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D Quentin Bellamy

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Posts posted by D Quentin Bellamy

  1. <SNIP>

    Some console aids are even more dangerous: I expect

    appreciation for his organ's transposition feature disappeared in the middle of the syllable "Ha-".



    Hey Justin

    Thnaks for the best laugh I've had in ages!


  2. ===============================



    Well, I do hope so, judging by the canonball holes in the walls of Halifax Minster!


    What a dreadful man Cromwell was.



    Do you think he went to Heaven or to the other place when he fell off his perch?


    I could not say whether the former or the latter, but wherever he is, one hopes that the organ pipes will fire cannon-balls at him for all eternity! ;)

  3. Unless we have 3 or 4 booked on the trot, I feel I have to show some measure of understanding when the bride is late. I too have sinned, having been 20 minutes late for my own wedding over 30 years ago.

    Pots and kettles etc.

    Whilst we are talking of late brides, my latest trick is to tell the bride that if the wedding starts at 1.00pm then the bells stop at 1.00pm and not a minute later. Since the bellringers have already rung half an hour before the start of the service then it doesn't really seem appropriate to make them go on ringing. Same principle for the organist! It is amazing how when the bells do stop ringing there is an absolute screaming silence!


    All this said, there are stupid brides, but there are some for whom the lateness is beyond their control. Like the driver who got lost taking a short-cut through the maze that is Prestatyn! :lol:

  4. The Walker I played in London about 20 years ago had tab stops and a double touch canceller was one of the playing aids, as a tab; I suspect this is a Walker innovation since I had never seen one before. I've never seen it as a drawstop.



    St David's Metropolitan Cathedral in Cardiff (1950s Compton - drawstop console) has it - only on the 8 foot stops though. I believe that the organ isn't in a very good state now...



  5. ------------------------------------------



    With all respect to the memory of Pecy Whitlock, I don't think he was as celebrated as a light-organist as he was a classical organist and composer; which is not to suggest that he was anything but good at it.


    Richard Hills is more in the mould of Quentin Maclean, (Sub-Oganist at Westminster Cathedral in Terry's days, and pupil of Karl Straube and Max Reger at Leipzig), with just a complete command of both genres.


    I also detect a lot of the late Brian Rodwell's style, ( friend of my mother and a local celebrity), who was a brilliant up-tempo performer and jazz musician, with an absolutely unique and very original approach to light organ playing.


    I may be wrong, but I think Richard Hills spent time studying with John Norris, who was unusually gifted, but seldom performed in public.


    Richard Hills is also Artistic Advisor to the Cinema Organ Society, having more or less burst onto the theatre organ scene. I don't know whether he still does it, but he was often to be heard at the Habitat Store on Regents Street, London, which uses the old cinema building. The store very kindly agreed to take the organ on as part of the development, and now it is something of an attraction.


    I think it's wonderful that someone so gifted should be passing on the tradition to another generation, when many people believed that it would all die out after the passing of the cinema performers of yesteryear, and the audiences which heard them.



    Following on in the tradition, Richard was organ scholar at Westminster Abbey, but I wonder if he ever got to play Tiger Rag there? :)

  6. Here's a little something to uplift you all and gladden your hearts..... :)




    Richard Hills FRCO plays 'Tiger Rag' on the Wurlitzer organ in the Assembly Hall, Worthing, UK. The video was taken by David Reed and the audio by John Leeming. The occasion was the Worthing Theatres' 'Open House' day when members of the public wandered in and out of various parts of the building over a period of about four hours. ...

  7. I was wondering when we'd get back to real pipe organs again! As previously said, it is discourteous to our hosts to discuss electronic organs in any detail. Hauptwerk is an interesting diversion though - after all, it allows you to experience the exact sound, albeit at CD-level quality, of playing some of the world's finest organs, and one can hardly complain that some producers of sample sets donate a percentage of each sale to the upkeep of the real organ. We happily discuss our favourite recordings of organs on this forum, and at one level Hauptwerk is just a glorified recording, pipe by pipe, of the very same organs. Maybe though we should avoid too much discussion of Hauptwerk, at least until someone samples St Ignatius Loyala!


