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John Furse

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About John Furse

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  1. Norwich Cathedral appeal, March 2018

    http://www.edp24.co.uk/going-out/norwich-cathedral-launches-major-appeal-to-restore-organ-1-5428557 £1.8M for the organ; £700,000 for the choirs and their outreach.
  2. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    This is such a shame. I am in a conflicting morass of sadness and bewilderment – with more than a touch of scorn. I feel deeply for this lovely church – and the Church. This parish, its community, and the surrounding area could now be deprived of this unique opportunity, which would have so many benefits down the centuries. This is an important instrument; do these people realise that ? One has to ask: how is it ‘too big’ ? (‘Big’, without further elucidation, is such a ‘Trump utterance’.) For this church, or any ? In its footprint, visible area, volume or other ? I would now be tempted to go for the option of placement where the current instrument sits. That wouldn’t be so visually disturbing to these benighted people: they wouldn’t have to look at all those pipes. That is, unless, an organ console is, in the eyes of this body, over large. Then, the answer is obvious: an iOrgan ! No console; no pipes; only subtly-camouflaged speakers. Perhaps they could have mock-medieval decorations, echoing the rood screen, as their disguise. The state-of-the-art, ‘crematorium solution’. This has almost taken on the sort of ludicrosity on which Lewis Carroll would have brilliantly rhapsodised. I’m sure JSB would have been scathing, too. There are also echoes of Joseph II’s “too many notes, Mozart”. If this committee proves intractable, it would look (and sound) very nice, slap-bang in the middle of the stage in the Maltings ! That brick wall would make it feel as if back ‘home’. And they wouldn’t need a Faculty ! I hope and pray the Spirit descends and sense prevails. “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.”
  3. Anthem suggestions

    Watch a recording, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6dJ-SfpNkE
  4. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    Precisely, Zimbelstern: that is what I meant, but expressed myself with less than my usual razor-sharp precision (!). When I started to explore Spanish instruments, I was surprised by how many were located at the side of and further back on a west gallery. They rarely seem to speak down the nave. I hope, therefore, that they will both be at the same pitch: enabling them to be played simultaneously, without 'distress'.
  5. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    I agree with Zimbelstern (and Herr Johann), here. In fact, a similar issue was discussed - and the same solution proposed - at my recent meeting with the organ-builder. As for the DOA: it may have been that members of the committee considering the Faculty may have wanted the physical 'presence', to help them make their decision. The floor will need looking at, too: it may well be that, with uneven tiling, a platform is required to stabilise the instrument. Yes, it does look (really) good, there: an Iberian-type position. As support for the congregation: ideal. Choral accompaniment (if the choir is to remain in the Quire) will prove more problematic. For concertising, the seats can easily be moved into whatever configuration is desired. Will want to hear this in situ at the earliest opportunity.
  6. Speech rhythm

