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Andrew Lucas

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About Andrew Lucas

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  1. Hello David, I remember this concert very well indeed, though I have to refute your assertion that the octave coupler was used as you said by the resident organists (round that time this was mostly me!). The 'standard' setting of the pistons throughout the organ had been determined by Christopher Dearnley and all of us who used it regularly stuck with those settings. The octave couplers were sometimes used on both Swell and Solo for special effects with the strings and with the Oboe, or the quiet Solo reeds. This was for psalm accompaniments, for the most part. I can only think of less
  2. I'd just like to clarify this a little because otherwise the tales get exaggerated with the re-telling. The problem with the Queen and the St Paul's organ's Royal Trumpets is more to do with fanfares in general than the organ stops per se. Rather than have trumpets blasting her ears every time she walks through a doorway the Queen prefers any fanfare to happen before she walks through the doors. The Royal Trumpets are extremely loud, especially when you are standing underneath them. On many occasions I've seen people jump or wince when they go off unexpectedly. So it was always impress
  3. Opening Events of the restored Cathedral organ - Saturday and Sunday 6th and 7th June, 2009 All are welcome - please come and join us. Saturday 6th June Entry to events on this day is free - these events are aimed to attract local supporters, donors to the organ fund, families and children 2pm Welcome by the Dean followed by a demonstration "The Colours of the Organ" by Simon Johnson, Organist of St Paul’s Cathedral 2.30pm Short Demonstrations and Guided Tours of the Abbey Organ Loft by the Abbey musicians 3.30pm Afternoon Concert - Dick Whittington and his Cat composed fo
  4. Members of the message board may be interested to hear that the restoration of the H&H organ at St Albans Cathedral is now complete. The organ will be used for the first time at the Easter services. The opening recital is to be given Sunday 7th June at 3 pm by David Higgs, Chair of the Organ and Historical Keyboards Department at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York. Tickets (£10; £5 for concessions) can be bought in advance or on the door. The organ will also feature in the 2009 IOF in July alongside the Mander organ in St Peters and the period-style Collins organ in
  5. We are spending a similar sum 'restoring' our somewhat smaller H&H organ by the original builder, whose quote was very competitive indeed. But besides the obvious work of action and pipework restoration and some additional material by H&H the total sum includes: the complete dismantling of the whole structure of the organ in order to gain access to re-leather all the reservoirs which are in the base of the instrument (thus avoiding having to do another complete dismantling within the next 25 years), electrical re-wiring and restoration work to floor of the organ loft and site, asbe
  6. This is a subject quite close to my heart at the moment, given that I'm responsible for one of RD's instruments and it's current restoration and enhancement. I don't think that Downes was dopey for one moment, and won't bother with the other remark. The difficulty seems to be how we get his work in perspective. The organ at St Albans has been discussed quite a bit on these pages, sometimes very supportively and at other times rather derogatory remarks have been made, usually about its perceived unsuitability for playing for the cathedral services. Having come here from working wit
  7. Hope you don't mind me adding to this thread as I have a bit of a vested interest in the subject. The improvisation competition at St Albans in my experience is a bit variable in the standard of the competitors from year to year. So we have had excellent winning improvisers in the past (Mourik in 05, Houssart in 03, and before them Baker, Briggs, Hakim, Bovet etc). This is only the third time since 1971 that the jury hasn't awarded the prize (and in 1999 the competition was cancelled due to a low standard of entrants). In the end it's all down to what happens on the day. This year the
  8. Oh, don't be so coy Adrian ... of course we are!
  9. Actually at St Albans we do have a 16' reed on the Great. Curiously, we just don't have 8' and 4' ones (well, of the more sociable, chorus type), so these are what we are adding. (Apologies - I now see this repeats information given by others).
  10. How interesting. I've never noticed that, but perhaps it's a bit like telling jokes ... it's the way you tell 'em. Andrew Parnell and Simon Johnson certainly make the accompaniments sound colourful and singing.
  11. I think that what you are describing may have appeared like that from where you were sitting but in fact, usually on Sundays anyway, the choir used to sing the first and last verses 'full' but the intervening verses were sung alternately by Decani and Cantoris, the other side resting. Powering your way through nine rather long hymns on a Sunday could be very tiring along with all the other music the choir has to sing, so it was done to give the boys (and men) some vocal rest.
  12. Oh - I'm awfully sorry! I don't recall that at all, though I have a vague recollection of a lady verger there being as mad as a mongoose ... she certainly didn't get the better of me, because I'd been there longer. But then at St Vedasts a Stopt diapafon was more than enough to practise on. I think she was exaggerating. And anyway, I wish I had the alleged authority over certain virgers in my present place of employment!
  13. Apologies - I'm not in the peripatetic virtuosi class, but I find three hours is a minimum optimum time. It depends on the organ, of course. It's the time taken up to assess the organ, decide the registrations, write them in - rehearse controlling the organ, listening to the organ and the acoustic - coping with its quirks, uneven actions, unusual piston configurations - that all takes time. Some organs are impossible to balance to your satisfaction - you have to make difficult choices. Other organs and acoustics are very easy, but in my limited experience they're a rare commodity!
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