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Priory Records - Great European Organs


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#1 handsoff

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 10:32 AM

There was a fascinating programme on BBC Radio 3 yesterday morning (Saturday 23 July) about the final disc in the Great European Organs series recorded in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. The programme is availlable on the BBC Radio i-player website.

 

There were two interviews, with several clips from the series, the first with Neil Collier, the founder of Priory, about the technicalities of recording organ music and the second with David Poulter who played for the recording. He gave a quick tour of the organ (expanded version available on the R3 website) and talked about the Elgar Organ Symphony which is the main work on the disc.

 

The interviews were on Record Review and started at about 11.00. I do recommend spending 30 minutes listening to it and if anyone recognises the piece from a French cathedral described and played I should be interested in learning the title.


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#2 SL

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 12:03 PM

Elgar Organ Sonata - not Symphony - but, yes - a most enjoyable half an hour!

 

I think he said that it was from the Eglise du Chant D'Oiseaux - in Brussels - played by Keith John.

 

The playlist is here - http://prioryrecords...product_id=1663


SL (late of Kings College, Cambridge)


#3 undamaris

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 12:34 PM

I love that organ. Kleuker had an amazing acoustic to fill with sound

#4 SL

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 12:58 PM

Here is a webpage about the organ - together with some pictures and, for those who like that kind of thing, a Composition de l'orgue!

 

http://antoine.pietr...r.fr/oiseau.htm


SL (late of Kings College, Cambridge)


#5 handsoff

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 03:44 PM

Thank you for the information and correction. My organ brain was clearly well to the South-East of my geographical location!


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#6 Peter Allison

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 07:46 PM

I have all of the very first 20 GEO cd's, and still listen to the odd one. But am glad they are halting it (are they?) as they came out rather quick, and always cost me a fortune. 

And would never pay the £25 for one of their DVD's :D



#7 sprondel

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 08:13 PM

I quite distinctly recall finding, in the early 90ies, my first GEO series CDs offered specially at low-price at the local music shop in Freiburg. Among the first I bought was the Ely one, with Dr. Arthur Wills playing the Guillou Toccata, some Parry, Widor’s Romane and an eight-movement Symphonia Eliensis of his own making. I remember being quite flabbergasted at the sound of the Harrison, as well as at the forceful impact of Dr. Wills’s playing. Furthermore, at that time, British organbuilding and organ music was virtually unknown in Germany, where everyone was still firmly walking West and trying to grasp the French stuff. So this was exciting news to me, and must have been to many. Nowadays, German churches are buying redundant Binnses by the dozen.

 

Whoever collected CDs from the GEO series might have his or her favourites. I can’t quite choose between the Ely one, the late John Scott’s organ sonata disk from St Paul’s (including, entirely brilliant, the Elgar) and Roger Sayer’s Reykjavik programme. Graham Barber’s disk from Coventry is another favourite, not so much for the Karg-Elert symphony, which I never quite got the knack of, but more so for Francis Jackson’s beautiful 4th sonata and Sowerby’s Pageant of Autumn.

 

I believe the series owes much to its first handful of players: Graham Barber, Jane Watts, John Scott, John Scott Whiteley, and Keith John (who, to my ears, always chose the most exciting programmes). Of course there were more, and equally brilliant, players, but these five name seem to have set a standard that radiated through much of the whole series. In which I found surprisingly little repetition in the repertoire, btw.

 

It’s a bit ironic, I think, that it has to end just this year. The last disk is, apart from being quite brilliantly played and recorded, so very distinctly British. Along with the Elgar, it also includes Bridge’s Adagio, Whitlocks “Dignity and Impudence”, and Rawsthorne’s Londonderry Air, as well as both of William Walton’s coronation marches, framing movements from his Henry V incidental music. It’s probably silly by me to see symbolized here the whole mad tragic of 23 June – a Great European Organ, being heard with a programme that seems to belie the title of the very series it concludes.

 

And now look what Stephen Cleobury played, at King’s in 1986, for the very first volume. Other times back then.

 

All best wishes indeed,

Friedrich



#8 John Robinson

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 10:19 PM

There was a fascinating programme on BBC Radio 3 yesterday morning (Saturday 23 July) about the final disc in the Great European Organs series recorded in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. The programme is availlable on the BBC Radio i-player website.

I've searched all over the BBC Radio i-player web site and I can't find it.  I don't suppose you have a link, do you?



#9 SL

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 10:37 PM

I've searched all over the BBC Radio i-player web site and I can't find it.  I don't suppose you have a link, do you?

 

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...rammes/b07lf1sx

 

 

you'll find it begins at 1:58:11


SL (late of Kings College, Cambridge)


#10 Colin Pykett

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 08:14 AM

I too have enjoyed many of the CDs in this series, but from time to time have found the technical quality somewhat wanting.  An example concerns Franck's Andantino in G minor played on a certain instrument (I won't say where for fear of flanning flames), where there was quite distinct mains hum at 50 Hz corrupting the track.  This was most unfortunate, especially at the end where the 16 foot pedal G's at 49 Hz were beating unpleasantly once per second with the hum.  I wrote to complain and to their credit the firm replied, but of course they blamed my equipment - without knowing anything about it whatever.  Having played the disc on several other systems since, exactly the same problem arose whenever the bass response was good enough to hear it, that is.

