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Paul Isom

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About Paul Isom

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  1. A long shot! I am visiting Breda next week for a meeting and will have a few hours to kill afterwards. Does anyone know of any decent book and music shops in the vicinity?
  2. The latest three books to pop through my letterbox are: Organ Building in Georgian and Victorian England - Thistlethwaite The House of Brindley - Hughes Wilkinson and Sons of Kendall - a history by Alan Mason The first two tomes come at a hefty price tag, and as expected the Thistlethwaite book is a scholarly book detailing the history of Gray and Davison. The Hughes book is a great read, chock full of information on the company and organs of Brindley and Foster. The Wilkinson book is beautifully produced and is astonishing value for money at £20 inclusive of P & P. It’s an easy read with details of the history of Wilkinsons and their organs together with stoplists. There are many photos, including a large colour set at the back of the book. All highly recommended.
  3. I’m waiting for my disc to arrive - how did you manage to load it on the Kindle?
  4. Toccata on a Ukrainian carol by Gerald Near (carol of the bells).
  5. The latest music to drop through my letterbox has been from B-note music publishers. It consists of two pieces by Bairstow - the first piece 'Legend' is not quite a luxuriant adagio, but has some real wow moments. From a personal perspective, I think that it is much better than the more well-known works. It's chock full of drama and harmonic twists. Definitely worth a go! I've also had a pile of music by Lothar Graap arrive. It's all rather nice approachable stuff, some of it really quite lovely. You can hear many of his pieces played by another fine composer, Carson Cooman on Youtube. I'm currently waiting for a volume of fairly substantial quiet pieces by Cooman to arrive.
  6. Widor 2 - both slow movements too.
  7. Not forgetting Reger's lovely Ave Maria too.
  8. Thanks for this. A search and a fun bit of downloading has thrown up a few pieces of Oldroyd that I didn't know: A Canticle (Deus Misereatur) Prelude in F#minor Contemplation Neither of the pieces are very long, but all rather lovely in their own right. I really should have known these pieces as I served as temporary organist at St Michael and all Angles, Croydon for about a year following the departure of the DOM and before the late Michael Fleming's arrival. I was a great honour to preside over the rather fine organ, although the staircase often left me with stars in front of my eyes after running up there after communion! While it's not a 'luxuriant adagio' Oldroyd's Fantasy-Prelude is also worth a look, although it's mainly quite robust in nature. On the high church tack, I believe there is some organ music by Walter Vale (All Saints, Margaret Street) floating around as well. Please keep the suggestions coming, I'm having a great time searching, printing and playing!!!
  9. I simply love the Rowley items. Are there other composers that have such an extraordinary command of harmony? He takes remarkable chances and always makes it back home. I've placed an order for some archive copies of of Ernest Bryson's organ music which is also rather nice, although less luxuriant. Many thanks for pointing the direction to the Rowley pieces, and please keep them coming, especially more stuff like this!!
  10. I’m very pleased to say that the Meursault organ is undergoing a complete restoration and is due to be finished by Pentecost 2020. It originally started it’s life with Concerts Colonne in Paris. For years the parish thought the organ had come from a circus and took some persuading on my part that it had come from a theatre/concert hall. There is a big question mark over who built the organ, if Charles Mutin just installed the organ and added his name. The pedalboard is 30 notes but the Soubasse only goes up for 25 notes. It’s all a bit of a mystery! The organ is quite extraordinary and reaches every corner of the building with a warm sound. It doesn’t just do loud, and is a joy to play for a recital or service. The recordings on the website are pretty poor (at least the playing is) , and the organ was malfunctioning in a major way with the reed ventil turning itself off and the swell shutters randomly closing. All are welcome to stay in our house where there is a key to the Meursault organ hanging next to the one for the boite de lettres! PM me if you want further details about renting the house.
