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Simon Walker

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Everything posted by Simon Walker

  1. I'm sure I remember seeing a notice on a German organ console with the words 'nicht fur gefingerpoken'. It didn't take me many guesses to know what it meant... my German speaking best friend tells me that it's colloquial....
  2. I was listening to the recent BBC Radio 3 Choral evensong online, from Christ Church Oxford. I've heard this choir a couple of times during their tours to Toronto, Canada - they've made no less than 3 trips over here in the last 5 years. The choir is always excellent, and many stellar organ scholars have emerged from there (Particularly Ben Sheen who really is a tremendous player). Old news to many, but I was disappointed in this broadcast once again by the organ which just doesn't have what is required to accompany settings like the Darke in F canticles, and it only proved marginally more
  3. Someone asked about quint reeds earlier.... Here in Toronto we have two organs with a manual 'Quint Horn 5 1/3'. One is at St Paul's Bloor Street, a 1913 Casavant, with reeds voiced by Harrison and Harrison, and the other is entirely Casavant, 1930, at Metropolitan United Church (largest organ in Canada). At St Pauls it is placed with the 16,8 and 4 enclosed Tubas, there is also a much louder 8 ' Tuba Mirabilis' in addition to the enclosed chorus. At Metropolitan the quint horn 5 1/3 is alongside the 16,8 and 4 unenclosed Tubas on the Bombarde division, which are in addition to the enclosed '
  4. Ok... thanks for that. I see it must be computer issues at my end to blame. Phew!
  5. Hello all - it's ages since I last posted anything here - but I do still read. Anyway - does anyone know what happened to the useful website 'Encyclopedia of organ stops'. I have no idea whether the website is British or American or whatever. It had grown quite large, with sound clips, and an absolutely huge number of definitions and quotes from various sources. Now when I try to log on to it I get 'website could not be found'..... Shame - what happened?
  6. Mutations or mixtures? If you could have one or the other which would you prefere? I imagine most British Organists would prefere to have a mixture in the chorus on both manuals before thinking about the benefits of having the nazard and tierce, but it's obvious that back in the 30's some regarded the mutations as an important new addition to the standard specification. In Canada Casavant were maybe just a few years late in joining the Neo-Baroque movemnt, and when they did (with the arrival of Lawrence Phelps on staff in the late 50's) the change was nothing short of radical. Mutations ap
  7. The current Director of Music is Tom Edwards - I believe he's giving up the job as he plans to emigrate. There have been recent plans to restore and complete the organ - not before time! It would seem that very few music directors has stayed there for a considerable time in recent years.
  8. I'm sorry to hear about your disappointment with the remarks made by the examiners - I suppose it just goes to show how subjective the whole process can be. But you did pass on the pieces overall. I think that very few people get marks much over the pass mark. Basically a pass is a pass, and you should be pleased, because if for one moment they don't think you're worthy of it you won't be awarded it. If its any consolation, the Bach piece that I played for my ARCO came in for some criticism. To this day I still think that I play this piece (Nun komm der heiden heiland) well - I always felt
  9. To be honest - I think you're expressing too much concern about an issue which isn't entirely relavant, though one should alsways be concerned about performance practice. My advice would be to make sure you perform to your best - don't try to make your performance contrived. When I did my ARCO, in the fairly recent past, there were only 3 instruments upon which to perform the exam. All three were tracker of the modern classical veriety, but I don't think any of them would claim to be historical replicas. Therefore expect a modern pedal board and some registration aids at your disposal. The
  10. There's a suite called 'The four winds' which is rather good, impressionistic in style. Pual Derrett, previously known to this forum as 'Cynic', has recorded them in one of the volumes on his 'Benchmarks' label.
  11. I thought I remembered hearing that they were proposing to enclose the choir division (it's currently unenclosed, at one side of the choir stalls rather seperate to the rest of the instrument) Chester is like that, and I've often thought would be much more flexible if it was enclosed. Anyway, I take these plans have been dropped?
  12. Does anyone have stories of having difficulty obtaining the agreed fee for a wedding? I played one this Saturday, and invoiced the 'middle man', ie the venue who did all the organising, which in this case is a college chapel rather than a church. When I stipulated that I require the fee within one month, they replied that they cannot make any guarentees..... I'm not going to respond to that, but it does worry me.
  13. James Hugh Reginald Dixon - organist of the RC Cathedral in Lancaster in the middle of the 20th Century was often confused with the famous Blackpool organist known by same last two names - sometimes in the press.
