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Rowland Wateridge

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About Rowland Wateridge

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  1. Thank-you SomeChap for your considerable erudition. I am somewhat in awe! I suspected that there would be alternative interpretations, but not, perhaps, as complex and perceptive as these! In relation to Jesse, there is equally “the rod of Jesse”. I had assumed “Röselein” (or “Roeßlein”) to mean the Virgin Mary, but again, suspected that different spellings and inserted punctuation could be due to deliberate later editing, as you suggest. We are told by tiratutti that Christmas is the answer to the original question. I see no harm at all in playing the lovely Brahms CP in Advent when we are waiting and preparing for the Saviour’s coming. I always think Brahms conveys a sense of anticipation and mystery, perhaps resolved in the final bars.
  2. Well, I can’t see any objection to Advent or Christmas, but I believe that in Germany the subject is a Christmas hymn, or even a carol as distinct from a chorale. As happens in other cases, the usual English translations of the words (19th century) do not correspond exactly to the 16th century German ones. There is an interesting take that In the original German title, “ein Ros” equals Old German “ein Reis” (der Spross = shoot, offshoot, sprig), not necessarily a rose (eine Rose), doubtless referring to a shoot from the stem of Jesse mentioned in the following line. I can’t offer any authoritative scholarship about this as I have seen both “Es ist ein Ros’ ” with a single apostrophe after ‘Ros’ and “Es ist ein’ Ros’ “ with the two apostrophes suggesting abbreviations of both eine and Rose. Doesn’t Brahms use the latter, clearly implying a rose? These variations may be due to later usage rather than the original author’s intention. The Speyer Hymnal 1599 shows “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen” without apostrophes, but that in turn would require consideration of the contemporary German use of apostrophes! Maybe one of our German members might be able to throw light on this.
  3. There are very many. I’m sure MM and others can supply them. There is still the unsolved mystery of the pipes of the Chaire case at St George’s Windsor being removed for the annual Garter Service, but I’m fairly certain that was what we were told by Sir William Harris, although Roger Judd has no knowledge of this. He says that the front pipes are non-speaking wooden dummies. That might account for something in the National Record Office about temporary removal of ‘screens’ in the Quire on grand occasions, but following that up would be a major exercise. The intricacies (not to say quirks) of the dual Rothwell consoles*, which Sir William explained, were fascinating. A genial, and still young, Richard Greening was in the organ loft with him. But, not forgetting the music, to this teenager the splendour of the service (mostly Stanford) in this awe-inspiring setting, and Sir William’s performance of the Franck Choral in A minor remain unforgettable 60 years later! Lionel Dakers told me many years afterwards that Sir William’s playing “was full of poetry”, and that was certainly true in the serene middle section of the Choral (ruined, I venture to suggest, by people who take it at a gallop and miss its meaning). * NPOR have generously quoted my recollections of this occasion.
  4. No, never! I was always a member of the congregation. This would have been in the early to mid 1960s, and probably could be more accurately dated by the work done by Willis on the Grand Organ. I have that illustration of the old Willis console mentioned by philipmgwright, but don’t seem to be able to reproduce it here - a matter of its size being too large. I thought the elaborate carvings were of wood. Isn’t there mention on an earlier thread that they have mysteriously disappeared? As an aside, Henry Willis III was a remarkable person who expected and got his own way, even over-ruling St Paul’s organist Charles Macpherson about the size of the stop knobs when that console was refurbished. I also have custody of a rare photograph of the original Father Willis console at Salisbury Cathedral which (like the original at St Paul’s) was concealed inside the case on the north side and, in the 1930s, set the fashion of moving to a detached console on the south side (exactly the same thing was done very shortly afterwards at Winchester and, of course, very much later at St Paul’s). The Salisbury console was rather splendid for its date - no telephone, of course, but two speaking-tubes with their ‘plug’ stoppers on short chains. I can’t vouch for this but vaguely recall that they were respectively for sending instructions to the blower(s) and the lay vicars down below. My informant was a Salisbury chorister under Sir Walter Alcock and sometime Precentor at Peterborough, and was proud of the fact that as Precentor he once played for Evensong in the absence of the organist there! Once again, apologies to Rouen for evoking all these memories closer to home.
