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The Virgil Fox Phenomenon

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I think at this point I had better withdraw from discussions here in the future, if it is going to cause such controversy and unpleasantness.

Please don't. We would all be very much the poorer without your erudite and well-measured contributions.

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Please don't. We would all be very much the poorer without your erudite and well-measured contributions.

 

I heartily concur with the sentiments of Vox Humana in this matter.

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Guest Roffensis
I am quite glad he didn't.  He has been spared with the snobbish attitudes of those in their high organ lofts, as displayed here.  Call yourselves professional organists when you denegrate your fellow practioners in this way?  It is appalling, really.

 

Rubbish. Cathedrals are centres of excellence, and there are certain laws in music that should be respected. To rewrite Bach or any composers music is, as mentioned earlier by another informed and educated poster with insight, arrogant.

 

I well recall at St Georges Hall in Liverpool and the whole host of first rate organists we had up to the 80s, Hurford, Wicks, Dupre and other eminent French Organists, Jackson, the list would be impossible to challenge. Then things slipped into the bad taste era, despite Roger Fisher playing to a packed hall in 1980 in a recital I will never forget, we had to suffer one Organist with fitted tweetie bird for K 608, white hankies, and various trivialities that would make one cry for what has been lost. Everything brought down to common taste= rock bottom. Gimmicky and cheap. Now we have very few recitals there, and that is exactly what Fox helped. St Georges Hall has well nigh turned from first rank to Blackpool Tower and then into a virtual musical desert. No disrepsect to Ian Tracey, who incidently gave a very musical and informed recital at my own church.

 

R

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Guest Lee Blick
Gimmicky and cheap. Now we have very few recitals there, and that is exactly what Fox helped. St Georges Hall has well nigh turned from first rank to Blackpool  Tower and then into a virtual musical desert. No disrepsect to Ian Tracey, who incidently gave a very musical and informed recital at my own church.

 

R

 

That is ridiculous. How can Fox be responsible for that? But gentlemen, times move on, tastes do change. Venues like St. Georges Hall along with most concert halls is down to supply and demand. Perhaps it could be the public find the academic, sterile, clinical and sometimes souless performances and programmes from ecclesiastical organists a turn off? Not everyone aspires to reach the highest organ loft. More effort needs to be made to bring people on board to appreciate organ music. I believe people like Virgil Fox and Carlo Curley have done much to bring organ music to the fore.

 

It is not surprising to me how some people seem very high-minded in here and it probably reflects the sad state of organ playing in this country. Some people need come down from their ivory towers and smell the coffee and stop denegrating those who have chosen to express their talents in a different way to their own, perhaps? Fox and Curley are not bad organists by any stretch of the imagination.

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That is ridiculous.  How can Fox be responsible for that?  But gentlemen, times move on, tastes do change.  Venues like St. Georges Hall along with most concert halls is down to supply and demand.  Perhaps it could be the public find the academic, sterile, clinical and sometimes souless performances and programmes from ecclesiastical organists a turn off?  Not everyone aspires to reach the highest organ loft.  More effort needs to be made to bring people on board to appreciate organ music.  I believe people like Virgil Fox and Carlo Curley have done much to bring organ music to the fore.

 

It is not surprising to me how some people seem very high-minded in here and it probably reflects the sad state of organ playing in this country.  Some people need come down from their ivory towers and smell the coffee and stop denegrating those who have chosen to express their talents in a different way to their own, perhaps? Fox and Curley are not bad organists by any stretch of the imagination.

 

Dear Lee Blick:

 

This is a matter about which you have very strong feelings. I don't wish to challenge them but I would like, with respect, to contribute an observation or two.

 

In the case of Virgil Fox: he was a man of high intelligence with a superb conservatory background & training. On the one hand, he had the German school of Haupt through his private study with Middleshullte (sp.) and at the Peabody he had the Lemmens school through Louis Robert. His knowledge of harmony and counterpoint was comprehensive, as well as his study of music history.

