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John Robinson

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Posts posted by John Robinson

  1. I'd be as happy as anyone if this forum could somehow be allowed to continue as is, or perhaps be replaced by a similar one as has been suggested by several people.
    However, I see there has been no further comment about an existing forum - 'Organ Matters - Organs Matter!' - which someone suggested a couple of pages ago (sorry, but I can't remember who first mentioned it).  That site lives right next to this one in my list of tabs at the top of my Chrome browser.  I look at it every day, only to find (sadly) that hardly anyone ever posts on it!
    I'd like to suggest, once again, that if all else fails we could rely on that site to provide what we have lost.
    One should never look a gift horse in the mouth!

  2. 13 hours ago, Tony Newnham said:

    There's always "organ Matters" (https://www.organmatters.com/) run by David Pinnegar.  I'm one of the moderators.

    Every Blessing


    Yes.  I have it as one of my 'tabs' and have a look every day.

    Unfortunately, every time I look no-one has posted!   Of course, with our help that could change!

    On the other hand, this forum is still going, thankfully, and may yet continue.

  3. I'd like to thank Darius for an excellent recital yesterday.  I listened to it yesterday evening, on 'catch-up' (I think it's called), but haven't before today been able to write my congratulations on a fantastic display not only of interesting pieces skilfully played, but also the magnificent town hall organ.  It has been several years since I have had the opportunity to attend the lunchtime recitals, but hopefully these may begin again when these 'lock downs' are over.
    If anyone here is interested, I believe it is still available on the web site Darius provided above.

  4. 12 hours ago, Jonathan Lane said:

    This is not the evidence I am reading. Shouting caries the droplets much further, but singing (properly, and I'm not saying all choirs do so) does not send them as far as loud speaking, such as reading a lesson. However, it is developing science!

    I agree.  'Marge' and some of her choir members have experimented with a candle. 
    Er... please bear with me.  😉
    A lit candle is held in front of the mouth.  With normal speech, the flame is extinguished.  Singing, however, does not extinguish the flame.  I think that must prove something.

  5. 7 hours ago, Christopher Brown said:

    Part of the problem at Southwell compared with some others mentioned is the acoustic asymmetry of the building. Apart from the crossing you have a long dry nave on one side and a more intimate and reverberant chancel on the other. If you did manage to voice an organ on the screen to have impact in the nave it would then be intolerably harsh in the choir. Lincoln, York etc still have the issue of the organ being off centre, but because the buildings themselves are relatively symmetrical the organist and organ builder between them can overcome the difficulties well enough for a single organ to be viable

    Yes, the same problem was mentioned quite a while ago with regard to York: the organ being loud enough to fill the nave would be overwhelming in the choir.  I think it was probably Francis Jackson.

    I don't doubt the great man's words, but organs need not always 'roar', surely?    I have often thought, and of course I stress that I am no organist or expert, that it must be possible to select appropriate stops to handle a nave full of people, yet to choose fewer stops to accompany a smaller number of people in the choir.
    Of course, if both choir and nave are used concurrently, the problem may be more difficult, but how often is this actually the case?  I understood that (at York anyway) services and recitals are usually held in the choir OR the nave.

    Am I mistaken?

  6. 7 hours ago, DariusB said:

    Leeds Town Hall organ returns after lockdown (online only, but we cautiously expect that we can have a socially-distanced audience for the start of the main season in September).

    It's next Saturday at 1pm - details here, and this is also where you will be able to listen to the concert:


    Best wishes to all


    Thank you.  Bookmarked!  An interesting programme.

    Any further news about the proposed rebuild of the LTH organ?  Any definite specification?

  7. I remember many years ago a certain dean from a certain cathedral in Bradford making a mistake that I presume he must have seriously regretted afterwards.
    You'd think a person in that position would have the sense to think before acting.

  8. 8 hours ago, Contrabombarde said:

    Some photographs of the damage from the Diocesan website here.

    Choir organ seems intact minus what appears to have been its detached console:

    Remains of main organ:

    Authorities said to be investigating arson as fires broke out in three separate locations including both organs and a church volunteer who was responsible for locking up is reportedly being investigated.

    So another 'organ hater' then?

  9. 11 hours ago, DaveHarries said:

    Both confirmed by Reuters. One local prosecutor has said that "three fires had been started at the site". Perhaps it is possible that someone somehow stayed in the cathedral overnight somehow but you would think that the building would be checked over at locking up time. Organ was by Cliquot (1784) and others. IV/74/104.


