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Rowland Wateridge

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  1. John Furse has beaten me to it in comparing it with what we know about the 10th-century Winchester organ, which has been described as one enormous mixture stop. Careful inspection of the pipes - see the video at 2.09-2.11 - shows them grouped by their different lengths, suggesting that there are eleven ‘ranks’ of flue pipes, and no signs of slotting or other apparent tuning at the tops of the pipes. It is suggested that they are probably French. I guess that what we know as French mouths were developed much later, but in other respects one of the pipes shown to us in this video, apart from being much narrower in scale, is little different in construction and appearance from one which I possess from an English chamber organ of about 200 years ago. Interesting! The above written before reading Jeremy Montagu’s article. He wasn’t allowed to remove pipes, but it is clear that neither my guesswork nor his professional analysis is the whole story.
  2. Norman Cocker, as already mentioned, but using his own name in a cinema at Altrincham if my memory serves. Rather more surprising, and the source is our own Musing Muso, Osborne Peasegood, sub-organist of Westminster Abbey played at a cinema in Acton. If any further corroboration needed, MM will have to supply it. A not wholly unrelated anecdote. I once met Douglas Reeve on an association visit to the dual-purpose Christie/ HN&B organ at The Dome, Brighton. Before demonstrating a non-stop one hour programme played from memory, he regaled us with various reminiscences. As a teenage cinema organist he had gone to Canterbury Cathedral and rather timorously asked to see the organ. On meeting the organist Dr C C Palmer he ventured that he was also an organist. Dr Palmer enquired where, and when a cinema organ was mentioned the Doctor expostulated “the prostitution of art”! In spite of that put-down Douglas Reeve told the story with great humour.
  3. Firstly, I haven’t heard any of this recording, but interested to learn, Martin, what you thought of the Winchester organ. You confided on an earlier thread that you hardly knew it. Claudia Grinnell came to us from Salisbury Cathedral, in itself, the most impressive of credentials. She is clearly on the list of very talented lady organists. The Winchester organ is also on the list for overhaul and doubtless some up-dating by H&H, but I haven’t heard any further details. I understood it was to be mostly keeping the status quo and only reinstating the FW vox humana - one hopes with one of similar type.
  4. Organ Recital by Peter Dyke at Hereford Cathedral in memory of Angus Smart Tuesday 3rd August at 1.15 pm As announced last year, the recital in memory of Angus had to be postponed due to national lockdown. Peter Dyke will play a specially chosen programme to include some of Angus’ favourite music on the Father Willis organ which he so much admired. Admission is free, but advance booking is recommended. Contact details as below: office@herefordcathedral.org Tel: 01432 374200 Events Officer: 01432 374251
  5. I can’t answer your question, which is for DariusB anyway, but when I first saw the new specification there seemed to be several echoes (pun not intended, although appropriate) in tribute to the original Gray and Davison organ of 1859 (NPOR N02795) with ‘Front Great’ and ‘Back Great’ both with complete choruses, and the Echo division added six years later. One could equally ask how did William Spark use the ‘Back’ and ‘Front’ Greats. Presumably for contrast - alternatively? - rather than together?
  6. Organ Recital by Peter Dyke at Hereford Cathedral in memory of Angus Smart Tuesday 3rd August at 1.15 pm As announced last year, the recital in memory of Angus had to be postponed due to national lockdown. Peter Dyke will play a specially chosen programme to include some of Angus’ favourite music on the Father Willis organ which he so much admired. Admission is free, but advance booking is recommended. Contact details as below: office@herefordcathedral.org Tel: 01432 374200 Events Officer: 01432 374251
  7. Interestingly, I have heard that same observation made about ‘Romantic’ (or organs deemed to be Romantic), especially ones by Father Willis and the other leading 19th century builders. I was in a group visiting Exeter Cathedral and particularly remember Lucian Nethsingha being highly critical of his predecessor’s changes and additions. A Father Willis organ should be left alone, he said, and didn’t need any ‘improvement’. He was equally dismissive of solid state electronics in transmissions and registration aids, saying they had proved unreliable! This might have been 30 years ago. The setter board was alongside the console with a three-position switch (on, off and neutral) for every stop and piston combination. Your comments about Buckfast and Windsor are interesting. The only recordings of Windsor I possess were by Sidney Campbell, and the organ sounded decidedly French in the mostly French repertoire on that disc, including a particularly fine Franck 1er Choral. Of all ‘modern’ organs I think Coventry takes some beating. The changes haven’t been that drastic, have they? I guess that Ralph Downes’ organ at the Oratory is considered sacrosanct.
