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Martin Cooke

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Everything posted by Martin Cooke

  1. Mmm... the Tuba certainly sounds a bit ropey unless that is just distortion on that discord.
  2. Crikey! The specification of the Willis on NPOR certainly supports your 'splendid' description, Rowland. How on earth did this come to pass?
  3. Our friend and long-standing contributor to this forum, pcnd, would, I am sure nominate the 'old' pipe organ in Worcester Cathedral. I can't help wondering about the previous organs in Trinity Cambridge, and Christ Church and Magdalen, Oxford, but I never heard them nor knew anything of any perceived deficiencies or advancing decrepitude. I remember, and played as a boy, once or twice, the Willis organ in the crypt chapel of St Paul's. This was removed and initially replaced by an Allen, but, as we know, there is now the splendid and more substantial Drake instrument.
  4. What about the sentiments expressed in Huw Edwards' article? I don't think it is necessarily desirable to preserve every pipe organ just because it's a pipe organ, but... what I DO feel is needed (in the C of E, at any rate) is a mechanism like a quinquennial inspection whereby all church organs are inspected every five years so that churches can have repairs and faults corrected and organs properly maintained. With many organs not being regularly played by a competent organist or maintained by a proper organ builder, there is no means by which PCCs can be kept informed of the state of their organs. And, let's face it, the organ is probably the least understood (by the layman) piece of apparatus in a church, but is yet probably the most valuable. This quinquennial idea would help, too, to separate out those instruments that are genuinely good organs, suitable for their location and purpose, and entirely worth preserving, and others that are not of this quality. I believe at least some PCCs would be proud to know that they have an organ built by a well-respected builder, or that their instrument is a fine example of the work of X & X or Y & Z, and that it would help them to see the importance of looking after it. Equally, I think some churches need to be helped to see that silk purses cannot always be obtained from a sow's ear, and that some pipe organs are not worth spending more money on. There are too many instances where poorish pipe organs are inadequate to support the earnest work of a goodish organist who wants to be able to play a reasonable range of repertoire, or they are badly sited in awkward corners of churches so that they are not close enough to the congregation to be effective. In the case of a fine, historic organ being awkwardly placed, perhaps the church could be encouraged to boost its musical resources by having a supplementary digital organ and whatever music is to be performed is shared, as appropriate between the two instruments. The concept of having two organs in different locations in a church, after all, is not a new one, and there are already instances of where quite modern pipe organs are having to be supported by the use of digital instruments. I'm thinking of St Mary's Nottingham and Clifton Cathedral but I am sure there are more. Could there be more scope for a happy coexistences like these where a supplementary digital organ would actually enhance the status and usability (for want of a better way of putting it) of the resident pipe organ? ("Evensong tonight in the chancel with our lovely Willis organ." "At Eucharist next Sunday Dr Snodgrass will be playing some Bach on the Marcussen and some Rheinberger on the Viscount." And... obviously... many more ideas more creative than these.) And... thinking aloud... might this sort of thing not help to create more interest generally so that the musical life of a church begins to blossom more and more with success breeding success... and then there will be more funding available to look after the historic pipe organ.
  5. A good point, Peter. I'm not clear which firm 'looks after' the RAH organ these days. Obviously, we met Michael Broadway on tv during this concert. I believe he also tunes at St Paul's but if repair work is needed at either venue, is this undertaken by Mander Organ Builders these days, or is another firm involved now?
  6. Many thanks for your most helpful post, John. One forgets the completely different nature of the true Spanish chamade trumpet stops compared with almost anything I have experienced over here. If you do have time to comment further, that would be most interesting. This has all come up in the process of looking for something to play as a concluding voluntary on Sunday - St James the Apostle, patron saint of Spain.
  7. I'm just wondering if anyone has discerned what sort of registration Lidon had in mind when he wrote this piece. I am very aware of George Guest's recording on the St John's, Cambridge instrument in which the chamade was used for both hands. I know little about Spanish organs but am I correct in thinking that the John's chamade is much louder than those in Spain? I have no opportunity to play this piece on an organ equipped with a chamade, but if I did, would it be appropriate to play the A section through on the chamade alone (both hands), repeat on some chorus work, and then repeat this pattern in the B section. If not, what? And, in this country, what would be the best instrument of all those with chamades, to play the piece on, even if the full Spanish organ sound is unattainable.
  8. I've listened to quite a few online services, Rowland, several with CG playing, and it has all sounded well and been very interesting, especially to hear some of her repertoire as you can tell from this thread. But I am always interested in what other organist play before and after services. I can't tell very much at all about the organ, and as I said in a previous post, I last played it over 40 years ago for an evensong. It's not hard to imagine that it's ready for a good 'seeing-to' but also not hard to imagine what a great job H&H will do.
