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David Drinkell

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About David Drinkell

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 10/12/1955

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  • Gender
    Male
  • 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. My reading of the situation is that HWIII kept his nose clean and said very little directly about the Harrison rebuild, but left it to henchmen like Batigan Verne to stir things up - as in a long correspondence in The Organ.
  2. David Dunnett made the Norwich organ sound better than I've ever heard it when I was there with the Cathedral Singers of Ontario in 2007. It's a very fine instrument indeed, but needs care with the heavier voices if they are to work in with the rest.
  3. I used to practice at Stoke Bishop during my first year at Bristol University - I lived in Badock Hall along the road. A fine old Hele, I thought. I never got round to playing it after Daniel did it up .
  4. Denis Bedard's music is well worth playing - modern but approachable and it falls under the hands and feet well.
  5. Sifting through old files today, I found the following, which I wrote for the Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters nearly twenty years ago. It may amuse.... Contra Oboe - a Parable of St. Luke (Belfast) And it came to pass that there was a wedding in an house of the Lord nigh unto the Shankhill, and behold, there came unto that place one to play upon the organs, that the festivity might be the more merry. And he, knowing not what manner of organ there should be, came with haste and gazed upon it with eager eyes. And, lo, there was a stop called Contra Oboe, whereat he rejoiced greatly and said in his heart, This will add a touch of class to my offering. For is it not written, that a reed of sixteen foot length addeth an extra dimension unto any instrument wherein it is to be found? But when he played upon the Contra Oboe, behold, it was silent like the silver swan that living hath no note. And he departed afterwards sorrowing, for he said, Old Charlie hath been constrained to leave this stop prepared for, for such are only to be had at great price and are not like unto the sparrows, which may be bought ten for a penny. And there were in the same country those wise in the mysteries of the building of organs, and their names were called David, the son of El Derry and also Rachel, the daughter of Adam. And he spake unto them, saying, Is it not a sad thing before the Lord that this Contra Oboe should be but a slip of ivory above the keys? And they were confounded and, answering, said unto him, Thou art mistaken, for there be in that organ many weighty pipes of this wise, the which we have repaired and made good, for that their bindings had perished as it were a moth fretting a garment and their pipes had inclined themselves even as the lilies of the field, which work not, neither do they spin. Nevertheless, there was never any thing by the wit of man so well devised, or so sure established, which in continuance of time hath not been corrupted, and so peradventure thou hast been curst with a sticky slide. And it befell in latter years that this same player upon the organs came at diverse other times unto that place, and he said in his heart, Now shall I learn of this same Contra Oboe, whether it be like unto the glorious works of him that was called Father Willis or him that was known as Mr. Arthur, or whether it be like unto a bee which rageth in a bottle of glass. But, lo, it spake neither with speech nor language, albeit that the nethermost note of the Pedal Open did cause the woodwork in sundry places to make a mighty noise. And he was troubled in his mind and said, How shall this be, that this stop respondeth not to my hand? Can it be that the spirit of Charlie Smethurst is wroth against me, for that I did in past times speak ill of some of his works (and in particular the unsteadiness of his wind in diverse places and also of sundry prodigious Large Opens that sound like unto the ships of the sea when the Lord sendeth his fogs to dwell upon the face of the waters)? And he again went his way sore troubled, for that he was fain to use the Sub coupler to make the congregation fear the Lord, it being meet and right for them so to do. The church in question was St. Luke's in the Lower Falls - a sensitive place during the Troubles (indeed, the wall dividing Republican and Loyalist areas bisected the roadway a few yards away.) It closed shortly after I left Belfast and has since been converted into a community centre. I don't know what happened to the organ, which was one of Charlie Smethurst's nicer jobs, with the pipes in the west gallery and the console down on the floor. Smethurst had a wide connection in Northern Ireland and continued to maintain his round during the Troubles, indeed he retired to Belfast and there is a memorial window to him (as well as the organ) in Dunmurry Church. His training, I believe, was as a console hand with Harrisons' but his voicing tended to be not of the most sensitive (when Wells-Kennedy revoiced his large organ at Knock Methodist Church, the difference was immense) and he tuned mixtures to equal temperament. However, he kept a lot of organs (including Armagh Cathedral) going when many firms pulled out of the Province altogether. The two organ builders named are David McElderry and Rachel Adams, both of Wells-Kennedy.
