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Damian Beasley-Suffolk

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About Damian Beasley-Suffolk

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    Voorburg, The Netherlands

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  1. Not actually 3D printing, but milling them out of a block of wood. Here aktuelle Projekte (o-h-r.com) is a link to the Orgel- und Harmonium Werkstatt Thomas Reilich in southern Germany, not far from where I used to live. He does a lot of work with harmoniums, documenting almost everything on his picture-rich website, and one particular project is enlarging a John Holt harmonium with some real pipes. The pictures here show stages in making pipe feet, and some small flute pipes, from a composite block of wood using a milling machine. I read many years ago that small wooden pipes can be ex
  2. The copy I have is in Anne Marsden Thomas' Graded Anthology for Organ, vol 5. There are some interesting notes. On the score, it says "Pedal part originally written in tenor clef, an octave higher, to sound on 4 trumpet", and the study notes indicate that the 8' only registration for the manuals seems inadequate if the pedal is bright. I'm no musicologist, but these points are interesting and suggest different interpretations and the opportunity for exploration. As it happens, on my electronic the pedal 4 reed is a quite gentle cornet which goes well with a single 8' principle, which I realise
  3. The Ethel Smyth "Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag" is a nice piece of music, the relatively gentle 4' pedal reed on my instrument seems to bring the melody out nicely. To my dismay, it is the only piece of organ music by a woman composer that I can find in my collection. One thing strikes me - did Ethel Smyth have particularly big hands or long fingers? There are a couple of stretches which I can barely make, which doesn't happen often.
  4. Something tells me to make it clear that what irks me is music done badly or without preparation, not styles of music or people, which vary greatly, and good intentions are never doubted, as mentioned above. I don't think anyone wants discussions like this to become a shooting gallery. My wife, when working as a paid church musician, puts it well when she says that she has often been asked to play music which she doesn't like or wouldn't choose herself, but liking it isn't the point - the important thing is to prepare everything carefully and then play it as well as you can, for the purpo
  5. The Beatles are the generation before mine, but it's not an idle thought. Anyone who's tried to perform Beatles songs knows that they are not easy! I used to be part of a Barbershop group, formed by gents from a church choir and friends, and we did a few Beatles numbers, arranged into 4 part harmony. Despite appearances, they are actually quite demanding to learn, and because of that equally rewarding to perform. I'm sure that's part of their continuing attraction. If only ... The story of Paul McCartney waking up with the tune of "Yesterday" fully formed in his mind is well known. I rea
  6. S_L: I'm only vaguely aware of what I may have avoided in this respect. Being born in the mid 60s I suppose I lived through a period of change in Catholic church music, and experienced many types of church music from Latin Masses through to "modern". Also, due to geography, we went to a C of E primary school where I did get some exposure to the Anglican music tradition because of its links to its parish church, and I then went on to a boys' grammar school in Bristol run by the Christian Brothers which was also in a state of flux at the time and no longer had a musical tradition, so musical nun
  7. This would solve my looming problem of finding a house with appropriate space for my pipe organ, but it won't pass muster with the boss because, although by her own admission she's not a great map reader, I won't be able to persuade her that Clifton is in the general area of the historical Kingdom of Northumbria. I'll send it on to her anyway ... ;-)
  8. I don't recall any guitar-swinging nuns, and those I did know where lovely, if tough and quietly assertive - although my sisters may beg to differ. They certainly weren't responsible for the strumming and humming which began to take off in the early 80s, at least in the WIld West. In one parish which I occasionally attended, the organ was an electronic "spinet organ" ( with offset keyboards and 1 short 13-note set of pedal sticks - is this a German/Dutch term?), complete with auto-chording, auto bass, and a funky rhythm section. The parish nun had thoroughly mastered this, and although it
  9. I enjoyed the recital from Leeds today, in particular the Saint-Saens. As it happens that tune had been rattling round my mind a few weeks ago and I just couldn't place it. Regarding thunder, some time ago I was at a concert by Ben van Oosten on the Metzler of the Grote Kerk in The Hague. During Guilmant 1, a few lightning flashes came during the first movement, then rising wind and rumbling thunder accompanied the second movement - it's surprisingly difficult to distinguish thunder and 32 footers during a quiet movement in a huge church - and then, as if on cue, Mother Nature and Mr van
  10. Whilst I don't doubt for a moment that this lady lived without electricity, having no electricity in that part of Bristol must have been a choice. I knew St Andrews very well as an adolescent, 10 years or so later, as I had school friends living close by. The area always appeared very well-to-do, full of rows of houses built in the same style around the turn of the century, all connected to mains water, electricity and sewers, no mean feat when you realise how hilly it is. Then again, a little further up the road in Horfield my grandfather had the gas connection removed from the building compl
  11. I feel for him. It must require a particularly good aim to manage that with a stick and limited mobility, and your whole body aches from being lop-sided, if only temporarily. Last year I broke my right thumb which, being right handed, was more disruptive of life in general than I could have imagined. Although the daily urge to play was thwarted, I'd recently bought Anne Marsden Thomas' book on pedal technique, so could at least profit from that, even though it's surprisingly tiring on the ankles!
  12. Peter Hurford mentioned this is his book "Making Music on the Organ". It took me some time to find the relevant passage (bottom of page 71), as the book is an enjoyable read. It's probably well known to many, but here it is: " Praetorius wrote in 1619 that 'There are many matters of this kind where the impression can be given that there is only one right way of doing something. So, for instance, some keyboard players are held in contempt for not using some particular fingering or other. This is ridiculous, in my opinion. If a player can fly up or down the keyboard, using the tips, mid-joi
  13. I presume you wrote this with a grin, but I knew someone who may well have agreed with this! A former history teacher of mine despised church organs and everything that went with them, as they had displaced the village band that often played in west country churches and destroyed an ages-old tradition, as described for example in Under the Greenwood Tree, Hardy being compulsory reading for those of us from the west country. As an aside, in the recent rather splendid film of Far from the Madding Crowd, I noticed that the church in Casterbridge was rather bigger than I remembered, looking r
  14. It was established and accepted in these pages that the provision of digital subbass voices at Buckfast was due to lack of space in the abbey church. There is nothing reprehensible in this.
  15. Interesting photos from that case study. I know HVAC engineers are accustomed to working in cramped spaces at dangerous heights, but I can't imagine that being installed without at least the pipes from these divisions being removed. The sequence of events and delays can easily be imagined - although such speculation is probably unhealthy, it's interesting for amateurs like me to ponder the effort which even apparently straightforward work must involve.
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