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Mander Organs

emsgdh

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Everything posted by emsgdh

  1. There is always Harvey Grace. It's very good. Virgil Fox used to play it up a whole tone in EM.
  2. I'll weigh-in on this one. There is a superb French toccata that very few people play. It's "Electa ut sol" by Dallier. The pedal theme is virtually unforgettable and, being in E-flat Major, a 32' reed is not necessary for success. I played it quite a bit over a five to ten-year period and always got raves for it. Karl Watson, Staten Island, NY
  3. Friends: Yes, I've read 4's remarks. They're both amusing and informative. Karl Watson, Staten Island, NY
  4. May an American join those mourning the death of HWIV ? He was known to many US builders as well as organists and was respected for his generosity and for the warm welcome given at the Willis works. Over here, one is perplexed by the invariable British condemnation of all things Willis and the exaltation of even the most humble H&H production. Was this always so or did it come about as a reaction to the well-known personalities of III & IV ? I've heard and played several extraordinary Willis organs, of all periods, and find them rewarding, to say the least. Conversely, there is more than one H&H job in the US that is extraordinarily coarse, challenging their fabled reputation for impeccable tonal finishing. Can anyone shed light on this question or is this an inappropriate moment to ask ? Karl Watson, Staten Island, NY.
  5. bam: Oh yes. These are the best thoughts yet. Who amongst us knows both jobs well enough to compare and contrast, quite beyond the obvious ?
  6. Was Ian Bell's book about the Albert Hall Organ ever published ? I remember it being advertised. Karl Watson, Staten Island, NY
  7. Dear friends: I know that we are all beyond busy at this moment, but, just a thought to distract us. Although it is almost seventy years since the building of this organ, I often wonder, what if ? What if it were placed in a "cathedral" acoustic. What if it had normal, English-type, low-pressure chorus reeds. What if the flue voicer had been allowed to nick the pipes. What if it had been scaled using H&H's usual scale sticks. What if HWIII had built it. What if Compton's had built a real rock-crusher, in the original ceiling position planned by the architects. Am I crazy, or have any of you ever contemplated these possibilities ? I have tried to like this organ, tried to appreciate Ralph Downes ideas. I've read and re-read Baroque Tricks. I'm fully aware that there are many authorities who have high regard for Ralph Downes and this organ. His point about balances between divisions is well taken. The usual British/American organ of the period is rarely balanced in this manner. And I quite agree that his revised Solo Organ is the making of it. However, there is one of his basic ideas that I simply can't abide: the elimination of treble ascendant foundations. Organs voiced without treble ascendant foundations strike me as feeble in the French repertoire, just for starters. I could name a couple of much-admired instruments whose foundations have zero lyric impact, but I'm afraid that there would be a chorus of protests. I'm not trying to start trouble here. After all, "Love came down at Christmas." But, I would like to know if anyone else thinks about these things as I do. Kindest regards to all and MERRY CHRISTMAS. Karl Watson, Staten Island, NY USA
  8. Dear friends: Sometimes news travels slowly. I've just read about the organ at Guildford being taken-down for cleaning/repair as part of work on the building's fabric. Are changes to the instrument contemplated ? Karl Watson, Staten Island, NY
  9. Friends: Sorry to be thick, esp. if this subject has already been explained, but is there a digital instrument in the chapel during the big job's restoration ? Wondering what we are to hear for this year's L&C broadcast. Karl Watson, Staten Island, NY
  10. Thin-skinned and easily offended as am I, surely there was no disrespect intended by handsoff. It IS an ironic situation. I'm confident that the Allen Coy. will provide a suitable instrument for the occasion, not unlike the many, many instruments played with joy by our late brother. Interestingly, for Lynnwood Farnam's funeral, some eighty years ago, there was not a note of music. The full choir processed in silence. Very fitting, I think.
  11. Thanks for this but some rather heavy mis-information, a la Liberace, contained therein.
  12. Have any of the members played or heard this new instrument and, if so, what is the "low down" on its sound ?
  13. In that diocese, the likelyhood of a Tridentine Mass in their cathedral is slim to none. Cowboy songs accompanying singular, local versions of the Novus Ordo are the usual faire.
  14. Colin: Have to agree with you. The building is gorgeous. Did Pearson build any ugly churches ? I like the cases very much. About the churchmanship at St. Aiden's: concerning the Established Church, would I be right if I concluded that the old, Church Union crown that I was born into have now split into those that are very Vatican II and some few who still use the Missal and the old ways (St. Mary's, Bourne St.) ? It kind-of looks that way from pictures and from this side heaven. If this is off base, please say so.. Karl P.S. As for the RC Church, I found the Mass from Southwark enormously improved, streets ahead of what things were like there some years back. But the Westward facing celebrant/"presider" chairs, so common, so hedious, grate on one.
