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John Furse

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About John Furse

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  1. Buckfast Abbey

    If I were a betting man (I’m not), I’d put my money on a certain M. Olivier.
  2. 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.
  3. Buckfast Abbey

    The Ruffatti has landed: www.buckfast.org.uk/photos/224/arrival-of-the-new-ruffatti-organ-26th-april-2017
  4. 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.
  5. Buckfast Abbey

    Slightly embarrassing: I'm unable to locate the specification. The links I've previously used no longer work. Could anyone furnish one that does, or post the spec. here, please ? Many thanks.
  6. Aubertin comes to Sussex

    Thank you, sjf1967. I’d assumed it was more Cromorne-esque, to complement the mainly French Baroque/Classical specification. Especially since there’s a Voix Humaine on the Positif. And, I’ve just noticed by zooming: is there some kind of swelling device on the right hand side, above the pedal-board ?
  7. Aubertin comes to Sussex

    sjf1967: I have two questions, which do not ask you to divulge ‘sensitive’ info. What does the Dulcineau sound like ? Do you know if there are any plans to release recordings of this wonderful looker – even if just on YouTube ? This must be one of the largest organs built for private clients in recent years. I am sure members will be able to expand on this.
  8. Coping with mistakes/failures

    The same edifice witnessed my accompanying of an annual service for the Girl Guides and Brownies; the building was crammed with very high frequencies. I built up the last verse of one of the hymns (its identity has been, mercifully, erased from my memory) in the middle of the proceedings, to close the last line with the striking Tuba and growling 32’ Contra Trombone. All was well. Then, with my left hand, I reached nonchalantly for the special edition A&M of Brobdingnagian proportions. Horror struck ! I dropped it awkwardly. It slipped down the manuals: starting with the Solo (where the Tuba flashed, as I hadn’t cancelled), on through Full Swell, most things coupled to Great, bounced off the Positive and landed on the Pedals. Rumble, rumble; grumble, grumble. The Verger clambered up and around the stairs to the loft, a look on his face as if he was going to find dead bodies scattered on the floor. Somehow, I regained enough composure to proceed with the remainder of the service without repetition, deviation or hesitation. Rarely has a ‘voluntary’ been so involuntary.
  9. Coping with mistakes/failures

    There was the time as a chorister when the two boys (fortunately not me) responsible for laying out the music got it badly wrong. I can’t recall the precise details, but Decani had, say, Tomkins and Cantoris, the Byrd Preces and Responses. The Precentor's intonation was fine, of course, and presaged nothing of what was about to occur. The first choral chord produced looks of astonishment and bewilderment all around. The vocal amalgam sounded like Stravinsky. (I only knew this later.) The so-usually-unflappable Organist was nonplussed and waved his hands in a ‘change over’ movement. Pages were hurriedly turned. ‘The Good Lord was most definitely slow to help us’, once more, as the same happened with slowly unfolding “haste”. The Organist then said, out loud and quite clearly, whichever composer it was supposed to be and we carried on . . . nervously, but much more traditionally.
  10. Buckfast Abbey

    I have just noticed this, on the Abbey’s website: www.buckfast.org.uk/gallery/213. One thing in particular is striking: the beautifully carved console - elements of which look as if they will be repeated in the pipe shades. I can’t wait to hear it in situ.
  11. Keble College, Oxford

    I would imagine the 8’ Viola, when drawn with the 8’ Open Flute, could well produce the simulacrum of a diapason sound; as might the 4’ Fugara, with the 4’ Flauto. In addition, the manual is both under expression and provided with a tremulant. These could easily create successful ‘undulations’. In a brief search, I could not find out whether the (two) tremulants were adjustable, as the Chapel’s website does not currently provide details of the organ. This instrument, in Keble’s fabulous Chapel, is on my ‘to hear soon’ list.
  12. "Organ" in King's College Chapel

    My first impressions were that it sounded cleaner, brighter, more focussed - probably, as it should. It’d be interesting to have the DoM’s opinion, after a few weeks’ choral services.
  13. St Nicholas, Blakeney, Norfolk - Norman & Beard

    Last Sunday, David Bryson entertained a considerable audience in an ambitious programme - for he was then still not quite a teenager. He told us that his voice ‘broke’ in the last week of his career as a treble at St John’s and had to sit out some of their final concerts. Almost astonishingly, he has just taken his Grade VIII Piano. He began “Von Himmel hoch” BWV 700 (and continued) cleanly - but it was not without a few ‘diversions’. He has obviously been taught articulation to a high degree: some of the ornamentation in Bach’s BWV 659 “Nun komm” was exquisitely controlled, in addition to possessing state-of-the-art ‘authenticity’. Vierne’s “Berceuse” was the vehicle for some ultra-sensitivity in registration, way beyond his years - but, evidently, with the aid of his ears. With judicious use of couplers, the ethereal combination of Swell strings and Great Dulciana took me off to the banks of the Seine. Well done N&B, too. In the “Carillon de Longpont” (I slightly quailed, when I saw this in the programme), he demonstrated just how far he has progressed since 2015. The “Suite Gothique” was played in full. He has a new teacher, who ‘allows’ him to enjoy the last movement. Not bad, at all. As I said last year, we will be hearing more from this (very) talented (very) young man, who is bound for Eton and its seven (?) pipe organs.
  14. Bear and Pipe Organ

    This sort of design for a new instrument is close to my heart, for reasons I won't go into here. It would be interesting to know the specification; or, a condensed version. What is on the stop knob ? I feel sure it isn't Roar Flute !
  15. I think living 'up there', almost at the North Pole, must have affected your magnetic compass, David. The instrument was definitely in the South aisle on Easter Sunday. It is possible it has 'migrated', since NPOR claims it to be on a "moveable platform". I would not like to test this out.