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  1. Today
  2. Conacher - how good were they?

    There were two firms in Huddersfield, stemming from Peter's initial foray in 1854 (initially with another partner), however brother James duly became a partner. This partnership was dissolved about 1879/1880, with a court case "Conacher v Conacher" well-covered in Musical Opinion & Trade Review at that time. James set up on his own, and in 1881 dismantled an 1860's Father Willis in Newport's Albert Hall and re-erected in the newly-completed Huddersfield Town Hall - and therein may lie the basis of the split, as Peter Conacher was by this time a Town Councillor and could not tender for the Town Hall project (which would undoubtedly been a worthy project to have bagged). Herbert (son of James) worked with his Father before forming a partnership in the Birmingham area with P H Sheffield, sometime just before WWI I believe. In terms of the "average-to-bad" epitaph, I simply don't recognise this in the number of Victorian instruments which I have encountered and worked on (by both brothers) constructed as they are with uniformly excellent materials, and most of them working with admirable efficiency in circumstances where the custodianship has been frugal. I accept that certain tonal characteristics of these instruments may not appeal to all.....
  3. Yesterday
  4. Appointments 2

    There was a move, largely successful, by the Cathedral Organists Association some years ago, to bring organists' salaries into line with those paid to residentiary canons. I don't know if the same principle still applies. Of course, the two posts are not completely comparable, as clergy tend to have a lot of perks and expenses which organists don't, whereas organists may make a nice little extra sum from concerts and pupils. One cathedral, while raising the organist's salary to that of a residentiary canon, stopped paying him fees for weddings and funerals. However, the assistant did get paid for such of these services as he accompanied, so he ended up doing all of them....
  5. Organs on Google Street-view

    Ten out of ten for flagging up the Elbphilharmonie! I think they've done an amazing job of blending the organ in with the building's architecture. You get to see both consoles as well! You can get up, close and personal with the Bridgewater Hall Marcussen as well, though sadly the console is shut up. You can also get fairly close to the Hill in Sydney Town Hall, and the Elton John organ at the RAM Otherwise I can only find organs which are easily accessible from the floor of the building they stand in, like the RC shrine in Walsingham If we're allowed to include 3rd-party panoramas from other street-view users (as opposed to real street-view captures then I can give you a nice view of the two organs at Douai Abbey, and the Woodstock at Fotheringhay,. the Letourneau at Pembroke college Oxford and the Kenneth Jones at Great St Mary's in Cambridge. Across the north see you can get a good look at the Koororgel in the Bovenkerk in Kampen
  6. Conacher - how good were they?

    The trouble with Conacher's is that they were not just one firm but several, so you can't really ask how good 'a Conacher organ' is (or not) as this topic heading does, without saying which of the various forenames is on its nameplate and when it was built. David Drinkell's earlier summary is useful to help sort their pedigree out. Laurence Elvin in 'Pipes and Actions' also goes into it. He mentions Peter, James, James & Sons, Joseph and Philip - to name but some - and draws out to some extent how they were intertwined. It's some time since I last read the book so I can't summarise it here from memory, but will try to do so if requested by those who might not have it to hand. As well as their average-to-bad work which previous posters have described, there were also some apparently well-regarded examples left by Peter at least, if contemporary accounts are to be believed. I think it was the firm of that name which built four large 4 manual 22 rank cinema organs - correct me if I've got the wrong branch of the dynasty somebody. One was in the Odeon (formerly the Ritz) in Nottingham. It was a terrific thing and highly regarded by W L Sumner in the mid-20th century, and I had the privilege of a private play on it as a schoolboy thanks to the kindness of Gerald Shaw. This was not long before bits of the organ were dispersed to the four winds just prior to the cinema being bulldozed. CEP
  7. Conacher - how good were they?