    Exactly the same thing that happened at York Minster in 1829, with the exception that the organ which was destroyed in that case was by Blythe (1803) and ?bits of Bernard Smith (1691), and the case by Dallam.

    The original choir stalls went as well.

  10. On 15/07/2020 at 12:10, Dafydd y Garreg Wen said:

    Whilst public worship is now permitted in Wales the use of the organ is not.

    “You are advised only to play musical instruments that are not blown into. Playing organs which require air to be pushed through the mechanism should be avoided.“

    Yes.  Nonsense.

    I mentioned elsewhere on this forum that I have been watching weekly organ recitals from Cologne Cathedral on YouTube.  I think it has now been five, and each is by a different organist.  There has been quite a wide range of composers and few, if any, of the more hackneyed pieces. 
    I am fortunate to be able to watch this on our large TV set with a good sound system, using a Firestick.

    Incidentally, the cathedral appears to be well populated for these recitals, though sensible 'distancing' is applied.

    If Cologne can do it, why can't Wales?  Silly over-reaction, I suppose.

  11. 4 hours ago, Cornet IV said:

    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

    I'm sorry she's gone.

    So am I.

  12. 10 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

    perhaps the more telling experience was at the opening of the new Tickell organ at Manchester Cathedral, attended by all the great and the good of the north-west, Lord-Lieutenant and every mayor from Lancashire it seemed.

    Just an aside, but I was at that event when a nice lady asked me where the speakers are!

  13. Not wishing to be intentionally disagreeing, but I love the Reubke sonata.  One of my favourite pieces.  As I understand it, he died before his time and had he lived for longer I'm sure he would have produced many more brilliant pieces.

    As for Widor, he wrote an excellent mass.  Again, one of my favourites.

    Still, as they say, there's no accounting for taste!

  14. 10 hours ago, Cantoris said:

    re BBC Organs.    What a sad nation we are. Radio France gets a new Auditorium Concert Arena in Paris in 2014. Gonzales installs a 4 manual, 5320 pipe instrument with 2 consoles about 2016!! But not just that Paris gets a new Philharmonic Concert Hall (several chambers), complete with large 6055 pipe organ by Reiger. Both locations and organs built about the same time. See Youtube.

    I find it sad that organs don't seem to deserve much public following in this country.  Certainly not to compare with Germany and the Netherlands, or even France.

    Who can we blame?  Well, the public, I suppose?

  15. 23 hours ago, DaveHarries said:

    Cologne Cathedral's organ can be seen here but, unfortunately, not from the loft. I wonder how Google would go about adding images although clearly it is possible for users to do so as shown by this one - https://goo.gl/maps/AWjPSFYDNtpxk5Gn6 - which has been added by a user. If I find myself in Cologne again it would be tempting to ask if I can do a panorama from the organ loft. The view of the cathedral interior would be as splendid to see as the organ itself is to hear!


    I agree about the Cologne Cathedral organ, with which I have had a long-term interest, and it does produce an excellent sound.

    On that matter, there is a broadcast on Facebook tomorrow and weekly thereafter at 1845.  Excellent close-ups of the player in action, of course!


    I watch these on Facebook using Amazon Firestick on our TV with good quality sound, though it should be possible to do it on a computer.  Incidentally, it states 2000, but that is 1900 our time of course!

    My apologies.  I have just 'tuned in' to watch this evening's recital and find that it actually starts bang on 1900 (our time).

  16. 2 hours ago, Tony Newnham said:


    I don't know the reason for curtains hiding the organist - I suspect it's to reduce distractions.  When I was director of music at Rye Baptist Church, many years ago, the decision was taken to re-order the platform area, removing the fixed central pulpit, and as part of that I suggested they removed the curtain hiding the organist (organ was centre front as in many free churches).  Several of the congregation commented the following Sunday that they'd founds it fascinating - especiallyas, for the first time, they could see the pedals.

    Every Blessing


    Indeed.  I'm pleased to hear that many found the presence, even the existence! of an organist fascinating.  That is one of the reasons I mentioned it.  I shouldn't be surprised to hear that some are not even aware of an organist, believing that the organ is a machine which plays itself, just like their HiFi at home!

    I always found the story of the famous organist W. T. Best amusing when, awaiting his prompt to play a town hall organ, the mayor announced to the audience that "The organ will now play", remained in his seat and when a questioning look from the mayor was forthcoming said, "Damn the organ, let it play!"

