Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral


Choir Man
 Share

Recommended Posts

6 hours ago, Choir Man said:

"The organ’s primary role, however, has been to enhance the daily services of the cathedral, fulfilling the mandate of Vatican II, which stated that ‘[the] pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendour to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things’. Capable of providing gentle aid to prayer or a brassy fanfare for a civic procession, it can accompany anything from a solo chorister to an orchestra and a congregation of thousands."

That's the first time I have heard of that.  Bearing in mind how many CofE churches are now going all 'happy clappy', I may decide to become a Roman Catholic!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, John Robinson said:

That's the first time I have heard of that.  Bearing in mind how many CofE churches are now going all 'happy clappy', I may decide to become a Roman Catholic!

On the other hand, Vatican II also decreed e.g. that Latin should remain the norm for worship (with the vernacular only being allowed as an exception where local conditions made it desirable) and that chant should be the musical norm.

I’m not sure quite how well these mandates are working out in practice ....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Dafydd y Garreg Wen said:

On the other hand, Vatican II also decreed e.g. that Latin should remain the norm for worship (with the vernacular only being allowed as an exception where local conditions made it desirable) and that chant should be the musical norm.

I’m not sure quite how well these mandates are working out in practice ....

They're not!!! A few places have gone back to the 1962 Missal, some occasionally sing the Common of the Mass in Latin but, generally, it is, musically, a fairly dismal affair - and in France it is even worse!!!

10 hours ago, John Robinson said:

That's the first time I have heard of that.  Bearing in mind how many CofE churches are now going all 'happy clappy', I may decide to become a Roman Catholic!

I'm sure you are being funny John but, if you're not - I wouldn't bother - because you will be desperately disappointed - musically anyway! And I speak as one who did leave the Church of England  and succeeded to Rome!  It was a long time ago and, before anyone makes assumptions, it, most certainly, wasn't over the Ordination of women!!!!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the 1980's I conducted a lot in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool. Friends who knew the building warned me about the acoustic and how difficult it was. I didn't find it so but, my background, as a 'cellist, playing concerti in concert halls all over Europe helped me considerably!

I remember Terence Duffy ringing me up and asking if, by chance, the Sunday after I would take a group up there to sing the morning High Mass as the Cathedral choir was making a recording that afternoon. Ten of us, eight singers, an organist and myself, went up and did the Monterverdi 1640 Mass. The organist had fun playing extravagant French music, I think he played the Langlais Te Deum and we sang some Plainsong and some other Italian Polyphony. It was a remarkably easy place to sing in for such a small group.  With a big choir it was easy for the organ to drown out the singers - the sound went over the top of them into the great space! I seem to remember Philip Duffy telling my organist that hymns should be accompanied on 'no more than Great 4 coupled to Swell 4' (or something like that!).

I'm pleased that the organ is getting a 'service and MOT' I always found it a fine instrument for the building, ideal for the liturgy and architecturally fitting for the building. I think Gibberd drew the façade in his original plans - but I stand to be corrected on this. 

(As an aside I remember being told that, in the music library, there were upwards of 1 million copies of music! - certainly, in the Duffy's day, the music was imaginative - the very best from an ancient tradition through to that which Vatican II promulgated)  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, S_L said:

They're not!!! A few places have gone back to the 1962 Missal, some occasionally sing the Common of the Mass in Latin but, generally, it is, musically, a fairly dismal affair - and in France it is even worse!!!

It’s amazing/amusing how often one is told that something (like the almost total disuse of Latin or chant) is “because of Vatican II” when it’s not in the decrees, and quite often directly contrary to them. (Of course, “because of Vatican II” isn’t quite the same as “in accordance with the decrees of Vatican II”, but that’s generally the implication.)

Not that this is a peculiarly Roman Catholic thing. How many Anglicans know that the canon law of the Church of England expects them to go to church every Sunday?

But I digress ....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Dafydd y Garreg Wen said:

It’s amazing/amusing how often one is told that something (like the almost total disuse of Latin or chant) is “because of Vatican II” when it’s not in the decrees, and quite often directly contrary to them. (Of course, “because of Vatican II” isn’t quite the same as “in accordance with the decrees of Vatican II”, but that’s generally the implication.)

Not that this is a peculiarly Roman Catholic thing. How many Anglicans know that the canon law of the Church of England expects them to go to church every Sunday?

But I digress ....

I wasn't a Roman Catholic at the time of Vatican II but, from what I learnt from my late wife, who was, there was a lot of misunderstanding especially concerning music!

