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Online Recitals And Cameras In the Organ Loft


Choir Man
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A quick search on YouTube for 'Organ Recital' with results limited to last week throws up 20 results from UK pipe organs. I have excluded many fine performances from overseas organs and from notable organists playing toasters. The search hasn't included music played in services or anything not labelled as a recital. The list includes cathedrals, larger and smaller parish churches, other churches and colleges. Of course performances my exist on other platforms as well.

My point is, that as a result of lockdown, many UK organists are now bringing cameras into their organ lofts and sharing the experience of playing. In my opinion this makes the world a better place and I hope that this trend will continue as churches reopen and choirs are allowed to sing again.

I have commented before that I think many organists are often too shy and that many people are unaware of the skills required to make great music on the king of instruments. I have always maintained that if organs and organists are to thrive in the future, we need to ensure that we are as accessible as possible whilst also being inspiring. Technology forced upon us in lockdown helps reach the internet generation of young people and I hope that what has been started will continue to be built upon, and not put back in the cupboard when we get the hymn books out for the choir again.

Just for the record, here is the list of organ recitals that my basic search returned:
Bradford Cathedral
Norwich Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral
St Chad's Cathedral Birmingham
Bridlington Priory
Leeds Minster
The Temple Church, London
St Andrew, Holt
St Mary, Warwick
St Mary, Petworth
St Mary, Portsea
St Mary, Welwyn
St Mary, Kidlington
St Bees Priory
Fernhill Heath Baptist Church
Old St Paul's, Edinburgh
Jesmond United Reformed Church
New College, Oxford
Merton College Oxford

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Thank you for sharing that list. A wonderful idea for broadening our experience and enjoyment of organs during such a difficult time for so many.

But it begs a wider question of how could such events be put on a sustainable footing? The organist deserves his or her wages though there always have been those (myself included) who are willing to play for free. Can the widening up to new audiences offset the loss in income and cover the expenses that are needed to keep an organ in top condition?

In some sectors the answer is evidently yes - open source software nonetheless manages to pay its way for some people as an example. The challenge for organists and indeed organ builders will be how to exploit the new opportunities we have without losing all we have worked so hard to get.

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Ashley Grote did his excellent New Years Day recital from Norwich Cathedral with a camera in the organ loft. It is always good to see a view that, if you were in the Cathedral sitting in the Nave, you probably wouldn't get to see otherwise. I hope organists will continue with this once we are back to normal.

Dave

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1 hour ago, DaveHarries said:

Ashley Grote did his excellent New Years Day recital from Norwich Cathedral with a camera in the organ loft. It is always good to see a view that, if you were in the Cathedral sitting in the Nave, you probably wouldn't get to see otherwise. I hope organists will continue with this once we are back to normal.

Dave

I really enjoyed that recital. Since I watched it, YouTube keeps reminding me of other recitals at Norwich, but I haven’t found the time to watch any of them yet. 
 

I know even before lockdown some churches had cameras set up so the audience could get a closer view of the player. They were probably the exception. Hopefully it becomes the norm from now on. 

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  • 1 month later...

Organist Frantisek Beer ( in Slovakia) has hundreds of videos up, all are very good quality taken from the choir loft of each church he plays at, he mainly records the hymns from the JKS hymnal, he has 638 videos in this playlist. There is a wikipedia page about him, he's not just some guy who plays the organ in these little churches! Many of the towns he plays in have small populations,  900 in  one of them, but they have some very nice well kept up tracker organs in them!

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCHrxi2J1yG7JLc-KxyQSdAuqleSFvyCN

 

 

 

 

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Here's a couple of samples, you really need good sound reproduction, headphones or as I have- a home stereo with wall speakers connected to the computer

 

 

 

 

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