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David Drinkell

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About David Drinkell

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 10/12/1955

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  • Location
    Fredericton Cathedral, New Brunswick
  • Interests
    Choral and organ music, food, wine and restaurants, architecture (especially old churches and Charles Rennie Macintosh), the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway....

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  1. David Drinkell

    Organs on Google Street-view

    Yes, it was an experience which has remained in my memory all my life (I was only in my teens at the time and I am now - heaven help me! - 62, but I can still hear that sound). I would underline, though, that although the "fancy" stops at Weingarten are justly famed and extremely musical in their context, the really stunning thing about Weingarten is the pleno, with all those multi-rank mixtures. Ton Koopman's Great C minor gives some idea:
  2. David Drinkell

    Organs In Belgium

    Although I would agree that hand registration as far as possible is best, I think it's a waste to ignore the free combinations if they work. One can at least set up some sort of general selection which can be useful as a default, and under the cover of which one can re-register the main tabs. Simplicity is best, though. Some of these organs require the pushing of a piston to activate hand registration - Bruges Cathedral is one.
  3. David Drinkell

    P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    The only advantage of the Salisbury fronts is that they are fairly inconspicuous! Durham, which is much the same, has the advantage of that lovely stencil-work. There are plenty of examples of modern cases looking good in old churches. I think the Turner Sims looks superb at Orford.
  4. David Drinkell

    Prepared For

    When Impington Church, Cambridgeshire, consulted Dr. Rootham of St. John's College about their organ in the late twenties, he advised them to go to Harrisons' and under no circumstances to use the local firm of Miller. In 1927, "Mr Arthur" submitted a scheme for a two manual with seven speaking stops (Great Open Diapason 8, Claribel Flute 8, Octave 4, Swell Viola da Gamba 8, Lieblich Gedackt 8, Octave Coupler, Pedal Sub Bass 16, tracker manual action, Pedal pneumatic) for seven hundred and twenty pounds. This was a shock to the parish, who were not thinking about a new organ and certainly did not realise how much one from a market-leader like Harrison would cost. Harrisons' then made repairs to the existing organ (a two-manual of dubious and probably amateur make) for sixty-eight pounds, but the instrument was too poor and too far gone for any lasting improvement. In 1934, Millers' quoted for an organ of eleven speaking stops, prepared for one more on each manual, for three hundred and eighty pounds and clinched the deal by throwing in a free tremulant. The organ was a perfectly respectable job, with tracker action to the manuals, a steel building frame and a not-unpleasant front, and after Norman Hall & Sons renovated it in 1976, adding a Fifteenth on the Great spare slide and a Mixture on the Swell, it became notably fine. It was, as far as I know, the last organ Millers' built., the organ side of the business dwindling to a tuning round and restoration work until it was bought out and rejuvenated by E.J. Johnson in the fifties (the music shop part of the firm changed hands several times, but was back in the family when I investigated in the late eighties). http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D00211 There is a lot of material in the Cambridgeshire Record Office relating to Impington organs, which I used for an article in 'The Organ' Volume 68, Number 268, April 1989 (I wrote several articles about Miller, for which firm I had, and have, a good deal of admiration around that time). It's an interesting saga....
  5. David Drinkell

    John Compton

    Has anyone posted this website here? https://comptonorgans.yolasite.com/ The work of a Compton enthusiast.
  6. David Drinkell

    Prepared For

    Hunter used to be well-known, for providing organs with much of the pipes prepared-for. St. Cuthbert's, Philbeach Gardens, London, was an example, later partly completed by Compton. At least in such cases, everything was in apart from the pipes - soundboards, stop-knobs, piston action, etc - which is much more promising than wishful stop-knobs or a gap below the Great keys. It has been known for a prepared-for Choir manual to be adapted later as a coupler manual. Long Melford, Suffolk, is an example. When Father Willis built a two-manual organ for Old St. Paul's, Edinburgh, he advised the organist to have just the wood Open Diapason on the Pedal, because the congregation would be forced to cough up for the prepared-for Bourdon within months. He was, however, several decades out in his guess.
  7. David Drinkell

    Charpentier Te Deum "Prelude" - Organ & Trumpet arrangements

    It's straightforward enough for a competent trumpeter - all you need to do is write out the solo part (possibly transposing it for a B flat trumpet, although many players nowadays are happy with a part in C) and omit that part in the organ. I use the Mayhew edition because it's handy, although I tart up the rhythms more than somewhat.
  8. David Drinkell

