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John Furse

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  1. If you zoom up the image, you can see smaller pipes behind. It's this: NPORView C00379
  2. I'm puggled ! I've searched the BBC website (not the fastest to navigate) and cannot find Holst in this programme. Is there summat I'm missing, please, Adnosad ? What I did notice, when watching (having previously listened), was that the Timps were offset and to one side of the orchestra, behind the Basses. I would have placed them in the centre. Does anyone know if there a musical or acoustical reason for this or, in the vastness of the RAH, doesn't it matter ?
  3. A powerful, compelling performance, that included a vast amount of intelligent detailing from both soloist and the rest. A critic in the Hall made remarks to the effect that the Strings were overwhelmed. Even on the radio, there were one or two occasions (only) when this was apparent. But, when both are supposed to be playing ‘loudly’, isn’t this almost inevitable - and a point the composer wished to make use of ? Notwithstanding, I cannot recall their phrasing ever being so well shaped. Much credit to the conductor. I found that the Organ sounded curiously English. Is this a criticism ? I’m not sure. Poulenc, with all his marvellous quirkiness, is one of my favourite composers. Hyde, Stasevska and the BBC SO did him proud: one of the best performances I’ve heard.
  4. Reading Jeremy Montagu's article provides more valuable info: “The grouping of lengths that we have makes it very clear that the organ must have been a form of Blockwerk, something like the tenth-century organ at Winchester.” Also: “now thought about Winchester, it might have been a signal instrument, more important for its audibility outside in the town of Bethlehem, than for musical purposes within the church.” However, unlike Montagu, Catalunya has been allowed to demount the pipes from their display and should be able ascertain the exact pitches of each pipe. Many of the bells appear to be the same size, too. What is tantalising is that we hear one note from a bell, but none from a pipe. Will the pitches of the bells correspond with those of the bells ? Indeed, fascinating and ground-breaking – if not quite like Jericho !
  5. The first recording in my previous post was made in the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, in Labastida in the Basque Country, by the Brazilian Elisa Freixo. The large one-manual organ dates from Francisco 1735/Gasparini 1770/Carvajal 1803 and restored in 1984 by Arrizbalaga. Here, the registration is Trompeta real 8’, Flautados at 8’, 4’ + 2’, with Corneta (upper half of keyboard). There is a Trompeta de batalla which puts the real a bit in the shade: Sonata para Clarines y Cadireta - YouTube The second recording, from Segovia, is on the 3-manual Pedro Echevarria of 1772. The ‘expressive’ lowest manual (Cadera) is not used here and the registration not varied. It does not have as many stops as might be imagined but, in that marvellous acoustic (an almost invariable feature of Spanish churches) sounds magnificent. This building surely has one of the most imposing of the many dramatic settings of religious edifices in Spain: Rome, Islam and Christianity here combine on that mountain-backed skyline. The third, from Santa María in Maó (Menorca), is on the 1810 Kyburtz 3-manual. This has four (!) mixtures on the Órgano mayor. Neither this, nor the second, give the registrations employed. Thus, for the English audience, a possible solution would be 1a 'fanfare' reed; 1b flues; 2a 'Cornet' combination; 2b plus reed(s). The last note might easily be underpinned with the Pedal. Having heard the above, I’m sure members will agree that, despite Curley’s manifest virtuosity, such a speed on organs of the day would have been impossible, or sounded plain ridiculous. An aside: with warfare and general strife being much commoner on the mainland of Europe than here at the time of this music, it is no surprise that ‘battle music’ (in Spain, particularly the Batalla) formed a significant and striking part of their organ repertoire. Even small(ish) instruments would often have a Trompeta, facilitating the performance of such.
  6. As I’ve said on here previously (somewhere), there were plans for an Iberian-style organ for a church in London, associated with one of the conservatoires. These were mooted some ten, or more, years back, but seem to either be in abeyance, or have foundered. I would be most interested if they were ongoing. ‘Authentic’, Iberian-style instruments have been installed in the last few decades at locations in Spain, the U.S. and France (possibly, a few other EU countries – I forget), with hybrids in Spain itself. The true ‘Spanish’ Trompeta is a tad different from the high-pressure simulacrums with similar names here, and elsewhere. As OwenTurner hints, to have these things blazing and fizzing away (true aural fireworks) just above one’s head is a privilege and awe-inducing. Listening to these recordings Sonata de Primer Tono Con Trompeta Real - YouTube Sonata de 1 tono para clave o para organo con trompeta real - YouTube Sonata de 1 tono - YouTube will reveal a tendency for the (often uneven) reed to be reinforced with a Corneta, sometimes this can be done with Flautados. One of these even ends without the Trompeta. Remember, many of these instruments were one (split) manual. Speedy stop-changing without an assistant was often tantamount to impossible. However, larger instruments would, of course, allow a more ‘varied’ interpretation. I don’t think there are set rules for how to register this piece – though it is later than the repertoire I used to perform. It has a bipartite structure (cf Scarlatti’s keyboard sonatas), with repeats: this presumes, or provides an opportunity for, varied registration. Note that this Sonata is “for keyboard OR organ . . .” Lidón was at the end of the heyday of the ‘Spanish Classical Organ’ and this tradition was quickly dissolving. I do not have any more time this morning, but may comment on the recordings above in more detail, later.