    I personally believe that the organist should be visible to the congregation (assuming s/he is willing!), just as everyone else on the 'stage' is.  It might even result in the general public in this country taking more interest in the organ especially as, if the organ had as much public following here as in, say, Germany and the Netherlands, we might find that fewer organs in churches are being scrapped!

  17. 11 minutes ago, Damian Beasley-Suffolk said:

    A couple of interesting things occur to me here, not knowing anything about the Hexham instrument.  Perhaps someone can help.

    Is it possible that the 'back' (the chancel side) of the organ is mainly covered up for a very good reason?  That the organ, being so close to the choir stalls, might be too powerful here unless attenuated by the use of these boards, yet unobstructed at the nave side where a more powerful sound is needed.  (Or perhaps the chancel and choir stalls are never actually used.)

    My other question, completely unrelated to this particular organ though brought to mind by the picture, concerns the common practice of providing a curtain to 'hide' the organist from view.  Is this done for the organist's benefit, if s/he is a 'reserved' sort of person, or to avoid the congregation being aware of his/her presence as a distraction from the religious side of things?  Hopefully, the curtain can be slid to one side if a recital is taking place!

  18. 5 hours ago, Stanley Monkhouse said:

    SWMBO is deaf too, so it's really quite blissful. We send each other Facebook and email messages.

    John: "However, I too find a distinct benefit to my hearing loss ..." As I hint, there are several benefits, and not being "able" to hear what is said to me is more often than not a great blessing. SWMBO is deaf too, so it's really quite blissful. We send each other Facebook and email messages.

    Haha!  I'll suggest that to 'Marge'!

    Fortunately, she has very good hearing so I don't find I have to repeat myself at all.
    On the other hand, she does... quite a lot.  In fairness to her, though, she doesn't often become too angry with me!

  19. 7 hours ago, Dafydd y Garreg Wen said:

    American accents generally (regardless of sex) have more “twang” than British, that is the higher harmonics are more developed, which gives them more carrying power etc. This is why a party of Americans will seem so noisy. Combine that with the higher pitch of a woman’s voice and you get the sharpness and power you refer to (exactly the same phenomenon we’ve been discussing above in connexion  with “strong” mixtures, perceived loudness, etc.).

    Yes indeed.  That makes  a lot of sense.

  20. 14 hours ago, Stanley Monkhouse said:

    John, my hearing deteriorates too, high frequencies esp, so women's voices are harder to hear, and those of many young people who speak as if they're on helium. Organ wise this has two unexpected consequences. (1) Although high tones disappear, screeching mixtures are almost painful. (2) isolated notes above about F42 (from CC) sound out of tune.  

    But I'm going off topic. Just goes to show how subjective it all is and how we should take the opinions of others with barrowfuls of salt. Indeed, I sometimes think organ tonal "experts" should have a certificate of normal hearing, whatever normal is, if they expect to be paid for their services. 

    Loss of hearing is not without its benefits of course. As a now retired clerk in holy orders, I can tell you that latterly PCC meetings were verging on the blissful. 

    An interesting point.  Actually, I find that my hearing aids help generally in attempting to correct my loss of high frequency perception and in many situations I am quite happy with things.  However, when listening to Priory DVD demonstrations of various organs and specific stops, especially 2' and higher, above a certain point on the keyboard the sound completely disappears.  I am sure that is due not to an inferior sound system, which mine is not, but due entirely to my ears.  I'm sure a point must arise where, however good the hearing aids, a sound cannot be amplified when the ear is completely unable to perceive that frequency level.

    Conversely, when watching the television news, using the same sound system, I am quite repelled by the sharpness and power of some ladies' voices, especially American ones for some reason.

    However, I too find a distinct benefit to my hearing loss.  As my father before me often did, I can justifiably claim that I hadn't heard something which I actually heard but didn't want to hear!

  21. 13 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

    The Merton organ is magnificent both aurally and visually, but it’s a large instrument and the Chapel east of the screen doesn’t have anywhere to accommodate it.  It’s not unique, nor particularly uncommon, to find a west end organ in a college chapel.  Without knowing, I suspect that there could be a CCTV monitor (possibly behind a concealed panel - this is only a vague recollection, and could be wrong) in addition to mirrors above both jambs.  There’s also a chamber organ just to the east of the choir stalls. 

    The Dobson organ case is brilliantly-designed so that when viewed from the east the towers and flats are perfectly framed by the arches of the screen.

    It is indeed an impressive organ, though I'm surprised that it doesn't have a single 32' stop.

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