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D'arcy Trinkwon


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I attended this recital yesterday, and boy did D'Arcy Trinkwon put that organ through its paces. Notwithstanding some out of tune pipes, which is to be expected to some degree given the very hot weather, and number of people in the cathedral that day, raising the temperature still higher, the organ sounded glorious, and we heard a staggering amount of colour drawn from it, and it was worth the trip from Liverpool to hear it.

 

I beg to ask why on earth we do not hear more his playing than we do, as his technique is staggering, and he far rivals many of our current "in house" recitalists who simply do not come up to scratch.

 

Allan Wicks was there and I spoke to him, he was clearly bowled over also.

 

Richard

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I attended this recital yesterday, and boy did D'Arcy Trinkwon put that organ through its paces. Notwithstanding some out of tune pipes, which is to be expected to some degree given the very hot weather, and number of people in the cathedral that day, raising the temperature still higher, the organ sounded glorious, and we heard a staggering amount of colour drawn from it, and it was worth the trip from Liverpool to hear it.

 

I beg to ask why on earth we do not hear more his playing than we do, as his technique is staggering, and he far rivals many of our current  "in house" recitalists who simply do not come up to scratch. 

 

Allan Wicks was there and I spoke to him, he was clearly bowled over also.

 

Richard

 

 

================

 

I quite agree that D'Arcy Trinkwon is a remarkable talent, and it could be that there any number of bad reasons why he is not heard more of.

 

Of the more respectable reasons, I wonder if the fact that he hasn't, doesn't and probably never will be involved in cathedral-music, may just have something to do with it?

 

Whilst holding many cathedral-organists and assistant-organists in high-esteem, it does seem to me that they have tended to be "the establishment" who dictate the pace, who tend to indulge in some degree of nepotism and who tend to dominate such bodies as the RCO.

 

If the organ is truly a "concert instrument," then it should be treated as such, and organists at venues where there is money, should surely be chosen on artistic merit rather than on the basis of "who knows whom?"

 

Maybe I fail to understand the true position, but when I look at America, where there are open organ-playing competitions, the emphasis seems to be on organ virtuosity and muscianship combined; the artistic level well into the stratospheric end of virtuosity and artistry.

 

So far as I can see, only the great St.Alban's festival works in this way, and has been the launching-pad for many young careers: people like Kevin Bowyer, for example.

 

I think Carlo Curley put this in perspective during a conversation, when he suggested that, "Full time cathedral organists have to be many things, which happens to include being an organist from time to time. The poor dears just don't have the time available to be professional performers."

 

Is it any wonder, I ask, why so many top organ-talents just pack their bags and move elsewhere?

 

Perhaps what we need is a more secular appreciation for the organ, which of course was very much the case in the days of W T Best and Edwin Lemare.

 

Perhaps it is also a measure of the UK especially, that quite extraordinary talents disappear without trace. One of my school-mates, at the tender age of 16, could play the entire Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor, from memory, and as a party piece at the organ, after playing the entire "Ad nos" to entertain us, he would rattle off the Middelschulte "Perpetuem Mobile" note for note.

 

Where is he now, you may well ask?

 

The answer is, I'm afraid, that I have absolutely no idea!!

 

The same question which is asked of Mr Trinkwon, might easily be applied to Jane Parker-Smith, who only very rarely gets a look in at English venues, where lesser mortals seem to do the rounds of the few remaining venues.

 

MM

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Guest Roffensis
Maybe the fee has something to do with it?

 

Not compared to what fees some ask.......more to the point, he first learnt at Canterbury under Wicks, as well as being Head Chorister, and had his grounding in that tradition. Like Carlo Curley and many others, he has since never gone for a cathedral post, why should he? prefering to devote his time to concerts. He actually plays all over the world, it is only here that we seem hell bent on recruiting the old stalwarts, many of whom should have been put out to grass yonks ago quite frankly, and are not in the same class.

Richard

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Guest Roffensis
================

 

I quite agree that D'Arcy Trinkwon is a remarkable talent, and it could be that there any number of bad reasons why he is not heard more of.