    I mean no discourtesy, but one thread discussing digital electronics among so many pertaining to the pipe organ (and many other things!) will surely not bring the mighty Mander empire crashing down will it?

  8. I see also from the Wyvern Organs website that Arthur Lord has died this week. The site advises that Arthur was an accomplished musician and a much respected theatre organist. Though I never met him I do remember seeing a photograph of him (in the Arthur Lord Studios at Chobham) at the console of the organ in the Odeon, Leicester Square. My sympathies to Graham Lord and the family....

  9. Forgive me for saying it, but I am getting sick to death of SofP because they keep on singing the same hymns over and over and over again. It would be really interesting to run a count of the hymns over a twelve month period.


    Last Sunday at BTH I couldn't help thinking that those hymns were all played far too fast - in fact they were played at such a breakneck speed that it is surprising that there wasn't time for the whole of the Widor 5th Symphony!!!! It seemed to me that certain of the hymns lost far more than they gained by being rushed through; and I've never heard "What a friend we have in Jesus" described as "the ever-popular foot-stomper".


    Dare I say it, but I thought that the item by the Swingle Singers was far and away the best thing on the programme!

  10. It's curious how a question can be answered.


    A few months ago I was wondering what would be the future of the four manual Willis organ at St Peter's. Little did I know at the time was the fact that my brother Stuart and his wife and family had decided to uproot from their home in Littlehampton to live in Brighton in order to become a part of the HTB church plant at St Peter's.


    The church plant commenced in November, and I believe it's a case of so far, so good! My very good friend Father Andrew Manson Brailsford, who is the Vicar of Kemp Town and newly appointed Area Dean of Brighton was the induction service of Rev'd Archie Coates who is Vicar of St Peter's and he was welcomed to the church, by none other than Stuart!


    I had meant to ask what was to happen to the organ, but unfortunately did not get a chance, as Stuart died very suddenly on 7 January this year. So last week I had to journey down to Brighton for the funeral which was at St Peter's. Shortly before travelling down, I was told (!) that I would be playing the organ.


    On the day of the funeral (Friday 22/01/10) I went to the church to have a quick run-through. The nave of St Peter's is curtained off from the chancel area because of falling masonry. It is unbelievable how such a grand church could have gotten into this state! Worship takes place in the chancel area which is a very large space and there was seating for about 250. I gather that the church is drawing congregations of around 200 people at the main service on a Sunday. There is a large screen for OHP (not a hymn book to be seen!) and an ominous looking drum kit!


    Anyway the organ was well in tune and every thing (I think) works. The Vicar, Rev'd Archie Coates is a young man with curly blonde hair and very dynamic and I found him to be a delightful and humble personality. He asked me about the organ, whether it was good, that they had just had it tuned, and would it need a lot of work in the future. I had taken a look at the tuner's book and it seems that leather is perishing so was able to share that with him. He seemed pleased when I described the organ as a Rolls-Royce among instruments, and I get the impression that whilst it may not get as much use as it did in former days, it will nevertheless be well cared for and respected.


    Stuart's funeral was quite the event. There was a congregation of around 250-300 persons present, good singing (the organ had a good blast at them!) and very caring, sensitive and inspiring ministry was much in evidence.


    I certainly wish them well - and look forward to renewing the acquaintance with the Willis, though perhaps on a happier occasion.

  11. Church heating failed this afternoon so instead of compering the Town Carol Concert I'll be standing out in the cold turning people away. Already spent several hours in the cold trying to persuade the heating to work! :huh:

    Harumphhh dear Father.....

    Rather than turning the punters away, it would be good to remind them that there was no heating in the stable either..... :ph34r:

  12. Of course there's the piporg-l list which keeps us informed of a lot of the organ goings-on in the US.


    It seems to me however that piporg-l is a much less friendly place than it once was... :)


    The ongoing work on the Midmer Losh organ at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City is being kept fairly well under wraps and the ACCHOS website advises that up-to-date news of the restoration is being restricted to ACCHOS members. Which is sad. :(

  13. Makin were located very near to Sixsmiths who were building one console per week for them during Makin's heydays. Andew Sixsmith made me a custom toaster with a high quality drawstop console 12 years ago.


