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john carter

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About john carter

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    I caught the bug at a very early age from the harmonium in my great aunt’s living room. Attempts to lull me to sleep with Vierne’s Berceuse were pointless because I was so excited by the wheezing monster. Studied piano and cello, but preferred choral singing as it was a much more sociable pursuit and gave me more access to the organ. In the early sixties I had a job interview at Compton, with a view to working on the design of electronic instruments, but had a better offer from a well-known broadcasting organisation, where I remained for the following 35 years. Favourite composer – Franck. Inspiration – Fernando Germani. Now, sadly, on my own I find music is a great comfort, especially late in the evening, when I can turn down the volume so as not to disturb the neighbours and lull myself to sleep with Vierne’s Berceu…zzz.

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  1. My hearing is damaged to the point that I cannot manage at all without my hearing aids. They go on first thing in the morning until I go to bed at night. Yes, there are times when some sounds are unplesantly loud, such as travelling on the London Underground, but my brain is now accustomed to coping with them. It's amazing how much the brain adapts in the first weeks of hearing aid use. I have no need of a volume control - my ears didn't have one in the first place! As to delay, it is inevitable, and any sounds that reach the eardrum directly as well as through the hearing aid will cause some colouration. It is important to have well-fitting domes to minimise the effect. As I have said previously, it is possible to find hearing aids with the latest technology that can either automatically or manually reject unwanted noise, but they are expensive. However, when you need to use them for 16 hours a day, every day, it's worth it. For those who have severe hearing difficulties, it is worth looking for a specialist independent audiologist who can tailor the hearing instrument to your needs. Those who are concessionaires for a single supplier, or high street chains, may not be able to offer exactly what you need.
  2. In reply to my question about Paul Isom's requirement for the small organ to have mechanical action, Vox Humana quite correctly pointed out that it develops the most precise touch. I am aware of the advantages, but the reason for my question is to ask if that is the most economic solution? However ideal the instrument, if no individuals, schools or churches can afford a pipe organ, what future is there for the instrument?
  3. Why must it have mechanical action?
  4. Colin, if you are experiencing whistling, it suggests to me that your domes or moulds - the type depending on whether or not it is a "receiver in canal" aid - do not fit perfectly. If that fitting is improved, you may get better results under all circumstances.
  5. John, in the "normal" program, your hearing aid, like mine, probably switches between different settings automatically, depending on what it thinks you want to hear. That is fine for most of the time. The change I have made is to have the option of fixing it in the "speech in loud noise" mode, which makes it easier to concentrate on the conversation you want.
  6. Replying to Steve Goodwin - Phonak Audéo V90
  7. I am the audiologist's worst nightmare, being a music lover and amateur musician who spent all his career in the operational side of TV broadcasting. I had age-related hearing loss, but this was made much worse by the use of platinum based chemotherapy in 2016. It was no longer a pleasure to listen to music. I decided to invest in some top end hearing aids and found an audiologist who was prepared to listen to me and who, in cooperation with the hearing aid manufacturers, has set up a music program that is better than I could ever have expected. I have been able to specify the levels I want at each frequency and the makers have recommended the best settings for other parameters, such as compression. The anti-whistle features have been turned off, but as long as I keep my hands away from my ears, there is no feedback. It has been a process of gradual refinement, but in the past few months I have attended a number of orchestral concerts and organ recitals and I now doubt I could achieve anything better. Fifteen metres from 100-strong Vienna Philharmonic playing fff, I was not conscious of any significant distortion. For those who have hearing problems, it is worth persisting with the audiologist. Mine said that he had learnt from the experience of working with me and felt he was now better able to advise other customers. My hearing will never be good, but with high quality hearing aids and a helpful audiologist, I can now enjoy music once again. I would say to John Robinson that I have had the same difficulty in restaurants. I have even resorted to a personal microphone, connected by Bluetooth, for my dinner guest - but that is rather inconvenient! This week my audiologist has set up a new program for me, fixing the hearing aid into the "speech in loud noise" setting and reducing the overall levels slightly. My first impressions are very encouraging as the hearing aids seem to focus more on the person I am listening to. To Paul Hodges, I would say I had never realised how noisy the birds in London can be. I sometimes wish they would be quiet!
