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New Years Honours 2022


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This is much deserved and I am delighted for him. But, I can't help reflecting that the woeful downgrading of honours to seriously good (church) musicians like Andrew and David Hill (and others) to just MBE is appalling overall. This and the seeming abolition of the Lambeth degrees is a great pity when these people dedicate their lives to our great and historic institutions and the choirs and young people who serve them, and work at an astonishingly high standard and then end up with one of the lowest awards available, and only then if someone remembers to put them forward. 

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Martin, I take your point but I think it is unfair to criticise the awards given to other named individuals.  Many factors are considered before an honour is awarded, including activities and qualities that may not be well known to you or me.  If the status of musicians is to be promoted, it is for all of us to lobby those who submit the nominations to ensure they fully reflect the person whose name they have put forward.  

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6 hours ago, john carter said:

If the status of musicians is to be promoted, it is for all of us to lobby those who submit the nominations to ensure they fully reflect the person whose name they have put forward.  

 

Any  individual or group of people can recommend someone to receive an honour. It's simply a matter of filing in the necessary forms which are available on the Internet. Following that, checks are made by various Government departments as to the suitability of the person recommended. The process takes about 12 to 18 months.

I noted, in the recent honours list that 'Services to Wheelchair Rugby' figured quite highly in the awards. Clearly those responsible for 'Wheelchair Rugby' got their act together a couple of years ago in a way that Church Musicians have not been able to!!!  

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7 hours ago, john carter said:

Martin, I take your point but I think it is unfair to criticise the awards given to other named individuals.  Many factors are considered before an honour is awarded, including activities and qualities that may not be well known to you or me.  If the status of musicians is to be promoted, it is for all of us to lobby those who submit the nominations to ensure they fully reflect the person whose name they have put forward.  

Thanks, John - yes, I take your point, too, and have amended my previous post, which I agree didn't take into account other factors that could or would have contributed to the other person's higher ranking honour which was unfair of me.

I appreciate, too, that we all have the opportunity to nominate people for awards and that to some extent this is in our own hands, but my point is that over the years, the grading of church musicians awards who ever nominates people, has been driven down so that someone who might, at one time have received something with a C at the beginning (CVO, CBE etc) now gets LVO/MVO or MBE. In the case of Lambeth degrees, many cathedral organists ended their days with a DMus (Cantuar) but that no longer happens. 

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2 hours ago, Martin Cooke said:

In the case of Lambeth degrees, many cathedral organists ended their days with a DMus (Cantuar) but that no longer happens. 

And called themselves 'Doctor' - which then leads us into another argument whether those holding an Honorary Doctorate should, like those of us who worked for it, be entitled to be addressed as such!! Two past, north of England, organists spring to mind, neither University Graduates, both holding Honorary Doctorates from a local University, both deferentially referred to as 'Doctor .............. - which, in my mind, implies some kind of academic status!

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I have read somewhere, possibly on an earlier thread, that Lambeth degrees aren’t ‘honorary’ - but can’t vouch for this.  It seems that for these purposes Cantuar personally confers valid degrees!  I believe the recipients conventionally wear the DMus or MusD robes and hood of their first or other degree of their own university.   A select few possess both degrees; in the case of Francis Jackson, Dunelm 1957 and Cantuar 2012 - 55 years apart!

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Since we are continually having it banged into our faces that " we are a fair and equal society, " surely it would be better if this totally antediluvian shebang was consigned to its rightful place  -  the incinerator?

In the real world though, this system still grinds on, and so in a way it does reflect the attitudes/tastes/priorities ,whatever, of society at large, and if these individuals are from the world of finance, sport ,entertainment , politics etc.  Well, so be it.

As has been stated, the individuals for these gongs are put forward and awards are made on that somewhat dubious factor called  " merit".   Question being, what exactly constitutes merit?    Answer, being in the wider public eye, apparently!

I somehow detect a certain level of good old fashioned snobbery and elitism here with regards as to who is , or more to the point who isn`t,  suitable for being awarded a gong.

Put more simply, to qualify, I`m afraid one has to be able to prove the  worth  of the proposed recipient, whatever the criteria and not merely by the fact one may have  belted out hymn tunes for x number of years in a cold and  draughty building for the  benefit of a minority of the public.

A Wonderful New Year To One And All  

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13 minutes ago, Adnosad said:

…  …  the fact one may have  belted out hymn tunes for x number of years in a cold and  draughty building for the  benefit of a minority of the public.

I can only agree with a single word of this summary: “minority”, and, yes, it is a sad reflection that high art can be widely perceived as belting out hymn tunes - “England, das Land ohne Musik”?

Nevertheless, New Year greetings reciprocated to you, Adnosad, in the certain expectation that you will continue to provide us with similarly challenging thoughts!
 

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3 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

A select few possess both degrees; in the case of Francis Jackson, Dunelm 1957 and Cantuar 2012 - 55 years apart!

I should add that I wasn't, for one moment, suggesting Francis as one of those who styled himself Dr. and was, yet, only holding an honorary degree. I am well aware that he holds the Durham D. Mus by examination.