  5. Well, at that time (early-mid 1960s) the Wilis on Wheels was caseless and, it has to be said, not lovely to look at. As I recall, one side had a backing of plain black material, and the swell shutters were nakedly exposed at the opposite end to the console. As it was in use in place of the Grand Organ for a lengthy period it wasn't being wheeled, and to the best of my recollection was chocked up on blocks. It was in the same place as you describe, essentially below the north-east corner dome, and largely concealed by a domestic folding screen. Harry Gabb or Richard Popplewell would briefly appear in cassock and full-sleeved surplice, with academic hood, winged collar and white bow tie (not bands), and disappear behind the screen for the duration of the service. I always thought RP looked distinguished, tall and very upright; HG shorter and a little plump (?), but my recollection of HG may not be accurate! In both cases the playing was distinguished, and it was the Great diapasons which filled the building during the hymns. I don''t recall the Cornopean being that much used, but on more than one occasion RP played one of the Franck Chorals. I remember commenting to a Virger (hope that's the correct spelling for St Paul's) that we never seemed to see Dr Dykes-Bower, to which he somewhat haughtily replied "He doesn't come to this service"! This was the 6.30 pm 'additional' Evensong sung by the choristers with the Gentlemen of the Evening Choir. The boys had already sung umpteen earlier services, and were allowed to leave before the sermon which was at the end of the service and the final hymn was sung by the men alone. In the time that I attended I remember several performances of the Rogationtide anthem "Thou visitest the earth, and blessest it" by Maurice Greene. The hymnal was AMR, and quite often the alternative tune was used, (e.g., 'Old 104th' never 'Hanover' for "O worship the King"). I don't recall anyone conducting, even in the anthem. I think a lay vicar on either side kept the beat (equally the case at Winchester Cathedral at that era). Although evening, the St Paul's 'Wandsmen' wore formal morning coats, as I believe they still do to this day. I never heard the Grand Organ in its Willis incarnation, but the console was then on the north side concealed within the duplicate choir case which Father Willis provided new when he divided the organ. It was reached from the north choir aisle through an elegant door inscribed in gold letters "Organista".
  6. Well, the Grand Orgue pre-dates Cavaillé-Coll by a couple of centuries! As I understand, it was the work of successive organ builders, and at least three of the names are familiar. It happens that Cavaillé-Coll wasn’t “called in” to work on it and, of course, there are other major French cathedral organs which aren’t by Cavaillé-Coll. There was a lengthy restoration after damage in World War II in which Rouen suffered grievously. What an amazing continuity of organists since 1383! The link tells us that the case dates from the late 17th century, and it also suffered in WW II. It is classed as a National Historic Monument (as are several of the major Paris organs with historic cases). I can’t think of any equivalent recognition by the State of organs and their cases in the UK. Several Francophile members of this board (and at least one, to my knowledge, French resident) may know more and have first-hand experience of the Grand Orgue. It would also be interesting to know how well the Orgue du Choeur would sound without electric amplification. I well remember during the last major Willis restoration (i.e., pre-Mander) at St Paul’s Cathedral the ‘Willis on Wheels’ positioned under the dome (usually played by Harry Gabb or Richard Popplewell), effectively filled the Cathedral with sound, but I suppose that might be due to the unique St Paul’s acoustic.
  7. There is one for sale on Amazon UK for £17 including postage. I guess it will go to whoever responds quickly! Rouen is not forgotten, and the link which SomeChap provided is very much worth looking at both for details of the Grand Orgue as well as the Orgue du Choeur. I recall reading many years ago in Marcel Dupré’s biography (autobiography ?) about his father’s Cavaillé-Coll house organ, but didn’t know that MD had donated it to Rouen Cathedral. From the specification it looks to be a lovely and versatile instrument - I suppose the closest equivalent in this country being the C-C/ Mutin at Farnborough Abbey, surely one of the most successful small organs anywhere.
  8. In lighter vein. I confess I have never been to one of these, but the Southampton Guildhall organ is a fine instrument and deserves to be better known. Thursday 14th November at 7.30 pm Donald Mackenzie at Southampton Guildhall Silent film accompaniment Harold Lloyd in “Safety Last” 1923 Further details on organrecitals.com
  9. When I wrote my earlier post I was away from home and relied entirely on memory about the ‘old’ Chichester organ. Having now checked the details, it did indeed have only 34 speaking stops, three manuals and pneumatic action - surely the smallest cathedral organ in the land in the second half of the twentieth century? My best recollection is that someone told me that John Birch paid for the Allen. That also struck me as being unlikely. This could have been mere gossip (it wasn’t said at Chichester as I haven’t been there for several years).
