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Alistair Timmis

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  1. Dear all, I wonder if those of you on the forum can assist me with some enquiries, based on the wealth of knowledge, experience or both that I know exists here. Firstly, I regularly play an instrument in an average sized parish church, with a relatively dry acoustic, with the below specification. It has Hill origins of 1859 but is now more recognisably Compton of 1948. Department and Stop list Pedal 1 Bourdon 16 D 2 Dulciana 16 A 3 Flute 8 D 4 Dulciana 8 A 5 Dulcet 4 A 6 Trombone 16 C 7 Clarion 4 C, pitch as on survey form Great 8 Double Diapason 16 A 9 Open Diapason I 8 10 Open Diapason II 8 bass from A 11 Gemshorn 8 A 12 Claribel 8 13 Octave 4 14 Flute 4 TC 15 Twelfth 2 2/3 B 16 Fifteenth 2 17 Larigot 1 1/3 B 18 Trumpet 8 C Swell 19 Open Diapason 8 20 Rohr Flute 8 21 Muted Viola 8 22 Viole Celeste 8 TC 23 Principal 4 24 Fifteenth 2 25 Mixture II 26 Trombone 16 C 27 Trumpet 8 C 28 Clarion 4 C Console Console type detached Stop type stopkey Couplers Swell to Pedal Swell to Great Swell octave Swell suboctave Great to Pedal It is worth noting at this stage that at a previous time there was a 32' Sub Bass (polyphone), a Clarinet 8' on the Great and a Hautboy 8' on the Swell, up until the 1948 changes. It is now being proposed that the following amendments will benefit the tonal palette, colour, dynamics and versatility of the instrument: Addition of an 8' Oboe to the Swell, in order that a softer reed sound is available again after many years of being missed by successive Organists which should be useful for hymns, choir items and repertoire where at present the only reed sound is the rather larger Trumpet. Changing of the 1 1/3 Larigot on the Great to a 3-rank Mixture, in order to better provide upperwork for congregational singing which helps in accompanying without having to resort to the largest diapasons/reeds constantly (we get some very large congregations and big events at this church). Using the stop/slider occupied by the Dulcet 4' on the Pedal to set up a harmonic 32' Sub Bass once again, perhaps derived from one or both of the Pedal 16' flues. Could I ask for advise on the following questions? What sort of cost might one expect to be associated with work like this, in particular the new rank? How easy is it to set up a 32' harmonic pedal flue? What permissions/process needs to be followed? Presumably we need to speak with the Diocesan Organ Advisor and would this work require the obtaining of a faculty to proceed? My intention was firstly, having floated the matter at a Standing Committee meeting and being met with unanimous approval there, to get some idea of the costs and feasibility to present to the PCC in September in order to get permission to put the wheels in to motion providing that the whole project is feasible. All advise, specification comments and suggestions, and experiences would be welcome. This is potentially a good opportunity for the church and instrument that this matter concerns and financially we are in a fortunate place to be able to even consider it. All the best, AT
  2. John Scott Whiteley for Joseph Jongen, in particular the Sonata Eroica - without doubt.
  3. Malcolm, I would agree with you about some of the repertoire - wouldn't be my first choices either, although I confess to have found some of it really very interesting listening. Reading the programme notes, many of the pieces 'paint' really quite clever images. I had no idea that the organ at Canterbury is as modest as it is, but it is certainly good at what it does. Indeed, John's manner was good, but it isn't really a first for the series. Inevitably throughout it there have been some confident speakers and some less so, and the two John's rank highest for speaking on camera in terms of the flow presentation skills required to do this convincingly. Perhaps some teaching/lecturing experience, or even some previous experience in front of cameras (JSW) helps - but really it comes down to comfort zones/confidence. Either way, the talks given on these DVDs are fascinating each and every time. I wonder where the next DVD will be from? I am sure somebody will know. I had heard whispers of Durham, but that was in the Durham region, so perhaps they're just being hopeful! Best regards, A Timmis
