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Cornet IV

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  1. And under the present management from York and Canterbury, the braying becomes louder and of increasing irrelevance as the brayer ascends the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Sadly, the future of the organ in large measure is linked with the general demise of the Church, both nationally and parochially, so that with the current contraction of the parish system and the hegemony of the "progressives", there will be fewer places to house these noisy instruments which are considered such a drain on dwindling financial resources. The same fate awaits the bells which an increasing number of incumbents regards as equally clamorous and expensive.
  2. More than half a century ago, a clever mechanical engineer acquaintance lived in a large detached house in Purley, then in Surrey. Installed in the house was a two-decker with a not immodest pedal division which occupied the stair well, the swell was in the dining room, although there was no swell box - he had a string operating the spring-loaded door for that purpose. The great was in the "front room". Holes in the ceiling had been judiciously cut to accommodate a few of the unstopped longer pipes which couldn't be mounted elsewhere. There was a complete instrument disassembled in the garage and another ground floor room had been given over to his collection of player pianos and piano players. The first time I visited him, before ringing the bell, I was intrigued by the Fugue a la Gigue (577) wafting through the letter box, not least because I have trouble with this piece; it's like patting your head and rubbing your tum at the same time. Anyway, he called out "Come in" which I did, to find him at the console in the hall. He turned around, beamed "My dear fellow" at me and swung his legs over the bench. To my astonishment, the Gigue continued to play. He then removed the music to reveal an opening panel behind which was the punched roll of a player system. I was fascinated. I have often wondered at the apparent connection had between mechanical people and music. Frederick Lanchester (arguably, together with I K Brunel, also a musician) this country's most clever engineer was a competent fiddle player. The first Chief Engineer of the RAC was an organist in Southport for many years - I owned Felix Hudlass's music collection for a long time and there are many other examples of this relationship. I have no idea what happened to the Purley organ.
  3. How heartening to read in this morning's Telegraph of the restoration of the Wimborne Minster organ contract going to Manders. The picture is of one Stephen Hayley with an "orchestral trumpet" but in the background, there is the instrument disporting a rank of these mounted en chamade. I find this a little curious because whilst I have known many Spanish and other 17th century organs with reeds thus mounted, I have never met a 17th century English instrument so equipped. I suspect this must be a later addition. Yes?
  4. Thank you Peter, Curiously, this performance is not available on my YouTube programme and, more pertinently since it was a CD i was wanting, I am unable to find it as a CD either. Remember a wonderful rendition at Selby Abbey by Fernando Germani a long time ago - wish that had been recorded.
  5. Many years ago when I was much younger and a good deal fitter - early sections have more pedalling than the Tour de France - I struggled to get to grips with Max Reger's "Ein Feste Burg" but was never really successful. I was able to make a passable fist of the last three pages which could sound magnificent on a large instrument. Strangely perhaps, for one who considers that the world came to an end in 1750, I regard this work as a worthy successor to you know who but equally strangely, have no recording of his Opus 27. I would be grateful for recommendations of good performances on suitable instruments, please. Thanks in advance
  6. My thanks for the heads-up on this. I have listened to and thoroughly enjoyed the service which I thought was of a high order of attainment. It reminded me of the glory days of Barry Rose. And on the basis of one good turn and all that, but nothing to do with Choral Evensong, can I commend the truly excellent Wachet Auf done by the Netherlands Bach Society on YouTube. This a wonderful choral offering, not the Schübler variation.
  7. Une flûte en chamade. It would need some form of support which I imagine would dull the tone to some degree?
  8. Perhaps it's as well that I did not compound the confusion by adding that my fondly-remembered cleric took his holidays walking in the Lütschinen valleys!
