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Mander Organs

Rowland Wateridge

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Everything posted by Rowland Wateridge

  1. Thank you contraviolone. Perhaps I may conclude my input to this thread with something totally unconnected and irrelevant. On my 21st birthday in 1962 I went to an organ recital by Simon Preston in Westminster Abbey, the organ still being in its 1937 Coronation incarnation, largely the conception of Arthur Harrison, I think, although he did not live to hear its completion. I suspect that few people would have spent their coming of age (long before the age of majority was reduced to 18) in this way. Not entirely sure now, but I think Simon Preston’s programme included Liszt’s BACH. Durin
  2. Sorry, I'm not convinced about ownership by the C of E but that isn't really the topic. Before seeing Colin Pykett's reply, I made a quick search of the Charity Commission in relation to the Abbey Choir School. This reveals that the trustees of the Westminster Abbey Choir School Bursary Fund are the Dean and Chapter. Without knowing, I suspect that the Abbey buildings vest in them, but it isn't terribly relevant and I think we agree that the Abbey is not a royal chapel. The link kindly provided by Colin Pykett only refers to services at St Margaret's Westminster being cancelled and a
  3. Could you please quote a source for this rather startling information. I am not at all sure that this is correct. Westminster Abbey is a royal foundation of King Saint Edward the Confessor, re-founded by Elizabeth I as a College of a Dean and Canons outside the jurisdiction of any diocesan bishop or archbishop. Of course the form of worship is that of the Church of England.
  4. That possibility was the reason for my comment on one of the other threads “Nantes Cathedral - serious fire” about the advantage of a mains electricity isolation switch box, and not merely switching-off at the console without this back-up. But it would be wrong to speculate and no doubt in due course the facts will emerge. (Incidentally, three separate threads on this subject were started all at about the same time today.)
  5. The first organ that I played had a mains electricity isolation switch box, located at a considerable distance in the Rector's vestry. I forget how we accessed it during weekday lunchtimes (nearly 70 years ago!) but no risk of out of hours electrical fires with that arrangement. I believe that my local cathedral organ is similarly protected now. As far as I am aware, this does not have any adverse consequences for registration memories. Of course, it isn't established what caused this fire. It's a very sad loss.
  6. Professor Wilkes’ notes on “The production and control of sound in organ pipes” run to eight pages with numerous diagrams and technical data all beyond my comprehension, but there is an illustration of the candle experiment. The open flue pipe is shown in the vertical position. At the top of the pipe, the candle is held horizontally, i.e., at 90 degrees, with the flame positioned centrally above the open end, and somewhat below that there is a cardboard collar positioned around the body of the pipe. The candle remains lit. The candle is then held vertically with the top of the flame level
  7. I haven’t discovered the division of authorship but the Maida Vale organ is dealt with at page 25 largely in the context of the cornet at various pitches, while pages 134 and 135 go into more general, and admiring, detail of the organ’s concept within the limitations of the site. But, to repeat, can anyone come up with current information about both organs?
  8. The performances on the two BBC Comptons which Tony Newnham mentioned were recorded by Nigel Ogden in 2002 at Maida Vale and at Broadcasting House in the ‘1990s’. My understanding is that Maida Vale is still playable, but not greatly used, and that the Compton at Broadcasting House is disconnected and unplayable. Does anyone know the present position about both? There’s a separate thread on this topic where it was said that Maida Vale was little used, although Eric Shepherd had recently tuned it for a BBC choral rehearsal. But Maida Vale is scheduled to close, I think by 2022, and when
  9. Well, as an alternative to Widor V (and breaking the rule about playing individual movements from organ symphonies) how about the Finale from Vierne’s Symphonie 3, already mentioned? The big pedal entry there is, I suggest, as exciting as Widor’s - possibly more so as it comes so dramatically following a gradual build-up on manual reeds. But, of course, this requires a large cathedral or concert hall organ with the necessary resources. People who dislike transcriptions might like to reconsider in the case of W T Best’s arrangement of Mendelssohn’s Overture to “St Paul”. Again, it needs
  10. I’m not sure what you mean by Widor’s ‘socialite’ achievements. He was thought of highly enough as a musician to become Minister of Beaux Arts. I can’t think of an organist having held an equivalent office in this country. (Before anyone mentions Edward Heath, I discount him in this context.) But as we are being brave today, I fully share your view of the Reubke Sonata, but would never have dared to say that here. But then, the big Reger works are anathema to some members here, as inexplicable to me as ‘our’ view of Reubke would be to them.
  11. May I gently suggest that the justified indignation about pejorative remarks aimed at amateurs and reluctants (of which I am, or was, one) doesn’t warrant a counter-attack on professional organists as a breed. We are lucky to have some of the finest in our small country. I won’t name favourites, save to say that before the present lockdown it was possible to attend concerts and recitals around the country performed to the very highest standards to respectably-sized audiences. My experiences do not echo some of the pessimistic comments above. As an added bonus, in the last 12 months I had t
  12. In defence of Widor Well, we discussed this on an earlier thread, principally about Widor’s much slower tempo in his recording of the Toccata at St Sulpice when he was well into his 80s. Some of us here (maybe a minority) felt that Widor’s interpretation (of his own music!) imparted a dignified grandeur which other performances simply don’t achieve or come near. Although he didn’t observe the rule at Selby, Fernando Germani was on record as saying that individual movements from the organ symphonies should not be played alone; they were part of the whole and to be heard in the context of
  13. My goodness, such heresy on an organists’ website! I will concede that the former organist of the famous public school near my home made an error of judgement some years ago when we had an ‘open day’, not just for the arts but for all local activities of every kind. People were encouraged to circulate round the city and sample everything on offer. For some of them this particular performance may well have been their first (maybe only) encounter with the organ. The programme was ‘The Art of Fugue’ complete (or as complete as it gets). My heart sank as this was an obvious opportunity to eva
