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Rosemary & Thyme

Guest Andrew Butler

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A cathedral organist - with Novello Bach under his arm?  :angry::


I don't pretend to understand all of the allusions here, but I can think of at least one occasion when I have seen a cathedral organist actually *playing* from a Novello Bach edition.


It was Roger Fisher giving a recital in the Bute Hall of Glasgow University sometime in the early 1970's. The second or third piece was the fifth Trio Sonata and it was memorable for two reasons other than the performance.


Firstly the fact that Roger Fisher stood up and removed his jacket before beginning to play - he didn't quite roll up his sleeves but I believe that he adjusted his cuffs quite carefully.


Secondly, his page turner didn't realise that rather than writing out the first movement in it's entirety, the Novello edition just had a "da capo" marking requiring one to turn back a couple of pages. When the page turner completely missed the necessary turn back, Fisher reached out and turned the pages himself with enough force to produce a loud report that rang out like a rifle shot.


A few years later I met Roger Fisher and he commented that while most of his repertoire only required a few weeks of work before a performance, there were two exceptions which he felt needed 6 months of solid practice - the Bach Trio Sonatas and "anything by Dupre" - I don't remember if I asked him whether those pieces also required him to remove his jacket.

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  • 2 years later...
Guest Echo Gamba

If I remember, the episode in question was filmed, I think, at Chichester Cathedral. I have forgotten the exact plot, but the cathedral organist (can't recall the actor) concocted an alibi for murdering, and disposing of the body, just before evensong, while a young pupil played the voluntary - manuals only. He arrived in the loft and began to play the choir in, manuals & pedals. Pam Ferris's character commented on the "lack of depth" during the manuals-only piece, and added "ah! that's better!" when the improvisation started. (I don't know who was actually playing the music)

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