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  1. From the Dictionary of Organs and Organists second edition of 1921 I found Warrell Arthur Sydney FRCO 12 St Matthew's Rd, Cotham, Bristol. Born at Farmborough near Bath 1882. Trained Bristol Cathedral. O and C St Matthias 1900-1; St Agnes 1901-5; St Alban's 1905 and St Nicholas' since 1905 all of Bristol. Teacher of Music, University of Bristol Department of Education (Men) 1909. Sadly nothing else about what he wrote!
  2. I was on the point of writing to the BBC after the 8th March epic to ask why they feel it neccesary to trivialise such fine hymns. I really can't be doing with this "folky" anticipation of the next note!
  3. Do you mean Colin Edmondson? I used to compete against him in local Music Festivals in the 1960's. I agree, the St Silas organ is one of the few remaining good instruments in the area. Many years ago I heard Eric Chadwick (who died recently after many years of teaching at the RMCM and a superb player) give a most memorable recital there, introducing me to Bonnet's "Elves" which he played as an encore. Mr Morley, I too am a schoolteacher (responsible for rebuilding a pipe organ in the school hall where I first taught) but I would not have dared to build organs commercially! The Lancaster Organ Building Company were responsible for all manner of acts of organ vandalism in Lancashire by undercutting the established builders - the electrification of the now defunct Binns in St Paul's North Shore Blackpool being a prime example. The keys felt worse than the cheapest Yamaha keyboard and the Great gained a horrible 26-29 mixture to cap the 15th. Incidentally after the closure of the church in the 1990's that organ went to St Augustine Tonge Moor, Bolton before parts of it found their way to Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church - where I bet the 26-29 Mixture has not reappeared!
  4. I remember playing the St Goerge's organ in the mid 1960's and was appalled at its unloved state! Someone had stubbed out a cigarette on on of the keys. Sadly there was no civic organist to keep an eye on it. You are absolutely right to say it was a splendid instrument, but it was not maintained and I have a feeling that it was left to perish. If the case remains, I think it is occupied by the 2 manual 1930's Compton from St Oswald's Preston. That was an amazing instrument (possibly 5 ranks) in a wonderfully generous acoustic. If it is in St George's Hall, it would be interesting to hear if it still sounds well in the drier acousti of the hall. In the mid 1960's Blackburn was full of interesting organs at a time when the Cathedral organ (in its last incarnation by Cowin of Liverpool) was in a dire state. I was fortunate enough to play the 4 manual Willis in St Peter's complete with full length 32' Double Diapason, and Solo Ophicleide. The fine little 2 manual Willis in St Michael's went to Holland when the church closed. The 3 manual Binns in St John's (long since pulled down) had a beautiful wooden pedal Trombone; a similar, but later Binns at St James had a fine metal Trombone; and there was the 3 manual Willis in St Philip's with everything you could possibly need in a warm acoustic. Happily, when the church closed, this instrument was saved, but sadly it was rebuilt by the Lancaster Organ Building Company (a group of school teachers) who moved it to St Stephen's Blackpool, electrified the action, added a Larigot on the swell, detached the console and clothed the pipes in the most hideous case imaginable! It seems to me that like so many industrial towns, Blackburn has suffered more than its share of organ vandalism - the St George's R and D being typical.
  5. I belong to a good Association, but sadly almost all the events organised coincide with my own musical activities. Therein lies the problem; those of us who are always musically involved are seldom able to support OA events. However, the "Organists' Review" (subsidised from the annual OA subscription) is always a good read; even if it's not quite as good as when Paul Hale was editor. In my teens I was the ultimate organ-anorak, and would travel miles to see, or better, to play an instrument. In those days information on organs was often hard to come by. However, today the NPOR web site is a great "armchair comfort" as details of instruments are easily available, and so the aged organ-anorak can be rather better informed about the instruments which an OA might visit. Given the sad demise of Parish Church music and the active discouragement of anything which smacks of tradition, is it the case that Associations in Cathedral cities fare best?
  6. I have been a bit slow to spot this thread, but the fact that it now runs to 12 pages underlines the fact that many of us are less than pleased to pay £73 for very little. In the "old days" at least the sub went towards something tangible - the cost of maintaining the fantastic Kensington Gore building (the atmosphere of which, and those wonderful stern photographs of giants in the organ world, linked we humble musicians directly to the past) and, of course the HNB organ. I know opinions varied about the organ, but I rather liked it! Now it seems that we pay just for a PO box number, a few e-mails and the glossy RCO News. No longer do we even have a properly printed handbook. Each June, for the past few years I have written to voice my concerns about the rising subscription and about the hon FRCO award (the latter query spurred on by hearing that one recipient of an hon FRCO had said that they were pleased to receive it as in their student days they coudn't be bothered to do the paperwork!), and have had full replies from Roy Massey, Peter Wright and latterly Kim Gilbert (The General Manager). The replies (with a fair amount of "cut and paste", so others must have received similar letters) went over much the same ground about changing circumstances, rising costs etc. but I have to admit to not being impressed by the attempts to make me feel guilty at questioning exactly where our money has gone. After membership of over 30 years I have exhausted my loyalty to the RCO and fear that this will be my last year of membership. Perhaps the way forward is for the RCO to join forces with the RAM or RCM - at least they have premises and run internationally respected courses. Interestingly, the decline in the RCO is rather similar to the demise of the RSCM - but that is another topic! Hohlflute FRCO
  7. The fine 4 manual Willis/Hele in St Paul's Church Weston-super-Mare was a sad loss. As the acoustic of the church was pleasantly resonant, it was said to have sounded much grander than the organ in Wells Cathedral. In the early 1950's it was replaced by the Binns from St Michael Gloucester Cross, which was rebuilt by Rushworth and Dreaper in 1956 and given a vast Tromba/Trombone rank. However the addition of lots of acoustic cladding in the renovation of the shell of the original building never helped the instrument, and today it is in a very poor state - reflecting the musical demands of the congregation..............
  8. We must be unique in our area, singing a fullly choral setting of the Eucharist each week except one (when the family service does not involve the choir!). We currently number 23 accompanied settings and 6 unaccompanied settings ranging from Palestrina to John Sanders (Mass of the Creator). The reason for this is quite simple, we have not had an incumbent who has interfered with the choice of music - apart from the hymns, and, quite frankly, I will gladly play a few Kendrick gems (just occasionally!) in exchange for allowing the choir its three or four full choral eucharists and two fully choral evensongs each month. That way we can try to keep alive some of the gems mentioned earlier - Ireland in C, Bairstow in E flat (with its 7/4 Benedictus!) the Darkes, the Stanfords and Vierne Messe Solennelle, Mozart Coronation Mass etc. for "big" occasions. I know just how spiritually unrewarding the constant repetition of the awful "Addington Service " and other similar pieces can be, and after 15 years in my present post would not consider going back to it - even for a brand new 4 manual Klais!!
  9. I too looked for an instrument which would "not do much more than a representative pipe organ." After playing instruments by Allen, Makin, Viscount Rodgers etc I opted for an Eminent as supplied by Cathedral Organs. This had the advantage of letting you choose your own specification, and whether or not to have proper drawstops or the cheaper lighted tabs. In the end I went for the drawstop model, and after a year's use I am still extremely impressed with the sounds it makes. The voicing can be arranged to suit your own requirements. The console is beautifully made and lacks the "tackiness" of the Viscount - the pedal board feels "solid" and the drawstops are standard units. In appearance the console is just like that of a pipe organ. Yes it does have a sequencer, midi imput, different tunings, extra stops etc, but the controls for these are simple and well disguised! I can thoroughly recommend the Eminent.
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