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David Drinkell

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  1. Canon Gordon Paget used to recall a story told him by the Ipswich organ builder John Rayson about the conveyance of the Redenhall organ from London and the difficulty the horses had on Gun Hill at Dedham, on the Essex/Suffolk border. This was still a notorious bit of road when I was a child and we used to go to Ipswich every other Saturday in the football season because my father had a season ticket for Ipswich Town. It has long been bypassed but is still there as a back road. It wasn't the steepness (this is East Anglia!), but the bend halfway down that was the dicey bit. Redenhall is probably the finest surviving Holdich organ, but there are a lot of them about, particularly in East Anglia and in his home county of Northamptonshire. His father was rector of Maidwell in that county, and the Holdich is still there. My long-time friend (from university days) Colin Ashworth is (or was) organist there. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D00333 Richard Bower, the Norfolk organ builder, has made a study of Holdich organs, and they were also a favourite with the late Bernard Edmonds. He contributed an article to the Organ Club Handbook no. 6 (c. 1961), analysing Holdich's style. One interesting paragraph deals with case-work: "Even well into the nineteenth century, Holdich on occasion provided a console with solid stop-knobs and labels alongside, in the style of times long past. His cases in earlier days were of the styles then current, most often debased Gothic, but sometimes Renaissance. In latter days, he provided mostly "pipe-racks". But in his middle period he made an interesting attempt to provide artistic cases in an economical way. This he did by making use of fret-carving, which could be done by machine very much more cheaply than the cost of hand-carving, however modest the latter might be. These cases could be most effective, and characteristic examples may be seen at Melchbourne in Bedfordshire and Bewdley in the Vale of Severn." Here's Melchbourne: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=R01503 I can't find a picture of Bewdley online, although there is one in Bernard's article. He also has a shot of Mickleton, Gloucestershire, where the Holdich of c. 1858 has a case by Comper: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N05731 Holdich was building organs for over fifty years, and they turn up all over the place. The Episcopal Church in Kirkwall, Orkney has one, although it came from somewhere else. Another interesting transplant, this time from a local residence, is at Templepatrick, Co. Antrim: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D01396 Going back to Dedham, but not the Gun Hill, the church is famous from its depiction in the works of the artist John Constable. The organ was a 3 manual Hill, complete with stop-knobs stained a different colour for each department, on the south side of the chancel. I played there one afternoon in my teens and visitors kept putting money on the bench next to me (and a Scotsman in a kilt gave me a piece of heather). I think I made about a pound and fifty pence, which was a tidy sum in those days. The organ was later rebuilt by Bishop and Son on high at the west end with a detached console. The case is the old one reworked. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N08696
  2. I suppose that Willis did something to it following the merger of the two firms shortly after the Great War. The firm was known as Henry Willis & Sons and Lewis & Co for a few years to satisfy a legal nicety. The 1925 Willis at St. Magnus Cathedral has "W&L" on the bellows weights - I have one (which was lying about inside, not nicked off one of the reservoirs!) which I use as a paper-weight. The merger meant that Willis, who had lost his own factory, gained the large and palatial Lewis works on Ferndale Road - only to lose that in the Blitz.
  3. NPOR says the chapel organ at Hatfield is by Lewis - the stop-list appears to bear this out. Looks like a good place to sing!
  4. Wasn't Olivier Latry stopped by a court order from performing his own transcription of the Rite of Spring not so long ago?
  5. In EU, anyway. Copyright is only 50 years in North America, which means, for example, that Healey Willan comes into public domain at the end of this year. Bairstow and Whitlock only came out of copyright in the EU a couple of years ago, whereas here they have been in public domain since 1996. Vaughan Williams is also public domain here (since 2008).
