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Everything posted by peterdoughty

  1. I think this link refers - it's not a very technical explanation of what exactly happened in the electrical system or what was needed to fix it though! (I've hunted through a couple of CD booklets because I remembered reading something similar, and found it: Gillian Weir relays a separate story about one of her performances of Camillieri's Missa Mundi causing the organ's fuses to blow 'in one venerable English cathedral,' although luckily her recorded performance of it, in the RFH, didn't suffer the same fate!
  2. And something very out of the ordinary.
  3. Let it be said right away that I'm no organ expert, a very amateur onetime player but a devoted listener. I'm also a very occasional audience member in the RAH when I can make it over for the odd Prom. That said: 1. The sound engineering of this particular Prom seemed marginally better to my ears than in the past, but I was wearing headphones for it where usually I listen through speakers. The big Solo orchestral reeds were identifiable but very toned down. Some of the Pedal sounded very forward indeed, and the Great flues seemed equally big compared to the rest. (However, as more knowledgeable members have mentioned, not just in this thread but in others in the past, there is really no 'one sound' to the instrument even when you sit in the hall itself. I was seated in the stalls in approximately the 9 o'clock position for a performance of the Vaughan Williams Sinfonia Antartica in 1994 and the instrument's supposedly fortissimo entry in the Landscape movement was underwhelming. I was in the 6 o'clock position in a loggia box at the back of the stalls when Cameron Carpenter performed (after the restoration) and it was very impressive but rather unfocused. You could hear that yes, that was the Tuba Mirabilis, and yes those were the big Solo reeds, but there wasn't much real fire, nor much real immediate presence from the Pedal. However, I was in the circle (level 3, just below the gallery at the very top) in the 7-8 o'clock position for a performance of The Planets, and the immediacy and clarity, oh my goodness. The entries in Mars were like hot coals, and the big glissando in Uranus was simply devastating. I got a huge and physically shocking impression of the big reeds and mixtures all at once there, and lots of people in the vicinity physically reacted to the volume, so it wasn't just me. In the quieter movements, the pp Pedal entries were present, and had focus and gravity. All that said, I've no idea where it's best to sit, or whether there is such a place in fact. 2. I have Christopher Herrick's Organ Fireworks II, which is great but recorded long before the restoration. The Tuba Mirabilis has one notable outing, during which it sounds like the microphone must have been bang in front of the pipes themselves. The big Solo orchestral reeds aren't really big here, but the quieter stops are well explored. Simon Preston's post-restoration CD, to my ears, has some of the problems you get as a listener in the hall but I think does seem realistic. Gillian Weir's CD on Priory was the first post-restoration recording and while Gramophone made much of its undoubted musicality, I felt the recording was a disappointment, very distant, and although you knew the big reeds from their timbre, they were underwhelming in impact. Much use of the volume control was needed. Again, important to say that this isn't a criticism of Priory. They use one microphone I think, and they were doing their best with where they could place it. For my money, Thomas Trotter's Grand Organ Prom disc is the clear winner so far in terms of organ sound alone, and I think they must have miked it in several locations around the hall because the different divisions are really well represented, clear, focused and musical. You won't hear it like that in person, I think! I'll stop blathering now! Edit: links to the CDs mentioned... https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA66258 https://signumrecords.com/product/royal-albert-hall/SIGCD084/ https://www.prioryrecords.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=2134 https://www.regent-records.co.uk/product_details_215.htm
  4. I came across this clip while searching for more about this story I've encountered in the Guardian. Unfortunately, not much detail available in NPOR but there's an informative page here.
  5. I can't see any other way to contact them than by the 4 numbers and 2 email addresses given on their site and there are further details of personnel via Companies House. There's no twitter account, but Anthony Hall appears to be a member of the Facebook British Pipe Organs group, if that's any help?
