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Tony Newnham

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Everything posted by Tony Newnham

  1. Hi Back in the 1970's a good friend was consultant on installing a new sound reinforcement system in the Cathedral (I think they've had 2 more since then). At that stage, but not part of the SR system, there were microphones rigged in the chancel both for routine recording of the choir, and IIRC to allow the organist to hear via headphones if needed. I don't know if there were permanent mics on any part of the organ. The BBC had a separate system, and again I don't know if any of their microphones were permanently installed, but it wouldn't surprise me if they had a general coverage of overheads rigged. AT that time they had a permanent control room in the Cathedral. There were wired in links between the BBC system & the Cathedral SR system as backups in the case of problems during live broadcasts. My friend had the job of running the live sound in the Cathedral for the Prince Charles/Diana Spencer wedding. Every Blessing Tony
  2. Hi I was amused, like Denis, to "discover" that the RAH organ has 9,999 stops! The mind boggles. I was also surprised to hear that it's not been changed from when Father WIllis built it (presenter attributed that comment to the organist). Surely we can expect the BBC to get basic facts right? Every Blessing Tony
  3. Don't worry about it S_L. Us techies understand it, and I'm sure you have loads of knowledge in other areas to share that neither Colin or myself know or understand! Every Blessing Tony
  4. Hi How can something be "rather unique"! It's either unique or not. (Sorry - it's English mis usage that bugs me). That said, a handful of pipe organs have been built with CC compass (an octave lower than the normal C compass), (although sometimes on stop lists it's not always clear exactly what compass is meant). Old English organs of course routinely had a manual compass descending to GG or FF. The (in)famous Midmer-Losh job in Atlantic City has a couple of manuals that descend even lower. I've just had a quick look in my copy of the book, and it does indeed look unusual. Perhaps the compass was chosen because the owner was a pianist? The additional cost of taking ranks down the additional octave must have been significant. There are indeed some oddities in the organ world! Every Blessing Tony
  5. The original information says that the organ is for services etc. in the Western end of the Cathedral, remote from the main organ. (Willis' plans originally included a department or two in this area). Also, it seems the instrument has been donated, so presumably minimal cost. Every Blessing Tony
  6. Hi We'll be singing - first service is a memorial service on Friday. The guidelines, taken I understand from the Baptist Union's advice, is to continue to wear masks, and not sing too loud! (I can't see some of our folk sticking to the last point!) I'm not sure what, if anything, we're doing about social distancing. Sunday morning should be fun. Every Blessing Tony
  7. Hi Going back a few posts, I have seen (and played from) a book of short pieces to accompany silent films. The Flukes had one in the late lamented Reed Organ Museum in Saltaire. The book usually lived on the "Orgapian" - a combined upright piano & reed organ designed and marketed for cinema use in the silent film days. I've played a couple of extracts from the book when doing demonstration recitals at the museum a few years back. The pieces were all short - no more than one page, and virtually sight-readable. I've never seen another such collection, but I guess they were common at the time. The Orgapian is now in a new museum that's being set up in the East Midlands, and I'm looking forward to re-acquainting myself with the beast (and other instruments in the collection). I think only 2 of these beast still exist. Every Blessing Tony
  8. Hi Didn't Sunak say the other day that singing would be allowed? However, I think a risk assessment will be in order, considering issues such as social distancing, particularly between rows of singers, and use or otherwise of masks. Every Blessing Tony
  9. Hi Peter I can't help with info about Hunter, but I'm pleased to see a Baptist Church getting a pipe organ back to playable condition. Good luck! Checking on DBOB, I see that Hunter was taken over by Willis, so it might be worth asking David Wylde if there's anything in their archives. Every Blessing Tony
  10. The missing low C# is simply because before organs were tuned to equal temperament (or another well tempered temperament) chords based on C#/Db were unusable because of the tuning. Any piece in Db major could use the low C# (AKA Db) in modern tunings. Every Blessing Tony
