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Tom and Jason's Church music Waffle!
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jwatkins
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Joined: 14 Apr 2002
Posts: 90
Location: Coulsdon, Surrey

PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jason Evans wrote:
I have subsequently heard live the other great choral works: Bach B minor, Beethoven Missa , but the Elgar will always reign supreme.

Strangely, although I think I have listened to nearly every other orchestral and choral Elgar work, I've never heard Gerontius! His anthems though are great stuff - Spirit of the Lord (from the Apostles oratorio), Great is Lord, Light out of Darkness, etc. I sing in the University of London Church Choir - our Elgar listing is here: http://www.ulcc.org.uk/personinfo.php?person=21

John.
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diapason8



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 365
Location: West Somerset, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget Bairstow -and Wesley. I love 'Blessed be the God and Father', but unfortunately I don't have enough in the choir at Curry to attempt it!

It makes me feel very old to read your posts, Jason & Stocky. As a middle-aged, largely self-taught but enthusiastic organist with 30 years playing in parish churches, it is both humbling to see such virtuosity in one so young, and very heartening to know that some enthusiastic and talented young people are coming into the profession. For God's sake (literally!) stick at it, and let your enthusiasm rub off on others.

In the Press lately there was a report of a church near here where they've installed a 'digital player' (sounded horrible), and another local church is apparently going the same way. I wish that the churches concerned would spend the 2K that these things cost to pay for some organ lessons for some local young musicians.

BTW Jason, I appreciated the story of your Mum taking you to hear Gerontius -I hope that it lifted her spirits at a difficult time as much as it impressed you.

Thnk of me tonight as I tell my choir that I'm leaving in June (see other thread).

Regards,

N
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stocky



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Location: Truro

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi N! thanks for your words of encouragment! its good to know that i have the support of some people!!! Cathedral music has been my love since before i can remember and i cant imagine doing anything other than that as a job! i loved nothing more than singing in the Choir at Salisbury and those memories stick with me!
im sorry to hear you are leaving your church! my father is a proffesional organist with ARCO FRCO etc... and his church are rediculous! they treat him so poorly that my brothers and i wrote a letter to the bishop of salisbury (a friend of the family and proddesionally too) to tell him of the exploits of certain members of this church! and luckily, they havnt tried anything else on him! they tried to use a cd player while my dad was in hospital and wouldnt let me take over my fathers responsibilties (according to his contract) as he said i am almost as qualified as him and perfectly capable of tking the choir and playing the organ! anyway, best of luck for tonight!!
once again, thanks for your encouragement!!
Tom

P.S. what is the organ at your church like? im at kings bruton in somerset and have to make do with a crud 2 manual! but moving to lancing college (famous chapel) in september.
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diapason8



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 365
Location: West Somerset, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They often say that the only quality ever recognized (by clergy and congregation) in an Organist is ... ABSENCE! If you take a parish post, you'll get to live with constant flak and backstabbing! But there are ways of getting revenge - like playing Himself down the aisle to the Dead March from Saul or perhaps Wagner's Bridal March! A friend and one-time Llandaff Christer told me how the Organist used to turn on the wind and start the next hymn if the Dean preached too long!

I've resigned from a church in the past where a warden started interfering in the music. As I handed him the keys, he said 'but what about Evensong?' 'What about Evensong' I replied - 'I'm not your Organist'.

I'm not leaving Curry over any dispute - simply that it's too far to travel - 25 mile round trip - several times a week. The organ is interesting. A rebuild in 1985 by Deane Organ Builders of an original Clarke of Bath which was itself added to by ?Vowles around 1890. The Great is very North German and the Swell quite French. Unfortunately, no strings, only 1 reed and a b*****d to keep in tune! Bit too far for you to get to regularly from Bruton though!

I'm going to a church in Taunton with a 2-manual Robson tracker. Quite nice, and a chance to start a choir in the Autumn.

Anyway - time to do the school run!

Nigel
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diapason8



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 365
Location: West Somerset, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But first, our hymn:

Tune: University College

Oft in danger, oft in woe,
Church Musicians come and go.
Each one voted more and more
tiresome than the one before.

