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John Sayer

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Everything posted by John Sayer

  1. To be serious, I believe the reason it has not happened - as has been cited on this forum - is that such preferment would be unsympathetic to his wife's Quaker beliefs. JS
  2. Johann Ludwig Trost was doing this sort of thing 250 years ago - e.g. the double-bodied Unda maris 8 at Waltershausen and elsewhere. JS
  3. Does anyone know why EMI took Germani up to distant Selby Abbey for his recordings in the early 1950s, rather than to a venue nearer to London. Was it his own idea? Did he even know the organ beforehand? Maybe the facility fee was cheaper. One possible explanation is that the Selby organ, having been extensively rebuilt by HNB in 1950, would have been in first-class playing order, unlike many large (cathedral) instruments in the immediate post-war period. The groundbreaking new organ at the RFH did not arrive until 1954, of course, and recordings started to appear soon afterwards. Any thoughts? JS
  4. Could it have been Jerrold Northrop Moore, author of Elgar - A Creative Life - the definitive tome on the composer's life? Whatever JRM may have said, the Germani performance is still amazing, sixty years after it was recorded. Just listen to the clarity and drive of the pedal line throughout. He was, of course, organist to the Pope. (That said, I reckon he found the Selby Hill rather more exciting than the disappointing heap in St Peter's). JS
  5. Old choristers here in Ripon in the 1950's (under Lionel Dakers and Philip Marshall) recall voice trials with boys queueing up down the south aisle of the nave waiting for their audition - and all that before the days of choral scholarships and the like. O tempora, o mores...... JS
  6. Fascinating, if a little seasick-making at times. He starts the fugue at about crochet = 120, then brakes suddenly to around 100 at bar 46 in order to negotiate the more exposed pedal passages. What is more the articulation in the final pedal solo seems noticeably crisper than earlier on. And do my ears deceive me, or is he adding extra pedal crotchet A's in bars 104 & 106? As always with player roll recordings, one always wonders how much post-production 'touching-up' went on. Take those player piano rolls of Gershwin and others, for example, where a glance at the keyboard shows them playing in about six octaves at once. JS
  7. I don't know if this helps, but I had lessons as a teenager in 1961 on what was one of the last, if not the last, of Compton jobs, the rebuilt organ at St Mary's, Osterley (Spring Grove) Middlesex. The nearby instrument at St Mary's, Twickenham was of similar date. Ian Bell worked on both, I believe, as an apprentice, so he may know more. JS
  8. All of Böhm's organ works have been handed down through transcriptions, ie.no manuscripts survive. The Breitkopf edition prints a moderately ornamented version of Vater unser and reproduces, in the Appendix, a highly (Frenchified?) ornamented version in J G Walther's hand, which also appears in other modern editions such as Faber. I must admit I don't which one I should be playing. The Walther version is attractive, provided one can fit in all those extra notes elegantly and convincingly. JS
  9. I agree, it's my DID Number 1. If allowed only one track, it would have to be Tomkins' Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness - such hauntingly beautiful, ethereal singing with astonishing, hair-raising false relations. Re-issued it was, but alas no longer available, as I understand. JS
  10. Toulouse Cathedral is pretty scary - crossing the transept on a narrow beam 60 feet above the floor with only the flimsiest of hand rails. JS
  11. I seem to recall a large ivory plate beneath the RH stop jamb at the Royal Festival Hall which read, rather inelegantly, "Definitely no smoking at the console" and which bore the marks of several stubbed-out cigarettes. JS
  12. By Walter Tapper, in fact, though almost as fine as Temple Moore's masterpiece a short distance away. At least the St Mary's organ has been saved from the skip, as has the carillon of 8 bells which will find a new home in the NW tower at Ripon Cathedral. Over the last 10-15 years Selby Abbey have done a remarkable job in raising around £6m to secure the fabric of the building; it is a shame the organ seems to have been a bridge too far. JS