  14. Sounds like a very bad idea to me... if you must have a 32' reed and are short of space (and in my view there are often many more worthwhile uses for the money), I'd advise the electronic option. Fractional length reeds give very little fundamental tone and it's unlikely to sound very musical.
  15. Definitely try America / Canada... Nearly every United or Methodist church has a set whatever the quality or size of the organ, and plenty are closing down resulting in many spares becoming available. You should be able to obtain a set very cheaply, though you'll have to pay a bit in shipping. You're most likely to find one with an electric pneumatic mechanism (be sure to know that the leather is good) the mechanism will be fully adjustable etc. for good volume regulations. Avoid anything modern and cheaply made with direct electric actions - there are plenty of those knocking around
  16. Many thanks for that David - very interesting to read. Nice to see the photos on the website too. CD PS - isn't it quaint how Casavant used the phrase 'General release' instead of Cancel!
  17. David - would you be willing to post some details about your instrument including spec? I'd love to hear a bit more about it - I'm assuming it's quite an original old Casavant. That's very rare here in Toronto. Despite the fact that Casavant built 160 instruments in this city, hardly half a dozen 3 or 4 manual instruments are fully original. The ones that remain 100% intact are almost completely forgotten about. It seems that many people wrote them off years ago as dull and uninteresting, but when used well they needn't be so. When seeing this thread I immediately thought 'Old Casavant' b
  18. How about this? You can play Bach on anything right? Ped. 16' Open Wood 16' Bourdon 8' Bass flute 16' Trombone Gt. 16' Double Diapason 8' Open Diapason 8' Doppel Flute (Wood, double mouths) 8' Gemshorn 4' Harmonic Flute (metal, harmonic) 4' Principal 2 2/3' Twelth 2' Fifteenth 8' Trumpet Sw. (Enclosed) 16' Gedact 8' Violin Diapason 8' Stopped Diapason 8' Viola de Gamba 8' Voix celeste 8' Aeoline 4' Flauto Traverso (Wood, harmonic) 2' Harmonic Piccolo (Wood, harmonic) III Dolce Cornet (12-15-17) 8' Vox humana 8' Oboe 8' Cornopean Trem Ch. (En
  19. Correction to the above- Hollins was never, to my knowledge, organist of the reid memorial church Edinburgh. He was organist for a very long time at St. Georges West Church Edinburgh. The organ is a TC Lewis which was rebuilt by Rushworths under Hollins direction. Spec and history here, http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N07957 The organ has sadly been much modified, but it's general feel survives. The church is now closed for worship, but the organ is still there. I haven't played or heard it - one of the few I never got to hear in my 4 years in Edinburgh! Hollins also
  20. Who's Ronald Binge? That's another surname I'm glad I don't have.
  21. I agree also - hearing the last chord as a major chord always comes as a surprise to me, and not in a good way. It's such a serious piece, and so solemn in mood, I just don't see how it could end major so abruptly. I often wonder whether a splatter of ink on an autograph score is the cause of some of the odd accidentals occasionally found in Barenreiter. If you have your score at hand... I'd like to suggest a correction at bar 77 of the fugue. Beat two, in the pedal line has the notes C,D,C,D. I find this clunky to play, and it doesn't match the same musical idea as the right hand two bars
  22. Every time I had an organ lesson with Roger Fisher - on his lovely 3 manual house organ - I was served a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit, which sat on a coaster next to the key slips. Luckily I never spilled it. He certainly must have trusted in me - at home, given my record of clumsiness, I'm not even allowed to have a drink next to our old Johnannus.
  23. I call that technique 'clutch control' It's very useful indeed, and you can bring on that swell mixture or reed or whatever with absolute smoothness by nudging the swell pedal a bit before reopening. What I wonder is how you did that in the days of combination pedals only! - How else do you play the start of Balfour Gardiner's Evening Hymn smoothly? CD
  24. I often approach organ literature from the 50's and on with care. Modern writing can put a lot of things right - so is there anything more up to date on this subject? There were a lot of strange ideas about organ accompaniment appearing in the 50's and 60's, which can be proved by recordings, compositions and organ building from the period. Especially organ building in North America (Britain didn't exactly have much money for organ building in the 50's though some do of course exist. With neo-classical ideas starting to take hold, but mostly very Edwardian performance styles prevailing -
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