    The gentleman I spoke with at the Priory said the Makin had a lot of problems, becoming increasingly unreliable with difficult or impossible to rectify faults.

    The console could make the basis of a good home toaster (or two!) for someboby.



    But no use as the basis of a console for the pipe organ? Once all the old analogue electronics are out of the way, I would have thought that it has just about everything that is needed - presumably wooden keyboards, KA drawstops and pistons - and with a good builder to refurbish it..... I guess they could save mega bucks. Or could it be that because this console has (shudder) controlled a toaster that it will have to be confined to a skip - or broken up for spares. Seems a waste of perfectly good organ building time to me (and a waste of money!)


  14. St Peter's, Brighton is very much in the news these days since Holy Trinity Brompton has "moved in". I gather that things are going pretty well there and that congregations are up in the first three weeks. If you look at the St Peter's website, it all appears very lively, what with (harumphh) drums and guitars and keyboards and worship songs. But I am wondering what will become of the organ there. It is a four manual Willis organ, I think last rebuilt by HN&B. Couldn't think that HTB style worship would have too much use for it, but maybe I am wrong. Does anyone know anything? My friend who is a neighbouring vicar went to the re-launch of the church about a fortnight ago and said that the hospitality and welcome was wonderful.


    I definitely don't want to get into a discussion about the worship style in St Peter's but do wonder about the Willis/HNB organ. Is there a place for it any more? Does anyone know anything?

  15. The Wood of Huddersfield rebuild of the St Asaph Cathedral organ has left the instrument boxed in and grossly under-powered for what is still one of the smallest cathedrals in the UK. To my ears service accompaniment is generally based on two combinations: 1/ Full organ 2/ Full organ with Tuba + Octave.


    Tell it not in Gath dear brethren, but many of us think that the earlier HNB job was vastly more successful.... B)

  16. A few years ago I turned for Philip Tordoff when he gave a recital on the Doncaster Schulze. On our arrival, an eager young man offered to show Philip how to use the console gadgetry, only to be brushed aside like a man who had offered the use of a supercomputer to calculate the change from a fiver when buying a bus ticket. The recital was given using the departmental pistons and lots of hand registration - and no more than 20 minutes' familiarisation with the instrument.


    The art of registering a large instrument without gadgets is becoming lost. A recent young recitalist at Halifax was heard to gulp and say "I've never played an instrument as big as this without generals". Perhaps our Dutch friends would feel more at home on such an instrument than some of our own organists do!

    It is interesting that all of this seems to have happened in a very short period of time.


    Whatever happened to the fine old art of pulling out stops by hand? :)

  17. A number of years ago there was a plan afoot to restore the huge Schulze organ in Doncaster Parish Church to its 1850s state with money from the Heritage Lottery Fund. At the time the very notion of it raised some eyebrows and there was some vociferous debate on the matter. I guess that for me the whole issue served to focus the mind on precisely what restoration of an historic organ means. In Doncaster the scheme was to reduce the manuals and pedals to their original compass, to restore the action to its 1850s state and to return the whole job to hand blowing (though I think that an electric blower was also to be provided). Whilst the restored organ would have certainly presented a challenge for the typical anglican liturgy, there were I suppose certain musical arguments in its favour insofar as it would have enabled a somewhat more authentic performance of the German Romantic repertoire - which I was told by Stephen Bicknell is not really possible in the UK. In the event it never happened and instead a brand new console was installed complete with all the whistles and bells that we would expect on a modern console. Consolitus it seems, won the day.


    On the music desk of the mighty Wyvern is a copy of the Reubke Sonata - I wonder if I shall ever be able to play it!! It is interesting to consider that whilst many of today's performers use sequencers and multi-channel piston systems, I guess that to play the piece when it was originally written would have presented quite a challenge!


    I wonder, how did the average Anglican church organist get by before the advent of pistons? (Perish the thought!!!) :lol:

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