  13. For those living in, or visiting, God's Own County during July & August ..... RIPON CATHEDRAL SUMMER ORGAN FESTIVAL Six recitals on Tuesday evenings at 7.30 with interesting & unusual programmes Admission £10 to include refreshments (accompanied children under 16 admitted free) Outline programmes of the first 3 recitals as follows:- Tuesday 12 July - Robert Quinney (Westminster Abbey) Elgar (Pomp & Circumstance Marches 3 & 5) J S Bach (Orgelbüchlein 1717 and Orgelbüchlein Project 2011) Wagner, arr. Lemare (Siegfried Idyll) Guilmant Tuesday 19 July - John Scott (St Thomas, Fifth Avenue, NYC) Mendelssohn arr. Best Overture to St Paul Handel Bolcom Jongen Jonathan Harvey (Toccata for organ & tape) Vierne (Naïades & Finale Sym V) Tuesday 26 July - Edmund Aldhouse (Ripon Cathedral) J S Bach Alain Martin (Passacaille) Duruflé Franck (Choral No. 1) JS
  14. Coventry, Chichester, Truro - in that order JS
  15. Which is more important? Preserving the integrity of this sole untouched C-C (or nearly untouched) survivor in this country or compromising that integrity so that it can accompany Dyson in D? Can the cathedral organists be persuaded to forgo the comforts of pistons and sequencers etc and rise to the challenge of the array of ironmongery at their feet, with or without an assistant? Another question is whether physical constraints in its new home will allow a return to Barker-lever action or whether electric action and a remote console are deemed indispensable. This seems to me a unique opportunity to break new ground and (re)create something very special in an English cathedral. JS
  16. Thanks to your tip-off, I made my way over the Pennines last Friday evening and joined about 120 others at the 'final' recital. Thanks to David Wells's attention the organ seemed in good order and perfectly in tune. Roger Fisher's programme of 19c French works produced some ravishingly beautiful sounds (rich fonds, Gambes, Flûtes harmoniques and exciting reeds), including those in the very effective swell-box. Let's hope the proposed translation to Sheffield comes about where the instrument should sound even more magnificent in a more generous acoustic. JS
  17. Is anyone aware of scholarly research on the subject of manual key widths, as measured, say, by octave spans? On a visit to Chopin's birthplace at Zelazowa Wola, where there is one of his pianos, it was explained that the key spacing was slightly narrow than the modern standard, with the result that the tenths and other big spans in many of his works were more easily managed than on a modern concert grand. JS
  18. Indeed - Sumsion's performance is surely the most idiomatic, naturally musical one could wish for - and a glorious rolling sound from the 1920 H&H with its stonking Ophicleide 16. I bought the LP when it first came out in 1965, my first organ disc. It was re-issued by EMI Classics in 1996 (CDM 5 65594 2) as a filler to an equally glorious account of Elgar choral works by the Worcester Choir under Christopher Robinson, rightly acclaimed ever since for the miraculously beautiful sound of the boy trebles. A CD to treasure. JS
  19. I agree the new design does look a bit anodyne - as does the case of the existing Schuke organ which is to remain as a choir organ - but, in a vast, austerely plain romanesque space like this, the last thing you need is an organ case which draws undue attention to itself - eine Geschmacksache, maybe, but for my money probably the right decision in this case. JS
  20. Quite so. And there's a world of difference between a 4m cathedral organ and a humble house organ where the crotchets are six inches from your nose. That's why I have a pair of +1 and a pair of +2 reading specs. Mind you, I still struggle to play all the right notes in the right order.... JS
  21. The background, I believe, involves defective mechanisms, collapsing case pipes etc - a sorry story all round. JS
  22. This prompted me to turn to John Scott-Whiteley's 21st-Century Bach DVD at the Wenzelkirche, Naumburg. Here he plays on two manuals - LH & Ped on HW Gedackt 8 and RH on RP Rohr-Floete 8 + Quintadehn 8 - with the solo line very heavily ornamented. To me, this is a case of more is less, and the whole track becomes musically as well as visually irritating (like so many other examples in this series). The one redeeming feature is the ravishingly beautiful sound of the two 8 foots together floating round the building. Hildebrandt was a genius - for me the Number 1 Bach organ anywhere in the world. JS
  23. Peter Williams notes - Only one copy, by J G Walther. It'll be interesting to see how he plays it. Williams comments 'Walther specifies neither pedal nor two manuals, and it is playable on one keyboard - surely not by chance in what is at times a five-part piece?" I find it works well on a soft principal, or flute with mild chiff, plus slow tremulant. JS
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