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Everything posted by pwhodges

  1. When I was a chorister there, the choir stalls were at the crossing end of the nave, further from the organ than now (still not far, the nave being so short, of course!). Evensong was sung there Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday; Wednesday was men-only, and Friday was unaccompanied at the East End (occasionally using the "Crotch" organ - no longer present - for continuo). Sunday mornings had Mattins in the choir stalls, followed for my first couple of years by the Litany, after which we processed to the East End for the Eucharist, which was unaccompanied; the only exceptions were Christmas Day and Easter Day when we sang the Eucharist from the choir stalls, with organ. No weekday Eucharists except 8am on red-letter saints' days, when the boys, alone, sang plainchant - most often, but not always, Missa de Angelis. Stories about what the choir got up to while having breakfast alone early, supervised by only the cook, don't really belong here... Paul
  2. This is sad news. As for his book, he published it through Ex-Libris Books, so although they don't list it as their own publication, it might be worth asking them if they can sell it. Paul
  3. I have no photo of the old console at Salisbury, but I found this quote in an article by Alcock in The Rotunda (March 1932, p29): How many organists these days have a lathe to hand, I wonder! Paul
  4. He did, however, make the very odd decision to move the choir case at Christ Church to the back of the organ so it faced the doors! It got moved to the front again after barely a decade. Paul
  5. The tuba was fine when I was a chorister there (55-59), and unlike many was enclosed. The arpeggio figuration in the last section of Walton's The Twelve was written to be played using it, and sounded very well that way (of course, Walton would have been familiar with it). In the orchestral version performed a few days earlier than the Ch Ch premier, the figuration was given to a glockenspiel - a very different way of getting it to stand out! Paul
  6. Sadly I've never been able to find a copy of that disk, the only one ever made of that organ played solo (the only other recording of it is accompanying Preston's 1974 recording of Dvorak's Mass in D, played by Nicholas Cleobury). A friend and I recorded Paul Morgan practicing for the Abbey recording, and the tape of that is in the British Library sound collection, as part of their collection of recordings by the late Michael Gerzon which were gifted to them on his death. We also recorded Paul M playing through a number of hymns, as if they were being sung to, for a friend of his who was a missionary in West Africa and wanted to be able to have organ acct for hymns in his tent church! Both those tapes are in the library, in spite of the fact that they both have my name written on them - I've not yet managed to get copies of them for myself. Technically I have reason to believe they are better than Harry Mudd's recording for Abbey; for one thing, they were in stereo, and I don't think the Abbey disk was. As for the organ itself, it was a reasonable example of the type and times (Willis with the H&H treatment, fairly lightly), and sonically, it could probably have stayed, but for the fashion of the time. Sidney Watson told me shortly before retiring that the reason he never asked for it to be restored or replaced as it started to get cranky was so as not to limit the choice of his successor - which he certainly didn't! However, the side extensions to the Smith case were a travesty, and the depth and weight of the chair case containing an enclosed choir including a 16' were actually in danger of making it collapse - so major changes were inevitable. The pipework all vanished, except the bottom octave or so of the 32' violone (wood) which found its way to the Grove organ in Tewkesbury Abbey when John Budgen restored it, to complete the 32' rank there. Paul
  7. It was the "biggest" performance of the Poulenc I've heard, and none the worse for it. An excellent start to the season. Paul
  8. The Swiss organ dating from 1435 has stops. Paul
  9. Dame Imogen Cooper. OBE for Julian Lloyd Webber. And surely they're actually the Queen's birthday honours. Paul EDIT - Oh, you mean at the funeral...