 

In the case of Mr. Curley: his education is virtually nill. His enormous talent has never been informed by intelligence of any kind. His playing, often brilliant, lacks every essential that might give it distinction. It is playing that exhibits an extreme form of self-involvement that pretends to engage the public.

 

Fox was an artist who made MANY questionable musical choices.

 

Curley is like a brilliant performing circus animal.

 

About cathedral musicians: Our profession would be non-existent without the tradition and contributions of our cathedral organists. They represent an ideal of musical all-rounders toward which every young student might aspire.

 

Karl Watson

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Guest Lee Blick

But there would be no music if there were no people to play or listen to it! High musical standards and proper interpretation is one thing but the ability to communicate it and make the music come alive to an audience is important too.

 

And this is where we see the big difference between organists like Curley and Fox and your average cathedral organist. For the most part cathedral organists are hidden from view away in organ lofts and side aisles.

 

Sometimes I find organ recitals in this situation unrewarding often because you are staring down the nave. There is little human contact. In almost all other recital situations in the music world there are people you can see, there is human contact. For me, that is as important as the music.

 

So you have people like Fox and Curley and other organists who dare to look at it from a different perspective, they put their consoles out on audience view, they show a bit of charisma, they push boundaries and guess what, they get shot down in flames by the musical ecclesiastical elite.

 

With the state of British organ playing as it is, we need these so called 'mavericks' and more to give a more human face to our art even if it requires a measure of 'artistic license'.

 

It also begs the question of organ performance in civic venues such as town halls and concert halls. I would like to see a movement in which the classical organ is not just seen as just an instrument played in churches and cathedrals because we know that state of the church in this country, it is sadly in deep decline. To be honest to expect organ playing growth in this situation is going to be difficult.

 

I would like to see institutions and projects based around the town halls, concert venues and other places where there are rgans, including organ schools, groups and clubs with an emphasis on encouraging organ playing at home. Yes, that means, horror of horrors, digital organs and small pipe organs if pipe organ builders are able to finance research into building affordable organs for the home.

 

Maybe that way we will see a greater appreciation of organ and a growth of organ playing and the distance between the amateur organist and the musical elite diminish.

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But there would be no music if there were no people to play or listen to it!  High musical standards and proper interpretation is one thing but the ability to communicate it and make the music come alive to an audience is important too.

 

And this is where we see the big difference between organists like Curley and Fox and your average cathedral organist.  For the most part cathedral organists are hidden from view away in organ lofts and side aisles.

 

Sometimes I find organ recitals in this situation unrewarding often because you are staring down the nave.  There is little human contact.  In almost all other recital situations in the music world there are people you can see, there is human contact. For me, that is as important as the music.

 

So you have people like Fox and Curley and other organists who dare to look at it

from a different perspective, they put their consoles out on audience view, they show a bit of charisma, they push boundaries and guess what, they get shot down in flames by the musical ecclesiastical elite.

 

With the state of British organ playing as it is, we need these so called 'mavericks' and more to give a more human face to our art even if it requires a measure of 'artistic license'.

 

I am unconvinced that the perceived issue of the visibility of any organist is relevant. Personally I find it distracting to watch arms and legs flailing around - which, with regard to Carlo Curley, is certainly the case. I am quite happy to look at the architecture and absorb the beautiful music. However, I accept that there are people who feel the need to engage visually with a performer. Notwithstanding, there are, for example, may regular opera devotees who are unable regularly to afford seats with a good view, yet will, because of a genuine love of the music, sit for several hours behind a pillar, just basking in the beauty of the sounds emanating from the stage.

 

It is entirely possible to communicate to and entertain (in the best sense) an audience, without resorting to cheap tricks (such as having a fake bird in a cage) or camping around in a 'Dracula'-style cape. There is ample anecdotal and documentary evidence that both Cochereau and Dupré (to name but two concert organists) regularly played to packed houses. For that matter, people would flock to Nôtre-Dame each Sunday for the Mass and sit immobile in their seats until the last note of the Sortie had died away. Then, as often as not, there would be a heart-felt ovation from a very moved and touched audience.