  8. I am very shocked to hear this news. I only knew of David through this forum but, without doubt, he was a source of exceptional knowledge. My heart and my prayers go out to his family and friends.
  9. We often use the turn of phrase "It has all the bells and whistles" for a complex machine. This remarkable organ appears to have more bells and whistles than you "can shake a stick at"! I wonder what happens if you shake a stick at the touch screen? It's fascinating, but I do wonder how much of it will ever actually be used?
  10. Pierre Lauwers has been posting on Facebook in the past 24 hours, so that may be the best way to contact him.
  11. As a Compton enthusiast, I greatly regret that this instrument has not been saved, but I have been involved in projects to remove asbestos from a number of places, and I must advise that it is a material that must be treated with the greatest respect. Some types of asbestos are more harmful than others and in some places it may have degraded or been damaged since it was put in. You would be amazed how far microscopic fibres can travel and it is essential to test all areas for contamination before making decisions. Was there any asbestos sound deadening on the blowers or in the cable ducts? I am sure at least some of the pipework could have been cleaned, but at considerable cost as it would require specialist effort. However some parts of the action would be very difficult to make safe. It is essential not to take risks. Despite taking all normal precautions, I know from personal experience that even one fibre deep in the lung can cause life-threatening health problems. I was fortunate that the problem was spotted at an early stage by a radiologist looking for something else, but the subsequent treatment was not one I would wish others to experience.
  12. I am sad to report the death of Pierre Pincemaille aged 61. Here is the announcement by his wife: J’ai l’immense tristesse de vous informer que Pierre Pincemaille nous a quittés cette nuit, vendredi 12 janvier, victime d'un cancer du poumon qui l'a emporté en 3 mois. À tous ceux qui ont connu le musicien, le pédagogue, l'ami, le membre d'une famille aimante et unie, je veux dire le privilège d'avoir vécu 30 ans avec cet être exceptionnel. Ce fut un challenge au quotidien que de suivre un homme passionné, excessif en toutes choses, généreux, exigeant, engagé, dérangeant souvent... mais aussi une vie riche de complicité, de projets communs, de voyages, de rencontres rendues possibles grâce à lui. Je suis heureuse d'avoir, avec lui, organiste liturgique à nul autre pareil, embelli "notre" cathédrale de Saint-Denis de la musique qu'elle mérite et d'un répertoire à la mesure des 600 fidèles chaque dimanche matin, et des rois de France qui y reposent et attirent les touristes en nombre. J'ai toujours pensé que ce poste était fait pour lui, amoureux de l'Histoire de France, de l'architecture gothique et des belles liturgies. Il voulait reproduire dans "sa" Cathédrale ce qu'il avait connu à Notre-Dame avec le grand Pierre Cochereau. Je suis chanceuse d'avoir, avec lui, concertiste infatigable, parcouru le monde de l'Ouest des USA au Japon. Ne manquait que l'Australie... Ce fut l'occasion de concerts mémorables. Pierre adorait partir en tournée. Chaque orgue était une nouvelle rencontre. Il avait cette capacité à très vite "faire connaissance" avec un instrument, en faisant abstraction de celui qu'il venait de jouer la veille. Sa plus grande fierté était d'entendre l'organiste qui l'invitait lui demander ses secrets de registration pour faire sonner son orgue au mieux... Je suis fière du pédagogue qu'il était, soucieux de ses élèves, ne les lâchant jamais, les menant avec hargne jusqu'au succès ! Combien sommes-nous (j'en fais partie) à avoir bénéficié de son enseignement, à Poitiers, Chatellerault, Saint-Germain, Saint Maur, Paris, Lyon, Rosny, Brest, Conflans... Professeur depuis 1980, il a d'abord enseigné l'accompagnement, puis l'écriture, l'orgue enfin. Dans cette discipline (pas sa préférée, si ce n'est qu'elle a permis notre rencontre...) il lui a fallu du temps pour accepter d'enseigner l'art de l'improvisation. Il ne voulait pas donner ses "trucs", conseillant au prétendant à l'improvisation de simplement