But I am struggling to think of any holder of a University Doctorate degree and also a Cantuar Doctorate in the North of England - but I'm sure that Rowland will enlighten me!!

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3 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

I have read somewhere, possibly on an earlier thread, that Lambeth degrees aren’t ‘honorary’ - but can’t vouch for this.  It seems that for these purposes Cantuar personally confers valid degrees!  I believe the recipients conventionally wear the DMus or MusD robes and hood of their first or other degree of their own university.   A select few possess both degrees; in the case of Francis Jackson, Dunelm 1957 and Cantuar 2012 - 55 years apart!

Yes, I think that is right, in regard to the Lambeth degrees not being honorary, but 'proper' degrees. As far as the robes go, the custom always used to be that they wore the robes of the Archbishop's university and, I think I am correct in saying that this was always Oxford or Cambridge until George Carey who was London. he awarded Lambeth degrees. I am not sure exactly what happened then, but there are pictures on line for, for example, June Nixon, wearing Oxford DMus robes after she was awarded a Lambeth DMus. Interestingly, there are also pictures online of Francis Jackson and Martin Neary at their Lambeth ceremony wearing Oxford robes, with Rowan Williams. He began his student career at Cambridge but undertook his doctorate at Oxford. The present Archbishop is Cambridge and online pics confirm that awardees are currently wearing Cambridge dress.  And, actually... see here.

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15 hours ago, Adnosad said:

Put more simply, to qualify, I`m afraid one has to be able to prove the  worth  of the proposed recipient, whatever the criteria and not merely by the fact one may have  belted out hymn tunes for x number of years in a cold and  draughty building for the  benefit of a minority of the public.

A Wonderful New Year To One And All  

I would rephrase that. One has to be able to tick the right boxes on behalf of the proposed recipient, which is not quite the same as "proving the worth". It is no coincidence that candidates already well known to, and indeed suggested by, the local civil servants responsible for initiating the more political of the awards find it quite easy to tick those boxes. Belting out hymn tunes may not qualify, but if you care to substitute pushing a pen with the right degree of sycophancy while simply doing your job, I could name names. I'm sorry to be so cynical, but I have observed how these things are done.

Genuine question: How many cathedral organists have been knighted just for being a cathedral organist. Bairstow maybe?  Sir Walter Alcock?—but he had played at two coronations (and went on to play at a third). Sir Herbert Brewer and Sir Ivor Atkins presumably earned brownie points by virtue of being mainstays of the Three Choirs Festivals during their tenures.

 

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4 hours ago, Vox Humana said:

Genuine question: How many cathedral organists have been knighted just for being a cathedral organist. Bairstow maybe?  Sir Walter Alcock?—but he had played at two coronations (and went on to play at a third). Sir Herbert Brewer and Sir Ivor Atkins presumably earned brownie points by virtue of being mainstays of the Three Choirs Festivals during their tenures.

 

John Dykes Bower? I think his only other work was teaching at the RCM and some work with the RCO. He was Hon Sec for a number of years but whether this was before he got his knighthood, I don't know. I feel there are people today who have been responsible for the music on many major occasions who seem to be taking an awfully long time to gain recognition at all, JDB was CVO for many years before he retired, and Harry Gabb was MVO/LVO for a long time before being promoted to CVO, on retirement, but in addition to being Sub at St Paul's, he was Organist and Composer to the Queen at the Chapel Royal, St James' Palace.

I think most of JDB's predecessors were knighted - Stanley Marchant, George Martin, John Stainer, John Goss... but not Charles Macpherson

WIlliam McKie and Ernest Bullock were both knighted.

Douglas Guest only reached CVO despite being at the Abbey for nearly 20 years.

Simon Preston is CBE but his career has encompassed much more than just the Abbey.

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I guess that would be true of Goss and Martin. McKie's knighthood was a personal gift of the queen in her coronation honours; he had previously played her wedding. But some of these were certainly more than 'just an organist'. Stainer, in particular, was so much more: a significant academic and instrumental in guiding government policy on music education. Marchant was principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Bullock resigned from the Wabbey during the war to become an academic in Scotland and was president of the ISM (and became principal of the RCM just after he was knighted), so, again, more than just an organist.

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1 hour ago, Vox Humana said:

I guess that would be true of Goss and Martin. McKie's knighthood was a personal gift of the queen in her coronation honours; he had previously played  her wedding. But some of these were certainly more than 'just an organist'. Stainer, in particular, was so much more: a significant academic and instrumental in guiding government policy on music education. Marchant was principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Bullock resigned from the Wabbey during the war to become an academic in Scotland and was president of the ISM (and became principal of the RCM just after he was knighted), so, again, more than just an organist.

Just have to comment upon your most marvellous descriptive name for that vast French/Gothic pile in London, now to be referred to as as " The Wabbey. "  This new term of reference could  now be introduced into common parlance!   It certainly appeals to my somewhat distorted/exotic sense of humour  :)

Anyway, to get back on topic, whatever the thoughts on this matter, we are still clinging on in quiet English desperation to a system devised by the Dear Conqueror of These Fair Islands.