 

Neither of these gentlemen felt it necessary to whip an audience into a frenzy of emotion by (for example) yelling over the music something to the effect of "Here we go! B ... A ... C ... H !!"

 

Incidentally, I am not sure what you mean by your phrase '...the state of British organ playing as it is' - as far as I am aware (and I have links with several cathedrals and oxbridge colleges, in addition to teaching in full-time education, so I think that I may reasonably be expected to have at least some idea of the state of British organ-playing) the situation is actually quite healthy. There are various courses, for example, Oundle, RSCM, Sarum College, The St. Giles Organ School - to say nothing of our national conservatoires, a number of which, in recent years, have radically overhauled their organ-teaching methods and aims, thus bringing their courses very closely in line with today's requirements.

 

There are also a good number of extremely talented young people who play superbly and are exerting a tremendous force for the good where they are. I know of one who gained his ARCO whilst still at school (not so unusual, I grant), then (whilst still at school) wrote a forty-minute Requiem, dedicated to the memory of one of his organ tutors. This Requiem has been performed at least twice already - the second time in the opening concert of this year's Southern Cathedrals Festival, at Salisbury Cathedral. I know of a number of others who are equally talented.

 

 

It also begs the question of organ performance in civic venues such as town halls and concert halls.  I would like to see a movement in which the classical organ is not just seen as just an instrument played in churches and cathedrals because we know that state of the church in this country, it is sadly in deep decline. To be honest to expect organ playing growth in this situation is going to be difficult.

 

I would like to see institutions and projects based around the town halls, concert venues and other places where there are rgans, including organ schools, groups and clubs with an emphasis on encouraging organ playing at home.  Yes, that means, horror of horrors, digital organs and small pipe organs if pipe organ builders are able to finance research into building affordable organs for the home.

 

Maybe that way we will see a greater appreciation of organ and a growth of organ playing and the distance between the amateur organist and the musical elite diminish.

 

However, it should be borne in mind that the primary purpose of a cathedral organ (and its organist) is to provide music to enhance the liturgy and to bring praise and glory to God.

 

I do not think that there is a need for pipe organ builders 'to finance research into building affordable organs for the home'. Quite simply - organs cost what they cost. Whilst it is true that one can pay a premium for a 'name', the cost of the raw materials and the further allowance for the great skill of an artist-craftsman means that these instruments will almost always be a luxury in a home. One can find a builder who is able to provide something cheap and usually second-hand - but these organs will almost certainly sound just that - cheap.

 

With reference to your last paragraph - I am all in favour of a greater appreciation of organs; however, your phrase '... the distance between the amateur organist and the musical elite diminish' has a 'sour grapes' feel to it. You have often complained about the 'ivory tower' or 'elite' nature of cathedral musicians, although this seems a little like complaining that the Duruflé Toccata is too difficult. Not all who aspire to be cathedral organists are able to cope with the rigours of the job - or, for that matter, consistently to produce the high standard of music which most people expect of them.

 

Certainly, I cannot imagine how the sentiment of your last sentence could ever be brought to fruition. Either the 'elite' organist would have to play less well - or the amateur would have to play rather better - at which point, surely, he would become one of your detested 'elite'!

 

Personally, I am grateful for the likes of David Briggs, Thomas Trotter, Catherine Ennis, Jane Parker-Smith, David Hill and many others who serve to further the cause of beautiful music, either in the context of a concert or a service, with integrity and vitality.

 

But no bird-cage.

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Oh dear!

 

We seem to have gone off at a tangent and with a degree of achrimony which really has no place in this discussion.

 

I hope Stephen Farr will come back into this arena, and perhaps draw a veil over the rather direct personal comments, which were not necessary.

 

This should not be a discussion about personalities or even about entertainment per se; though doubtless they will creep in somewhere.

 

MM

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Oh dear!

 

We seem to have gone off at a tangent and with a degree of achrimony which really has no place in this discussion.

