Not quite sure I follow, K. Can you elaborate?
The John's button - sforzando + subito piano + crescendo.
Quite, Triforium, and thank you for the succinct explanation.
What needs to be stressed is that the button is being firmly depressed in the absence of any markings by/intentions of the composer, as far as I can tell. I wish I could ask someone who knew HH well (maybe Paul Spicer would know), whether he might possibly have even sanctioned the button affectation. On second thoughts, I will ask him, because this thing has been bugging me ever since my first exposure to it, which was on a Christopher Robinson CD, but the effect of hearing the gross intervention of the John's button in a live performance/service in John's chapel is even more startling, disappointing and, for me, it really can be quite upsetting, particularly as it has now become so predictable. It can be heard to its very worst excess in a recording on the John's/Robinson/Howells/Naxos disc, though there is a heartstoppingly crass 'JB' moment' in Walton's Coronation Te Deum, in an otherwise terrific performance on their WW Naxos disc.
I begin to worry even more when I hear other choirs and DoMs attempt to replicate the JB in similar instances, for example Derby Cath Ch in one of their fairly recent broadcasts; they don't sound as convinced as SJC/DrR as to how they are massacring the musical line by this sudden dynamic gear-change.
On third thoughts, I'll consult AMN as well, to glean thoughts on the current 'official' status of the JB.
Hope that all makes sense to you, ardcarp!
Oh dear. Once a mannerism has been drawn to your attention you start to worry about it! I've a few betes noires of my own....but I'll spare everyone's sensibilities.
I've been listening to this only today, but cannot locate it. Can you assist?
Originally Posted by Keraulophone
Walton does, though, actually write that effect in fairly frequently. It's one of his little stylistic fingerprints, like his habit of slipping down a semitone in the course of a phrase, sometimes in the course of a piece (eg the Jubilate, which begins in B flat, but ends in A).
Originally Posted by Keraulophone
Well Wolsey, you've kept me busy for half an hour in search of the Button on that CD! Of course, the first appearance on the disc of an sfpp<ff is 27 secs into the Magnificat on 'God' (track 3), followed by 'and to be the glO-ry' at 1'12" in the Nunc (track 4 - a CR-favoured JB moment in Howells Nuncs, eg track 2 at 2'22" in the St Paul's Service Nunc on the HH CD), and some dubious ones in The Twelve, though I realise some of these have been requested by the composer (track 10 at 2'15" [ok: in the score] 3'03" & 3'06" maybe, but suspect, and 10'04" another genuine Button). It's really a Waltonesque kind of device, a very dramatic one, but Dr Robinson goes too far IMO in deploying it in Howells Nuncs and other unsuitable musical locations.
I was foolishly relying on a flawed memory with regard to the Coronation Te Deum, which is given a superb performance. I had somehow linked, in my (by now somewhat paranoid) mind, that stupendous tenor fanfare at 6'39" on 'Glory' with a JB moment, because CR is wont to press the Button on that very word. I mention being in danger of becoming paranoid over this because I anticipate with some trepidation that the Button is about to be pressed at moments such as 4'49, 4'58", 5'56" and even at the climactic 7'39". I'd like to hear some justification of this mannerism from a choral director who really wants to hear it so frequently, and doesn't think it injures the contours of the music's dynamics and misrepresents the composer's wishes.
Thank you Wolsey for giving me the opportunity to offer a humble correction and add further details for corroboration. I don't have the relevant scores in front of me, so may need to double-check some of the suspected JB actuations tomorrow.
If I am to retain any remaining sanity, I'll gladly resist the temptation to catalogue every pressing of the John's Button in the SJC/CR Naxos series... but there they do lurk for the unsuspecting listener.
Last edited by Keraulophone; 30-04-12 at 09:33.
Reason: added ref to Howells CD (Naxos) track 2 @ 2'22"