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Mander Organs


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Everything posted by S_L

  1. Undoubtedly Mr Tovey was the driving force behind the preservation of the instrument. Like David I wonder whether the 2001 additions scuppered the chances of any funding. I also have to say, and I speak from some experience that, I wonder about the quality of the 2001 work as well.
  2. The previous post is taken from the Wolverhampton Express and Star. The first article from 2016, the second from December 2018! And with apologies for the poor copying!
  3. Civic Hall organ to be relocated and restored to former glory Wolverhampton Civic Hall's historic organ is to be relocated and restored to it its former glory. The City of Wolverhampton Council plans have been approved by Historic England following months of discussions about the best way to preserve the heritage of the organ that dates back to 1938. The Grade II listed Civic Hall and Wulfrun Hall are undergoing a £14.4 million revamp to improve facilities. The organ sits in the roof of the Civic Hall and needs to be removed to enable better ventilation for fire safety and to make adjustments to the stage area in order to attract bigger shows to the venue. Renowned organ specialist and city organist, Steve Tovey, has been appointed to supervise the removal of the organ and find it a new location, with the hope it can remain in Wolverhampton. Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, added: "The Civic Hall organ is of historical significance and no doubt brings back fond memories for Wolverhampton residents. "We are delighted we have been able to find a solution that meets Historic England's requirements. "The Civic Hall is a nationally recognised and popular venue among UK audiences and the entertainment industry, and attracts very large audiences. "Increasing the size of the stage at the Civic Hall will enable it to accommodate bigger productions including tours which the region cannot currently attract. "There is huge potential for attracting new audiences from across the West Midlands to live events and music, festivals, the arts, culture and night life. "This in turn means even more visitors to Wolverhampton city centre and the wider sub region resulting in the creation of more jobs in the local economy." The organ, built by British firm John Compton and Company, boasts 6,241 pipes, which range from one and a half inches to 16 feet in height and are similar to that of a church organ. Tovey added: "I'm delighted I will be personally supervising the careful removal of this historical organ and ensuring it is safely stored until a suitable home can be found where it can be restored to its former glory." The first enabling phases of the building works at the Civic Halls have now been completed, including structural surveys and other investigations, asbestos removal and the renewal of fire alarm and emergency lighting systems, to enable the halls to re-open temporarily from the beginning of next month. Refurbishment work on the Civic Halls, including the removal of the organ, will continue in the New Year. released: Thursday 22 September, 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. December 4th - 2018 Plans to restore Wolverhampton's historic organ to its former glory scrapped Plans to restore Wolverhampton's historic organ to its former glory have been scrapped after council bosses refused to pay the £2 million revamp fees. More than 6,200 pipes of the organ, which dates back to 1938, will be 'disposed' of after Wolverhampton Council claimed proposals were 'no longer financially viable'. But the Labour-led council has since been blasted for failing to move the iconic organ from its home before work at the 80-year-old Civic Halls began. Leader of the opposition Councillor Wendy Thompson said: "If the organ was removed before the asbestos work, the organ would still be in a good condition "It's not just immensely disappointing, it's a sign of greater issues because it's now, yet again, another example of Wolverhampton Council not taking proper care of public money and assets. "I think many people in Wolverhampton care about history. I'm sure they will wish more care had been taken with it, and more thought." The council revealed plans to remove the organ from its home in the roof of the Grade II-listed Civic Hall two years ago. The organ, which was built by British firm John Compton and Company, needed to be moved to enable better ventilation for fire safety and increase stage space as part of the Civic Halls refurbishment. It has 6,241 pipes, which range from one-and-a-half inches to 16 feet in height. Further investigation during the works uncovered the pipes were in poor condition but now plans have had to be scrapped due to 'staggering' costs and no possibility of funding from the Heritage Lottery. Historic England has no objection on heritage grounds to dispose of the pipes, as approved by planning officials, the council said. But the council is reviewing options to preserve the organ console. Councillor John Reynolds, the council's cabinet member for city economy, said: "We are in the process of carrying out a sensitive refurbishment of Wolverhampton’s historic Civic Halls. “Working closely with Historic England, we have looked at all the options available to us with the organ but unfortunately this is the only one that makes financial sense and we are really disappointed we are unable to restore it. “The Civic Halls are internationally recognised and popular among UK audiences and the entertainment industry, attracting very large audiences. “Increasing the space above the stage at the Civic Hall will enable it to accommodate bigger productions including touring groups, which the region cannot currently attract. “There is huge potential for bringing new audiences from across the West Midlands to live events and music, festivals, the arts, culture and night life. “This in turn means even more visitors to Wolverhampton city centre and the wider sub-region resulting in the creation of more jobs in the local economy".
  4. The church closed in 2011 but it is a Grade II listed building and the organ is part of the listing. Interesting that the organ may have been destroyed.
  5. S_L

