MAB Posted September 22, 2006 Share Posted September 22, 2006 I am playing in the Winchester lunchtime series in a couple of weeks and wondered if anyone could point me towards the up to date specification on the internet. So far as I can see, the NPOR specification is rather out of date as it does not include the Nave organ. Staying on this subject, I wonder if there is a thread worth developing here on the questin of cathedral lunchtime recitals. I have played in a number of series over the years and have had a whole range of experiences. Nowadays I am a more or less seasoned performer with, if I may say so, all the right names on my CV. Even so, getting a date at many cathedrals can be exceptionally difficult. It would be probably not be sensible to name individual buildings on this public forum, but suffice to say that at a number of cathedrals, I am given the warmest welcome and made to feel a real guest. A reasonable amount of practice time is offered (and honoured), a token payment towards expenses is made and one is not regarded simply as an unwanted nuisance for a couple of hours. Winchester, incidentally, falls firmly into this category ! Other places are very different. At one cathedral, where I have actually played twice before, once at the invitation of the very eminent director of music, my 6 recent e mails to the assistant organist went unreplied. When I pointed out that this was, perhaps, less than courteous, I received a brusque dismissal being told that it was simply not possible to give me a date. I politely requested an explanation to prevent me bothering them unnecessarily in the future. I am still waiting for a reply. In that case, I am pretty sure that the lunchtime recitals were offered simply to the mates of the person concerned who could offer a prestigious date in exchange. I cannot make such an offer, but is that the point ? If that is the case, is it not more courteous simply to say so ? A very well known establishment promised me a date to be agreed in the forthcoming season. I know that a very highly regarded organist had been approached following my enquiry and he gave me a glowing reference. When I kindly reminded them of this 3 months later and suggested we might get our diaries out, I was told vaguely that all dates had gone and if I wanted to be considered in the future, and was very lucky, they might be so good as to consider me. Another cathedral assured me that they had a 3 year waiting list. When I happened to bump into the assistant at a party a few weeks later, on the spot he offered me a date 3 weeks later. At another cathedral, I was booked to give the lunchtime recital. I was telephoned that morning to be told, unfortunately, that the organ (which was in a parlous state) had finally given up the ghost. Many apologies but they would be delighted to offer me a fresh date. Still waiting. Finally, at another cathedral, I turned up at my appointed practice time only to be looked at in amazement by the (non - musical) staff, conducting some other function in the building, that I should be so deranged as to hope / want / expect to practice on the instrument before the concert. If there is one unifying theme I hear it is that cathedral musicians are 'desperately busy'. I am sure they are, but I am tempted to reply that holding down, as I do, a demanding job from Monday to Friday yet still managing to maintain (I hope) a professional standard of playing, I am really quite busy too. Yet when clients write to me in the office I regard myself as having let them down if they do not get a reply the same day, even if that reply is only to say 'thank you for your enquiry - I have not forgotten you and will get back to you as soon as I can'. I am also tempted to go further and point out that if, as I have always thought, music is a supreme gift of God, and if, as I have always thought, christians implicitly owe a ministry of hospitality to their neighbour, what sort of message does this send out to those who volunteer their musical gifts, at no charge, to promote the organ and its music in the cathedral concerned ? Does this ring any bells out there ? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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