Allow me to introduce myself - my name is Dr. Melville Young (Mel to my friends), a former pupil of The High School of Dundee * (which establishment transformed me into a Classical scholar as a precursor to pursuing a childhood dream - the path to the vicarage, a path from which I swiftly and sensibly turned at age 17) and now a retired teacher, conductor, recitalist and composer of 78 years of age. 

The Site Directory demonstrates my musical journey and performing development from 1949 to 2002 - just over 50 years.  My first post of Organist & Choirmaster was in Dundee Methodist Church at the age of 13 and from that time my feet walked miles and miles over the pedal board of many a pipe organ.  Why did I stop playing in 2002?  The reason is so simple as that was the year I had my first amputation - a left trans-tibial.  The second, a right trans-femoral was to be performed in 2013, leaving me with no lower limbs whatsoever.  To attempt to perch upon an organ bench (which normally has no back) with no legs would be not only an awkward but dangerous feat.

The Directory merely snatches a few performances from the air - those which for some reason have left a greater imprint on my mind than all others in a half century.

My wife Faye and I relocated to Edinburgh in 1998 where we live on the South side.  Here Arthur's Seat and the Salisbury Crags loom large to our rear and from the upstairs study and library windows one has an excellent panoramic view of the Edinburgh skyline with The Castle as a prominent and formidable feature.  Faye, a petite, pretty Edinburgh lady from a large family, is back home in the capital - a city which has always been her pride and joy.  And lastly - Pepper, the tiger tabby who adopted us in 1966 as her benefactors, was usually found contemplating the scene from the office window or curled up asleep  in the library.

    Salisbury Crags                                              Arthur's Seat              

[Pepper had come to us in 1996 the evening of Whitsunday, a little stray  - starving, bedraggled and pregnant.  There and then she 'unpacked her bags' and decided where her home should be!  On the night of the Summer Solstice between 2 and 4 a.m. she had a litter of four beautiful kittens to whom she was the perfect mother and on which occasion I found myself as a reluctant midwife!  Alas, as Nature would have it, she rejected them all eventually and we sadly had to part with them to good homes.  This is now history as Pepper passed away in November 2009.

To fill the void in our lives we 'bailed' two 3 year old sisters from the Cats' Protection League - Megan a tortoise-shell long hair and Chloe a small black and white long hair.  Both have wonderful natures and seem to have been born to be petted.]

Prior to retirement I was Head of Music at Linlathen High School, Dundee, Scotland for twenty years.  In fact I was the last incumbent of that post as the school was closed due to the local authority's policy of school closures and amalgamations in 1996.

The buildings have been since demolished and replaced with a branch of Morrison's supermarket. (O schola clara, quomodo cecidisti - hinc illae lacrimae!)  I have been told that, where my department was situated on the site, there is now a fish counter!  Being a cancerian - a real old crab, I can live with that. 

Throughout my career and indeed most of my life, I functioned as Director of Music in various major Churches in East Scotland and was at one time Master of The Music at Perth Cathedral.  I successfully directed the first 5-day festival of Music and Floral Art in Scotland in June 1967 - my annus mirabilis

Another first for me and for Scotland was my conducting of a composite recital by Christians and Hindus in September 1986 demonstrating their respective vocal praising of The Absolute - a real interfaith dialogue. 

In the 1960s & 70s my own choral group, The Chandos Choir, featured prominently in the musical life of Dundee city, providing an additional annual oratorio performance and a secular concert to the city's arts activities.

I particularly enjoyed working with the many pupils drawn from all schools in the city who formed the St. Cecilia Symphony Orchestra which, in its time, boasted some one hundred and ten musicians and which it was my privilege to conduct.  At the start of each session, with new recruits in situ, they would blow and scrape their limping way through Handel's Suite "The Royal Fireworks, "Swan Lake" Ballet Suite, the more impossible "The March to the Scaffold" from the Symphonie Fantastique or "The Great Gate of Kiev."  "God," thought I on many occasions, "They'll never make it.  Have I expected that bit too much?"  On concert night in June, however, they would give a polished performance!  Perhaps God knew better and I had been wrong.

Within the pages of this site I share with you some musical experiences and performances which remain in the forefront of my mind.  Indeed this site is dedicated to many former students, past choristers and colleagues in performance, all of whom I count as friends.

At school there was happily a certain reciprocity in education. 

On the academic front, I taught everything from plainchant to the modernists such as Berg and Hindemith and, in the popular realm, from Provençal Song to Progressive and Symphony Rock.  In return I was kept up to date by narratives relating to the current pop idols and a wealth of wall posters kindly donated by the 13 and 14 year olds.  As for my seniors, I coaxed and drove them to Higher Grade passes in the subject while they in return made me computer literate, or nearly so.  I remember when two former pupils would drive some sixty-five miles to give me assistance when there was a software problem - bless 'em! 

Every term I had students in teacher training for practical experience both 2nd and 3rd year music students and post graduates in teacher training - some with flair and great ability, others on whom my staff and I attempted to work miracles. 

In addition were the weekly lectures at the local College of Education to final year students on methodology who, on account of the later era in which they were born, had to be introduced to the differences twixt the Basie, Ellington and Goodman big bands and how to recognise the cool sound of Lee Coniz's alto sax compared with the driving sound of Charlie Parker.  Was that example the lyrical style of Stan Getz on tenor sax or the aggressive drive of Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis?  How does one get a top A from an alto sax which has only an F# as its upper limit?  What is the difference between Latin American and Afro-Cuban?