 

I hope Stephen Farr will come back into this arena, and perhaps draw a veil over the rather direct personal comments, which were not necessary.

 

This should not be a discussion about personalities or even about entertainment per se; though doubtless they will creep in somewhere.

 

MM

 

I agree, to an extent, MM. However, when discussing the performance style of one so radical as Virgil Fox, this is bound to polarise opinions.

 

Having said that, I can quite happily enjoy his stunning and virtuosic performance of the Jongen Symphonie Concertante. It was a joy to observe and to listen - not least because Virgil Fox for once did not get in the way of the music.

 

Now why could he not always have played like that?

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So you have people like Fox and Curley and other organists who dare to look at it from a different perspective, they put their consoles out on audience view, they show a bit of charisma, they push boundaries and guess what, they get shot down in flames by the musical ecclesiastical elite.

I have no problem whatsoever with organists "playing the public" like a musical instrument. That's what entertainers do and that's what the public appreciates. I agree with you that if we had a few more of them then organ music would be much more popular.

 

However, that is just a question of personality. I would be prepared to bet that Fox and Curley would be just as popular without treating the music they play in such a cavalier fashion. The average audience is just not that discriminating - it's only we organists who worry about such things.

 

I can remember one recital I went to where a well-known organist, while not flamboyant and charismatic like the two gents under discussion, was very personable and engaging. His recital was delivered with great panache at speeds almost unrelievedly fast and furious, but with a really distracting number of fluffs and slips. But the audience couldn't have cared less - they brought him back onto the stage time and time again.

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Having said that, I can quite happily enjoy his stunning and virtuosic performance of the Jongen Symphonie Concertante. It was a joy to observe and to listen - not least because Virgil Fox for once did not get in the way of the music.

 

Now why could he not always have played like that?

Absolutely. And I bet his audience didn't enjoy it any the less for it being played "straight".

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Guest Lee Blick
Incidentally, I am not sure what you mean by your phrase '...the state of British organ playing as it is' - as far as I am aware (and I have links with several cathedrals and oxbridge colleges, in addition to teaching in full-time education, so I think that I may reasonably be expected to have at least some idea of the state of British organ-playing) the situation is actually quite healthy. There are various courses, for example, Oundle, RSCM, Sarum College, The St. Giles Organ School - to say nothing of our national conservatoires, a number of which, in recent years, have radically overhauled their organ-teaching methods and aims, thus bringing their courses very closely in line with today's requirements.

 

But if you look further than cathedral and music colleges at grassroot level within the parish churches the situation is worse, far worse Many churches no longer have organists and that is a situation that will deteriorate further unless something is done at grassroot level to encourage organ playing. It would be a tragedy if only the cathedrals and major parish churches were able to have organists, but it is looking that way in the future if nothing is done.

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(The "Diary of MusingMuso" - I have now slept and I am almost awake again.)

 

It is very interesting to listen to the "Fox masterclass" recordings, which give real insight into a very American perspective about largely European organ-music, and in some of those recordings will be found some extraordinary statements made by Virgil Fox.

 

Consider the following quotes:-

 

(Virgil fox on Mendelssohn, and the Finale from the Bb Sonata, where he (Fox) breaks the opening LH chords up into clean arpeggios)

 

"Correct bad composition if it gets in the way of the composer's intentions."

 

----------------

 

 

On the Samuel Barber "Toccata Festivo"

 

"Stupid man to write all that...ridiculous."

 

(VF also doesn't like Barber's suggested registration)

 

-------------------

 

On the Reubke Sonata

 

"You're playing the dots; that won't work."

 

----------------------

 

 

On the Rheinberger Sonata in Db

 

"German verbosity and long windedness. Bach rose above the German tendency".

 

---------------------------

On French Music:-

 

"In all French music, the dynamic marks have only to do with the expression."

 

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

 

How could Virgil Fox say these things, and at the same time, utterly despise everything which E.Power Biggs stood for?

 

This is at the heart of what we are discussing, because it is fairly obvious that Virgil Fox DID change the notes, the tempi, the registration, the accents, the note values etc etc.

