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Youngest Organist?


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There's a candidate at Winchester in the time of Samuel Sebastian Wesley, possibly either Kendrick Pyne or William Spark both articled pupils who ‘lived in’ with Wesley; Kendrick Pyne was almost a member of the family, and known to Wesley as “Kenny”.  Interestingly both protégés made their careers and found fame in the North at Manchester and Leeds respectively.  Wesley was admonished by the Dean and Chapter for “leaving the organ in the hands of a lad, however talented, but only … “.   Here my memory runs out; I thought it was ‘only 14 years of age’ but can’t say that with any certainty - and it might even have been younger.  I think Kendrick Pyne is the more likely candidate of the two.  The story is told in Paul Chappell’s “Dr S S Wesley, 1810 to 1876: Portrait of a Victorian Musician” (published Mayhew-McCrimmon, 1977).  Unfortunately I can’t lay hands on my copy at present, but maybe someone else can fill the gaps.  The dates should identify the young player.

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3 hours ago, Martin Cooke said:

It's hard to imagine, tbh. Didn't William Crotch give an organ recital in Westminster Abbey aged 3 - or something like it?? And Winter's Day is  charming little piece. I've downloaded the sheet music!

There is a print somewhere of 'The Infant Crotch' - but I can't find it!!

Percy Scholes gives that: "At four years old he was giving daily organ recitals in London" and "At eleven he was pupil-assistant to the organist of King's and Trinity Colleges, Cambridge

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Bravo to the cathedral for letting the youngsters showcase their skills, it's great that players of all abilities can have the opportunity to play in a major service.

Here's a clip of a young lad in Coventry - a few years older but, altogether more accomplished. 

 

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The clip from Coventry is remarkable - thank you for posting it. I love the cheeky glance and smile to the girl chorister at 3.24.

I'm glad, for everyone's sake, that no recording of my playing at age 11 exists 😱

 

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