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David Thornton

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  1. Alfred and Daniel Kern

    As an organist who has been fortunate enough to have spent time over many summers in France and has been allowed generous access to very many organs, I've played about a dozen Kern reconstructions and new instruments. Many in the Alsace region as would be expected from a Strasbourg based firm, with other instruments in Toulouse, Nimes, Bourges, Nice, Tours, Aix-en-Provence, Rouen and Lyon. As Paul says, there are probably more reconstructed organs in France sporting a 'Kern' name plate than any other, closely followed by Formentelli. Kern's 'house style' is a 4 manual C18th 'classical' organ: full compass Positif de dos and Grand, with short compass Recit and Echo. However, unlike Formentelli who goes for the 'pedale francaise' with only 8 and 4ft stops, Kern goes for a German pedal board, usually 30 notes of standard dimensions and alignment. Kern's Pedal organ is also 16ft based with fully developed choruses of flues and reeds. His concept is the organs of Andreas Silbermann of which Ebersmunster and Marmoutier are fine but modestly sized examples. The principal choruses tend to be less fluty and with a brighter balance than more authentic classical instruments and the reed stops less assertive, also the 16ft pedal plays a completely different role to the 8ft classical pedal organ. Kern's organs play Bach and the North German repertoire very well indeed and of course the whole of the French classical repertoire. One has to bear in mind that these organs, although housed in their original C18th or earlier casework have been rebuilt and altered many times over 2 centuries, how much C18th pipework they now contain is debatable. A quick look inside cabinets often appears to indicate that much or all of the pipework is new. In a number of instruments such as Nimes he has retained a C19th Romantic Recit to create a more eclectic organ, whether this is a good thing or not is of course debatable, personally I didn't feel that the 2 aspects sat together comfortably. They are all very comfortable and easy to play having standard pedal boards, keys of reasonable length (at least on the Positif and Grand) and a predicitable touch, with a decent projection over the pedal board. Drawstop layout is very confusing for UK organists as they are arranged in solid banks on either side of the keyboards, usually principals on one side with flutes, mutations and reeds on the other. However, divisions are not separated but the stopknobs have subtly different coloured woods, with paper labels. Outstanding Kern's have been Strasbourg (as you would expect), St Gregoire Ribeaville, and a new organ at St-Jean-de-Malte Aix-en-Provence. As with many new and reconstructed organs (including Formentelli and Quoirin) which follow a certain 'style' with 'compromises', some can sound a bit bland. However, I would not be disappointed if one of the Kerns I've come across was the organ I had to play ever Sunday. You can find full write ups, specs with photos on www.musiqueorguequebec.ca
  2. Microphone for laptop/audacity?

    Thanks for the advice gents. Just to clarify my intentions, I'm looking to be able to give my singers a CD with the accompaniment (or in the case of unaccompanied anthems a representation of the ensemble) together with their individual vocal part, so the ability to multitrack is essential to the task. When I was in secondary education I did this sort of thing regularly on a professional standard recording device (can't remember exactly which one it was) on which you could burn the finished results directly to CD. I also used the hand held Edirol recorder for run of the mill recordings. As sound recording per se is not something I really want to get into, I'm not wanting to purchase any expensive equipment which I'm not likely to use very much.
  3. Microphone for laptop/audacity?

    I wish to make some learning cds for members of my choir. I've installed Audacity onto my laptop as I will be making multi track recordings - recording all the choral parts or accompaniment played on the piano then singing in the individual vocal parts required. I need a decent quality microphone that will plug directly into the 1/8th inch mic socket on the laptop, costing on the right side of £100. Has anyone any experience of this sort of thing and can make some suggestions.
  4. Couperin Organ Masses

    A friend has a copy of the l'Oiseau Lyre edition, the Dover edition is a reprint of this but the page size has been reduced.
  5. Churches in Venice

