Graham John Peal Day
6th January 2018
What makes a classic composition? I would suggest that two key elements are that it is called by a variety of conductors and has a reasonably long shelf life. This is likely to mean that it is in a method or methods that people want to ring and/or has good musical qualities.
In the field of spliced Surprise Major the composer of classic compositions "par excellence" has to be A J Pitman, whose most popular compositions are still being called over 50 years after his death. A number of current composers, however, have produced compositions that have already achieved modern classic status and may well stand the test of time.
One of these is Graham John, who has a portfolio of musical compositions in popular and less well-known methods. Many of them are "all the work" one parts that challenge the conductor, but most are within the grasp of reasonably experienced Surprise Major ringers. About six months ago I suggested to the current Master, Henry Coggill, that we organise a College Youths Peal Day to ring Graham"s compositions. He agreed enthusiastically and we set about organising it.
The day was held on 6th January. Composition selection was left to conductors and, by chance, all elected to go for different ones. Of the fourteen peals attempted twelve were successful. Ten were of spliced and one which was intended to be spliced (in decidedly non-standard methods) became Superlative, by coincidence the only duplicated composition.
Almost 100 ringers took part in London, Aberdeen, Pocklington, Rushden, Salford and Cirencester. In the evening many of the London contingent retired to the Olde Watling for some well-earned refreshment. It was particularly pleasing that Graham himself was able to join us for a peal and the social event.