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Malcolm Farr

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Everything posted by Malcolm Farr

  1. Hi all, How about this "little" instrument - It's just a little of the beaten track, being in the Land Down Under; it's kinda sorta Anglophone, if you can understand Orshtrayun; and it was built just a few years before 1985 - The Grand Organ of Sydney Town Hall, William Hill & Son 1890, 5 manuals + pedal, 126 stops.
  2. Thank you, Colin - I don't know the St Mary's, Southampton instrument at all, so was quite unaware of the disposition of its Great Organ. In a rather loose way, I suppose that one could say that Willis III's diapasons and reeds only Great Organ "tonal ideal" is fulfilled in the Great 1st Division at Westminster Cathedral. But of course the full resources of the Great include the Flutes at 16'. 8' and 4' on the 2nd Division; and in any case, wasn't it the Harrison firm rather than Willis which divided the Great there? Rgds, MJF
  3. Very well done, Contrebombarde! If one can't have a pipe organ, then go for the ant's pants, the bee's knees of virtuals... Since it's beyond the bounds of this discussion board, may I send you a PM about your installation? Kind regards, MJF
  4. Hi all, I have a friend who has transferred some music to tablet, and on trying it I found it quite difficult, most particularly as the size of the device was rather smaller than the printed page and thus not friendly to my aging eyes, and, as Choir_Man notes, light conditions change between venues such that paper seems to have an advantage. (I used it in two churches with quite different conditions.) Innate also notes problems in switching between portrait and landscape. Copyright is of course a real issue - and, I think, the biggest one. I suppose the ideal would be a non-reflective display of about the same size as a "standard" music page - rather larger than A4, although I don't know the slightest thing about page sizes - which is designed to be set up both upright and lengthways, depending upon the music. "Page turning" would be by touch, far easier than turning the real thing. Contrebombarde's system sounds like a brilliant answer to (many., at least) of the issues involved, but of course isn't adaptable in so many situations. However, something like this overall, commercially available in a form with particular standards that music publishers will agree to use - ie, selling their product either in old-fashioned print form, or alternatively in a form which can be readily downloaded onto such a device - would be the ants-pants. That's the big question, isn't it - getting music publishers involved, so that music currently under copyright is released and available in the appropriate format. If publishers were to take this on board, and also other parts of the music performance "industry" were to take it up - have any orchestras moved to electronic scores in any contexts? - then then it might be a real goer. Rgds MJF
  5. And just as there are organs where the Harmonic Flutes do blend, I've also come across a couple where draw stops labelled "Stopped Diapason" sounded much more what I would expect from Lieblich Gedackts. Nice enough stops in their own right, but not a solid basis for any chorus. I don't know if this is just mis-labelling, or if they were totally a different conception of what a Stopped Diapason should be. Cheers mjfarr3006
  6. Thanks, AJJ - that's a really interesting article by Stephen Bicknell, and explains a fair bit. I'll just have to digest it in terms of what I was hearing on my acquaintance's H******** set-up. And Innate - yes, that makes a lot of sense in hindsight, doesn't it? I mean, why else would they both have been called Diapasons?... Cheers mjfarr3006
  7. Hi All, I have been wondering about something I read recently about drawing diapasons and flutes together, and hope that someone may be able to provide an explanation. Going through some ancient things in The Musical Times, I came across a letter to the editor in vol. 77 no. 1120 (June 1936), written by Henry Willis III in which he stated as follows at p. 543: "It can be laid down in the most definite manner that Harmonic Flutes do not blend with Diapasons, that any open flutes are undesirable, but that correctly voiced Stopped Flutes are capable of successful combination. Why? The reason is simple. Open flutes have various upper partials present in varied order of prominence: many, when developed in a flute, are inimical to those of a Diapason, With a Stopped Flute the odd numbered partials only are present, and the blending power is correct." (Emphasis original.) Now, the only Willis instrument of any size that I've ever had any opportunity to play had both a Claribel Flute 8' and Harmonic Flute 4' on the Great Organ, and I recall that the lack of blend was particularly noticeable if the Harmonic Flute were drawn. So HWIII certainly seems to have been spot-on in relation to his own firm's instruments. On the other hand, not too long ago I had the opportunity to have a go