they are the bishops of their profession”.  I don’t think that parity has been achieved yet!

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James O'Donnell is a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory (K.C.S.G.) a Knighthood conferred by the Pope. Not a UK Knighthood but a Knighthood all the same!

I have no feeling for the UK honours system despite the fact that both of my parents held the C.B.E. My mother's was a Military C.B.E. given for services during WWII. She was a brave woman. My father always maintained that he wasn't sure why they gave him his!!!! It came in the 'Wilson honours list' and he always maintained that, perhaps, it was because he voted Labour!!! I'm absolutely sure that politics does play a part in there somewhere!!!

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2 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

Subject to correction, I can’t recall any cases of cathedral deans being honoured in the sense that you mean.  

The Deans of St Paul's and Westminster are customarily appointed KCVO upon retirement. Christopher Dearnley was appointed LVO upon retirement, and John Scott on his departure for the USA. The current Archbishop's decision not to award Lambeth Doctorates in the short term and their replacement by the Cranmer Awards is much regretted.

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5 hours ago, innate said:

 I may well not be in kilter with the general thoughts of this community on this but I have a feeling the time for a massive overhaul of the honours system, or its abolition, is overdue.

The honours system has long been utterly devalued by cronyism, such that it is impossible without inside knowledge to distinguish the genuinely deserving (of which I'm happy to count Wayne Marshall as one) from the rest.  I have personally known civil servants who were recommend for, and given, gongs for doing nothing more than their routine jobs, simply out of favouritism.  These were only minor gongs, to be sure, but that simply reflects the circles in which I revolved, ever decreasingly.  I have absolutely no doubt that, at least where political service is concerned, the same principles apply right to the top of the tree.

I have heard it claimed that the process of devaluation began when Harold Wilson gave gongs to the Beatles and that it was a deliberate Socialist policy. I have no idea about that, but it does rather seem that, outside the mutual back-rubbing cliques, gongs are very much weighted towards those held in high, popular esteem. Indeed, we now have a system for public nomination. Sadly, the talent in our organ lofts is of no interest to most of the public and not regarded as of national importance, so they no longer get a look-in.  Perhaps you can't have it both ways.  The more you give gongs to those who are not well known publicly, the more you may be accused of cronyism.

I would happily abolish the whole system. It wouldn't damage my lifestyle.

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48 minutes ago, wolsey said:

The Deans of St Paul's and Westminster are customarily appointed KCVO upon retirement. Christopher Dearnley was appointed LVO upon retirement, and John Scott on his departure for the USA. The current Archbishop's decision not to award Lambeth Doctorates in the short term and their replacement by the Cranmer Awards is much regretted.

In the back of my mind I thought the Deans of Westminster and of Windsor had some kind of honour, but was unable to find anything readily.  Less excusable was my omission of Trevor Beeson, Dean of Winchester from 1987-1996, now 94 and happily still with us, having outlived two of his successors.  Earlier, in 1976, while Canon Treasurer of Westminster, the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred on him the Lambeth degree of MA, he was appointed OBE in the 1997 New Years Honours “for services to the Church of England, particularly as Dean of Winchester Cathedral” and he was awarded an honorary DLitt by Southampton University in 1999.

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5 hours ago, Vox Humana said:

The honours system has long been utterly devalued by cronyism, such that it is impossible without inside knowledge to distinguish the genuinely deserving (of which I'm happy to count Wayne Marshall as one) from the rest.  I have personally known civil servants who were recommend for, and given, gongs for doing nothing more than their routine jobs, simply out of favouritism.  These were only minor gongs, to be sure, but that simply reflects the circles in which I revolved, ever decreasingly.  I have absolutely no doubt that, at least where political service is concerned, the same principles apply right to the top of the tree.

I have heard it claimed that the process of devaluation began when Harold Wilson gave gongs to the Beatles and that it was a deliberate Socialist policy. I have no idea about that, but it does rather seem that, outside the mutual back-rubbing cliques, gongs are very much weighted towards those held in high, popular esteem. Indeed, we now have a system for public nomination. Sadly, the talent in our organ lofts is of no interest to most of the public and not regarded as of national importance, so they no longer get a look-in.  Perhaps you can't have it both ways.  The more you give gongs to those who are not well known publicly, the more you may be accused of cronyism.

I would happily abolish the whole system. It wouldn't damage my lifestyle.

Excellent post!

I don't really take much interest in who has been awarded this and who has been awarded that, but I'd hazard a guess that if examined closely it would demonstrate more than just an element of Londoncentricism!
As for the peerage and the House of Lords, I see it these days as nothing more than a free and comfortable retirement home for politicians and their cronies.

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I think the norm is for honours to be awarded when the recipient stands down from the relevant post - e.g. Dykes Bower, Dearnley, Scott, and there has been a move away from knights bachelor to the Royal Victorian Order, which is for personal service to the Sovereign,  and presumably immune from Political influence and cronyism.  Wm McKie got his early, in the Coronation Honours List.  Harry Gabb became a MVO in 1961, whilst still active as Organist etc., of HM Chapel Royal and Sub-organist of St Paul's.  I remember that we thought congratulations were in order, but nobody knew what MVO stood for!  So someone plucked up the courage to ask him.  His reply, delivered with a dead-pan face and a twinkle in the eye, was memorable but not particularly helpful:  "Merely Very Old".   He was 52.

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