I've just read in BBC Music Magazine that Francis Monkman has released a new 2CD set of Bach organ music. According to BBC MM the "crossover band Sky's former keyboardist... formed Sky with John Williams in 1977, promptly leaving in 1981 over a dispute about musical direction (and) has spent the last 16 years studying Bach's organ works". Crocodile Records CR 0007
Mike Breen posted on Sunday, 04 June, 2006 - 08:23 pm
He was also interviewed for Classic FM's magazine look out for that interview too
Chris posted on Sunday, 04 June, 2006 - 09:14 pm
An extremely pleasant surprise - not least of all because we finally have an update of the afkm website and confirmation that FM is still alive and well!
I assume that Dr. Harald Hempel is the Harald who often posts on this forum?
So, good news and Francis writes about the whole project with great enthusiasm on both his own and the Crocodile Music websites.
(P.S. Wasn't sky formed in 1978? And didn't FM actually leave in 1980?!!! Trust the BBC to be slightly out with their facts... Maybe they could release the Hammersmith Odeon gig to make up for it!!!)
Tim posted on Sunday, 04 June, 2006 - 09:20 pm
I thought those dates were a bit awry - and if they were right, four years from joining to leaving is not 'promptly'...
Harald posted on Monday, 05 June, 2006 - 03:11 pm
Hi Chris, yes those two Haralds are one and the same person. And yes, Francis is alive and well.
Even though I heard Francis playing many times on various organs in Germany, the Schl÷ben CD is something special. Not such much for the reason that I have my roots in Schl÷ben, but I was privileged to witness how much love and energy Francis has put into that project and that clearly shines through when you hear the music. And crocodile music did a great job with the artwork and the booklet.
As a Sky fan I can not resist cranking up the volume when listening to FM's interpretation of Tocatta and Fugue in D ;-)
TAtaTAAAAAAAAAAA, ta ta ta ta taaaa
Chris posted on Monday, 05 June, 2006 - 05:35 pm
I have to agree, Harald. I hope you've had the chance to see the footage of sky playing Toccata on Top of the Pops - plus, of course, the clip from Musiklaaden (1979) which is so obviously 'live'!!!
You are very fortunate, indeed, to have had such a great experience, courtesy of Mr Monkman. It would be nice to see him performing similar recitals here in the UK, although I doubt very much whether we would have instruments to rival the one in Schloben.
I look forward to reading more about his exploits (if he has time to write them up) on his website.
Chris posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 02:19 pm
Just seen the issue of BBC Music Magazine with the little piece (complete with recent photo) about Francis. Wouldn't recognise him - especially with the rather distinguished grey beard.
But what about the '...beware the rambling sleeve notes.' ??? Personally I always preferred FM's own description on his website - 'chatty nonsense'. Although I'm not certain that either really describes his actually very eloquent and readable musings. Either way, I hope to read more in the not too distant future...
Harald posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 06:00 pm
Hi Chris (or anyone else out there), if you could send me a scan of that interview per email that would be wonderful!
By the way his sleevenotes are (as always) very interesting to read, even though I got lost in the middle of the part where he goes into the theory of music and organ building ;-)
PS: I am not sure if my email can be extracted from this post, it used to be the case in previous (non-spam) days ... kmalone [at] web [dot] de
Chris posted on Thursday, 08 June, 2006 - 01:18 am
Didn't actually buy the magazine, I'm afraid... I can often be found, at one of the magazine stands in W H Smiths, treating it like a library! (I can get through a whole issue of Dreamwatch, SFX or Doctor Who Magazine before I get prodded in the back and asked "Are you going to buy that?" So, sorry, I personally can't email the piece to you. But I'm certain that one of the other forum users will be able to.
By the way, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if you actually took the accompanying photo of Francis at the keyboard. Just a guess, as you both seem to share an interest in photography...
Harald posted on Thursday, 08 June, 2006 - 08:08 am
Sorry, but it wasn't me taking that picture. It was a guy from a local newspaper that took this picture prior to the organ recitals in June 2005. But you are right about the photography thing and a few of my shots made their way into the CD booklet.
Tim posted on Sunday, 11 June, 2006 - 11:01 pm
Sorry I don't have a scanner...
The complete bit in BBC Music Mag's 'Recording News' section reads:-
SKY'S NOT THE LIMIT
Crossoverband Sky's former keyboardist Francis Monkman (left) has re-surfaced with a two-disc set of Bach's organ music. The former keyboardist with the late-1970s group has recorded a selection of chorale preludes and preludes and fugues on a historic Novalis organ in Schloeben, just outside Leipzig. The instrument, mid-German in design with a typical small number of mutation stops, possesses the characteristics of the kind of organ Bach might have played. Monkman, who formed Sky with John Williams in 1977 (promptly leaving in 1981 over a dispute about musical direction), has spent the last 16 years studying Bach's organ works. The disc is available on Crocodile Records (CR 0007). But listeners beware the rambling sleeve notes!
And that's all it says.
Hmm... 'mutation stops', they sound just the thing for a Dr Who fan, eh Chris?
Chris posted on Monday, 12 June, 2006 - 12:46 am
The trusty Sonic Screwdriver usually manages to stop marauding mutants, Daleks or Sea Devils in their tracks - particularly if you remember to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow first!!!
I wonder what the Doctor Who theme would sound like being played on the Novalis organ? Maybe Russell T. Davies should take note...
Bill Darlington posted on Monday, 12 June, 2006 - 10:02 pm
Hmmm, 'mutation stops' might be what I ( as a molecular biologist) would call proof-reading and repair of DNA.
But how does a sonic screwdriver compare to a Heisenberg Compensator? (That's what lets Star Trek's transporter work through the Uncertainty Principle. When asked by a physicist how it works, a Star Trek guy said "Very well, thank you!")
Is there anything the sonic screwdriver doesn't do? :-)
Back to music. I have several different versions of the Dr Who theme, including the disco one, overseen by Ron Grainer himself, I believe!
Chris posted on Monday, 12 June, 2006 - 11:47 pm
Is there anything the sonic screwdriver doesn't do...?' Has the Doctor ever actually unscrewed a screw with it?!!!
The original Doctor Who theme is still by far the best, although I like what Murray Gold has done with the new one; incorporating elements of the original with a newly recorded, orchestrated version. Some of the re-arrangements from the 1980s were dire, especially the one used on Trial of a Timelord.
I see your brother's got a nice six page interview with Matthew Graham in the latest issue of DWM. I'm looking forward to his story, 'Fear Her', and I thought 'Life on Mars' was brilliant.
Hmmm... Maybe this discussion should be in the Doctor Who thread...?!!!