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john carter

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Everything posted by john carter

  1. Perhaps the question everybody should be asking is - does the organ make good music? If it does, perhaps it isn't necessary to tell which sound is produced which way. The approach taken here is not quite the one that I would have chosen, but if the instrument meets the needs of those it serves, then there could have been far worse alternatives. JC
  2. I have no more to add to the advice given so far, but I do question the wisdom of letting churches go so cold. I have introduced a system this year that maintains the building at sixteen degrees Celsius. As the fabric never goes completely cold, the place warms up to comfortable temperatures in a relatively short time, as it does if there are any short-notice requirements that haven't been programmed into the system. It is too early to be certain, but the gas consumption doesn't seem to be any more than when we switched it off daily and there is a significant saving in electricity as we are not having to put in additional fan heaters. Even if it is slightly more expensive, our mainly elderly congregation are kept warm and comfortable, which we consider most important. JC
  3. Virgil's brother? Perhaps not, but here is a clue just copied from the internet: Barry Ferguson (b. 1942) was a boy Chorister (eventually Head Chorister) at Exeter (and accomplished enough, by then, to play for choir practice), and later a music scholar at Clifton College in Bristol under the famous one-armed organist Douglas Fox. Now I suddenly understand the reference to buttering toast with one hand. JC
  4. You could try doing what I have done and have dual operating systems that can be chosen at startup. For the majority of tasks, I find Windows 7 better than any previous version, but there is one particular piece of custom software that I wish to retain, which is not compatible with Windows 7, and the dual boot option lets me do so. I also have the option of XP Pro working as a Virtual PC within Windows 7. It is convenient for quick tasks, but it does not always respond instantly so is not quite so good for editing. JC
  5. But, returning to the topic, I found this morning's programme on Radio 4 musically very agreeable. While I was satisfied today, I am happy that listeners with different tastes might also find something they enjoy on other Sunday mornings. JC
  6. I am well aware of what you actually wrote in your first posting here. In the context of other discussion in the thread it was hardly surprising that I misinterpreted your contribution. I find it equally difficult to interpret the real meaning behind the words: I am very pleased to learn that Musing Muso is in fact an "expert" or the suggestion that what I said about him might possibly be untrue. Indeed, your tone sounds distinctly patronising. On your other point, the quality or cheapness of the YouTube clip has no bearing on the interpretation of the music. JC
  7. May I remind you that the original criticism in this thread was about the YouTube performance of the Reubke Sonata. That criticism was neither uninformed nor "bitchy" as you so charmingly put it. Musing Muso (a whimsical pseudonym, not one to hide his identity - most forum members know who he is) is indeed an "expert" who is unfailingly supportive of great performers present and future. As far as the video is concerned, I have to agree with MM, I could not hear the words! I do not doubt Nathan Laube has prodigious talent, but I do not think it is unfair to say that this particular performance did not do full justice to the work.
  8. We got off the point some time ago. This is a tiresome storm in a teacup that contributes nothing of value to this forum! JC
  9. I have no disagreement about the sound, it's wonderful, but why is it so fast at the start? To me, it's just a jumble of notes. My copy has the direction très vitement, but this goes too far for my taste in that acoustic. JC
  10. I am certainly not implying that one should throw the composer's intentions out of the window. I am not a composer, never will be, but throughout my life I have led creative projects. Others have come along and, while working with my original plan, have incorporated extra elements that I had not considered, improving the end result. I'm not insulted, I'm delighted. It is that synergy of creator and interpreter that brings out something special in a piece of work and we should never stop looking for something extra, even after 250 years. JC
  11. Would Alfred Brendel choose to play Beethoven on a piano with the sound of one from 1800, or would he choose the best sounding instrument available in 2010? Surely there is a difference between understanding how the music sounded to the composer and imitating that sound? JC
  12. I have to do the funeral of a close friend next week. I'm thinking of using Toccata in 7 by John Rutter at the end of the service. I have never seen any reference to the work in these pages so does anyone have any views? JC
  13. If there was a "right direction" we might as well all give up and hand over to a computer. Surely the essence of artistic performance is that you bring something of your own character to the work and show your interpretation of the notes on the page? JC
  14. Interesting comment, DHM. Can you say more about why you think it is unsuccessful? I would have thought the volume of the box was comparable to a speaker cabinet, so while it might not realistically match sixteen feet of timber, it should be at least as good as an electronic bass. JC
  15. Personally, I have no objection to a digital organ if that is what fits the available budget and some products sound remarkably good. I just think the retention of a few pipe ranks on the basis of "heritage" is pretty pointless given the additional complexity in tuning the digital to match. I sincerely hope it is successful, but it would not have been my preferred option. Having grown up with a Compton, I believe a great deal can be achieved with a relatively small number of extension units and that might have been more appropriate for this building and its musical heritage. It would also probably have been a better investment over a 40 - 50 year term. Much has been written about the shortcomings of extension organs, but when properly designed there are few real conflicts and a surprising amount of flexibility. JC
  16. To me, normally an admirer of all things innovative, the key sentence contained in the document is "Such an organ would be unique in the UK." I would hope those advocating this would ask themselves the question "Why?" I doubt many others would choose to follow this highly dubious route. JC
  17. Now then, now then, Young Peter. Some of us are proud of our origin! (I was actually born at the medical centre within the grounds of Frickley Colliery, close to my grandparent's home, which had in its address, "Near Pontefract". The mine has long disappeared, but the brass band was still going last time I visited.)