  9. Sadly, if your experience had been any wider, your conclusion would have remained substantially the same. I'm old enough to remember when the incumbent was an MA Oxbridge, could quote Euripides in the original and was thoroughly expert in the technicalities of Walschaert's valve gear. He bicycled in a fawn jacket to watch the village cricket and knew everyone. Usually the organ was a modest affair, recently affixed with a plaque from BOB but was valued for what is was and not regarded as an outmoded and unwanted financial expense. Regrettably, the tower bells often are viewed in the same light I profoundly regret the passing of the vicar of my boyhood and have scant regard for the bulk of that which has replaced him. I accept that the upkeep of a pipe organ can be a substantial burden for many parishes but while it may be heresy to say so on this forum, electronic substitutes with their minimal running costs, for most people can be indistinguishable from the real thing - the Allen in the Silverstone parish church is an excellent example of such with an intelligently drawn specification. But I fear any appreciation of these things is not encouraged in today's preparation for the Ministry.
  10. I'm afraid that I cannot help with Phonak - I have no knowledge of the make. However, I can confirm the usefulness of Bluetooth connectivity. I use this specifically for telly watching where normal volume settings can be maintained for those also watching. This audio background provides "body" but the hearing aids contribute enhanced sound levels and the precision necessary to understand often poor diction and the missing higher frequencies. I easily can imagine that the Bluetooth feature would prove useful in other situations but my experience does not extend that far. In my view, hearing aids and bass are mutually exclusive; perhaps current and expensive models generate something approaching a full-frequency response. Generally, it is the higher registers which are lost with advancing age and reception of frequencies below, say, 4k usually continues largely unimpaired. so that aids need not compete with those Walkman things to which young people seem so addicted. Naturally, there are individual exceptions to the rule. When seriously listening to music, I have to wear the hearing aids as graphic equalisers no longer provide sufficient reinforcement in higher frequencies but the performance of 15" speakers owned and loved since 1967 continues to fill in the blanks.
  11. Indeed it is. Although I can't help being mindful of the changes of company fortune that have occurred since I last met Noel Mander at the inauguration of Cecil Clutton's house organ a lifetime ago.
  12. I met Jane several times through a mutual friend living in Pont Street. Apart from being an excellent organist, she was unusually attractive and good fun We ribbed her unmercifully after she did the page-turning for, I think. Ralph Downes, at the Albert Hall. In my view, the best recording of the Saint Saëns 3 still available is of her with the Paisley Cavaillé-Coll. A remarkable performance, particularly so when one considers that the orchestra and soloist were recorded at different times in different places. I'm sorry she's gone. (Edited by the moderator)
  13. This has little to with the thread topic but has reminded me of an incident many years ago when I was staying at the Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth which looks out onto the Stephans Dom. I was about to pitch into bed a bit after midnight when, through the opened window, wafted the Schubert B flat major Sonata from a piano somewhere within the hotel. The building was almost deserted but in one of the reception rooms I found a few retirees in their pyjamas and dressing gowns with a uniformed member of staff listening, spellbound, to the exquisite performance. The small audience rose to attention in absolute silence after Clifford Curzon finished, closed the Bösendorfer and quietly walked off to bed.
  14. A while ago, I experienced a similar phase, although it was mercifully short-lived. In my case, I ascribed it to increasing laziness; I was losing enthusiasm for the discipline necessary to the performance of this musical genre. Romanticism can be just that and from a performer's point of view, a convenient disguise of shortcomings of technique. This view is likely to generate some flak but after more than 70 years of "restless" contrapuntalism, I'm probably too old to change. Besides, I'm not really enamoured of the large instruments generally associated with this stuff. Sadly, I'm much too deaf to perceive any characteristics of decaying notes. And I find that graphic equalisers, compared with hearing aids, seem to lack "immediacy" or "grip" - don't ask - which is why, most of the time, I prefer the latter. Nevertheless, I'm all too aware that much of what used to be there, now is absent. I'm thinking of those wonderful recordings made by Lionel Rogg on the Großmunster (Zurich) Metzler many years ago which, to me, proved so revelatory. Rather like the electrification provided by Glenn Gould 10 years earlier. I suspect being banged up for so long is getting to me . . . .
  15. In my case, deafness (like so much else wrong) is a function of old age but was initiated by my time as a commercial pilot of piston-engined aircraft. I very much doubt that organ playing induces this condition - I think one would have to spend many continuous hours at a large and powerful instrument with constant pleno to induce any likelihood of hearing damage. My authority for suggesting this is that Virgil Fox retained his aural faculties unto the end. No brick bats, please!
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