    We had a Peter Conacher in the Lytham Parish Church. It was a 3 manual instrument and must have been quite impressive when built. The pipes were made in France.and the organ faced the nave. When it was still fairly young the whole instrument was turned around to face the chancel and there the problems began. It was now much too loud in the chancel and feeble in the nave. All sorts of efforts were made to rectify this problem. Wind pressures were changed. New upperwork was added. The swell Cornopean 8' became a 16' stop and an extra chest for 8' and 4' reeds was added, but on higher pressure than the rest of the division. All the balance of the instrument was lost and it became an ugly mongrel of an organ. A pity really as the original pipes still sounded pretty good. It just goes to show that, like your house, 'Location, location, location' is vital to any organ......
  8. Organs on Google Street-view

    I'm told that the site now occupied by Morrisons superstore in Wednesbury originally had a Methodist church on the site - hence the organ pipes and the large figure of Wesley.
  9. Organs on Google Street-view

    Christchurch Priory is (or was) also horizontal above the south nave. There is a picture of mine on the NPOR showing this http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D06714
  10. Organs on Google Street-view

    The best surely has to be the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Where you can wonder around inside the instrument!
  11. Appointments 2

    Birmingham Cathedral are advertising for a Head of Music, a full time position and they are paying £33,000. No accommodation is offered. I won't work out the Mathematics but I would imagine that equates to very little more - if anything!
  12. Organs on Google Street-view

    Seeing this reminds me whether St Paul's is the only organ with an en chamade 32' reed on the pedals.
  13. Appointments 2

    That salary really is rather wicked for the church to offer. The Diocese should be ashamed.
  14. Organs on Google Street-view

    As you stand facing the main organ case there is an aisle going down the left hand outside of the choir stalls - towards where the Chapter House might have been.. As you go through the entrance to the side aisle the spiral staircase is immediately to your right. I can't get it to show!
  15. Last week
  16. Hampton Court Chapel (Hereford)

    Yes, there really is one! This afternoon I drove past the entrance to the Hampton Court Castle which is at Hope-under-Dinmore, a few miles south of Hereford. A look at the website this evening - https://www.hamptoncourtcastle.co.uk/ - reveals an extremely grand building, the website of which says that the oldest parts - including the chapel - date from 1427. I looked up this location on the National Pipe Organ Register (NPOR) and there is an entry, dated 2002, for the chapel. The organ is reported as being unusable and "in pieces" in 2001. No builder is given but I should think, going by the specification, it is / was an instrument from the Victorian period or perhaps earlier. Does anyone know anything of the instrument's history? I can find nothing online. http://npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=R00347 (or, in case the link doesn't work, NPOR Number: R00347) Cheers, Dave
  17. Organs on Google Street-view

    How utterly mesmerizing. I can't figure out how to get onto the balcony from the nave however, does anyone know where the stairs to the organ loft are at Beverley? Regarding other cathedrals, I can't figure out how to get down from the dome into the nave at St Paul's Cathedral, though you can walk around the Whispering Gallery, from which you get a fine view of the Dome Organ. But surely the weirdest Google Street view of organ pipes has to be on the outside wall of the Morrisons superstore in Wednesbury, West Midlands. I think the sculpture was supposed to represent examples of local historic industry, though the only organbuilders I was aware of in the local area, Nicholson and Lord, had their workshop three miles away in central Walsall. It's now a carpet warehouse.
  18. Appointments 2

    I’ve just had a look at the job spec. £15,000 for 20 hours per week for a top class, highly experienced allround musician, organist, conductor, manager and administrator with a list of skills, duties and responsibilities as long as your arm. Presumably a graduate with an FRCO. All for around £15 an hour. For that you can get a job in London as a handyperson, a door-to-door fundraiser for Shelter, a labourer, a mini-cab supervisor, or a housekeeper (all advertised on Gumtree). The Shelter advert actually says: “Ideal for Performing Arts Graduates!” Super flumina Babylonis ibi sedimus et flevimus.
  19. Appointments 2

    Norman Harper retiring from St. George's cathedral: http://www.stgeorgescathedral.org.uk/music/StGeorgesDirectorOfMusic2018.pdf Tony
  20. Organs on Google Street-view

    I just wish that I'd been at Beverley when the Google van with its revolving camera was driving around the Minster...
  21. Organs on Google Street-view

