Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

The World's Worst Hymns


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 97
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I had a similar experience some years ago, when even after the "go in peace" etc one of our NSMs was in the habit of adding a bit more holy wordage. Luckily in those days I used to waft the clergy and choir out with quiet stuff, so it was not a real problem (he just spoke over me). Nowadays, I use the rear view mirror to check that our lady vicar has finished for good, then off I go with something loud, saves time and effort.

 

On a similar thread, I cannot improvise to save my life, so have to judge how long/short an intro to do before they all walk in at the beginning of the service. With the present team I have no problems as they are pretty patient, and I can usually finish off while they get comfortable. But I did once have a visiting priest who just started talkiing while I was getting to the end, even though I had truncated the piece. So I thought, "*** you!!* and just stopped playing on the spot.

 

JE

 

Hi

 

I make a point of waiting for the musicians to finish whatever they are playing - and make sure that they know that I will wait. As someone else said, the voluntaries are part of the worship. I still haven't managed to stop people talking etc. - yet! Maybe they will listen this Sunday, as it will be the first time our restored organ will be heard by the congregation. (Willis' crew are working on it as I write).

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to post
Share on other sites
that they know that I will wait

Yes, this is important - and it works both ways - the celebrant has to know that the organist knows that it's time to wrap it up, and will do so without leaving him/her standing like a lemon for five minutes.

 

I recently had this problem with a deputising priest and a introit hymn. They were all 'in' and he wanted to end it with the verse we were singing, a fact of which I, eyes glued to the mirror of an en fenetre console in a west gallery, was well aware. But how to let him know that I knew? By the end of the verse he was waving vigorously and making dramatic throat cutting gestures from the chancel...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, this is important - and it works both ways - the celebrant has to know that the organist knows that it's time to wrap it up, and will do so without leaving him/her standing like a lemon for five minutes.
Reminds me of a time when I was playing for a service in Winchester Cathedral. I had finished my voluntary early and had a couple of minutes to kill so started improvising. I took my eye off what was going on below and was brought to my senses by a verger giving couple of sharp raps on the floor with his rod. Apparently the choir had been standing there, waiting, for some time. Oops!

 

When a priest has interrupted your playing have you tried discussing it with him. If so, what reaction did you get?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Reminds me of a time when I was playing for a service in Winchester Cathedral. I had finished my voluntary early and had a couple of minutes to kill so started improvising. I took my eye off what was going on below and was brought to my senses by a verger giving couple of sharp raps on the floor with his rod. Apparently the choir had been standing there, waiting, for some time. Oops!

 

When a priest has interrupted your playing have you tried discussing it with him. If so, what reaction did you get?

 

At my place we stop at about 5 to for notices to be given. This is done by the vicar attracting attention by kicking the side of the choir stalls (wish he wouldn't, but it's a tradition - "knocking the wood"). Then notices, then play the choir in, then straight into hymn. How embarrassing and demoralising it is when a visiting priest decides to sneak down a side aisle and round to the lectern that way, booming "good morning everybody!" into the microphone. Even when it's not the organist's fault, that's what everyone assumes...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest delvin146

My nomination would probably have to be the kyrie eleison from Celebration Hymnal. The one which starts "look around you.." and then has the kyrie for the chorus. I've recently discovered a fair few in that book which don't seem to go anywhere or even make any musical sense at all. There's that Boedley mass setting at the back of one of the books also which seems particularly weak to me.

 

I think the problem with a lot of items of the same ilk is that there's very little harmonic rhythm going on with lots of long held notes tied across bars. It's difficult to get the music to have any sense of pulse, or even substance. Add to that some extremely weak chord progressions.

 

My nomination would probably have to be the kyrie eleison from Celebration Hymnal. The one which starts "look around you.." and then has the kyrie for the chorus. I've recently discovered a fair few in that book which don't seem to go anywhere or even make any musical sense at all. There's that Boedley mass setting at the back of one of the books also which seems particularly weak to me.

 

I think the problem with a lot of items of the same ilk is that there's very little harmonic rhythm going on with lots of long held notes tied across bars. It's difficult to get the music to have any sense of pulse, or even substance. Add to that some extremely weak chord progressions. I also find much of that book particularly unmemorable.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shine Jesus Shine - Though playing the Chorus entirely in 2nd inversion chords can be amusing (using the 'tune' as the root note.)

 

I remember a Songs of Praise from Truro when David Briggs was there, Shine Jesus Shine was played with such panache, glissandi and the like, I've never heard it sound so good. Have tried to recreate that ever since! Not sure whether it was DB playing, or the then assistant, which was probably Simon Morley, anyone remember this?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Shine Jesus Shine - Though playing the Chorus entirely in 2nd inversion chords can be amusing (using the 'tune' as the root note.)

 

I remember a Songs of Praise from Truro when David Briggs was there, Shine Jesus Shine was played with such panache, glissandi and the like, I've never heard it sound so good. Have tried to recreate that ever since! Not sure whether it was DB playing, or the then assistant, which was probably Simon Morley, anyone remember this?

 

Yes, I remember it well. They also filmed in the organ loft and we were treated (David Briggs playing) to an extract of the Vierne 1st symphony Final.

 

:)

Link to post
Share on other sites
My nomination would probably have to be the kyrie eleison from Celebration Hymnal. The one which starts "look around you.." and then has the kyrie for the chorus.

 

I had a glorious experience with this one. Our PP, who had a powerful singing voice and an unfortunate excessive self confidence, wanted to solo the verses, to an organ accompaniment, and the choir/congregation would sing the choruses. Each verse starts with a left hand chord in the organ, and after a beat's rest, the melody comes in. As soon as he heard the chord our PP paniced and started. I gave a quick skip to get into time, he thought I wanted to go like the proverbial bat from the place we don't mention, and off he went...

