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Mander Organs

Nick Bennett

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Everything posted by Nick Bennett

  1. Paying the janitor is quite an issue. At a certain town hall in the north of England, there is a fine organ. If there is something else going on, getting access to it on a Saturday is no problem. However, if they have to open the building specially for you, they have to pay not one person but two, because there is a union agreement that nobody should be in the building alone - and I can see why. Furthermore, there is another agreement that once somebody has been called out to work, they are paid for a full 8 hour shift. In fact, because it's a Saturday, they get time and a half.
  2. Interesting programme! I see the Senior Organ Scholar at Keble is also called Sanderman - I take it there is a connection?
  3. I suppose that making the tuba available on the pedal is the sole raison d'etre of the Solo to Pedal coupler on a 1920's Harrison. I can't imagine any other of the solo stops at Halifax being much use on the pedal - I've tried them and they are too quiet in the bass.
  4. Not if you are trying to bring in people who don't know any organ music yet!
  5. In my view, the organ will find its identity by taking its repertoire seriously, being itself and not trying to be something else. Especially it should not try to be an orchestra - competing with the orchestra on the orchestra's own ground is just asking for defeat. Is it the world or just the UK that has scant interest in the organ? There is plenty of interest in the organ in Germany - the weekly recitals in Cologne Cathedral are full and standing. Of course it does! That's because pianists play proper classical music in their recitals. Isn't there a lesson for us here?
  6. And is there any firm evidence that it does? The harm done includes: 1. It impoverishes the language by making two words which previously had two slightly different shades of meaning mean the same thing. 2. It serves to distinguish organists from "proper musicians", who don't seem to have this hang-up about the word "recital". 3. It makes the speaker or writer appear to be unable to use his own language properly, which diminishes his authority in the eyes of his listeners or readers.
  7. Nevertheless, if your child said it, you would feel obliged to correct him or her, in the same way you would if they had said "tennis bat" or referred to eating a cup of tea. Obscure atonal music? I wish!! Mind you, there was plenty of that at St Albans last week, in among, and cracking pieces they were too. Very few dusty old organists though - except in the audience, where there were lots
  8. One could argue lots of things - e.g. that they don't know the difference between a recital and a concert; or that they are deliberately using the wrong word in order to disguise the nature of the event and bring punters in under false pretences; or that their use of the word "concert" is a form of self-aggrandisement. The phrase "orchestra in a box" sounds like the slippery slope to playing arrangements of orchestral music instead of the organ's proper repertoire. Arrangements generally disappoint: one hears the original orchestration in ones mind's ear and wishes one's actual ear were
  9. I fail to see how one person can give a concert, which the OED defines to be "a musical performance in which several performers take part". Pianists and singers don't shy away from the word "recital" - why should organists?
  10. But not the works being played, apparently Mind you, it has to be said that promoters of recitals - unlike the promoters of operas, orchestral concerts, et. al. - seem to think the works being performed are of little consequence, as they rarely give much (if any) advance notice of them. Imagine turning up at Covent Garden not knowing whether one was going to hear Handel, Wagner, Mozart or Birtwistle!
  11. In the Parr Hall thread, Cynic mentioned this instrument in terms of approbation. What's it like, and what state is it in? Is there a curator?
  12. Sounds like something to be avoided at all costs. Sorry, but I just don't see the attraction of Curley's million mile an hour playing. Nick
  13. Perhaps it was about this sort of performance that Doctor Johnson remarked, "Difficult sir? I wish it were impossible!"
  14. Sorry, it's Saturday 27th October.
  15. On Saturday 28 October, Philip Tordoff will be giving Halifax Parish Church's 1,000th recital at 7.30. Admission will be at 1971 prices (3/-, concessions 2/-). Another attraction is that a specially-brewed Snetzler Ale will be available. I am told it is excellent. The organ is being tuned and fettled in anticipation of this milestone, so if you want to hear the instrument at its best, this is your chance. Actually, it is only the 1,000th recital since 1971. There were certainly some recitals before that, including one given by Marcel Dupre in the late 40's, and a mini-recital by Ba
  16. It isn't a chorale at all. It is a quotation from Meyerbeer's opera "Le Prophete".
  17. ... or possibly Downing, or even Girton! I wouldn't have though it was your sort of instrument, Nigel. I'd forgotten the pedal reed on that recording - I haven't listened to it for decades. (Makes mental note to get turntable back into working order). As I remember, it's similar to the Ophicleide at Halifax - rather honky and obliterates anything less than full great coupled to full swell. What on earth would it have been like if they had installed the 32' Bombardon that was prepared for (presumably a downward extension of the 16' reed).
  18. I heard it shortly before it was replaced. It was a very fine sound for the romantic repertoire, not particularly suitable for Bach and his predecessors, but it had become rather dilapidated and there was a lot of action and wind noise. My recollection is that is was very loud, and the Tuba was ear-splitting and not at all to my taste. It was certainly too big physically: it was virtually the full width of the building, and the 32' open woods stood against the north wall of the ante-chapel, disfiguring it somewhat. The final recording of it is "Organ Music from Cambridge No. 3" from
  19. I don't see why it need be a more complex console than, say, St Pauls, which is controlling organs in three parts of the building. And, given the sort of people who are going to play it, why would it be a problem anyway?
  20. I think Barry's pessimism about the reputation of British organbuilding is not entirely justified. Our native builders are getting the majority of the work in the UK. How many of our cathedrals have an organ constructed or rebuilt by a non-UK builder? They can be counted on the fingers of one watch, can't they? It's just that we don't take much notice when a UK firm lands a major British instrument, whether new or a rebuild - e.g. Exeter, Peterborough, Bridlington, St Albans, OLEM and Magdalen College (Cambridge), St Davids, etc. By contrast, if Klais were to be appointed to rebui
  21. David Liddle and Ian Hare are both former King's organ scholars. Wasn't John Bertalot, too? Daniel Hyde, now director of music at Jesus, gave a brilliant recital (Bach, Mendelssohn and Wammes) at the Klosterkirche, Steinfeld as part of the IAO congress last week. The list for John's would include: John Scott Adrian Lucas David Hill Stephen Cleobury David Lumsden Brian Runnett Jonathan Bielby Andrew Lumsden Andrew Nethsinga Philip Scriven Iain Farrington Robert Houssart
  22. It featured on the cover in the days when Organists' Review had pictures of organ in that position. I don't remember a review.
  23. Messiaen is quoted in the original Unicorn-Kanchana recording of La Nativité, recorded at Beauvais, as saying "La Nativité est magnifique, admirablement jouée, excellent technique, belles registrations, très bons tempi. C'est vraiment parfait". I can't imagine them printing that (with his signature underneath) without his permission. They would have to clear it for copyright purposes, if for no other reason. Messiaen must have thought very highly of Jennifer Bate's interpretations. He had all the manuscripts of his organ works copied for her, and he went through them all with her, care
  24. Messiaen is quoted in the original Unicorn-Kanchana recording of La Nativité, recorded at Beauvais, as saying "La Nativité est magnifique, admirablement jouée, excellent technique, belles registrations, très bons tempi. C'est vraiment parfait". I can't imagine them printing that (with his signature underneath) without his permission. They would have to clear it for copyright purposes, if for no other reason. Messiaen must have thought very highly of Jennifer Bate's interpretations. He had all the manuscripts of his organ works copied for her, and he went through them all with her, care
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