    Jean Guillou

    I was in St. Eustache one Sunday morning, for Mass, quite a few years ago and Guillou improvised before and after, as well as during the offertory of the Mass. The 'Toccata' after Mass was a stunning piece of work, it was totally amazing. The music before the Mass was, at one point, the loudest noise I have ever heard. I thought the organ was going to jump off the back wall and attack me! Undoubtedly Jean Guillou was one of the most important teachers, organists and improvisers of his day but his music is not limited to organ works of which there are a huge number including seven organ concerti. There are three symphonies, two piano concerti, chamber music for all kinds of combinations. In total over 80 opus numbers! May he rest in peace.
  6. Only five years!!! - A youngster!
  7. Cross curricular links could involve you in huge amounts of time and work and this assumes that the youngsters teachers are supportive of the whole project. You don't say how old the 'audience' is. One thing is certain that they should have some experience of listening, performing, composing and reviewing. I think my only advice would be that the, you called it a recital, should involve the youngsters in lots of exciting musical activity rather than be, just, passive listeners! Hope it goes well.
  8. It was in last weeks as well - as was a Senior Music Minister to succeed Noel Tredinnick at All Soul's Langham Place and a Director of Music at St. Margaret's Westminster..
  9. S_L


    Franz Schmidt - a forgotten composer! My friend and ex colleague, the late Harold Truscott, was an authority on his music. If the Prelude and Fugue inspires you then try listening to other organ works - there are plenty of them! Or the one of the four Symphonies - No. 4 (A Requiem for my Daughter) is wonderful and is available, together with the other three on CD (L1 0122-2 034). Schmidt was a fine 'cellist but, surprisingly, there is no concerto for that instrument. He was also a very fine pianist and there is a Concerto for left hand. I think his lack of popularity was possibly, coloured by his, seemingly, support for the Nazi part. That, and the fact that he was, in his time, considered to be a little old-fashioned relying heavily on tonal counterpoint and heavy orchestration in the manner of Bruckner. The Cantata Deutsche Auferstehung (German Resurrection), his last work, was a setting of Nazi text. Hitler knew Schmidt and this piece was commissioned after the Anschluss. It was never finished by Schmidt but by Robert Wagner. At the same time he was working on a piece for the pianist Wittgenstein, of Jewish decent, which, possibly, indicates his lack of sympathy with the Nazi cause!
  10. S_L

