excerpt from 'The Autobiography of Harry Alfred West' pp. 32-33 (362 words)

excerpt from 'The Autobiography of Harry Alfred West' pp. 32-33 (362 words)

part of

The Autobiography of Harry Alfred West

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

32-33

type

text excerpt

encoded value

[Harry West details his love of organ music and learning to play, largely self-taught, in pages 28; 32 – 35 of his memoir. The related listening experiences are included in the Listening Experience Database as separate events. He notes early in the memoir of his family’s ‘many removals’ around and in Bristol, and that his mother, Sarah Jane West (nee King), had a mania for moving house]. 

 

Attention should be given to a subject which has occupied much of my leisure time and interest, namely, Music. The first large chapel I was in at about six years of age was “Old Market Methodist” [Bristol]. We sat in the gallery, and I remember being fascinated with the large organ with gilded pipes, and the anthem singing of the effective and large choir before it. I nearly worshipped the organist who seemed to wield and control so much power. 

 

Some years later my father took me to Colston Hall, the original hall, which seated more than the present one [1950s] and the organ looked more imposing with the enormous pipes standing out in a great semi-circular case on the stage. The organist was Mr. George Riseley, who was also organist of the Cathedral. There was a huge congregation which gathered every Sunday afternoon—about three thousand. As an opening voluntary Mr. Riseley played “Handel’s Largo”, although I did not know the title then; I was entranced. 

 

Later we attended Bushey Park Methodist Chapel in Totterdown. I was also taken with the organ and choir there, but the organ standing on the ground floor did not seem so imposing; it stood at the side. Then, owing to one of our many removals, we attended Ebenezer Methodist Church in British Road, Bedminster [Bristol].  

 

The organ, a large three manual one was placed in the gallery, behind the pulpit, with the choir before it. I was, as usual, taken with the music and longed to be able to get instruction in organ playing. I could at that time, play hymn tunes on our small harmonium, but could not afford lessons, and I would not incur my parents in the expense as I know that they had an economic struggle. 

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excerpt from 'The Autobiography of Harry Alfred West' pp. 32-33 (362 words)

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