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Charles Wooler

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  1. Charles Wooler

    Swell To Solo

    Interestingly, the H&H at Durham Cathedral still does not have any octave couplers affecting the Swell division. Now you're talking! My favourite instrument in the UK methinks- but I'm biased having been both an Undergraduate and Postgraduate at the University. In fact I still learn with Keith Wright on the Cathedral organ so I now know it well. Harrison and Harrison removed the Willis octave couplers in 1905: probably a very sensible move. If you read James Lancelot's excellent 64 page book on the history of the instrument (with colour pictures no less ) then there's the following remark on Page 37: "The sub- and super-octave coupling on the Swell which the Willis Swell to Great couplers made available had been removed in 1905, never to return; given the size of the Swell, their use must have been devastating in effect". Charles
  2. I'm relearning this to take it on the Edinburgh Organ Academy in Easter Week and have a query about Allegro assai section in the fugue (bar 504 ==> end), where the pedals are in triplets and the hand have the double dotted minim /quaver rhythm. Is the received wisdom to play it as written or to land the final quaver of each bar with the last triplet of each bar. Does anyone think it will make a difference either way? Charles
  3. Thanks. Will get on to that straight away. Charles
  4. Can any one recommend a recording of the Six Preludes and Fugues of Saint-Saens? I have the scores, but would also be interested to know who else plays them, and which are the best starting points. Is there a good reason that they are not as widely known as the two Fantasies, or is it unjust neglect and should we all be slapping our wrists and tut-tutting at our repertoire lists Charles
  5. My best man was untill recently organ scholar of manchester and he always referred to the Manchester Cathedral Voluntary Choir as "The Volleys". Does that shed light?
  6. I gather that the organist of the town hall in Durris near Aberdeen is one Alexander Herzen. The "father of Russian Marxism" (as Lenin once described him) retired from political agitation in the late 19th century to take up a new career playing transcriptions and original organ repertoire upon the magnificent 63BC hydraulis in this charming corner of Scotland. Obviously Herzen is ageing somewhat today, but he can still rattle off a good Carillion Sortie or three. Also in his repertoire is my own tribute piece to him, written in a style that could only be described as Shostakovich/Vierne - Les Cloches de Durris. In it I try to evoke the impression of an advancing army upon a beautiful Russian city (and Herzen's home town, of course, though he has been in exile for about 160 years) whilst also using for my theme the sound of the bell (there is only one) at Durris Church. The piece combines the tolling bell of the church (E flat) in the right hand with marching music in the feet. The left hand maintains water pressure using a converted bicycle pump. The pedal organ was installed by Mander (a bourdon unit) in 1967. This is a sensitive addition to the original instrument, much like that on the historic instrument at Jesus College, Cambridge. Herzen reportedly felt the need for an en chamade regal at the same time, Mander installing a similar register at Jesus on the then-new organ there (situated beside the historic one with bourdon unit). To this day it remains the most entertaining stop on any organ anywhere. Were I ever organ scholar/director of music there I could in all honesty use it alone for any repertoire, any day, for the rest of my life. Herzen however was jealous to learn of the regal at Cambridge, as it is significantly more amusing than that fitted to the Durris hydraulis. He had wanted a regal for many years, even expressing a desire for such a stop in a letter to fellow members of the Russian political underground as early as 1858.
  7. How about this guys - our very own Prom. Who says the BBC hates us! It on a Sunday morning though so book you deputies now! http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whatson/0608.shtml
  8. Encore publications if I recall. Not easy to get hold of but ring Allegro music in Birmingham and I'm sure Richard Priest will do his best for you. He's never let me down yet. Pity there are'nt more music shops run by people like him..............
  9. Here here - its one of my favourites too. Richard Lloyd has done some good ones to as have Ledger and Carter. Its just a pity that descants by other composers are so hard to get hold of cheaply (in terms of sets for a 40 strong choir)
  10. Oh yes. Stainer's Cucifixion. Jolly good idea.
  11. Has anyone else noticed that the opening to the Ireland in F Te Deum is nearly identical to Hey Jude?
  12. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always believed that the Scherzo "La Chasse" actually came from Widor II not Widor I. There was a Scherzo in E major and either 6/8 or 12/8 (sorry my copy is in the organ loft at church) which was removed in order to make way for the Salve Regina. I've checked the sleeve notes for the Ben van Oosten Disc of Symphonies 1 and 2 and this seems to confirm my suspicions. This is available very cheaply indeed (under £15 for each of the two volumes) as the fourth movement of Symphonie II in the Dover Edition. These are reprints of the 1872 edition - these are very different to the later 1898 editions which are the expensive French ones that you buy individually (how can the £40 which I paid last month for Vierne II be justifiable). The other major differences that Ican remember of the top of my head- the Final of II is far faster in the original, the Toccata (V) with different articulation, ending and pedalling, a reworked passage leading to the central section of the Scherzo of VI and other rewrites of the Final in VII. Charles
  13. Why can the politicians not get it into their thick heads that we're NOT asking about existing organs anymore? That question has been answered numerous times but we are still in the dark about new instruments as far as I am aware.