And when presented with the sound of a Traditional Jazz Band, none of the students could say the the overall description of the music was "generally contrapuntal"!  On turning the clock back through the centuries, can we not say that Bach was the inventor of the 'walking bass'?

The practical side included how to deliver these concepts to certificate and non-certificate pupils, how symphonic rock numbers could effectively provide elements of form, the production of classroom arrangements of everything from Vltava to TV themes for classroom use.  How to open the door to Swan Lake by first introducing a class to "Saturday Night at the Duck Pond" and much much more.  It was all very worthwhile and pleasurable.

Among my compositions are: 

Motet for Solo Soprano "How long wilt thou forget me O Lord" (1968)
Fughetta for 3 recorders on "The Lark in the Clear Air"  (1978)
20 Descants for Advent to Epiphany 
24 Descants for Lent to Trinity 
14 Descants for Holy Days 
10 Descants for Communion hymns 
40 Descants for General hymns 

(All descants written for Perth Cathedral 1981 & 1982) 
Grand March in Eb "Warriors Valiant"(for concert band)  (1988)
Strathspey: "Howkin' Hamish" (broadcast Radio Four 1993)
Reel: The Dru'ken Splatter" (broadcast Radio Four 1993)
Beguine (for brass band)  (1984)
Hymn Tune "Old Fundie" (1988)
Various psalm chants 
The St. Mary's Service (setting of the Holy Eucharist)  (1986)
......recorded 2007 on DVD Phil Carus Productions  No. 1174340
The Keltic Service (Mattins based on Welsh folk songs)  (2001)
The Gaelic Service (Mattins based on Gaelic folk songs)  (2005)
Responsa Viva (Responses for Mattins and Evensong) (1988)
Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in B min.  (2004)
Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in Eb  (2004)
......1st performance Festival Evensong 2004 St. Mary's Dundee.
Urbs Fortitudinis ("We have a strong city")                           (2004)
Epilogue on "Dafydd y Garreg Wen" (for pedal organ)  (2001)
......1st performance Edinburgh Festival 2002 by Michael Bonaventure Tomassi
Marwnat  (for pedal organ)  (2002)
......1st performance Edinburgh Festival 2002 by Michael Bonaventure Tomassi
Chorale Prelude on "Christe Sanctorum"  (2004)
......1st performance St. Mary's Episcopal Broughty Ferry, Dundee recital  2004                                                                                         

You will find an entry for me in
"A Directory of Composers for Organ"
by Dr. John Henderson.

Choral performances include:-

The Rolling Seasons (Simper) (1951)
The Passion (Händel)
Cantata "Gott, hilf mir" (Buxtehude) (1975)
Crucifixion (Stainer) (1954) 
Via Crucis (Cowie)  (1961 & 1964))
The Woman of Samaria (Sterndale-Bennett) (1970)
Requiem  (Faure) (1960)

Cantata  "Alles was ihr tut" (Buxtehude) (1976)
Gloria (Vivaldi)  (1953)
The Last Supper (Thiman) (1952)
Schicksalslied (Brahms)  (1967)
Sixth Chandos Anthem (Händel)  (1967)
Judas Maccabaeus (Händel) (1968)
Nelson Mass (Haydn)  (1969)
Samson (Händel) (1969)
Jephtha (Händel) (1968)
Cantata "Jesu, Meine Freude (Krebs) (1981)
Christmas Cantata (Caldera) (1974)
St. Paul (Mendelssohn) (1962)
Twelfth Mass (Mozart) (1968)
Requiem op. 9 (Duruflé) (1965)
Venite Exultemus Domino (Sweelinck) (1970)
Laudate Dominum (Sweelinck)  (1972)
Stabat Mater (Pergolesi)  (1962)
Te Deum (Bruckner) (1963)
Cantata "Laudate Jehovam Omnes Gentes" (Telemann) (1972)
Cantata "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland" (Bach) (1965)
Magnificat (Bach)
Zadok the Priest  (Händel)  (1967)
Exultate Jubilate (Mozart) (1967)

Orchestral performances include:-

Suite 'The Royal Firworks' (Händel)
Ballet Suite 'Swan Lake' (Tschaikowsky)
Karelia Suite (Greig)
Keltic Lament (Foulds)
March to the Scaffold - Symphonie Fantastique (Berlioz)
Jupiter Symphony (Mozart)
Organ Concerto No. 6 (Händel)
Overture 'Oberon' (Weber)
Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 (Elgar)

Pomp and Circumstance March No.4 (Elgar)
Great Gate of Kiev - 'Pictures at an Exhibition (Mussorgsky)

And so the orchestral podium, the teaching of diatonic chromaticism to mystified students, the coaxing of festival entrants to deliver a creditable performance and indulging in full organ at the conclusion of a French Toccata at the exeunt of Eucharist are all hid in the mists of time for "the former things have passed away".  Or have they?  (A bank of three synthesizers - even programmed to emit the sound of pedal reeds sits in the 'office' of our home awaiting such times as I am wont to evoke sonic memories.)

My Maxim

"Post molestiam senectutis, nos habebit humus - SED NOLI MODO!" 

"After the ravages of old age, the ground will have us - BUT NOT YET!"

* A private alma mater whose history predates Eton College by 201 years, Harrow School, London by 4 years (we beat 'em at the post), Fettes College in Edinburgh by 631 years and is but 30 years younger than the University of Cambridge.  It was founded in 1239 by the Abbot and monks of Lindores Abbey as a Latin Grammar School.  Here is a picture of my old school at present:-

High School of Dundee

embedded track: a New Age meditation track

A tribute to all fellow organists - present but especially past!