Prendergast would often blast,
Dr Thompson played too fast.
Willie Stiggins drank (and worse)
ran off with the district nurse.

Now we've got a bloke who can't
even play a single chant.
But, he got the job because
he was friendly with THE BOSS.

Quoted from memory from 'Cassock Pocket Book, RSCM
Words by Prof Gordon Reynolds

Nigel
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diapason8



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 365
Location: West Somerset, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And another:

Soliloquy:

When Noel Mander, from the stalls
surveyed the organ in St. Paul's
he obviously thought it best
to build a new bit, in the West.
But all the rest could stay at home
beneath the tower and in the dome;
Except the Trumpet en chamade
required the Western doors to guard.
When not in use, it could, at least
put out the candles, in the East.

N
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stocky



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Location: Truro

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey N!

love the things about the organist and the one about st pauls! very good! how did the choir take your leaving?
i must admit, being a dorset lad and a chorister in salisbury (wiltshire), i never like playing organs in somerset.. including Wells. they are always rather disapointing and rather run down.
its good youve got a new job to go to and to get new things going! its always fun. do you know bruton well?
all the best, TOm
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Jason Evans



Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Nigel, Lance, Tom and Trevor,

I'm taking off for holiday Monday. I'll be bringing my Powerbook with me and will post news about the CE's I attend.

First off, I'm visiting some friends in Wales (I'll see Llandaff Cathedral for the first time) and will try to get out to St. David's. Then I'll be staying in Great Malvern for a few days- midway between Hereford and Worcester- I hope to get to CE at both cathedrals. Also a visit to the Elgar Museum.

Finally some time in Brighton where I will simply "party". (Well, why not? I'm young with hormones.) I plan a day trip to Portsmouth (haven't seen that cathedral) and will breeze by Chichester. I last visited there in 2001 when the cathedral organ was down for a rebuild.

Oh yes, prior to heading off to Wales I will spend a few days in Bristol (a day trip to Wells of course) and look forward to seeing the cathedral and St. Mary Redcliffe again.

Best wishes to you all and cheers,
Jason
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stocky



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Location: Truro

PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi Jason!

sounds like fun!!! how long you going for? what dates are you in Brighton? im singing with Lancing college chapel choir in St Bartholemews church for the brighton festival on the 16th. should be good! Was at St Davids over easter staying with my bro and the drctr of music at Lancing as he owns a house out there. its a great place! didnt have time to play the organ with all their easter services etc. you should have a good time! and im envious, so think of me while your enjoying yourself and im working hard for GCSEs starting in 3 weeks!!! Shocked keep dropping posts on and let us know how your doing! all the best and have fun!
Tom
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Jason Evans



Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Tom,

That's really interesting about the Lancing College Choir. I won't be in Brighton until the following week. Have you heard the Priory (#521) CD of the Lancing College organ? It has music of Coates and Elgar and is called Organ Music for Fun... Again . (Something like that...) Nicely played by Mark Blatchly. You might have sung some of his music- his Third Service has been recorded at Norwich and his Variations on the Agincourt Song for solo organ on Priory 687. Interestingly, Blatchly was one of the early boy choristers at Guildford Cathedral back when Barry Rose was the director of music. He is currently at Charterhouse.

Cheers!
Jason


Last edited by Jason Evans on Sat May 06, 2006 6:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jason Evans



Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

diapason8 wrote:
Don't forget Bairstow -and Wesley. I love 'Blessed be the God and Father', but unfortunately I don't have enough in the choir at Curry to attempt it.

The Wesley is positively one of the most thrilling anthems I know. There are, of course, a number of recordings, but Truro Cathedral is my favourite. I like a lot of Bairstow, particularly his "setting" in D, which I'm certain Tom knows all too well! Twisted Evil
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Jason Evans



Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Nigel,

Just had to listen to Blessed be the God... as per your post. It excites me as it always has. (Do check out Truro Cathedral's excellent recording.) Interesting that as early as measure 24 Wesley writes for the Bb below C- a reminder that English organs were -shall we say- a bit behind continental organs in pedal scope. Worth a topic on its own perhaps.