on an acquaintance's H******** installation - surely I dare not even name the digital beast on a forum devoted to the pipe organ! - but it did at least provide something of a context to HWIII's comments insofar that it included a virtual reproduction of a French romantic instrument which has, on the Grand-Orgue, jeux de fond comprising a Bourdon 16', Montre 8', Flûte Harmonique 8', Bourdon 8', Gambe 8' and Prestant 4'; the Récit Expressif included a Diapason 8 as well as a family of Flûtes Harmoniques at 8', 4' and 2'. To my ears, virtually any combination of these seemed to blend well. Now, I realize that a French Montre is not an English Diapason, but it does cause me to wonder if the blend, or lack thereof, is strictly a matter of upper partials, or if there is in fact more to the question. Any comments? By the way, in the same letter HWIII went on to state: "Myself, I regard the presence of flutes on the Great Organ of a three-manual instrument with any pretence to an adequate scheme as out of place: on the Swell, Choir, and Solo, yes; on the Great, no. The Great Chorus should be a pure Diapason structure, capped, if the size of the instrument permits, by the Chorus Reed or reeds." As I say, I have only limited direct experience of Willis instruments, but I have never come across one in all my recordings or in reading about them which had a Great Organ consisting solely of diapasons and reeds. Hmmm... Kind regards, mjfarr3006
  8. Hi all, Does anyone know if there are any voluntaries on Saint Patrick's Breastplate other than Stanford's Sonata Celtica, 3rd Mvt. and the Prelude by Richard Peek? Rgds, MJF
  9. Oh dear, no more disparagement of the organist's daughter... and no more limericks after this one. (I can't help myself, really...) It seems I've been terribly rude To the daughter of old Buxtehude. My apology's given. May I come come back if'n I show a more kind attitude? Rgds MJF
  10. How about: A very plain maid once was tied To her father's post, as the bride Of him who'd succeed The old chap -- oh, indeed It explains why he never retired! Rgds (skulking away with tail between legs), MJF
  11. Hi AJJ, I don't have an answer to this, but I did note something in the Brompton Oratory entry in NPOR which may (or may not?) be relevant. After mentioning the ordinary pistons below the specification proper, the entry says, "plus 'advance' and 'retreat' pistons". I've never seen anything referred to as 'advance' or 'retreat' pistons before; what are they? Are they Walker specials? Rgds, MJF
  12. Oops! There's a good start - I thought I was in General Discussion rather than The Organ and Its Music. Dear Mander moderator - is there any way of moving the thread to the General Discussion forum? Rgds, MJF
  13. Hi all, Given the ever-growing Youtube thread, I wondered if we might have a parallel one for Soundcloud (albeit that I've not long discovered it, so I don't know yet how much organ music is there). To start (assuming there is an interest in continuing), here's a link to Jonathan Hope playing Joseph Bonnet's Op. 10 No. 1, "In Memoriam Titanic", at Southwark Cathedral: https://soundcloud.com/jonathan-hope/joseph-bonnet-1884-1944-in Great performance, wonderful organ, very atmospheric piece. Kind regards, MJF
  14. Hi all, On a recent trip to Sydney, three organs came to my attention, and their respective circumstances got me thinking, or at least questioning. The 1st was a middling 2-manual instrument in a largish church with capacity for some few 100s of people. I went to the 10am service with my brother-in-law and his wife, and was rather dismayed that the total attendance was only about 40 people, quite a number of whom were clearly well past retirement age. My brother-in-law conceded sadly that it may not be too long before his parish is merged with a more vibrant one in a neighbouring suburb. And then the church lands will be sold off, and, if they're lucky, they'll find a buyer for the organ. The 2nd was a parish which has imported a redundant organ from England, and it is now in pride of place, somewhat re-voiced to suit its new acoustic environment, but otherwise not significantly altered. The 3rd was an instrument cobbled together from the pipework of two (or more?) redundant organs, which had been cannibalised after no-one would take them as they were. Although the various churches where I am located seem to be holding their own, and some are even steadily growing, it's a sad fact that, generally, many are closing; and where these have organs, the latter might be bought as-is if they are lucky, used for assorted pipework if they are less fortunate, or left for scrap if they have no luck at all. But how about when they are acquired by buyers who see them, not just for what they are, but for what they might be? And what if they were, at least in their original homes, of some merit? At what point would we like to blow our whistles, and call a foul? I tried to think of an example nearer to home for most forum members, and the only one which came to mind (prompted, I admit, by my old travel