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Everything posted by riddler67

  1. We have just used the two fanfares (into O Come All Ye Faithful and Hark the Herald) in our recent carol services. OUP have recently republished a set of 8 carols with brass accompaniment plus the two fanfares, all using the Willcocks CFC arrangements. ISBN-10: 0-19-380446-8. They're marvellously effective, though it has been hard to persuade Ian Crabbe that the use of brass adds to, rather than detracts from, the sound of the Beckerath... I suspect that using both fanfares was slightly OTT, but they're both so well written I found it hard to choose between them. I had anarchy on my hands when I dared to switch a couple of descants from Willcocks to Cleobury this year, and I have to say that IMHO, although the Cleobury descants are invariably very effective, his harmonisations can seem a little ham-fisted in places when compared with Willcocks' established CFC versions. Incidentally, many thanks to a member of this forum who PM'd me a copy of a descant he'd written for Helmsley, written over the Martin How last verse re-harmonisation. Just awesome! Used sparingly, there's no doubt in my mind that a great descant coupled to a mighty reharmonisation can move everyone to a new level at the conclusion of a service. It took me days to come down from that O Come Quickly! Merry Christmas. Tim Tim Ridley Director of Chapel Music Marlborough College
  2. The topic header does say this week, so apologies for mentioning my saddest moment to date which did occur some 20 odd years ago. I managed to fall off the bench at Grossmunster Zurich while playing the opening of Purcell's Bell Anthem - leaning over to reach the top manual (which I think is an enclosed positiv or something sim???) - the pure Ionian tonality became somewhat compromised by Ligettian clusters. While I did recover, the effect on the soloists due to be singing the opening verse was more prolonged - not one of them managed the entry, merely a few gasps of poorly retained mirth drifting across to the loft. Now I wonder - what on earth was I doing playing that opening on the 4th manual anyway? And, of course, the Terror of the Bell has never gone away. I still tremble when I see that particular anthem programmed, 22 years down the line. Tim Marlborough
  3. With huge apologies for being decidedly unseasonal... I'm looking ahead to Christmas programming and am trying to track down a descant with last verse re-harmonisation for Lo He Comes (Helmsley). I know there are lots out there, but I've got one in mind that I heard maybe 4 or 5 years ago on Songs of Praise that completely blew me away. The thing that made it so awesome was a totally unexpected key shift in the Allelulias section - assuming the hymn is in G, normally the chord under the first Allelulia would be D major. The one I'm after had something like a chord of F major at this point. Ring a bell with anyone? It might be commonly available (though Google hasn't helped me to date) or it might have been specifially written by someone directly involved with that particular edition of SoP. Thanks for any help you may be able to give. Tim Tim Ridley Marlborough College
  4. I can't remember where or how Jon Lord trained, but as I've mentioned in a previous post on another thread he's a highly competent organist and composer. In the very early 70s he was responsible for the (in)famous "Concerto for Group & Orchestra" which was premiered by Deep Purple with Malcom Arnold conducting one of the big London Orchestras, can't remember which one. Although the actual musical material is certainly an acquired taste, the compositional and arranging skills on display are impressive. Not like the McCartney "Liverpool Oratorio" or the recent Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd) oratorio which are orchestrated (and thus co-written) by others. Jon Lord's rock version of the non Dorian D minor T & F ("Bach Onto This") on his solo album "Before I Forget" is awesome - fantastic demonstration of how to get the most out of a Hammond B3. Tim Ridley Marlborough
  5. It's extraordinary how The Ketchup Song has become an accepted part of my musical diet after prologed exposure to it in the car: it's my 5 year old's favourite. The chromatic descent from the tonic through major and minor sevenths to added sixth (as in the underlying harmony to My Funny Valentine) is always a winner. Speaking as someone whose career has spanned the traditional church organ scene and the rock/pop world, I do think that rockers like Rick Wakeman (and Jon Lord of Deep Purple) are inspirational musicians. Wakeman is developing arthritis in his fingers now, but his dexterity on the MiniMoog and the piano in the 70s was remarkable. Yes, the music of that prog era is pretty overblown, but the virtuosity could, on occasion, be a bit special. Can't say this Lincoln thing is my bag musically, but if it gets some new punters interested in the organ as a musical instrument rather than an ecclesiastical architectural edifice then it's surely served an admirable purpose.
