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**'""*'*"1904. REGISTRATION…

-Kil YL RECORI)&.ID VERTISER

SHALL SUCCEED MR. SAMUEL SMITH?

CHURCH MUSIC.—No. 2.

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CHURCH MUSIC.—No. 2. THE ENGLISH ESEEVAX CHURCH, RHYL. "Music," it has been said, 'mav be hard to undejrsttmd, but are Aleii. Music possesses tne unique faculty or appealing to us with that heavenly voice a[;l utterance which words are powerless to portray. Incor- poreal and' etherealised in the realms of art, tones are untrammelled by external perceptions, unhampered by the bonds that fetter human im- agination. The music of the Israelites had great influence on the progress of civilisation, and must have been more closely allied to their political life and their mental consciousness than that oi any other nation of olden times 1; eveln- amongst nations possessing a less relmed and pure belief, we found music united to their religion. And thus it came to pass tnat the Psalms, and other hymns of the ancient covenant became, and have ever since remained, the principal songs of the succeed- mg age—of the age when Music asserted her independence, as an art for the entered into the religious rites of yi] Christian peoples, without distinction of nations or creed. In the Hebrew Psalms devotional feeling, touched here and there with a patriot's hopes and fears, has once for all projected itself in form's of speech, which seem to exhaust the capabilities of sublimity in language. Those. Psalms were set to music, and pre-suppose music in their thought and technical structure. The Psalms have a sublimity of thought, a magnificence of imagery, a majesty of strength of movement, that evoke the loftiest energies of musical genius that ventures to ally itself with them. Tn every nation of Christendom the Psaims have been made the foundation of the musical services of the Church many of the greatest masterjs oil the harmonic art have lavished upon them the richest treasures of their invention, and yet they have but skimmed the surface of their unfathomable suggestions. David, who arranged the Temple of Music, not only appointed from the Levifes a number of singers and musicians, but also composed for the divine worship sacred songs. The perfectly natural art unfolds her wondrous wings, and transcending expectation soars above the most daring lights of fancy in the pursuit of her noble ideas. The V\ esleyan chapels, or churches as they are now designated, stand pre-eminently ;,i tli e foremost rank of the Free Churches in their splendid organisations and: musical aggrandise- ment, but in respect to the latter what changes have been brought about, when comparing the music of our day with the primitive times and ideals in those grave and solemn measures which our early fore-fathers found so much pleasure and delight in. and which had become heard in many organs, and may represent any- vvorship the idiomatic peculiarities in the splitting up of words and sentences—the topsy-turfydom and often complicated rhythm, the repetition and prolongation of lines set to a rollicking kind of medley or tune, with the accompaniment of a bass viol' or some other rude instrument form a striking contrast to the psalmody of to-day, with our musically educated choirs, and the 'king of instruments' to lead the services. It was with gratifying pleasure that I found myself comfortably seated in the English Wes- leyan Church. The Wesleyan services are usually of a plain and simple character, but we can always rely upon hearing some thoroughly good hearty congregational singing in their numerous places of worship. By a coincidence the music was more elaborate than usual, the occasion being the anniversary services, an organ recital and other items. Several well- known, hymns, selected from, the Hymnary,' expressly compiled for the Wesleyan denomin- ation, and a Psalm were sung. The anthem, '0 taste and See" (Goss) was excellently ren- dered by the large mixed choir, which spoke volumes in favour of careful and efficient train- ing on the part of the organist and choirmaster, (Mr. Bryan Warhurst.) The soprano voices were particularly sweet and sympathetic, whilst the other parts respectively combined in ren- dering the music with a knowledge of vocal effect, and altogether gave a performance which was competent in a musical direction as ceuld be wished. There is always a charm in music when used by the human voice. Many singers there are, possessing good voices and trained to use them, yet their singing correct it may be, but, alas leave us cold. The spontaneous self-adaptiveness is a means to an end—that is the principal thing we have to consider and be impressed with. The voice of the singer should have that guidance unthought of, known only to feeling, yielded to its perfect trust, accepted without misgiving. The old master is reported to have said to a would-be pupil, "lvhen you have forgotten all that you have learnt, possib- ly you may begin to learn how to sing." The three rnanuel organ was erected by C. Lloyd and Co., Nottingham, from the following specification Great. 1. Trumpet 8 ft. 2. Mixture, 4 Ranks. 3. Twelfth 2 4. Keraulophon 8 5. Open diapason 8 6. Fifteenth 2 7. Principal 4 8. Clarabella 8 9. Double diapason 16 1} Swell. 1. Clarion 4 ft. 2. Oboe a 3. Horn 8 }J 4. Mixture, 2 Ranks. 5. Fifteenth 2 6. Principal. 4 7. Selcional 8 8. Stop diapason 8 9. Open diapason 8 10. Lieblich Bourbon 16 Choir. 1. Dulciana. 2. Piccolo 2 ft. 3. Viola di Gamba 8 4. Clarionet 8 5. Fteuto Trabuse 4 Pedals. 1. Violin 16 ft. 2. Open diapasoi-i 16 ft. 8 Couplers. Composition pedals. Hie instrument is a fine-toned one. The stops in the Choir and Swell are nicely voiced, the Great is evenly balanced, and the quality of the diapasons are exceedingly good, which is the foundation work. But no stop, however, has been so variousl" and shamefully treated than the diapason, which I have frequently- heard in many organs, and may represent any- thing from a big flute to a. mongrel gamba, yet we find ourselves contentedly accepting as a true diapason what is a mere apology for it. We want to expurgate the enrors of the last decade, and restore to the organ its sacrosunct diapason. The accompanying of all buft first- class choirs is largely an utilitarian matter—a combination of acts on the part of the organist, many of which are indefensible from- an artistic point of view. He ranks as the best perform- er, who most wisely covers the faults and de. ficiencies of the forces under his charge rather than expose their weaknesses and this,is largely (not altogether) done by a judicious choice of stops designed to bring about this particular purpose. Full organ, or even great to mix. tures, should scarcely ever be used in choir accompanying. Terrible in its dignity, if used judiciously—it quickly becomes an unmusical din, a torture to hearers, and a bite noir to singers. The organist (Mr. Bryan, Warhurst) has at- tained a brilliant degree of success as an accom- plished and practical musician, his accompani- ments throughout were marked with much taste and expression. There was an immense con- gregation present, and the heartiness of the singing was a special feature of the service. An organ recital followed which included se- lections from the works of Handel, Guilmant, and others, and needless to say that Mr. War- hurst manipulated the key-board with clearness and technical skill, his masterly and varied style avoided anything approaching monotony. Two items for the violin were magnificently played by Mr. Horace. Haselden, and Barn's beautiful contralto solo, The Good Shepherd," was superbly sung by Miss Dilys Jones, who possesses a voice of exceptionable richness and flexibility, and was used with great art. T was much impressed with my visit, and carried away most pleasant and lingering recollections of a musical service artistically rendered at the English Wesleyan Church, Rhvl. VOX HUMANA. 18th August, 1903. ■ o§o

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