diaries) was an instrument I heard many years ago, and thought was quite grand - the instrument, originally in Park Hall in Cardiff, and now at St Aidan's, Sudden, Lancashire. I would like to stress at this point that I have no designs on this instrument, nor have I heard anything whatsoever to suggest that the parish of St Aidan is in any danger of closing. I use it purely as a hypothetical case, because the instrument was one which I thought rather good when I heard it when travelling in the UK many years ago, and I thought of it simply as one which might fit the bill for this scenario. From NPOR, the organ of St Aidan's was originally built by Father Willis in 1884, and was later modernised by Willis III. It was moved from Wales to Sudden in 1952. It has 3 manuals and pedals, and the Great is complete from Double Open Diapason to 3-rank tierce mixture plus reeds at 16', 8' and 4', while the Swell is no less lavishly equipped. However, the Pedal contains only 4 independent ranks (Open Bass, Violone and Bourdon at 16' and 8', and Trombone at 16'), while the Choir is, dare I say it, typically an uneasy cross between a quiet accompanimental division and a low pressure solo division. Yet I could imagine a sufficiently well-heeled purchaser who, seeing the instrument as a "new creation" when put into its new surroundings, might be quite content with the Great and Swell as they are, but would want to add to the Pedal, and, more drastically, to re-vamp the Choir as a Solo, perhaps inserting a Tromba on a higher pressure for solo lines and "big moments", and adding a new Choir with a sprightly little chorus of its own. I don't know what the "rules" are in the UK about this kind of situation, but I wonder if it might cause a deal of argument. So ... is a purchase of a redundant, but quite grand instrument, made simply to use it as the basis for something (supposedly) even grander, fair or not? (As you can probably guess from the above, I tend to think that an instrument of "intrinsic merit" shouldn't be altered too radically during its "original" lifetime. To the question whether an instrument - even one that is quite beautifully built and voiced, but which is less rather than adequate for its venue and purpose - falls in this category, I should probably say "no". Still, any judgment must necessarily be subjective, and should I think be derived from consensus. But where it becomes redundant and is moved elsewhere, I suspect my political correctness diminishes.) Rgds, MJF
  15. Re-reading Henry Willis' comment above, he says that "Mr Willis used to go a step further ... and make the removable side from perspex or framed glass (as at Hereford)". I assumed that the reference to "Mr Willis" was to Willis III because it was he, as I understand it, who added the 32' reed to the Hereford organ; and perspex was introduced in the '20s, I think. So was I correct in taking the reference to "Mr Willis" as one to Willis III, rather than to Father Willis (which would have taken us back to the period I was musing about)? Rgds, MJF
  16. Hi all, The boot of the lowest note of the Contra Trombone 64' of the Sydney Town Hall Organ contains a viewing panel, undoubtedly inserted because of the uniqueness of the stop (below). It is clearly screwed on, giving (some) access to the tongue and shallot. However, no other notes of the Contra Trombone (or of the 32' Contra Posaune) have a viewing panel, and it makes me wonder if they had a panel of the boot accessible at all. Possibly not something which was given much thought in 1889... Rgds, MJF
  17. Hi all, Returning to the Mander fora (with thanks to John Mander and Rachel Mawhood) after quite a while away then a brief period of "lurking"... I realise that I'm rather late on this topic, but Flor Peeters' "Lied to the Ocean" (the 1st movement of his Lied Symphony) came immediately to mind. If not directly nautical (as in "mucking about in boats"), it certainly creates an effective sound-image of rolling mid-ocean swells. Rgds, MJF
  18. Hi JOR I use the Bornemann - more about which, below - and have always taken the bar 15 and bar 28 notes to which you refer as A natural, despite the apparent clash. The first of these sounds better to me as an A natural, at least on the basis of the melodic line ... but then, one has to play the other parts too. Interestingly, the second note A (the semiquaver) in the upper right hand part in bar 29 isn't marked, and so my natural assumption is that it is intended as an A flat. However, an A natural seems to me to fit well, given the structure of the line. Just a bit further on, in bars 36 and 37 (if I can count correctly), the last right hand D in bar 36 is a natural, whereas the first right hand D in bar 37 is specifically marked as a flat. I wish Dupré, or at least his editor, had made it just as clear throughout! Back to the Bornemann, I've never actually noticed it before, but below the Bornemann details on the cover, below everything else in French, it says "Copyright 1940 by The H. W. Gray Co, Inc - New York". There is a similar notation inside. So there must have been some association, or licensing - but what, I don't know... Rgds, MJF
