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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. It' been going for some time, happily. I went to a number of lunchtime recitals there in 2019 whenever I was in town, and they were gradually fixing things. Obviously, I haven't heard it this year. But as I said in an earlier post, the cathedral itself is undergoing a major restoration, and any significant work on the pipe organ must necessarily wait. Being fair, as I also mentioned before, the Phoenix is good, having heard that at several lunchtime recitals as well. It does sound rather 2-dimensional, mainly because of speaker placement. I was thinking about this while at a concert on th
  2. In the book "Cavaillé-Coll en Nederland", perhaps a bit off-target, the author discusses two C19th CC concert hall organs, the Paleis van Volksvlijt in Amsterdam, and the Philharmonic Hall in Haarlem. Neither had 32' reeds, in sizeable buildings. There is an appendix with a number of similar instruments, only two of which had 32' reeds - Sheffield, as mentioned above, and the Palais du Trocadéro in Paris, in a hall which was a bit smaller than the Albert Hall. So, rare indeed. This book deals with CC instruments of all sizes in the Netherlands, and the smaller instruments are very intere
  3. As someone similarly involved in university research, I like things to be clear and, as far as possible, unambiguous - it's not always easy to be both clear and concise. I have been a fan of the Oxford comma since seeing the cartoon "We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin" 🙂 Once seen, never forgotten! As one of the few native English speakers in an international organisation, I am often consulted on questions of style and interpretation, and do my best to spread good English style - and inevitably get my comeuppance from time to time when making a mistake. Ah well, all part of the fun. Like
  4. Another example of the extraordinary wealth of churches in East Anglia. The late David Drinkell seemed to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of them, and their organs, and there are a couple of websites dedicated to them. A rich legacy of a particularly wealthy period of English history. Again, despite my name I have no links at all with Norfolk and Suffolk, but I long for the time when I can explore these counties properly!
  5. When the concert hall of the Danish national broadcaster was being planned, a scale model of the inside was made by a Japanese acoustics company. I read somewhere else (and of course have forgotten where) that some of these models are put in a chamber filled with a gas which affects the speed of sound prorportionally, so that things like movable acoustic panelling, stage layouts, and organs can be planned and experimented with. The organ in this hall was built by van den Heuvel Orgelbouw, in Dordrecht, NL, not too far from where I am. I might have a demo CD of it somewhere. With 91 stops
  6. I recently read about "Choir pits", at Whalley Abbey, Lancashire. Apparently these are the only remaining examples in Britain. These pits are placed below a choir, to provide some reverberation and enhance the effect of the choir's sound. I had never heard of this before, it sounds like it is a very old idea. I know of this idea being used more recently for organs in dead spaces to bring a bit of life to the sound. Birmingham Symphony Hall, for example, has large concrete chambers behind or to the sides of the organ to do this. Klais say that they put a number of ranks of the organ in the
  7. Ideal, multi-organ-cultural venue - try the Orgelpark in Amsterdam. There was an article about it in OR a year or so about it, though to my shame I have never been there.
  8. The blower failure is known, and these things happen. Snooping around, there is also an "installation report" from a local air conditioning company explaining how they had completely replaced the system which had been installed around the organ, to keep the instrument at the same temperature as the choir. And speaking with the experience of the last few days, when the top floor of my house is uncomfortably warm even at 5AM, I would say it needed it, but probably interrupted things. I didn't know the Tickell could play the Rodgers, but this is hardly difficult these days, especially a
  9. I'm reasonably sure that this is the Rodgers electronic. Why? Because I have a couple of pictures of my wife playing it, as well as the Tickell continuo organ, which is not so small. At that time, the Rodgers was in the choir, the Bradford was still in the nave, although it was getting rather ricketty by then. I remember Donald Hunt giving a recital on the Bradford in 1990-ish, and it sounded quite nice, although a huge acoustic helps. Like any cathedral organ it must have taken a hammering over so many years, so it was bound simply to wear out.
  10. A super performance, both musically and technically. Alkan's music is on IMSLP, I once looked at some but it was clearly well beyond me. But watching this it's such good music. Alkan is an interesting character. His Wikipedia entry is now much longer than the last time I looked, and well worth reading. This is the Temple Church. I'm slowly working through Anne Marsden-Thomas' book on Pedalling for Organists, and watching a video like this which shows pedalling technique so clearly is very instructive, although it will be some time until I get to this level ( Chapter 35: Chords )
  11. A news report from French TV, TF1, about works to remove the organ from Notre Dame for restoration. The plan is to have it ready for re-inauguration of the cathedral on 7 April 2024. Even for non-French speakers, a nice, optimistic report: https://www.facebook.com/TF1leJT/videos/210788290355722/ And more here from the local paper: https://www.leparisien.fr/paris-75/notre-dame-de-paris-cinq-mois-de-travaux-pour-demonter-l-orgue-03-08-2020-8362911.php
  12. An accessible obit in The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/jul/30/jane-parker-smith-obituary
  13. Professor Magnus Williamson is giving, via YouTube, a live streamed concert on the Aubertin Organ in the King's Hall, Newcastle University, on Thursday 23rd July at 1.15 PM. Bruhns, Dandrieu, Bach, and Mendelssohn. https://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/articles/latest/2020/07/virtualorganrecital/
  14. The Introduction and Passacaglia is a very nice piece, and built on a nice theme. I'm partial to passacaglias as well, and have been working on it myself in my enthusiastic amateur's way. Some echos of Reger's I&P, but still original and not terribly difficult. I don't think I've ever heard it, which is a great pity, and needs putting right.
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