Today is Bank Holiday Monday 25 May, and has anyone noticed – it’s SUNNY. We’ve had a lot of Bank Holidays recently, 10 & 13 April, then a delayed one on Friday 8 May and now quite an early one a week before the end of May. Today I finished reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace – 1000 pages of closely typed writing. To be truthful, I didn’t quite finish it – I gave up 4 chapters into the Second Epilogue. It took a long time to get into it, as I remember when reading Jane Austen and Dickens, but I got into a rhythm after 200Read More →

  Hi everyone. I thought I would share with you my personal enjoyment of the service of Evensong. By no means all of you will be Christian, indeed I’m careful to keep my own beliefs to myself. As a chorister at Coventry Cathedral 50 years ago, we were drilled to perform as professionals, and that’s been my approach ever since. We sang evensong on Saturday and Sunday evenings, and I’ve always enjoyed the music and the almost spiritual peace and quiet of this service. This is a photo of us, probably around 1968, seated in front of the Chapter House of the cathedral. I loveRead More →

Hi everyone. I realise that it’s over a week since my last post – apologies for that – so here I am ready to keep you up to date with what I’m doing and what’s on my mind. It’s 7 weeks now since Robin and I have been in lockdown. All rehearsals and concerts were cancelled that week – w/b 16 March. We had a friend round to lunch on Tuesday 17th, and since then communication has been by phone, email and blog alone, although we do see neighbours to chat to sometimes. We have a delicatessen Hudsons just down the road which was taken overRead More →

As most of you know, I spend lots of my time working with choirs and immersing myself in choral music. I’ve usually got a rehearsal to prepare or a concert to plan. But today, I’d love to share with you two of my favourite orchestral pieces. Actually I’ve got many favourites, so this is just two of them. Sibelius: Symphony No.2 When I was studying A level music, my main set work was Shostakovich: Symphony No.5 (1937), and I absolutely love that. I remember one of my lecturers was a viola player, Stephen Williams, and he introduced us to a number of other symphonies writtenRead More →

Yesterday, we had breakfast out on the patio – you’ll be impressed (I hope). For once, there were no strimmers strimming,  no builders noisily building, but the birds were singing, particularly (I think), a blackbird. So I rushed inside and got my recorder and recorded about 5 minutes of birdsong. I hope you enjoy it – just press Play! And it brought to mind a piece of music I’d like to share with you. Olivier Messiaen: Quartet for the end of time. It sounds a very pretentious title but don’t let that put you off. Messiaen (1908-1992) is best known to us organists but he wroteRead More →

Hello again. We’re now in the 4th week of lockdown. This week the sun has shone and it’s been lovely to spend some time in the garden and start working on my tan! This is the week leading up to Easter. Is that Easter Week or is that next week? I’ve never been too sure. I know that last Saturday – the day before Palm Sunday, I should have been playing organ continuo for Eastbourne Choral Society’s performance of J.S.Bach: St John Passion. I think they plan to postpone that till next year. As organist at St Michaels Church in Lewes, I play a voluntaryRead More →

I know that we’ve all been told that it’s important to do daily exercise in these ‘lockdown’ days. If you can tear yourself away from Tom Daley’s 10 minute home workout, here’s what I’m doing to exercise my fingers. A daily dose of Hanon may annoy the neighbours, but it’s very good for strengthening all five fingers. I was introduced to these exercises when I was about 14 or 15 and although my practice of them has been intermittent, currently I try to do them every day. They are quite boring, but it’s only 10 minutes and they work! First published in 1873, Wikipedia tellsRead More →

Today, Sunday 29 March, I would normally be at St Michael’s in Lewes by now, preparing to play for the 10.30 Mass. Also today, the Brighton Singers (I’m the MD) were going to perform at St Nicholas Brighton (just up from the clock tower on North Street). The programme was the Duruflé: Requiem with Andrew Robinson (baritone) and Briony Lambert (mezzo-sop) and my London-based friend, Iestyn Evans playing the very challenging organ accompaniment. That’s a wonderful piece based on the Gregorian chants for the Missa pro defunctis or Mass of the dead. A lot of the vocal lines in Duruflé’s setting are lifted directly fromRead More →

These are strange times, so I thought I’d try to keep in contact with all the lovely people I usually spend my time with, but because of the Coronavirus, we can’t meet. My diary is abruptly and unexpectedly blank – like I’ve just committed a crime and am out of circulation. So what am I going to do with all these empty hours, days, weeks and possibly months? Well I’m going to keep up a blog so that those of you who are interested and want to keep in touch, can share some of my interests and, if you like, you can share your comments.Read More →