  6. Bruce is quite right in thinking that the Fredericton console follows the North American pattern of having more than two vertical rows of draw-stops (this is reckoned by British players to be less convenient, but I've never found it to be so). The Swell jamb has the Bourdon at the bottom left and the stops in that row ascend diagonally to the right so that the Viola de Gamba had just enough room beneath it to fit in a Tim Horton's large size cup. The new style lids are higher than the old ones, so there isn't room for the Viola to come out without hitting the lid. Innate is also right in supposing that there is a discount if you use your own re-usable cup, but all the ones on the market are taller than the standard issue paper ones..... The organ, by that way, is a Casavant of around 1912. It had a new console in 1957, but no tonal changes, and the stop-list is as below. The Swell is absolutely typical Casavant for the period (and a long while afterwards). The whole thing looks rather gormless to our eyes, but I can make it do most of what I want with a bit of fiddling about. Incidentally, the Diapason Phonon is no such thing - it is unleathered and sounds just like any normal Swell Open. Great Double Open Diapason 16, Open Diapason I 8, Open Diapason II 8, Doppel Flute 8, Rohr Flute 8, Principal 4, Harmonic Flute 4, Twelfth 2 2/3, Fifteenth 2, Mixture III, Trumpet 8 Great 4 Swell to Great 16.8.4, Choir to Great 16.8.4, Echo to Great 16.8.4 Swell Bourdon 16, Diapason Phonon 8, Stopped Diapason 8, Viola da Gamba 8, Voix Celeste 8, Dolcissimo 8, Gemshorn 4, Flauto Traverso 4, Piccolo 2, Dolce Cornet 12.15.17 III, Cornopean, Oboe Basson 8, Vox Humana 8 Tremulant Swell 16.8.4 Choir (enclosed) Geigen Principal 8, Melodia 8, Viole d'Orchestre 8, Dulciana 8, Flute 4, Flautina 2, Clarinet 8 Tremulant Swell 16.8.4 Swell to Choir 16.8.4, Echo to Choir 16.8.4 Echo (enclosed) Open Diapason 8, Stopped Diapason 8, Aeoline 8, Dolce Flute 4 Tremulant Echo 16.8.4 Pedal Resultant 32, Open Diapason 16, Violone 16, Bourdon 16, Bass Flute 8, Violoncello 8, Bourdon 8, Trombone 16 Great to Pedal 8.4, Swell to Pedal 8.4, Choir to Pedal 8.4, Echo to Pedal 8 5 adjustable pistons each to Great, Swell, Choir, Pedal 3 adjustable pistons to Echo 5 adjustable General pistons General Cancel General Crescendo There's an online tour of the building which shows the organ at https://cccath.ca/home/youre-touring-online/ . The church is a copy of Snettisham Church, Norfolk. The resemblance is uncanny, although Snettisham lost its chancel and north transept after the Reformation and the organ is smaller (2m Kirkland). I think it's the finest looking Canadian cathedral, and its situation, in its own little park by the river, is certainly the prettiest.
  7. Forumites may not know that an icon of the Canadian way of life is Tim Horton's coffee shops. They are everywhere (even above the Arctic Circle in Nunavut) - if you remember the song "Walk like an Egyptian", the equivalent "Walk like a Canadian" would have one hand outstretched with a Timmie's cup in it. In the last week or so, Timmie's have changed the design of the plastic lids on their cups. The new type makes the cup too high to fit under the Swell stops at the bass end of Fredericton Cathedral organ. A quick jab on a Swell piston could shoot the whole ensemble goodness knows where (Viola da Gamba being the launch vehicle). Very frustrating - you'd think there were enough troubles in life without having to find somewhere new to put my tea. At least, we aren't looking for ways of escaping our government - being near the border with our smaller neighbour to the South, it's been surprising how many visitors have said they were actively seeking to buy a property here to get away from Trump.....
