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Martin Cooke

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  1. Whether it qualifies for inclusion in this thread or not, I am not sure, but a famous instrument that was designed to be moved around within a single building is the 'Willis on Wheels' at St Paul's Cathedral.
  2. Is anyone able to say a little bit about what happens musically at Christ Church these days? I'm just curious about a very beautiful Evensong I have just watched (and I can't find the link) - it was Tuesday this week - Noble in B minor and Stanford Justorum Animae. Lovely organ playing beforehand - Howells Intrada 2 - (must get that out!) - but played on a two manual pipe organ. The whole service was accompanied on this small instrument and the main organ only used for the David Bednall voluntary. I know very little about the layout of the cathedral or complications that there may be between the extant organ and the position of the choir etc. Can anyone tell us what the new instrument is all about and whence it came, etc?
  3. Martin Cooke


    Nothing to do with me whatsoever - other than through making a purchase or two - but there are several really useful and worthwhile items of organ music on ebay at the moment including bundles of Howells (complete psalm preludes and rhapsodies) Whitlock, Bach, Karg-Elert, Leighton, Rheinberger, etc etc last verse arrangements, lots of Oecumuse publications - sorry, my memory fails me! Worth a look with a search on 'classical organ sheet music' especially on behalf of pupils etc. If you find the first 'bundle' and then search on 'seller's other items, that should be a helpful way forward. I've gone for some Paul Edwards - I always find his compositions worthwhile - and several, to my mind, are really distinguished.
  4. Very sorry indeed to read an announcement on the British Pipe Organs Facebook site that John died yesterday. His is a name that I have known for much of my life through reading the standard organ journals and magazines, so it was a wonderful surprise to find that, when I retired, such a highly respected and renowned organ builder was looking after the local instrument. I met him on several occasions when he came to attend to it and looked forward to these opportunities to hear his wisdom and sense of humour and marvel at his agility. We all despaired of the instrument's many failings and complete lack of quality, and his final advice to us was not to spend any more money on it. Not all that long ago, he wrote a small book called An Organ Builder looks back which is well worth reading if you want to learn more about him and his work. I got my copy direct from John himself and I can't see other sources on line this morning. The organ world will feel his loss very keenly.
  5. Update from St Paul's following on from Simon Johnson's move to Westminster Cathedral - https://www.stpauls.co.uk/news-press/latest-news/latest-news-from-the-music-department
  6. Thank you both. I think that must be the Barenreiter index I found once before - very useful, if not brilliantly laid out. And I have learned the movement from Rubrics now which is delightful. Rowland - I recall an online service from Winchester at which Claudia Grinnell played other movements of this work. She played the first movement at the end, and the movement entitled something like The peace may be exchanged amongst her pre-service music.
  7. Just wondering if anyone can help with the following three questions... Is there, anywhere, an index to the complete Barenreiter Bach edition? I am sure I had and downloaded one but am now not so sure as I seem unable to find or re-find it. So, ideally, I'd like to see a thematic index, but I can make do with one that says 'Prelude and Fugue in X major, BWV 000 - VOLUME 6' ... or something approximating to that. Other than the Barber Adagio arrangement, are there other 'memorial' type pieces that organists use in the US in the same way as perhaps we use Nimrod or Solemn Melody, for example? Nigel Gaze - I played through the Oecumuse score of his Valediction yesterday - a lovely piece which qualifies as a 'luxuriant adagio' in my book. Does anyone have any recommendations for other organ music of his by any chance? A lot is published by Fagus. Many thanks!
  8. I do hope Stephen Farr, PCND on Paul Isom or another forumite with a wide knowledge of the repertoire will come on line soon and solve this - the piece is haunting me!
  9. Yes, it feels familiar - and I agree, re Whitlock - but I can't place it. I look forward to this puzzle being solved!
  10. Good to hear, Rowland, and thanks for that.
  11. Thanks for all these interesting thoughts and contributions. S_L I do fear for the future of the church as we know it, put it like that. I haven't kept up with the saga but there is a lot of talk over here about 10,000 new churches being established without the expense of clergy to run them and all being done in people's homes - and as far as I can tell, this is coming from the top! There is an incredible shortage of money in many (all) dioceses with talk of clergy redundancies - Chelmsford seems to be particularly badly hit, but they are far from alone. A fifth church is just joining four others in a benefice I know in Cornwall... though there are two clergy + two retired clergy and at least 2 LLMs (lay readers) but I imagine it will only be one service per church n most Sundays. And, at what I would regard as the principal church in the benefice, the splendid organ hasn't been tuned for several years, when it used to be done quarterly - but, again, it's not alone in that! I agree that organists don't always do themselves favours. I watched a film recently of a splendid organist introducing his large instrument - it was probably intended for organ enthusiasts only. But he drew some diapasons and played some very dull chords and described it as a 'glorious sound.' Well, we all know what diapasons sound like and, honestly, anyone who thinks three of four together is a 'glorious sound' needs to get out more! And it doesn't need to be like that - just read the account of the tonal work that has been undertaken at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Organists' Review this quarter - it all comes over as really quite exciting. If I am really honest, I am not sure that all these improvisations that many seem to specialise in do the instrument and its players any huge favours. Many, to my humble ears, come over as a mad, discordant and over-long cacophony and I avoid them now. I am showing my ignorance in saying this, I know, but I would much rather listen to a short improvised 'choir in' voluntary by a master of the art, than a long improvised symphony of sorts. And are transcriptions of massive symphonies popular? And if so, who with? And to back up Rowland's thoughts about the good work going on at Oundle and other places - there are some really good people doing some fantastic work with organ and church music with young people. The whole Diocese of Leeds music scheme sounds brilliant, and then there is Anna Lapwood in Cambridge (but, actually 'everywhere') and Tom Daggett (based at St Paul's) who do outstanding work with organ and choral music, inspiring lots of young people. And I sense that this is a movement that is growing as more and more people are caught up in what is already happening. [The contribution from trusts and charities to organ rebuild schemes is often predicated upon the 'new' organ being used to inspire new young organists.]