  11. Paschen have a few interesting small organs: http://www.paschen-kiel.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Helsinki-Sibelius-Dispo-1.pdf http://www.paschen-kiel.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Honkanummi-Dispo-1.pdf http://www.paschen-kiel.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/174malmi-disposition.pdf http://www.paschen-kiel.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/172-kauklahti-disposition.pdf
  12. It’s been fascinating reading the various permutations of the dream specifications. I have long been fascinated with small organ design and there have been many articles on this, the most recent in the BIOS annual book by Relf Clarke. Here is a fascinating essay in small organ design by Fisk for a small chapel: http://cbfisk.com/opus/opus-149/ My little Mutin-Cavaille Coll at Meursault has the following outrageous stoplist: MANUAL 16 Bourdon 8 Montre 8 Flute Harmonique 8 Salicional 4 Prestant III Plein Jeu 16 Tuba Magna 8 Trompette 4 Soprano PEDAL 16 Soubasse This organ is extremely versatile and in a very shallow case - only the width of the console, which swell shutters on front and back of the case. To player this organ is very very loud, but in the church it is a marvellous sound. So, within a 12 speaking stop maximum, who can come up with a versatile liturgical/house organ. Tonal variety is top of the wish list - even undulating ranks are allowed. The organ must have mechanical action. Have fun.
  13. Can anyone point me in the direction of a copy of Ernest Bullock - Rhapsody No.1 in C major please? I've just come across Rhapsody No. 2 in my library and would be interested in locating number 1.
  14. I've played Uithuizen and also Groningen - it helps to have friends who have friends......The last time I heard the Martinikerk organ it was accompanying a performance of Stainer's Crucifixion! The staggering thing is the number of truly professional organists in the area that have piles of the Mayhew organ albums. At the Mennonite church, the organist played some very attractive pieces despite being more than capable of playing serious organ works. The Schnitger instruments are amazingly flexible and a real joy to play. It's the toes only technique that caused me some grief!
  15. I've just returned after a choir and concert tour of the North Netherlands. It's all been a bit of a revelation for me organ-wise, having played A Schnitger (finished by a pupil), van Oecklegem and Marcussen organs. We choose the repertoire at the express request of our various hosts, although we were aware of the potential limitations the organs presented us. Having a Hauptwerk setup at home, I was even able to practice on one of the organs! To the various instruments: 1. Anloo - an organ seemingly started by Schnitger but finished by a 'pupil' of his. A well-stocked 2m which has just celebrated it's 300th birthday. It plays like a dream and sounds superb. Everything blends together and according to the organist, there are no rules (I though there were....)! Stanford in G ended up in Ab as the pitch was a semitone sharp, much to our soloist's delight. The stoplist promises little, but deliverers a lot in terms of flexibility. My only problem was getting even vaguely comfortable. The keyboards were fine, but the pedalboard (CCC-d 27 notes) was wider than our normal 30 notes and very short indeed. A complete rethink of pedal technique was called for which wasn't too traumatic. The stops were very widely spaced indeed and certain key stops seemed to have a bend in them indicating that there may no always be a registration assistant. 2. Middelstum (Hippolytekerk) - a very well stocked 2m with 16/8 reeds on the Hoofdwerk. The console on this organ was from hell, with stoknobs above the head and pulling out a very long way. Also quite crippling was the fact that the Hoofdwerk main chorus was divided treble and bass - so to pull out Hoofd Mixture with 16/8 reeds required yanking out 6 stops. This was made worse by the fact that the order of the stops followed the order of placement on the windchest, so there was no method at all. Nevertheless a fine organ which coped with everything thrown at it, including the Adagio from Widor 2. The only real downside was a complete nutter (a woman) gaining access to the organ gallery during the Widor, during which she shouted at me constantly!! 3. Groningen, Doopgezindekerk (Mennonite) - a beautiful modern church with an organ by Marcussen designed for Cor Edskes (he was organist here for many years). Outwardly the organ promised almost no flexibility with spit and scream in equal measure. How wrong I was - it was warm and really quite superb as an accompanimental instrument. One of their organists (Erwin Wiersinga) told me on a previous visit that anything worked on this organ and he was right. I shared the stool with Janny Knol-de Vries, also a very talented player and she really turned the organ inside out. It was absolutely fascinating to experience these quite exceptional instruments and see them in a completely new light. One particular fascination was seeing a professional organist (and I mean a real pro) make some of the music from the Mayhew organ albums really sing!!! Do visit the Netherlands, you'll be made most welcome!
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