 

Of the more respectable reasons, I wonder if the fact that he hasn't, doesn't and probably never will be involved in cathedral-music, may just have something to do with it?

 

Whilst holding many cathedral-organists and assistant-organists in high-esteem, it does seem to me that they have tended to be "the establishment" who dictate the pace, who tend to indulge in some degree of nepotism and who tend to dominate such bodies as the RCO.

 

If the organ is truly a "concert instrument," then it should be treated as such, and organists at venues where there is money, should surely be chosen on artistic merit rather than on the basis of "who knows whom?"

 

Maybe I fail to understand the true position, but when I look at America, where there are open organ-playing competitions, the emphasis seems to be on organ virtuosity and muscianship combined; the artistic level well into the stratospheric end of virtuosity and artistry.

 

So far as I can see, only the great St.Alban's festival works in this way, and has been the launching-pad for many young careers: people like Kevin Bowyer, for example.

 

I think Carlo Curley put this in perspective during a conversation, when he suggested that, "Full time cathedral organists have to be many things, which happens to include being an organist from time to time. The poor dears just don't have the time available to be professional performers."

 

Is it any wonder, I ask, why so many top organ-talents just pack their bags and move elsewhere?

 

Perhaps what we need is a more secular appreciation for the organ, which of course was very much the case in the days of W T Best and Edwin Lemare.

 

Perhaps it is also a measure of the UK especially, that quite extraordinary talents disappear without trace. One of my school-mates, at the tender age of 16, could play the entire Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor, from memory, and as a party piece at the organ, after playing the entire "Ad nos" to entertain us, he would rattle off the Middelschulte "Perpetuem Mobile" note for note.

 

Where is he now, you may well ask?

 

The answer is, I'm afraid, that I have absolutely no idea!!

 

The same question which is asked of Mr Trinkwon, might easily be applied to Jane Parker-Smith, who only very rarely gets a look in at English venues, where lesser mortals seem to do the rounds of the few remaining venues.

 

MM

 

Proves the point....why????

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Proves the point....why????

 

===================

 

I'm not sure what point is being proven or why there remains a question mark or three, but expanding things slightly, perhaps we may care to consider the sacrifices which the absolute professional recitalist have to make.

 

Not only must there be a strict regime of rigorous, meticulous daily practise, there has to be single-minded determination to the point of obsession, a constant and often personally damaging degree of self-criticism, an absolutely overwhelming drive to succeed and cut new ground, and then the office-work of letters, refusals, agents, recording companies etc etc.

 

It's a lifestyle which suits only a select few at any one time, but thankfully, they shine a beacon in an otherwise ordinary world.

 

There also needs to something else......a technical assurance which goes beyond mere competence or academic attainment, and which often starts at a very young age.

 

The German organist Felix Hell was starting to be known when he was a mere 13 years of age, and of course, the same was true of the young Dupre. By the age of 16, Felix Hell was cutting discs (or whatever it is they do with CD's) of the major works, which included Mendelssohn, Liszt, Vierne and, I believe, Rheinberger; among other major items of repertoire. I recently listened to his performance of the most famous of the two Bruhns E-minor's, when Felix Hell was perhaps only 13 or 14, and it was staggeringly mature.

 

Then there are organists like the flambouyant Cameron Carpenter in America, who was obviously at the cutting edge of technique at a very young age, and following very much in the tradition of showmanship such as that established by the late Virgil Fox.

 

It seems to me, that in the UK, there is no real outlet for this sort of young, virtuosic talent, and yet, a few make it to the big time of international reputation and celebrity status.

 

If we perhaps suffer a certain national disease in the UK, it is a willingness to accept second-best as a suitable pedestal on which to place the lesser talents of the jobbing organist.

 

Where, I wonder, is the will and the financial resource which allows these talented youngsters to spread their wings and fly?

 

Sadly, no-one seems to make great things happen, but they still do, thanks to the resourcefulness of certain outstanding talents who refuse to compromise or accept anything less than cutting-edge perfection.

 

It is so easy to think that one has arrived, simply on the basis of one or two big works, but this is simply self-delusional and an example of the egocentric "wannabee" mentality of the worst kind.