  12. My latest addition to the luxuriant list is Reginald Hunt's Aria, attention to which is drawn by Kevin Bowyer in the latest Organists' Review, though I think I would play it slightly slower than Dr Bowyer (or Hunt intended). I bought my copy of the Six Pieces in 1978 but, rather shamefully, haven't touched them since so it's good to have been nudged into dusting them off. Lots of interest in the latest OR - I was particularly interested in Paul Hale's account of the tonal work that has been undertaken recently at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. It sounds most worthwhile. A visit to Paul Hale's recently revised website, by the way, reveals two illustrated talks by him which some may not have seen, about some recent organ projects. See here. Most interesting.
  13. Well, I am absolutely sure, Vox, that this is an entirely typical situation. So much comes down to money and the fact that cash is King, as they say, and you can't do anything without it! My initial response on reading this was that the DAC should have stipulated all sorts of conditions regarding the safety and welfare of the organ before all work began. If they are actually building something on to the church to accommodate the loos etc then a few hundred pounds to cover, uncover and retune the organ ought to be possible. But if the whole 'thing' about the organ and its condition and siting within a church that's about to be knocked about were taken into account, it would ,as you suggest, possibly endanger the project which would become financially unviable... and I presume that the DAC comes across this all the time. One is bound to wonder if the organ could go elsewhere if some pews were removed, but I know that this isn't as easy as it sounds... but it still comes back to money. It's great that they have an organist, of course, but if only they listened to his concerns about the instrument and his working conditions during coffee time! Sometimes, of course, money can be found, even unexpectedly. Only this last year in one village that I know, one parishioner, upon her death, has left a handsome sum to the church to allow their dreams (not involving the organ!) to go ahead, and another old lady has left her cottage to another local organisation which will undoubtedly be of great benefit. I think that experience alone might suggest that it's always worth a church having a plan worked out for its development.
  14. Yes, and to some extent, I agree, too. Nobody in their right mind is ever going to think that a four manual digital organ is going to be the equal of King's, or Truro, or Salisbury, etc. But I am jolly sure that many a well made, properly installed small digital organ is every bit superior to many a crumbling pipe organ. And yes, the pipe organ may go on for ever in the corner of the church, but many don't equal the some of their parts with poor tone, heavy action, short compass pedal boards, swells that go to tenor C only, pipework that goes out of tune the moment the tuner leaves, and the expensive of maintenance. I disagree that there is 'no comparison.' Of course there is comparison to be made and the the vast majority of people who make that comparison often cannot tell the difference. We're back to the Huw Edwards statement about our great 'heritage' of pipe organs. We do indeed have a great heritage, but not all pipe organs are worthy of membership, and we don't help the cause of pipe organ preservation and rescue if we imagine and cling to the idea that they are. The sheep need separating from the goats in our thinking. How do we that? How could responsible bodies such as the CofE or a diocese or a PCC go about deciding if their pipe organ should be kept and cherished or whether it should become a kitchen, a loo or a cupboard... especially if it is located awkwardly in shat has become a remote corner, and, if, Sunday by Sunday, there is nobody to play it or there is only a service every third week? I am happy to try to start answering this... but later! [And let's also remember that, yes, we have all these instruments, but the established church seems to be eating itself alive and in 30 to 50 years time will be gone. What will happen to all these pipe organs then?]
  15. Yes, but most of the time, in a cathedral or church setting, we are not dealing with an audience but with a congregation who are there for a different purpose. People who want to hear Benedetti and Wang pay good money to hear them in a concert setting. And are we really saying that we wouldn't go to hear, say, David Briggs playing on a digital instrument - something he seems perfectly content to do whilst the pipe organ in his present US church/cathedral is being redone following the fire? And don't organists have to make the very best of the instrument, whether pipe or digital? Surely that's part of the skill and craft of being an organist - somehow managing when a pipe organ's action is impossibly heavy, or the reeds are horribly out of tune, or a note isn't working on one of the stops... or the digital organ doesn't sound exactly like a pipe organ. And, I probably wouldn't go to hear B or W play a digital violin or piano, respectively, but I am not as interested in violin or piano music as I am in organ music. In the days when Chichester managed with their Allen, I am sure people like John Birch and Ian Fox saw it as part of their skill set to make the very best of the instrument - and they did just that, day in, day out, superbly. And the congregation didn't quibble and sit about thinking that the air wasn't moving in a natural way. In lots of ways, I think they thought the Allen was a pretty good improvement on their rather inadequate pipe organ, to be honest!
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