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  2. Hi Nic It's thought that the Dvorak Bagatelles are one of the very few pieces written by a significant composer for American Organ for the reason you suggest. I've not looked at the score - in performance terms there are differences between the 2 styles of reed organ, most notably the keyboard split point, which is e/f above middle c in the vast majority of Harmoniums & middle b/c in most American organs, which can cause problems transferring works written for one type of instrument to the other - depending on what use the composer has made of the split. I've heard recordings of the
  3. Yesterday
  4. One of my favourite LPs in my Dad's collection was the Vlach Quartet amd Miroslav Kampelsheimer on harmonium playing Dvorak's op. 47 Bagatelles, now on YouTube if you are curious. It sounds like an "American Organ", and I'm guessing they were written after his period in the USA.
  5. Thank you. That rather confirms my impression. The instrument I referred to does a good job at pushing out plenty of noise to support congregational singing, and the relatively resonant acoustics temper the sound in the body of the church. But playing it solo was rather unsatisfying. Not the subtlest of instruments!
  6. Hi I avoided mention of the 2mp (& other similar) reed organs which, although using the same technology as the foot blown instruments, lack the expressiveness of such instruments. They have their place - and even more so in pre-electronic organ days where they were produced as home practice organs, and for use in smaller/impoverished churches. The market segment these days that's filled by digital organs. I've played quite a few such organs over the years. In general, a reed organ with an electric blower misses out on the big advantage of the instruments, but the larger pedal Harm
  7. I recall that Sidney Campbell's solution was to precede the first chord with crotchet octaves B C# F#, a slightly more subtle solution than JDB's and still thematically related. I'm not sure that it was really necessary, though—the choir never had a problem with the start of Stanford's B flat Jubilate. Campbell certainly used reeds for 'He hath shewed strength', but I can't remember whether it was the Solo Trumpet or the Great reeds. A Tuba might be overkill - or at least some might be. A lot of people seem not to like Murrill in E. The Magnificat does sound horribly trite when it's taken to
  8. Last week
  9. Yes, endless potential for trouble. Wasn't it actually fortnightly? I seem to remember that on a Wednesday afternoon one week the afternoon practice was called 'rehearsal' - which meant with the men (at the choir school) - and the second week it was called 'practice' and this was just the boys.
  10. He is also selling an ARCO and ARCM hood
  11. Aha! Very interesting, Martin. DB's concerns were well founded, and I remember him introducing the introduction after a particularly rocky rendition. The challenge for him was that however much he got the boys up to scratch, it was difficult for deputy vicars choral, who would not have practiced it at all. Indeed, we only had 1.25 hour rehearsal per week with the men, in the school hall, and the men attending that rehearsal were those on duty that day - not necessarily those who were to be on duty when it was actually performed! And with 12 sung services a week, there was not time to do
  12. Another recollection about hoods, this time Westminster Abbey. Not sure where I read this (possibly Watkins Shaw’s ‘The Succession of Organists’ which I can’t currently access). After his appointment to the Abbey, Ernest Bullock wore his Durham DMus robes only to be admonished and told by the then Dean that only those of Oxford and Cambridge were permitted to be worn in the Abbey. I wonder whether that rule still holds. This must have been around the time of his appointment in 1928. I recall reading that he was, understandably, distressed by this, and never wore them again.