One lives in eternal hope that when the inevitability of a  new monarch arises  (! )  there will be a sweeping out of the lumber room, but I fear this time-stained system  will remain in perpetuity; in fact it will probably descend even further into sycophancy, if that is possible.

Meanwhile, marvellous music will continue to be written and performed by dedicated and talented people of all genres, most of whom more than likely do not occupy their spare thoughts with " I wonder what I might get for this ?  Three hearty cheers for The Pleasure Principle.

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9 minutes ago, Adnosad said:

Just have to comment upon your most marvellous descriptive name for that vast French/Gothic pile in London, now to be referred to as as " The Wabbey. "  This new term of reference could  now be introduced into common parlance!   It certainly appeals to my somewhat distorted/exotic sense of humour  :)

Not mine, I fear. I wish it was!  It's already fairly common parlance. Even the Abbey's own Twitter feed is @wabbey.

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21 hours ago, S_L said:

I am struggling to think of any holder of a University Doctorate degree and also a Cantuar Doctorate in the North of England - but I'm sure that Rowland will enlighten me!!

Sadly, I can’t rise to your challenge!  (Incidentally, in the other context I never thought for one moment that you had been referring to the great Francis Jackson whom I heard at the Minster almost 70 years ago - a totally unforgettable experience!)

Racking my brain for more cathedral organist knighthoods, I drew a blank, but as examples from the ‘Wabbey’ have been allowed, and, as with Goss, going back as far as the 19th century, there was Sir Frederick Bridge.  As VH has pointed out these were probably due to the Royal connection, as also Sir George Elvey at Windsor.

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6 minutes ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

Racking my brain for more cathedral organist knighthoods, I drew a blank, but as examples from the ‘Wabbey’ have been allowed, and, as with Goss, going back as far as the 19th century, there was Sir Frederick Bridge.  As VH has pointed out these were probably due to the Royal connection, as also Sir George Elvey at Windsor.

S.S. Wesley (with no royal connections, save for having sung in the Chapel Royal as a boy) was offered the choice of a knighthood or a civil list pension for life. Being somewhat hard-nosed he had no hesitation in choosing the latter, tho’ he didn’t live to enjoy it for long. (Was not his widow, unusually, allowed to keep it as a special favour?)

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The offer of knighthood was, in a sense, the ‘gift’ of Gladstone.  Yes, Mrs Wesley received the Civil List pension.  To my knowledge a more recent Winchester organist, William Prendergast, was offered a knighthood by George V, but declined the honour, apparently saying that he did not feel worthy of it.

Although SS had a reputation for being parsimonious, according to Paul Chappell’s excellent biography, the Wesleys lived in some style.  

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Since the honours system seems to have recently become mainly for the benefit of sports and TV so called celebrities and civil servants doing their day to day job (not always very well), may I point out that Thomas Trotter was recently awarded the Queen's Medal for Music, given personally without all the dressing up and fuss, and I would suggest of much greater reward both to him and of significance to organists or those of us, like me, who admire your talents.

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6 hours ago, Vox Humana said:

Not mine, I fear. I wish it was!  It's already fairly common parlance. Even the Abbey's own Twitter feed is @wabbey.

And there was me thinking of you penning the moniker!     Never mind.     Needless to say you have probably guessed, correctly, that I do not bother with " Twitter " or that other media platform, what`s -its-name?  Ah yes - " Facebook ".

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1 hour ago, Jim Treloar said:

Since the honours system seems to have recently become mainly for the benefit of sports and TV so called celebrities and civil servants doing their day to day job (not always very well), may I point out that Thomas Trotter was recently awarded the Queen's Medal for Music, given personally without all the dressing up and fuss, and I would suggest of much greater reward both to him and of significance to organists or those of us, like me, who admire your talents.

This is an interesting point. If you read a list of all winners of the medal - and it is an impressive list - TT is the only recipient who is an organist and also the only one apart from the National Youth Orchestra who doesn't already hold what I would call a conventional honours award. Several have been knighted, and most are at least CBE. This includes John Wallace (CBE) who has won the Queen's Medal for Music in 2021.

I'm not quite sure any longer what that says to me or how fair it is pr what point I am making in a world where just about everything I grew up with is now standing on its head - possibly quite rightly... what do I know? - but it is an indisputable fact that the only organist on the list is the one person out of 16 who has not received a conventional honour and that brings me back to the point I was originally trying to make. 

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On 03/01/2022 at 07:24, Martin Cooke said:

[...]

I think most of JDB's predecessors were knighted - Stanley Marchant, George Martin, John Stainer, John Goss... but not Charles Macpherson

WIlliam McKie and Ernest Bullock were both knighted.

Douglas Guest only reached CVO despite being at the Abbey for nearly 20 years.

Simon Preston is CBE but his career has encompassed much more than just the Abbey.

Adding to what has been said above, Charles Macpherson died suddenly aged 57. Marchant and Bullock were knighted for their work as conservatoire heads.

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