 

In fact, I often wonder if we could ever produce again, in England, Scotland or Wales, the sort of talents represented by Wayne Marshall, D'arcy Trinkwon or David Briggs (to name but three). .

 

I recall listening to Jane Parker-Smith practise in a London Church, and it wasn't her panache and dazzling musicianship which most impressed me, but the sheer speed at which she took command of both organ and music. After just three attempts, the Lemare transcription of "Danse Macabre" was as good as anything I had heard prior, and yet, when I spoke to her, she was very quick to suggest that "it needed a lot work still."

 

I suppose that's the difference between ordinary and extraordinary.

 

For my own part, I simply couldn't muster the dedication, accept the sacrifces or tolerate the frustrations of professional organ-playing.

 

Fortunately for us, there were (and still are) a few knock-out performers around, and all strength to them in their endeavours.

 

MM

MM

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No surprise abt the quality of Trinkwon's recital. I do find the biography that he provides for programme notes rather tiresome and self indulgent. The basic factual details would suffice. Fees might have something to do with his lack of engagements but it might also have a lot to do with the way that the system operates. If Robert Quinney invites you to play a Sunday Afternoon recital at the Abbey, when you are drawing up your recital list who will you invite-Robert Quinney. Natrual that this reciprocity operates but it does work to exclude non cathedral organists.

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Cathedral musicians aren’t necessarily the best musicians, but they achieve 97% of the results on less than 3% of the practice. I think the talent is out there, but many people don’t want a career involving the church. If these people don’t want to get involved with the church, then how do you nurture their talent? :D

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I must say I'm dubious about the cult of virtuosity, often pursued , I'm afraid, at the expense of musicality. Like anyone else I'm impressed by (and deeply envious of) the sheer technical achievement of many so-called concert organists but often come away from their recitals feeling that it was somehow 'all too easy' and lacking in soul. Maybe it's because much of the repertory depends on digital dexterity, ear-tickling registrations and a suitably gratifying big noise at the end.

 

Yet ask these folk to play a simple Stanley voluntary or a selection of Bach CPs and, all too often, they haven't a clue what the music is all about. It's as if, having conquered the Himalayas, they can't be bothered with the lesser peaks. If and when they do occasionally include something more musically demanding in their programmes - such as Preston in his choice of the Schumann Six Fugues on BACH - we all murmur 'boring, boring'.

 

An unfair generalisation maybe, but so equally is the notion that most cathedral organists are somehow inferior executants and musicians. For an example of one who combines complete technical mastery with innate musicality - both tellingly communicated to his recital audiences - you surely have to look no further than John Scott.

 

JS

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I must say I'm dubious about the cult of virtuosity, often pursued , I'm afraid, at the expense of musicality.  Like anyone else I'm impressed by (and deeply envious of) the sheer technical achievement of many so-called concert organists but often come away from their recitals feeling that it was somehow 'all too easy' and lacking in soul.  Maybe it's because much of the repertory depends on digital dexterity, ear-tickling registrations and a suitably gratifying big noise at the end.

 

Yet ask these folk to play a simple Stanley voluntary or a selection of Bach CPs and, all too often, they haven't a clue what the music is all about.  It's as if, having conquered the Himalayas, they can't be bothered with the lesser peaks.  If and when they do occasionally include something more musically demanding in their programmes - such as Preston in his choice of the Schumann Six Fugues on BACH - we all murmur 'boring, boring'.

 

An unfair generalisation maybe, but so equally is the notion that most cathedral organists are somehow inferior executants and musicians.  For an example of one who combines complete technical mastery with innate musicality - both tellingly communicated to his recital audiences - you surely have to look no further than John Scott.

 

JS

 

 

====================

 

I would absolutely agree with what John Sayer says (that's almost poetic isn't it?)

 

Perhaps the main reason I go to Holland to recitals (which costs a fair bit of hard earned cash) is to hear MUSIC, which on the consoles they have, seldom enters the stratospheric reaches of virtuosity. Limited as they are by what is actually possible, I find that the musicianship is of a very high order; especially in period music played on period instruments.