  4. Agreed on all accounts. A wicked sense of humour, one could say!
  5. It was certainly a treat - perhaps the fastest hour I have ever known to pass! The Bach Wedge was great fun - I liked the little disclaimer he put on it before hand, along the lines of it not being a fully authentic performance, fit for 21st Century Bach! I wondered what that would mean when the time came, but thoroughly enjoyed the result. We have greatly enjoyed a couple of other big Bach works this year at York, and this was a fitting end. The Passacaglia was superb - it was the third time I have heard it, and every time it grows on me more. I agree that repeated hearing is perhaps of advantage, I was unsure but appreciative the first time, very impressed the second, and loved it the third. The final chord of 'perfection' is just that. I do hope you had a good study of the programme notes - it takes a bit of practice to follow them through the work, but the key thing is what you can deduce from the notes about the mood of the piece, which is clearly filled to the brim with emotional highs and lows. You could not be more right in saying that the absolute highlight was the Sonata Eroica. This is an amazing piece of music, and the performance of it tonight can hardly justify any words. You mention the Allegro from the 6th Widor symphony, this is one of my top five favourite pieces of all time. I think John did it immense justice, as did the organ - the Bombarde got some serious exercise, as did the Tuba Mirabilis at those opening chords (yes, I could detect it in the Quire!). It has some fine counterpoint in it I agree - although you need to listen particularly carefully at York to make out some of the finer parts. It was a fabulous evening, and one cannot thank John enough, not least for tonight, but for 35 years of it. We should also pay credit to John additionally for organising what has been a superb recital series throughout, every single one played by leading and inspirational organists. Regards, Tosher
  6. I also heard it at Ripon - wasn't it splendid? The detailed programme notes John provided were very useful I agree, and gave the piece much depth and feeling. I still have them so will take them along incase they aren't provided at the Minster.
  7. Dear all, Following on from previous discussion relating to the departure of the Organist of York Minster, John Scott Whiteley, I thought it would be of interest to members to note this Saturday as the date of his final recital as the Organist (advertised by the Minster as 'farewell concert'), which also closes the ever popular York Minster summer recital series. The programme is as follows: Allegro (from Symphonie VI, Op.42) Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) Passacaglia, Op.17 (2009) John Scott Whiteley (b.1950) Etude (Canon) in E Major, Op.56 Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Sonata Eroica, Op.94 & Papillons noirs (13 Preludes pour piano, Op.69 No.11, arr. J.S. Whiteley) Joseph Jongen (1873-1953) Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, BWV 548, "The Wedge" J.S. Bach (1685-1750) At this recital, presumably at the end, I am informed that the Dean of York, the Very Rev'd Keith Jones, will formally present John with the title Organist Emeritus, in recognition of his long and distinguished service since being appointed to York Minster by Dr Francis Jackson in 1975. For those who wish to hear the doyen of the York Minster organ at what I am certain will be an emotional and still very thrilling recital, then this is not to be missed. Admission is £8, and the recital begins at 19:00 prompt. Best Wishes.
  8. All, Interesting points. As MM states, the vastness of the space (if that's a legitimate piece of phrasiology) at York Minster imposes a particular effect upon the sound of the organ, which is very hard to describe concisely. This of course gives it a rather grand and spacious feel, but also creates difficulties for the organ, not only with listening, but as we have heard, in playing as well. Whilst never having played it myself, I hear of the challenges from those who have - and the interesting ways of compromising or overcoming the various issues that are presented. The organ, overall, is best heard in the Quire, and there is no doubt about that. However, in many ways, the organ is heard to stunning effect when stood beneath the central tower, in the crossing (or at the top of the nave, at a push. As soon as you travel further west, the 'distance' of the sound becomes enormous, and we're talking a tangible change that can be noted step by step), and as such this is the area from which to hear the distinctly west facing (and rather loud) Tuba Mirabilis. Whilst slightly reduced in power from what it was (24" pressure rather than 25" pre 1993, I think) it is still the saving grace for big nave services. The organ in itself sounds very distant (but albeit very grand and in some nerdy ways appealing for it) from the nave without this significant leader. Returning to the notion of sitting in the Quire, I am told much of the pipework is actually turned to face east, but I aren't 100% sure on this. I suppose the thing to remember is that the