 

The question which must be asked is, "Why?"

 

Virgil Fox derived from the German Romantic "Expressionist" tradition, which is perhaps best represented by Straube, but which also includes Karl Tausig (November 4, 1841 - July 17, 1871) (Polish pianist and composer who settled in Germany), Ferruccio Busoni, the Italian pianist who settled in Berlin ("Music is born free; and to win freedom is its destiny"), Carl Augustus Haupt (who taught Middelschulte) and others.

 

It was a traition which had, at its core, the pianistic expression of Liszt and Paderewski on the one hand, and the extreme orchestral dynamic range of Wagner; the very essence of romatic excess.

 

It is surely the pianist and orchestral elements which are the dominating influence, because Virgil Fox clearly demonstrated this in his performances.

 

Thus, when this influence spread to America, as it did, it possibly gave rise to a style of musical interpretation which was "self centred" around the cult of the individual performer, as a positive act of EXPRESSIVENESS.

 

It does not mean that these EXPRESSIVE performers (or arrangers) were any less gifted or somehow less tasteful, beacause they were freed from the chains of slavish convention, and therefore changed whatever they liked with impunity. It is only in this context that the Virgil Fox phenomenon makes the slightest sense, and it is not, actually, uniquely American. The point of departure from what the Germans had done, possibly rests with the type of symphonic American organs then being developed, long before the days of "Early Music" study. The organ was seen as a great symphonic machine, capable of great expression and dynamic range....and what the hell....they were going to use it to fire lightning bolts, create thunder and awe those who came to listen to it.

 

Virgil Fox did exactly that, and in the process, amazed and entertained people who would never have gone to hear an organ-concert otherwise.

 

More later.....but this is surley what we have to keep in mind.

 

MM

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Guest Roffensis
That is ridiculous.  How can Fox be responsible for that?  But gentlemen, times move on, tastes do change.  Venues like St. Georges Hall along with most concert halls is down to supply and demand.  Perhaps it could be the public find the academic, sterile, clinical and sometimes souless performances and programmes from ecclesiastical organists a turn off?  Not everyone aspires to reach the highest organ loft.  More effort needs to be made to bring people on board to appreciate organ music.  I believe people like Virgil Fox and Carlo Curley have done much to bring organ music to the fore.

 

It is not surprising to me how some people seem very high-minded in here and it probably reflects the sad state of organ playing in this country.  Some people need come down from their ivory towers and smell the coffee and stop denegrating those who have chosen to express their talents in a different way to their own, perhaps? Fox and Curley are not bad organists by any stretch of the imagination.

 

I think they're terrible. I also think that organists in trhis country are actually today, by and large, excellent. I do not include my own efforts in that comment, but there are very many first rate organists around, even at parish level, who actually use their feet to play 540, and even stick to the notes. If by good organist we mean being weak minded, and pandering to the ice cream van brigade listening to switched on Bach on a electric component toaster, then of course anything goes.

 

R

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I agree, to an extent, MM. However, when discussing the performance style of one so radical as Virgil Fox, this is bound to polarise opinions.

 

Having said that, I can quite happily enjoy his stunning and virtuosic performance of the Jongen Symphonie Concertante. It was a joy to observe and to listen - not least because Virgil Fox for once did not get in the way of the music.

 

Now why could he not always have played like that?

 

 

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

 

I'll tell you why later!!

 

:lol:

 

MM

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there are very many first rate organists around, even at parish level, who actually use their feet to play 540, and even stick to the notes.

The best performance I have ever heard of the Reubke was given by an ordinary parish church organist I'd never previously heard of during one of our association outings. It was at once flawless, virtuosic and musical. Afterwards I asked him where he'd learnt to play like that, but all I could get out of him was a very self-effacing, "Oh, it was a long time ago". He doesn't seem ever to have been a member of the RCO, so that shed no light either.