  8. LOL - those would have been David Wyld's. Apart from his prowess as an organ builder and recording engineer, he is also an expert at restoring classic cars. Henry Willis III, who introduced the Infinite Speed and Gradation swell pedal, never ran to anything so posh. In one of his letters quoted in Charles Callahan's "The American Classic Organ", he mentions, 'Got a new car - a little Morris'. And I remember Henry 4 saying, in the late eighties, that he had hitherto been loyal to British cars, driving Fords, but had recently succumbed to getting a Japanese one because the build quality was so much better.
  9. Similarly, the dial indicators showing the position of the shutters with the Willis Infinite Speed and Gradation swell pedals were fuel gauges - I think as used on Rolls Royce cars at the time although I'm not 100% certain of the latter detail. The tilting tablets were used quite widely as an economy measure. The largest example I ever met was the three manual console controlling a Willis rebuild plonked in West Walton Church, Norfolk, which stood there for about twenty years before being supplanted by its predecessor - a Holdich which had remained in the church (although at one time it was claimed to have been sold). https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06772
  10. Further to posts about the Walker/Compton connection, here's a passage from Nicholas Plumley's article about Walker's, Organists' Review, August 2002: "The period between the wars also saw the first commercially marketed extension organs. Walker's first foray into this field was the hardly known contract they fulfilled for Liverpool's Olympia Theatre as early as 1924. This was a three-manual consisting of 1143 pipes and 16 basic ranks in two separate swell boxes extended to form 84 speaking stops. It possessed a number of interesting features for the early date, and notable among these was the presence of an independent 6 2/5ft Tierce rank to help form a 32ft stop, and a diaphonic 16ft Diapason. A good number of 'tailor-made' extension organs had been built by the outbreak of the Second World War. Notable amongst these was that made for K A Houston Esq of Leicester having six basic ranks from which 47 speaking stops were derived. At around the same time. the Walker company began to market 'off the peg' extension organs. They had, of course, much in common with those of the John Compton Organ Company, with whom the Walker firm had close contact, both through the proximity of their two factories at Acton between 1925 and 1927, when Walker's moved to Ruislip, and through the great deal of unacknowledged and unpublicised work Walkers did for Comptons to assist with their full order books when the craze for cinema organs was at its height. Doubtless Reginald Walker was encouraged to expand the extension side of the business having witnessed the success of the Aeolian Skinner and Moller firms in this field in the States during the 1930s. Some consideration was also given to the idea of combining pipe and electronic elements in the late 1930s, but it was not adopted on grounds of cost. Nor, indeed, was an enterprise of a fully electronic organ, to be called the Walker-Midgley Pipeless Organ, involving the famous inventor Albert Henry Midgley."
  11. Absolutely - Manual extension was never used in Willis organs (apart from where it already existed in rebuilds, such as St. Matthias, Richmond), but Willis III quite often duplexed stops at the same pitch on different manuals (which he insisted was not at all the same thing) - a practice which he picked up from Skinner in America. Similarly, the Junior Development organs, when they included Pedal stops (not all did) borrowed them from the Great Gedeckt, usually with an added 16' octave. I saw a JDP organ in the works at Petersfield in about 1978 which had been rebuilt and did contain manual extension (and other features such as cheap stop-keys rather than the posher but more expensive Willis tilting tablets) , but Henry 4 got round this by affixing a Peter Conacher plate.
  12. It was always said that Henry IV had built one of his Junior Development jobs as a "Christmas Tree Organ", but I thought it had subsequently been either altered or recycled. Maybe this is it, or perhaps there was more than one. The problem with the JDP jobs, forgive me for saying so, was that they never sounded very nice. The only one I really liked was at Walberswick in Suffolk, and that improved greatly after John Budgen gave it a going over.