You compliment Tom and I for being young and excited about church music, but -minus expected politics- I would hope that your own enthusiasms are still intact. Please do not tell me that this excitement wans. It gives me nothing to look forward to.

Balfour Gardiner's Evening Hymn (to cite one random example) has such a magnificent combination of the sensuous and sensual that gives such impetus and force to church music. Like so much of Gibbons and Byrd, it moves me on more than one level. What is wrong with that? Is the Howells Gloucester Service only and solitarily a setting of the canticles?

Interesting questions which I cannot ignore.

Cheers,
Jason
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diapason8



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 365
Location: West Somerset, UK

PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good morning all,

Just a quick post as I'm off shortly to play for Mass - a modern congregational setting - Inwood's 'Gathering Mass' and Anderson's Gloria.

The Curry choir were disappointed that I am leaving soon, and pessimistic about finding a replacement. One thing which may change things- and which was a factor in my decision to go - is that the parish is being merged with 3 others at the end of this year. This will definitely alter the pattern of services - with the likelihood of some being at 9.00 (I need to be there an hour beforehand and live 12 miles away). The other 3 parishes have also gone 'happy-clappy' over the past couple of years with the choir being disbanded.

I can't take your comment about Somerset organs lying down, Tom - even though I am a Devonian by birth. There are a lot of small - and very poor - churches who have very average organs, but not all. In Taunton we have three 3-manual Father Willis', there is another in Bridgwater and King's College have a nice tracker Walker built in the 70's. I've driven through Bruton, but don't know it well.

Yes, Jason, I love Evening Hymn too. What's depressing in Church Music these days is the general decline and acceptance of the mediocre. This may not be so apparent in London, Jason - although I expect a visit to some of the 'ordinary' parish churches would prove shocking. And Tom,, you're lucky to have your father playing in a place where standards still matter, and to be a a school where music is valued and taught properly.

At the sharp end - in the average small-town or village church - things can be very disheartening. Small congregations, no money to maintain the organs, pressure to put in electronics, no support for choirs: all result in a dumbing down. I try to be pragmatic. We'll never see a return to the choral traditions of my youth. But, there is some very good, relevant modern music which can be sung by a congregation and small choir and which is rewarding to sing. I use this regularly, together with the traditional repertoire. I have to accept that we just don't have the resources to sing much of what I'd like to do - but, in time, things may improve.

As per Trevor's post, I am very fearful about the future, particularly in the parish churches where there is just nobody to play the organ. You are at an age where you will be able to make a difference- and perhaps begin to turn the tide. Go for it!!

And enjoy your organ crawl, Jason. I must get ready for Mass!

Nigel
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lancecornea



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 526
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jason
I also admire Blessed be the God by Wesley but being a litte older than you (LOL!) I was intoduced to it by the marvellous old Argo recording made in 1964 by St.John's College, Cambridge under George Guest with Brian Runnett on organ. This was my first ever church music recording, and look what it contained....... the Walmisley Mag. and Nunc in D min, The Souls of the Righteous by James Nares, If We Believe that Jesus Died (Goss), Samuel Wesley's thrilling In Exitu Israel, and then three works by Samuel Sebastian Wesley...Blessed be the God, Thou wilt keep Him, and The Wilderness. What a stunning collection of favourites from 1770 -1860 and what a profound effect it had on me, and hence my love of church music. For example, I now have eight different recordings of Blessed be the God in my collection !!!
I must see if I can find the Truro recording you mentioned. I don't have any recordings of this choir, only of the Organ.

Enjoy your holiday and let us know what music was sung at all the Evensongs you're likely to attend!

Cheers

Lance
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stocky



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Location: Truro

PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

greetings all!

my dads church did that awful happy clappy modern mass setting this morning! he said he would rather eat his own head than go through it again! its awful! they are making it a first weekend of the month thing! complete rubbish!!! my friend is being a choral scholar at Truro next september so will be going to see him as i am hoping to go there or Gloucester! should be fun! hope everyone is good and hope you are all having a good weekend! all the best , Tom
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