  14. Try Book XV of the Novello Bach Organ Works. I don't us it to play from these days - I'm a fully paid up Breitkopf fan - but it is indispensable containing as it does an indication of the season it was written for, a harmonisation of the Choral and translation of the first verse (usually Catherine Winkworth). One caveat however, like the anglican church, some Chorals often doubled up as tunes for two or more texts (eg BWV 601 which has two titles) and only one text is included. You only get the translation of the first verse too - so chorale preludes with more than one verse still leave the other verses up for conjecture. Hope that this helps. Charles
  15. I have a splendid dic of Adrian Partington playing the Sonatas of Gustav Merkel on the beautiful old lady at Peterborough. I gather the socres are out of print although I did meet someone who had managed to obtain a copy of the Second (g minor) sonata in a second hand book shop in New Zealand of all places. Where can I obtain my own copies of these wonderful sonatas - I heartily reccommend a listen to the 2nd and 6th - preferably new. If they are out of print - is it legal to go tothe British Library and make a photocopy. If it is it just seems bonkers that this fantastic music is silenced through lack of circulation.
  16. Why not ask the PCC Treasurer how much you are saving on heating by having it set to arctic conditions? You can then show him (manufacture if necessary ) the figures for the cost of the extra visits needed to sort out all these faults. There is likely to be little difference and so everyone will be happy! You never know a good number of your congregation might feel less inclined to stay in bed on a cold Sunday morning if the heating goes up and be there to swell the collection plate too!
  17. It always makes me dispair to read articles like this. Just when the organ world gets a huge piece of investment to restore a monument like this then Victor Meldrew can always be relied upon to pour scorn on the whole thing- especially when it can now be used to play Bach nicely. So what would have been preferable to broadening the tonal palette of this glorious instrument still further? Removal of all the Harrison and Harrison additions and return to the W.T. Best / Willis scheme? An extra set of tubular bells to mixture pitch for added authenicity in Pietro Yon's Toccatina? Oh I know............. yes ............... some more pistons I bet! Oh that'll go down nicely. Are you a conservationist or maybe as I suspect a Liverpool devotee, jealous of the fact that their organ is no longer the largest in the UK? Well don't worry about that - neither are as nice as Durham anyway
  18. Not at all. I think I suggested one a while back on the "Father Willis Greatest Hits" strand but nobody took up the offer.............
  19. I went to a very fine recital last night - James Lancelot playing the magnificent 1902 Willis at St. Georges in Gateshead. He played the fourth of the Op. 58 Sketches for Pedal Piano (the Db major one) and I was very much taken with it. Does any one know where I can obtain a copy of these gorgeous minatures? I gather that there is a C. H. Trevor edition which thins out the texture very sensibly for the organ to make things less opaque. Can anyone enlighten me? All the best Charles
  20. You could also have on teaching instruments the 'Eject Student' stop in the event of being frustrated by a lazy student. Just make sure the student doesn't draw the 'Eject Assistant' stop first. Make it lockable like the Corona blowers at Liverpool? Better still......... Open Pulpit Trapdoor? Sermons can be terribly dull don't you know .................