    Buckfast Abbey

    And, if you were working yourself at that time - or just missed it - here it is:
  11. And to Margaret Atkinson MBE, chair of the Huddersfield Choral Society - for services to church and community in Huddersfield
  12. Colin Davey to be Organist and Director of Choirs at Wimborne Minster from March 2019.
  13. I also see that Skrabi have been instructed to produce a mechanical action organ for the Catholic Church in Barnsley, West Yorkshire. The organ is to be built in two stages and here is a link to the details on the Skrabi website. http://www.skrabl.co.uk/news-item.asp?NID=40
  14. I'm sure that quite a few colleagues have used C.S. Lang's Harmony at the Keyboard & Exercises in Score Reading. I have a copies somewhere! The 200 Tunes for sight-singing were also excellent and, in the 'good old days' when A level students needed to be able to do this I used it extensively. I have it in my mind somewhere that I have heard the Evening Service in B flat - but I can't think where that would have been and, whilst I have a huge collection of 'Mag & Nuncs' it doesn't seem to be amongst them. Some of Lang's music is published by Novello - an interesting list: http://www.musicsalesclassical.com/composer/works/881/0
  15. My condolences also! My own father died just three years ago. He was an atheist and a certain amount of pressure was put on the family to have hymns and prayers, led by a 'visiting clergyman', who wouldn't have known him, at the Crematorium. In the end I put my foot down and insisted that we had no hymns and no prayers and no visiting clergyman!! Instead I and my brother-in-law talked, briefly, about Dad, his remarkable achievements in a long life, his successes and his failures! He would have wanted us to laugh and we did and we ended, because Dad played the trumpet, by listening to the last movement of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto during which I invited the assembled company to remember him, in their own way, while we listened to the recording. My second son did the committal, without mentioning God! He had done it hundreds of times but said that it was difficult. Several over-pious relatives were a little shocked and twittered (not twittered - but twittered - if you follow my meaning!) - but it was what Dad would have wanted and that's why we did it like that! As David says above, if it is what your father would have wanted then, of course, you have done the right thing! May he rest in peace.
  16. Two of the really great players/scholars of the 20th century! I have, slight, and very different recollections of both. Of Peter Hurford giving an extraordinary recital/masterclass on the GDB in St. Martin's Hull and of Simon Preston giving a recital on the York Monster and making liberal use of the Tuba Mirabilis. I know a church that, rightly, prays for those who are sick and also adds 'and for those who care for them'! Your post, wolsey, has made me very sad!
  17. Thank you wolsey. I apologise to Glasgow - I did know of the change of name! As an external examiner to three Russell Group University music departments I do have some knowledge of what is going on at Undergraduate level. It is true that it is difficult to keep up with change! I didn't mention Huddersfield either - and for the same reason that I omitted the above!
  18. There was a time, quite a long time ago, when I was looking at where to further my musical education that certain, now well-respected Universities, were accepting undergraduates with Grade V on a instrument and 'some level of keyboard attainment'. In those days, if you were an instrumentalist, I was a 'cellist, and you were half decent you went to a Music Conservatoire - the RCM/RAM being the most prestigious followed by Manchester, the lesser London colleges, Birmingham and so on - and not necessarily in that order. Things changed and Universities started asking for Grade VIII as an acceptable entry qualification and the Conservatoires also started to become more and more competitive. I think it is true, and I expect to be shot down for this, to say that the RCM/RAM are still the most prestigious but the RNCM, The Royal Welsh, The Royal Conservatoire of Birmingham and the Royal Scottish are all institutions of excellence in performance and composition. I spent two years at RCM followed by five years in Cambridge where, it seemed that almost every undergraduate had Grade VIII on something or other!!! What has happened since my Undergraduate days I'm not too sure but I do know this that, some time ago I advertised for an assistant. We wanted an enthusiastic NQT with a good degree, they had to teach to A level, and a good level of performance - which we expected them to demonstrate at interview. The standard, with one exception, was woeful! We had candidates with Music degrees from all kinds of institutions who had little or no idea of the kind of standard of musicianship we required from our staff. As well as play on their first instrument I asked candidates to do three keyboard tests - some simple transposition, score reading and some keyboard harmony - things that I did every day! The transposition was laughable but the score reading (the first 20 odd bars of the 2nd movement of Mozart Symphony 40!) was horrendous. Members of the board will know that the music starts in the violas - several candidates began in the wrong octave or were not able to read the alto clef! The 'cellos then come in (Bass clef) followed by the 2nd violins (Treble clef), the 1st violins and then the horns - in E flat! It was carnage!! One candidate rang up to ask what the keyboard tests would be and, when told, withdrew her application. As an entirely separate comment I can say that, of the 50 or so applicants, the clear majority were female and those who made it to the short-list were entirely female. The lady we appointed was a first study flute player, a second study pianist with a 2:1 from a very decent red-brick University. It doesn't surprise me at all that Oxbridge colleges are despairing of the standard of playing. Last year I acted as External Examiner to a well known University Music Department. I was shocked by the overall level of performance! I think I had not better say anymore!
  19. I'm aware that I have upset a few people here! Equally I should tell fellow members that I have also received some pretty nasty private messages from members of this board and have shared them with those members I trust. I wouldn't disagree with Vox to say that the worst enemies of organists are their fellow organists! (If you don't believe me try conducting a 'once a year, local organists association Service' and, afterwards sit back and watch and feel the flack!!!)!) Nowadays, when I do post, I try to read my replies very carefully, to make sure that they are not misinterpreted, misunderstood or give any cause for offence! I have said before that, I think, we are at our best when discussing musical topics and, I believe, at our worst when we huddle over bits of paper disagreeing over a proposed specification and whether a Mixture should have a 'whatever' in it - without due consideration for the person/people who have put the proposal together and who know what they want from the instrument - and who, possibly, also read this board!! I look almost every day and some topics fire me with enthusiasm, others leave me cold - but that is the nature of this type of board. Sometimes I don't post because I have nothing to add to the knowledge on a particular subject. Like John Robinson I do not consider myself to be an organist (I can play to ARCO standard!) but I, mostly, enjoy the board and have learned a lot from members here - for which I thank them, sincerely!
  20. S_L

    Buckfast Abbey

    And an interesting, if slightly predictable list of music for the celebration. It will be good to watch it - from afar!!! Messe de Minuit (Gloria, Agnus Dei) - Marc-Antoine Charpentier Quem pastores laudavere - Hieronympus Praetorius Ordinary: Mass IX Cum jubilo (Kyrie, Sanctus) Hodie, Christus natus est - Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina Voluntary: Toccata-Gigue on the Sussex Carol - George Baker
  21. Yes, I have grim recollections of Stadler too!! Clearly the Bishop in question had a certain amount of taste!!!
  22. As usual with anything from Westminster Abbey - the service was beautifully conceived and executed!
  23. And from http://organstops.org/c/Celesta.html A percussion stop consisting of a set of metal plates struck by hammers actuated by a pneumatic or electric mechanism. According to Sumner, it is usually of 4' pitch, and may utilize “tuning forks” instead of plates. According to Audsley, the plates are placed over tuned resonators. This stop is most often found in theatre organs. Skinner describes the Celesta as “an orchestral reproduction developed by the author”, of 4' pitch and full 61 note compass, and considers it synonymous with the Glockenspiel, and with the Harp at 8' pitch. He reports that when the stop was originally developed, the bars and their resonators were arranged chromatically, and some notes in the lower register were nearly silent. When the bars and their resonators were rearranged so that adjacent notes of the scale were no longer physically adjacent, the problem disappeared. Maclean lists Chrysoglott as a Wurlitzer synonym for Celesta; it is found only in theatre organs. Irwin, the only other source to mention Chrysoglott, lists it separately from Celesta but gives them identical descriptions. Examples Osiris contains dozens of examples of Celesta. The earliest known examples date from the 1910's but the earliest known Skinner examples date from the 1920's. Osiris contains ten examples of Chrysoglott, all but one by Wurlitzer. ………………………. but, of course, you have read this before!!
  24. Does that help at all - or does it just confuse the issue?
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