    I have followed this thread with interest and proffer my two-penn’orth. I posit that Morley’s “unyielding, rock-steady tempo” does not preclude a flexibility in the accentuation of syllables. The English language itself was still evolving at the time, was not standardised (particularly as regards spelling) and their pronunciation/s of it was not as now. Thus, “Discretor” and, as Vox Humana says, countless other examples in the Tudor composers’ corpus, can be easily accommodated. This can be seen, joyfully, in Weelkes’ (albeit slightly later than Tudor) Alleluia, I heard a voice, where there can be multiple variations in the performance of the setting/s of the first word. (If that makes sense.) I’ve heard performances where this has been ‘ironed out’ - they sound somehow homogenised. Weelkes was a masterful exponent of ‘playing with words’; I’m sure he relished in this interplay of the differences. Incredibly (in its original sense) to me, and as Vox Humana hints, there does seem to be no performance of Morley’s Christes crosse be my speede. I did a quick, then a more prolonged, search ? ! How can this be ? Please, someone, prove me wrong. I am more than tempted to revive my transcription tools and do a computer simulation. Finally, I’m also struck by the last line of Zimbelstern’s quote from John XXII, where he promotes consonances as a possible remedy for lassitude in the choir - what we might call ‘choral torportude’.
  7. “I only lamented the lack of a Cornet ! It seems I have stirred up the nest of a hornet. I sought a strong tierce – Have provoked some ire fierce – But, could still a radiant Mountie* adorn it ?” I read with interest Peter Gunstone’s well-argued and cogent post. I agree with much (most) of it. However, I believe there are far worse things in this increasingly fraught world than having an opinion, based on a lifetime’s varied experience, worldwide. Were it in my gift, I would have a Mounted Cornet, bold & forthright - able to complement reeds in Bombarde-style and perform its eponymous Voluntaries. I recall with fondness the one I was fortunate to have access to, early in my career. I also recall with pleasure, amongst others, Rotherhithe and the Dallams in Brittany. I really believe there is no adequate substitute. I don’t wish the organ in our Primate’s Cathedral to sound like a Schnitger, Silbermann, Clicquot, or even Echevarría, but this is a minor/major feature of the English organ and its repertoire that is (presumably) unable to be convincingly performed. That is, unless the Choir mutations are on unbelievably high pressure. I am aware of the processes necessary for a 'new' organ in an Anglican church, having been subject to them in a past life. In fact, as I write, I am shortly to meet an eminent organ-builder, to discuss a ‘legacy instrument’: i.e. one that I will never hear. Happily, and free from all such constraints, I can rant, mildly and wistfully. *No, David: I'm not suggesting an officer of the RCMP is permanently on the case, as it were !
  8. I'm more than mildly astounded: 89 stops and ONE separate (Choir) tierce in the whole instrument (?), How has the Cornet Voluntary offended ? And, large swathes of the continental repertoire are 'inaccessible', with only inaccurate rendering possible. I'm sure it will sound grand . . . but, somehow, incomplete.
  9. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    This was written both for and with the performers of Britten's prepper (South Lodge, Lowestoft) in mind. It wasn't meant to be as 'deep' as, say, the War Requiem. I sang in it when young and have to say I enjoyed it immensely. I'm sure its first (private) performance was similarly appreciated. It was then given publicly as part of the Aldeburgh Festival, in Orford. A place for everything . . . . . . Whilst I'm about it, members may wish to know about a first performance of mine: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b099x2h2. It's in the second half, sandwiched by Carter. Next year, one of my organ works will be committed to CD. Further details to follow.
  10. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    I can't see where this instrument will sit in this lovely church, in its present form. I suppose it could be proud of the west doors, which do not seem to be used in a significant way. In the Turner Sims, built with the acoustic assistance of the University's splendidly-named Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, it was very much in-your-face. Perhaps, the case will need to be cut up (with the Pedal stops behind, as happened at Christ Church, Oxford), or a new one made. There are windows and 'inconvenient' screens which no faculty would allow to be blocked, I'm sure. Does anyone know if the contract has been awarded, or are funds still being sought ? Whichever, it will sound glorious in that building - and be a superb addition to the organs of Suffolk.
  11. Buckfast Abbey

    If I were a betting man (I’m not), I’d put my money on a certain M. Olivier.
  12. Servite Priory Fulham

    A decade earlier, HN&B had a 16’ Dulzian on the Positive at Llandaff (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N11909). For those who do not know, this is situated in the ‘drum’ behind Epstein’s Majestas (http://www.llandaffcathedral.org.uk/history/the-majestas/). Reading the last, you’ll see that there might have been a Stanley Spencer painting; now, that would have been interesting ! Architecturally, this works better than might be imagined; musically, it gave a passable Cornet – and not much else that was useful. It was a rather misguided attempt (common in the day) to add moque baroque to a revamping of the derided Hope-Jones instrument, with its heavily frustrated Swell. It’s a shame the land mine hadn’t had more oomph. Sadly, this sort of thing still goes on.
  13. Buckfast Abbey

    The Ruffatti has landed: www.buckfast.org.uk/photos/224/arrival-of-the-new-ruffatti-organ-26th-april-2017
  14. Buckfast Abbey

    A container is, e'en now, on its way Devonwards - according to Ruffati’s FacadeBook. I believe the Abbey Organ’s webpage was 'taken down' and only (very) recently restored - in a revised version: www.buckfast.org.uk/ruffattiorgan. The installation, for example, will now be "completed before 2018." There are other re-wordings and corrections. I can only assume this explains the temporary absence of the page. I emailed the builders, only to be informed that all communications regarding the organ are being handled exclusively by the Abbey. I would imagine that, once the container arrives, there will be a flurry of new and exciting photos.