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Martin Cooke

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Posts posted by Martin Cooke

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 1 hour ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

    Martin, The 10,000 house-church planting proposal wasn’t very well announced, and planning for it seemed non-existent.  There has been some back-tracking in the face of considerable and understandable indignation by parish clergy.  That the C of E has major problems isn’t in doubt, but this particular issue is very far from settled.

    Good to hear, Rowland, and thanks for that.

  7. 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.]

  8. 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.

  9. 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. 

  10. 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?] 

  11. 3 hours ago, innate said:

    Let me know when Nicola Benedetti plays a recital of Brahms and Stravinsky on an electric violin or Yuja Wang plays Debussy and Rachmaninov on a digital piano. This really isn’t a question of being “truly authentic”—we aren’t demanding Liverpool Cathedral has a mean-tone mechanical instrument at its West End nor are we expecting Benedetti and Wang to play Bach or Scarlatti on harpsichord or gut-strung violin (although Nicola has done just that!), just on instruments whose constituent parts excite the air and interact with each other and the audience in a natural, musical way.

    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!

  12. 35 minutes ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

    Honestly!  All this surmise when the answers are in Martin’s original post.  It was donated by the late Peter Clark (does that require some clarification, Martin?) and it replaces an existing “much older” Makin. As Tony Newnham says, the concept seems to be a substitute for the west-end section of the ‘grand’ organ which was never completed.

    Indeed, to my mind, it's a very generous donation and in addition to Tony's point about the original plans for the pipe organ, this is REPLACING an existing digital instrument. And isn't it getting just a little bit boring to hear reference to 'toasters' at every turn? Digital organs have kept a lot of organists going over the last 18 months and those that are properly and professionally installed (as I am sure most are these days) provide a lot of pleasure for organists, choirs and congregations that can't always afford maintenance or like-for-like replacement of their very expensive pipe organs. 

    There is now a piece about this on the Church Organ World website that clarifies any points. 

  13. 2 hours ago, Christopher Brown said:

    What's it for? If it's really moveable I can't imagine the sound system will cut much ice.

    Or is a 4 manual digital Liverpool's idea of a continuo organ?

    The impression I gained from the announcement was the the speakers would be mounted on moveable platforms separate to the console. It's difficult to imagine that Makin will fall down on the sound system.

  14. Well, it all looks very nice - but the organ pipes are so unobtrusive as to be invisible in any of all those photos! Why the Acting Chancellor should deem it desirable that they be unobtrusive, is a mystery and I agree with undamaris. When a pipe organ is almost certainly the single most expensive and valuable item in a church, it seems extraordinary to want to hide it away, especially when re-ordering. Even speaker enclosures can be made to look attractive. 

  15. Dr Keith Harrington, MD of Church Organ World, has announced that the largest ever Makin organ is to be installed in Liverpool Cathedral. 115 speaking stops over four manuals. It is to be positioned at West end of the building and replaces a much older Makin instrument. Everything will be moveable though so that it can be used elsewhere in the building if required. It will be called the Clark-Makin organ and has been provided through the generosity of the late Mr Peter Clark whose instrument this once was, though it is being modified and rebuilt before it's move to the cathedral. Dr Harrington reminds us that his will be the second Makin currently in the cathedral with the Rattenbury-Makin four manual instrument installed in the Song School. "For those who are counting, the Cathedral now has twenty-five manuals and eight organ consoles."  He hopes that the instrument will be unveiled after the Anniversary Recital on 16th October.

  16. 17 hours ago, Vox Humana said:

    Yes, the other two are Arietta and Elegy. All three are very attractive pieces. Melody is the easiest, but none of the three is difficult.  If I recall correctly I ordered my copy through Musicroom. It was a reprint, but was stapled and of excellent quality.

    Thanks, Vox - Musicroom still offer the three. 

  17. 50 minutes ago, SlowOrg said:

    Is it this one?

    Oh dear, yes! As it happens, I thought I had been quite careful trying to check interesting items against IMSLP but I slipped up here, obviously, and I also ordered an item by Ernest Tomlinson that is in an OUP album I have had for years. In fairness to Banks, though, they do say that they plan to include previews of items, and this will prevent this for the sharp-eyed. 

  18. And a new arrival from Banks today qualifies, certainly, as a beautiful Adagio if not, perhaps, a luxuriant one! It's Coleridge Taylor's 'Melody' - one of their reprints

  19. 3 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

    Somewhere I possess a photograph of the original Father Willis 1876 console at Salisbury, incorporated into the case on the north side in the same position as then at Winchester and St Paul’s.  If I ever find it, I will try to publish it here (although I have yet to master the size restriction for photographs).  It was recognisably a ‘modern’ four-manual, but with thumb pistons (brass and larger than the modern style, three to each manual), larger stop knobs, these and the manual keys all in ivory, of course, and one unusual feature: a battery of ‘speaking tubes’ (I forget whether two or three of them) for the organist to communicate with others down below - possibly the precentor or senior lay vicars? - so I imagine there were corresponding ones in the choir stalls.

    Somewhere, too, there is a photo of the 'new' ebonised (I think!) console when it was first moved to the south side. I think it is on an LP of Christopher Dearnley's. I think it's rather a shame that this finish has been done away with at Salisbury and at Truro. 

    ps - Here it is... but I can't find one that I know exists of Truro's original 'new' console with David Briggs.

    pps - but there is this one of Truro with John Winter

  20. 6 hours ago, pwhodges said:

    As for the organ itself, it was a reasonable example of the type and times (Willis with the H&H treatment, fairly lightly), and sonically, it could probably have stayed, but for the fashion of the time.  Sidney Watson told me shortly before retiring that the reason he never asked for it to be restored or replaced as it started to get cranky was so as not to limit the choice of his successor - which he certainly didn't!  

    Paul

    Thanks for all your insight into this, Paul. So it was a reasonable instrument, but not up on the same level, as such instruments as Lincoln, Salisbury and Hereford which have all stood the test of time in a pretty much un-interfered with way? When one thinks that fashion 'did for' instruments such as this and St Giles, Edinburgh, and lots of others - presumably New College... I wonder if at Lincoln, Salisbury etc, (including Truro) there was EVER any debate about 'improvements' such as there have been at other cathedrals - eg Wells, York, Westminster Abbey, etc.

  21. Pershore has just popped up on the British Pipe Organs facebook site - we have yet to see how the new instrument will turn out but the printed spec is certainly idiosyncratic. Will this be another case where a 'good pipe organ' has made way for something else? The old instrument's spec on NPOR looks most respectable but I know nothing of the circumstances or what it sounded like. I have formed the impression that the positioning of the old organ must have been an issue. Am I right? Was it too far from the choir? And one can't help but wonder if the old instrument couldn't have been retained but supplemented with a digital organ for some of the choral work, perhaps. (see my other post). But maybe that is just clumsy. (BTW, in suggesting a second (digital) instrument in some circs, I am certainly not advocating linking a digital organ to an existing pipe organ, though I believe this has been done.) Pershore has been written about elsewhere on this forum.

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