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Stephen Dutfield

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Everything posted by Stephen Dutfield

  1. If I remember correctly, Hereford has two such coupler pistons.
  2. ..... or the dyslexic pimp who bought bought a warehouse
  3. It was in the Cygnet restaurant. The organ was removed c1980 to Ventnor on the Isle of Wight (into a private basement theatre below a jewellers' shop) when its owners relocated. It was sold some years ago now and I believe resides in Australia. When in Worcester the organ (a Compton ex Pavilion, Reading for those who might actually want to know) somehow acquired the nickname "The Countess" and Nigel Ogden did actually compose "The Countess of Worcester Waltz" for it, although I've only ever heard it once, and suspect that not even Nigel now has a copy! And the Mitsukoshi store in Tokyo which has a three manual Wurlitzer. Apparently because of the temperature/humidity all the ivories are attached to the keys with tiny brass screws rather than glue.
  4. I once played what I hope was a stately rendition of John Williams' theme from 'E.T.' for the happy couple's exit!
  5. Reginald Foort FRCO once left a note in a tuning book which simply read, "Wot a bleeder!"
  6. They ARE available in the High Street as I bought my copies in the Cardiff HMV store. Although produced by Victor Lewis-Smith's Associated-Rediffusion company (not the original for those old enough to remember - he bought the name and trade mark!) I'm pleased to say the series - like the 48 Preludes programmes - is a BBC Wales commission. I'm so used to people criticising my employer it's nice to hear some appreciation
  7. I agree - I'll see if I can find out more. Ah, but we Welsh do misery so very well S
  8. Indeed, I understand that the former Liberal party leader David Steel is a keen and enthusiastic organist. S
  9. Seriously, have you ever thought of writing a book? I thought Gordon Reynolds' "Full Swell" was good for a laugh, but YOUR postings have a habit of reducing me to tearful gales of laughter - which is a bit embarrassing in the office.... but then I shouldn't really be doing this in the office
  10. Hello Peter, I know someone who is a member of the congregation at St. Nicholas, and they don't have an organ or any use for one. I think it likely that the only organs in Orthodox churches are those 'inherited' from previous congregations of different denominations. I did once go to the Anglican mass at the church of St. Paul in Paphos, where the Orthodox Bishop had granted use of the redundant (and ancient) church to the Roman Catholic congregation, who then invited the Anglicans to share. There were three Sunday masses - R.C. in English, R.C. Latin and Anglican - all accompanied on an Allen electronic which just looks SO out of place against the backdrop of Orthodox icons!
  11. I am mystified by the whole business of St. Osmunds because, as I seem to remember it, the reason given by the Anglican parish for abandoning the building was degredation in the re-inforced concrete. I believe they quoted a cost of millions for restoration of what was deemed a building unsafe to worship in. I assume that the building hasn't been subject to a massive re-building programme, therefore do the Orthodox community worship in hard hats? It is, I suppose, a possibility that the organ could be sold. However, it does hold a Historic Organ Certificate, and given its history and the association with Percy Whitlock and his broadcasts, I am very happy indeed that the organ remains in situ. That the current arrangements at the church allow for its occasional use is an added bonus.
  12. Another board member will know which London-area organ I'm referring to (not strictly within the remit of this site, but one which he used to tune) where - as originally installed - the console was 101 feet from the nearest pipe! A former organist at that establishment once told me that he could play his programme, walk across the road to a little cafe, have a nice cup of tea, read the paper, then return to the building to listen to what he'd played
  13. And indeed it would be both a clever builder and a clever action that could anticipate a key press before it happened
  14. I still have on video part of a programme with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales recorded at the (now demolished) Astra theatre in Llandudno. It included an appearance by the American theatre organist, the late Rob Calcaterra who always did 'Stars and Stripes' as a party-piece. He kept the bass to the pedal, played accompaniment with left-hand, with the melody of the middle section on second touch using the bottom couple of fingers of his left hand, leaving his right hand free for the obligato. Damned impressive it was too. I saw him perform it live once on a clapped out Compton, which while impressive lacked the sheer sonic impact of the Llandudno Christie!
  15. Indeed yes Boyo! There's lovely.......
  16. Don't know about you, but I feel I have considerably more than fifteen quid's worth of troubles. Still, it would be a start.....
  17. For whatever reason I don't know, but I seem to be one of those who is quite sensitive to 'atmospheres' in buildings. There was a time when I managed a couple of cinemas, and I frequently walked down and back through the empty and dark 600 seat auditorium of our oldest building last thing at night to chain the exits without feeling anything untoward, however one auditorium in our new building certainly used to give me the creeps. I wasn't the only one to have seen people at the back who later turned out not to be there! However, on the organ front I can remember feeling decidedly chilled by the atmosphere at Holcombe Rogus P.C just on the Somerset/Devon border while holding notes many years ago. I also assisted a friend in removing the organ from Llanelli parish church back a few years ago. We did the removal during the evenings after work, across the December/January period. The light switches are in the vestry which is in the south-east corner of the building, but our access was the main South door, so a torchlight procession was required after the lights were extinguished to get out through the south transept and the nave. One night we worked particularly late, and for whatever reason the torch had packed up. My cohort assured me that we'd be fine getting out because the church was brightly floodlit outside, and this also did a good job of lighting up the interior - he'd got out using this light a few days before. Unfortunately we hadn't realised quite how late it was, and as we were washing in the vestry sink there was a loud 'clunk' as the time-switch did its thing and the lighting contactor dropped out, plunging the outside into darkness! That was about the longest walk I've ever taken - feeling my way through absolute pitch darkness and bumping into pews along the way.... but I'd swear I could hear more noises than the two of us were generating, so I wasn't best pleased when we realised we'd left the heating on and had to feel our way back in and find the switches concealed in the corner of the north-east chapel. I'm convinced we were not alone..... When the organ was finally out I discovered two tomb slabs embedded in the floor of what had been the lower organ chamber, which had previously been covered by the regulators and main trunking. I brushed, cleaned and polished them before we finally left - perhaps they were just grateful to have some peace and quiet after 45 years of very loud Compton above them!
