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John Robinson

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Posts posted by John Robinson

  1. 6 hours ago, sbarber49 said:

    I have Boots hearing aids. They were, at the time I got them, more or less "top of the range". I got these rather than NHS ones especially since I know cheaper ones were not good for music - in particular, organ music.

    I have since also got NHS hearing aids which are very good for normal use but do have some distortion when listening to organ music.

    I bought mine about three years ago from Boots - Phonak B90.

    Since you mention it, I still have my (free) NHS hearing aids.  Having heard what you and others have said, I think I'll invest in some new batteries and try them to compare with the  (expensive) private ones.

  2. I have a pair of the 'several thousand pounds' hearing aids, yet I cannot hear the top end of a 1' stop or even of a 2' stop.

    I assume that, whereas the hearing aids are able to amplify sounds within my hearing range, above a certain point I can only assume that my hearing ability is non-existent, presumably due to too much Emerson, Lake and Palmer at high volumes during my youth.

    Incidentally, nothing to do with organs, but I can hear voices behind me in a crowded restaurant very well, but struggle to hear clearly people sitting in front of me!

  3. 14 hours ago, handsoff said:

    I recently bumped into a couple whom I know slightly and they asked me if I was still playing the organ. I told them that I was and asked which church they attended, knowing that they had been regulars at a local establishment for years. "The Revival Church at the college", I was told, "You know, the happy-clappies. You'd hate it; bangs, twangs and whistles!" I asked if they objected to the phrase even though they had used it themselves, "No, of course not, that's what we are. It's the snowflakes who butt in and object on our behalf even though we don't know them,  like those sighted people who say blind people should be called visually impaired even though the blind person calls themself "blind"". 

    A rather common occurrence these days!  The 'perpetually offended'.

  4. I am fortunate to possess a copy of his autobiography:  'Music for a Long While'.

    A fascinating read.  I seem to remember a photograph of him in the war holding a piano accordion with which he'd entertain his fellow soldiers - not an officer, surprisingly, but a down-to-earth 'ordinary rank', though he is far from ordinary in reality of course!

    In fact, he has led an extraordinary life by all accounts and achieved a great deal.  A man to be admired.

  5. 13 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

    I’m very intrigued by DariusB saying a propos 81 stops on three manuals “we hope it won’t be for much longer ...”

    Me too.  Perhaps Darius might enlighten us as to whether existing stops are to be relocated in a new division, or (even better) a completely new division might be included.  Just a personal little foible and I know it's not to everyone's taste, but I'd have included a Vox Humana as well.

    15 hours ago, DariusB said:

    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!

    Yes.  There is another inaccuracy on that site, or at least on the version I have ( I once bought a CD from him).  It lists both Octave Twelfth 2 2/3 and Flute Nazard 2 2/3 on the Swell!  I'm sure that isn't the case.

  6. I'm afraid your list isn't available.

    When I lived in Bradford, I used to come to the lunchtime recitals every, or at least most weeks.  "The largest three manual organ in the world", they used to say!

  7. Strangely, it would have been about 1970 at a guess, around the same time this pipe was 'stolen', when a friend and I were visiting the Minster and noticed a table (I think in the north choir aisle) with a collection of organ pipes.  Perhaps they were cleaning some pipes or whatever.  I remember my friend picking up a pipe - a trumpet  by the looks of it, and from somewhere in the treble register - and decided to give it a blow... nothing... so he blew a bit harder and we both jumped when it gave quite a loud sound.

    At that very time, a verger who bore a distinct resemblance to a large bat pounced upon us and tore us off a strip.  Of course, we both gave our apologies and made ourselves scarce.

    I wonder if that would have been the same time and place this organ pipe was stolen.

  8. 48 minutes ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

    Well, if I am lucky to live to hear the results of the latest restoration, I will have heard the Minster organ in three of its incarnations.  The first time was about 65 years ago - FJ playing and the introduction of the 32’ Sackbut was like an explosion!  (It wasn’t Widor V Toccata).  It’s a fine organ in its accompanimental role - there are sounds of real beauty - the ‘neo-Baroquery’ didn’t change those.  On that subject, I remember reading an amusing comment by Henry Willis III - talking about mixtures - referring to Francis Jackson as “one of the bright boys”!

    Yes, I found the 32' Sackbut to be an impressive sound.  I understand that Francis Jackson thought it was too loud, so had it moved to the south transept.  Harrisons, I believe, will move it back to behind the 32' Open Wood and will also add a 32' Ophicleide which, I assume, will be even louder!  I look forward to hearing that and, I expect, other impressive sounds!

