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Graham Dukes

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Everything posted by Graham Dukes

  1. MM/Colin, Thanks for your quick reply. Even ten pages of Compton history is further than anyone else has ever got! Just briefly: a. I didn't know that Henry Royce had made items for Robert Hope-Jones, and that doesn't seem to be mentioned in any of the Royce biographies. Henry tried lots of things in his days as a an electrical manufacturer, ranging from overhead cranes to domestic doorbells, so I'm not surprised that he tried organ components as well. b.I will have a go at the Pilling family history later this week and see how far I get. c. You are certainly right that Compton did
  2. I was active on this topic two years ago, but during 2012 I was so fully occupied with other things that I was unable to contribute. I am delighted that MusingMuso is now at work on a draft text of the Compton history, and that so much has been pieced together in recent months thanks to this forum. I am no more than an amateur organist but I have written and edited a lot of books in other fields, and I remain willing to provide any help I can to move this project ahead. You might like to contact Mr David Clegg, who only quite recently retired from the general manager's position at Makin O
  3. David Drinkell: Some weeks ago you asked on this forum whether I was the same Graham Dukes who fifty years ago wrote a paper on "two manuals, pedals and a budget" in The Organ. I am indeed - because of several weeks work in Kenya I am replying very late. I never put any of my specifications to the text ending up with a 10-stop instrument by Pels and Van Leeuwen of Holland. Regards, Graham Dukes, mngdukes@gmail.com Oslo, Norway
  4. Since several of us have touched on the topic of children's hymns, sometimes sung by adults, one indeed wonders what children themselves make of them. Growing up in the 1940's I was convinced, with others around me, that "Fight the good fight" was an exhortation to beat Hitler. That belief was strengthened by liberal doses of "Jerusalem" and "Onward Christian Soldiers". We didn't pick up our swords of burnished gold, since we didn't have any, but we did run out into the playground after Assembly enthusiastically brandishing our toy Spitfires and making aggressive zooming noises. Graham
  5. Thanks for your quick and encouraging response MM. I also had a positive letter from Ian Bell, whom I contacted directly, and who is one of the few people to have written a short biography of John Compton (for BIOS). He is as fully occupied as we all are, but wants to keep in touch with the venture. Let's wait a few more days and see if more people turn up. I agree that electronic publishing might be the best approach, and one might also think of working with BIOS who could be interested in making this the subject of one of their meetings, with various speakers dealing with the different a
  6. Having re-read much that has been written here and elsewhere about John Compton (including Ian Bell's writings) I wonder: there seems to be broad agreement that a book is needed but do we have to give up on the idea because we are all too busy? I mentioned earlier that I am an experienced editor and writer (mostly in the medicolegal field) as well as being an organist with a lot of interest in the Compton story and contacts with the JC factory in its sad latter days, BUT I simply lack the technical knowledge to tackle this topic alone. Is it not possible that a group of us could work togeth
  7. Just now and again, these forum discussions touch on the problem of turning the pages while playing, but I haven't observed any really practical solutions except for the recruitment of a page-turner. Has anyone tried using an electronic book to do the job? It should be possible to scan multiple pages of music into such a device and then turn the pages by a light touch to a switch or the screen. Using two or more electronic books side by side to show consecutive pages would make it even simpler, shifting the images further on at any convenient moment when one has a free hand.
