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Contrabombarde

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Everything posted by Contrabombarde

  1. It surely depends on the church - mine doesn't hold many weddings or funerals but at both the music groups (as we have several who rotate each week) are at least as likely as the organist to be asked to play.
  2. Midnight service - as I was finishing the final chords of Bach In dulci jubilo I kid you not but Santa Claus walked into the church from off the street to bring mince pies to everyone! I couldn't resist a few bars of "Rudolph". I caught him as he left the church and wandered up the road to his reindeer - cars were swerving as they drove past! On Christmas Day I played Charles Quef's lovely Noel Parisian.
  3. I've probably told that story once too often to my lovely vicar. As for defining "irreverence", I claim sole responsibility for introducing a song by a Christian, Canadian, Freddie Mercury tribute band during our Lessons and Carols service last week. (For the record, it's called "How many kings" by Downhere, is easily found on Google and has beautiful words and a tune you won't be able to get out of your head). Of course we also had a choir, children's brass band and sang music from a wide range of centuries. And I reminded myself that if Stephen Cleobury considered it worthwhile to have a new piece of music introduced each year at the Kings Cambridge carol service, why shouldn't I? Besides, one of the members of the original Freddie Mercury band Queen, Brain May is himself an organist so maybe the connection isn't quite as tenuous as it might at first seem. I appreciate that some vicars would consider it several steps too far to sing Jerusalem in a service, however well we're doing at the World Cup at the time. But up and down the country every week churches sing Stuart Townend's wonderful hymn "In Christ alone" - which of course fits Parry's famous hymn's meter perfectly.
  4. There's nothing to beat Bach's In dulci jubilo on organo pleno and zimbelstern tinkling in the background. At least, there wasn't until this unconventional take on the zimbelstern...train lovers beware.
  5. A few people commented on the slight but annoying delay with digital hearing aids when this was last discussed in 2017. Not a bad idea to revisit the discussion since the delay is down to processing power and over a couple of years technology will have moved on somewhat so perhaps the delay is less annoying now. Alternatively ditch the expensive digital and scan Ebay for old analogue hearing aids being given away that have decent treble frequency adjustment! At least they won't have any processing delay.
  6. Fascinating indeed - I do love the organ at Pershore Abbey. Colin you could make a a nice little income selling the samples for a well known software product should you wish to transgress! Interestingly one of the first instruments I learnt on was also a Rushworth and Dreaper, a modest three manual built five years later in 1932 for the great hall of Manchester Grammar School. It was in very poor condition and during my time at the school it was replaced by a smaller Peter Collins though much more suitable for learning technique on. As far as I know the Rushworth is still present - the pipework was hidden behind oak grilles above the stage so was not removed when the Collins was installed. The console used to sit where the grand piano is and my father and I, with the assistance of a physics teacher carefully dismantled it one Saturday afternoon just before the Collins was finished. You would never know there was a three manual organ behind that now! Immediately prior to dismantling the console we also recorded every pipe - somewhere I might still have the tape though I doubt I'd have the patience to process it as a sample set for aforesaid software program. The specification was much more limited than Malvern and was a very unsatisfying instrument to learn on. Maybe times have changed and it would be considered more fashionable now but I doubt it. Specification: https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N02431
  7. Forgot to add this fine specimen of a case though it's a redundant instrument now - the Rushworth and Dreaper in Manchester Grammar School. As far as I'm aware the pipework is still in place behind the oak carved grills above the stage though the console was removed in 1987 when a new Peter Collins instrument was installed in the hall. The console was fixed and located approximately where the grand piano is:
  8. Yes that Didsbury organ is quite the mammoth two manual organ. Paid for by the city council in compensation for changing the position of the main door of the church due to a road widening scheme that never quite happened - what a contrast to today where the same council is unable to afford the restoration of one of the country's finest Cavaille-Coll organs during the restoration of Manchester town hall.
  9. The sound these contraptions make doesn't exactly advertise themselves as candidates for inclusion in forthcoming ABRSM exams but I for one am glad someone's tried them even if the results are disappointing. At least we know what the limits of acoustics are! The vibrations of the octobass strings remind me of Atlantic City Hall's CCCCC Diaphone Dulzian 64' which has a glass cover that allows the curious visitor to see the reed flapping in the wind. Having heard it in the flesh I can best describe it as like a helicoptor landing in front of you. The concept of the Racket isn't that dissimilar to Compton's polyphone; aside from the scaling issue at higher pitches, it seems quite a sensible approach in both cost and space utilisation to have what is effectively a giant flute whose pitch can be modified via values in the side rather than a rank of 32 foot pipes. I'm surprised it wasn't more widely adopted. That also begs the question as to why if the organ needs each pipe to be scaled individually, the orchestral flute manages to work when the highest pitched notes are effectively far wider scaled than the bottom end of the range. As we are mentioning eccentricities that work on the principle of air vibrating in long tubes which is rather like how pipe organs work, could I raise a salute to the very wonderful tubulum? I always wondered what plumbers did with all the excess PVC pipework they seem to end up with whenever they do any work on my house, now I know!