  9. 11 minutes ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

    I was referring to my own straying rather than yours!  I gather that the RFH organ possibly isn’t a favourite?  It will always be controversial, but I think the 5.55 recitals there introduced the organ repertoire to a whole generation who might otherwise have never encountered it.  Of course, you could argue that this was limited to people who happened to be in London, or who worked there - although London has a huge catchment area.  For these reasons, I think the RFH was a source for good.  Three players at random - Helmut Walcha, Francis Jackson and Noel Rawsthorne all spread the gospel of organ music in their different styles at those recitals.

    Skilfully dragging this thread back to its original intent(!), I suspect that the advent of the RFH organ may have influenced Francis Jackson (of whom I have the greatest respect) to have the York Minster organ altered (by Walkers in around 1960) to be more akin to the neo-Baroque sound.

    This, of course, is presently being restored by Harrisons to revert to the sort of instrument they worked on in around 1917 and 1930.

    To misquote Francis Jackson, the York organ changes 'chameleon-like' to suit the differing tastes of the time.

  10. 8 hours ago, Colin Pykett said:

    If I am right, these master organ builders of the past must have had the most exquisitely acute hearing coupled with an intuitive understanding of what we would call the physics of music to achieve these results.

    I don't doubt it, but I wonder whether that was anything to do with all the loud sounds (films, television, heavy traffic, aircraft, pop music, bingo callers!, etc.) to which we are all subjected these days.

  11. I have absolutely no evidence to support this, but in my opinion the answer is quite simple: education.

    I was lucky.  My interest in the organ began (I think) at junior school at a Christmas church service, in which one of our own teachers played the organ.  Presumably, the regular organist was unavailable.

    I was even more lucky at grammar school where our music master was the local cathedral organist, so we received more than our fair share of organ music.

    Unfortunately, I believe that most schools in those days did not take much interest in the organ and, moreover, I suspect there is even less today.

  12. 6 hours ago, Damian Beasley-Suffolk said:

    "This is simply using MIDI from the iPad, of course"

    In one of the videos that someone linked to showing the first sounds from Canterbury Cathedral, the chap appears to use his smartphone to control the swell shutters. There is an electronic there at the moment, connecting the two together could be fun!



    I thought it sounded quite direct, to say the sounds were coming from the triforium, though I don't know where the microphone was placed.

  13. 14 hours ago, S_L said:

    The organ doesn't belong to the Roman Catholic Church - it belongs to the French State - as does the Cathedral of Notre Dame!!!

    Yes, so I understand.  Still, there's no reason they can't contribute if they want to.  After all, the RC Church makes regular use of the cathedral... AND the organ!

  14. 1 hour ago, pwhodges said:

    Remember all that money pledged by billionaires towards the repairs?

    No comment


    They seem as believable and trustworthy as our politicians!

    I suppose the Roman Catholic Church might chip in then?  I'm sure they can afford it.

  15. 15 hours ago, Zimbelstern said:

    A mouth controlled device already exists. It is used by parachutists to take photos. You plug it into an Airturn page turner. The device is placed between the teeth and you bite it to turn the page. I’ve got one and it works. It’s useful for home recording. I wouldn’t want to use it in church or for a recital as it becomes wearing after a while and  you would look ridiculous.

    If the device could be connected to the page turner via Bluetooth (or similar) the user wouldn't look ridiculous, assuming that the device can be enclosed in the mouth. 

    Who knows, in the not-too-distant future we might see such connections being possible using electrical signals directly from the brain!

    Sorry.  I'm getting silly now.

  16. 23 hours ago, Contrabombarde said:

    If anyone knows how to write the computer code that will recognise my vocal command "next page!" or perhaps "go back a page" on my music display tablet they deserve more than a pint or two. Better still is there a way of getting the camera to recognise frantic gestures and translate them to page turns that too would be good. My home practice organ has thumb and toe pistons for page advance and page back, as I believe does the console at Kings College Cambridge but that's not much use when both hands and feet are employed simultaneously!

    If that turns out not to be possible, perhaps we should ask ourselves is there is any part of the organist's body not occupied in playing or registration changes.  Before any untoward suggestions are considered, what crossed my mind was a small tube including a pressure sensor inserted in the organists mouth: blow to turn page; suck to turn back a page.

    No, I'm being serious!

  17. 6 hours ago, AJJ said:

    Choir - Add Dulciana 8’, add Larigot 1 1/3 and maybe even enclose.

    Just to add my four penn'orth, I do agree with the Larigot as I have always seen the Choir organ (in modern organs) as a 'colour' division to supplement the usual Great and Swell (and Solo, but in a different way).  I'd go further, though, and add a Septime 1 1/7' as well, and even a 1'!

    I have to disagree with enclosing the Choir, though.

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