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Johannes Riponensis

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  1. Does anyone have particular view on how this piece should end? The final section is marked Tempo I ma più gravemente fff (Rohrwerke an) i.e. + reeds. After the big climax comes tranquillo, but with no indication of change in dynamic , leading into mit feierlichem Glanze ausklingend, which I read as 'fading away with solemn radiance', i.e. a (big) diminuendo. However, many players, including Wolfgang Stockmeier, a leading expert on K-E's music, continue fff to the end. The key word here is the ambiguous 'ausklingen'. It usually means to fade away. However, it can simply mean 'end', as in 'das Lied klingt aus' - the song ends, or, in a figurative context, 'die Besprechungen klangen in die hoffnungsvolle Note aus' - the discussion ended on a hopeful note. Any thoughts? It works equally well either way, I suppose.
  2. This is the second such redundant Scottish organ with an uncertain future I've seen in the last few days: the other was the walker organ in St James, Paisley. Perhaps it will follow the 1904 Hill organ from Kilbarchan to a new life in Germany.
  3. I read somewhere of the Septime described as 'goguenard', which translates roughly as 'rougeish' or 'rogue-like' (with ref, I think, to the Metzler organ in the Grossmünster, Zürich). It seems to me rather apt.
  4. I love the moment where the church mouse in the nave scuttles for cover from the onslaught of both Tubas together!
  5. During lockdown I have found delight and solace in the beautiful online recitals given by Dutch organist, Sietze de Vries, as here, for example, at the Martinikerk, Groningen, one of the very finest organs in Holland. Intelligent, lively, expressive playing and consummate musicianship throughout. Take the Buxtehude 'Komm, heiliger Geist' at 13.57, played in novel fashion at 4 ft pitch and the transcription of the Harpsichord Concerto BWV 1054, which follows at 21.50. Just listen to magical phrasing of the pedal line in the Adagio at 30.15, uncannily recreating the sound of cellos and basses in the orchestra. Balm to the soul.
  6. The piano version was published in 1944 by W Paxton & Co, who also published the organ version. It works well enough, but you need a) big hands, b) to share the 'tenor' melody between both thumbs and c) extensive use of the sustaining pedal!
  7. I have a copy of GTB's piano reduction of this famous piece (which, incidentally, is much harder to play than the organ original!). It is marked Larghetto (crochet = 72). To my ears, the organ version also makes sense at the same basic speed, albeit with slight easing at the ends of phrases etc. This still retains the requisite note of sentimentality without becoming the dirge so often heard these days. The composer's own recording from St Mark's, Audley Street in 1948 (available on YouTube) begins at about 69 and increases to about 88 at the climax. This, together with the omission of the first three bars, was presumably to meet the limitations of a single 78 side. The performance lasts 3 mins 27 seconds. If we assume 3.50 for the complete piece, why is it that some players today take a full 5 minutes? Does anyone share my views on a slightly brisker speed.?
  8. In the good old days they used to raise the orchestral canopy for organ recitals and to good effect, especially for those listening in the arena. The, one day, during the lifting, a light fitting (or part of one) fell on the percussion section of the orchestra below. Fortunately, the stage was empty. As a result he canopy has not been moved since, but it does mean some of the sound goes over the top of it. The best place to listen these days is from the balcony or even the gallery, in direct line of fire from the heavy reeds!
  9. Ripon - see the Cathedral Newsletter of 26 July in which the Dean writes: At the end of the academic year we announced the departure of our Director of Music, Andrew Bryden, to pursue new opportunities. Andrew joined the cathedral in 1998 as Assistant Director of Music and was promoted to Director of Music in 2003. I’d like to thank Andrew very much for his service to the cathedral over the past 22 years and we wish him well as he looks to the future. Canon Michael has been collecting cards and letters of thanks from people to pass on to Andrew – please be in touch with Canon Michael if you would like to send your own message.
  10. Thank you - the trick is to do it without seeing (hearing) the join! Actually, I reckon this one thumbed down note is more awkward than a whole line of them.
  11. Could some more accomplished player than I please explain how to play the last 4-5 bars on the Folk Tune, in particular the tenor F sharp on the Great whilst playing the remaining chords on the Swell? I believe Whitlock had double-jointed thumbs, which may have helped.
  12. Thank you so much. Expressionen, I believe, are more common in Germany, as an alternative to tuning slides. As for Bourdonpunkt, I think I understand what this means. The voicer tries to find the optimum position of a) the tuning spring on the reed itself and b) the length of the resonator, so the two are in sympathy (Übereinstimmung). It explains why when voicing large reed pipes it helps to have two people - one to tap the tuning spring at the bottom, the other to adjust the tuning slot at the top, thereby achieving the desired optimum setting.. Now to put that into English - briefly!
  13. I visited in 2004 when only two of the instruments had been restored. The YouTube clip of Handel Fireworks is amazing. However, the players cheated a little in using CCTV. If you look closely at the building you'll see that there are little circular 'pulpits' at the junction of the nave and transepts where the conductor(s) would have stood. Apart from the 6 organs there are 20-odd galleries at the east end for singers and instrumentalists. Even the access stairs are all constructed in fabulous white marble. Breathtaking opulence is the only way to describe the building.
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