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John Sayer

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Everything posted by John Sayer

  1. No. No point in dregding all that up again, but RP was before his time. JS
  2. I like the implied 'dig' in the strike-through. Some Frenchmen get quite upset if you suggest their organs are habitually out of tune. JS
  3. And he is still working such wizardry at that same northern cathedral. JS
  4. Loved the bit about the prisoners singing in the chorus for Messiah - very witty. JS
  5. Indeed, most impressive. Good to hear a new Oxford organ with b***s: I can't think of (m)any other organs in the University that could do justice to the Mighty Max. JS
  6. So did I. I can also think of half-a-dozen names that match this perceptive and affectionate portrait pretty well. JS
  7. I believe they were known as 'liquorice allsorts', having the size and look of one of those black-white-black confections. Rather treacherous, too, being easily hit by an errant finger when playing too 'deep' into the keys - as happened to me once at Kelvingrove, with the unbidden arrival of Great reeds 16+8 in a Rheinberger slow movement! JS
  8. Top marks to the Beeb for such a warm and positive celebration of the English Cathedral tradition. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/bigscreen/tv/episode/b01f6tb8/ The programme struck a nice balance between seriousness and sentiment, allowing the young people to speak eloquently about something which means a great deal to them and which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Instead of the usual dumbing down, we had lucid and intelligent contributions from distinguished musicians, academics and clergy alike: and a treat, too, to hear at least some whole (or nearly whole) pieces, even if the sound balance was a little adrift. Good to feel the licence fee occasionally offers value for money. JS
  9. I hope you're right. I think I'm right in saying both instruments mentioned were products of German builders, who, as a body, have taken little notice, historically, of EU bureaucracy. I got the impression from an article by our host in a recent IBO Newsletter, that UK organ builders were rather less sanguine about the whole thing and were keen to persuade German builders to take the matter more seriously. JS
  10. As someone closely involved, perhaps I can clarify. The Ripon organ is simply to be cleaned and overhauled, with updating of the screen console and improvements to the wind distribution system. Only one tonal change is planned - the replacement of the Great Larigot (1972) by a Flûte Harmonique 8 in Lewis style and voicing. The Choir Cimbel III breaks will be re-arranged, but there are now no plans for re-enclosure. (The H&H website needs updating in this respect). Work is expected to start after Easter 2013 and finish in November. JS
  11. Spare us, Good Lord, from a re-run of all this nonsense. I really don't fancy writing to my MP all over again. The problem, I suspect, isn't really with Brussels. Last time round it was largely down to one cretinous jobsworth in the DTI in Whitehall who refused to budge from the supposed line set by Brussels. (Other governments seemed happy enough to ignore such directives). What needed now is to identify that same person (or his/her successor) and make sure he/she uses a bit of common sense. JS
  12. I heard him play Reger (among other things) on two occasions, once at Verden Cathedral and then, memorably, at the re-opening recital of the great Sauer organ in the Berliner Dom on 6 June 1993, the first time the instrument had been heard for 50 years. His interpretations struck me as truly masterful - cohesive, exciting and totally convincing. His passing surely marks the end of the 'apostolic succession', through Straube, to Reger himself. JS
  13. Judging by the harbour scenes, the Catholic atmosphere of the church interior, not to mention the look of the organ case, I'm prepared to bet the film was shot in France - maybe somewhere like Honfleur? At first I thought it might be Stade, but all those shutters and mansard roofs are distinctly non-Germanic. JS
  14. Die Toteninsel - Böcklin's most famous and atmospheric painting, now on view in the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin. (There are 5 versions in all, some more gloomy than others). It inspired Rachmaninoff to write a symphonic poem of the same name. Reger wrote 4 tone poems inspired by Böcklin's paintings. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Arnold_Boecklin_-_Island_of_the_Dead,_Third_Version.JPG JS
  15. Too true. I never know which is worse - playing one verse too many or one too few. JS
  16. Ulrich Dähnert, in his contribution to Stauffer & May's J S Bach as Organist (p. 6) gives the specification of the organ in the castle chapel as recorded in 1737. (He states that the organ was rebuilt by Nicolaus Trebs in 1714, probably to Bach's wishes). There are just 2 mixtures, both on the Upper (main) Manual - Mixtur 6 rks & Cymbel 3 rks (the latter from the old Compenius organ) - plus a Sesquialtera 4 rks on the lower manual. Hartmut Haupt, in the following chapter on Thuringian organs (p. 26) refers to JSB's recommendation that 'stops sounding the third should be present in order to add variety to the ensemble'. For the rebuilding of the Mühlhausen organ, JSB specifically demanded a new Tertia on the Brustwerk to complement the Sesquialteras on the HW and RP. Haupt also suggests that Bach may have known Trost's magnum opus at Waltershausen where many of the mixtures contain tierces. However, I suspect Trost was the odd one out in this respect. At Naumburg - another organ with which JSB was closely involved - there are large quint-sounding mixtures on all 3 manuals, plus a Sesquialtera on the HW, which can be used in the chorus. My guess is that the Mixtur 6 rks at Weimar mixtures was purely quint-sounding, and probably the Cimbel also, as high-sounding Terzzimbeln were not part of the local organbuilding tradition. Sorry to to offer more conclusive evidence. My bet is that JSB enjoyed the added richness of 'tierced' ensemble, whenever the opportunity arose or whenever the fancy took him. JS
  17. John Sayer


