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Martin Cooke

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  1. This is what Andrew Lucas said last time it came up: I'd just like to clarify this a little because otherwise the tales get exaggerated with the re-telling. The problem with the Queen and the St Paul's organ's Royal Trumpets is more to do with fanfares in general than the organ stops per se. Rather than have trumpets blasting her ears every time she walks through a doorway the Queen prefers any fanfare to happen before she walks through the doors. The Royal Trumpets are extremely loud, especially when you are standing underneath them. On many occasions I've seen people jump or wince when they go off unexpectedly. So it was always impressed on me that any fanfare for the Queen had to happen as she gets out of the car and comes up the steps and not to start when she is coming through the doors. The Gigout incident is slightly different. In 1985, I think, John Scott played it as a recessional after a large service and no-one bothered to tell him (or the rest of the music staff) that there was going to be a line up of people who had received medals or awards from the Queen who were going to be presented to the Queen inside the west doors at the end of the service. So you can imagine the devastating effect when the trumpets suddenly fired from above in the last few pages of the piece, conversations and presentations were cut short and unsurprisingly the Queen wasn't happy about it at all. The Royal Trumpets aren't banned from being used in her presence, merely that care is required in the timing of their use. I hope this clears this story up. Andrew
  2. Very interesting, Rowland - I'm afraid I'm not as familiar with Winchester as I ought to be, living only 25 miles distant, but I have played there twice - once during a 'lock in' with James Lancelot, and on a subsequent occasion when I played for a visiting choir with whom I was touring the area for a week in about 1977, so before the addition of the nave organ. I have been to a couple of Royal Choral Society concerts there more recently, but a 'proper' visit is long overdue. I hadn't realised the time lag with the West Organ caused issues for the congregation at St Paul's. Is this a regular complaint? I always felt that the augmenting of the Dome Organ and the provision of a small diapason chorus at the West end had been a good thing in terms of keeping things together.
  3. For checking out if you have time and are looking for worthwhile organ websites: One of our forumites, Paul Tindall runs an excellent Facebook site called British Pipe Organs - something to read there every day - full of interest and not afraid of being a bit controversial - it's here. Gary Owens (GO Organ Builders) also has a very interesting FB site - again, well worth keeping an eye on... here. Lance Foy - the excellent west-country organ builder has another FB page about his work and projects. That's here. A great family business this with Mrs Julie Foy and their son Christopher all very much part of the organ building team. Henry Willis and Sons Ltd also maintains a good FB page here. They have some interesting work going on and there is a fascinating little clip recently posted with audio of Henry Willis III conducting some voicing work and talking it through. You don't have to be members of Facebook to see these things - if a little box pops up asking you to sign in, just click, 'not now' and you will be able to proceed.
  4. Thanks Rowland - I remember you commenting long these lines before, now. On Paul Hale's website, he says he's been advising on the possible positioning of a nave organ. (And that list of other organs [not Norwich, Bristol or Chester] is also taken from his list of 'current projects'.) I think Norwich is on H&H's list as well. Chester's website says they're fundraising, but they have been for a while. Not sure where things have reached with Bristol.
  5. I think I have read from a horse's mouth at Canterbury that the recent rebuild/renewal/augmentation of the chancel organ was meant to be just that and that it wasn't felt that the needs posed by worship in the nave could be fully met by one instrument. As I understand it, the wish is for there to be a new and substantial organ in the nave to complement the chancel organ. I haven't heard the 'new' organ in the flesh, but what I hear over the airwaves albeit in a very limited way, and having read the details, has left me with a very good impression. However, the organ is only having to accompany the choir for now, and it will be interesting to hear whether the new stops and spread of pipework, together with the exisiting small nave division, make any sort of new impact for congregational singing and a much fuller cathedral. Whilst on the subject of cathedral organs, has anyone heard more of plans for Norwich or Bristol? Anywhere else... Gloucester? Derby? Newcastle? Winchester? St Asaph? Chester?
  6. Yes, there is plenty to see on the H&H website under Gallery. Looks a cracking job as has been the case at Canterbury.
  7. And as a bit of inspiration - (to us all, maybe?) - have a watch at this very competent sixth former, Miriam Reveley, playing a recital on a Viscount... 'broadcast' yesterday. Here it is. And very well done to Miriam!