 

As for "Phil T's" reply, I think I may disagree with him. I do actually think that many are among the finest of musicians, but their chosen path is that of church music, which is quite a different undertaking.

 

"Parsfan" also makes the point about reciprocal bookings, which is a better choice of words than the "nepotism" I used. Perhaps the best reasoning is that of simple expediency, but whatever the actual method, the whole thing can end up being exclusive and sometimes almost incestuous.

 

As for encouraging organists as musicians, perhaps Holland and Germany have the right approach. Of course, here in the UK, the chances of having paid professional artists, paid by national arts funding, would be unthinkable. They'd rather spend the money on all the public service "initiatives" which never work and which cost a fortune.

 

MM

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====================

 

I would absolutely agree with what John Sayer says (that's almost poetic isn't it?)

 

Perhaps the main reason I go to Holland to recitals (which costs a fair bit of hard earned cash) is to hear MUSIC, which on the consoles they have, seldom enters the stratospheric reaches of virtuosity. Limited as they are by what is actually possible, I find that the musicianship is of a very high order; especially in period music played on period instruments.

 

As for "Phil T's" reply, I think I may disagree with him. I do actually think that many are among the finest of musicians, but their chosen path is that of church music, which is quite a different undertaking.

 

I wasn’t knocking cathedral musicians; they are all highly talented people. I was trying (badly it seems) to point out that they achieve fantastic results at the drop of a hat. A friend sang “Carols with Kirri” at Coventry; he said that she spent so much time to achieve the results she got. To my ears, the choir who accompanied her were as good, but they just turned up and sang; minimum time, maximum musicality. All fantastic musicians. :blink:

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I wasn’t knocking cathedral musicians; they are all highly talented people.  I was trying (badly it seems) to point out that they achieve fantastic results at the drop of a hat.  A friend sang “Carols with Kirri” at Coventry; he said that she spent so much time to achieve the results she got.  To my ears, the choir who accompanied her were as good, but they just turned up and sang; minimum time, maximum musicality.  All fantastic musicians.    :blink:

 

 

==============

 

Indeed, and with very young singers so often.

 

Doesn't this demonstrate that "technique" and "reading ability" are the fundamentals which permit "musicianship" to take wing?

 

As for messing around, I can understand this. I've spent hours pouring over a few bars, just to satisfy MYSELF, where other would just brush it aside or fail to notice the difference between the spotted and lesser-spotted varieties.

 

Digressing slightly, but still relevant to innate musicianship, I was the person who gave an opera singer his very first professional engagement. He turned up, he presented the music for the accompaniment, discussed certain nuances with me, asked me to stick to the metronome markings, discussed particular aspects of phrasing and then sang.

 

The rehearsal can't have taken more than 45 minutes, and then it was off for a cup of tea, a bit of grooming and straight into the 90 minute concert, which he sang from memory.

 

To accompany singing of that calibre is a privilege, and to be humbled in the process is no bad thing.

 

His name was Paul Nilon (Opera North) and at the time, he was just 11 years of age!

 

That's the equivalent of Felix Hell, at the age of 16, playing the "Ad nos" from memory at a major venue, or the young eleven-year-old South Korean pianist who wowed everyone with a memorised "Chromatic Fantasy" by Bach.

 

Some are just born to do it, whilst the rest of us mere mortals just gape in disbelief.

 

Young pretenders beware......there are small children who can do better.

 

MM

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====================

 

I would absolutely agree with what John Sayer says (that's almost poetic isn't it?)

 

Perhaps the main reason I go to Holland to recitals (which costs a fair bit of hard earned cash) is to hear MUSIC, which on the consoles they have, seldom enters the stratospheric reaches of virtuosity. Limited as they are by what is actually possible, I find that the musicianship is of a very high order; especially in period music played on period instruments.

 

As for "Phil T's" reply, I think I may disagree with him. I do actually think that many are among the finest of musicians, but their chosen path is that of church music, which is quite a different undertaking.

 

"Parsfan" also makes the point about reciprocal bookings, which is a better choice of words than the "nepotism" I used. Perhaps the best reasoning is that of simple expediency, but whatever the actual method, the whole thing can end up being exclusive and sometimes almost incestuous.

