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Henry Willis

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Everything posted by Henry Willis

  1. You'll forgive me for saying that there is nothing 'special' about employment law "as it applies to church musicians". All contracts of employment are required to be equable, fair, reasonable and not restrictive. If any contract of employment is outside these requirements it can be questioned. But it should be remembered that one is not forced to sign any contract. DW
  2. If we read the initial query carefully (and between lines) I think I might be right in assessing the question actually to be : Can the terms of a contract be at variance with a Job Description issued previously? Not about the letter of the law relating to ALL matters of Contract of Employment! A 'Job Description' need not be given in law, but as a part of advertising for candidates for a position it is essentially to identify the primary tasks that the employer may require the prospective employee to carry out. The 'Job Description' can not be used to define contractual terms. A Contract of Employment (which must include a statement of the terms and conditions of employment) must be issued within eight weeks of the commencement of the employment - it SHOULD properly reflect the terms and conditions which are actually being applied: if the job is substantially different from what one had clearly understood to be the case from the job description and from what has passed verbally in the selection process and in the first weeks of the employment, then there is obviously something amiss. In my view it would be rather foolish to sign such a contract and the employee's prerogative is to leave. DW
  3. IF we are going to go down that route, the music is an integral part of that worship, not secondary. To quote Sir Edward Bairstow during a similar disagreement with Dean Milner White .. "Music is the Saviour of religion". DW
  4. This is not about me believing that I can never be wrong: the statement which you made in an earlier post is sufficient to demonstrate a mentality: "To suggest the the Vierne, the least important part of the broadcast........." But thank you for the ad hominem comments. DW
  5. My remarks are not cynical or snide, they are in response to your suggestion that this is somehow done on a shoe-string - it isn't. The financial resources made to the BBC are substantial. The implication that all working on these broadcasts are dedicated professionals working against the odds is not really the experience that those of us who have been around for a long time would recognize. The selection process (if it could ever be called that) for getting onto crew is laughable and basically down to patronage, which means that unless you already know someone 'in' you don't get in. It's hardly a recipe for getting the best in the field. The general standard of broadcasts from cathedrals and especially of organs is - and I am certainly not alone in thinking this - generally very poor. Your stance is predictable given your comment above and you are not aware of my working FOR the BBC as I never have. However I have worked WITH the BBC (and other broadcasting systems) as well as carrying out recordings of organs not only for Mirabilis Records (which was my own label) but also for releases on Chandos, Conifer and Calcante among others. My participation in broadcast evensongs over thirty years as a Lay-Clerk or deputy has not produced any experience which has shewn me to be wrong in my view of how it is done, on the day. Now, to get back to the point, again, I am gratified that you think the performance of the Vierne, however unimportant (with which many on this list would also disagree) was "pretty good". DW
  6. You mean, surely, £145 x 5,000,000 = £720,000,000 - a snip! As someone who has worked in a professional capacity in the field and witnessed dozens of times the 'circumstances' on the day and the lack of attention paid to what many would say are "details", I feel qualified to criticize. I do not ask for studio-quality, merely a realistic balance - which doesn't usually form a part of the BBC repertoire. Rehearsals? A sound test is always done - or at least paid lip service - and I would like to think that the fact that Lincoln has been broadcast at least twenty times over the years might lead someone to keep some notes? To get this point back on to the original track: Colin's performance was exemplary, The organ, however badly recorded, sounded grand and the registration was certainly not muddy or lacking clarity as was stated earlier. DW
  7. I have not only a very' critical' rig but hyper critical ears: you're wrong. Not only is it not lacking clarity but it is entirely faithful to the requirements of the piece. However, as usual the BBC has succeeded in screwing up whatever it can in the way of achieving any sense of balance: someone is constantly 'fiddling' - listen to the rapid fader operation in the first few notes and then the dropping of the level at about 56' (obviously worried that we might actually get some representative volume!). DW
  8. This recital is now taking place on Friday 11th November at 7.30pm DW
  9. There is a CD (I think that we might still have a few here somewhere). If you PM me I'll see what I can find. DW ps,. there is also a short sound clip on the website at http://www.willis-organs.com/music/music.htm (click on the Ruthin tag).