  21. Indeed- but even now the same holds truethere are some beautiful new organs around here too- Hexham Abbey's Phelps is justly world famous with the most beatiful Principal Chorus on the Great Department Stop name Pitch Pedal 1 Principal 16 2 Soubasse 16 3 Octave Basse 8 4 Bourdon 8 5 Octave 4 6 Fourniture IV 7 Bombarde 16 8 Basson 16 9 Trompette 8 10 Chalumeau 4 Great 11 Bourdon 16 12 Principal 8 13 Flute a Cheminee 8 14 Octave 4 15 Flute Conique 4 16 Super Octave 2 17 Cornet V TC 18 Fourniture V 19 Trompette 8 20 Clairon 4 Swell 21 Bourdon 8 22 Salicional 8 23 Voix Celeste 8 TC 24 Principal 4 25 Flute 4 26 Nasard 2 2/3 27 Doublette 2 28 Flute a Bec 2 29 Tierce 1 3/5 30 Larigot 1 1/3 31 Cymbale IV 32 Basson 16 33 Cromorne 8 34 Hautbois 8 I also have a soft spot for the 1988 Collins Organ in St. Oswald's Durham. I was Organ Scholar there between 1999 and 2003 and played it for two services every Sunday. Like many Collins organs it doesn't stay in tune at all well, and added to that that until recently it was "maintained" by a local cut-price cock up merchant who never regulated the action and broke more than he fixed. Consequently, the Ozzies organ has gained a rather poor reputation over the last few years, however now that it is properly maintained it sounds very nice indeed, especially if you bear in mind that the huge VI rank Swell Mixture is really too big for the Swell itself and is best used as a Sharp Mixture to the Great. The only real achilles heel are the two swell reeds. There is a very atmospheric, wheezy Vox Humana on the Choir - not much use in reportoire, but perfect for naughty organ scholars who like making sheep noises in the Psalms!! The case work has to be seen to be believed- the completed church itself dates from 1412 and the cases really do look as if they have been there ever since. Pedal 1 Subbass 16 2 Principal 8 3 Bass Flute 8 4 Fifteenth 4 5 Trombone 16 Great 6 Open Diapason 8 7 Stopt Diapason 8 8 Principal 4 9 Hohl Flute 4 10 Fifteenth 2 11 Cornet II 12.17 12 Mixture IV 13 Trumpet 8 14 Tremulant Swell 15 Open Flute 8 16 Bell Gamba 8 17 Principal 4 18 Block Flute 4 19 Gemshorn 2 20 Mixture IV-VI 21 Cremona 16 22 Hautbois 8 23 Tremulant Choir 24 Chimney Flute 8 25 Principal 4 26 Nason Flute 4 27 Nazard 2 2/3 28 Fifteenth 2 29 Tierce 1 3/5 30 Two & Twenty 1 31 Vox Humana 8 32 Tremulant My own church installes a superb new Nicholson in 2000. Here it is: Pedal 1 Sub Bass 16 2 Bourdon 16 A 3 Principal 8 4 Bass Flute 8 5 Fifteenth 4 6 Posaune 16 7 Spare Great 8 Bourdon 16 A 9 Open Diapason 8 10 Stopped Diapason 8 11 Viola 8 12 Principal 4 13 Chimney Flute 4 14 Nazard 2 2/3 15 Fifteenth 2 16 Block Flute 2 17 Tierce 1 3/5 18 Fourniture IV 19 Trumpet 8 20 Corno di Bassetto 8 21 Tremulant Swell 22 Open Diapason 8 23 Covered Flute 8 24 Salicional 8 25 Voix Celeste 8 g 26 Principal 4 27 Tapered Flute 4 28 Fifteenth 2 29 Mixture III 19.22.26 30 Trumpet 8 31 Oboe 8 32 Tremulant It is a delight to play- particularly the Viola which is an extremely useful Solo stop as well as acting as a No.2 Open for the Great. The Cornet Separe is also stunning. We hope that the Spare slider will eventually be occupied by a 16' Bassoon too. Finally, there's the slightly less recent but equally impressive Cuthbert Harrison "Coventry-a-like" organ of 1961: Pedal 1 Double Open Wood 32 2 Open Wood 16 3 Violone 16 4 Sub Bass 16 5 Lieblich Bourdon 16 Solo 6 Principal 8 7 Flute 8 8 Octave Quint 5 1/3 9 Octave 4 10 Octave Flute 4 11 Mixture III 12 Trombone 16 13 Trumpet 8 14 Schalmei 4 15 Orchestral Trumpet 8 Solo Great 16 Double Geigen 16 17 Open Diapason I 8 18 Open Diapason II 8 19 Stopped Diapason 8 20 Octave 4 21 Wald Flute 4 22 Octave Quint 2 2/3 23 Super Octave 2 24 Mixture IV 25 Cornet V Middle C 26 Trumpet 8 27 Clarion 4 Swell 28 Diapason 8 29 Rohr Gedackt 8 30 Salicional 8 31 Celeste 8 AA 32 Principal 4 33 Spitzflute 4 34 Fifteenth 2 35 Mixture IV 36 Oboe 8 37 Tremulant 38 Contra Fagotto 16 39 Cornopean 8 40 Clarion 4 Positive 41 Diapason 8 42 Quintadena 8 43 Gedackt 8 44 Principal 4 45 Rohr Flute 4 46 Nazard 2 2/3 47 Gemshorn 2 48 Tierce 1 3/5 49 Cimbel III 50 Trompette 8 51 Orchestral Trumpet 8 Solo Solo 52 Bourdon 16 53 Dulciana 8 54 Spitzflute 8 55 Viole 8 AA, was Unda Maris 56 Nachthorn 4 57 Octave 4 58 Open Flute 2 59 Quint 1 1/3 60 Sifflote 1 61 Sesquialtera II TC 62 Cromorne 8 was Clarinet 63 Tremulant 64 Orchestral Trumpet 8 The reason for including all of these specs is really to whet the whistle. People have before suggested meeting up for recitals. How about an organ crawl?
