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Looney tunes

Started by MusingMuso, July 01, 2012, 11:43:44 PM

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Certain things are set to try us, aren't they?

There's that tricky moment at the end of the D major P & F by Bach, when bottom D is often played as bottom C, resulting in a compositional, improvised circle of fifths to get back to the same place. Woe betides the organist who manages to play a second bottom C... or a third..... or a fourth.

At Mass this morning, one of the servers strolled across to have a word while I was playing a highly improbable Boellman Toccata; improbable because the baroque organ ay which I preside has about as much affinity to the music of France as Yorkshire Puddings have to Crepe Soufflees au citron vert. 

Still, we have a Terzchor and a Pedal reed.

The aforementioned server carelessly propped himself up on the organ-bench while addressing my left ear, and in the process, managed to dislodge the hymn-book, which fell onto the pedalboard.

I feel sure that Leon Boellman would have drawn a veil over the odd indiscretion; including the strange pedal tone clusters around middle C, but my problem, (apart from the original location of the hymn-book), was further compounded by the server grovelling around at ground level, trying to grab at the hymn-book. The fact that the only way of doing this is to lean over the organ-bench; first to my left and then to my right, must have made an interesting spectacle and even raised a few questions about the nature of our relationship.  However, each time he grabbed, I would play a tone-cluster and kick the book somewhere else, and he would scrabble around like rat after a piece of cheese. The end result was utter musical mayhem, and with the benefit of hindsight, it may have been better to stop.

My regular and loyal admirers grimaced and left without comment, obviously unaware of my predicament. I fear that restoring any sort of credibility will require a special effort next week. In the meantime, I've banished the server from the organ-console.



Ian van Deurne

This is the sort of thing You Tube was created for. It's a pity there wasn't a video camera around!

Something similar happened to me about a year ago.
There I was, happily getting into the last piece of 'going out' music at the end of the service, Max Reger's Praeludium in D-Major Op.63 if I remember correctly, nothing too way out to make the LOL's (Little Old Ladies) scurry out of the building at haste, like they often do with Messiaen or something similar. During this time, several members of the junior choir were generally milling around behind me when one of them managed to drop his 'Game Boy' (there no doubt to provide a little welcome relief during the sermon) onto the organ pedals at the back which also slid down into the centre of the pedalboard. Initailly I hadn't noticed this and continued playing. He though decided to kneel down and try to retrieve it, grovelling around under my feet. However, during this I managed to bring my heel down firmly on his left hand causing him to let out an almost close to death scream, which did manage to halt Max in his tracks. After which I turned around and almost said a rude word in church, while he had now got to his feet and was jumping around somewhat in agony. I did then jump off the organ bench and examined the hand which was beginning to turn red and throb a bit although I quickly realised there had been no major harm done so after asking him if he was alright I leant back over and picked up the computer game and gave it back to him saying, "Next time just wait until I've finished, the organ can be a dangerous beast at the best of times!" Of course his other friends all thought it was great fun and took off with him to the choir vestry laughing. As for me, while I was locking the organ I was wondering if I wasn't going to be in trouble with the parents, accusing me of some sort of child cruelty. However, he was back again for the evening service, still nursing a sore hand but told me that he was okay, but I noticed that he kept well away from the organ after that!

matt h


I think we've all had experiences like this at one time or another.  Mine was whilst playing a 3 manual for a service, and during the quiet prayers at the end of the service I took the opportunity to sort out the registration for the last hymn (Full organ), and arrange the music for both hymn and voluntary.  The hymnbook fell off the music stand and onto swell, great and finally choir.  I was never asked to play there again, but at least I got a damn good anecdote.....


Barrie Davis

I did that once, had the organ set for the final hymn dropped the hymn book, it hit the solo first and yes the Tuba was drawn, Canon Bryan Green saw the funny side of it though!!
A few months ago I was playing at the local Crematorium, the courtege had arrived and I was preparing to play the deceased into the chapel, when all of a sudden I heard my name being called from the main door, there were the Undertakers straining under the weight of the coffin no one had moved the bier from the previous service to the back. I had to move very quickly from the console get the bier and look dignified taking to the back. The look of relief on their faces was well worth seeing!!

Best wishes