 

As for encouraging organists as musicians, perhaps Holland and Germany have the right approach. Of course, here in the UK, the chances of having paid professional artists, paid by national arts funding, would be unthinkable. They'd rather spend the money on all the public service "initiatives" which never work and which cost a fortune.

 

MM

Thanks for that MM. I should be practising the Alain Trois Danses actually, but for what it's worth and while I finish my coffee -

1. I think the concert/cathedral organist distinction is a totally meaningless one - there are good players and less good players. Concert players haven't always given the finest concerts in London in recent years; some have been pretty lacklustre. I am not going to name names. I'd say the honours were pretty equally divided. (I only use London as an example because that's where I've heard most of them).

2. Reciprocal bookings - yes, it does work like that here to some extent, but it's pretty challenging to get onto fine instruments abroad, because exactly the same thing happens there - look through the lists of recitalists at well known Dutch venues; a is clearly inviting b, who will return the favour or is a former pupil. Not many foreign names to be seen. I know of many fine players in the UK whose attempts to get a foot hold overseas are either ignored or rebuffed with something approaching brusqueness - if anything I would say that it's easier for mainland Europeans to get in to play in the UK than vice versa. A little while back I was approached by a reasonably well known overseas player, asking for a concert. Keen to open things up a bit, we agreed a huge fee by our standards - remember that the home team in many places has to play without a fee to keep their series afloat at all, so we were subsidising his visit - and I also assisted in providing contacts for a a very nice UK tour. Promises of similar assistance, strangely, have failed to materialise, and communications from me are now going unanswered. S/he's done pretty well out of us I think, but we're not likely to repeat the experience in a hurry. We have also, incidentally, had a big name soloist here, who played very fast and very loud with lots of wrong notes.

3. Cathedral organists in general understand that fees in the UK are going to be minimal, know the problems and can live with it; players from abroad who approach us start from a position of wanting 3 nights in a hotel and a £600 minimum fee. Dream on - we simply can't afford it. I have more than once agreed to take a lower fee than originally negotiated because the budget in June wouldn't stretch to the sum agreed in December.

Rant over.

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Thanks for that MM. I should be practising the Alain Trois Danses actually,  but for what it's worth and while I finish my coffee -

1. I think the concert/cathedral organist distinction is a totally meaningless one - there are good players and less good players. Concert players haven't always given the finest concerts in London in recent years; some have been pretty lacklustre. I am not going to name names. I'd say the honours were pretty equally divided. (I only use London as an example because that's where I've heard most of them).

2. Reciprocal bookings - yes, it does work like that here to some extent, but it's pretty challenging to get onto fine instruments abroad, because exactly the same thing happens there - look through the lists of recitalists at well known Dutch venues; a is clearly inviting b, who will return the favour or is a former pupil.  Not many foreign names to be seen. I know of many fine players in the UK whose attempts to get a foot hold overseas are either ignored or rebuffed with something approaching brusqueness - if anything I would say that it's easier for mainland Europeans to get in to play in the UK than vice versa. A little while back I was approached by a reasonably well known overseas player, asking for a concert. Keen to open things up a bit, we agreed a huge fee by our standards - remember that the home team in many places has to play without a fee to keep their series afloat at all, so we were subsidising his visit - and I also assisted in providing contacts for a a very nice  UK tour. Promises of similar assistance, strangely, have failed to materialise, and communications from me are now going unanswered.  S/he's done pretty well out of us I think, but we're not likely to repeat the experience in a hurry. We have also, incidentally, had a big name soloist here, who played very fast and very loud with lots of wrong notes.

3. Cathedral organists in general understand that fees in the UK are going to be minimal, know the problems and can live with it; players from abroad who approach us start from a position of wanting 3 nights in a hotel and a £600 minimum fee. Dream on - we simply can't afford it. I have more than once agreed to take a lower fee than originally negotiated because the budget in June wouldn't stretch to the sum agreed in December.

Rant over.

 

 

================

 

Stephen has my empathy on this. I've also organised a few international recital series and bumped into similar problems; robbing Peter to pay Paul in order to pay Herr v.d.S his dues.