  22. Back to subject of Father Willis...... Can I recommend two organs of particular note in the Tyne and Wear region. St Dominic's Priory is a wonderful old lady in a Catholic Church in Byker (of Byker Grove fame), although in a very poor state. An appeal is currently underway to have it cleaned and restored. Pedal 1 Open Diapason 16 2 Bourdon 16 3 Violoncello 8 4 Ophicleide 16 Great 5 Double Open Diapason 16 6 Open Diapason 8 7 Open Diapason 8 8 Claribel Flute 8 9 Principal 4 10 Twelfth 2 2/3 11 Fifteenth 2 12 Sesquialtera III 17.19.22 13 Tromba 8 14 Clarion 4 Swell 15 Lieblich Bourdon 16 16 Open Diapason 8 17 Lieblich Gedact 8 18 Salcional 8 sic 19 Vox Angelica 8 Grooved to Lieblich Gedact 20 Gemshorn 4 21 Mixture III 15.19.22? 22 Cornopean 8 23 Hautboy 8 24 Vox Humana 8 25 Tremulant By pedal Choir 26 Claribel Flute 8 27 Lieblich Gedact 8 28 Viola da Gamba 8 29 Dulciana 8 30 Concert Flute 4 31 Corno di Bassetto 8 4 composition pedals to Great and Pedal 3 composition pedals to Swell Toe pedals for Gt-Pd, Swell Tremulant Ratchet Swell pedal In immaculate condition however is the nearly identical Willis in St. Georges Gateshead. This one is doubly interesting as it was designed by Father Henry Willis but built by Henry Willis II in 1901. The church are very proud of this organ-justifiably, but woe betide anyone who refers to the St. George's organ as anything other than Father Willis. You'll find their (80 year old) vicar chasing you down the high street!! A true gem with Huge great reeds in a very flattering acoustic indeed- I love it. Also an exceptionally keen Gamba on the Choir, which can hold its own against the Swell and Great 8' Flues as a Solo stop. Pedal 1 Open Diapason 16 2 Bourdon 16 3 Octave 8 4 Ophicleide 16 Choir 5 Hohl Flöte 8 6 Dulciana 8 7 Gamba 8 8 Harmonic Flute 4 9 Piccolo 2 10 Corno di Bassetto 8 Great 11 Double Diapason 16 12 Open Diapason 8 13 Open Diapason 8 14 Claribel Flute 8 15 Principal 4 16 Twelfth 2 2/3 17 Fifteenth 2 18 Mixture III 12.15.22 19 Trumpet 8 20 Clarion 4 Swell 21 Lieblich Bourdon 16 22 Open Diapason 8 23 Lieblich Gedact 8 24 Salcional 8 Sic. 25 Vox Angelica 8 Grooved 26 Gemshorn 4 27 Flageolet 2 28 Cornopean 8 29 Hautboy 8 30 Vox Humana 8 31 Tremulant By knob It was restored by Harrisons about 18 months ago and the result is superb. If anyone's interested James Lancelot is playing a Friday night recital on the 30th September, along with wine and canapes. Do go - St. Georges always put on recitals with great style and the are well worth it. They feature the great and the good regularly: Colin Walsh, Kevin Bowyer, Keith Wright and Francis Jackson are all recent visitors and many more besides. Anyone considering visiting Newcastle/Gateshead for these two Willis' should also consider taking time to go and hear other historic organs in the area including the Two untouched Lewis' on Tyneside (St. Hilda's South Shields and St. Georges Cullercoats), Binns organs in St. Georges West Jesmond (4m) and St. Andrew's Newgate Street (3m), and vintage Arthur Harrison at St. John's Grainger Street (3m) and the City Hall (4 m). There are also superb organs built more recently in in Gosforth (Nicholson 2000) and the Haymarket (Cuthbert Harrison 4m, 62 stops), and nearby the Phelps at Hexham Abbey too. Its not as grim up north as you may think.
