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David Drinkell

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Everything posted by David Drinkell

  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 rejoi
  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
  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
  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
  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
  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
  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 man
  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
  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 conne
  16. St. Bride's is on my bucket list - I've never heard it in the building, and I'm very fond of the little 3m Compton on the other side of the City at St. Olave, Hart Street. I'm often struck by how many Comptons manage to keep going on their original electrics for so long (as do a lot of organs in North America where good electric action was evolved earlier). Makes you think when you see all these more modern tracker jobs needing attention, doesn't it?
  17. It was quite common at one time. I think GTB may have picked up the idea from Walford Davies and on the old Temple Church organ, the Rothwell console would have facilitated such a practice as one could slide along the stop-keys (between the manuals) to make a diminuendo. I remember the elderly organist of the Episcopal Cathedral in Oban doing it, too. This was in the days of the Blackett & Howden organ (a rather pleasant sounding instrument), upon which the stops were operated by rocking tablets above the Swell. I think they are on at least their second electronic organ now. In th
  18. Like most people, I expect, I've never heard of this instrument, although I knew about the Salford example (and I have an idea that a similar idea was used at Wrexham RC Cathedral in Wales). If the Canterbury Compton existed, I''m sure it would have been commented upon (maybe in scathing terms by Henry Willis III), so I am inclined to think that, at the most, it never got further than an idea.
  19. I agree that it's a good thing to go for pieces which you find easier to play - no point trying a trio sonata for FRCO unless you're absolutely 110% sure of it. Another consideration is that the examiners might get tired of the most commonly played pieces so it's not a bad idea to go for the less well-known ones. I played Bach's prelude on 'Dies sind die heiligen zehn Gebot", Howells's Psalm Prelude Set 2 no. 3 and the first movement of the Harwood Sonata many years ago when I struck it lucky (Vaughan Williams also played the Harwood for the same exam some years previously).
  20. A fine instrument - my sister lives at Faversham so I know some of the organs in the area (gave a concert on the HN&B Chester Organ in the RC church a couple of years back).
  21. Regarding Willis, I was mightily struck last year at St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney, at a great overall improvement in the sound of the organ. I had played it every day for nine years as Master of the Music and subsequently whenever visiting Orkney (I married an Orcadian), so I reckon I know the instrument inside out. I knew that the present Willis firm had in the last few months done some restoration on the reeds, but the whole ensemble seemed much better than it had been before - the rough edges had gone. I wrote to David Wyld congratulate him on the results and he told me that th
  22. I've never encountered a Keates organ, but his largest instrument (by, it appears, a fair margin) was for the Hall of Uppingham School. He got the job because the instrument was a gift from an ex-pupil of the school who was Master Cutler of Sheffield (the head of the Company of Cutlers, founded in 1624), insisted on a Sheffield builder and had a Keates organ in his house. The Uppingham organ was remarkable for its date in having some of the Great enclosed, having Nazard and Tierce on the Swell and possessing transfer couplers Great Tromba on Choir, Great Tromba on Pedal and Swell Chorus reed
  23. I remember it in Perth. There were a lot more stops on it then, although all extended. Not the greatest organ in the world, or even in Perth.....
  24. For a bit of fun, try Diane Bish's arrangement of "A New Name in Glory". The sheet music is available on her website (http://thejoyofmusic.org/thejoyofmusic-ii.aspx) and there's a sassy performance on YouTube played on the 1928 Kimball theatre organ now in the Capital Building at Juneau, Alaska. I'm playing it today at our Noon Hour concert in Fredericton Cathedral.
  25. Excellent appointment! I knew Ian when he was a chorister at St. George's, Belfast. A fine musician and a nice guy.
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