  6. Thanks for some excellent pictures - BAM for SS Peter & Paul, Lincoln (a much-travelled instrument - it looks very well in its present home, to judge from the photograph) and SomeChap for Hatfield, Castle Howard and Kingston Lacy. The latter is a new one to me. I had forgotten that there was an organ in the chapel at Hatfield and I certainly didn't know that it had such an elaborate case. The picture of the ancient organ in the drawing room is surely the best yet produced and looks quite stunning! The Castle Howard picture seems to have come out very well, despite the low resolution. The organ must have been quite a catch for Tom Harrison at that time in his career. I see from NPOR that the case was designed by R.J. Johnson of Newcastle. He seems to have been an architect of more than usual ability and I believe that he was responsible for enlarging and enhancing the cases at Newcastle Cathedral to take the new Lewis organ (and presumably for the chancel case also). The organ was last rebuilt by Nicholson in 1981 and I think it's up for some more work now. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=P00150 There's also what looks to be an old case in St. George's chapel in the cathedral - I don't known its history.
  7. Slightly off-topic because it's in Northern Ireland, but Down Cathedral really deserves a mention. Once attributed to Samuel Green and reputed to have been donated by King George III, it is fairly definite that the original organ was built by Hull of Dublin, whose work was incorporated in a new instrument by Telford in 1856. Arthur Harrison carried out a sympathetic rebuild in 1914, and Harrisons' rebuilt it again in 1966 in consultation with Lord Dunleath, converting the Choir organ, adding a chorus mixture to the Swell and another mixture to the Great and Pedal (to enable the organ to provide a better lead to a full congregation, which had not been its purpose in earlier days). Wells-Kennedy subsequently did some revoicing to take the sting out of the new mixtures and later reinstated a celeste in the Swell. The building is not vast - it's basically a Quire with the organ standing on a gallery somewhat forward of the west end - and the organ fits it perfectly. If it were to be described as the best organ in Ireland, I would not argue. The old mixtures are unique and quite amazing in their effect, and altogether this is an instrument that stays in the memory. The pedal reed is reputed to have been meant for the Royal Festival Hall but never got there. It sits on its own in a corner of the gallery and is quite a snorter at close quarters. When I did the Great Irish Cathedral Organ Marathon in 1992 (a half-hour recital in each of the 31 Cathedrals of the Church of Ireland during Easter Week), I finished off the programme at Down with Scotson Clark's Marche aux Flambeaux. One of my roadies happened to be leaning against the aforesaid Pedal reed and got the shock of his life. 'Wow!' he said, 'Bullfrogs from Hell!!' http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N00207
  8. Still in Essex - Mistley Church. The case is by Renatus Harris and was the Chaire case from Worcester Cathedral. The organ itself is interesting because, together with that at neighbouring Bradfield, it was made up from parts of an enormous, four-manual instrument blown by a donkey walking in a treadmill assembled in the neighbouring Rectory for the Reverend L.G. Hayne (composer of hymn tunes, including 'St. Cecilia' for "Thy Kingdom come, O God"). http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N08677
  9. As far as I know, the Brindley organ was, at least to some extent, recycled for the Rushworth instrument, and the stop-list of the latter would seem to confirm this. An elderly gent I met in the Cathedral when I went to play the Mander organ back in the seventies said that the Brindley was a much better sounding instrument than the Rushworth. Sheffield Cathedral has been much altered and its present layout is an attempt to pull together the legacies of various unfinished enlargement schemes. The (extension) Chancel section of the Rushworth went to a church in Stockport. \http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=R01128
  10. Chelmsford Cathedral - the old organ had a decent enough case and I rather liked the instrument itself, as rebuilt by Hill, Norman & Beard in 1970, but it was rather out of the way in an awkwardly shaped building. The whole place was re-ordered, with a new floor which improved the acoustics, and during Graham Elliott's dynamic period as organist, our hosts provided two new organs - a new one at the west end and a one using pipes from St. Andrew's, Cambridge, in the quire. One part of the fund-raising activities was the "Essex Man Organ Gala" in St. Paul's Cathedral in 1993. At that time, there were eight Essex-born serving cathedral organists - Roger Fisher (Chester), John Sanders (Gloucester), Michael Smith (Llandaff), Adrian Lucas (Portsmouth), Marcus Huxley (Birmingham), Barry Rose (St. Albans), Alan Thurlow (Chichester) and yours truly (Belfast), and we all took part, together with Graham and the Chelmsford Choir. We each played a piece on the big organ, and there were a number of concerted pieces with nine players, featuring the big organ, the Willis-on-Wheels and two chamber organs lent by our hosts. It was amazing fun. I was at the dedication of the nave organ, but so far I haven't got round to playing either it or its companion in the quire. Here are the organs: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N07723 http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D01021 http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D02906