    Mein Gott! They're trying to beat us at our own game. Did they have an English consultant/adviser, one wonders, or is this just a Rheinlander's fantasy of what an English concert organ should sound like. JS
  18. Yes, he was a bit premature, I suppose. I seem to recall reading somewhere of Reger turning down the offer of an honorary D Mus at Cambridge in protest at the use of dum-dum bullets by the British Army. Probably apochryphal, though. JS
  19. Arguably the finest church in Leeds, a large double-apsed basilica with the celebrated Brangwyn mosaics behind the altar at the east end and an imposing elevated baptistry at the west. The organ sounds magnificent. The church has a lively congregation and the current incumbent also happens to be Lord Mayor of Leeds. JS
  20. The heavier they are the more momentum they have as they fall off the music desk and bounce down on to Swell, Great, Choir, (maybe even Pedal too) and the more dramatic the resulting note clusters. JS
  21. A 4ft Harmonic Flute or the like might be more in the original Lewis spirit, but the 'clean-toned' Coppel Flute blends very nicely with the Lewis Stopped Diapason. One is tempted to do what Ian Bell calls ' re-voicing through re-engraving' and just put 'Flute 4' on the stop-knob: that way, I suspect, nobody would be any the wiser. The Appeal has now reached its £300k target. As you say, all the HP reeds are indeed vertiginous to tune. Had more money been available we might have been able to make them more accessible and, at the same time, rather less unsightly. JS
  22. You may like to know that the Larigot is destined to give way to a new Harmonic Flute 8 (in Lewis style) at the cleaning and overhaul scheduled for 2013, and the Choir Cimbel III re-cast at lower pitch. Apart from these, no other tonal changes are planned. As for the Great reeds, Arthur Harrison knew what he was doing in producing a sound that would carry, almost undiminished, over the void of the tower crossing right to the west end of the nave. (They will certainly prove their worth in leading packed congregations over the next few days). The intention is to leave them alone, as rare survivors of the early 20c art of reed voicing. Of the admittedly huge Tuba, Ron Perrin was rather proud of the fact that it could be heard at the bus station, 1/4 mile away, with the doors of the Cathedral open! JS
  23. Yes - die Buche = beech-tree. I'm sure Stephen Bicknell was right about the pre-emption. Aristide Cavaillé-Coll was born 15 years after Carl August Buchholz and would have been only 25 or so when Buchholz was working on the organ for Kronstadt (now Brasov). This organ, with its French-looking third manual of strings and reeds, seems to have been a one off. More representative of his big instruments, and still extant, are those at the Nikolaikirche, Stralsund, recently restored by Klais/Wegscheider, and the Marienkirche, Barth on the Darß peninsula on the Baltic coast. In both the third manual is very much subordinate to the other two, as one would expect of German romantic organs of the period, and with a Fagott/Hautbois 8 as the only reed. See Stralsund. JS
  24. It might help to get his name right first - Buchholz (beech-wood). As far as I know the major part of the family's work was in Berlin and North Germany (Mecklenburg). JS
  25. And to think twenty or thirty years ago it might easily have been swept away and replaced by a shiny new Rieger or Klais. JS
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