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  2. John Compton

    It has sometimes crossed my mind to wonder if there had ever been a meeting of John Compton and Hope-Jones and the sharing of technological thoughts. Whenever I've looked at the relay system on the Hull Minster organ (still working reasonably well after 80 years), early telephone technology is very evident.
  3. Hazel Davies

    I remember meeting both David and Hazel at Lincoln Cathedral years and years ago when the choir of Brecon Cathedral were doing a residency there. And I remember David telling me that he always thought Hazel was a much finer player than himself. I remember them as a lovely couple doing a hard job in not always easy circumstances. Hazel survived David by just over 18 months. May she, now, rest in peace.
  4. John Compton

    Mention of W C Jones harks back to my interest in whether Compton might have met Hope-Jones as mentioned in previous posts in this thread, and hence whether there might have been an element of technology transfer between them. Like Compton after him, Hope-Jones had earlier employed Jones's voicing skills (despite their names they were not related as far as I know, although 'Jones' is a particularly difficult name to trace for obvious reasons) and there remain to us a number of testimonials to the excellence of the reedwork in H-J's organs. For his part, Jones was supportive of H-J's work. In response to those who regarded him as a charlatan (some of the most strident rants originating from W T Best), he replied after H-J's death that "whatever else he might have been, he was certainly no charlatan". Perhaps Compton might have taken that view as well? It would be nice to know more. CEP
  5. John Compton

    The Forster & Andrews/John Compton 1938-1939 rebuild and enlargement at Hull Minster is a wonderful example of Billy Jones voicing even though the organ is in desperate need of thorough restoration. C S Lang thought the Tubas magnificent when he visited during the 1950's and played his well-known composition.
  6. Yesterday
  7. Hazel Davies

    Thank you for this - a truly wonderful woman. She started me off on the piano 53 years ago.... Peter
  8. Hazel Davies

    Members may wish to know that Hazel Davies former organist at Brecon Cathedral and wife of David Gedge has passed away. A celebrated organist in her own right Hazel was a recitalist, pianist, teacher and accompanist. Our thought to to Nicky their son, his wife Kate and the family.
  9. John Compton

    Indeed. Having had the pleasure of playing and maintaining a couple of Comptons over the years, they are very cleverly and solidly manufactured. We should remember that in some of Compton's advertising literature the firm were proud to announce that Comptons were not cheap organs. The skill of those men has I think been tarnished by poor practitioners using the same principle but without an ounce of the ability. As a by the by, I recall reading that some of Compton's reeds were voiced by Billy Jones, and I agree that there are very fine. Having heard many of their instruments, I am yet to find a duff HP reed even if some of the Tubas are a bit close toned for my own liking. Playing one introduced me to some of the most ravishing soft combinations I have ever used. One favourite was Dulciana 8 Std Flute 4 Nazard (ind) 2 2/3 and Tremulant.
  10. Last week
  11. Festal responses

    Thank you, Richard!
  12. John Compton

    The specification in Sumner is odd - I cannot recall a Compton organ actually being built to a scheme like that. Ian Bell's fascinating Compton article a few years back in the BIOS Reporter diminishes, even perhaps demolishes the commonly-accepted idea that extended ranks need a lot of special treatment. He maintained that, provided the voicer was careful about the upper and lower octaves, nothing particularly out-of-the-ordinary was required. As he, and others point out, what lets down extension so often is the fact that it could be used by less-skilled practitioners to provide cheap, instruments using any old pipe-work that might be available and a standard of workmanship which might not stand the test of time. Compton's organs were well-made and the voicing (particularly, I've always thought, of the reeds) of high quality regardless of the use or otherwise of extension.
  13. Festal responses

    Regarding Clucas, he states in his autobiography that his Responses were composed for a competition arranged by David Willcocks (a previous one was for a Jubilate which I think was won by Simon Preston) and that as the deadline approached he was torn between finishing them and going punting. He says that Willcocks was both surprised and pleased at the result and arranged for Oxford to publish the set. Forgive the lack of precision in the above. I'm in Kirkwall right now - playing for my father-in-law's funeral in St. Magnus Cathedral tomorrow - and so not able to refer to the actual volume in question!
  14. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    What temperament was the Collins organ?
  15. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    Precisely, Zimbelstern: that is what I meant, but expressed myself with less than my usual razor-sharp precision (!). When I started to explore Spanish instruments, I was surprised by how many were located at the side of and further back on a west gallery. They rarely seem to speak down the nave. I hope, therefore, that they will both be at the same pitch: enabling them to be played simultaneously, without 'distress'.
  16. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    A large number of us who were brought up on it (so to speak) in its original home will be excited to see and hear it back in action again. It will be interesting to hear it in a new acoustic, the Turner Sims Hall being fairly unforgiving. When the smilar sized Collins organ was moved from an acoustically dead space into the larger and decidedly more resonant St Mary’s Church in Dorchester I seem to remember some revocing might possibly have been done to fit the new home. A
  17. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    I gather that they are keeping the tiny 2 manual in the North of the chancel for accompanimental purposes. The organ should be really fabulous though as it is a surprisingly large church with a lovely acoustic.
  18. Ornamentation in Bach’s “O Mensch bewein”