  11. Exeter Cathedral - the Loosemore case of 1660 containing the organ as rebuilt by Harrisons' in 1965 with subsequent additions. A rather special sound, in my limited experience (I've played it once and heard it several times). Although not lacking in power when necessary, it sings at you in a way which I've never encountered in similar instruments in other big churches. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=R00458
  12. Dunblane Cathedral - Lorimer again, but recast for the new Flentrop in 1989. Lorimer's work is peculiarly Scottish, in that his style of Gothic is more flamboyant than English examples, corresponding to the Scottish type of Decorated rather than the English Perpendicular. I haven't been to Dunblane since the Flentrop went in. The previous HN&B was not universally acclaimed - a difficult position militated against its success and the older Scottish organists used to say that the Ingram which preceded it was a finer sound. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N09204
  13. Going north again (although to someone who's lived in Orkney, it's all relative!), Paisley Abbey has a lovely and typical case by Lorimer, greatly improved at the Walker/Downes rebuild when the front pipes were re-arranged in natural lengths. The organ is my favourite of the Downes designs and has tremendous character. One can't feature Paisley without mentioning George McPhee, who has been organist there since 1963 and was the instigator of the Walker rebuild. A stunningly fine player, brilliant choir-trainer and the possessor of a sparkling and wicked sense of humour. Scottish church musicians know, like and respect George, but he is less well-known elsewhere. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N18196
  14. As John Mander pointed out, the organ is very much a Harrison. One wouldn't describe Carlisle, Exeter or Gloucester Cathedral organs as "Father Willis", although perhaps Exeter retains more Willis character than the others (in my opinion, anyway, but others who know better may differ). Nicholas Kynaston made a memorable recording of the Allegro from Widor VI on LP many years ago - one of the few LPs of the organ. I remember hearing him play the Carillon de Westminster there also (at a Carlo Curley spectacular in 1971 which also included spots by Christopher Dearnley, Jane Parker-Smith, Reginald Foort and Marcel Dupre - I think it must have been the latter's last public performance).
  15. To which one could perhaps add; AMDG (A Mander, Deo Gratias!).
  16. The organ is a 4 manual Willis III rebuild of what was originally a Father Willis. Case architect Harold Rogers, a one-time Mayor of Oxford, who had a thriving practice in that part of the country (including St. Edward's School and Somerville College). http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=A00123
  17. Are you sure that's a Conacher original? The draw-stops and layout look more like Lewis to me - or I could be making an idiot of myself!
  18. Yes, I think Sandy Edmonstone's big rebuild was in 1996, when the Tuba was incorporated. The earlier work was more of a holding operation.... Regarding the Willis in Leiden, I at first thought the new case might have been inspired by that on the Father Willis at St. Nicholas, King's Lynn, but looking at pictures of the latter, I guess my memory was at fault. Nevertheless, here it is. a fine piece of work by John Oldrid Scott: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06410
  19. Some flamboyant pieces are among the great works for the instrument, but if you want to be thoroughly vulgar without having to practice too much, there's always Scotson Clark's "March aux Flambeaux", which you can find on IMSLP: https://imslp.org/wiki/15_Marches_for_Organ_(Clark%2C_Scotson) I rather like Herbert Chappell's "Songs of Praise", which was recorded at New College, Oxford, and used as the signature tune for the television programme for some years. Not hard to play, but very effective. A slightly breathless recording here:
  20. Speaking of Kilburn, one shouldn't forget the marvellous four-manual Wurlitzer in the Gaumont State Cinema. The building was bought by a church in 2007, but the organ is still there, although apparently not used in worship.