  18. My first choice from MM's selection is 7, followed by 6. Of the other alternatives, I would put Vox Humana's number 11 on a par with the Chorzempa. JC
  19. Now, of course, looked after by another renowned husband and wife team! JC
  20. Well, there is one outlet for music that all of us can influence. Then we might have more than three works on the menu! For example, much as I like Saint-Saens 3, why do we never hear the Poulenc concerto? It is very easy to make contact with Classic FM presenters, they are a very approachable lot. Let's start providing suggestions to expand the broadcast repertoire. But it will have to be reasonably digestible stuff to start with. JC
  21. And how big an audience are we talking about - and how many performances of those works are there in a year? The Wagner fans are also fans of particular artistes and long to see the stars perform, just as I was determined never to miss a rare opportunity to hear Dupré or Germani. My point, perhaps not clearly enough made, is that we simply don't have organists with star quality any more. For what ever reason, it is a branch of music that has become almost entirely introspective. My family live in your area, but while I have no difficulty persuading them to join me to hear brass bands, orchestras, string quartets or choral music, I have to drag them kicking and screaming to organ recitals - and when I manage to do so, I understand why. With rare and honourable exceptions they are deadly dull. If you aren't selling the goods in the shop, you must change your offer or give up. In my opinion, the chance of a whole Vierne Symphony inspiring any but those in the business is close to zero. Maybe the answer isn't shorter works, but just one or two organ works within an orchestral concert. I do not know, but I gave my honest answer to the question at the top of the thread. As for whether we are trying to promote the instrument or the repertoire - well pick me up on my choice of words if you must. I do not think it makes a ha'p'orth of difference. Perhaps Widor 5 on the piano accordion would have the crowds flocking in!
  22. I suspect MM's video gives us part of the answer. Unfortunately, there will be some of our number who will be as sniffy about that performance as they are about Carlo Curley or Cameron Carpenter. Who could captivate an audience better than George Thalben-Ball or hold people's attention more than Pierre Cochereau? It was people like that who inspired me as a boy. The trouble is that so many organ recitals now are principally for the pleasure of the performer and his/her friends, not the audience. At one I went to last summer, I sat in the choir stalls as the best position to see and hear, only to be approached by the (well known) organist who told me curtly that he hoped I wasn't going to rustle any papers or shuffle about, because he was recording his recital and the microphone was nearby. What a welcome! If we are going to bring an appreciation of the organ to the general public, we also have to give them something in "bite-size chunks". How many I-player tracks last more than three minutes? Fifteen minutes of Bach on a unchanging registration can be difficult to appreciate, even for afficionados. Every public recital needs to be like an art gallery, where you can find little gems that trigger your imagination among familiar and comfortable works. And it needs a bit of star quality from the performers. Britain's Got Talent... but you would be hard pushed to spot it in our corner of the musical scene. JC
  23. It isn't actually a Compton at Golders Green Crematorium, though there are a couple of Comptons in nearby Churches. It is H N & B, restored by BC Shepherd a few years ago. JC
  24. Further thoughts on organs in Bern - there is a new organ in 2004 by Kuhn in Bern Münster. Professor Heinz Balli used to be the contact, but I don't think he is still titulaire. I am sure he could advise on that and other organs in Bern. Also worthy of note is the 1991 Goll organ in the Église Francaise. I think Philippe Laubscher is the contact there. JC Added later: You might find something of interest here: http://www.echo-organs.org/Fribourg.62.0.html. In particular, the Aloys Mooser organ in St Pierre aux Liens, Bulle is a fairly recently restored and fine instrument played and written about enthusiastically by by Mendelssohn. JC
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