'Guitar swinging Nuns', a technical musical term, were often to blame - but often with the best intentions though! I also remember conducting in St. Peter's in Rome and a past organist of Lichfield Cathedral writing the most amusing letter of warning. He warned me of a Nun, complete with guitar, who was liable to interrupt the proceedings! (that wasn't, I don't think, with the best of intentions!!)

I think there still is a lot of misunderstanding - and it will take years to undo the damage that has been done - if ever!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Incidentally, I only discovered recently that Gregory Murray’s People’s Mass was originally written for the Latin text of the ordinary (in 1950).

The version we all know and love (hem hem) is an adaptation of this original to fit the English translation: hence the addition of “new” to the title.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, S_L said:

They're not!!! A few places have gone back to the 1962 Missal, some occasionally sing the Common of the Mass in Latin but, generally, it is, musically, a fairly dismal affair - and in France it is even worse!!!

I'm sure you are being funny John but, if you're not - I wouldn't bother - because you will be desperately disappointed - musically anyway! And I speak as one who did leave the Church of England  and succeeded to Rome!  It was a long time ago and, before anyone makes assumptions, it, most certainly, wasn't over the Ordination of women!!!!

 

Given the continued ecumenical relations between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic church, presumably you mean 'transferring'. I'm not sure if it's any measure of success to describe the transfer of allegiance to the Bishop of Rome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 02/03/2021 at 16:02, Choir Man said:

Having read that it would be hoped they will respect the current voicing of the pipework of this instrument during the restoration. Given the results though from other recent work elsewhere I am not completely convinced of this. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I only discovered recently that Colin Mawby (RIP) produced an English version of C.H. Kitson's Mass in D in 1967, the year Liverpool's Catholic Cathedral was completed. IMHO this Mass (in the original Latin) is one of the best from its period for current liturgical use in parish churches.

Interestingly Cary published both editions.

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't recall any guitar-swinging nuns, and those I did know where lovely, if tough and quietly assertive - although my sisters may beg to differ. They certainly weren't responsible for the strumming and humming which began to take off in the early 80s, at least in the WIld West.

In one parish which I occasionally attended, the organ was an electronic "spinet organ" ( with offset keyboards and 1 short 13-note set of pedal sticks - is this a German/Dutch term?), complete with auto-chording, auto bass, and a funky rhythm section. The parish nun had thoroughly mastered this, and although it may offend the purist the result was always a selection of appropriate modern hymns and songs, well-played and nicely registered, and of course rigidly in time! As someone said above, a bit of a culture shock, but very quickly you realise that it's rather nice, gets people singing, adds some life to some of the particularly dreary "worship songs" of that era, and creates a nice atmosphere particular to that church, which after all is the point. The thought of "Hail Queen of Heav'n" sung to a rhumba beat still puts a smile on my face, not least because of the calypso music which was part of the backing track of my childhood.

"In order to fulfil a demand for communal hymn singing post Vatican II, but to avoid using established Anglican hymns, many Catholic Churches successfully adopted popular, rip-roaring, non-conformist hymns and, especially in the West Country, Welsh hymns". Discuss.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, S_L said:

I'm sure you are being funny John but, if you're not - I wouldn't bother - because you will be desperately disappointed - musically anyway! And I speak as one who did leave the Church of England  and succeeded to Rome!  It was a long time ago and, before anyone makes assumptions, it, most certainly, wasn't over the Ordination of women!!!!

 

I was indeed being funny, as I am an atheist and highly unlikely to join either the RC church or the CofE!
Strange, I suppose, that someone so interested in organs is not in the least bit religious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Response to a number of posts. I'm sorry if I have caused too much controversy or any offence - it wasn't intentional!

Contraviolone: I did, indeed mean 'transfer', 'come across' or whatever (susseeded?). I most certainly did not mean 'succeed' as in 'success'. I'm sorry if my spelling let me down, and, and I apologise if I am wrong, but I did smell a little sectarianism in your post!!! 

Damian: I'm afraid I know dozens of 'Guitar Swinging Nuns' and, as I said, often they had the very best of intentions. They did irreparable harm in parishes, schools and colleges up and down this country and the Catholic church in England is, in some places, still reeling from them! If you didn't experience this then you are indeed fortunate. I did!

John: I know a number of organists who play Sunday by Sunday who are not in the least religious! And, of course there are hundreds of others with a deep faith!!    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

S_L: I'm only vaguely aware of what I may have avoided in this respect. Being born in the mid 60s I suppose I lived through a period of change in Catholic church music, and experienced many types of church music from Latin Masses through to "modern". Also, due to geography, we went to a C of E primary school where I did get some exposure to the Anglican music tradition because of its links to its parish church, and I then went on to a boys' grammar school in Bristol run by the Christian Brothers which was also in a state of flux at the time and no longer had a musical tradition, so musical nuns had no particular influence on me.