 

I did take it back to the speciality record shop (my word, that dates the story - what's a record shop?) and it was inaudible on their pathetic in-store system.  I wasn't particularly looking for a refund but thought they ought to be aware of the complaint, and they were grateful.

 

As an aside, I was amused to read Andrew Thomson's sleeve note which described the piece as a "buried treasure which lies in the set of pieces for harmonium, l'Organiste".  I searched high and low in this collection but could not find it therein, though it's fairly readily obtainable separately.  I also prefer Harvey Grace's dismissal of the piece as one which "does not call for discussion" ('The Organ Works of Cesar Franck')!

CEP


"You can never know everything about something. But you can always know something about everything" - Amit Kumar

 

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#11 AJJ

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 09:21 AM

http://www.bbc.co.uk...rammes/b07lf1sx
 
 
you'll find it begins at 1:58:11


I enjoyed this but was struck by the fact that instruments can sound refreshingly different in different hands. Here, having been used to hearing Liverpool largely played by one player in particular for quite a few years it is good to hear different 'takes' on the resources available. I remember the same with the Gloucester Cathedral organ - another instrument with a very distinct personality and another where the possibilities are seemingly limitless.

A
"…We can’t criticize the organ for being boring. In such cases it is the organist that is boring. There is no such thing as a boring organ."

#12 Peter Allison

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 09:46 AM

Liverpool is a great tribute to organs in this country, BUT I personally find its been over recorded by all and sundry (incl me 4 times). I , as a "non player" have heard, that the voicers of organs, always voice the organ they are doing, as to be at the best sounding from a reasonable height, as heard by the people that play, or a congregation, so am I missing something about recording from great heights, or "flying" the microphone in the stratosphere, so as to avoid noise, etc. 

 

a lowly butcher :-)



#13 Vox Humana

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 01:12 PM

 Franck's Andantino in G minor  [...] As an aside, I was amused to read Andrew Thomson's sleeve note which described the piece as a "buried treasure which lies in the set of pieces for harmonium, l'Organiste".

 

Assuming it's the well-known one with the oom-pah opening, I'm pretty sure that's just plain wrong.



#14 John Robinson

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 09:11 PM

 

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...rammes/b07lf1sx

 

 

you'll find it begins at 1:58:11

Many thanks SL.



#15 Deinonychus

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 10:06 PM

I too have enjoyed many of the CDs in this series, but from time to time have found the technical quality somewhat wanting.  An example concerns Franck's Andantino in G minor played on a certain instrument (I won't say where for fear of flanning flames), where there was quite distinct mains hum at 50 Hz corrupting the track.  This was most unfortunate, especially at the end where the 16 foot pedal G's at 49 Hz were beating unpleasantly once per second with the hum.

As far as I can tell, this piece appears on the series twice, and I'm pretty sure I know which one you are referring to. I don't have either CD so wasn't able to play on my hi-fi, but listening online the hum was barely audible through headphones. I'm not sure I would have noticed if I wasn't listening for it particularly.
 

I did take it back to the speciality record shop (my word, that dates the story - what's a record shop?)

There is an excellent one in Edinburgh, Macalister Matheson Music, which is well worth a visit if any of you are in this part of the country. Not a great selection of organ music, but for general classical CDs they are hard to beat, and extremely knowledgeable staff.

#16 pcnd5584

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Posted 07 August 2016 - 10:54 PM

 ...And would never pay the £25 for one of their DVD's :D

 

Added to which, the programmes are simply too 'popular' to interest me. Yes - I realise that this is probably a necessary commercial tactic; but I wish that Priory would release just one DVD in the series, which does not feature either well-worn 'pot-boilers', or endless orchestral transcriptions, clever though they may be.


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#17 davidh

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 07:21 AM

Liverpool is a great tribute to organs in this country, BUT I personally find its been over recorded by all and sundry (incl me 4 times). I , as a "non player" have heard, that the voicers of organs, always voice the organ they are doing, as to be at the best sounding from a reasonable height, as heard by the people that play, or a congregation, so am I missing something about recording from great heights, or "flying" the microphone in the stratosphere, so as to avoid noise, etc. 

 

In many Dutch churches there are raised galleries for the notables. I assumed that they were to provided so that the occupants could see and hear the preacher better. Now I see that they were put in the "sweet spots" for the organ. I propose that UK churches with good organs should build similar galleries so that those musically inclined could share the best recording microphone position.



#18 Peter Allison

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 01:26 PM

 

In many Dutch churches there are raised galleries for the notables. I assumed that they were to provided so that the occupants could see and hear the preacher better. Now I see that they were put in the "sweet spots" for the organ. I propose that UK churches with good organs should build similar galleries so that those musically inclined could share the best recording microphone position.

there are many churches and chapels here in the UK that have galleries built into the architecture, and can see the point of say raising the said microphones, to get a clear sound,  just that Liverpool, and st. Sulpice don't  :-)



#19 sprondel

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 02:48 PM

In Saint-Sulpice, there has been a permanent mic installation for several months now, put in place by Christoph Martin Frommen, sound engineer for the Aeolus CD label. The installation was used, among others, for Fugue State Filmss Widor DVD set. On a regular basis, it's used to capture the auditions. The microphones are mounted on the massive cornices on either side of the nave.

All best wishes
Friedrich

#20 Peter Allison

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 07:24 AM

interesting, there is a video on Youtube, showing him setting up the "flying mics for a recording, sending them out into the middle of the nave






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