    P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    I also believe that the acoustic at Orford will be of great benefit to the Turner Sims organ, particularly if due attention is given to finishing when the instrument is installed. As regards repertoire, it's amazing how a well-built and voiced organ will give convincing performances of a surprising range of music. Even Howells - I believe the opening of the Rieger at Clfton Cathedral featured a piece of his and I have myself played Howells on the Grant, Degens & Bradbeer organ at Queen's University, Belfast (slightly tongue-in-cheek, I must admit, and I didn't know until I turned up for the concert that it was going to be broadcast). It takes imagination, as for that matter does playing Bach convincingly on an old Hill, but if the instrument has quality, the results can transcend expectations to a tremendous degree. Peter King's excellent piece on the registration of various schools of music ( http://peterking.org/playing_organs_21.html ) has plenty to say about this. A number of players have remarked that one doesn't notice the lack of a swell-box on old or modern Dutch organs. It's all a matter of achieving an appropriate ambience - not necessarily something that is "authentic" but something that is convincing. Those who have persevered with my other ramblings, here and elsewhere, will know that I am not a devotee of the neo-classical organ (I prefer the flexibility of electric action, 61 note compass with extra notes at the top to take the octave couplers, and swell-boxes to most divisions), but I like to think that I can appreciate and enjoy listening to and playing fine examples in any style. I was bowled over a few months ago by a gorgeous Letourneau in the RC church at Rothesay, New Brunswick. Basically French classical and all unenclosed, but the sheer beauty of the sound and finishing was such that I can't think of much that it wouldn't do.
  9. David Drinkell

    P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    Having actually been in Orford Church, I agree with Peter that the Collins organ looks fine, in fact one could even imagine that it was built for that position. It looks more at home to me than the Collins at Mancroft. With those broad aisles and big nave, the possibilities for imaginative use, both liturgically and in concert, are enormous. One would assume that, on installation, the site will have been adequately prepared with regard to floor levels and protection from sunlight, and that due diligence would be given to voicing, temperament and action. There is no lack of precedent for such work, and in particular I can think of a number of organ builders who have worked wonders in regulation and tuning stability with classical revival instruments, the local firm of Bishop and Son being one. I know of at least one East Anglian installation which was made vastly more reliable by this firm, and any reputable builder would be able to do the same thing here. If done properly, with regard to normal organ-building practice, there's no reason why the Turner Sims organ shouldn't sound better, and be more reliable at Orford than it did in Southampton.
  10. David Drinkell

    P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    It looks perfect, in my opinion. I can't fathom why the diocesan people don't like it. It certainly looks more in keeping with the church than the existing instrument, whose only plus point from a visual point of view is that it is largely hidden behind the screen! It's just occurred to me that the placement of the Turner-Sims organ at Orford would be a fitting memorial to Peter Collins, because he served his time as an apprentice at Bishop & Son in Ipswich. One of his earliest jobs with them was to install a charming little chamber organ in Little Totham Church, Essex in c. 1961 (since beautifully restored by Peter Bumstead)
  11. David Drinkell

    Rhapsody on an Old English Tune - Rootham

    Epinikion was hitherto the only organ piece I knew of by Rootham. I heard it played a few times a long time ago, but it didn't leave a lasting impression. This Rhapsody strikes me as a pleasant piece of work that would go down well with the punters. Touches of Whitlock, perhaps, in a Vaughan Williamsy sort of mood.
  12. David Drinkell

    Rhapsody on an Old English Tune - Rootham

    No, the piece I have in mind is not the same as the one on the YouTube video.
  13. Delving into the archives on IMSLP sometimes brings rewards, although there is a huge amount of not-so-interesting stuff. I recently turned up "Rhapsody on an Old English Tune" by Cyril Rootham (1875-1938), who was Organist of St. John's College, Cambridge. The tune concerned is "Dives and Lazarus", which Vaughan Williams arranged for various ensembles, including the well-known "Five Variants" for harp and string orchestra. Rootham's piece has, I think, a certain amount of influence from RVW harmonically. I thought it was a fine piece of music, not so very difficult and extremely effective. I had never encountered it before and I recommend it as being worth a look. Has anyone on this forum played it?
  14. David Drinkell

    Alain's Ballade en mode phrygien

    Both versions sound well, and I could imagine different occasions, instruments, audiences, etc, where one might be more suitable than the other. I'm playing the piece at a lunch-time concert here in Fredericton Cathedral on Friday, having cooked up a registration scheme which I think accords with the instructions in Barenreiter.
  15. David Drinkell


    I was never aware of a time-lag at Windsor. I can certainly think of worse - Southwark and Clifton for example. I may have recounted the following before on some other thread: I had to use phones in St. Magnus Cathedral when accompanying the St. Magnus Festival Chorus in the Chichester Psalms. The chorus were under the crossing, far enough away to create an appreciable time-lag. All was well in rehearsal - choir, harp and organ - but the percussionist, Greg Knowles from The Fires of London, could only get there in time for the performance. As he is so talented, none of us had any worry about that. However, in the performance, he walloped everything in sight (so it seemed) so hard on the first beat that the ear-phones immediately went on the blink and I had to turn them off and play half a beat ahead all the way through. Apparently it sounded all right out front, but it was somewhat disconcerting at the time. I've never cared for ear-phones since then. I'm surprised no one has yet suggested facetiously that the ear-phones were to disguise the sound of the instrument. It was said that Osborne Peasgood used to read motoring magazines while playing for services in Westminster Abbey. Maybe the organist was listening to Radio 3..... The present instrument at Sheffield has been there for a long time (longer than the Allen was at Chichester?), but according to NPOR its three predecessors only lasted about thirty years each (successive rebuilds due, perhaps, to alterations to the building rather than any implied criticism of the instrument. I met an old boy at Sheffield who said the Rushworth wasn't much good, but the Brindley before it was).