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Mander Organs

Robert Bowles

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Everything posted by Robert Bowles

  1. Our copies of Common Praise have now gone to a good home!
  2. "The Organist's Hymnbook" by Anne Marsden Thomas (Cramer Music ISMN: M-2209 - 0621 - 3) has 160 of the most common tunes (but no words!). They are printed on three staves, with suggested fingering and pedalling. Each tune appears twice, once "straight" with note values as printed in hymn books and once with assorted rests to assist with articulation and show what you really need to play to keep a congregation together. My church (in Clapham, South London) has, literally, just pensioned off "Common Praise" in favour of its successor "Ancient and Modern Hymns and Songs for Refreshing Worship" . We have about 200 assorted full music, melody and words only copies of CP looking for a good home. Send me a private message if you are interested!
  3. Hmm. Perhaps it was after John Dykes Bower retired and Christopher Dearnley arrrived! After my time!!
  4. Conductor? What conductor? Those were the days when things were only conducted if they were unaccompanied. The main use for the hinged panels was to allow the organist to see what was going on downstairs and draw extemporaisations to a close at the right time. There was of course no cctv and because the case extended well above head level on all sides, mirrors alone did not help. The two hinged panels behind the organist gave views of the high altar and choir stalls but these were replaced with real pipes when the north choir was installed. There were also two much smaller square "advent calendar" doors on the west side of the choir case which gave a view of the seats under the dome and west doors. They are still there, though they are hard to spot, the larger of them having a carved wreath on the outside to break up its outline. Signals to start were a separate issue, and here the telephone in handy. Other clues included a single chime on a bell in the Deans Aisle calling the Vicars Choral to order, the choir saying "amen" at the end of the vestry prayer, and the swish of the curtains as the choir left the aisle. The 1930 and 1900 consoles, without their pedal boards, are still hidden away in store in the triforium. So if you count these, together with the mobile console donated by Harry Gabb's son, the cathedral has four five manual consoles!
  5. All the pieces mentioned so far are in the Oxford Book of Wedding Music for manuals, compiled by Malcolm Archer and published in 1993. I think it's still in print and there are second hand copies on Amazon.
  6. I wonder if an even greater impact resulted from the move away from the tradition where, unless it was for a recording or a very special occasion, singing was only conducted if it was unaccompanied. Has anyone plotted the history of this particular development, which I think happened between 1965 and 1975? Would performances of e.g. Stanford in Bb be more "authentic" without a conductor.............
  7. Aha! Saturday 19th July, perhaps? These are the psalms appointed for 19th evening under the system where the whole psalter was sung, in chunks, a bit at Mattins and a bit more at Evensong, every month. If you go to a psalter with chants, or to a chant book with chants that was put together to match that system, you should find a ready made set that go well together, in related keys, and someone has already decided whether there should be a single or a double chant!!! One set I know of even has the same (single) chant for psalm 99 and psalm 100!
  8. Not celebratory - but pehaps appropriate where something formal is required:- Thomas Attwood's Dirge composed for Nelson's funeral in St Paul's on 9th January 1806. Robert
  9. I'm not sure if I am a "wise one", and I don't have a copy of Ireland's morning service in F. I do however have a first edition, copyright 1915, of the evening service in F, (original printed price 3d, overprinted 4d = 2p). There are NO metronome marks in this edition. The words in italics at the start of the various sections include: Moderato, Dolce,Maestoso, Tranquillo ma non troppo lento. Those seem to me to be all about mood rather than metronomes! And the last one suggests that he was concerned that things might be sung too slowly... So if I were you, I'd ignore editorial metronomne marks in later edtions and just do what sounds right in the particular acoustic with which you are blessed!
  10. There have recently been several posts about organ shoes. They set me thinking. What did organists wear on their feet 100 years ago before organmaster shoes were available? Boots not shoes were the normal footwear. Did they play in their boots or change into something else? We are encouraged to use historic fingering in early muisic and play on period instruments . Are we missing something by not not also wearing period footwear?
  11. I am not familiar with Ireland in A but I am with Ireland's evening service in F. (copyright 1915, when he was still at St Luke's). I remember thinking, as a treble, how, it was a bit like Dyson in D (which has lots of top A s) but much less of a screech! Its highest treble note is only top G. I also noted that it was the only work in the repertoire which required the trebles to sing A below middle C (...in the imagination of their HEARTS). Getting down there was a far greater challenge for us than getting up to top Bb s ! But.... If Ireland in F were transposed up a tone.... it would be on a screech level with Dyson in D and the trebles would have a chance to sing "hearts". So I'd support the idea that St Luke's organs (both of them, because surely nobody would have instruments tuned to different pitches in the same building) ) were tuned high.
  12. I've had several pairs and found that their length of life depends not so much on on how long you wear them for playing the organ, but how much you walk around in them when not playing, and on what sort of floors. Also they HATE getting wet. One of their advantages, in pedalling terms, is that the upper shoe tucks in where it meets the sole, and there is no external welt. However, the joint is glued rather than sewn. I've found that a policy of zero tolerance to any signs of the glued joint coming apart is the key to keeping them going. Keep the supa-glue handy! I think the glued joint may make re-sole-ing them more of a challenge than it would be with a pair of solid brogue walking shoes..
  13. At a well known Cathedral during the 1970s one of the Residentiary Canons had the same name as the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. Confusion was avoided by adding, sotto voce, the tag "not iscariot" whenever the the Canon was referred to. A few years later the Dean and one of the Residentiary Canons had the same name - Alan Webster. The "not iscariot" tag couldn't really be used, since which of them was "not iscariot" was a matter of opinion. Confusion was avoided by allocating to Canon Webster the nickname "Auntie". Then there was Canon Ball - no problem really, provided the glottal stop between the two words was properly articulated.