 

Ever since then our choir has called that number "The painful kyrie." (The first verse goes "Look around you, feel the pain...")

 

Ever since then I have decided that if ever I get the opportunity to specify an organ rebuild, I will ask for an extra non speaking stop called "PA mute". The knob will just switch the PA off, but it will have all the bits and pieces it needs so that you can include it in combination piston settings.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I had a glorious experience with this one. Our PP, who had a powerful singing voice and an unfortunate excessive self confidence, wanted to solo the verses, to an organ accompaniment, and the choir/congregation would sing the choruses. Each verse starts with a left hand chord in the organ, and after a beat's rest, the melody comes in. As soon as he heard the chord our PP paniced and started. I gave a quick skip to get into time, he thought I wanted to go like the proverbial bat from the place we don't mention, and off he went...

 

Ever since then our choir has called that number "The painful kyrie." (The first verse goes "Look around you, feel the pain...")

 

Ever since then I have decided that if ever I get the opportunity to specify an organ rebuild, I will ask for an extra non speaking stop called "PA mute". The knob will just switch the PA off, but it will have all the bits and pieces it needs so that you can include it in combination piston settings.

 

I like the sound of a 'PA mute'. :unsure:

Link to post
Share on other sites
Wasn't it shortly after the Truro 'restoration'?

 

I think so but I’m not 100% sure. David Briggs did proudly show the nation (well those who watch Songs of Praise) the (then) unique “Divided Pedal”.

 

:unsure:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I must have been evil in a previous life. Yesterday I was handed a note saying that a widow whose husband's second anniversarry of passing away is on the second Sunday of February and she wants - wait for it - I Watch the Sunrise in his memory. How can I tactfully turn this down since it has absolutely nothing to do with the liturgy of the day?

Link to post
Share on other sites
I must have been evil in a previous life. Yesterday I was handed a note saying that a widow whose husband's second anniversarry of passing away is on the second Sunday of February and she wants - wait for it - I Watch the Sunrise in his memory. How can I tactfully turn this down since it has absolutely nothing to do with the liturgy of the day?

 

 

I had a similar thing happen (but with a different piece requested). I discussed it with my Rector and we decided that we could squeeze one verse in at the Offertory.

 

Sometimes a little flexibility and bending of the rules goes a long way to make someone (who may have been a supporter of the church for a long time) very happy. One never knows when one may need the support of the congregation for some matter - perhaps when the organ needs a rebuild.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I must have been evil in a previous life. Yesterday I was handed a note saying that a widow whose husband's second anniversarry of passing away is on the second Sunday of February and she wants - wait for it - I Watch the Sunrise in his memory. How can I tactfully turn this down since it has absolutely nothing to do with the liturgy of the day?

 

Hi

 

Talk to your minister - there may be valid pastoral reasons for agreeing to such requests even if the hymn isn't appropriate to the day.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi

 

Talk to your minister - there may be valid pastoral reasons for agreeing to such requests even if the hymn isn't appropriate to the day.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Sorry - I thought that I had said this in the previous post....

Link to post
Share on other sites
I had a similar thing happen (but with a different piece requested). I discussed it with my Rector and we decided that we could squeeze one verse in at the Offertory.

 

Sometimes a little flexibility and bending of the rules goes a long way to make someone (who may have been a supporter of the church for a long time) very happy. One never knows when one may need the support of the congregation for some matter - perhaps when the organ needs a rebuild.

Whilst I'm sure that that's sympathic and good advice, I always treat such requests with extreme caution. There can't be a week that goes by when its not someone's wedding anniversary, or some such, so if it becomes known that people can make requests on this basis where will it all end? You can end up with some odd, and frankly unsuitable, choices which whilst making one individual happy will potentially leave the rest of the congregation baffled.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Whilst I'm sure that that's sympathic and good advice, I always treat such requests with extreme caution. There can't be a week that goes by when its not someone's wedding anniversary, or some such, so if it becomes known that people can make requests on this basis where will it all end? You can end up with some odd, and frankly unsuitable, choices which whilst making one individual happy will potentially leave the rest of the congregation baffled.

 

Your advice is also good, Neil. In the case I mentioned, the Rector decided to make a rare exception - partly on the grounds that she was about ninety-five years old. We would normally decline such requests, for the reason you gave.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry - I thought that I had said this in the previous post....

 

Hi Peter

 

You did say much the same - and your post is timed 1 minute earlier than mine - hence I hadn't seen it appear as I was writing my reply at the time.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to post
Share on other sites
Your advice is also good, Neil. In the case I mentioned, the Rector decided to make a rare exception - partly on the grounds that she was about ninety-five years old. We would normally decline such requests, for the reason you gave.

 

 

Thanks for the advice, everyone. The problem is that this parsh has a mass attendance of about 900 spread over 4 Masses and, as has been pointed out, with a congregation that size there are bound to be many such anniversaries practically every week and once you do it for one you have to oblige the rest becuae if you don't it will be a case of "he did it for Mrs X but not for Mr Y" or something. My compromise will probably be a short improvisation - and interlude really - during the offertory or communion.

 

Cheers

 

Peter

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Peter

 

You did say much the same - and your post is timed 1 minute earlier than mine - hence I hadn't seen it appear as I was writing my reply at the time.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

OK - this would explain it.

 

B)

 

? :)

 

I think you'll find the "P" stands for "Pierre", Tony. As in Pierre Cochereau, Notre-Dame, 1955-1984.

 

Aha! I see that you have worked out the rest of my monicker, Vox.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...