  9. How boring is it, if I keep answering my own questions?! I've discovered now, having been put on the right track by SlowOrg, that it is indeed another movement from Rubrics - Silence may be kept. Sorry to have wasted everyone's time! Yes, I saw that, but have managed to get hold of a second hand copy online. I wish I could resist buying all this music!
  10. Ah, goodness, I should have known that, SlowOrg - thanks very much indeed. I don't suppose you recognise the music at the beginning of the service do you? Is that another Locklair piece, possibly? "Hallalujah" has been restored would make a great voluntary for a first Sunday back in church with choir and singing!
  11. Ah - well the first piece is 'Super hanc Petram' by Clarence Lucas. I could read 'Petram' and then a search on that and 'organ music' produced it. Not sure yet if it's in print. Can anyone help with the second service, before and after?
  12. Aaaaarrrrrgh! No you're not, S_L! Sorry!! Here's the link - played by Claudia Grinnell at Winchester Cathedral. I am bound to say that I am also interested in the musicshe plays before and after this service, too!
  13. Can anyone identify the voluntary at the beginning of this service, please? Frustratingly, I can't quite read the title. Many thanks.
  14. Well, originally, there was a risk assessment template available on the RSCM website - I haven't looked to see if it has been undated or taken down. The full rubric for a re-start will eventually come from the Church of England people led by the Bishop of London but I don't think that has appeared yet. Here's the RSCM stuff but it's not up to date - https://www.rscm.org.uk/covid-19-resources-for-churches/
  15. And this is because people like you and Simon Lindley have fought the good fight and inspired members of the Council to believe in you, the organ and music generally. It's great to see.
  16. Yes, I think it is a matter of drawing a distinction between iconic or 'special' instruments and others - the majority? - that are more ordinary and were probably built to a fairly low budget. I struggle to agree with the notion that EVERY mechanical action pipe organ must be preserved at all costs without tonal or other changes, especially when they are still needed to do a job in church or elsewhere. Sure, these days, I would be very reluctant to see such an instrument given electric action - that ship has sailed, long ago - but where there is a rank of pipes sitting on an expensive slide on a very expensive soundboard, that is, tbh, dull or unpleasant, I don't have too much problem with 'trading it in' for something more useful that will genuinely help the organ to do a better job of leading the congregation. And no, I'm not saying that I want to rid a Great of its Dulciana, especially if the 8ft flute is too loud to accompany the swell Oboe, but I might be tempted to swap it for a smaller diapason, or perhaps a 2ft stop if there weren't one. I think I have said before, that I really do think there are places where a digital organ is going to serve best, largely because of restrictions in space, or because the only place for a pipe organ makes it too remote from the singers. And are pipe organs, per se, really threatened by digital organs? Try typing 'Bristol' or 'Sheffield' or 'Wiltshire' into the address box in NPOR. Hundreds of instruments appear. There are thousands and thousands of pipe organs in existence. The threat to them, surely is from their own complexity and the cost of maintaining them over a long period of time, the lack of people to play them, despite lots of effort, and the fact that fewer and fewer people are attending church.. or, at least, the sort of church where a conventional pipe organ is used. Moving on... One thing I would be interested to know is how far one can go in improving a heritage instrument. Near me, there is a beautifully toned one manual William Hill instrument. It has a short compass pedal with a permanently coupled Bourdon and the pedal board appears to have been extended by four notes. Anyway, the pedals are not easy to use in a conventional way. So, would an organ builder be allowed to reconstruct this instrument with a pedal board that COULD be used and is as close to a modern accepted norm as might be imagined? This would, at a stroke, broaden the scope of this instrument and make it much more versatile without changing a solitary stop or pipe. But presumably, a purist would nail themselves to the pedalboard to prevent that from happening! Or would they?
