Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Ian Ball

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Ian Ball

  1. Likewise - apologies for misinformation. Was going from a conversation with Michel Gaillard in my pigeon French!
  2. Bernard Aubertin has made a speciality of fractional length reeds, with cylindrical resonators and leathered shallots, which produce strong, stable notes with lots of fundamental. They take up very little room. There are several examples at 32' pitch. Can't recall whether they are 1/4 or 1/8 length, but they sound superb!
  3. Go and play it. A stupendously good instrument, hugely improved by the (not-so-recent) rebuild. And, for my personal taste, more pleasurable to hear and play than Coventry, and more versatile.
  4. Although, these days, both firms are making luscious post-Romantic style instruments rather successfully. Had the privilege of hearing the new Musikverein Rieger on Sunday (Hindemith 2nd Organ Concerto and Strauss Alpine Symphony). Magnificent, although not the steadiest wind, nor sufficient 32' flue fundamental to support Strauss' Alpine Symphony. Nevertheless, some beautifully classy 'new' colours (i.e. back to the '20s) and light years away from Clifton, Christ Church, Smith Square and The High Kirk, beautiful and classy though they can be. And the mobile console... my my. Mirror finish, ebonised casework like a Steinway. Burr [something] wooden stop jambs and beautiful, ergonomic, Austro-German stop-key arrangement. I'm sure Rieger or Klais would do a wonderful job at Kings today, funds permitting. But then, so could the bigger British builders, after their recent experiences restoring instruments of a similar vintage (not just in the UK) without neo-classical dogma kicking them in the ribs.
  5. Forgive me. I didn't realise you were also qualified in cut'n'paste.
  6. Alternatively, you can talk to an employment lawyer. Send me a PM. Most of the above is completely wrong.
  7. Absolutely electrifying. A musician who plays with his ears. Loved it.
  8. Hear hear. One simply wants an adequate bass to the manual stops when accompanying. Balanced independent choruses are not only completely irrelevant but undesirable, since one accompanies a cathedral choir by using the organ like a giant one-manual, perhaps leaving one keyboard free for uncoupled solo effects occasionally. Even that might be a rare thing, since an enclosed Solo division will usefully be coupled down for many things. So, one might be moving mainly between Swell and Choir (with So and Sw coupled to Ch) most of the time, with solos played on the Gt flutes or diapasons. Or one couples everything to the Great, sans Great stops (since jumping from Choir to Swell is a pain) leaving the Solo free for clarinets and harmonic flutes, or 'squeak & growl' in the psalms (16' Cor Anglais, Gamba, [Clarinet] & 4' Flute with right hand up an octave, left hand down an octave etc etc). That leaves wriggle room to thicken the stew with softer Great stops when the choir sings more lustily. The most important things to find when practising on a cathedral organ, are the 'fake' effects and to get the hang of reaching such combinations by the most efficient route, since setting up generals for a psalm or anthem is both time consuming and restricting. For example, 'diapasons with full swell' might only be Stopped Diapason and 4' Principal (unenclosed somewhere) plus Swell 8, 8, 4, 2, Oboe, Double Trumpet, if the Swell 2' and unenclosed 4' have sufficient harmonics. Why 'fake'? Well, any more stops and it might sound too muddy or blow the choir away. But I digress. If pedal upperwork (by which I mean anything other than an 8' Bass Flute) is any good, it will have been voiced to balance the Great upperwork, which is seldom used under a choir. One needs six pedal stops, at most: rumble, mf bass, p bass, [pp bass], helicopters (32 & 16). Conveniently placed Great to Pedal and Choir to Pedal pistons are essential. Then, if the rest of the organ is well voiced (bearing in mind the size constraints of this particular challenge), pedal upperwork is again pretty redundant. Bach is perfectly convincing at Truro using the Great 16' to Mixture chorus coupled down to the Pedal Violone, Bourdon and Octave: 10 stops. Perhaps plus Ophicleide (but not Open Wood) and Great reeds in the right piece. Because the chorus is well voiced, the treble sings, the bass has definition, but the middle voices can still be heard. My ideal small cathedral organ exists in several forms already so doesn't need reinventing: Truro, Blackburn, Malvern Priory immediately spring to mind. I'm sure there are several smaller parish church organs which would do the job perfectly well. As Dr Who once said (after filming in Wells Cathedral) the organ is more of a mixing desk than a musical instrument - this is absolutely right, especially when playing symphonically, which is precisely what one is doing when accompanying Anglican liturgy on a typical Anglican cathedral organ.
  9. No - that's in the left hand
  10. Blackburn Cathedral Lunchtime Organ Recital Wednesday 2 November, 2011 at 1.00 pm IAN BALL (Worcester) IN MEMORIAM Music for Reformation Day, All Saints & All Souls J.S. Bach: Ricercare à 6 (from The Musical Offering) arr. Jean Guillou Maurice Duruflé: Prélude et Fugue sur le nom d’ALAIN Ferencz Liszt: Funérailles (from Harmonies poétiques et religieuses) arr. Kynaston David Briggs: Attende Domine (from Le Tombeau de Duruflé) Naji Hakim: Gershwinesca Admission free; retiring collection
  11. Thank you. I couldn't have replied better myself to such a condescending and largely irrelevant post, and I certainly have no intention of justifying my opinion or posting my CV on this forum. But by way of postscript, one should not assume that the Clifton Cathedral organ is 'adequate' for the building (depending on your definition), or that it stood a chance of ever being so. It was the best the Diocese could afford at the time, and is an improvement on the original intentions of the Diocese and architect. Like the BH organ, it is intrinsically a fine instrument, but the circumstances surrounding its installation are completely different. As MM says, there is a lot you need to know. However, is it unreasonable to assume (and I accept that I have made an assumption) that acoustician, architect, organ consultant and contractors communicate, in circumstances where comparable projects have not provoked such a flood of criticism and controversy? Or perhaps I have misunderstood. Perhaps MM could clarify whether he is implying that it is simply not possible to build an organ appropriate to the client's needs, in a space like Bridgewater Hall? Off to enjoy the rest of my evening sucking eggs (cheeky wink).