  10. You mean organ cases without pipes? Like this? (Leeds Priory) (St Giles Camberwell)
  11. I once gave a public recital on a delightful one manual (no note pedals) organ with foot operated bellows, an early English instrument that belongs to another forum member here. It proved quite an feat trying not to forget to blow and inevitably I learned to pump on the bellows pedal in time to the music I was playing.
  12. Looks a nice instrument, located in the chancel rather than on the west balcony (where it had been until the 1870s). Historic Organ Certificate too: https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N17779
  13. The original 1852 Breitkopf und Härtel edition is also on IMSLP. That was scored for organ and piano duet but I can find no further information about it. I presume that would have been what was premiered in October 1852? I can find no references to an organ and piano version nor any recordings of this early version. Has anyone here every heard it played for organ and piano duet? The Merseberg organ inauguration was in September 1855 and as BACH had not been completed in time, Ad nos was substituted. Do we know if that performance was an organ solo or another organ and piano duet? I remain unclear what if any organ solo version was approved by Liszt. Of the three editions available on IMSLP (Peters edited by Straube, Schirmer edited by Bonnet and recently that of Gyula Pfeiffer) the latter appears to be most faithful to the original B&H score - for instance in the fugue where other editions interject pedal semiquaver passages, the Pfeiffer edition only uses pedals where they are obviously indicated or where the piano is also being used in the B&H score). That does have the effect of reducing the technical difficulty of the piece quite considerably too! Does that make this new online edition the most faithful to Liszt's Merseberg version I wonder? Or would Liszt have expected performers to take considerable liberties with playing lines on pedals or thumbing down the melodies in the Adagio (technically possible but you need to have a long stretch) etc?
  14. Very interesting reflections above. I believe the inaugural recital of Ad nos lasted around 40 minutes, compared to say 28 for Wayne Marshall's interpretation; I guess the mechanics of the Ladegast organ must have been a rate-imiting factor. Returning to my original question, I must confess from the outset that Ad nos is one of my personal favourite pieces, and indeed far more so that the 94th Psalm or Liszt's BACH for instance. I have compared the original organ and piano manuscript with the three editions I have and I think it's fair to say the new online edition by Gyula Pfeiffer seems to mirror the organ part of the organ and piano score quite faithfully. Significantly for my specific question, it would suggest that the pedals do not enter in the fugue until the third page and the tearing cadenzas between the Adagio and the Fugue and splaying octaves should be manuals only (which makes things significantly easier too!) as there were neither pedals nor piano in the original score for those sections. Peter's edition demands the right hand holds down the chords whilst the left hand and pedals play the cadenzas - a more dramatic effect but this is not indicated in the original. The end result is that no two performances seems to be playing quite the same notes and depend on the version played from and I suppose how much extra "ad lib" one feels able to add. Has anyone ever recorded the piano and organ original version? I'm not aware of any such recordings on Youtube, despite a number of organ plus orchestra arrangements, and it would be interesting to hear Liszt's original concept being played.
  15. Resurrecting an old thread so to speak as I've set myself the task of learning Ad nos this year. I am struck by the plethora of editions and alternative options within editions. I've been looking at three versions so far - Peters, Schirmer (edited by Bonnet) and a new edition by Gyula Pfeiffer published on imslp.com. I've also listened to a number of recordings and I don't think I've heard two with the same pedalings consistently. In some the first half of the fugue is manuals only, in others the pedals enter fairly early. The tremorous cadenzas later in the fugue are by some taken by left hand and others by pedals, or by a combination. In some versions the pedals or the manuals are an octave higher or lower than in others. Are any editions closer or further away from what Lizst intended, or did he leave the original vague in the hope that organists would add their own flourishes? Or is it up to the performer to figure out what is most playable to them and modify accordingly!
  16. If anyone knows how to write the computer code that will recognise my vocal command "next page!" or perhaps "go back a page" on my music display tablet they deserve more than a pint or two. Better still is there a way of getting the camera to recognise frantic gestures and translate them to page turns that too would be good. My home practice organ has thumb and toe pistons for page advance and page back, as I believe does the console at Kings College Cambridge but that's not much use when both hands and feet are employed simultaneously!