    Martin, Firstly, many congratulations and welcome to the board! Sadly, Venice like Rome is a poor place for organs; most churches (and we visited most a couple of years ago) don't have an organ, some have rather decrepit-looking unrestored historic organs, a few have very nasty small early/mid C20th organs. The only 'proper' organs I came across were the new Ahrend organ in San Salvador, this is a Renaissance style instrument in an historic C16th case. The other the 1766 Callido organ in San Marco, restored by Zanin in 1995. Good luck and enjoy your visit.
  6. Trompe l'oeil organs

    Collegiale Saint-Remy at Lautrec in the Tarn region of France. There is a painting of an organ on the west wall which was in place before Puget installed a modest 2m organ in 1893. The painted organ is wider than the Puget, so when viewed from the nave it looks as though the organ has pedal towers. The whole interior of the church is covered with Trompe l'oeil which is so realistic that you actually have to go and touch the mouldings to believe that they aren't real. It's all been restored recently and looks magnificent. The organ is very nice, having been restored in 1996. I couldn't get a hype-link to work, but if you google Lautrec orgue the first thing that comes up should be the church website which has a picture of the organ amongst other things.
  7. Bristol Cathedral - new organ

    The Worcester keyboard/piston assemblies were by P&S who supply top quality keyboards for most UK builders, I'm fairly sure that the other console fitments (drawstops etc.) will be P&S.
  8. Cesar Franck from St. Paul's Cathedral

    I was in St Paul's for a Sunday Evensong 2 or 3 of years ago, Simon played one of the Symphonic movements (either the first or third, can't remember which), it sounded wonderful. I think at the time Simon had only completed one of the movements. Daniel Roth has also done an arrangement of the Symphony which I heard him play in Saint Amans, Rodez (South of France) several years ago, it sounded better at St Paul's. Simon also played the Symphonic Interlude from Redemption on a BBC broadcast of Choral Evensong, possibly last year. I'll have to look up this CD!
  9. New console Notre Dame de Paris

    This clip has music, and some video of the original console
  10. JS Bach's 'Great' Prelude and Fugues

    Regarding the Novello scores, which I also learned from and still use, the current 'brown' editions are a photo reduction of the originals as someone else has already mentioned, the problems with these are that the print appears blurred in places and some pages are so cramped that they are virtually impossible to read (the middle section of the St Anne Fugue for example). I've recently acquired original copies of books 7 and 8 (book 7 is 'as new') one of which dates from the 1930s and am finding them much easier to play from, it's worth trawling the various websites which offer second-hand music as there are plently of these scores around, albeit in a range of conditions! This gentleman in Liverpool is offering quite a few http://www.usedorganmusic.co.uk/orderform.htm
  11. New home needed

    http://www.ebay.co.u...=item27cfa60b8c This looks interesting, could make a nice house organ if you've got the right room.
  12. Appointments

    Thanks for this info. I went to 2 evensongs; DD conducted the boys and men with TP accompanying, and TP conducted the girls and men with DD accompanying (extremely well!)
  13. ORG4N

    Ever wondered who's got the regristration ORG4N on their car? It was advertised in yesterday's Telegraph, back page of the Motoring section. One of the companies that specialise in personal registrations was running a 'musical' theme, and this number will set you back a mere £34,995 However, V1OLA will set you back even more, £39,995 Anyone interested?
  14. Appointments

    I've just returned from a few days in Norwich, can anyone tell me what the set-up here actually is? The Cathedral website lists David Dunnett as 'Acting Organist and Master of Music' and Tom Primrose as 'Acting Assistant Organist'. So, who is leaving (or already left), and what will Ashley Grote's role be. By the way, both the girl choristers and boy choristers sounded very good.
  15. Organs On Screen (not The Screen!)

    Yesterday's episode of 'Escape to the Country' (I quickly hasten to add that it is my wife who likes to watch this, not myself!) was set in the area around Wells and featured the presenter meeting Matthew Owens, getting a quick demo of the Cathedral organ from the console, then receiving an impromptu lesson on how to play the opening of Toccata in D minor!!!
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