  6. Because it's nearly the weekend, I hope nobody will mind a bit of frivolity, so with fingers crossed... 🤞 The Wave Organ in San Francisco (info, video) The Singing Ringing Tree near Burnley (info, video) The Bamboo Organ (no actual street view unfortunately, but still plenty of photos to peruse) in Las Piñas, Philippines (info, video) The Heldenorgel in Kufstein, Austrian Tyrol (info, video, and another) The John Cage Organ in St Burchardi, Halberstadt (info) The Giant's Organ at the Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site, Northern Ireland
  7. My goodness. The mind boggles! I pay for access to Martin Doering's excellent Die Orgelseite and there are excellent high-resolution photo galleries including some very 'creative' cases and pipe displays... And back to the RAH - 90.4% tin - certainly a surprise to me when I read that! I wonder how bright and/or shiny the facade would have looked in its virgin state... In other news, I've sent a tweet to the Royal Albert Hall to ask whether they've any repair plans. Not a sausage in response, not even a 'thanks for your question' message. 🙄
  8. St Anne's Cathedral here in Belfast. And a much smaller instrument inside an interesting-looking church I've never actually been in myself!
  9. I've always heard that they're the Great Contra Violone (but there's also one mention that I've seen online which suggests that the facade is actually made up of a mixture of that and the Pedal Double Open Diapason - see here). Unfortunately, there's no word anywhere via google regarding the composition of the pipe metal... but there is an interesting previous thread on this very forum that I've just found here!
  10. Thank you for this interesting info, Robert. I've also posted about this on the British Pipe Organs group on Facebook, and Michael Blighton and others have chipped into the conversation. Summary: when Mander did the restoration, the Hall authorities balked at what would have been the astronomical cost of removing the 32' front pipes from the case and/or hall for repair. Two firms had quoted to repair them, and both said they'd ideally have preferred to replace the pipes with new ones. The feet and mouths had already started to collapse, so instead, they were all fitted with large steel braces at the back to stop them collapsing further, and the matter was left there! Such a shame more couldn't have been done, but you have to cope with the funds available, I suppose.
  11. As far as Katie Derham's virtuosity comment is concerned, I completely take the point that the organ writing probably isn't exactly taxing for an experienced performer, but it's certainly something I'd be very proud indeed myself to even get right, let alone musically. Plus, it's a very public BBC primetime pat on the back for an instrument which needs a lot of equally public encouragement in the UK, so I'm inclined to be gentle on that score. Where I'm less inclined to be gentle is in terms of the physical treatment the RAH organ appears to be getting these days. Did anyone else watching on TV notice these damaged feet in the pedal tower - particularly the one on the left?! What on earth happened? It looks in need of swift corrective attention. By the way, I really enjoyed Martin Baker's matinee today also, and wished I'd been there to hear it in person.
  12. I did some googling and turned up this Facebook thread which contains a couple of potentially helpful photos... https://en-gb.facebook.com/groups/122306631156014/permalink/3086060881447226/ And also this: http://www.organstops.org/c/Cubus.html
  13. Here is our pedalling violinist with something faster this time...
  14. Perhaps a sign of the times... another item of sad news. https://laukhuff.de/?lang=en
  15. Utterly dreadful news. Their Facebook page has some reposted links from other pages and groups, including photos. From looking at them, it seems the entire building has indeed been destroyed, and if what the reporter in the above video says is correct, that would also include their archives.
  16. Carl Rutti's superb concerto for organ, strings and percussion was an exciting discovery for me on CD (Guild, GMCD7386). I hope to hear it in person some day. There's a fittingly enthusiastic audience review of it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/review/RGT23JCVDY0XZ and Gramophone's Marc Rochester was clearly happy to herald its arrival. The first movement is here:
  17. I'm delighted to see the programme, and while I'm a bit puzzled at what appears to be the extremely short duration of some of the concerts, it can't be denied that, as Attenborough says on the promotional video for the season, a wonderful brightness will appear in our diaries! Very good news! I'll also be interested to see what becomes of the arena and gallery. There's talk of either shifting fewer than the usual number of prommers to the seated areas - or providing socially distanced fixed seats in the usual areas - at usual promming prices and on the day only...