  8. Hector: I would indeed like to have your listing of organ books and periodicals. Graham Dukes mngdukes@gmail.com
  9. Sorry, Paytrick, but I did write the article forty years ago. I now have two ancient Rolls-Royces in the garage, so I conform to your model. Graham Dukes
  10. Perhaps I may be permitted to add a paper that I contributed to Musical Opinion on thius very topic forty years ago. Here it is..... Whistles in the Wind by Graham Dukes mngdukes@online.no Some day, somewhere, someone with an analytical turn of mind is going to produce a truly penetrating study on the Fascination of Organs. When that day comes, there may at last be a way to define and characterise the organ addict. Addict? I can find no other term. Dr. Peter Williams, in the "Organ Yearbook", has groped for one (organ-lover, organ-fan, organ-devotee . . .) and confessed his fa
  11. For anyone not familiar with it I would recommend Robert N. Roth's superb anthology "Wond'rous Machine" (Scarecrow Press, Lanham (Md) and London, 2000. It is a collection of text relating to the organ, including poems, short stories, mysteries and extracts from novels. Graham Dukes Oslo
  12. Getting way from the issue of chattering congegrations I would just like to comment on the choice of music for pre-service playing. I too find that the choice of the 8 short Preludes and Fugues is a good one for such occasions. Irrespective of whether JSB wrote them or not, they are eminently digestible and tuneful and therefore suitable for people who may not normally appreciate organ classics; they seem to like these and you even get appreciative comments from individuals who otherwise regard the instrument merely as a psalm pump. Graham Dukes
  13. Several of Bach's Organ works exist only in fragmentary form. The only effort of which I am aware to round them off and therefore render them playable was that by Wolfgang Stockmeier (published by Kistner and Siegel in Cologne in 1969). Do any contributors to the Forum have opinions as to the result? And have any other composers tried the same venture? In my view the Fantasie in C (BWV 573), of which only 12 splendid bars survive, was Stockmeier's best effort: the fragment ends in A minor, and he added six bars to bring it back into C. Unfortunately he then went on add several pages mor
  14. Dear MM: I should add to my message of last night that my belief that the original parent company of Compton-Makin was a Bibby division was simply derived from your own findings on the Bibby association. All that I know was that the direct parent of Compton-Makin when it was set up in 1970 was J & J Makin Ltd of Rochdale. Whether Makin was in turn a daughter of Bibby plc I really don't know. Graham Dukes
  15. Yes, Contrabombarde, I was the Graham Dukes who was Research Manager of Organon in The Netherlands in the sixties. We had several good organists in the Research Division, and a joke went around that this was the reason why the firm was called Organon. Much later Organon disappeared into the clutches of Scherinbg-Plough, which in turn was absorbed by Merck. I left Organon forty years ago to join the Netherlands Ministry of Health, and later the World Health Organization and the University. I'm afraid this discussion has moved off track, but perhaps John Mander will forgive us. Graham
  16. Dear MM, I was delighted to read your letter to the Forum. The explanation as to how Compton-Makin Organs came into the Bibby group is quite simple. One of the Directors in their paper manufacturing division was a keen amateur organist, John Makin Pilling, who knew the Compton people well. When the final collapse came he put a lot of his own money into acquiring and thus saving the Compton rotating condenser system, recruited some Compton people, and resumed production in a section of the paper factory. He realized the limitations of the system, and developed a fine instrument for
  17. Some time has gone by since most of the contributions came into the Forum on the subject of John Compton and his contribution to the development of the organ. There was a lot of interest in the proposal to pull together the material for a good technical and musical biography, that among other things could call on the expertise or writings of people like Ian Bell, Roger Taylor, Laurence Elvin or Ivor Buckingham. It would be a great pity if this proposal were to be forgotten - there is still time enough to collect and collate it all, and soon it may be too late. One aspect that has hardly bee
  18. Bwayn was clearly sent to try you.. My personal trial was with Arthur (not his real name) when I was playing at a church which had no money for anything, let alone repairs to the organ, an ancient tracker which I suspect had been defective from the start and had got no better after sixty years. Having enjoyed a medical training, I got into the habit of remedying its most acute defects with surgical plaster (on the bellows), forceps (to remove dead bats and suchlike) and self-adhesive bandage (to tie up anything loose). Arthur was an odd-job man who would, free of charge, do little thin
  19. I went round all the well-known brands of electronic instruments nine years ago and found Makin superior to the rest. It has in recent years been built by Johannus in Holland (who now own Makin) but it is a thoroughly English organ, using samples from, Hill, Harrison and others. I bought mine in 1999 and it has been absolutely dependable. This model, a 3-manual Sovereign, has an alternative voicing option with French/German specification, and can similarly be switched to middle tone tuning or Werckmeister at the touch of a thumb piston. The "Sovereign" model has now been superseded but the c
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