  7. (This is a condensed version of a question posed privately to DariusB.) I'm querying the use of the Grand Organ in performance and wonder where, in a specific piece or pieces, it would be employed. It obviously has a different function than, for instance, the West end Grand-Orgue at Buckfast. I have great admiration for this project - continuing, as it does, the furtherance of the philosophy of our Victorian forebears in building and so 'equipping' these magnificent edifices. It is a shame that some councils have not been so far-seeing and have destroyed part of our heritage. I also ate one of the best curries ever in a Leeds restaurant that seems no longer to be in existence. I seem to recall it had '44' in its name/address and was in a converted chapel.
  8. Ah, the perils of poorly absorbed online info posted too early in the morning ! Nonetheless, they must have some idea of where they will site this "colossal 32-foot stop". At the West end, it looks as if there is sufficient height for an 8' case centred above the doors, without obscuring the windows - unlike at Buckfast, where the cases are 'split'.
  9. This could be solved by a matching Positive case facing West from the Pulpitum, which would allow for more pipes/rearrangement within the main case. Then, a variation of the Buckfast/St Paul’s idea, with a Nave Great (for large congregations) on the West wall above the doors and a division containing these Jubilee Trumpets. If there is no room in the Triforium for any 32’s, might one of the Transepts be used, as at Exeter ? It would be interesting to know where the Willis 32' Double Open Diapason was.
  10. This Sunday sees the first Celebrity Organ recital at the Cathedral this year: Celebrity Organ recitals - St Edmundsbury Cathedral (stedscathedral.org) Each one will be livestreamed on this ‘channel’: (20+) St Edmundsbury Cathedral | Facebook I have to admit to a personal interest, as one of my organ works will be performed later on. This will provide the first opportunity for me to hear it live since its recording (again in Suffolk) almost three years ago. I have not visited this Cathedral since its completion and only knew the previous (Nicholson) organ, when it was still fairly new. Looking forward to it.
  11. I like it, AndrewG. Both Brighton and Cambridge cases are of high quality. This will pose a conundrum in several ways - not least as regards ‘heritage’. An elegant (?) solution would be to use both, as at Jesus. Thus, the E Oldrid Scott case would be kept (in a stroke possibly solving the Trompeta ‘problem’), with the W one replaced by that from Brighton. I have done the most basic of photographic mock-ups, and it ‘works’. As for size, St P’s is over one-third longer than the Chapel. I have ‘measured’ this by the most basic of GoogleMap comparisons. It should prove more than adequate. I’m sure this, and many other considerations, will have been taken into account, before going ahead with this plan. And, on the YouTube recording (Concert at St Peter’s Brighton: Guildford Cathedral 1977 (Philip Moore) - YouTube) St P's sounds very, very good. The Brighton console may not be adequate for the requirements of St John’s. I am unable to trace a photo of this, though. I presided for a time over a fabulous instrument that had some 17th century pipes, some by Snetzler, a revamp by Father Willis and more in the 20th century . I suppose you could say it had an evolving identity, but was mostly a Father Willis – and, most importantly, sounded like a Father Willis. I feel sure, however, that the intention here is to preserve the central character of Father Willis - who was known to enlarge his own instruments. And I totally agree with swalmsley: “it's entirely possible for the result to sound almost as if there always was a Father Willis in that building.”
  12. Far be it from me to indulge in speculation (returning to Cambridge), but several questions leap into my mind. The first is, of course, who will do the job ? There would seem to be more than enough room to house the Brighton instrument in the Chapel. Will there be some additions/enlargement ? I would have thought such a Pedal, and given its location and usage, ‘required’ both (a) 32’ flue and reed. The current (John’s) department contains mostly 1839/1869 pipes. Will some of these be retained ? Similarly, Brighton has only one choir of strings. Is this sufficient ? Will the Trompeta (iconic for more than a half-century) survive ? The Tippett Magnificat (rivetingly and revelatingly performed in the Choir’s 2019 recording) was, of course, composed with this specifically in mind. Others’ works, subsequently. No doubt, members will add to these.
  13. I’m a bit of a herpetophobe (bad experience with a Green Mamba), but did participate in a wonderful Lacock course, run by one third of The London Serpent Trio (Andrew van der Beek).
  14. I have a horrid suspicion that "DR" is another abbreviation: for droits réservés. But by or for whom ?
  15. And, surely, that should be the most important consideration.
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