  19. I find it impossible to look at this question without thinking of the H&H at Coventry Cathedral, which, for me, came close to redefining the British organ - or, at least, setting out afresh what it might be. If the RFH was something of a first trial - can one liken an instrument of >100 stops to an experiment? - then I'd like to think that Coventry pretty much succeeded. And I s'pose a number of factors permitted it: H&H had the RFH experience on which to build; there was the new cathedral; and then there was the physical position which the organ was to occupy. Did these demand "new thinking"? Yes - well, anyway, I suspect so. Certainly, it seems to me at least that Coventry looked a long way into the future, with its cleaner choruses, and fierier reeds than H&H had done before; but it also looked back too, with an Open Wood foundation on the Pedal, and both a Double Open Diapason and Bourdon on the Great. Despite these few "old fashioned" features, I think British organ building moved a long way forward with Coventry. Do others feel the same way as me about it? Or, if not Coventry, then any other instruments? Rgds MJF
  20. After having asked the original question on this topic some while ago, I had rather lost sight of it. Thanks for the information above - very interesting. Take one part away, and the whole falls apart. So true! I must confess that, quite a number of years ago (when this sort of thing was far less frowned upon, and I was younger and even more foolish than I am now), I was a member of a church group which became interested in a large 1930-ish Harrison after a casual enquiry from one of our number gave the impression that its owner might have been happy to sell the beast. (Whether this was in fact the case, I can't say for sure since, ultimately, the "plan" fizzled away as being impractical, before any offer was made.) But, ah!, the remodelling schemes we hatched... And of course, the first things to go would have been the Great Trombas and Harmonics, to be replaced by more sociable Trumpets. All I can say now is that we were very misguided ... and I am glad that (at least, when last I heard) the instrument was still in existence, with its original specification, if not in the best of condition. Rgds MJF
  21. What is Mike Batt's musical background? I have one of his songs - the War Song of the Urpneys, from the Dreamstone - going through my head at the moment. (The Three non-Tenors he used for the vocals in this song were Ozzy Osbourne, Frank Bruno and Billy Connolly - what a combination! And the Big Yin actually seems to have quite a musical sense to him.) Rgds MJF
  22. Hi All Many years ago I heard a recording of Rollin Smith's transcription of Jongen's Symphonie Concertante for organ solo. I've just been doing a little trawling to find who may have published the sheet music, but haven't come up with anything. Does anyone out there have any information on this? Rgds MJF
  23. Oops - I jumped to an incorrect conclusion on the basis of a little familiarity with the Elvis / Baum connection ... and Baum is somewhat like Bloom. I remained in touch with John Giacchi for some years after my wedding, but it's probably the mid-90s since I last saw him. Do please let me know if you make contact. Rgds MJF
  24. Hi Peter I expect the song was Spring Fever from the 1965 Elvis Presley album, Girl Happy. It was written by Bernie Baum (not Bloom), Bill Giant and Florence Kaye, who wrote a number of Elvis' songs in the mid- to late 60s. Incidentally, John Giacchi was the organist for my wedding back in 1988, so your post has brought back a few memories. Rgds MJF
  25. Hi MM Yes, this is a wonderful performance of Manari's great pedal study by Robinson. As to the composer, the Youtube information gilds the lily slightly - he wasn't ever enthroned as a bishop, at least according to what I've read about him - but he nonetheless seems to have been a most remarkable man. Raffaeli Manari was born in Càrsoli (L'Aquila) on 21 April 1887 and died in Rome on his 46th birthday, in 1933. He packed a great deal in his relatively short life - in particular, he: studied theology and sacred music at the Seminario Vaticano and Collegio Capranica, taking Holy Orders in 1910; was awarded his degree in canon law by the Univeristà Gregoriana in 1912; simultaneously studied organ under Remigio Renzi, taking his diploma in 1913; was named principal teacher of organ at the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra in Rome in 1917, teaching there until his death; and was appointed organist at the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano in 1920. Henderson's Directory of Composers for Organ states that he had also been organist of the cathedral in Messina, and subsequently took his teaching position at the Pontificio Istituto. So I assume from this that he was at Messina between 1913 and 1917. I hope this helps as regards background. Rgds MJF
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