Convey the message clearly

penny black

Prior to 1840, most people expected to get quite a few birthday cards.  The custom of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese, who exchanged messages of good will to celebrate the New Year, and to the early Egyptians, who conveyed their greetings on papyrus scrolls. By the early 15th century, […]

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God doesn’t attend concerts

St Sepulchres Church Holborn

St Sepulchre’s in Newgate is known as the National Musicians Church.  The ashes of Sir Henry Wood, founder of the Proms, lie in its north chapel which is dedicated to the commemoration of significant British musicians.  You would therefore expect this church to be a thriving centre for music, both as part of worship and  through concerts […]

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Monteverdi at 450

Monteverdi

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is regarded by many as one of the most significant and influential composers of the Western Art music tradition. He oversaw the transition of music from the Classical style, full of poise and balance, to the Romantic style, characterised by emotion and impact.  Or did he?  We know for example that […]

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Women and Places where they sing

Choirs in Malmesbury Abbey

During the early 1990s the Church of England suddenly noticed women.  In 1991, despite warnings of “sacrificing a wonderful, ancient tradition of men and boys’ choirs for political correctness”, Salisbury Cathedral introduced a Girls’ Choir for the first time.  Then on 12 March 1994, the first 32 women were ordained as Church of England priests. However, it was […]

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Parking in Leicester

Leicester cathedral organ

Last weekend I was in the Midlands. My primary objective whilst there was to play the organ for a weekend of services at the Cathedral, which were being sung by Quorum, a fantastic chamber choir from Milton Keynes.  In addition I had agreed with their Musical Director, Chris Williams, that I would record the choir during […]

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Running a Choir – Just how hard can it be?

CMVC Cirencester

Last weekend I was in Berlin to run a choir workshop for a Global Law firm.  The recipe for this event sounded fairly straightforward.  Take 60 legal types, feed well before placing in a conference room with an unlimited supply of achoholic beverages.  Then, once settled, dim the lights pull back a screen and reveal a […]

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How much is that Cake?

Cake for Choirmaster

Earlier this week, British pianist David Shenton was invited to accompany Sevi Regis at the Presidential inauguration ceremony of Donald Trump.   Naturally he enquired about the fee and was told there is no fee due to the prestige of the event.  Apparently there was also no option to claim expenses for this gig.  Not surprisingly […]

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Paraskevidekatriaphobia

On Friday 13 November 1868, the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini died from pneumonia at his country house in Passy.  Possibly an unremarkable event if, like me, you are fairly indifferent to Italian opera.  But it is one which sparked great excitement to those who are superstitious about Friday 13th. One suggested origin of this superstition […]

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New Beginnings

In 1985 the German artist Joseph Beuys took 31 rough, bulky basalt rocks and threw them across the floor in a seemingly random manner. The stones are all a muted beige colour, mottled with patches of grey. Each rock measures between one and two and a half metres in length and has a cone-shaped hole drilled into the […]

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Sing something simple

GBBO

For the last few weeks I have found myself gripped to the edge of my seat whilst watching 12 random strangers perform witchcraft  before my eyes.  By mixing together a few eggs, some flour and other magical substances they attempt to create structures made of cake in order to please Paul and Mary.  Yes, I of course […]

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