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Rowland Wateridge

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About Rowland Wateridge

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  1. They were indeed a remarkable dynasty and, for quick reference, both have worthy biographies on Wikipedia. Freeman Dyson was born at Crowthorne Berkshire while his father George Dyson (later Sir George) was music master at Wellington College. Both moved to Winchester College as music master and scholar respectively and both contributed expertise in the two world wars albeit about the contrasting topics of hand grenades and bomber aircraft formation! It can be said that both were prodigies. George Dyson was the son of a blacksmith and a weaver from Halifax (on an American music publisher's website, I found this referred to as Halifax, Nova Scotia, but they graciously corrected this when it was pointed out that this was Halifax, Yorkshire, England!). George Dyson was FRCO at 16 and had a most distinguished musical career, culminating in Director of the RCM. His works include large-scale orchestral and choral ones as well as the possibly better-known songs and Evening canticles. I can't offer any direct knowledge of Freeman Dyson, but the Wikipedia article gives hints of extraordinary gifts from a very early age, and, in answer to Colin's point, I guess that at Winchester and later Cambridge he was exposed to exceptional artistic and intellectual environments. Later, moving to America, he reached the pinnacle of a scientific career there. In their different fields, both were men of outstanding distinction.
  2. Her programme was of recorded music in many different genres, and lasted two hours. As stated above, it was a very varied range of music and performances. Very self-effacingly, Rachel Mahon only included one track of her own playing on the superlative H&H organ at Coventry Cathedral. Others may wish to expand on the repertoire which she chose, She also came across as a superb presenter with informed introductions and explanations of musical terms, and wide and well-rounded musical tastes. Congratulations to Coventry on appointing her.
  3. I only had the pleasure of hearing her once in a live performance when she gave the re-opening recital on the Royal Festival Hall organ in 2014. Very elegant, stylish and polished playing is the best that I can describe it. Her programme inevitably included Bach, her personal speciality Messiaen, a Mendelssohn Sonata and, most memorably, a wonderfully spiritual reading of Franck’s A minor Choral - also his musical last will and testament. RIP.
  4. Fantastic - it was, indeed. Virtuoso performances both by Catherine Ennis and the organ which seems to have transplanted so successfully to Orford from the Turner Sims Hall where I can never recall it sounding as wonderful as this. In its new home a worthy memorial to both Professor Evans who inspired it and Peter Collins who built it.
  5. Thank you both. Colin has summarised in this sentence what caused my question : as a non-physicist having only a vague recollection of nodes and anti-nodes from physics lessons more than 60 years ago, and distant memories also of diagrams of standing waves patterns.
  6. I asked the question as I harboured doubts that a pipe constructed in several sections with tongue and groove joints would possess the same characteristics as a 32’ pipe of full-length timber with joints only along its length. I wonder whether Colin Pykett has a view on this. One accepts that H&H must know what they are doing. It just struck me as an unusual innovation, particularly in such an important organ as Canterbury. It does have a very obvious advantage in being much easier to assemble and install on site, overcoming the kind of transport issues which faced William Hill at Birmingham and Father Willis at Liverpool.
  7. They are of full length timber. I wonder whether there are any tonal implications in the resulting sound of 32’ wooden pipes joined in sections as at Canterbury (and, we are told, Leiden) by comparison with full length timber ones. I do now have a faint recollection of there being cast iron 32’ pipes at St George’s Hall. Awkward to make and awkward to install, I would have thought. Anyway, their present successors are very handsomely decorated and an impressive feature of the organ.
  8. Only this week, sitting in the audience at St George’s Hall, Liverpool, I was admiring the Father Willis metal Pedal 32’ Double Open Diapason which features so prominently in the case. I could not detect any visible joins in the largest pipes (nor any signs of sagging or buckling, and they are 165 years old). It would still be intriguing to know how they were transported to Liverpool in 1855. I have always assumed that they were made in London, or is it possible that Willis made them on site or in a nearby workshop? Does anyone know? That question equally applies to the full-length 32’ open wood which he also supplied. One gets just a glimpse of the tops of those pipes which are inside the organ.
  9. Henry Willis III, ever perceptive, speculated in correspondence who - from a number of different builders - would eventually get the contract, and correctly predicted that it would be Midmer-Losh.
  10. “I was glad”: Sacred Music by Stanford and Parry Carolyn Sampson and David Wilson-Johnson; The King’s Consort and Choir of The King’s Consort; Robert King Label: Vivat; Catalogue No: VIVAT101; Release Date: 4th Feb 2013; Length: 67 minutes I should have clarified: “King’s Consort” rather than King’s College.
  11. From this programme note by Chris Howell: “Stanford set the Evening Canticles nine times. That in F op.36 is, like those on the disc in B flat, A, G and C, the last part of a complete setting of the Morning, Communion and Evening Service. Also from a complete service is the very late (pub. 1923) setting in D. Of just the Evening Canticles there is the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis on Gregorian Tones op.98 and two very early settings in F (1872) and E flat (1873). Some of these works have not been recorded at all to date. However, the four on the King's disc are the only ones which have an alternative orchestral accompaniment.” The four are the Evening Canticles in A Opus 12 (1880); in G Opus 81 (1902); in B flat Opus 10 (1879) and in C Opus 115 (1909). I’m afraid I can’t help at all about scores. I remember a particularly splendid BBC broadcast of the A major with orchestra, I’m pretty sure a studio performance (in the 1990s? or very early this century), with Christopher Robinson conducting the BBC Singers and the full forces of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. A recording of that may still exist somewhere in BBC archives.
  12. Thank you for those details, MM. A sad story. It seems at least possible that H&H were able to rescue some of the surviving pipe-work, even if we can’t establish with certainty that the Vox Humana came from Holy Trinity.
  13. That is what I had always assumed. MM Can I use this as an excuse to divert to St George’s Chapel Windsor. The recent work by Nicholson’s revealed that a fair amount of pipework reused by H&H - including the Vox Humana - came from Keighley. Can you enlighten us about this? Concerning the VH, Jonathan Rees-Williams once related that Sidney Campbell had scoured the length and breadth of France for a perfect specimen which H&H were instructed to copy, but that hardly ties in with its coming from Keighley. Apologies for the diversion, but it would be good to know.
  14. Both were David Hill’s assistants at Winchester in the 1980s/90s.
  15. Yes, I agree with this approach both for the console label and what the public should be told on the website or in printed programmes. Of course, it potentially loses some prestige (although, regardless of what is being said here, I suspect for some people it will always be “the Father Willis”). But the same can be said of other originally FW organs around the country rebuilt by H&H, the first, I think, at Wells, then Gloucester among others. The H&H console label at Winchester lists everything from Henry Willis 1851/4 to the latest rebuild by H&H 1988 - including Hele’s additions of 1905, of which, (possibly to VH’s relief!) only 100 pipes remain in the present organ of about 5,500 pipes. I haven’t been up in the organ loft for very many years, but there were various plaques nearby recording details in the organ’s history, and I imagine that they are still there.
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