  8. I have to say that I agree with all Tony says and I worry you will end up waiting and waiting for the perfect pipe organ or harmonium to come along and the moment will have passed. I'm sure it would be best to swallow your pride on this one, if you possibly can. There are some pretty cheap (as these things go) second hand options on the Viscount website all around the £2000 mark, and I think you would get good advice about longevity etc from them - David Mason, the MD at Viscount would be very helpful if you got hold of him. Let's face it, home pipe organs are really pretty rare - many professional organists have more than 'made do' with their home digital instruments of all makes and whilst completely different from a pipe organ in many respects, obviously, there are pluses as well as minuses. And you are dead right about the need to practise between lessons, of course as nothing will hinder progress (and probably interest) more than scarce opportunity to play and practise. (Sorry, just to go back to Viscount - I read somewhere that Viscount Wales have a rent to own scheme - worth a look on their website.)
  9. Just in case you haven't noticed, there is some excellent and valuable pieces of sheet music on eBay at the moment - Howells - (a copy owned by Conrad Eden) - Messiaen, and a copy of Mathias's Jubilate which I always feel is one of his best shorter works, the excellent McCabe Dies Resurrectionis, and plenty more. Worth a look, I feel.
  10. All a worry in a lot of places, I am sure Ian - especially as so many organs are infrequently maintained to any degree already. Luckily, my church instrument has only recently been refettled and the church makes a priority of keeping the building warm, so it's doing ok, but a couple of notes have stopped working on all stops on one manual. I get the impression that tuners are still working - (Harrisons certainly are) - but, as you say, the funds are increasingly under pressure. Long gone are the days when one would read "Quarterly tuning and adjustments" in the tuner's book, I'm afraid.
  11. Here we are - https://www.classicfm.com/composers/bach/news/arioso/
  12. It's not often we hear professional organists do anything other than play the organ, so these recordings by David Briggs are all the more interesting. Stay tuned beyond the initial piece which is wonderful enough for something that brings together his skill as an improviser with his ability on an instrument with which he is not usually associated. It's here, and you don't have to have a Facebook account to watch. While on David's FB page, I am certain forumites will enjoy David's performance of Pièce Héroïque.
  13. It would be worth a look in Henderson to see what he has to say about unpublished works. I agree with your earlier sentiment that many of his small scale works are little gems. I have only managed to pin down non-Novello Thiman publications in the last few years and I think this is where many of the treasures are to be found. Several of the pieces that Novello wrapped up into the Eric Thiman Collection are a bit on the dull side.
  14. Many thanks, David. I have that volume. Martin
  15. Yes, that's right, S_L, I think the other one is probably the AW Ely Choir Book - I've not seen that but in his intro, Dr Wills refers to it as a companion volume.
  16. Other touchstones of mine with his music... I remember hearing his modern setting (Tell out my soul) of the Mag and Nunc at Truro once in the late 70s, I think. It was certainly a long time ago but I can still remember the very dynamic and convincing opening to the Magnificat. I think it's in a red RSCM book. And thinking of Oecumuse which I am sure a lot of us had dealings with in its heyday, I have a copy of the Arthur Wills Ely Organ Book. This a is a quirky volume with plainsong hymn accompaniments and a number of strident last verse settings of hymns including a harmonisation of the National Anthem. I can't say I have ever used any of them and I am not really familiar with many plainsong hymns except the very well known ones. It is signed by Arthur. His best known organ work must be the Carillon on Orientis partibus which is very exciting - I have it, but can't remember what album it's in. I also have a Scherzetto published by Cramer which is more accessible than many of his pieces - and quite lively and attractive. Probably the most straightforward of his organ works is Lullaby for a Prince, written to mark the birth of HRH The Duke of Cambridge.
  17. I was sorry to read this announcement on the Ely Cathedral website of Dr Wills' death this morning. It would be lovely to see some tributes, stories and reminiscences on this site. I had the pleasure of meeting him nearly 50 years ago whilst attending one of Dr Hopkins' Holiday Courses for Organists at the Royal Academy of Music. He gave some of us tutorials on our organ playing and I shall treasure all the more the fingering he wrote in my Novello Bach Book III... in biro. I have never played much of his music - really only the Fanfare in D which I very much enjoy, but this evening I have just played through the Elegy he wrote in memory of Marmaduke Conway, and I think I shall start using it. I remember an LP I had in the 80s of his Fenland Suite for brass band and organ which was very atmospheric and exciting. I have his autobiography, Full with Wills, which is an interesting and enjoyable read.