  13. Robert, I didn't know that. You will also recall that DB wasn't happy about the opening of the Magnificat where, without a conductor, he assumed we wouldn't come in. So, he used to play the opening couple of bars of the choral parts and then we came in! The first time we sang the Murrill with Christopher Dearnley, half the boys put their hands up in morning practice to say 'but we do it this way' but he was happy to risk it. The RCO article on Murrill that I cited is a bit disparaging about the service because of its economy of scale, but it certainly packs a punch. I loved the fanfares
  14. As must now be obvious, Martin and I were writing at the same time, but he got in first. I will let my comment below stand as originally written. Well, this is something of a mystery as I have never been to the Chapel Royal, and the only place I ever saw Harry Gabb or Richard Popplewell in the flesh was the ‘extra’ 6.30 pm Evensong at St Paul’s, as I said, circa 1960, and my recollection of the winged collar and white tie remains clear. My other recollection is of no one conducting at that service. A lay vicar at the end, western position, on each side kept the beat. At this service t
  15. Great stuff, Robert - no, I can't tell is that's WHG or JDB at the organ. There was, I have read, quite a 'business' about the positioning of the Willis on Wheels during this period whilst work was done on the organ. The Chapter wanted it to remain in the N Transept (absurd!) and a grand piano to do duty instead! Richard Popplewell also wore the old FRCO hood. In the article by John Birch above, I can't remember if he mentions it, but he usually wore his old FRCO hood on 'unaccompanied Friday.' I think he might have had a 'festal' new FRCO hood made specially for him. He had two -
  16. Martin's mentioning Murrill in E and Carillon sent me looking for my copies of both. I was immediately struck by the lack of time signatures. He doesn't seem to have gone in for them at all. My copy of the magnificat is marked with a correction in the first bar of the Con Moto before "He hath shew'd strength" Minim =crotchet is crossed out and replaced by dotted minim = minim. John Dykes Bower (who knew Murrill) said this was a transcription error by the engraver working from Murrill's manuscript. The dot from the first minim got missed, and the second minim was smudged on the manuscr
  17. Harry Gabb certainly wore a chocolate and blueish hood at St Paul's. Someone is playing the Willis on Wheels at 32 seconds into this clip https://www.britishpathe.com/video/VLVABL93QBX197L8XI3ZUQFCLX35-UK-SAVE-THE-CHILDREN-FUND-ANNIVERSARY-SERVICE-AT-ST-PAULS/query/ST+PAULS+CATHEDRAL but I can't see if it's Harry or DB. I don't remember winged collars at St Paul's, except for Virgers, and then only on Sundays (White ties for the Dean's Virger, black ties for the others). I think you'll find that winged collars and bow ties is a Chapel Royal thing - where Harry and Richard were each DoM
  18. The Rushworth and Dreaper Apollo reed organ, which had electric blowing and a conventional pedal board (and draw stops), is worth a mention. http://tardis.dl.ac.uk/FreeReed/organ_book/node22.html The only one I’ve played makes quite a racket, but in a resonant building it’s a reasonably effective (and compact) substitute for a pipe organ. Having a pedal board was useful, but it was clearly in need of an overhaul. I recall playing the same instrument as a boy when it was in better condition - I doubt it had had any attention in the intervening years. I suppose the question would be wh
  19. Wow, thanks Tony for such an informative response and a link which in turn opens up lots of other links which give me plenty to digest. I’ll post back once I’ve read it all and see if my conclusions pass muster.
  20. Thank you Rowland, I appreciate that! I was sure that it was Raymond Sunderland had told me that FJ had some input into the new FRCO hood but was slightly wary of mentioning it because, on here, people are so quick to refute what one writes!! Of course, I've never worn one and am amazed at the cost. As I said my Ph.D hood cost me, I think £75 and, of the innumerable hoods that I have earned I don't think I ever paid more than £50 for one. I can't remember the last time I wore a hood - perhaps Evensong at Kings in the last century!!!
  21. I feel I ought to acknowledge that S_L was correct in originally attributing the re-design of the hood to Francis Jackson. As recounted elsewhere, I used to see Harry Gabb at St Paul’s Cathedral in the very early 1960s, but didn’t pay much attention to his hood. It was only a glimpse before he disappeared behind the screen surrounding the ‘Willis on Wheels’ in use at the time of the last pre-Mander rebuild. If it was his FRCO hood, it must have been the original one. In those days both he and Richard Popplewell wore a winged collar with white bow tie with cassock and full-sleeved surplice
  22. Hi I started off playing reed organs alongside pipe organs almost 6 decades ago, and I need to declare an interest as a member, and until recently, council member of the Reed Organ Society (https://www.reedsoc.org/). The true Harmonium - a pressure reed organ in the format patented by the Debain company in France in the middle of the 19th century is a very expressive and flexible instrument with repertoire from some of the well known organ composers of the day. The key feature that gives the instrument it's expressiveness is the stop marked "Expression", which when drawn cuts the wind r
  23. What a delightful article by John Birch..eloquent,humorous and highly informative. Thanks Martin for sharing it with the forum
  24. This article by John Birch clears up a few points - https://newprairiepress.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1007&context=burgonsociety including the point about the size and shape of the FRCO hood though that is not what is illustrated on the Ede and Ravenscroft website.
  25. I think you have probably hit the nail on the head, Owen.
  26. Thanks. Very interesting. Actually, I quite like chocolate and blue!
  27. I bet I'll stand corrected by people with better knowledge of the topic, but isn't there a rule that if your institution changes academic dress you should wear the dress that was current at the date of your graduation ceremony? I'm sure I remember this when the university of Wales split out (and my hood lost its shot silk and became cheaper but I needed to stay with the expensive one) and I think it applies to the CNAA qualifications too, though in those cases the institutions changed so this one is probably different.
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