  10. Very sad to hear; I have and enjoy a number of recordings of his. I contacted him a few years ago about one of his recordings, and got back a message which after replying to my query went on to ask if I was the boy who had disappeared unannounced from Christ Church choir in 1960 when he was organ scholar there! I was (illness, but a complicated story, and the school kept it secret why I had gone for some inscrutable reason), but he had only had a term to get to know me, so I felt that recognising my name over 50 years later was somewhat remarkable. Paul
  11. There's also Moondog's "A New Sound of an Old Instrument": https://moondog.bandcamp.com/album/a-new-sound-of-an-old-instrument Paul
  12. The amateur choir I'm in is singing in the car park for the first part of each rehearsal, followed by a sectional (which happens to be six singers, the allowed limit) inside when it's getting darker. Paul
  13. It was merely a passing thought of mine, too late at night. The oldest publication I found omitted it, but on reflection looks hardly likely to be the true original publication. In fact, I now see that RSCM publish it separately, in a version which, from the one page visible on the Internet, must be the piano version. It may be that their publication includes the original date somewhere, I suppose. EDIT: Getting closer now. This listing of Walford Davies's manuscripts deposited at the RCM includes the entry in the volume for 1901 [sic]: Note that it has organ accompaniment. I wondered if that was a mistake, but then I found this publication specifically of that manuscript. Note that the verses both start with a partial bar, rather than flowing through regularly, and that verse two has a second (tenor) soloist. I'm now wondering whether the piano version or the organ one is the original. The figuration towards the end of the recit section looks more pianistic to me... In 1914 of the RCM catalogue there is the entry: I wonder if that is a early version of Wengen (which isn't listed under that name). Paul
  14. The CD that comes from is a very rare beast indeed, and took me several years searching to find a copy of. It is on the Mirabilis label, and so was recorded by David Wyld. It's a shame that buying Willis (presumably) left him no time to continue his organ recording project, as every one of the disks he released is outstanding. As David's recordings are in Ambisonic surround, I have listed them in an appendix to my web site which is about that technique. The St Paul's disk is the fifth one down. Paul
  15. The earliest publication of "Christmas Carol" I can find was in 1905. This page (towards the bottom) has the following entry: with links to scans of the two pages. The accompaniment is for piano; Willcocks made the organ arrangement in Carols for Choirs 3. A modern printing of the piano version is linked from Choralwiki, and is here. The other sources do not have the introductory recit, so I suspect that was added as part of Willcocks's arrangement. On the same page the previous entry is for Wengen, linking to the A&M Standard Edition of 1922. But the contents of that book were finalised with the Second Supplement of 1916, so the date of that tune is no later than that. It is IMO so inferior to his earlier tune that I guess he was commissioned to provide a new tune for that supplement and knocked it off without inspiration - but that is pure speculation. I haven't had as much luck with The Holly and the Ivy. I have found that Novello published an adaptation of Walford Davies's arrangement in or before 1951 (see here - expand the image to see the date), so it may be that it had previously been published in the original form by them - worth asking, at least. Around the same time, the choir of Westminster Abbey recorded it under McKie, so I guess the Abbey has old (original?) copies. Paul
  16. I have two recordings he made - I don't have the source of this one to hand, but the other (in which the Tuba is properly regulated) is from the EMI Great Cathedral Organs series recorded by Brian Culverhouse (and recently collected in a CD box). Paul
  17. I recall an occasion when an unfinished organ was required to be used for a Christmas service. We had an organist playing manuals and pedals, another being the pedal couplers as they weren't in place, and as there was neither stop action nor swell linkage, someone with the running order manipulating the slides on each soundboard - the organist just had to trust that a suitable setup was available on each manual at any given time... Oh, and someone had to pull a piece of string to play bottom D on the unconnected pedal reed! D is a very useful pedal note at Christmas, if you've only got one... Five people other than the organist, I think it was. It worked out. My place was unjamming trackers that were getting stuck (until I saw the reason and fixed it). Paul
  18. Nice to see that Forwoods is still going!.. When I was at school in Canterbury, I spent many hours in Forwoods, browsing LPs and music, and having chats with Mr Forwood about Hi-Fi. I remember that the record player in the shop had a Burne-Jones pickup arm which had a pivoted head to reduce end-of-side distortion - I've never seen another. Paul
  19. I found the sounds from organteq mildly unconvincing (on a good hi-fi setup) - but nothing like as bad as their awful piano synth. Paul
  20. The choir (not a church choir) that I sing in will be one of very few such choirs in Oxford giving a Christmas concert this year. We are at present 20-odd voices. We are rehearsing (just started again today after lockdown) in an octagonal church, spread around the outer wall at 2m intervals - which actually works better in some ways than our usual layout in pews. We hope to be singing in the University Church (the formal risk assessment is tomorrow), with the choir laid out in a chequerboard pattern (like you see pictures of orchestras), and an audience limit of 80 (the same as the church is imposing for its own events) which is possible because it is a large area. We are singing German Christmas music from the Reformation to the present day. Paul
  21. Presumably noise-cancelling headphones as a superior form of ear protection. Paul
  22. That makes me wonder - has anyone managed to design or make a stop with the mouth placed at right-angles to the body, as in the way an orchestral flute is blown? Paul
  23. Plumley's book merely says of each organ (on pp 45 and 156) that they were destroyed in a bombing raid during 1940. No more detail than that. There's no index of dates of destruction, and I don't have time right now to go through the whole book looking... But it may be of interest to know (from p157) that the pipework of the Jordan organ stored but not erected in St Benet Fink was sold for scrap in 1941 to aid the war effort. Paul
  24. My wife has Phonak hearing aids, not for age-related reason, but because of serious life-long deficiencies in her ears. They are bluetooth enabled, but being an older model, the bluetooth functionality is in a separate thingy hung round her neck. She uses the bluetooth capability constantly - to listen to BBC Sounds from her phone, and to use the phone itself. Also to listen to the TV to which we have added a bluetooth audio transmitter. As she has never experienced "normal" hearing, she can't comment on accuracy, but she certainly finds these aids to be the best she's yet had (she's been through a number of makes). Paul
  25. I never use FaceBook - it interferes too much with even the process of trying to read it. Meanwhile, I note that the front page of this forum has been updated with information about F H Browne's, and that registration on the forum has been re-enabled. I guess this indicates that the forum is to continue under the new management. Paul
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