  18. Well Huw Edwards has shown his prowess on Songs of Praise, and also several times on programmes he's fronted for BBC Wales. The last one a few weeks ago saw him playing the Compton in the Jewins Welsh Church, London. In the 70s he played in churches in and around Llanelli. If you're prepared to accept minor regional celebrities then BBC Wales itself has a news presenter - Jamie Owen - who has also been seen playing the occasional hymn. The most famous person I can think of is David Hyde-Pierce who played Niles Crane in 'Frasier'. He is apparently an organist and - if Hector Olivera's website is anything to go by - a big fan of Mr. Olivera.
  19. It was indeed St. John the Baptist right in the centre of Cardiff. The organ is a three manual Willis recently restored by David Wells. http://www.cardiffcentralparish.org/ Can't get a link directly to the organ pages but if you click here and follow the first link to St. John's pages you'll see a link to 'Willis Organ' Steve
  20. The NPOR has a good photo of the Ryde Town Hall console which exactly fits the bill. Steve
  21. Yes, it was the final episode - 'The Remorseful Day' - and star-studded it was too. The choir was conducted by Barrington Phelong (composer of the Morse theme and incidentals) who called for a break because the organist was "...having trouble with her Diapasons!" The then Exeter organ scholar Richard Hills was in the choir too.
  22. Although I've never compared stills from the two programmes, I have a sneaking suspicion that the church and organ seen in 'The Vicar of Dibley' are the same church and organ featured in John Thaw's greatest work - 'Goodnight Mr. Tom'. In the latter Thaw's character has a harmonium at home, and also plays the church organ. One that's slipped through the net is Dennis Potter's 'Lipstick on Your Collar' in which Roy Hudd played a cinema organist and part-time sex pest (they'd obviously done their research there...!) with the scenes shot at the State cinema, Grays, Essex which auditorium and organ also appeared fleetingly in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'. The music in the Potter play was dubbed by Nigel Ogden who also provided the hands and feet shots. For once they did match the vision and audio as the recordings were made at Grays, unlike 'The Smallest Show on Earth' where a Compton console is seen but a Hammond is heard. Anyone seen 'The Abominable Dr. Phibes'?
  23. You could easily start another thread on this one, but my best guess is - a bit of both. However I do honestly believe that HE believed in what he was doing, so vandalism it might have been in some situations, but done with the best intentions. You could pose the same question about John Compton, and to a degree the answer might be the same, but even in his sometimes drastic re-builds I believe he was far more sucessful far more often than H-J. Compton was though undoubtedly a genius! Stephen
  24. You've just summed up the pros and cons perfectly! Most of our large and historic* instruments are the product of a process of evolution, and while I am - at heart - a preservationist when it comes to historic pipework (if it's any good, of course!), there HAS to be a measure of common sense in the treatment of the business end if the organ is to maintain its purpose in the accompaniment of worship, rather than be a highly valued but uncomfortable museum-piece. I can, for instance, see a case for preserving a hitch-down swell during a re-build if it's original, but for the life of me I can't see the point in reversing an earlier change to a balanced pedal. The result may be a re-creation of what was there originally, but it ISN'T original, therefore ISN'T historic, and will probably be a pain in the a*** for the organist. (*Historic in terms of their provenance and pedigree, rather than being in original condition)
  25. Sorry Paul, I didn't mean to decry the purpose of the donations, and I absolutely agree with you that it would be nice if more people did remember the parish organ project in their wills. Indeed that has been the case in two neighbouring parishes here which in due course should benefit the instruments concerned. What I was suggesting (and I'm quite prepared to be shot down in flames for it) is that there must surely come a time when - however large the building - an organ has all it is ever likely to really need from the musical standpoint. Do we then question the wisdom of making additions, or keep on growing because we have the space and the money? It's not a situation we're likely to encounter in the UK - unless the RAH and Liverpool Anglican decide to play an advanced game of 'keeping up with the Joneses' but there are some positively enormous instruments in the USA that do sometimes leave me wondering. I like the big jobs as much as anyone - Liverpool, RAH, St. Sulpice (hoping to go there in the Spring!), but to be honest I was recently revelling in the glories of Hereford, and came away thinking "What more could you ever want from an organ?" Mind you - people do say I'm easily pleased..... mostly those who've heard me play
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