  18. Well, this is sad news. Apparently they declared bankruptcy. 😔 https://www.lavenir.net/cnt/dmf20201124_01531643/faillite-pour-la-manufacture-d-orgues-thomas I have never heard any of their work in person, but the final CD in Bernard Foccroulle's Buxtehude set is played on one of their smaller instruments in Hoogstraten, Belgium. An utterly beautiful organ sound. https://www.orgues-thomas.com/orgues/neufs/HOOGSTRATEN-Sint-Katharinakerk
  19. Of course it is, Martin. My apologies to you, and all - too many tabs open in my browser and too many trains of thought at the one time. 😳 What a wonderful, poised performance he gave, mind you! Here in Belfast, my old organ teacher Garry Rodway also taught cello, and I believe he once flirted with the violin himself. He told me a story of an organist he knew, whose name I've wholly forgotten, who used to play something like this occasionally after services... what a great talent, whoever exhibits it!
  20. I've had a most kind and interesting reply from Paul Hale, as follows: "The Teint was a gift by Maurice Forsyth-Grant, as was the None (Positiv, now on the Swell) and the 16ft Messing [brass] Regal on the Great (now replaced by G&G with an 8ft Vox Humana). The pitches are the seventh and ninth harmonics (a flat Bb and a near-D) which can be heard in the harmonic series of a bright reed pipe (particularly the 7th, the ‘Bb’). However, Maurice didn’t really intend it to be used liked that, but in some North European organ music of the 1950s and 1960s which occasionally calls for ‘aliquot’ stops such as this. They were commonplace in new North European organs of that period by firms such as Schuke and Rieger We used it but rarely, though in one section of the Nunc Dimittis of Leighton’s ‘Second Service’ it came into its own for RH ‘bells’ and the published edition of the work (which was registered with NC organ in mind - bonkers!) actually calls for ‘Swell mutations - bell-like’ at that point. "A Septième rank is sometimes found on French organs and adds a little ‘pepper’ to combinations, so the ninth rank was stopped-off in the 1980s, as Edward recalls, leaving the seventh sounding. A Sesquialtera 12.17 on the Positiv was long desired, so sadly two ranks had to go - the None and the 1ft. They are now on the Swell, in place of the Teint, G&G having cleverly divided the Teint slider into two. They are renamed ‘Sifflet 1ft’ and ‘Neuvième 8/9th ft’. Ironic that the Septième rank has gone, as it is probably more useful than the Neuvième, though it’s remarkable how much the mutations from 22/3 upwards add to the Full Swell - which they need to as the reeds remain in their 1980s softened state, to my ear impoverishing the organ’s exciting tutti. "Blackwells have a stock of my book (Positif Press). It’s the result of many years of occasional research in the college archives and has some fascinating historical material and illustrations, as well as a detailed description of the GDB and what has happened to it since 1969." Needless to say, I've bought a copy!
  21. Thanks everyone for the interesting replies! I've been in touch with Goetze and Gwynn who restored the instrument, and have had a reply from one of the staff as follows: "Yes, I remember the Teint. It was on the Swell, but because it was never used, the 1ft on the Positiv was transferred to the Teint's position, and a much needed Sesquialtera II (copied from the GDB at York University) was introduced to the Positiv. "The Teint was a high-pitched Aliquot mixture... I don't remember what the pitches 1.1/7 and 16/19 denoted, but they were high up in the harmonic series, and though soft the stop had a sound like tinkling glass! It was intended for music by avant-garde composers like Hugo Distler, though I doubt it was ever much used.....for the last forty years or so one of the ranks was sellotaped silent. I know of no other examples of the Teint in the UK, but builders such as Rieger in Austria probably were the originators." They also advised me to approach Paul Hale as he was organ scholar there and has written a book about it, and I've just done so. Apparently he regretted the stop's demise!
  22. I never managed to get into New College Chapel during my visits to Oxford around 20 years ago, so my only experience of hearing its organ has been through Peter Hurford's Bach set. Registrations aren't given, so I'm entirely unable to tell whether or not he uses a stop whose name and composition I've never seen before or since encountering the specification. It has vanished from the current stop list, but you can see it listed as number 47 here. Teint II - 1 1/7, 16/19 What on earth was it there to do?! How loud or soft would it have been? Does anyone here remember hearing it at all? The meaning of the French word would roughly approximate 'tint' or 'colour'. I've googled to try to find out more about it but there seems to be no mention anywhere... intriguing!
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