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French Baroque organist fired - Daquin?

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  • French Baroque organist fired - Daquin?

    I heard a story once about a French Baroque (actually, French Classical, in the organ world) organist who could really draw a crowd because of his entertaining ability on the organ. On Christmas Eve, he'd play variations on carols before the Mass. When he quit playing and the service started, so many people left (they had only come to hear the organist play) that the church fired him.

    Is this true, either entirely or partly? And if it is true, was it Daquin who was fired? I've been scouring my resources but can't find anything to support this story.

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Originally posted by regeron View Post
    Is this true, either entirely or partly? And if it is true, was it Daquin who was fired? I've been scouring my resources but can't find anything to support this story.
    Regeron,

    I seem to remember something close to what you heard, but can't quickly find the information at hand. However, when I get a chance, I think I'll dig into my Organ Literature class files to see what I can find there. I remember it was brought up as part of that class.

    Nice story starter!

    Michael

    P.S. Could it have been Balbastre?
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

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    • #3
      When I was living in New York City, I once went to a Christmas Eve service at a posh Lutheran church on Central Park West as some of my colleagues were playing in the orchestra for a Bach cantata (I don't remember which one) which was to be performed during the service.

      At one point during the service, the priest made a sarcastic comment about how many people there were in the congregation who were only there for the music. I felt so unwelcome, I got up and left.

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      • #4
        At least they didn't leave BECAUSE of his playing! I've heard an organist or two whose playing could run folks right out the back door!
        John
        ----------
        *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
          At least they didn't leave BECAUSE of his playing! I've heard an organist or two whose playing could run folks right out the back door!
          I did that once; left before the prelude was finished. It had been ages since I had heard anyone play that badly. I've since stopped going to other churches on my Sundays off.

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          • #6
            Yep. I've heard some doozies! Sadly, in many places these days it is so difficult for churches to find organists, some have hired incredibly bad ones. Or allow incredibly incompetent amateurs to sit on the bench and assault their ears with ungodly horrors.
            John
            ----------
            *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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            • #7
              I feel really bad for the minister at my church because people only ever praise the Choir, or me, never his efforts at being inspirational. Trust me, when he does something worthy of praise he got it, both times (so far). I don't think he quite hates me yet but if this keeps up he is bound to. It's the same wherever I have been. Yeah there are bad organists out there but rarely are they ever Conservatory trained and Board Certified. They are just pressed into service by a grateful congregation. Clergy on the other hand ... ... to be Ordained they have to go through Seminary. They often get big bucks, usually many times what the organist gets. Don't get me started, there is lots more I could say on this subject.

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              • #8
                There is the story about Marchand. After his divorce he had to pay alimony to his wife. But he didn't. So she pleaded to have the half of his salary retained and this was done. During the next royal service he stopped halfway mass and left. The dialog is said to be: "If it pleases his majesty to pay me only half of my wages, then his majesty has only right to half of my services". After which Marchand was ordered to leave the court and the country.

                He was so popular that people came to church to hear him practice. So he played in the middle of the night (like 2AM) so that only those that really appreciated it came to listen.

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                • #9
                  Wikipedia says this of Claude Balbastre (1724-1799) :
                  "Balbastre's fame was so great that the Archbishop of Paris, Christophe de Beaumont had to forbid him to play at Saint Roch during some of the services, because the churches were always crowded when Balbastre played."

                  But I still remember hearing a story about a Christmas Eve mass.... Maybe it's just my faulty memory combined with an active imagination!

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