  6. This is an Open Invitation to any interested organ enthusiasts to come to Marlborough on Saturday 24 February 2007 to meet, play and explore our Beckerath. I suggest that we meet in the College Chapel at 2.00pm. I am happy to provide more detailed directions/instructions if required. If you would like to join us I would be grateful if you could contact me on tjwr@marlboroughcollege.org so that I can get an idea of numbers. I hope that this can be a friendly, interesting day. No doubt it will provoke reactions and opinions, but I would be grateful if we could keep the day non-combative! We're very proud of our new instrument and welcome the opportunity to share it with other musicians. Discussions on this board can become quite heated - and while I quite accept that one invites criticism in the course of informed debate I would hope that this day can be viewed as more of a day of celebration and discovery. I can read what you really think afterwards on this board!! Finally, a further reminder of the Simon Preston opening recital at 8.00pm on Sunday 4 Feb, free admission but contact musicsec@marlboroughcollege.org for a ticket. Tim
  7. I take it you've never met our Bursar???! To ask for one new organ was risky, to ask for two would have been ill-advised, rash, dare one say lunacy? Of course I see where you're coming from - and, as much discussion on this board has borne out, in a PERFECT world compromise would not be necessary. It was good to read your detailed analysis of this genre of organ building - Rolf Miehl was at great pains to remind us of R von B's time in France and of his homage to Schnitger. Our swell is aurally very French (obviously it is on paper, but you need to hear it) and our positiv uses Schnitger scales throughout (apart from the Larigot which is, of course, not a stop he would have used). Open Day date is currently under discussion. Will post it as soon as it's agreed. Tim
  8. We drew up the stop list in consulatation with Wendelin Eberle of Rieger and Rolf Miehl of Beckerath. Paul Hale came on board as an advisor when the local authority started taking an interest! And brilliant he was too. The whole integrity thing is, course, a lengthy and worthy debate - no doubt it's been much discussed on this board, which I as a relative newcomer won't have seen or engaged in. My personal opinion is that it IS possible to blend the different styles of organ building, and, as I said in the post which started this thread I'd like to think we have managed to do this relatively succesfully at Marlborough. To be able to sit at one organ and feel that you are being as honest as feasible to as many different schools of organ composition as possible is surely justifiable? I adore playing the FW at Salisbury (well, when its swell is working anyway!) but cannot in all honesty claim that there is any feeling of being true to Bach, Couperin, Vierne, Messiaen etc. Having been drilled by Peter Hurford at the RAM in the 80s I did become a mechanical action convert and spent three years studying baroque articulation - a joyous experience as you can imagine... But so many big mechanical instruments seem to lack warmth - we played many in our search at Marlborough, thought that we might have found the answer with Rieger's effort at Essen Cathedral, but still the strings weren't quite right (fascinating enclosed Tuba in a detached division at the rear of the church though). Come listen to (and play) our Beckerath on our soon to be anounced Board Open Day and see what you think. I'd like to think that it deserves hearing before condemning. Tim
  9. Hi Friedrich. The Flute Allemande - don't know if it's an invention of Rolf Miehl's from Beckerath, I certainly wouldn't claim to be an expert on stop/rank history. We heard it on his instrument in Wichita and thought it delightful - the original idea was to have a 16' bourdon on the swell but we were trying to avoid having duplicate versions of the same stop at different octaves and Rolf suggested this. I asked him to define this stop for you, so here goes: The bottom octave is stopped wood, a bit like a bourdon but with a higher cut-up, from tenor C upwards it's metal, more like a rohrflote, but scaled and tapered in the French style. Very definitely a French stop. Maybe it's Allemande because it's MADE by a German??! No, I presume it's because of the rohrflote orgins. I'm using it in the RH for Messiaen's Les Mages at present and it sounds perfect. Best wishes, Tim
  10. Was surprised to read this as our stop shafts are very definitely wood, a very light beech I think. The console may not be to everybody's taste (and isn't the world a better place for difference of opinion!) but it definitely blends well into our pseudo late Gothic building and oozes quality. The Heuss pistons will no doubt cause further debate - no doubt about it they're small. But I've been practising on the organ for a few days now and haven't yet missed a piston: not what I was expecting I have to be honest. We're fortunate in that Beckerath are using us as a showcase instrument and cutting no corners at all. Unsuprisingly they are desperate to build a big modern instrument in Europe which means that they are actually making a loss on this project. We discovered today that the 32' reed is not an extension of the 16' Bombarde - naturally we'd taken it as read that this would be the case, but yesterday a full set of 32 pipes for each stop arrived from Hamburg. We'd also assumed it would be half length, but no. And no borrowing anywhere other than the Gt 16' principal doubling as the Pedal 16' principal. From our experience with Beckerath they certainly deserve to become flavour of the month again.
  11. I agree - I was always rather surprised that Priory chose to record this series at Marlborough. Of course the acoustic is ideal, but the old organ sound was indeed leaden, particularly lacking sweetness, clarity and delicacy on the great and swell and decent chorus reeds on the great and pedal. But you're onto a bit of a loser when your great reeds are enclosed in the solo box in a separate part of the organ from the rest of the division! I think that a Board Open Day would be an excellent idea and will discuss this further with Ian Crabbe, our College Organist.
  12. I'm sure you'll be unsurprised to learn that the console was obliged to be in dark oak to blend in with the existing panelling around it - grade 1 listing and all that, we were given an unequivocal lack of choice in the matter by the local council! Although it does indeed like lighter in real life the overall look is darker than expected due to Beckerath's one and only error - ommitting to tell Heuss, the console manufacture, to reverse the keys from their usual expectation to white naturals/black sharps. However it so happens that none of the organists here could care less so we were happy to leave them as they are rather than put the project behind schedule. The stop font is I suppose a matter of taste - we like it but I'm sure that not everyone will! The feeling was that with every rank of pipes an absolutely beautiful handcrafted gem it would be inappropriate to identify the associated stop with a mere printed label. We feel that the older script style is more individual.