  10. The basis of the 'scheme' was the Wadsworth organ designed by and built for James Kendrick Pyne - a sort of cut down version of the Town Hall organ at Manchester, where he was the City Organist (and Organist of the Cathedral too for a time I think) - which he had installed in the concert hall of the College, for practice purposes really. They disposed of it the year he died and then it was mutilated and squeezed into a much smaller place. The Church at Ruthin purchased it and then it sat around in the pews for several years until they engaged Stephen to design a new case - but he took over the whole project. The additions to the Solo organ were our suggestion, as was the addition of the Solo to Great coupler, which previously didn't exist, and the placing of the entire Pedal organ on a new mechanical slider soundboard. DW
  11. Mine is all pneumatic. I haven't ever heard of an electric one. DW
  12. http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=R00063 DW
  13. No - it's really like a VERY big harmonium. DW
  14. Does this ring any bells? GREAT ORGAN 1. Bourdon 16 2. Open Diapason 8 3. Violoncello 8 4. Bourdon 8 5. Octave 4 6. Wald Flute 4 7. Doublette 2 8. Mixture 3 rks 9. Trumpet 8 SWELL ORGAN 10. Diapason 8 11. Flûte Traversière 8 12. Viole de Gambe 8 13. Voix Céleste TC 8 14. Gemshorn 4 15. Cornet (15, 17, 19) 16. Cornopean 8 17. Oboe 8 Tremulant CHOIR ORGAN 18. Gedact 8 19. Salicional 8 20. Flûte Douce 4 21. Salicet 4 22. Cor Anglais 8 23. Orchestral Oboe 8 Tremulant SOLO ORGAN 24. Contra Fagotto 16 25. Bombarde 8 26. Clarionette 8 27. Flute Harmonique 8 Tremulant PEDAL ORGAN 28. Contra Bass 16 29. Sub Bass 16 30. Octave 8 31. Flute 8 32. Bombarde 16 COUPLERS Solo to Great Swell to Great Solo to Pedal Swell to Pedal Great to Pedal Choir to Pedal DW
  15. If the Steck piano was Duo-Art then the expression was automatic (unless the D-A mechanism had packed up?). We have an Aeolian 'Grand Organ' player organ in the Drawing Room at home, but all of the rolls which I have are transcriptions of orchestral pieces, I don't think we have any 'real' organ music as such. I'd be interested to know if your priest DID keep the rolls, just to know what is on them. DW
  16. There isn't any point for discussion - As there are no sources, as you say, for the 'other' opinion, it's difficult to argue the point anyway I think. It should be remembered that the stop was a gift of the firm - he was entitled to do with it whatever he pleased. As a matter of interest, we've just completed a Trompette Militaire in the Auckland instrument, fitted up entirely with Willis shallots, not Gottfried ones, and it sounds extraordinarily similar. There are also Bombard 16, Tuba 8 and Tuba Clarion 4, which should carry a health warning! We'll be putting up an mp3 file on the webpage shortly at http://www.willis-organs.com/auckland_general.html where there are also pictures of the installation. DW
  17. Henry III did NOT ever claim it as his own work. It was ordered from Gottfried as he's heard a similar one while in the US in 1928. When it arrived, unfortunately they'd supplied it fully 'fitted up' so he had the metalshop strip it out and re-fit it with Willis shallots and it was voiced by the Ferndale Road staff. I've heard Henry III bashers say that he just got it and put it into the organ: I don't really think that that was the way he worked!! DW (from Auckland)
  18. A nice idea- thank you Nigel! The construction is going well at St. Matthew's (about two miles from the Cathedral), notwithstanding the 2nd 40-ft container being held up in Singapore for 8 days without their telling us! Actually Tim Noon's appointment has been very much looked forward to at the Cathedral down the road: someone comments on not being attracted to the music in Auckland over that at the MetPot, but his appointment is precisely for the purpose of raising the bar at Holy Trinity Cathedral - he's quite brilliant, so the chances are that the standard of the choral side there will be hugely benefited. A point of clarification might be appropriate though, the term 'Director of Music' over there doesn't mean what it appears to in the UK (actually I've always thought it a pretty useless title anyway, generally): At Auckland Cathedral it is a fully-divided responsibility - there is already the Cathedral Organist, who is on a par with the 'Director of Music (Choral)' - the actual title. So the responsibility for the organ(s) is not Tim N's responsibility. DW
  19. I know not whether I speak for others too, but this is now exceeding boring. As for the assertion that this forum is a disgrace: it was fine, before: draw whatever conclusion you may from that. On another personal note - I think that it is unfair to expect anyone who is seriously interested in the future of the pipe organ to have any views whatever on the playing of stuff on an electronic keyboard on a populist 'talent show' being able to bring a wider public interest to pipe organs and the music written for them. If these are the ways in which you believe a wider audience for the pipe organ can, will or may be brought about, consider this: the dilution of a medium rarely strengthens it. DW
  20. CANCELLATION Unfortunately Mrs. Jackson has been taken ill suddenly and is in hospital - therefore this recital is cancelled. DW
  21. I wonder if I might be permitted to draw members' attention to Dr. Jackson's recital at Lancaster (RC) Cathedral tomorow (Friday) at 7.30pm. This follows closely on his appearance at Lincoln on Monday last which, I have been told by Colin Walsh, was a TREMENDOUS success! I'm afraid that I don't have any details of a programme. DW
  22. The Chapel of Durham School actually. DW
  23. We're doing what we can We did the American Church in Florence, which I suppose is technically 'American'? And, if you'll note the lateness of the hour, it's 11am here in Auckland in New Zealand, where installation begins today at St. Matthew's. DW
  24. The NPOR date is completely wrong I'm afraid: this instrument was ordered in 1897 and completed in 1898. AJJ commented: Somewhere here I have details of a new 'model' organ - designed possibly by Stepehn Bicknell with a small but interesting stoplist (chorus, strings, flutes and a Cornopean - all enclosed) over two manuals (maybe even an 'either/or' set up) with some nice choices of case design - 'can't remember whether this was put out by Willis or Bicknell but for a village church it would be ideal. Maybe HW/DW can tell more? This was a joint effort between me and Stephen - an idea to raise some interest during the period after my taking over really, which he thought was a good idea. It's a simple concept: there are three-position lever handles for the stop control - 'up' puts that stop on the upper manual, 'down' to the lower manual and the middle position is 'off' - full mechanical 'duplex'. The stoplist is a standard(ish) Willis recipe but able to be varied by the addition of an extra reed or two, having more stops out of the box (rather than just the Open Diapason or OD & Principal etc.. The casework designs were pure SB - simple, but elegant. Unfortunately we never had an order for one - lots of enquiries, but no firm orders. The drawings are still on the CAD system if anyone's interested.......... DW
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