 

But doesn't this again prove the paucity of available funding from bodies such as the Arts Council, or whatever new title they may have given themselves?

 

Ponder upon the amount of public money spent of football and sports generally, at which "we" seem to be particularly poor, generally speaking. London may not have a first-class concert hall, but East London will have a state-of-the-art sports city in the not-too-distant future, which will then be made available to every loser in the land once the Olympic circus leaves town.

 

It is depressing even to contemplate my next-door neighbour, who gave me the most miserable, almost tearful resume of England's World Cup effort.

 

"We've got to improve," he blubbed.

 

"We?" I asked.

 

"Well, we're not good enough," he whimpered into his sleeve.

 

"We?" I repeated the question.

 

This is a man who is so unfit, he couldn't run down the stairs if the house caught fire! They would need a crane just to remove his charred remains!

 

Meanwhile, we have musicians and choirs (in cathedrals and elsewhere) who get viurtually zilch.

 

Nuff said! Rant over!

 

MM

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================

Ponder upon the amount of public money spent of football and sports generally, at which "we" seem to be particularly poor, generally speaking. London may not have a first-class concert hall, but East London will have a state-of-the-art sports city in the not-too-distant future, which will then be made available to every loser in the land once the Olympic circus leaves town.

 

It is depressing even to contemplate my next-door neighbour, who gave me the most miserable, almost tearful resume of England's World Cup effort.

 

"We've got to improve," he blubbed.

 

"We?" I asked.

 

"Well, we're not good enough," he whimpered into his sleeve.

 

"We?" I repeated the question.

 

This is a man who is so unfit, he couldn't run down the stairs if the house caught fire!  They would need a crane just to remove his charred remains!

 

Meanwhile, we have musicians and choirs (in cathedrals and elsewhere) who get viurtually zilch.

 

Nuff said! Rant over!

 

MM

 

Maybe the “Singing Estate” and the Blackbird Leys Community Choir is the thin end of the wedge? How do you raise the profile of this type of music, how do you bring it to the masses? :blink:

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Some interesting comments here. Perhaps as someone who plays the organ for fun, but takes seriously the issue of listening to organists play both live and on CD, I can offer a different perspective.

 

D'Arcy Trinkwon gave a recital on Saturday at Canterbury Cathedral which seems to have been a success. For me, there is no issue as to whether an organist works for a living as a concert artist or in a cathedral. I simply want to know - is he/she any good? And for Mr Trinkwon, there isn't much to go on. To my knowledge, he has yet to make a CD recording, and he is not yet a name like David Briggs, Jane Parker-Smith, Thomas Trotter, Wayne Marshall or DGW, who are all known quantities (clue: they have all burned a CD or two). So most of those making the pilgrimage to Canterbury are doing so on the basis of blind faith, or the hope that David Flood knows something the rest of us don't.

 

Which leads me to my second point, and a personal bete noir. We can be sure that there is at least one thing David Flood knows that the rest of us don't - the programme! Now there are some artists, not just organists, where the programme is a secondary consideration - the Alfred Brendels, Maurizio Pollinis, Itzhak Perlmans or John Scott's of this world are a sure thing. However, for the rest, who are mere mortals, what they are playing will always be a major consideration as to whether you feel the investment in a night out is worthwhile. And yet, all too often the programme for organ recitals remains a big secret right up until after you've stepped over the front doorsetp and paid the admission fee. In this age of home entertainment, everyone needs to do a bit more to entice people out of their digital age homes.

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Some interesting comments here. Perhaps as someone who plays the organ for fun, but takes seriously the issue of listening to organists play both live and on CD, I can offer a different perspective.

 

D'Arcy Trinkwon gave a recital on Saturday at Canterbury Cathedral which seems to have been a success. For me, there is no issue as to whether an organist works for a living as a concert artist or in a cathedral. I simply want to know - is he/she any good? And for Mr Trinkwon, there isn't much to go on. To my knowledge, he has yet to make a CD recording, and he is not yet a name like David Briggs, Jane Parker-Smith, Thomas Trotter, Wayne Marshall or DGW, who are all known quantities (clue: they have all burned a CD or two). So most of those making the pilgrimage to Canterbury are doing so on the basis of blind faith, or the hope that David Flood knows something the rest of us don't.

