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Rowland Wateridge

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  1. This somewhat late post is prompted by hearing a superlative performance in Latin at Lincoln Cathedral just over a week ago. I can’t offer any thoughts on VH’s original question, but the Winchester connection is surely established by the dedication to Dr Edward Sweeting, Music Master and College Organist from 1901 to 1924.
  2. I’m afraid it doesn’t answer the question, but according to the following, from a German source, the fugue was added very significantly later - 15 years: “This movement, which opens Sonata No. 3 for organ, originated in 1829, when Mendelssohn composed an organ piece for the wedding of his sister Fanny. He wrote home and asked his family to look for the piece, but the work was never found. Thus the opening movement of Sonata No. 3 is what Mendelssohn remembered of the wedding music for his sister written fifteen years earlier. He expanded the wedding movement into a sweeping double fugue with the chorale “Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir” sounding in the pedal part.” From another source we are told that Mendelssohn’s health began to fail in 1844; that must have been around the time of composing the Sonata - a possible but totally speculative explanation of “Aus tiefer Not”. Fanny and Mendelssohn both died three years later in 1847.
  3. Indeed. I first heard him at the Minster around 1952 or 1953 when he had already been in post for seven years. Still an indelible memory 66 years later, and high in the shortlist of life’s experiences.
  4. I didn't meet David Drinkell, but think S_L has perfectly summed up the feelings of all of us.
  5. Well, it would be good to have authoritative answers, but there are possible clues in SC’s photographs. Using usual numberings the key slip beneath manual I seems to be solid. In the key cheek at each end there is possibly a recessed thumb-piston type button in wood, unless this is purely decorative carving (I don’t think they are replicated in the key cheeks above, but can’t be certain). The key slips for manuals II and III are in three sections with shorter lengths at the treble and bass ends. All this can only be speculative. I think we are on stronger ground looking at the pedals and the hi-tech registration setter and sequencer. There are > and < foot levers suggesting advance and retard. The couplers are obvious. To the right of the swell pedal and the > lever are levers labelled A, B and C which I suspect control memory channels (or are they ventils?). All of this could be shot down by someone with inside knowledge and, as you say, Stephen Farr could doubtless solve the mysteries! P.S. I haven’t been able to find anything about this on Metzler’s website. Stop controls might still be mechanical for hand-registration, but Metzler must have introduced slider solenoids for the new combination and sequencer systems. Urgent clarification from ‘someone in the know’ is needed.
  6. For some reason I cannot access the German orgelsite! I don’t think we need to get over-excited about organ statistics - one finds exaggerated claims about numbers of pipes and numbers of ranks, the latter, I think, due to not knowing the extent of mixture compositions and any borrowing. Anyway, as a Southerner who goes to Leeds Town Hall when I can, it certainly is a fine organ, and I’m very intrigued by DariusB saying a propos 81 stops on three manuals “we hope it won’t be for much longer ...”
  7. No names - no pack-drill! I have visited an organbuilder’s workshop (now closed) where one wall was covered with original builders’ plates - mostly ivory or porcelain - which they removed from the organs they had worked on. It’s a bit untidy, but we now have two current threads largely on the same subject - see also “Tuning at the Albert Hall”,
  8. Well, yes, it’s entirely understandable that HW III was keen to get the contract. The organ was built by his grandfather and HW III always strongly promoted the Willis tradition, and wasn’t afraid of adding his own stamp on FW organs, e.g., at Salisbury Cathedral and St George’s Hall Liverpool, as just two examples. I’m very interested in the statistics which you quote. In terms of number of speaking stops, H&H increased the size of the organ in 1933 from 110 to 149 which roughly equates to 26% being additional. I had always assumed that the majority of the pipework was still by FW, but unsure to what extent it might have been revoiced by H&H. As observed earlier, in spite of his own distinguished work, John Mander considers this to be a Harrison organ!
  9. There has been some duplication of this subject, so I will follow bam’s lead by repeating here the post I made in response to his on the ‘Nuts and Bolts’ thread “Albert HallI inaccuracies - again”: One can’t say that the original work of Henry Willis was totally expunged by the first re-build and massive enlargement by H&H. The present appearance of the case is entirely due to him. How much, if any, of the original pipe work remained without re-voicing by H&H is unknown by me. John Mander equally considers it to be a Harrison organ (see the “Tuning at the RAH” thread) and, very modestly I felt, did not add Mander’s name to the builder’s plate. This may be entirely apocryphal, but I have some vague recollection that Willis (which by then would have been HW III) ‘disowned’ the organ after the H&H work. Agreed that the BBC and the RAH descriptions are misleading. In my local cathedral (not difficult to guess which) the builder’s plate states: Henry Willis 1851/4, Henry Willis & Sons 1897, Additions Hele & Co 1905, Harrison & Harrison 1938 and 1988. I would have thought that something similar to this would have been appropriate at the RAH, and I would definitely include Mander’s name. After their work on the organ (however conservative John Mander claimed it to be), it was immediately obvious that they achieved a significant and dramatic improvement.