l'écouter, comme il l'avait fait lui-même avec Pierre Cochereau. S'il était doué, le reste viendrait naturellement... Il s'était résolu pourtant, il y a une quinzaine d'années, à transmettre son savoir-faire, assurant ainsi une filiation Pincemaille dans cette grande tradition de l'école d'orgue française. Pierre se disait musicien, avant d'être organiste. Sa Culture musicale, et générale, était immense et faisait l'admiration de tous. La présentation qu'il faisait de ses propres concerts, les anecdotes concernant les compositeurs et leurs œuvres, comblaient immanquablement son public. Sa préférée : la mort de Louis Vierne à ses claviers. Il ménageait le suspense en racontant, au présent, comment le célèbre organiste de Notre Dame avait rendu l'âme en jouant une note de pédale que tous, en bas, avaient pris pour le début de l'improvisation... Pierre aurait aimé un départ théâtralisé de ce genre, et nous sommes plusieurs à l'avoir craint lors de son récital anniversaire du 5 novembre dernier, ses 30 ans de tribune à Saint-Denis. Cet après-midi là, très symboliquement, ce sont les 4000 tuyaux du grand Cavaillé-Coll qui ont soufflé à travers ses poumons. Il n'y a pas d'autre explication à ce moment de grâce extraordinaire. Il nous faisait ses adieux, et nous offrait en cadeau cette grandiose Messe de Vierne et ses 3 motets, tout juste achevés, aussi la pièce en sol de Bach symbolisant, à son sens, les 3 âges de la Vie. Pierre était Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Chevalier des Palmes académiques, Chevalier de l'Ordre de Saint Grégoire le Grand. Ces trois médailles sont le reflet d'une carrière professionnelle diversifiée longue de 40 années : organiste et concertiste, enseignant musicien, musicien au service de l'Église. Une carrière riche de rencontres avec des mélomanes dans le monde entier, des élèves poussés à l'excellence, des prêtres devenus ses amis. Sans pour autant combler l'éternel insatisfait qu'il était... Sa musique me manque déjà : ses improvisations dominicales à Saint-Denis, l'interprétation magistrale de ses compositeurs favoris : Bach, Franck, Vierne, Alain, Duruflé. Il nous reste de lui tous ses enregistrements, et le souvenir éphémère et précieux de ses improvisations, brillantes, généreuses, émouvantes, maîtrisées mais imparfaites... à l'image de l'homme qu'il était. Merci pour tous les messages que vous lui avez adressés ces dernières semaines. Messages si précieux de soutien, de reconnaissance, d’amitié, de fidélité. Ils l’ont aidé à nous quitter, heureux du chemin parcouru. Pierre venait d’avoir 61 ans. Anne-France
  13. Colin, I'm sorry, perhaps I was being a bit prickly. Of course, any of us is free to comment on what we see and hear, but I think criticism needs to be fair. Personally, I was happy with the tempo and some of the rubato may have been the result of thinking time in an "off the cuff" performance. Out of interest, I listened to my own recording of the piece and the speed was much closer to that of Pierre-François than the other example you linked to. But then I too am an amateur, so my opinion isn't worth much. Perhaps it is a sign of getting old (and deaf), but when I listen to what I did in years gone by, I am appalled by the way I used to rush things and didn't give the music time to sing.
  14. Mr Pykett, I must disagree with your opinion. I think for an ad-hoc performance, from memory, by an amateur player, this was extremely good. Pierre-François is the very talented protégé of Daniel Roth and I believe his mentor advised him well on the interpretation of this piece. The tempo may not be to your taste, but I think that was all you needed to write. I feel that to rubbish it in such a pompous manner was unnecessary, bordering on rude.
  15. The replacement of the Zürich Tonhalle organ has been controversial, with some 2000 signatures on a petition to save it, but Jean Guillou's design was thought by some to be unsatisfactory when working with an orchestra. The new 70 stop instrument by Kühn is at the planning stage and should be completed in the late summer of 2020 when the refurbished Tonhalle re-opens. It is to be hoped that a good home will be found for the Kleuker-Steinmeyer.
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