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DariusB

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  1. On the electronic question, I'm not sure about this - the only reason I can think of is either: the organ part was so small that they didn't want the overcrowding you get on the stage with the existing console (one of the reasons we want a new one) - or it was a touring orchestra playing at a higher pitch so they brought their own organ. On the questions from John about stops/manuals: definitely new stops, as the colours we're missing (clarinet, vox humana, open/harmonic 8' flutes) don't exist anywhere on the organ at the moment. If I could try to summarise the layout/division thing: As you look at the case, before 1972, from the bottom: behind the grille, just wind system etc, no pipes. Next level: Great (divided front and back with G&D). Third level: Swell behind, unenclosed choir organ in front. Top level: Solo box and horizontal 8'ophicleide. (Pedal at the sides mostly on the Great level). In 1972, the Great and Swell stayed where they were. The unenclosed choir was removed and replaced by the Positive behind the grille at the lowest level. The solo box was removed so only the Ophicleide remained on top of the Swell box. All the builders we asked had no desire to return the Solo box to the top of the organ, for reasons of climate and access. The Great will be rationalised and brought forward (it's very spread out at the moment) and the new Solo (nearly all new pipes) placed behind it. In front of the Swell there is a large empty space where the choir was pre-1972. It's been boarded-out to project the sound of the Swell, which it does very well. The new Grand Chorus would go here (it's only 6 or 7 stops, but should be stronger than the Great). Pedal stays largely the same, but with minor alterations, including a full-length 32' reed for the first time. Hope that helps! Best Darius
  2. For those who might be interested, I've created a page with information about the history of the organ (with links to specifications and a much more detailed history), a bit about the City Organists, and an outline of the future plans for the organ. More details will gradually follow. Any comments welcome! http://www.dariusbattiwalla.com/Darius_Battiwalla/cityorganist.htm Darius
  3. Hopefully we'll be able to say something more definite in the next few weeks - watch this space! Re the German website, I think there's a missing www after the // - that seemed to do the trick.
  4. That's an interesting site - thanks. Though it does list the Leeds organ incorrectly as having 73 stops instead of 81. Even if you exclude the pedal borrowings it's still 78. But it still strikes me as odd that anyone would think that cramming a large number of stops onto three manuals is a good thing!
  5. That's strange - it was OK for a couple of hours then disappeared. Anyway here's a link to the same document which will hopefully be more durable: http://www.organrecitals.com/1/2003leeds.pdf I'm not sure about in the world, but I'd heard it was the largest 3-manual in Europe. Not sure that's anything to boast about though! - 81 stops is too many to manage on three manuals really. But we hope it won't be for much longer....
  6. Opening recital of the 2019-20 season at Leeds Town Hall on Monday at 1.05pm. Mendelssohn 1st sonata, a Percy Grainger arrangement for piano and organ, and finishing with Lemare Variations on Hanover, preceded by two of his summer sketches. And the D minor Toccata & Fugue to start the whole thing off. The full season listing attached. Please come along and/or spread the word - we always get a good audience, but the more the better! lth1920.pdf
  7. The Sheffield organ is used regularly but infrequently ( I played it last in June). The acoustic is awful and the organ isn't in great shape, though David Wood does a great job keeping it going and is doing repairs slowly as funds become gradually available - far from the complete clean and overhaul it really needs. It all works although the quiet parts of the Solo are very unreliable and there's water damage to the 32' Open. But playing the restored organ at the Freemason's Hall in London - which is just a smaller version of the same instrument - made me realise how well the Willis III voicing copes with a very dry acoustic, and how good the Sheffield organ could be if it was really restored properly.
  8. Connecting two elements of this discussion together - Johannes Geffert has done some research into accounts of Mendelssohn's organ playing by his contemporaries. One of them relates that if he had assistants available he would request frequent changes of registration - even within phrases. If that's true of a relatively conservative Romantic composer, surely Liszt would have been even more likely to have wanted frequent changes of colour if it were possible. Of course that's potentially a dangerous road to go down, but as Liszt above almost all composers valued virtuosity and technical difficulty in performance, it's hard not to find his organ music a bit technically 'safe' compared to the piano music, and perhaps to conclude that bolder/ more frequent use of the pedals (like Straube in the Peters edition) is legitimate. Anyway I've put it into a recital in November so maybe I should be careful what I say!
  9. Judith Bingham’s Ancient Sunlight Is interesting and rather beautiful, and I think there are other pieces by her as well. Diana Burrell’s Arched forms with Bells was a Proms commission back in the 90s though I don’t remember much about it. I’ve recently performed Thea Musgrave’s contribution to the Orgelbuchlein project. And there’s at least one piece by Florence Price - the first African American woman to have a piece performed by a professional symphony orchestra - in the series King of Kings - organ music by black composers, which is well worth investigating with some really interesting music. Though I admit it’s not much - and on a related topic, we could do with more organ recitals by women as well!
  10. For those interested, there is another article about it in the issue of Private Eye which came out today. I can't post a link as it's print-only!
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