organ is situated east of the tower, so the sound is far more concise in the Quire rather than the gradual 'blur' at the other side anyway. Obviously things like the east pointing Bombarde are really only effective in the Quire, and whilst this is the counter-foil for the Tuba Mirabilis (although I'd vote for it to be beefed up a few notches (only on 10" wind) and stuck on top of the case rather than on the north side where it can be heard to be distinctly seperated), it can actually still be used to effect in the nave, as it 'brightens' the sound somewhat. In the same way, the Tuba Mirabilis can still be to some extent enjoyed in the Quire as you hear it coming back at you, and if you're familiar enough with York, you can tell it is there by the tone anyway. Whilst it would be attractive to sit at the top of the nave and observe the nave console, much in the same way as say the nearby Ripon Cathedral do, it simply wouldn't give you the right feel for many works, nor would it enable any intimacy in it, and my vote most certainly lies with the Quire for recitals. The variety and scope of the York organ, and the sounds it can create (not least) in different parts of what is, to be fair, an absolutely enormous Cathedral, fills me with great enthusiasm and interest in what it can do. That FJ quote sounds intriguing - remember though that he is known for his sense of humour and general mischief! Did he mean a nave of 10 people? I have heard some very funny stories concerning his time at York, but perhaps we should leave those for another day! Regards, Tosher
  9. Yes I made this, and it was inspiring. Frankly, I wish/dream/hope/pray (not in that order, mind) to be able to climb the stairs up to that or any console, let alone play a big recital, at well over 90 years of age. I thoroughly enjoyed the music, and to be fair, despite the couple of mis-fired pistons in the final piece (Carillon de Westminster, Vierne), it was the usual inspirational and touching performance from FJ. Year on year, this is a special recital, not least as he must have known the organ since 1929 when he became a chorister at York. Great also to hear the JSW fascinating fact that last night was FJs 55th recital in the annual series. Did anyone else make it?
  10. Francis Jackson is doing a recital in York Minster this Saturday. He has known this organ from the 1930s, and possibly before! His programme can be found at this interesting link, which I found yesterday: http://organrecitalobserver.blogspot.com/ Regards
  11. I THINK this may be the new series of 21st Century Bach. We knew it was coming up, and apparently it was to move away from the BBC.
  12. Thanks for these - the performance in itself was brilliant. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.
  13. Dear All, Tonight at Ripon Cathedral is a one off, and will undoubtedly be spectacular in the Cathedral setting, if not highly unusual and thrilling. Taken from the Cathedral website: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Tuesday 13th July, 7.30 pm International virtusoso DAVID BRIGGS improvises to the 1925 silent film classic. David Briggs is one of the finest improvisers of his generation and renowned for his virtuoso performances accompanying classic silent films. Now he brings his artistry to Ripon, providing music for "The Phantom of the Opera" starring Lon Chaney. For a night at the pictures with a difference, come and share this fantastic experience in the atmospheric surroundings of the Cathedral. Admission: £10.00 on the door including glass of wine or soft drink. Free entry for under 16s if accompanied by a paying adult. More information about David Briggs: www.david-briggs.org This event has been made possible by the National Lottery through Awards for All.
  14. I also have this CD - it's an unusual and interesting take on the instrument. Personally, I don't like the sound, BUT found it very interesting to learn where all the 'crispness' is going when you're in the nave and it sounds like its playing 10 miles away (straight up the tower)!!! The current organ at York is really designed to face East, and if it wasn't for the Tuba Mirabilis, would be a bit of a flop for big nave services. What would work miracles would be a big glass or perspex screen to be put across the base of the tower itself, at nave roof height, which would direct more of the sound westwards. But I can't see it, really! For the quire though, its superb. The Bombarde en Chamade is a fun and very well used stop, by JSW at least. It points, logically with the name, horizontally towards the high alter on the north side of the screen (behind the curtain). It is really interesting to hear from the nave, as the acoustic in effect means you hear it '2nd hand' after its travelled to the east window and back down, past the organ case, and it goes on forever after lifting off. Amazing to hear, actually. T
  15. Peter, I would like to go to this, but then I saw what was on at Evensong at York and had a fuel/time/musical debate with myself! D'Arcy and his mother are both wonderful characters. His programme looks excellent - enjoy! Best Wishes.
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