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Sir George Grove, the eminent English musician, had a very high opinion of professional organists, and thought that their influence in elevating music was as great as that of any class of professional musicians. A number of years ago, at a meeting of the Royal College of Organists, he said:

“The organist is not an ordinary musician who is able to put his instrument into a green bag at the end of service, to leave the church, and to think of nothing else till the next time; he has got a church, an organ, a house somewhere near the church; he is a definite individual, he has a position, he is almost as necessary to the church as the clergyman is, and all these responsibilities and privileges add to the serious nature of his employment. Moreover, organists are not only a strong body, but they are also a very important body.

“The principal person in the church is, of course, the clergyman. He addresses the reason and the understanding of his hearers, tells them their duties, what to do, and what not to do—a most serious function. But the organist is not less important, for if the clergyman’s business be with the duty and the moral sense, the organist’s deals with the imagination. It is he who gives wings to the old poetry of Psalms, Canticles, and Litanies, and sends the soul heavenward on the more modern strains of the hymns. A most important mission, if you look at your calling in this light; if you reflect what public worship would be without the ‘sweetness and light’ which you, and you alone, can impart to it.”

In a recent issue of the Staats-Zeitung Mr. August Spanuth compares Sondershausen and New York, the former a town of six thousand inhabitants with a symphony orchestra of seventy-five, averaging an attendance of one-sixth of the population of the town; the latter a city averaging less than a thousandth of its population at its principal orchestral concerts. One of the reasons he gives for this difference is that most young Americans are only interested each in his own specialty—singers in song- recitals, pianists in piano-recitals, only a few in all departments of musical activity. Is not this true, too, with organists? How many organists are interested in chamber-music, in orchestral works, or even in the opera? It may be said that in these days of specialism one must devote himself to one line of work in order to be successful. It is, however, only by breadth of taste that one acquires culture, and, the greater the range of one’s tastes, the more wholesome will be the artistic atmosphere.—The Church Music Review.

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