  12. Oh. Forgive me. I must remember to blame the engine next time I drive an under-powered 'family' car, or blame insufficient RAM next time I use a slow computer being sold for gaming.
  13. Remember to turn your hi-hi up to 11. You don't want the neighbours complaining that the BH organ is too quiet.
  14. St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh: Great Stopped Diapason.
  15. Well, assuming that this post isn't satirical and also assuming for a moment one doesn't subscribe to the 'Frasier' attitude that the 'snob factor' is a positive boon, keeping 'classical' music (or wine, polo, skiing etc) reassuringly exclusive, I would subscribe to the Bernstein/Goodall attitude that music is music, particularly for a lengthy summer festival such as the BBC Proms, where entertainment value is important. Given that much 'classical' music these days incorporates styles and techniques pioneered by 'pop', I think it's a good thing that diversity is being championed. And if it gets bums on seats (in front of Mander's greatest rebuild) then perhaps budgets can be met and curiosity stirred. Incidentally, I thought 2009's MGM Musicals Prom and the Dr Who proms among the most entertaining live events I've seen in years. Alas I missed this year's Comedy Prom but heard good reports.
  16. Tuesday 26 July, 13:10 - 14:00 Bath Abbey Summer Prom Series Ian Ball (Worcester) J.S. Bach arr. Ball: Sinfonia to Cantata 29 G.F. Handel: Extracts from Tunes for Mr Clay’s Musical Clock W.A. Mozart: Fantasia in F minor (K608) Zsolt Gardonyi: Mozart Changes Naji Hakim: Gershwinesca Admission Free Console view via video screen
  17. Neither adjective sprang to mind hearing Stephen Farr's prom.
  18. I know what you mean, Sean, but he who pays the piper... The church rarely holds organ recitals and asked for 'popular' pieces. So I deliberately chose a programme one seldom hears these days: the kind of selection Noel Rawsthorne would play, especially for those unused to organ music, and which first drew me to the organ in the '80s. The Widor was a request; two couples in the audience were celebrating wedding anniversaries. Actually, I've never played BWV565 in a public recital (what a good opener it is!) and rarely programme the Widor without other movements from the same symphony. It all hung together rather well and a large, varied audience went away happy, humming tunes and saying how good it was to hear their organ "in its own right" rather than during the liturgy. Perhaps we're so afraid of giving the punters what they want sometimes, we end up alienating them?
  19. Ian Ball at St Mary Magdalene Parish Church, Church End, Twyning, Gloucestershire, GL20 6DA Saturday 23 July 2011, at 7.30 pm. Admission: £8 (includes interval wine) The last organ built by John Nicholson, restored in 2004 J.S.Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV 565) Handel: pieces for Musical Clock Mozart: Fantasia in F minor (K608) Schumann: Study in C (Op.56/i) Elgar: Allegro maestoso (from Sonata in G) Interval Boëllmann: Suite Gothique (Choral; Menuet Gothique; Prière à Notre-Dame; Toccata) Vaughan Williams: Rhosymedre Gardonyi: Mozart Changes Widor: Toccata (from Symphony No.5) Encore: Grieg: Solvejg's Song
  20. Oh so would I - but I'd rather spend that sort of cash on a 4x4 or a loft conversion. We were discussing the benefits of reed organs as budget home practice instruments. As for those who believe there is "no intrinsic variety of tone" - it all depends on the quality of the reed organ and the breadth of your expectations. You get as much variety of tone between [reedy] 'Clarabella' and [reedy] 'Gamba' as between your Stopped Diapason and your Koppel Flute; your Portunal and your Open Flute etc, which is fine for learning the notes. But you also get an independent pedal division, 16' stops and a rather satisfying Full Swell with a wide dynamic range, and a ppp Dulciana for pre-breakfast practice
  21. It astonishes me. One has total control over the attack and release of each note, an action resembling the best large old tracker organs, and quiet stops so as not to disturb the neighbours. If only the concept had been properly developed: the incredible voicing and subtly of the best Mustels (blowers) with the practicality, size and robustness of the best Holts or Rushworths (suckers). [i am taking for granted a full pedalboard and electric blower/sucker]. I would never give up my reed organ for a toaster, even tho it can sound a tad Pugwashian in the wrong repertoire (who cares when you're just learning the notes). It is the next nest thing to a small pipe organ - and with my Apollo's aged 'pallet' springs, when uncoupled it feels even closer to a temperamental mid-50s Flentrop then ever, meaning one has to stay on the keys! Staccato does NOT work, unless it is weighty and Franckian. No bad thing for beginners transferring from the piano, tempted to play Bach and Mozart as if flying a sewing machine. Carefully controlled détaché works perfectly, however, and a well set up machine speaks just as quickly as comparable pipes, down to 32' in the pedal. Ideal. Plus, 16-foot stops have so many more harmonics, one doesn't need to couple if independent voices are needed. Trios work well on the smallest 2-manual reed organ, uncoupled, tho perhaps with a convenient octave transposition on the manuals (which have an abundance of 16' stops and full C compass). Sadly, I suspect that the cost of building a new solid oak or mahogany console with ivory & ebony keys would be greater than a mid-price toaster, even before one employed a free-reed voicer skilful enough (if they exist these days). I suspect one might as well commission a decent 3-stop tracker than build a reed organ anew. Expensive. Great shame. I confess to being a convert, without the back ache induced by some new house organs I could mention... Ian
  • Create New...