  17. Well, it looks like a fabulous scheme.
  18. If you don't already read the very entertaining British Pipe Organs site on Facebook, there is a really interesting discussion going on at the moment: - https://www.facebook.com/groups/355269498442029/?fref=mentions. It's all about the merits and de-merits of altering organs when they come to be rebuilt, and generally fiddling with them. Truro is seen, by all of us, I am sure, as a great unchanged cathedral organ (bar the moving of the console, subsequent renewal of the console in the Mander style - [which to my mind was a shame] - and the bringing forward of the Tuba) at the one end of the scale, and then there is, say, Blackburn with its added manual and its digital pedal stops, and the 70's rebuild of Ely, at the other. In the middle of this are instruments like York and Canterbury which had been changed almost endlessly since their incarnation, but both of which seem to have found a happy and harmonious new and glorious state consequent upon their very recent rebuilds. I am bound to say that having followed the work on these two instruments from afar and not knowing either from a playing point of view, H&H and the cathedral teams and advisers have done astoundingly well. But, in 25/30 years' time, when these instruments are no longer 'new' will the incumbent organists still want to fiddle when they are rebuilt? (Some of us will never know!) And is it reasonable that they might? Anyway, I do not seek to detract from the discussion on the other site - it, and other discussions there, are always lively and interesting.
  19. I'll come back to the reason I have quoted from S_L's point in the moment. The other relevant point here, I would have thought, is experience as a chorister at a high level. In terms of the food chain, as it were, 'cathedral etc' choristers are good candidates for music scholarships at senior independent schools and bring with them masses of experience and skill. For the individual chorister, they have been steeped in the world of fine things - music, architecture, and beauty - including the sound of, in most cases, wonderful organs. Many independent schools boast at least one good organ, and Bob quickly becomes your uncle as they wend their happy ways back toward the cathedrals and other top choral places whence they came, when the time comes. I wonder what the percentage of DoMs and ADoMs is that served as choristers? S_L's point above... something that has changed fairly recently is for DoMs and ADoMs to have been at one university for their first degree (possibly as an Organ Scholar) but then move on to the RCM, RAM or other conservatoire to do an MMus. The old pattern for many, right up to the John Scott/James Lancelot era, was to follow the BA with the Oxbridge BMus/MusB - and thus become MA, BMus, FRCO. The BMus at Oxford and Cambridge seems to be in some sort of abeyance - (we have covered this ground before and mourned the consequent loss of two beautiful hoods) - and the alternative seems to be an MPhil or a Master of Studies. I am not fully up to speed on this and would welcome correction or updates! Later, upon retirement, many DoMs became MA, DMus, FRCO, courtesy of Lambeth, but that seems to have fallen by the wayside now... as, of course, has the ADCM for 'FRCO (CHM) only' candidates. Roy Massey has one of these, as did, to my knowledge, Gerald Knight and I remember observing Dudley Holroyd's blue velvet (lined white) hood hanging at the bottom of the organ stairs in Bath Abbey back in his day.
  20. I saw a tweet yesterday announcing Imogen Morgan as the new Assistant DoM at St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh. She is presently Organ Scholar at Peterborough Cathedral having been ORgan Scholar at Durham University and Durham Cathedral.
  21. Well, I am no expert, but it's not long since David Wells did Guildford, and they have ongoing work, with some involvement of Henry Willis and Sons Ltd, at Liverpool Cathedral. Mander Organ Builders are doing Wimborne Minster and have recently completed St James, Sussex Gardens - a large 4-manual. Nicholsons have had some pretty large projects - St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle fairly recently, Llandaff not so long ago, and Manchester Town Hall, Radley College, the Bute Hall, St Mary's Portsea and two large London churches are all current and future projects. I suspect small firms are careful not to overreach themselves, always remembering that all this painstaking and specialised work on organs relies on very specific skills and experiences which are probably in quite short supply, but also these big jobs, surely, rely on a lot of workshop space being available and that must limit what some of the smaller firms can manage when it comes wholesale reconstruction. Am I right in thinking that some of the smaller firms tune and 'look after' some of our major instruments on a day to day basis but can't, perhaps, take on major rebuilds because they don't have the staff/space to manage them? Might they also get involved as sub contractors on some major jobs? It will be interesting to see what happens with Bristol. Leeds Town Hall details are to be announced on 19th July. Do we know who deals with running repairs etc at St Paul's Cathedral nowadays?
  22. Wells has announced the start of a £2M appeal for H&H to rebuild the organ. See here.
  23. Forumites may be interested in this little demonstration of the Guildford organ. It hasn't really been possible to discover much about the David Wells work, and although this video doesn't clarify on that score, it is interesting, and is a great reminder that second hand instruments can be absolutely outstanding as this one seems to be. Am I right in thinking that R & D has a rather mixed reputation? And if so, why is that when Guildford and Chester seem so good?
  24. ... a bit outside the box and rather exciting! And probably tricky!! https://global.oup.com/academic/product/a-gerre-hancock-organ-album-9780193552296?lang=en&cc=gb#
  25. Gosh - some exciting and very beautiful pieces there - well worth a visit - the Sebastian Forbes and the Jacques van Oortmerssen contributions, especially.
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