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But if you look further than cathedral and music colleges at grassroot level within the parish churches the situation is worse, far worse Many churches no longer have organists and that is a situation that will deteriorate further unless something is done at grassroot level to encourage organ playing. It would be a tragedy if only the cathedrals and major parish churches were able to have organists, but it is looking that way in the future if nothing is done.

 

Well, this may be true in your area. However, it is not indicative of the country as a whole. There are many (and I do mean many) churches of different sizes within a fifty-mile radius of my own town where the music is vital and of a good standard - and this includes the organ playing.

 

I would agree that we need to do all that we can to encourage people (not just young people) to play the organ and to get involved, if at all possible, with their local churches.

 

However, I do not believe for a moment that it has to be done at the expense of good taste or by resorting to cheap tricks.

 

In any case, it is easy to sit there thinking negative thoughts - or looking at a half-empty glass, instead of a half-full one. As a more constructive thought, why not contribute some positive ideas, Lee. Start an organ course or produce some leaflets and obtain permission to go into local schools and talk with children and young people. Then meet with different groups in society as a whole. Talk to friends, neighbours, organisations such as Conservative clubs, Rotary, British Legion - become an evangelist for the organ. Do something positive, instead of bemoaning the fatalism of life!

 

Before you ask, I am doing something and have been doing so for at least twenty years. No, I am not famous - not even remotely so - neither I am a cathedral organist. However, to the best of my ability, I am trying, every day, to communicate my love of the organ - and music, in general - to anyone who will listen, be they seven or seventy, I care not.

 

It is an exciting world out here, Lee!

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Well, this may be true in your area. However, it is not indicative of the country as a whole. There are many (and I do mean many) churches of different sizes within a fifty-mile radius of my own town where the music is vital and of a good standard - and this includes the organ playing.

 

I would agree that we need to do all that we can to encourage people (not just young people) to play the organ and to get involved, if at all possible, with their local church.

 

However, I do not believe for a moment that it has to be done at the expense of good taste or by resorting to cheap tricks.

 

In any case, it is easy to sit there thinking negative thoughts - or looking at a half-empty glass, instead of a half-full one. As a more constructive thought, why not contribute some positive ideas, Lee. Start an organ course or produce some leaflets and obtain permission to go into local schools and talk with children and young people. Then meet with different groups in society as a whole. Talk to friends, neighbours, organisations such as Conservative clubs, Rotary, British Legion - become an evangelist for the organ. Do something positive, instead of bemoaning the fatalism of life!

 

Before you ask, I am doing something and have been doing so for at least twenty years. No, I am not famous - not even remotely so - neither I am a cathedral organist. However, to the best of my ability, I am trying, every day, to communicate my love of the organ - and music, in general - to anyone who will listen, be they seven or seventy, I care not.

 

It is an exciting world out here, Lee!

 

Half full or half empty, it all depends where you start.

 

The last two towns I’ve lived in have had a shortage of organists and singers who are prepared to commit to two services a Sunday, week in week out. You must be lucky to have so many churches with quality music.

 

Where is it you live? I must move there in a few years time when I’m due to leave Scotland.

 

:lol:

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Guest Lee Blick
In any case, it is easy to sit there thinking negative thoughts - or looking at a half-empty glass, instead of a half-full one. As a more constructive thought, why not contribute some positive ideas, Lee. Start an organ course or produce some leaflets and obtain permission to go into local schools and talk with children and young people. Then meet with different groups in society as a whole. Talk to friends, neighbours, organisations such as Conservative clubs, Rotary, British Legion - become an evangelist for the organ. Do something positive, instead of bemoaning the fatalism of life!

 

Before you ask, I am doing something and have been doing so for at least twenty years. No, I am not famous - not even remotely so - neither I am a cathedral organist. However, to the best of my ability, I am trying, every day, to communicate my love of the organ - and music, in general - to anyone who will listen, be they seven or seventy, I care not.

 

It is an exciting world out here, Lee!

 

I have been entirely constructive in looking for solutions to these problems all along, you seem not to choose to read them. I am sorry, but you are not going to find new young talent in your Conservative Clubs, Rotary and British Legions. My point is that organists in the parish churches, just like the church membership is aging and there are NOT ENOUGH younger organists to replace them.

