[ although I'm not sure that one could say that Bach's handling of the kinds of orchestral forces at his disposal in large scale works was compromised by the fact of his being an organist!.
Although the fact that he was equally adept at the violin, viola, and viola-da-gamba, plus a dab hand at the lute, might have had some bearing on the matter
Well, of course! (and indeed that thought did occur to me after I'd posted). That said, however, I don't see that it's vitally necessary for a composer to be an adept player of an orchestral instrument or three in order to be a great orchestrator; where, for example, was Ravel's or Szymanowski's proficiency on one? - and, whilst Schönberg did play the violin and later the cello, his evidently limited ability at each would surely have given no clue as to the astonishing command of orchestral forces that he was to develop by the time he reached the age of 30, as conductor as well as composer.
The other is famous in High Wycombe, and the posher parts of Chichester. His music addresses topics such as teacakes, tweed jackets, choral evensong, and cricket on the village green. As a second-rate organist, his orchestration is of the on/off variety, and rarely strays from what he found in textbooks. He was born into the Upper Middle Classes and never left his native country. He hated woofters, and went out of his way to wreck their careers wherever he could - and did so with great enthusiasm.
Mr McGowan is clearly sympathetic to the "Cow pat" school of describing Mr Williams' music even though it was Herr Mahler that actually depicted cows in his music and used their horns in his scores. I would be interested if Mr McGowan could identify anywhere in Mr Williams' music where the Bovine is intentionally or otherwise depicted.
I can also say, having had the pleasure of performing in many symphonies of both composers, that Mr Williams writing for my particular instrument was significantly more interesting than Herr Mahler's although I will not be revealing what that instrument is for fear of Mr McGowan using it to further his arguments.
I don't see that it's vitally necessary for a composer to be an adept player of an orchestral instrument or three in order to be a great orchestrator
The degree of personal ability is not, I agree, of prime importance - but the fact of being present at orchestral rehearsals and sectionals, talking to players, asking them what they enjoy, or fear, about the instrument they play, and what makes for good writing... this is the School Of Hard Knocks that cannot be taught by rote-learning alone
"Because the "Radio 3 Forum" is a cuckoo in the nest. It has no links whatsoever to the BBC, or to BBC Radio 3 in particular."
Whilst I fully appreciate the metaphor, Neil, I ought to point out a link. Catherine Bott, Alyn Shipton and many others all work for BBC Radio 3 and post on 'The Radio 3 Forum'. As for the Royal Albert Hall, kleines c has both privately and publicly invited french frank and all true 'Friends of Radio 3' (FoR3) to prom with him this summer. I propose some toast: to the 'Friends of Radio 3' (FoR3), 'The Radio 3 Forum' and BBC Radio 3! Three cheers from kleines c and the gang (Saturday morning breakfast coffee)!
Neil, I ought to point out a link. Catherine Bott, Alyn Shipton and many others all work for BBC Radio 3
If indeed those logins are the purported individuals, they are posting entirely in a private capacity.
"The Radio 3 Forums" have no official or unofficial link to BBC Radio 3.
The BBC were idiotic enough to close down message-boards which had a thriving community of genuine supporters. They are now paying the price for such foolhardy abandon - other message boards as passing themselves off as such. There is no acknowledgement anywhere on the Fiends site that it is not affiliated to the BBC.
It's astonishing that in an age when internet community websites change hands for enormous amounts of money, the BBC threw such a community - which they already had - in the bin
It is a very interesting point about message boards, internet discussion forums and blogs, Neil.
As I have explained to you before, I used to post on an online discussion forum hosted by FT.com (2000-04), which was finally closed in favour of blogs. The reason was that the FT lost editorial control over the content of its forums (its members were left to their own devices), whereas blogs gave it sufficient control.
When I started posting on the BBC message boards (in 2004), it was with this experience in mind. Sure enough, in 2010, BBC Radio 3 abandoned its message boards in favour of blogs (just as the FT had done), and I am about the only 'member' who still posts comments on the Radio 3 Blog.
There is a sense in which a minority of users came to dominate opinion on the BBC Radio 3 message boards, and they organised their own group, which became the Friends of Radio 3 (FoR3).
I agree with you, Neil, that FoR3 is not representative of the views of Radio 3 listeners in general, although some of its supporters certainly do listen to Radio 3, on occasion. If some Radio 3 Presenters choose to post in the Radio 3 Forum in a private capacity, it is obviously up to them.
As for the Radio 3 Forum, it is hosted by french frank, who also runs FoR3, and for various reasons, it is not an online environment in which kleines c feels comfortable to post. Incidentally, nor do other members of my family. Of course, Sydney Grew hosts this particular site (The Third), and he is more than welcoming to both of us, Neil. Any thoughts?
Yes, I would agree that Miss Frank is not without wit, Sydney Grew, although she could, at the very least, prom with kleines c and the gang, on occasion.
As for the Radio 3 Blogs, it is indeed the case that Corporation staff choose the subjects for discussion. Of course, for kleines c, this presents little problem, as I usually have some opinion about anything to do with BBC Radio 3, but it is, as a result, a question of control.
If I choose the topic for discussion here in 'The Third', for example, I would naturally be expected to steer the discussion on topic.
The question, I suppose, Sydney Grew, is to what extent we should be expected to remain 'on topic' online, so to speak. After ten years of staying on topic and going off-topic on the BBC message boards, blogs etc., I tend to feel that anything ultimately goes!