    Thank you skf1967. I wasn’t aware of the Hans Fagius book, so that’s very useful.
  19. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    All the Spanish organs I have seen or played, although located in a similar position in relation to the floor plan, have been raised up quite or very high, either in a gallery, on the wall, or above the choir. Maybe this was for acoustic reasons, or simply so as not to take up space ground level. The choir in old Spanish churches is often situated in the middle of the church, or even further back, totally enclosed on three sides, with iron gates on the side facing the altar. A good example is the church of Nava del Rey, not far from Valladolid. You’ll see what I mean in these photos. https://goo.gl/images/3Xq6yo https://goo.gl/images/KNA4FR I went to the inaugural recital of the newly restored organ there in 2015, given by Juan de la Rubia, who is the organist of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. A very impressive instrument. The region is littered with baroque organs waiting for restoration.
  20. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    I agree with Zimbelstern (and Herr Johann), here. In fact, a similar issue was discussed - and the same solution proposed - at my recent meeting with the organ-builder. As for the DOA: it may have been that members of the committee considering the Faculty may have wanted the physical 'presence', to help them make their decision. The floor will need looking at, too: it may well be that, with uneven tiling, a platform is required to stabilise the instrument. Yes, it does look (really) good, there: an Iberian-type position. As support for the congregation: ideal. Choral accompaniment (if the choir is to remain in the Quire) will prove more problematic. For concertising, the seats can easily be moved into whatever configuration is desired. Will want to hear this in situ at the earliest opportunity.
  21. Ornamentation in Bach’s “O Mensch bewein”

    It's not really possible to write down in words how many of these issues can be dealt with - there are no shortcuts, alas. Hans Fagius 49 Organ Works by Bach has some of the sort of thing you're after (Sensus Musicbocker) and deals in detail with BWV 641 which shares some features with 622. The weighty and still pretty much unrivalled book on ornamentation is Frederick Neumann's - it was the study which challenged the main note, on the beat orthodoxy of ornament realisation - but it is hundreds of ages long, can be pretty hard going and again there are only a couple of examples from O Mensch in it: but careful reading of it will offer analogies from elsewhere for some of the problems. Not everyone agrees with his conclusions but they are exhaustively argued. The Laukvik book on Historical Performance also has useful contemporary source information about the realisation of ornaments and some good written realisation models (not from BWV 622). But in the end your own ear - informed - has to guide you. Listen to as many harpsichordists as organists, and also as many non- keyboard musicians as you can, I would suggest. Gambists especially. Turns at the end of trills - there seems to be no difference intended in the use of different notations ( and BTW turns notated in exact values at the end of trills should not be regarded as mathematically exact). In the search for definitive ornaments, the crafting of the inner parts of these coloratura pieces is often overlooked: they contain a lot of the expressive force of the music. It's a fascinating exercise to play LH and pedal as a trio sonata.
  22. Festal responses

    According to an article by Peter Aston (Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, Vol. 99, 1972 - 1973): "Lastly, there are the liturgical works. These comprise a morning and an evening Service, an English Gloria 'composed at Mr. Peter Gunning's motion', and a Gloria and responses for the Communion Service. These liturgical pieces contain little of interest. All of them show signs of haste, and it is evident that Jeffreys approached these purely functional settings with little enthusiasm."
  23. Hewins Organ Builder, Stratford-upon-Avon

    Something reminded me of an article and after some rummaging I found it: JBIOS 18, by James Berrow. An account of the Whinfields (with an 'h' !) and the organ at The Wyche - this is the Malvern instrument noted above by David.
  24. Ornamentation in Bach’s “O Mensch bewein”