  15. For some reason that I can't remember now, I thought that this church and its organ had been blitzed. Glad it's still out there.
  16. Oh my ! I never thought of it. They ARE terribly Binns-like ! Taking those cases on face value, one would never imagine the glory that lurks behind them.
  17. David D: As for those Solo Gambas at St. J the D, you might not survive your fantasy. They are very, very powerful. Another member wondered about their scale. I don't know the scaling but, based on other examples, I would guess they are about +- 4" at CC, and inverted conical, four notes larger at the top of the pipe. Of course, they could be smaller but the effect is one of great broadness, like the 'cellos of the orchestra. emsgdh
  18. Colin: Sure you may be right, esp. re: gedeckts. There is one on a Flentrop in Raleigh, NC that is sublime. Orchestral reeds, with the exception of the Willis Clarinet (Corno di Bassetto) are, as I'm sure you've experienced, simply superb, and from a number of different makers, all defunct: Skinner, Aeolian, Kimball and even Austin. Strings: forget it. There are none finer. Flutes run the gamut and I'm not prepared to suggest that the Americans are better. Chorus reeds, of the Willis type, made by Skinners, are very fine, as are the so-called French reeds turned out by A-S. Very fine chorus reeds were also voiced by Kimball and by Aeolian. The fractional-length reeds, made by Skinner (they are not really authentic copies, but are solid as a rock) and by the Moller reed shops far outshine anything else. In the matter of Diapasons, again it's the Skinner, Kimball and Aeolian shops that excel. A-S eventually made many different types for a variety of tastes and situations. But English Diapasons are something special. I have to say that, at the end of the day, there are few organs in the US, or anywhere, for that matter, to equal instruments like Salisbury, Lincoln, Truro, all different in their ways, but alike in their astounding beauty and ability to thrill. The one CENTRAL issue is that, on the whole, American acoustics are so poor. There are many, many organs in America whose standard of tonal finish is fully equal to Arthur Harrison, but they are, by and large, speaking in rotten acoustics. Karl
  19. Colin: About the out-of-tuneness, I was referring SPECIFICALLY to the upperwork of the Diapason chorus. And, of course, the famous Compton jobs are MIGHTILY impressive. I just wanted to get an oar in for the old Kimball outfit. They built magnificent organs. You damn with faint praise the American strings and flutes. I've never heard their equal and I'm not given to giving ANYTHING American a blank cheque. Karl
  20. Friends: I let that invitation to comment on the Retiring Procession slip through my fingers. Of course, it's an outrageous bit of overreaching, mad-sounding really. I would never have considered it myself, but I love it when others climb out on a limb and get up to no good. When when considers the cloud that, until recently, RC musicians have been under, I, for one, feel that they're entitled to get wild and crazy, as long as no one gets hurt ! The purple, neon quality of it all gave me the giggles. emsgdh
  21. Colin: I'm only used to extension organs because, as you well know, I'm old enough to have played them rather alot. One doesn't see too many over here any more. As my credentials are well-established as an out-of-control Anglophile, my reply may surprise you. The old Kimball firm was their equal, and better, with flutes, strings and orchestral reeds. Chorus reeds simply fabulous, but all quite dark as with the W. C. Jones school. The quality of their mechanical work was battleship-like. Curiously, Kimball built cheap pianos and expensive organs. In my opinion, Compton's distinction lay with their Diapason chorus work, although I've never heard one that was really in tune. There always seems to be some fighting going on. I'm reminded of the famous quote of Arthur Harrison's when, asked if he could detect the unification in one of Compton's bigger jobs replied, "Of course, with considerable imagination." Karl
  22. Oh Vox Humana, thou art wise - It's a mentality that we're dealing with today. The common denominator amongst my students is that they know EVERYTHING, and that there is NOTHING that I know that could possibly be of any value to them, except, of course, when they've got their knickers in a twist over a technical matter, whether it be manual fingering, tricky registrational bits (Roger-Ducasse), pedaling, choir/clergy issues and the like. They are desperate for immediate First-Aid and demand it but shrink from any idea of a larger schooling and approach. Don't even mention hard work at the piano. Horrors ! So much of our work involves experience and learning from it, taste or the lack of it, and genuine care for the final result and its impact on the "man in the pew." Hope this doesn't sound like a bitter old man. So much of it is just common sense. emsgdh
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