  14. Firstly, NPOR N04090 gives as the reason for the appearance of the organ's east (?) front "Plain rear to hide tuner's passage boards". But these pictures are puzzling. The 1991 IAO Congress was held in Durham, and included a coach visit to Hexham for a recital by Nicolas Kynaston (as I recall). One front of the organ, and I assumed it to be the back, was almost entirely vertical swell shades, and it was very noticeable at the time how much the swell pedal was being used, and, unless I am mistaken, the shades opened slightly sequentially and their action was very 'fluid'. We understood
  15. I don’t want to hijack the thread, but here are John Scott and others talking about the Merton organ when it was new.
  16. The Merton organ is magnificent both aurally and visually, but it’s a large instrument and the Chapel east of the screen doesn’t have anywhere to accommodate it. It’s not unique, nor particularly uncommon, to find a west end organ in a college chapel. Without knowing, I suspect that there could be a CCTV monitor (possibly behind a concealed panel - this is only a vague recollection, and could be wrong) in addition to mirrors above both jambs. There’s also a chamber organ just to the east of the choir stalls. The Dobson organ case is brilliantly-designed so that when viewed from the ea
  17. I could write at considerable length about the acoustic complexity at Winchester Cathedral, but won't save to say that when the Father Willis organ was installed in 1854 it was expected to accompany services in the quire which was then very much more enclosed than it is now. The introduction of nave services in all cathedrals created a new situation - and a harder job for the organ - particularly one badly-positioned like Winchester's in an enormous building. There the vaulting of the tower, quire and presbytery, and the flat-roofed transepts are of wood. Everything else, nave, retrochoir,
  18. I realise this was intended to lighten the situation - and presumably internal consumption was the idea for the vodka? - but emphatically do not apply any liquid to keys which could filter down between them to the key beds, or on tab stops with electric contacts. I think hygiene of the organist’s hands is the way to tackle this. This homily was written before seeing handsoff’s reply above. We must both have hit the ‘save’ button at more or less the same time. But the ‘do not use liquid’ message was for general circulation. From handsoff’s description it seems unlikely that there are a
  19. The risk assessment is to be made by the 'employer' which I suspect could be either the incumbent or a churchwarden. Note the mention of "5 or more employees". The same risk assessment would apply to any other person also authorised to visit the church. The answers to those questions (they emanate from Ecclesiastical Insurance Group) aren't too difficult, some simply being "not applicable". I guess most organists carry a mobile 'phone. It's up to the church - not the organist - to co-ordinate visits and to permit who may be in the church and at what times, again all simply done by telepho
  20. I received this email from the organists’ coordinator at one of my churches last week. “I concluded that if we wanted to go in to play the organ, we should wear gloves to open any door/ locks, and be aware of hand-sanitiser available in the church and of advice about limited moving about the church; we can play the organ, but at 72 hour intervals in case of keyboard contamination. So perhaps if you would like to get back to the console, let me know so we don't all go at once!“ Obviously someone needs to co-ordinate players’ visiting times. I strongly doubt that liquid cleansers s
  21. We are very much straying from York. Hereford is a model of how we would like things to be in all of our cathedrals, but they aren’t on equal footings financially and the sheer scale of the buildings and upkeep of the larger ones is simply daunting. Lincoln and Salisbury both have original copies of Magna Carta. Canterbury’s stained glass is of international importance. Durham is, itself, a World Heritage Site - and the list could go on and on. How lucky we are to have these treasures, and how tragic would be their loss. What is the answer to the problem of admission charges? - I do
  22. I am sure I have accessed the music list from choralevensong.org, and, having just checked, the link there is directly to the Abbey website. In present circumstances the result is a notice that the Abbey is closed due to Coronavirus. I don’t remember the format of the list I have seen, although you specifically mention a weekly one. They vary considerably among the cathedrals: some only the current week, commonly the current month, but in the case of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral a whole term. For Westminster, choralevensong.org helpfully provides daily details of services. Doubtless
  23. In case I didn’t make it clear, the recital I sponsored was not at Coventry. I have no idea what cathedrals or concert halls (like the Bridgwater Hall) might charge for the use of their organ for a commercial recording - presumably a one-off payment in lieu of royalties? We must not stray too far from York, which was the subject here leading to discussion of admission charges, but it does highlight a problem for other cathedrals as well.
  24. I once had the experience of turning up for a recital which I had sponsored and being asked to pay for admission and the programme! It wasn’t the fault of the lady on duty at the door - she wouldn’t have known. The surprise, for me, when I received the programme was that it contained no reference at all to the sponsorship which was my personal donation on behalf of my organists’ association, equally unmentioned. The degree of professionalism in promoting and advertising recitals varies enormously, as discussed recently on another thread. In ‘defence’ of Coventry, my good fortune ther
  25. I don’t think it’s your Yorkshire heritage, Tony. Doubtless all of us would like to see an end to admission charges in all cathedrals and churches. But no one has yet come up with a solution to the problem of cathedral Deans and Chapters remaining solvent under the existing arrangements without occasional public appeals for major restoration work (not to mention re-building organs), voluntary donations and, in the case of the largest cathedrals like York, an admission charge for visitors who are not attending services. Cathedral gift aid envelopes often carry a reminder that they receive no
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