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Mander Organs

Paul Isom

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  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. I've just been reading the article on Ernest Farrar's organ music in the latest BIOS journal. I have much of his music, but not this one. It looks more substantial than some of his other works. I can't seem to find it anywhere, does anyone have a copy or any idea where I might find one?
  4. BBC Radio 3 had a rather good Choir and Organ programme yesterday and played Meditācija ērģelēm by Lūcija Garūta. I believe she is a Latvian composer and has a few organ works under her belt. It can be heard at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0004s4v The are other interesting items, but this one really caught my ear, so to speak. Now the inevitable question - does anyone have a copy of the score for this piece??????
  5. This has just popped up on social media - the first photo of the organ after the fire. It’s really quite remarkable.
  6. This has just popped up from Thomas Monnet (with apologies for the Google translation): Hello everyone I am here the spokesman of Eric Brottier, organ technician, with whom I have the pleasure of working. The first observations on Notre Dame's instrument, including on the inside, show that the organ obviously did not (I insist on the word) really suffer from the fire. It has been preserved from water flows thanks to the cover slab between the towers and has not suffered from heat (the pipes are structurally preserved). This reassuring information will have to be supported by an in-depth observation which has not yet been achieved. There are lots of conflicting reports about the organ being destroyed. We wait with baited breath to see if the Grand Orgue has survived....
  7. It's an impressive bit of kit and quite fun to play with, but sadly I have yet to encounter a ii7b/V/i chord progression!
  8. Apologies for the FB reprint of my composer enquiry. Any organist friends out their ever heard of Margery Moore? I've stumbled on two rather attractive Lenten choral preludes for organ and they are really quite superb, bordering on the stunning. They were published in 1934 by Novello. I understand that she was from the West Country (Launceston). I can find nothing on the www about her, only that there are a few other nuggets out there waiting to be reprinted. Date of birth etc would be appreciated and information about other compositions. Do look these choral preludes up they are really lovely.
  9. Sad news indeed. I met Jean Guillou in Dijon Cathedral about 18 months ago and was introduced to him by a friend who is one of the organists of the cathedral. He was playing for the memorial concert for the trumpeter Maurice Andre. He was highly amused at the prospect of taking part in a performance of the Grand March from Aida which was to be played by two organs and 100 trumpets (and percussion)! While not everyone would agreed with some of his interpretations, his playing was really electrifying. I have a number of his arrangements including his extraordinary one of the Hornpipe from Handel's Water Music which is well worth playing. Even at a great age (85/86 when I met him), he cut dashing and elegant figure. He spoke fluent English (and I suspect many other languages too) and it was a real honour to meet one of my heroes - and no, I wasn't disappointed. RIP
  10. I am slightly troubled by this demonstration in that there is not a fair comparison between the two really quite different organs. The excellent Mander has no 16' reeds, the digital does, so perhaps it might have been better to try and compare them more closely by using similar combinations. Simply playing the same pieces does not make it a balanced demonstration. I agree with ajsphead regarding a congregation noticing the difference between a digital organ and pipe. I also used my single rank Walker (now sold) with a sole 8' Flute to accompany mass for a few months at church following the demise of an electronic instrument before a replacement (pipe) organ was installed from a redundant church in Winchester. The result was a revelation to the congregation and priest who were spurred into action in funding the replacement instrument. While it is interesting to see such a comparison, I cannot take the result seriously on the basis of this particular demonstration. Congregations should work together with their diocesan organ advisor whatever their views on digital instruments not base their decisions on market research.. If in doubt consult, consult, consult.
  11. And another one: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N14770 A lovely organ, beautifully restored by Martin Cross and Rick Sheppard. It's got quite a bit of history having passed through the hands of some distinguished builders.
  12. Here is another really attractive organ in my diocese at St Mary's Church, Fawkham. The organ was built by Bishops in 1925 and restored recently by the same companywith the addition of a Fifteenth 2 to the Great. This is an unusual organ as it was a new mechanical action organ. The voicing is really quite lovely, verging on the refined style of voicing favoured by Harrison organs built around the same period. I've attended one recital and given another at this church and again, the organ is remarkable versatile for such an outwardly unpromising stoplist. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N14770 I think that the manual compass also extends 61 notes which is really quite generous for a small village church organ.
  13. A 32' Sub Bourdon was a common feature of organs by Percy Daniel. It usually went down to bottom G, with the ;last seven notes quinted. Examples included Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire ..........................and of course St Katherine, Knockholt where the 32' is on the case front.
  14. I well remember the visit of the Ulster Organists to Bickley as Rodney Bambrick gave me possibly one of the finest reviews I have ever had in my life, and it still has pride of place on my website. The Bickley organ was voiced by Mark Lively, and I think aided by Paul Fulcher as well. It has a distinctly French slant - and in fact the late Andy Pennells asked me if I wanted the stop names engraved in French, and I said no for fear of upsetting the diocesan organs advisor! I wish I had said yes................................ It has a big job to do to fill the enormous space and is a remarkably satisfying instrument to play. I left Bickley and ended up playing in the local village church where my wife and I lived (Brasted). This is another Walker, and is more generously proportioned, with a superb Violone, strings open to the bottom. It is very very loud, and I understand that the Pedal Bassoon 16' is at the rear of the Great chest. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D05982 The previous organ was a rebuild of a Nicholson by Cedric Arnold , WIlliamson and Hyatt and was remarkably similar to their lovely job in Walsingham. Sadly this organ went up in smoke when the church burned down. Cedric Arnold also provided the small instrument for our beautiful school chapel. The organ was tiny but had some real quality sounds and was used a lot for weddings. In think that the bulk of the pipework was by Bedwell. The school was taken over and sadly the chapel was re-purposed as a six form common room and the organ has found a new home in France thanks to Martin Renshaw. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=K00132
  15. And other couple on my patch - the first is a 1930s Percy Daniel in a tiny village church in Knockholt. There are all sorts of surprises here, including a 32' Bourdon which goes down to FFFF and forms part of the facade. There is also a hidden 16' Octave for the Oboe which comes into play when the Swell suboctave coupler is drawn. I've known this organ in two incarnations, the most recent work replaced a mild Flageolet with a brighter Fifteenth. I have to say that I almost preferred the mild Flageolet 2, but no doubt the Fifteenth has it's uses. It's a superb organ and is a quality village organ. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N14807 There are another couple of gems in my diocese by Lewis, including a lovely job at St Giles'' church, Shipbourne. It was restored recently by Bishops who did a simply wonderful job. It was only a few weeks after the restoration had been completed when vandals attempted to break into the vestry and the route they chose was through the organ. The immaculate work was completely destroyed and had to be re-done. It is a lovely organ, although it still has it's rather heavy key action. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N14861 There is another Lewis at Keston which has been recently restored by Martin Cross. This organ has a more unusual design but hangs together really quite well. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D02834 St Luke's Church, Bromley Common also has a fine Lewis, although the building is now used by an evangelical church, and I understand that some services are also held for the original congregation. Both church and organ are in good order, and the organ has fine choruses and reeds and a spectacular Pedal Violon with real drive. Finally a real gem of an organ in a superb acoustic by Harrison and Harrison in St Philip's church, Cosham, The stoplist seems to promise little at first sight, but the quality of the voicing coupled with the wonderful acoustics makes for a wonderful playing experience. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N01010
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