  10. I’m not certain about this, but I think Hele added nine stops at Chichester to Hill’s 25 - an amazingly conservative cathedral organ even at that date.
  11. Someone, I forget who, told me that the Allen belonged personally to John Birch, and he certainly seemed to have a fondness for it. His reign at Chichester lasted from 1958 to 1982. The Allen stayed in the Cathedral, I believe moved to the west end, and was occasionally played with orchestra and for choral festivals after the 1984/86 Mander rebuild of the pipe organ. Before the rebuild the Hill organ (in its fine Arthur Hill case) was in poor shape and disused, although John Birch had earlier made a memorable recording on it on the Ryemuse label. I think it was England’s smallest cathedral organ with only 34 speaking stops on tubular pneumatic action, the last work on it having been done by Hele in 1904. Reputedly Hele did a good job with a sensitive restoration and modest enlargement, and I believe it may well have been on the strength of this that they were chosen to make their controversial enlargements a year later at neighbouring Winchester Cathedral in 1905 (since totally removed with the exception of two ranks). I’m afraid this doesn’t answer the question of the timescale for the Allen. George Thalben-Ball made a 1975 recording on it. Somehow, I think it was in regular use for something like 20 years, but that is subject to correction by someone with more local knowledge. Rouen, of course, immediately conjures up the name of Marcel Dupré. As well as being natives of Rouen, both he and his father were organists there.
  12. When Colin Pykett started this thread, one name stood out: András Schiff, but VH beat me to it. There were two others, both, I suspect, potentially controversial: Glenn Gould and Myra Hess, respectively famous for their performances of the Goldberg Variations and ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’, and pianistically very contrasting. I believe Glenn Gould never used the piano’s sustaining pedal. Famous for his ‘noises off’, I found his playing of the Goldberg Variations entirely convincing. Myra Hess, of course, played with an almost supreme legato in ‘Jesu, Joy’. Didn’t the artistry in both cases prevail over any ‘authentic performance’ objections? These are not, of course, organ works. There is much speculation about the instrument(s) Bach had in mind in ‘The Art of Fugue’. I think mkc1 must have meant Bach’s organ works played on the piano, on which I agree with innate.
  13. I expect someone more expert about John Compton (MM ?) will be able to fill in technical details, but the ‘Compton Cube’ - sometimes several of them - were a feature of Compton’s organs, and were made by them. The technology would be familiar to most UK organ builders, (even if not something they have made or would ever consider being likely to make). I’m sure Niccolo Morandi is right that that these would be both expensive and bulky. I’m certain there are other more practical alternatives in a house organ. Southampton Guildhall possesses a Compton stop similar to the one described by Innate. - a single pipe producing different notes. Again, too technical for me, but just to stress that this was a product of British technology. (I hadn’t seen Damian Beasley-Suffolk’s post before making my contribution.)
  14. VH: I think we have 'nailed it' - at least from the year 1662! From the Act of Uniformity of Charles II, 1662: "XIV. Proviso for reading the Prayers in Latin in Colleges, &c. "Provided alwaies that it shall and may be lawfull to use the Morning and Evening Prayer and all other Prayers and Service prescribed in and by the said Booke in the Chappells or other publique places of the respective Colledges and Halls in both the Universities in the Colledges of Westminster Winchester and Eaton and in the Convocations of the Clergies of either Province in Latine Any thing in this Act contained to the contrary notwithstanding" I think this has been repealed in the course of recent law revision (although effectively re-enacted). I believe we can safely assume that this was the position during Balfour Gardiner's very brief stay in Winchester (Wikipedia incorrectly put him in the Cathedral instead of the College - now corrected). The same three places of learning are still exclusively singled-out in the current Canons of the C of E, and I think they are listed in the order of of their foundation. 'Evening Hymn' would, I suggest, qualify as an Anthem provided for in "Evening Prayer and all other Prayers and Service" (etc.)
  15. I only have 'standard' NHS hearing aids, but I experience the same problems described by John Robinson and John Carter. It has been said to me (slightly maliciously, I felt), "You only hear what you want to hear". I can honestly say, in my case, that this is totally untrue. But I can understand that people may get a mistaken perception. Like other misfortunes in life, the problems of deafness are not always understood by non-sufferers.
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