  17. Clearly Klais had this dilemma in mind when they designed their new six manual console at Malmo to have two large touchscreen monitors as stop jambs. A bonus of not having over-enthusiastic Viols shooting out at coffee cups is that each visiting organist can presumably set the exact position of each stop. I think this idea has much to commend it - if all organs had touchscreens I could set up any organ I played in advance such that the stops were in the position of my choosing regardless of the specification or the organ builder. As my home (albeit digital) practice organ has touchscreens I can supply an amusing consequence of becoming too familiar with them however. My older son was 2 years old when he first got to sit at a "real" cathedral organ console and was mightily perplexed at how the stops had to be physically pulled out to make a sound and no amount of pressing them in the off" position would make them come on, unlike Daddy's console at home.
  18. The full specification is at https://www.klais.de/_klais/bilder/pdf/Malmoe_Pipework.pdf As for the buttons, "The individually programmable control for each pipe of the choir organ offers 'unheard-of' possibilities. Here is a tiny selection: adjustable delay and hold time, f.e. for echo effects or diminuendo or crescendo by stop change while holding a key any chord formation from different sounds and pitches to each key (chorus effect, mixture setter) iridescent sounds through rapid change of the controlled colours while holding a key In addition, there are the possibilities offered by an individual and settable wind control of all chest levels (one unenclosed and two enclosed under separate expression."
  19. This behemoth has been referred to a few times on these fora and has now been inaugurated: https://www.klais.de/m.php?sid=481 The six manual console controls several organs around the building and the two stop jambs are giant touchscreen monitors. The specification of the new Choir division mutations takes some beating. Genuine question - how on earth do you accurately tune some of those more exotic partials (based around the 8 foot, 16 foot, 32 foot, 64 foot and yes, 128 foot harmonics? 16' 10 2/3' 8' 7 9/17' 7 1/9' 6 14/19' 6 2/5' 5 9/11' 5 1/3' 4 12/13' 4 4/7' 4 4/15' 4' 3 13/17' 3 5/9' 3 7/19' 3 1/5' 2 10/11' 2 2/3' 2 6/13' 2 2/7' 2 2/15' 2' 1 15/17' 1 7/9' 1 13/19' 1 3/5' 1 5/11' 1 1/3' 1 1/13' 1 1/7' 1 1/15' 1' 16/17' 8/9' 16/19' 4/5' 8/11' 2/3' 8/13' 4/7' 8/15'
  20. As ever the most important stop on any organ is the acoustic of its building. I seem to recall reading that the Armley Schulze never achieved its much-deserved recognition as long as it remained in a wooden shed at the bottom of its first owner's garden. What transformed it was the transplant to St Bartholomew's.
  21. Listeners of Pipedreams public radio may recall four hours of organ music by women composers last year over two weeks: http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/2018/1810/ http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/2018/1816/
  22. I didn't attend so can't vouch for the accuracy of this story, but the late great Ronald Frost once performed BWV565 on the Free Trade Hall during a concert and claimed to have managed to use every single stop during the performance. And I've heard many superlatives applied to Weingarten but that's one of the best yet.
  23. Spotted this press release recently quoted in an international IT journal and thought it would be of wider interest. "Faced with the relative lack of organ builders in the Far East, years of experience of robotic assembly lines and the growing capability of artificial intelligence, one enterprising start-up has just launched a new service that allows customers to have their dream organ designed and built entirely by robots. The acoustical properties of the building are assessed by recordings of ambience and echo, then artificial intelligence is used to calculate the optimal size of instrument and pipe scaling. Ex-car assembly line retired robots cut the sheet metal and roll it into pipes, and a specialist "robot voicer" takes each pipe and voices it to match one of a dozen or so styles of master voicer, options including Father Willis, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, Gottfried Silbermann, Edvard Schulze, Schnitger and Snetzler. Computer-controlled machining meanwhile assures aviation-standard tolerances in the manufacture of keyboards, action, soundboards and winding. It's estimated that the total build time from signing contract to final installation and sign-off for a typical three manual church organ can be as little as four weeks, and the carbon footprint is reckoned to be half that of a conventional pipe organ." Sounds incredible - I need to find a link.
  24. £400,000 in today's money for a brand new 44 rank extension organ sounds implausible (and the Compton at Wolverhampton sounds like it had perhaps 53 ranks). What might a ball-park figure be for a new 53 rank extension organ in a concert hall if I was looking to commission one (not that I am - just curious on the pricing! Most new concert hall organs are probably "straight" and have mechanical action which I would expect pushes up the cost considerably).
  25. Yet for the same price as the 8 rank Compton would cost today, you could buy a brand new Bosendorfer Imperial Grand piano! And there was I thinking that new pipe organs were exorbitantly expensive.......
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