    OK, not quite in the same league but you can see the back of the organ console of Derby Cathedral here: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Derby+Cathedral/@52.9249033,-1.4772985,3a,75y,118.9h,78.56t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sAF1QipMQ7r3BNRd6pvs3AQq36Y3jzREUkPelXVAvn88V!2e10!3e11!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x4879f13e1ad62337:0x4b652586d98716fc!8m2!3d52.924812!4d-1.477404?hl=en Quite a few of the cathedrals have been street-viewed inside, it turns out - Lincoln, Norwich, Canterbury, Derby, Gloucester, Durham, Southwark, St Edmundsbury, Chelmsford, Wells and possibly others (not Ely, St Paul's (except the crypt, whispering gallery and dome!), York, Carlisle, Exeter, Chester, Worcester, Truro, Rochester, St Alban's, Chichester, Hereford, Southwell or Salisbury if that saves anyone some time!).
  22. Organs on Google Street-view

    Oh, hijack away by all means: it's not as though I'm trying to answer any serious academic questions! I will make sure I stuff my face with assess the pork pies next time I'm in Beverley. Still interested in any organ-related Google-Street-view nuggets though if anyone has come across them!
  23. Organs on Google Street-view

    Thanks for posting those wonderful pictures of one of my all time favourite buildings - I have known Beverley Minster all my life. The late Peter Fletcher, the Minster organist, gave me my first 'cello lesson and I have played 'continuo' in there so many times (usually in the freezing cold!!!) And the pictures of the 'Crumbs Deli' reminds me of things that I miss about the UK - 'Hand raised Pork Pies with cranberry'!!!! Sorry to hijack your thread! - but Beverley Minster (and pork pies!!) mean so much to me!!
  24. Organs on Google Street-view

    Is Beverley Minster the only organ-loft to have been mapped on Google Street View? https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Beverley+Minster/@53.8392407,-0.4246845,3a,75y,111.54h,64.33t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sAF1QipN-soByCvrxpRh64R6pfi7qmCtxhPvCPA3cOH7-!2e10!3e11!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x4878c7100feffffd:0xf085449cfe09d50a!8m2!3d53.8392946!4d-0.4244797 (Edited to add: unless I'm mistaken that's the Buxtehude Jig Fugue on the music desk! Anyone know who's playing? He looks justifiably pleased with himself!)
  25. What is an “International Concert Organist”?

    I believe that some British universities have now adopted the title of 'Associate Professor' in place of the traditional 'Reader' appointment, perhaps because it sounds more important! I think that British adoption of American terms and language is increasing, no doubt because of the influence of American TV programmes and films and, of course, the Internet. How long before our honours classifications are replaced by 'Cum Laude', 'Magna Cum Laude' and 'Summa Cum Laude', I wonder?
  26. Seeing things differently

    At least the music scores still exist and an increasing amount can be listened to through media such as Youtube even if the quality is somewhat variable (I defy any recording company to successfully market a boxed set of "The complete organ works of William Faulkes" - all 500 of them!). I have lately been drawn to some exceptionally fine works by forgotten German composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries such as Ludwig Finzenhagen, Hugo Kaun or Hans Fahrmann. Forgotten either because their scores were wiped out in Allied bombing or because that period of German history was intentionally overwritten after the second World War. Thankfully the internet and release of online scores means that what little remains can be archived and searched for with increasing ease and it is well worth the hunt.
  27. What is an “International Concert Organist”?

    Whenever I read comments such as those preceding, I am reminded of the opening words of the Preface to the 1549 Book of Common Prayer: “There was never anything by the wit of man so well devised, or so surely established, which (in continuance of time) hath not been corrupted.” Or in the words of Ecclesiastes: “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.” I understand that in the higher echelons of a German company these days, a doctorate, earned or honorary, is no longer sufficient. One must now have the title of “Professor”. When I was at university, I was in awe of professors. Yet today, it seems, we are adopting the American usage of the term - anyone teaching in an institution of higher education is a “professor”, even if delivering only the occasional lecture or class on a casual basis (in which case one is a “visiting professor”). Spare a thought for poor old J.S. Bach who was keenly aware of his lack of academic title. Perhaps if he’d had a doctorate he’d have written better music.
  28. What is an “International Concert Organist”?

    Yes, and interestingly (in this country anyway) more doctorates awarded h.c. have the right to wear a nice, bright predominantly scarlet robe, whereas those who have earned their doctorate by academic means (eg, PhD, EdD, etc) have rather less 'showy' robes! Fair? Well, it really doesn't bother me, my having neither!
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