  23. As, to my knowledge, the is little surviving evidence of Hope-Jones' work, so why is this organ allowed to be outed? Not quite the same I know but the last console that Hope-Jones built is still used to day in the chapel of Berkhamsted Collegiate school, Hertfordshire. Hope Jones built the original organ for the school's new chapel in 1898 of 21 stops and 4(!) manuals: Pedal 1 Tibia Profunda 16 2 Great Bourdon 16 3 Great Bourdon Octave 8 4 Tuba Profunda 16 Choir 5 Lieblich Gedact 8 6 Viol d'Orchestre 8 7 Dolce 8 8 Corno di Bassetto 8 Great 9 Bourdon 16 10 Open Diapason 8 11 Tibia Plena 8 12 Dulciana 8 13 Octave 4 Swell 14 Phoneuma 8 15 Lieblich Geshallt 8 16 String Gamba 8 17 Tibia Clausa 8 18 Gambette 4 19 Horn 8 20 Oboe 8 Solo 21 Tuba Sonora 8 In 1949, Henry Willis III was asked to "rebuild" the Hope-Jones organ in memory of those Old Boys of the school who fell in the two world wars. I use the term rebuild in the loosest sense as you can tell from the specification below that barely any pipework remained untouched and much was discarded, what emerged in 1949 was essentially an new organ with a core of old pipework. Pedal 1 Resultant Bass 32 2 Open Bass 16 3 Bourdon 16 A 4 Octave 8 5 Flute 8 A 6 Octave Flute 4 A 7 Oboe 16 B 8 Trombone 16 Choir 9 Hohl Flute 8 10 Principal 4 11 Nason Flute 4 12 Nazard 2 2/3 13 Flautina 2 14 Tierce 1 3/5 15 Larigot 1 1/3 16 Tremulant Great 17 Lieblich Bourdon 16 A 18 Open Diapason No.1 8 19 Open Diapason No.2 8 20 Rohr Gedact 8 21 Principal 4 22 Flute Couverte 4 23 Twelfth 2 2/3 24 Fifteenth 2 25 Mixture III Swell 26 Geigen 8 27 Stopped Diapason 8 28 Aeoline 8 29 Unda Maris 8 TC 30 Octave Geigen 4 31 Fifteenth 2 32 Mixture III 33 Contra Oboe 16 B 34 Tromba 8 35 Tremulant What still exists is the console and much wind trunking etc within the organ and a very deep Tremulant on the Choir which can turn the whole thing into a Wurlitzer in a second Tonally it is very different and I am convinced that Hope-Jones would not have recognised this organ is being from his factory at all. However, individual ranks of original Hope Jones pipe work are still there such as the Tromba, Trombone, Gt/Ped Bourdon (old Great Tibia) and the Current No. 1 Open, however Willis did inevitably do a lot of revoicing. If you're ever near St. Albans then Berkhamsted School Chapel is well worth the 20 minute detour as the architecture of the Chapel is beautiful and the organ is fabulous (it doesn't look much on paper but it has to be heard to be believed- especially the 4' Flute Couverte on the Great )It has just been restored (2001) by Martin Cross very successfully. Forgive my ramblings but as a fairly recent old boy of the school, I feel priviledged to have been able to learn on such a gorgeous instrument!
  24. I suspect that this problem of drooping leads to quite a few "boobs" in your playing
  25. Did any one else hear Kevin Bowyer's stunning recital at Durham Cathedral this evening? Those who missed it - bad luck!! A superb programme on a fabulous organ. Amongst other treats such as St. Francis on the Waves (Liszt arr. Reger), and Iain Farrington's new suite "Fiesta", were two preludes for pedal piano by Alkan. These were superb and for those that are interested they are featured on Kevin's new Alkan disc due out shortly. The more miscievous side of me also delighted in Giles Swayne's "Mr. Bach's Bottle Bank" - a gigue fugue on "10 Green Bottles"...... I'm not joking. As this is a strand about interesting recitals I thought I'd also plug the Durham Cathedral Organ Recital Series that takes place every summer. The organ (1877 Willis and 1905/1935/1970 Harrison and Harrison of 98 stops) and the building are both glorious and need no introduction. James Lancelot, Keith Wright and the resident cathedral organ scholar always provide great programmes as do their guests who have recently included John Kitchen, David Goode, Roger Sayer and James Vivian all of whom have dug around and found some really interesting music to play. The series has now ended for 2005 but if you want to support them in 2006 please keep viewing www.duresme.org.uk which is Richard Hird's website and always includes an up to date list of all the recitals in the North East, which boasts many fine romantic organs which can all be heard reasonably regularly in concert.
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