  11. Same as ever here yesterday morning & now.
  12. Hi I guess the recording including Harpsichord is "Zoji". The Harpsichord is played by Jane Chapman, with Mark Wingfield on electric guitar & soundscapes, and Adriano Adewale on percussion & vocals. I bought the CD after reading a review in, I think, Harpsichord & Fortepiano magazine (or maybe the British Harpsichord Society's on-line magazine. Another example of "crossover" is the "Playing the History" project, including Italian organist Marco Lo Musico. They reinterpret classic Prog songs - thankfully in instrumental form. It looks like the website has gone AWOL (http://www.playingthehistory.com/) - I was surprised to see their 2nd & most recent recording was 6 years or so ago. Every Blessing Tony
  13. Hi It seems Willis did very little work in Cambridge, but until 2019 there was another Willis in the city (or technically, in its suburbs). The Lady Margaret Beaufort Inst. of Theology in Newnham had a Willis Junior Development Plan organ until the chapel was reordered - see NPOR P01115. A builder search on NPOR also reveals 3 other instruments worked on by Willis at various times - all now either superseded or removed. Every Blessing Tony
  14. Thanks for the info Scott. I'll take a look at the website - probably tomorrow (church today!) Every Blessing Tony
  15. Hi I listened to some of the programmes (I tend to drift off to sleep at that time of night!). What I heard was interesting. I suspect the speaking over music was a production decision at the editing stage - maybe to get the running time right. The one thing that did annoy me a little was the statement that the Wannamaker organ is the largest in the world. It may be the largest fully working pipe organ - but the largest surely is still the Midmer-Losh effort in Atlantic City. Hopefully we may begin to see a bit more coverage of organ music by the BBC. Every Blessing Tony
  16. The Early Music Shop sell reproduction serpents if you want to own your own!
  17. Hi No idea about the introduction you're talking about. I thoroughly dislike the usually overblown and bloated arrangements of early English organ music. What's wrong with playing what the composer intended? Using appropriate sounds (and if possible an appropriate organ) and careful phrasing brings the music to life. Every Blessing Tony
  18. I'm reminded of a chap who installed a cinema organ in his terraced house in Folkestone IIRC. Never managed to get to see it. I suspect the "neighbour problem" would be pretty significant, especially these days. It's one reason why my digital home organ is in a converted section of the garage. Every Blessing Tony
  19. Hi Dave Another hymnbook collector - although mine are all English - oldest IIRC is a Methodist book from the late 1800's. Not sure how many I've got - I'll find out soon as I'm planning to relocate them so I can access them better. Every Blessing Tony
  20. My Great-Grandmother had no electricity in her house until she died (early to mid - 1960's). It was a typical fair sized Victorian terraced house. Gas lighting on the ground floor only (which was all that was used by that time). A gas stove in the kitchen, alongside a coal fire range (which I never saw in use). Outside toilet. If you needed to go upstairs in the dark you used a candle. No TV (obviously), but there was a radio - on a "Redifusion" system. Basically a cable relay system. There was a choice of BBC Light programme & home service. My sister & I would regularly go there for tea on Fridays. Granny Pete (Mrs Peters) was quite happy with what she had & never wanted anything more modern. I guess when you've lived your life without "modern" luxuries you don't see the point. At least Granny Pete had running water - I remember Mum & Dad taking her to visit a friend who lived in a cottage in the country - their water supply was a spring across the road! (That would probably have been late 1950's) How times change! Every Blessing Tony
  21. He did indeed. There's a synthesiser etc. museum in the States that has one of his organs (an Hammond L100) complete with daggers! I use a pencil if I need to set up a drone. Every Blessing Tony
  22. Hi "As an aside, in the recent rather splendid film of Far from the Madding Crowd, I noticed that the church in Casterbridge was rather bigger than I remembered, looking rather similar to Sherston, and appeared to have a nice electric action organ over the west entrance. Impressive, as it was set in the late 1840s - early adopters, clearly ..." Film & TV Drama makers often drop similar clangers, both in respect of churches, such as a Digital Piano sitting in the chancel in an episode of "Father Brown" - set in the 1950's. Railways are another area where they often get things wrong (BR locomotives in a Victorian era drama) and so on. I find such gaffes annoying and detract from the film/drama.
  23. Hi I read somewhere that on average, people are bigger now than in previous generations, and hence, on average, have naturally lower-pitched voices. Add to that the fact that there's far less singing in society, and certainly music teaching in schools has deteriorated (witness the row made by many so-called school choirs consisting of kids bawling at the tops of their voices that often appear on TV news programmes before Christmas. Hence many are neither taught how to sing, and many just don't sing other than in church. I guess the 2 factors together are behind the lowering of pitch. Given that many older organs also are sharp (I have a Harmonium that's a semi-tone sharp to A=440 for example) maybe that's another factor. Not sure that there's any easy answers. Every Blessing Tony
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