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Rowland Wateridge

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About Rowland Wateridge

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  1. Barry: I’m only four years behind you, but I have visited the Minster when some of the re-ordering was in progress. I haven’t heard the organ but noted that it is laid out very generously and, of course, had a close look at the console. MM mentioned Southampton Guildhall (which I have played in a very small way on a private visit) and that also has the Compton illuminated touch stops. Actually it’s another very fine instrument, although not really the subject here. As you doubtless know, Hull City Hall has been in the hands of the builders, but recitals there are now resuming on Wednesday 2nd October (Philip Rushforth from Chester Cathedral), and then on the first Wednesday of every month at 12.30 pm. For the benefit of others, they last a full one-hour and the bargain price is £4.50 including a printed programme.
  2. Nothing wrong with pedantry - or an interest in non-organ subjects! But, according to Wikipedia (not infallible, but in this case quoting a local author), the Perth St John is John the Baptist. As one ‘wooed’ by the Hull City Hall organ at the IAO Organfest a couple (?) of years ago, I have returned several times, also making a visit to Beverley Minster, the most wonderful church - quite the equal of many cathedrals, and finer than some - also having an organ to match. Selby, another beautiful venue and fine organ, is outside that 12-miles radius mentioned by MM (so is Bridlington), but very easily reached from Hull (or, indeed, by direct train from London with the excellent Hull Trains).
  3. I respectfully suggest that her ‘main claim to fame’ is that Catherine Ennis is a highly accomplished and distinguished organist.
  4. I suspect it might involve having two separate pallets to feed a single pipe - by no means unique - but complicated with consoles and trackers at right-angles. Presumably the bellows shown in the ‘mock-up’ will not be on public view.
  5. Like others here unable to go to hear Olivier Latry ‘live’ at the RAH, compensation came today in a wonderful recital by Philippe Lefebrve at Selby Abbey. I was not the only long-distance traveller there. Philippe Lefebrve spoke very movingly about César Franck as the father of the modern French organ school before what I can only describe as a moving and reverential performance of the A minor Choral. Vierne, Dupré and Duruflé somehow gained a new dimension played on this thoroughly English organ. The improvisation on two themes from John Scott Whiteley defied my powers of description, but I think the two themes were interposed in a gradual crescendo to a toccata followed by a quiet fugal introduction to a second even more tremendous toccata - altogether twenty minutes. We were witnessing and hearing a great artist with absolute mastery of the instrument. And far from being redundant while the Grand Orgue is unplayable, we were told that the Notre Dame organists would play for the Cathedral’s services being held in other churches - so, whilst not exactly ‘business as normal’, keeping the Notre Dame tradition alive.
  6. Sorry to keep dwelling on this point, but there can never have been such riches in terms of numbers of organ recitals (concerts, if you prefer, for lighter programmes). Including the recital just announced at St Michael and All Angels, Exeter, there are twenty recitals taking place around the country on Wednesday of this week, six of them in cathedrals. It’s inevitable that weekday lunchtime recitals cannot attract the largest audiences, but many are well-attended. I have known 600 for Thomas Trotter at Birmingham Town Hall and on one occasion, a couple of years ago, people were actually standing in the top tier of the gallery. And, to plug the point yet again, publicity is crucial.
  7. That is a marvellous work, and the point you make was perfectly captured in a brilliant LP recorded by Arthur Wills at Ely - I’m not sure in which of the organ’s incarnations - but surely one of the best performances of French music on an English organ.
  8. I thought that his “Wachet auf” had echoes of Reger, but on looking back at my notes made at the time, Reger isn’t mentioned! Ian Tracey certainly used a powerful solo reed (but not, I think, the tuba magna) at St George’s Hall on 19th March. These are the five movements: i. Introduction; ii. Trio with melody in the Tenor; iii. Aria with melody in the Soprano; iv. Pedal solo; v. Introduction, pedal cadenza and free fantasia. I heard the Portsmouth Cathedral Trompette de Maris in an impromptu encore from David Price after the official voluntary at a friend’s memorial service - an astonishingly brilliant sound, and very effective in that relatively small cathedral.