  13. The organ is still in a chamber on the north wall - suggestions that we move to the West End gallery were greeted with derision by the governing body (additional cost of a new case adding almost a third to the overall price). But of course the new instrument has been designed properly to speak out from its intended space. The HN&B was a revamp and enlargement of the orginal F&A which was at the West End and was indeed stuffed rather unceremoniously into the new space through necessity. The clarity with which the new instrument speaks around the Chapel is extraordinary (and a relief!). Loads of photos at http://www.iancrabbe.co.uk/organ.
  14. As the Canterbury debate moves onwards and the well-documented and arguably still present "division" between European and British organ builders comes to the fore again, I thought you all might be interested in some info about our new Beckerath. We invited tenders from many builders, British and European, with a firm belief that it must be possible to get the best of all worlds in one instrument, without it sounding idiotic! I firmly believe that this Beckerath will help to bridge the Euro-divide - it has a warmth and a Britishness to it and a fiercely French swell (which of course means that it's perfect for Anglican tradition accompaniment with three 8' strings, a 4' stringy Fugara a string mixture, stopped and open 8' flutes etc). In the 62 stop instrument 10 ranks (almost all from the orginal Forster & Andrews of 1878 and almost all wood) have been retained. We went for Beckerath purely for their sound and the quality of the mechanical action. No anti-British thing here, simply a case of the best proposal winning: pricing, while an issue, was not relevant in the final choice. As a school we want our pupils to be able to hear North German principal choruses, French classical Cornets and Cromornes, the French symphonic swell, the warmth, sonorities and scale of the great British tradition - and Beckerath have proved (IMHO) that with real attention to scaling and voicing all these apparently diverse sounds can be brought together. This doesn't sound like 4 different organs coupled together: every stop on every division compliments every other stop. Of course others have done this, some more successfully than others.... But please don't think of this instrument as being remotely similar to the only other UK Beckerath at Clare - things have moved on somewhat! Specification follows. GREAT 1. Großprincipal 16’ New 2. Principal 8’ New 3. Principal Céleste 8’ New 4. Viola da Gamba 8’ New 5. Rohrgedeckt 8’ Exist 6. Octave 4’ New 7. Waldflöte 4’ New 8. Quinte 2 2/3’ New 9. Superoctave 2’ New 10. Cornet V 8’ New 11. Mixtur V 1 1/3’ New 12. Cymbel III 2/3’ New 13. Bombarde 16’ New 14. Trompete 8’ New 15. Clarine 4’ New Tremulant SWELL (ENCLOSED) 16. Flûte allemande 16’ New 17. Bourdon 8’ New 18. Flûte ouvrit 8’ Exist 19. Viole d’Orchestre 8’ Exist 20. Voix Céleste 8’ New 21. Aeoline 8’ New 22. Fugara 4’ New 23. Flûte octaviante 4’ New 24. Nazard 2 2/3’ New 25. Octavin 2’ New 26. Tierce 1 3/5’ New 27. Sifflet 1’ New 28. Harm. Aethera III 2 2/3’ New 29. Plein Jeu V 2’ New 30. Basson 16’ New 31. Hautbois 8’ New 32. Trompette harm. 8’ New 33. Clairon 4’ New Tremulant PEDAL 34. Untersatz 32’ New 35. Principalbaß 16’ New 36. Offenflöte 16’ Exist 37. Bordun 16’ Exist 38. Octavbaß 8’ New 39. Flutebaß 8’ Exist 40. Choralbaß 4’ Exist 41. Mixtur V 2 2/3’ New 42. Contra Bombarde 32’ New 43. Bombarde 16’ New 44. Fagott 16’ New 45. Posaune 8’ New POSITIV 46. Prestant 8’ New 47. Holzgedeckt 8’ New 48. Prestant 4’ New 49. Spielflöte 4’ New 50. Nasat 2 2/3’ New 51. Gemshorn 2’ New 52. Terz 1 3/5’ New 53. Larigot 1 1/3’ New 54. Scharf IV 1’ New 55. Cromorne 8’ New Tremulant SOLO (ENCLOSED) 56. Harmonic Flute 8’ New 57. Flute Céleste 8’ New 58. Concert Flute 4’ Exist 59. Trumpet 8’ New 60. Clarinet 8’ New 61. Vox Humana 8’ New Tremulant 62. Tuba 8’ Exist Hope the above formats OK when displayed, apologies if it doesn't. All are very warmly invited to a Festal Evensong and Organ Dedication by the Bishop of Salisbury at 6.30pm on Sunday 4 Feb, which is followed at 8.00pm with a recital by Simon Preston. Entry to both events is free, but due to space limitations tickets are required. Please email musicsec@marlboroughcollege.org if you're interested. I do hope that some of you might be interested in coming along. I'm an organ nut, read this site regularly (though this is my first post) and do think that we have something very special here. And I want you to know about it! And of course I'm not biased... Tim Ridley Assistant Organist Marlborough College Wiltshire
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