  8. Most of the old Positive is still there, in the new (or, rather, resurrected) Choir, with some of the stops under a slightly new guise plus new ones in appropriate style, and addition of the Cremona which is becoming a standard in restorations of Choir divisions. Some fascinating technology and surely the first organ to incorporate iPad page turners and stepper advancers in such profusion - 10 or is it 12, including the pedal? Pedal-divide now standard, of course, and I note a new percussion, chimes, on the also-resurrected Echo-Choir division. It looks an absolutely magnificent specification - congratulations to Nicholson’s and all at Leeds.
  9. No need to be sorry, S_L. That comment wasn’t meant to admonish! It was an enjoyable diversion - self-indulgent on my part. All of the present lady DoMs, including assistants, are very talented players.
  10. Far, far too many in total (not discussing gender!) in both categories S_L! In my lifetime there were eighteen High Court Judges assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division (then King’s Bench - the real meat of the law) and except in places like Manchester and Liverpool, County Court judges around the country dealing with small civil claims doubled-up as chairmen of Quarter Sessions, taking the less serious criminal cases. Abolition of the latter, and creation of Circuit Judges led to the astonishing increase in numbers … And the High Court has kept it up as well. Agreed there are lots of reasons, as diverse as divorce and invention of the photocopier. The latter was responsible for greatly extending trials with avalanches of documents - which they managed without when there were only 18 QBD judges! Now the internet in all its ramifications is playing its part. Now we ought to return to discussing matters musical and organic!
  11. When writing the above I forgot to mention that they are to restore the small but enormously important Cavaillé-Coll/ Mutin organ at St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough. For those who don’t know Farnborough Abbey, the organ sits directly behind the high altar above the Imperial Mausoleum in the crypt below containing the tombs of Napoleon III, the Empress Eugénie and their son Prince Louis. Improvisations in the French style, both as interludes in the liturgy and voluntaries, are very much a feature of the playing by their distinguished organist, Neil Wright.
  12. Not sure what kind of company records you might expect to find after 100 years or how they might assist your project, but although there’s very little about the company on NPOR, they were quite prolific and numerous instruments survive. There are literally several pages of entries on Google devoted to A Hunter & Son. I have no doubt that the person you need to talk to is Robert Bowles who is restoring his own Hunter organ, and he wrote on here only a matter of days ago on the Nuts and Bolts thread thread ‘Redundant ivory stop knobs. …. ‘ etc. I see that he has also given a presentation about Hunter to the Southwark Organists’ Society, so he is clearly an expert in this field.
  13. Well, I realise that I concentrated solely on H&H, and Martin has redressed the balance with far more information about others and the distinguished work they are doing. I’m not in the pay of H&H (!) but their work at Canterbury and York has been outstanding for all to see and hear. The Willis website (and in particular their organ in New Zealand) speaks of craftsmanship of the highest order. Among other things, we owe to David Wells that the organ in St George’s Hall, Liverpool - surely one of the very finest anywhere - is playable (albeit with an occasional hiccup) and sounding magnificent.
  14. H&H rebuilt Wells in 1909/ 1910 and have done much work there since. They are clearly the chosen builder this time. As far as I know H&H have never worked on Norwich which was, understandably, in the care of HN&B who built it in 1938/ 1942, again with later work by them since, but I understood that H&H were in line to undertake a major restoration there. Winchester has been solely under H&H care since 1938. I’m not certain of this, and subject to correction, but assume that since Brexit UK builders are no longer subject to EU procurement legislation.
  15. There was no Willis 32’ at all - flue or reed - at Wells! The Double Open Diapason 32’ was added by H&H and the bottom octave is acoustic (NPOR N06892). Like ajsphead I have to rely on my recollection that the triforium at Wells has a very shallow depth, making it a no-go area for installing pipes. (I learned recently that a distinguished organ consultant had reached exactly the same conclusion about a similar idea at Winchester.) In fact, just looking at photographs has reminded me that architectural writers refer to it as a “blind” triforium at Wells - the arches are filled with solid stone! A further problem: there isn’t a lot of room above the central west door - it would have to be a relatively low case not to obscure the windows above. There’s plenty of width, but the Cathedral Architect (or Surveyor of the Fabric) might not view the idea with such warmth as organists! It will be interesting to see what actually happens. Wells is a very beautiful cathedral, but we need to bear in mind scale: the height of its nave vault is about 75% of that at Salisbury.
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