  9. I won’t comment on the merits, or otherwise, of the BBC, but in my twilight retirement years I go to many organ recitals around the country, and they are mostly well-attended. In spite of all the doom and gloom about the demise of.the organ, there can never have been so many high-quality recitals on offer. Inevitably people in a full time job aren’t so lucky, and audience members tend to be of more mature years. Rail travel can be incredibly cheap if you plan carefully - advance tickets with an annual railcard can regularly be purchased for as little as 30% of the ‘full fare’ - sometimes for even less. Rail travel in the north of England (which as a Southerner I acknowledge has some of the best organs!), is very much cheaper than in the south. Of course advance publicity is crucial. Amazingly some recitals are still only announced on the previous day. It can’t be surprising if the audience is small. Anyone - I would say everyone - should use Steve Smith’s marvellous and free website organrecitals.com both to advertise their recitals and for planning visits to other events. At today’s date there are 601 organists listed on that site giving recitals at 299 venues.
  10. St Paul’s is a very special case - and a very special place. I remember John Scott saying (or actually writing) that some visiting organists heeded his advice about playing and registration there, and “some did not”. Ralph Downes said something similar in ‘Baroque Tricks’ about the RFH organ - even mentioning one very distinguished player as an example!
  11. Ian Tracey has very kindly provided these further details: “The Aria in Eb is the same piece as the Aria (in F) (Pub. Mayhew) but latterly, Noel reflected that it was better and far richer in Eb (if a little more tricky) and always played it in that key. He made a version (unpublished) ... about 5 years before he passed; and it is that version which I played at his funeral service, and will play at the Anniversary.” “The 'Wachet Auf' Phantaisie’ is something Noel wrote me to play at the 79th Anniversary Recital, way back in 2005. It was my 25th Anniversary as Organist and the 50th since his own appointment. I don't think it was ever published, but I do know that Gordon Stewart was given a copy and recorded it at Huddersfield, so there is a second copy in existence.” “In terms of my 'Aria for NR' - it is in a publication called "Liverpool Lollipops" (Pub. Church Organ World) all by organists of the cathedral and in which we all dedicated pieces to one another... mine was to my "Mentor and Friend Noel Rawsthorne" but has now become an "In Memoriam" and will be so on the reprint, when it comes.” The Anniversary recital and Evensong preceding it, during which Noel Rawsthorne’s cremated remains are to be interred, will be a very special occasion. Liverpool Cathedral, Saturday 19th October at 3.00 pm.
  12. I’m sorry I haven’t followed up your enquiry, and will now do so. As mentioned earlier (post 20th March), Ian Tracey played the “Wachet Auf” Phantasie at St George’s Hall on 19th March.
  13. Perhaps I should not have mentioned (grumbled?) about my church commitment! The very best hi-fi sound reproduction can never be a substitute for being physically present in the Royal Albert Hall - a venue (and organ) like no other. I posted the programme details thinking that Olivier Latry’s choice of repertoire would be of interest, and might lead to some discussion about transcriptions and arrangements - I have no problem with either - both terms seem to be interchanged rather loosely.
  14. I am one of the people who can’t go to Olivier Latry’s Proms performance at 11 am on Sunday 4th due to church duties, but this is his programme: Aram Khachaturian: Gayane – Sabre Dance (transcr. Kiviniemi) Manuel de Falla: El amor brujo – Ritual fire dance (transcr. Latry) Ludwig Van Beethoven: Adagio in F major (for mechanical clock) J S Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 Eugène Gigout: Air célèbre de la Pentecôte Franz Liszt: Prelude and Fugue on the name BACH (arr. Guillou) Charles-Marie Widor: Bach's Memento – No. 4: Marche du veilleur de nuit Camille Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre (arr. Lemare)
  15. Philippe Lefebvre from Notre Dame is also in England two days later, on Tuesday 6th August at Selby Abbey, 12.30 pm, playing this programme: César Franck: Choral No 3 in A minor Louis Vierne: ‘Clair de Lune’; ‘Cathédrales’ Claude Debussy (arranged Philippe Lefebvre): ‘La Cathédrale engloutie’ Marcel Dupré: ‘Résurrection’ Maurice Duruflé: Prelude and fugue on the name ‘Alain’ Philippe Lefebvre: Improvisation on a theme presented by John Scott Whiteley The titles of three of those pieces seem very appropriate to the present situation at Notre Dame.
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