  18. I heard only very recently that the Tickell is still not working.
  19. Hi Robert - Ah yes, that would at least have made some sense I suppose, but hopeless really, as you say. The Willis on Wheels lived in the North transept all the time I was there (65-70). Yes, DB was at Cambridge but it was Oxford that gave him the honorary DMus. I have one of his DMus hoods - John Birch had the other. I only saw him wear the full dress robe once... it was either at the laying of the foundation stone or at the opening of the new Choir School. It is perhaps surprising that Cambridge didn't ever award DB a MusD. But then, they didn't give one to David Willcocks or Stephen Cleobury either. But there must be dozens of eminent musicians who pass through these and other universities and achieve notable success who don't get such awards and honours - odd, in a way that Oxford jumped in with their DMus as DB's association with Oxford was really rather brief in his New College DoM days - just four years. I am not sure, but I think they gave it him when he went to St Paul's. I suppose it only takes one person to notice these things and raise it with the university - like the current honours system. It was an interesting occasion academical dress-wise for another reason, in that Canon John Collins wore a Cambridge MA hood - the only time I knew him to do so. He always wore an Oxford MA hood in the cathedral - (and only ever attended if in residence.) He was a student at Sidney Sussex, Cambridge but became chaplain of Oriel College, Oxford, where he would have incorporated his degree and become MA Oxon. I don't think he would have been allowed to wear a hood from another university at Oxford. Incorporation still happens - I have seen Daniel Hyde in a pic or video wearing an Oxford MA hood whilst he was in charge at Magdalen, yet, of course, he was Organ Scholar at King's Cambridge - (and wore his MA Cantab hood on television last Christmas.) And I have often seen Robert Quinney, at New College, another ex-King's Organ Scholar, photographed wearing an Oxford hood.
  20. There's a copy of the OUP Simple Voluntaries album on eBay now - it's a version from before the blue covers of the late 60's/early 70's.
  21. Yes, endless potential for trouble. Wasn't it actually fortnightly? I seem to remember that on a Wednesday afternoon one week the afternoon practice was called 'rehearsal' - which meant with the men (at the choir school) - and the second week it was called 'practice' and this was just the boys.
  22. Robert, I didn't know that. You will also recall that DB wasn't happy about the opening of the Magnificat where, without a conductor, he assumed we wouldn't come in. So, he used to play the opening couple of bars of the choral parts and then we came in! The first time we sang the Murrill with Christopher Dearnley, half the boys put their hands up in morning practice to say 'but we do it this way' but he was happy to risk it. The RCO article on Murrill that I cited is a bit disparaging about the service because of its economy of scale, but it certainly packs a punch. I loved the fanfares heralding 'He hath showed strength with his arm.' If Harry Gabb was playing, he used to use full Solo organ for this which was a fabulous effect - a wall of sound coming from the first bay beyond the main organ case on Cantoris. Wow! He also used to do this at the beginning of 'I saw the Lord.' I think it would be seen as incongruous these days.
  23. Great stuff, Robert - no, I can't tell is that's WHG or JDB at the organ. There was, I have read, quite a 'business' about the positioning of the Willis on Wheels during this period whilst work was done on the organ. The Chapter wanted it to remain in the N Transept (absurd!) and a grand piano to do duty instead! Richard Popplewell also wore the old FRCO hood. In the article by John Birch above, I can't remember if he mentions it, but he usually wore his old FRCO hood on 'unaccompanied Friday.' I think he might have had a 'festal' new FRCO hood made specially for him. He had two - one was very much a weekday affair, whereas the special came on on high days. There was an interesting thing at St Paul's with the Vicars Choral. Ordinarily, none of them wore hoods except Peter Salmon, an alto who was a master at the choir school - (MA Cantab.) But for special occasions a number wore hoods though I only have scant memory of these. Andrew Pearmain, another alto, wore his FRCO (new) and Ian Hunter, yet another alto, wore GTCL, but I am not sure that anyone else bothered even though they were certainly entitled to. Generally, at the cathedral there were some very smart hoods. Dean Matthews had several doctorates, earned and honorary, and always changed with the seasons. I particularly remember his Cambridge DD and St Andrews DD hoods - the latter in Wood Violet and white, so very much his lenten array! Other clergy had doctorates mostly from US universities including Bishop Wand, who also changed with the seasons. He was DD Oxon but never wore the garb, preferring his USA and Canadian hoods which were magnificent. Canon Hood himself had a DD from Nashotah House. All reverted to their MA hoods for Advent and Lent - not the Dean who had his purple hood. No hoods were finer than John Dykes Bower's, Oxford DMus and then Christopher Dearnley's Oxford BMus. If you want to see - or even purchase (!) - a beautiful hood, the owner of the eBay FRCO hood is also disposing of their Trinity Dublin BMus on eBay - take a took!
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