  13. Congratulations to Belfast on securing Matthew, and best wishes to Matthew as he takes up the post. Matthew's wife is a local girl, so he knows the place well - as a previous Organist & Master of the Choristers at St. Anne's, I have very fond memories of Belfast and Northern Ireland, and the rejuvenation and enthusiastic development of activities at the Cathedral (following a traumatic period under a previous Dean - the present one and his predecessor have worked wonders) makes me very happy.
  14. Thank you for the correction. I was writing on the basis of a passage in Ian Bell's article "A Survey of the Work of John Compton" in BIOS Journal 23: "That Year [1925] the company was reconstituted with additional directors including two members of the board of J.W. Walker & Sons [footnote says information from Elvin's book "Pipes and Actions"]. Walker had money but little work; Compton had the prospect of a lot of work, but as always a shortage of capital. The arrangement suited them both, and Walker managed to profit from the cinema boom without being publicly associated with it, quietly making parts for Compton, to Compton designs - some of which they adapted to use themselves." Perhaps "cinema boom" is pertinent. Early British theatre and cinema organs tended to have schemes not far removed from contemporary concert or even church jobs. I don't know the scheme for the County Cinema, Sutton, but the console was illustrated in "The Organ" and did not have the horse-shoe arrangement of tabs which became the norm after the first Wurlitzers appeared in England (e.g. New Gallery, Regent Street,1925). Shepherd's Bush Pavilion (1923) was an early major cinema job, but in its original form was much like a concert organ. It acquired a full set of 'whizz-bangs' and a theatre-style Tibia in 1931 (the original Tibia Minor would have been much more mild, something like a stopped diapason). Once the Wurlitzers started arriving, Compton was ideally placed and experienced to provide the principal British competition (being confident in using extension and having the same sure touch with electric action as American builders), so the appointment of Walker directors to the Compton board at this time was timely for both firms. Compton continued to use the term "Kinestra" for some years, but the Walker name seems to have disappeared from Compton's advertising. It is interesting to speculate how much technical stuff Walker borrowed from Compton (or, indeed, vice versa). Double touch cancelling comes to mind, as does the production of a range of standard small jobs - the Compton Miniatura and the Walker Model organs. (I find the smallest Comptons more impressive than the smallest Walkers, but not everyone would agree). The Midgeley connection is interesting, too. He had a lot to do with Compton at one time, but I believe they had a row. A spin-off was that Maurice Forsyth Grant was a student frienjd of Midgeley's son, thereby gaining access to Compton's works and getting to know the staff, presumably including John Degens and Ted Rippin. Ian Bell says that, around the time of World War II, the electronic side of Compton's work was "for a while handed to the Walker half of the company". There was a "Midgeley-Walker" electronic organ, but was it at around the same time? I guess that MM will have much to reveal following his research and that we shall all have much to learn. I look forward to some interesting reading!
  15. The Christchurch Priory diaphonic Contrabass was added by Degens & Rippin as part of their 1964 nave divison. Both D and R were ex-Compton men, and Maurice Forsyth-Grant started off as a Compton enthusiast. I suppose it's possible that D&R acquired the diaphone when Compton's pipe organ side was taken over by Rushworth's in that year. In any event, John Degens would have known well how to voice it. I assume the polyphonic 32 Sub Bass at Christchurch was a genuine Compton example. The 32 Double Open at Lancing College is a diaphone - an example of the not-widely-trumpeted connection between Walker and Compton (Walker had the money but not the orders, Compton had orders but not the money, so there were Walker directors on the Compton board, the two firms made parts for each other - was the Walker double touch cancelling system borrowed from Compton? - and Walkers' were able to profit from the theatre organ boom without attaching their name to it). Kenneth Jones used a 32 polyphone in an organ in Melbourne, Australia. Apparently it lays horizontally near the front of the gallery and at the dedication was used as a music rest by an unsuspecting trumpeter. At the start of the opening hymn (RVW Old Hundredth?) the music took off over the rail and ended up on the floor in various parts of the chapel.
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