 

Which leads me to my second point, and a personal bete noir. We can be sure that there is at least one thing David Flood knows that the rest of us don't - the programme!  Now there are some artists, not just organists, where the programme is a secondary consideration - the Alfred Brendels, Maurizio Pollinis, Itzhak Perlmans or John Scott's of this world are a sure thing. However, for the rest, who are mere mortals, what they are playing will always be a major consideration as to whether you feel the investment in a night out is worthwhile. And yet, all too often the programme for organ recitals remains a big secret right up until after you've stepped over the front doorsetp and paid the admission fee. In this age of home entertainment, everyone needs to do a bit more to entice people out of their digital age homes.

 

Quite often recitalists have to pay themselves to be on a CD, and some don't want to, or need to. Some don't see CD recording as the be all to whether you or good or not. DT is extremely good, and if you care to look at his website, not least his huge repertoire, he is unmatched. If we do not take "risks" and venture to new territory and other Organists we are on a road to stagnation. Quite frankly I think the whole music scene regarding organ music is already very stagnant.

 

Make no mistake, the recital was excellent at Canterbury, and despite negative remarks one hears that Canterbury does not have an organ, believe me it does, and still a very fine one at that. The combination of a vibrant and bold instrument was matched by the same qualities in the player. You all missed a treat, and for me, having heard many recitalists, it is one recital memory that I will ever "hear" in my head. Furthermore, D'Arcy Trinkwon is prefectrly charming, and I found him actually very unassuming. Unlike some.

R

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If we do not take "risks" and venture to new territory and other Organists we are on a road to stagnation. Quite frankly I think the whole music scene regarding organ music is already very stagnant.

 

 

 

===================

 

I see that d'Arcy Trinkwon has performed in the Czech Republic.

 

:blink:

 

MM

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Stephen Farr makes an interesting point about concert visits to the UK by overseas organists.

 

Over the years I, a bumbling amateur, have been quite undeservedly lucky - through a combination of cheek and reasonable fluency in German & French - in gaining access to a wonderful galaxy of European organs - Weingarten, Ottobeuren, Jakobi Hamburg, Ratzeburg, Naumburg, Freiburg, St Sernin, Albi, to name but a few, and each has been a totally memorable and humbling experience.

 

In almost every case I've been most graciously received by the organist, and have felt at a total loss on how to repay such generosity. Some have modestly said, "Perhaps you could help with a few contacts for organ concerts in England....."

 

Hmmm - a difficult one. Usually I find myself explaining that a) the choice of venues with organs on a par with their magnificent instruments is limited, to say the least, :blink: audiences are likely to be pretty meagre and c) the fees will probably not even cover their travel costs.

 

I don't know what the answer is. I'm told that in the great days of "Wednesdays at 5.55 at the RFH", Ralph Downes was unable to offer the big overseas names much more than their train or air fare.

 

JS

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In fact, I often wonder if we could ever produce again, in England, Scotland or Wales, the sort of talents represented by Wayne Marshall, D'arcy Trinkwon or David Briggs (to name but three). .
Talents like these are never going to arrive by the bus load, but I have every faith that every now and again a new one will appear. By far the most sheerly musical organ recital I have heard in recent years was by Andrew Dewar, who won the interpretation competition and the audience prize at the 2005 St Alban's festival. Definitely one to watch in my view.
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This topic of obtaining bookings abroad is clearly problematic. The current St Sulpice series:

 

http://www.stsulpice.com/Docs/concerts.html

 

only has one recital by a British organist; Thomas Trotter. This may reflect that they only are interested in organists in the front rank who have established an international reputation with CDs etc.

 

French organists seem to fare better. The co-titular of St Sulpice, Sophie-Veronique Cauchefer-Choplin, has done well in the number of UK recitals she has given and seems to trot the globe. At the Temple Church, tomorrow, Jerome Faucher plays and Pascal Reber is at All Souls next Monday.