 

I worked tirelessly for twenty years building up music in parish churches in London and here in Brighton in a variety of situations from very poor inner-city parishes to rural churches and even a church in a military base. I have done my best not to make church music elitist but involve the community by going out into the community. I have described some of my activities in this messageboard.

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I have been entirely constructive in looking for solutions to these problems all along, you seem not to choose to read them.  I am sorry, but you are not going to find new young talent in your Conservative Clubs, Rotary and British Legions.  My point is that organists in the parish churches, just like the church membership is aging and there are NOT ENOUGH younger organists to replace them.

 

I worked tirelessly for twenty years building up music in parish churches in London and here in Brighton in a variety of situations from very poor inner-city parishes to rural churches and even a church in a military base.  I have done my best not to make church music elitist but involve the community by going out into the community.  I have described some of my activities in this messageboard.

 

Much as I may have disagreed with virtually everything you have ever said, I would agree that finding younger organists is a problem. But there are thousands at Oundle and these other courses - why aren't they in posts? No money, and naff organs. The solution? Ask the RCO/RCSM etc. It's a head-against-brick-wall exercise.

 

But encouraging wholesale abandonment of right notes isn't going to win ANY friends for the organ, just as much as entering long debates about correct trills and wind pressures isn't either.

 

You wouldn't catch me dead in a conservative club, no matter how cheap the beer!

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Yes. I am quite certain that if we had more Virgil Curleys it would not make a ha'porth of difference to the church organist crisis, which exists for entirely different reasons - as we have rehearsed many times before.

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I have to say that I find it quite heartening that, all these years after his un-timely passing, Virgil Fox and his music (for that is what it is, whatever people might think of it) still have the strength of personality to engender often quite heated discussion about the instrument, the manner in which it is used, and the music played on it. He must be delighted!

 

In this respect, I have some sympathy with Lee’s view that he (and likewise Carlo Curly still) was a great ambassador for the organ. I can think of very few others who had the huge charisma and technique necessary to achieve this in a manner attractive to a wide, and often hugely non-organ related audience.

 

The service such people provide in encouraging a basic interest in the instrument that is not generally inherent in the provision of the organ repertoire for organists and the organ-literate cannot be understated. Equally, the service such people provide in encouraging a basic interest in an instrument that is hardly well catered for in terms of exposure to a mass audience must be equally valuable in encouraging a deeper interest from those, especially the young, who might not otherwise turn out for an ‘organ recital’, cannot be under-valued.

 

As a youngster I was given VF’s Wedding Album, an LP that introduced me to the ‘Albinoni’ Adagio. Equally, my first hearing of the Widor Toccata was on the ‘wireless’ in a programme called The Organist Entertains, possible in the late 1960s. Both were, in their own ways, inspirational in encouraging an interest I still have today. Like most young keyboard instrumentalists, I was never in danger of being taken to an ‘organ recital’ – something that is demonstrably still very much the case.

 

Tony

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I have been entirely constructive in looking for solutions to these problems all along, you seem not to choose to read them.  I am sorry, but you are not going to find new young talent in your Conservative Clubs, Rotary and British Legions. 

 

In the same way that you seem not to read my posts, Lee.

 

I cannot recall any constructive suggestions - just constant complaints about snobbish cathedral organists and the like.

 

If you read my post carefully, you will see that I wrote:

 

Start an organ course or produce some leaflets and obtain permission to go into local schools and talk with children and young people. Then meet with different groups in society as a whole. Talk to friends, neighbours, organisations such as Conservative clubs, Rotary, British Legion - become an evangelist for the organ.

 

I am fully aware that one is unlikely to find young people in Coservative Clubs and Rotary clubs. However, you ignored the first part of my statement.

 

In any case, I am not only interested in encouraging young people to play the organ - I am interested in encouraging anyone who will listen - as I have already said.

 

Please read my posts more carefully - or at least quote me accurately.

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