  21. Regarding Sandringham, thank you to Zimbelstern. I had always assumed that the present Walker organ incorporated the previous one and I am grateful for the correction. Beautiful pictures of the Cullercoats organ! As most forumites will know, there are other Pearson churches with organs still awaiting their cases. Truro Cathedral is the most well-known, with its glorious Father Willis organ and front pipes laid out for a spectacular case which never materialised. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N11147 And St. Augustine, Kilburn. I'm not certain if this was intended to have a proper case or not. It is less prominent than the others, being somewhat out of the way in the triforium. A fine Father Willis instrument in a good acoustic, rebuilt by Harrison in 1923, but retaining the old pipework and with much prepared-for (including the whole of the Solo Organ): http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N17146 And St. Ninian's Episcopal Cathedral, Perth. I haven't played this one since I moved from Scotland in 1988, so I only knew the Rushworth rebuild, which was an uneven sort of instrument although it sounded quite fine if one learned to avoid the danger spots. Quirks included a 4' Clarion on the Great but no 8' reed. That was on the Choir, which had the advantage that it could be used in solo against the Great or coupled when needed. There was also a solitary Choir mutation stop - a Septieme 1 1/7! Sandy Edmonstone's 1996 rebuild, incorporating the old Willis III console from St. Giles, Edinburgh, improved matters immensely, from what I hear: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D03958
  22. Among the chamber organs, one of the poshest is the Snetzler at Hillington, which was apparently built for the Duke of Bedford and later purchased and erected here by Holdich: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06361 And another at Sculthorpe, installed in 1860 and restored by Noel Mander in person in 1950: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06636
  23. Not all Norfolk estate-owners forked out for Casson organs. There is a clutch of Walkers around Sandringham, reflecting Royal patronage, and a great many ex-chamber organs. However, at Scottow, the local squire, Sir Henry Durrant, was an organ enthusiast and built (or caused to be built, possibly by Ben Collins of Lamas) a large three-manual organ, complete with west and south facing cases, incorporating a carved Jacobean fire-place. Durrant was his own organist and, when the occasion merited, would put up a notice in the porch: "Next Sunday, Sir Henry Durrant, Bart., will use the big pedal stop." This was a set of open wood pedal pipes. This is the stop-list of Durrant's monster: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06634 In 1934, Cedric Arnold rebuilt the organ to its present form, discarding the pedal pipes with which Durrant had been wont to frighten his tenantry, but keeping the old cases. The first picture is from NPOR, the rest from Simon Knott's Norfolk Churches website. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06635
  24. A lot of Casson Positive organs had no case-work at all (quite Holtkampish, really), like this one at Bromeswell, Suffolk: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D05560 These are quite common - I took one out of a house in Essex and put it into the church at Twatt, Orkney (it was an easy job - take out and wrap the pipes, wheel the rest of it onto a van - they're on castors, wheel it out at the other end, put the pipes back and tune it). The church is closed now, but the organ went to a local house. There were, however, a number of standard case designs which appear in various places. Norfolk has a lot of Cassons - some thirty of them - reflecting the fact that the county had a lot of large estates with a high proportion of tenant farmers. In Suffolk, there were more well-off farmers, as opposed to estate-owners, so the organs there tend to be a little more ambitious, but there are about twenty Cassons. Weybourne, Norfolk, is an example of one type of case: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06767 and another at Wramplingham: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06807 and Knapton: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06415 Kimberley has a Casson with another type of stock case, sitting back to back with an electronic which came from the local "big house" when the owner, an organ enthusiast, upgraded. You can see the top of the electronic console in the picture. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=H00654 At Thompson, Norfolk, a similar case led Pevsner to guess that it might be by Pugin, since Thompson is on the edge of the Stanford Battle Training Area, near to West Tofts. The Thompson Casson was nicely rebuilt by Richard Bower in 1995, but has since been replaced by a slightly larger instrument. This picture from Simon Knott's Norfolk Churches website shows the Casson, albeit side on and from a distance: There were similar examples at Boxted, Suffolk and Berechurch, Essex. Redgrave, Suffolk, has an elaborate two-manual Casson, but without the elaborate decoration of Thorpe Malsor. I think (but I could be mistaken) that its present appearance is the result of building a case around a rather bare pipe-rack. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N12906 Bacton, Norfolk has a fairly elaborate scheme of decoration: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06136 One could go on (and on), but the above at least give some idea of typical designs.
  25. Capel St. Mary is in my neck of the woods when I'm back in the UK (I was born and brought up in Colchester), but I haven't, so far, got round to playing the organ! Not a very good picture, but here is Thorpe Malsor:
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