  10. One can’t say that the original work of Henry Willis was totally expunged by the first re-build and massive enlargement by H&H. The present appearance of the case is entirely due to him. How much, if any, of the original pipe work remained without re-voicing by H&H is unknown by me. John Mander equally considers it to be a Harrison organ (see the “Tuning at the RAH” thread) and, very modestly I felt, did not add Mander’s name to the builder’s plate. This may be entirely apocryphal, but I have some vague recollection that Willis (which by then would have been HW III) ‘disowned’ the organ after the H&H work. Agreed that the BBC and the RAH descriptions are misleading. In my local cathedral (not difficult to guess which) the builder’s plate states: Henry Willis 1851/4, Henry Willis & Sons 1897, Additions Hele & Co 1905, Harrison & Harrison 1938 and 1988. I would have thought that something similar to this would have been appropriate at the RAH, and I would definitely include Mander’s name. After their work on the organ (however conservative John Mander claimed it to be), it was immediately obvious that they achieved a significant and dramatic improvement.
  11. When I asked David Dunnett in Norwich some time last year what was planned, he replied with a twinkle in his eye “We are going for a three-manual electronic”! A great organist with a great sense of humour. As Wolsey says, we must wait and see. H&H already have a lot of other work in hand.
  12. Well, if I am lucky to live to hear the results of the latest restoration, I will have heard the Minster organ in three of its incarnations. The first time was about 65 years ago - FJ playing and the introduction of the 32’ Sackbut was like an explosion! (It wasn’t Widor V Toccata). It’s a fine organ in its accompanimental role - there are sounds of real beauty - the ‘neo-Baroquery’ didn’t change those. On that subject, I remember reading an amusing comment by Henry Willis III - talking about mixtures - referring to Francis Jackson as “one of the bright boys”!
  13. I was referring to my own straying rather than yours! I gather that the RFH organ possibly isn’t a favourite? It will always be controversial, but I think the 5.55 recitals there introduced the organ repertoire to a whole generation who might otherwise have never encountered it. Of course, you could argue that this was limited to people who happened to be in London, or who worked there - although London has a huge catchment area. For these reasons, I think the RFH was a source for good. Three players at random - Helmut Walcha, Francis Jackson and Noel Rawsthorne all spread the gospel of organ music in their different styles at those recitals.
  14. But wasn’t Wolverhampton a case of murder, rather than death from natural causes? I don’t know Sheffield City Hall, or whether there is a potential audience for organ performances. But I clearly remember the Royal Festival Hall with its virtually dead acoustic and large audiences at the ‘Wednesday at 5.55’ recitals. They had enormous influence for good - agreed there is a world of difference between the RFH organ and any by Henry Willis III. I am bold enough to suggest that both can be very fine. I ought to add apologies to York Minster - an organ I admire enormously. We have rather strayed from York.
  15. Dave: I’m out of touch with the present St Mary’s. This was/ is the Parish Church of Southampton. Before WW II it had a Father Willis organ and was a handsome mediaeval church with a tall spire - which was a landmark for mariners, and had a peal of bells that inspired the song “The bells of St Mary’s”. The liturgy was traditional C of E in the principal Civic church. Heathcote Statham was organist here before moving to Norwich Cathedral and, somewhat later, Richard Marlow before Trinity College, Cambridge. When I was last at St Mary’s it tended towards ‘High Church’ so these reports about recent developments have come as something of a surprise. There was a period when St Mary’s became stranded in a newer and largely non-Christian ethnic community, and the dwindling congregation was shipped in from outside its immediate area. Apparently there has been a renaissance in a different tradition - not to our taste, possibly - but in itself a welcome fact for the church. Like Bristol, Southampton and neighbouring Portsmouth suffered devastating bombing in WW II, and the church was left a shell apart from the spire. Most agree that the post-war re-build was, put politely, uninspired. Henry Willis III provided the new organ when organbuilding was suffering from all kinds of difficulties and restraints, and was able to incorporate some Father Willis pipework from elsewhere (Stirling, Scotland, I think, although not certain). Within those limitations he produced a fine eclectic instrument, but I gather it now needs a lot of money spent on it - a familiar scenario.
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