My quip about Welsh hymns was serious - even then I wondered if it was a hankering after something substantial, and an implied rejection of dross. The words "folk mass" still have grown men climbing trees and pulling them up after them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In his Conference address at the RCO winter conference last weekend, John Rutter suggested it was a pity the Beatles had never written a folk mass, and reckoned it would have been an improvement on many of the efforts which so often fall under that description.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Beatles are the generation before mine, but it's not an idle thought. Anyone who's tried to perform Beatles songs knows that they are not easy! I used to be part of a Barbershop group, formed by gents from a church choir and friends, and we did a few Beatles numbers, arranged into 4 part harmony. Despite appearances, they are actually quite demanding to learn, and because of that equally rewarding to perform. I'm sure that's part of their continuing attraction. If only ...

The story of Paul McCartney waking up with the tune of "Yesterday" fully formed in his mind is well known.  I read today that Herbert Howells came up with the hymn tune "Michael" while eating his breakfast, having been invited to compose a new tune for an existing hymn. Oh for melodic gifts like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“It’s the right evening for a tune,” Snufkin thought. A new tune, one part expectation, two parts spring sadness, and for the rest just the great delight of walking alone and liking it.

He had kept this tune under his hat for several days, but hadn’t quite dared to take it out yet. It had to grow into a kind of happy conviction. Then he would simply have to put his lips to the mouth-organ, and all the notes would jump instantly into their places.

If he released them too soon, they might get stuck crossways and make only a half-good tune, or he might lose them altogether and never be in the right mood to get hold of them again. Tunes are serious things, especially if they have to be jolly and sad at the same time.

But this evening Snufkin felt rather sure of his tune. It was there, waiting, nearly full-grown– and it was going to be the best he ever made.

Tove Jansson Tales from Moominvalley

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, S_L said:

A Response to a number of posts. I'm sorry if I have caused too much controversy or any offence - it wasn't intentional!

Contraviolone: I did, indeed mean 'transfer', 'come across' or whatever (susseeded?). I most certainly did not mean 'succeed' as in 'success'. I'm sorry if my spelling let me down, and, and I apologise if I am wrong, but I did smell a little sectarianism in your post!!! 

Damian: I'm afraid I know dozens of 'Guitar Swinging Nuns' and, as I said, often they had the very best of intentions. They did irreparable harm in parishes, schools and colleges up and down this country and the Catholic church in England is, in some places, still reeling from them! If you didn't experience this then you are indeed fortunate. I did!

John: I know a number of organists who play Sunday by Sunday who are not in the least religious! And, of course there are hundreds of others with a deep faith!!    

You are wrong but no need to apologise. It was said in a little moment of jest. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Something tells me to make it clear that what irks me is music done badly or without preparation, not styles of music or people, which vary greatly, and good intentions are never doubted, as mentioned above. I don't think anyone wants discussions like this to become a shooting gallery.

My wife, when working as a paid church musician, puts it well when she says that she has often been asked to play music which she doesn't like or wouldn't choose herself, but liking it isn't the point - the important thing is to prepare everything carefully and then play it as well as you can, for the purpose and intentions of those who chose it. I like this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
On 03/03/2021 at 20:42, contraviolone said:

Having read that it would be hoped they will respect the current voicing of the pipework of this instrument during the restoration. Given the results though from other recent work elsewhere I am not completely convinced of this. 

They do seem to be rather nervous of upper-work. Anything above a 29th appears to be anathema. It will be good to hear the re-designed instrument in York Minster in the flesh, as it were, at some point. However, in that vast space, and with that acoustic energy, I wonder if they will miss their Choir Cymbal (29-33-36)?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, pcnd5584 said:

They do seem to be rather nervous of upper-work. Anything above a 29th appears to be anathema. It will be good to hear the re-designed instrument in York Minster in the flesh, as it were, at some point. However, in that vast space, and with that acoustic energy, I wonder if they will miss their Choir Cymbal (29-33-36)?

I mentioned related matters on a thread on Facebook recently, asking about the loss of the Cornet, Sesquialtera and Larigot, and was assured by someone in authority at the Minster that these would not be missed.
In addition, I believe that the new west shutters to the Swell box have made an enormous difference to the output in the nave.  Then there is the Ophicleide extension down to 32' on the same pressure as the Tuba Mirabilis.
I've only heard it on recordings so far, so what do I know?!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...