  14. John Dykes Bower (c 1962) used to release last chords at St Paul's by rolling -off from the top down. His hands and arms finished up over his left shoulder. Just as well that page turners stood on his right or they would have had to duck! When I asked him why, he explained that the cathedral's reverberation period was longer for high notes than for low notes. This technique helped the last chord to die away as a chord. He didn't want it to sound as if he'd taken the left hand and pedal off early. I presume he didn't do it in less reverberant buildings - but I never asked.
  15. This is a discussion board, not part of ebay or freecycle, but I hope our host will not mind if I ask for suggestions as to how to find a good home for various ranks of Hunter pipes, a 6 rank soundboard and two reservoirs. Alfred Hunter and Son often installed instruments with parts "prepared for", so I think there may be people out there with incomplete instruments who could be interested. Hunter didn't always leave out the same things. I am not a dealer - these are just the left over parts of a redundant Hunter which I bought to complete the instrument at my church. That was a fairly extreme example of preparing for things - a three manual instrument which had 10 ranks missing and no choir soundboard, box or reservoir. Apart from a 16ft pedal trombone and 16ft Swell Contra Fagotto all the missing bits are now installed, so we have marked ourselves 8/10. The result has transformed our instrument, and I'd like to help someone else do the same. We'd really like to score 10/10, so we are still hunting for the missing reeds. Any suggestions on that front? Anything we install has to be Hunter to satisfy an understandable condition applied by the Heritage Lottery Fund, who grant-aided the restoration of the incomplete instrument. If we use "any old pipes" (however distinguished the source) they will want their money back.
  16. James was referring to Isambard Kingdom Brunel (not to be confused with his dad, Mark Isambard Brunel) who married the daughter of William Horsley, one of founders of the Philhamonic Society. IKB was a suscriber to the 1855 edition of Hopkins and Rimbault and there was a Gray and Davison organ in his house! I don't think IKB played - but I like to think he got called on to fix the odd cipher. So here's a question for you next choir quiz night "Whose father-in-law wrote the tune to 'There is a green hill far away'? " I bet they won't know. Lots of organists are keen on trains - but lots of engineers (myself included) are organists. Am I right?
  17. This story is true. By the time I learned to play there (mid '60s) the steam enthusiast had moved on, leaving a black Kitmaster (later taken over by Airfix) locomotive and tender. He apparently took with him various other coloured engines which he had swapped around to match the liturgical colour of the day.
  18. Have scanned it and sent it to the addresses which you gave me by PM earlier. Sorry cannot join you at St Paul's tomorrow - grandson's birthday party takes priority. RB
  19. A marvellous arrangement! Please count me in Simon. Have also sent you a pm
  20. The minutes of the HLF Committee that made this awared are here: http://www.hlf.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/D158817...sFebruary28.pdf Interesting to note that they also awarded GBP 297k to St Georges Southall http://npor.rcm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?...ec_index=A00128 for the organ which went there from St Georges Botolph Lane.
  21. I am currently involved in the completion of a three manual Hunter instrument dating from 1920. Eight years ago the restoration of the action of the incomplete instrument received grant-aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Council for the Care of Churches and the ON organ fund. Their common attitude to completion was that they could not grant-aid it, but neither would they oppose it provided the specification was as originally intended and second-hand Hunter material of the correct vintage, or new but copied from Hunter, was used. Otherwise they would want their money back. We've still got the original contract, so we know exactly what was intended, and have obtained 11 ranks of pipes and all the missing pneumatic action, reservoirs, chest, choir box, trunking, tremulant, framing - etc. from other Hunter instruments of the right vintage. It all fits perfectly into the space hunter left for it 90 years ago. We are still looking for a pedal trombone and a swell contra fagotto. These are without doubt the most prepared-for ranks ever. I would be delighted to hear from anyone who knows where either might be legitimately obtained. We haven't applied for an HOC but we intend to when the work is complete.
  22. I recall Michael Flemming giving a very credible explanation of why it is so loud. During the reconstruction of the interior of the church after it was burned out in the war, the installation and final voicing of the organ overlapped with the end of the interior decoration work. A fair amount of scaffolding, including wooden scaffold boards etc. was still in the building. Everything sounded fine until the scaffolding was removed, and the true resonance was revealed. That was after the organ was finished - by which time it was too late to make changes. I guess the interior might be due for re-decoration soon - so will there be an opportunity to test this story?
  23. I too was a chorister at St Paul's in the DB/Gabb era - but a few years before Martin Cooke (I was a contemporary of his big brother Richard). I can say for sure that there were no private recordings involving the choir between 1958 and 1963, and I doubt whether DB or Gabbo made any private recordings of them playing the organ in the Cathedral either. It is also unlikely that there are any "Pirate" recordings of services about, since the equipment needed would have been very bulky and the virgers would have screened out anyone arriving with that sort of kit. Your best bet is the BBC or ITV archives, but I don't know how they are indexed, nor how they can be searched. 45 years ago it was quite normal for there to be no mention of who the musicians were in live broadcasts. If you search by event you may have more luck. Try the rededication of the High Altar 7th May 1958); Dedication of the American Memorial Chapel (November 1958); and Sir Winston Churchill's funeral (January 1965). If you would like more information or anecdotes, please contact me personally...
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