 

I think that the French do rather well because of one word: improvisation. They bring us something that our players can't provide when they play abroad. Despite the over-inflated reputation of some of our own improvisers, the French show is how it can and should be done.

 

I sometimes think it is easier for overseas players to obtain recitals in London that for those located in the North of England to do so. When was the last tine John Scott Whiteley or Philip Moore gave a recital in London?

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This topic of obtaining bookings abroad is clearly problematic. The current St Sulpice series:

 

http://www.stsulpice.com/Docs/concerts.html

 

only has one recital by a British organist; Thomas Trotter. This may reflect that they only are interested in organists in the front rank who have established an international reputation with CDs etc.

 

French organists seem to fare better. The co-titular of St Sulpice, Sophie-Veronique Cauchefer-Choplin, has done well in the number of UK recitals she has given and seems to trot the globe. At the Temple Church, tomorrow, Jerome Faucher plays and Pascal Reber is at All Souls next Monday.

 

I think that the French do rather well because of one word: improvisation. They bring us something that our players can't provide when they play abroad. Despite the over-inflated reputation of some of our own improvisers, the French show is how it can and should be done.

 

I sometimes think it is easier for overseas players to obtain recitals in London that for those located in the North of England to do so. When was the last tine John Scott Whiteley or Philip Moore gave a recital in London?

 

Rubbish!

 

They don't do it for three reasons:

 

1) they've rarely heard of anyone from here - they are better with German organists, but amongst many reasons it's because reciprocal recitals are easy to arrange and direct travel is easy. On the whole French players aren't that interested in playing in England because their repertoire and our organs (in our relatively small churches cathedrals and their acoustics) just don't match well. And when they do come they clearly don't understand how the organs here work so they play on the full organ all the time - and that's before we get into pedalboards and stop control issues

 

2) cost - travel plus accomodation plus a fee all adds up - very few places in Europe pay a large fee ... more than €500 and you're doing very well and there's the audience risk factor, and which works the same way here. Whether in France, Germany or England when you put on an unknown player the number attending drops, and so does your income (and possibly then your sponsorship). The French also like minimal organisation - it's going to be hassle for them, but hey, Germans are easy to deal with and usually speak French fluently

 

3) they are interested in Germans playing German music and so on. But understandably the English only ever want to play French music in France.

Why would the French want to hear that - again!

 

There are no more French players playing here than vice versa.

 

And as for improvisation, I think that we are starting to beat the French at their own game.

 

Listen to our best players in improvisation. There are many more than just Briggs and Baker ... Allcoat, and the assistant organists at Westminster Chichester and St Albans Cathedrals are fabulously inventive and very versatile. And what's more they ALL can improvise in more styles than the sub-Cochereau French stuff which passes for good improvisation over there. I've heard them do everything from early French and north European baroque through Germanic Romantic and English, and more modern neo-classical and later styles with real use of counterpoint. But of course if you just want a quick fix and bit of crashing around ...

 

Do you attend St Albans or Haarlem competitons, where I've heard some of the French competitors play and they're often amongst the worst, making the most horrible, ear splitting, self indulgent, joyless and frenetic noise that is just 'modern' and violent in its effect with no apparent relationship to given themes? And when asked to do something with a bit of technical and stylistic discipline it's a disaster area. Sweeping generalisation I know - but then I'm replying to one!

 

As for your last point, well John Scott Whiteley gave at least one excellent recital last year in SE England that I know of. Does Phillip Moore play recitals seriously any more? He's not 'Organist' of York Minster (that's JSW!)

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One name I would add to the list of outstanding British improvisers is Mark Wardell, assistant organist at Chichester. I heard him improvise a suite during a recital at Winchester Cathedral a couple of months ago and was amazed at his skill and sheer talent.

 

Re. Alsa's point - yes - I've found foreigners know very little about English organ music and enjoy discovering more about it - whether it's baroque stuff like John Stanely (who no one on the continent seems to have heard of) or Stanford. And it's surprising how well it can sound on continental organs, too! (even if purists sniff that it's not authentic). So if you're going over the channel, be sure to take some british organ music as well - your hosts will love it and they'll get something out of it!

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