    Badura-Skoda had an article published a year or two ago in 'Early Music' entitled something like 'Let's get rid of the wrong Pralltriller', which, so far as I could see, was based on nothing more than personal feeling. His argument is certainly contradicted by some ornament tables from the period. I'm certainly no expert, but I understand that Bach's ornament table for W F Bach (?) is based on French practice and some argue that it is not necessarily applicable to music in other styles - although again I'm not sure whether there is any substance behind this. What does need consideration in O Mensch (and elsewhere) is whether a distinction should be drawn between a trill indicated by a wavy line with a vertical slash at the end and one with a wavy line without a slash but with a turn of two demisemiquavers written out at the end. Bach writes both forms in this piece. Why did he make a distinction? Did he intend one?
  25. Ornamentation in Bach’s “O Mensch bewein”

    Hi I first learned & played this from the Novello edition. These days I use the Barenreiter urtext publication that I purchased a fe years back because my Novello volume (dating from the late '60's) was falling to pieces! I'm probably a bit of Philistine with the ornaments - I just play what feels right to me! Health problems and no tradition of proper voluntaries in the church I play at has meant I've got rather out of practice, but I've set myself to play through the Bach Passiontide Chorale Preludes from the Orgelbuchlein one each Sunday (except Family Services) during Lent. Not sure if I'll manage it - and the organ is not the most suitable, being a Yamaha HS8 (spinet style with a 20 note pedalboard) controlling a basic computer simulator). The first one (O Lamm Gottes Unschulfig) yesterday went quite well - pedal part played down an octave with 4ft Pedal stop plus a 4ft coupled through from the "Swell". O Mensch will probably make an appearance for the communion service the Sunday after next. It's probably the one Passiontide chorale that I know best - certainly the one I've played most! Trying to do this at least meaans that I have to practice rather more than I have been of late! Every Blessing Tony
  26. John Compton

    The problems of deriving mixture and mutation ranks via extension are not limited to tuning issues. In a rank which has to do duty for several stops It is difficult if not impossible to regulate the power of each pipe so that each stop sounds right within itself (e.g. doesn't scream in the treble, gets too thin in the bass, or sounds too fat in the middle so that aural transparency is degraded). The same applies to scaling (choosing the length-to-diameter ratio) of each pipe in the extended rank, because non-optimum pipe scales bring their own set of problems. These things are difficult enough to get right in a 'straight' organ which does not use extension. The problems are not limited to derived mutation ranks of course - they affect derived stops at any pitch in a similar way. I have found it difficult to find out enough detail of how Compton and the other better builders of extension organs addressed these issues in practice by doing R&D, though the larger firms did appear to at least have a go at it by experimenting with extended ranks having different scaling progressions across the compass, and applying different voicing and regulation treatments (no doubt largely funded by a succession of customers!). How successful the outcomes were depends partly on personal preferences I think, so it's probably best viewed as a 'horses for courses' matter at the end of the day. Nevertheless, for his larger extended instruments as opposed to the tiny ones such as the Miniatura, Compton certainly believed in providing enough basic material in terms of numbers of pipes so that there was a reasonably wide pool of differing tonalities and pitches to draw on when developing his derivation schemes. I say "certainly" because he said so quite often, and he was also honest enough not to hide the problems outlined above. A good example of his thinking is in Sumner's book 'The Organ' (p. 434, 3rd edition). Here he (Compton himself, not Sumner) analyses one of his own 9-rank extension organs having 826 pipes. This complement would only provide for a small straight instrument with roughly 13 stops, yet he manages to derive 42 speaking stops from them including three mixtures and various mutations (but, mercifully, no tierces!). Unfortunately, yet further problems emerge when you study this scheme in detail, such as the impossibility (in the scheme as described) of providing an independent swell organ because so many of the ranks service the two manual divisions and the pedals. Thus he had to label the divisions as 'Great' and 'Positif'. This does not necessarily mean that no ranks at all could be enclosed, though if they were it could produce some rather strange effects. Another issue is the lack of couplers, not mentioned and not included in his example stop list, because when there is so little actual material in terms of pipes and so many stops on all divisions drawing on it, the concept of coupling starts to lose meaning and just serves to muddy the waters further. CEP
  27. Hewins Organ Builder, Stratford-upon-Avon

    I thought 4/- was too much and didn't go again. I later heard a whisper that the organist may have used the fees to supplement her gin and tobacco budget
  28. Ornamentation in Bach’s “O Mensch bewein”

    Thanks David. I’ve been using the latest Breitkopf edition, but I’d forgotten I had a copy of the Novello edition edited by Walter Emery. You’re right - many of the ornaments are written out. It’s a start!
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