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Colin Harvey

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Everything posted by Colin Harvey

  1. I agree with this - "works nicely as a liturgical backing machine" sums it up well. Although it sounds good in the building (especially the nave), it's rather rough and ready when you play it. The restoration has improved the very sensitive key touch so it's more normal but the repetition isn't brilliant (i.e. it's liveable but you wouldn't want to attempt la Campanella on it...).
  2. I used to play a similar R&D organ at St Michael and All Angels, Bassett, Southampton. See www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N11632. I thought it was 1924 but NPOR says 1937 - it's probably my memory at fault. This organ has many of the qualities and features described above - the black cancel tabs on the 16, 8 & 4 ft stops; the whole thing extended from 4 ranks (Open Diapason, Salicional, Trumpet and Gedact units); entirely enclosed and split across 2 swell boxes which nearly, but not quite, correspond to Great and Swell (The "Swell" Box had the Salicional and reed unit; the "Great" the Open Diapason and Gedact unit), those synthetic solo stops and the powerful reed rank, which although available at 16ft pitch, didn't have a 16ft octave (much to everyone's frustration). It was quite an ingenious and effective contraption. The church had good acoustics and, while the organ is quite coarse and shouty up close (especially the powerful Diapason and reed units), it sounds far better in the nave than one would have imagined. The ranks were quite carefully regulated so they worked well at different pitches. The organ is very compact, filling an arch but isn't more than about 6ft deep and it projected well into the church. The issue David Drinkell identifies about the flute unit providing the Swell Organ upperwork isn't present here - instead R&D extended the Salicional unit to form the Swell upperwork and it is an effective solution. The "Salicional" Swell mixture adds something on top of, or instead of the Great Fifteenth (derived from the Diapason unit). I'm not entirely sure what action it had but I remember the keys used to fire very high up on the key travel and the keys were quite "springy", which meant it was very easy to brush a wrong note - with cataclysmic effects if there were lots of loud stops drawn! The organ has been restored quite recently by Geoff Griffiths & Co. And quite rightly too - it's an effective organ solution for the church and they had no real problems with it.
  3. I thought some of you may like these videos, of Sietze de Vries's improvisations, at the Groningen Martinikerk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk75PrwcTNU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtOvd22kppQ I've chosen these two as the tunes are quite recognisable to English-speaking readers but there are plenty more: the channel devoted to Sietze de Vries is here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Mr19740105 You'll have to wait a bit until the fugue on Ein Feste Burg but it's worth the wait. Although Sietze is quite often found at a British organ console during the school holidays accompanying the Roden Girl's Choir on a cathedral visit, it would be great to hear him in concert in the UK. There's also an article about him in the most recent Choir and Organ. His website at www.sietzedevries.nl has plenty more recordings and clips.
  4. At the risk of digressing this topic further, I was interested in the comments about human blowers. I'm researching the history of a small organ which I'm involved with moving. Consulting the archives of previous churches that have been home to this organ, I've noted quite a few regular payments in the ledgers for the "organ blowers" and regular public votes of thanks to them in the AGM minutes. The going rate from 1917 seemed to be about 2/6d every quarter and seemed to remain thereabouts until the 1950s. The addition of an electric fan to this organ around this time brought this practice to an abrupt stop. But the organ blowers seem to have been paid more regularly than the organists! The organ is being moved to a fairly remote village parish church in Hampshire - indeed, it is a Hill organ for a hill village! Readers may like to know the blowing handle is being retained in operational order in case of power cuts, which can afflict the village during inclement weather. ______________________ Also of interest is the work of Rini Wimmenhove, who builds and restores chamber organs. His bureau and chest organs (which most people would now call a chamber organ) are blown by foot by the player. There is a small reservoir and feeder underneath the soundboard and a little tell-tale stick rising out of the organ to the side of the keyboard. This means his chamber organs can be played anywhere with a consort without the need for electricity. Am I alone in finding this a far more attractive aesthetic than the ubiquitous fan in most chamber organs? Rini is an extremely skilled and gifted craftsman - his organs (normally with wooden pipes throughout) are exquisite and exceptional musical instruments. http://www.huisorgelbouw.nl/page/portfolio/ http://www.huisorgelbouw.nl/page/Fotopagina_22/ - photos of dedication, construction, etc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVwNGz96B7E&noredirect=1 There's a CD of the chest organ too, which gives a good idea of the remarkable scope and quality of this instrument.
  5. Probably none But Every Little Helps : Ken Tickell typically has his metal pipes made by Terry Shires - there is a long standing relationship there. AFAIK, Ken has some good craftsmen in his workshop and the majority of the woodwork - soundboards, casework, action, and typically wooden pipes - will normally have been made in-house. I'm not sure if he makes his own keyboards or does his own carving - it may vary between project to project.
  6. Canongate's a lovely church of significant interest. It's a charming part of town - there used to be a very nice cafe opposite, which does nice cake, etc. The organ is definitely successful and the case fits in with the rest of the church beautifully - if you are already familiar with Frobenius's style this organ will hold no surprises.
  7. Lots of fine organs to see in Edinburgh. St.Giles is a big landmark and would be a very good option for you (it's on the Royal Mile) but be warned it's so loud it's sick. The others I'd suggest - Usher Hall (succulently opulent N&, The Reid Concert Hall (Ahrend) - are difficult for access. St Stephen's Centre has a very fine Willis organ in very poor condition - it depends on what floats your boat. Probably not a good one for a stealth family visit - I don't know if the centre is open these days.
  8. Came across this - a quick view into the head of Cameron Carpenter, which I thought some here might find of interest/comment, or if you're just interested in what might happen at the proms season concerts...
  9. Very sad to read about this. But this sort of thing happens all the time in IT. Generally, Darwinism eventually rules in these sorts of circumstances: if a product isn't developed and improved, another product will evolve as a better product and will take over as product of choice in this market as Sibelius dies. It may be that the original founders of Sibelius will set up a competitor company, re-recruit their old team and set up under another banner as the competition. I've seen it done but it depends on the T&Cs of the buy-out. It's a great shame to read of this: the original Sibelius company was often held up as an example of a very well-run and managed software house.
  10. *Hopefully* following on from the superb skills of Richard Hills on the 17th (which I would strongly recommend, along with sitting in the gallery to hear the Compton organ, where it sounds superb), I will be giving a lunchtime organ recital "down the road" a couple of days later. Christchurch, Freemantle, Southampton Tuesday 19 June, 1pm Colin Harvey Admission £4/£3 (I think - some paltry sum) William Walton (1902 - 1983) - Crown Imperial Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809 - 1847)- Variations on "Vater unser in Himmelreich" - from Sonata No.6 (1st Movmt), Op.65 Thomas Adams I (1785 - 1858) - Voluntary No.4 in B flat William Boyce (1711- 1779) - Voluntary No.1 in D J.S.Bach (1685 - 1750) - Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543 César Franck (1822 - 1890) - Chorale No.1 in E As much as possible will be played on the pipe organ, which I think is most likely late George Pike England, rebuilt by the local organ builders (H.C.Sims, then Ivimey): They converted the organ to the German system, added pedal pipes and enlarged the swell organ - but apart from a couple of (regrettable) substitutions on the Great Organ, the Great and Choir Organs are largely intact. Due to the swell organ being out of action, the first and last pieces will almost certainly be played on the electronic imitation organ, which is used nowadays for Sunday morning services. http://www.npor.org....ec_index=N18687 Map to the church: http://goo.gl/maps/4350 (or, more accurately, the pub next door to it).
  11. I don't agree. From the photos, it certainly looks like all the pipework (so far) is new. Trays for storing pipework are nothing new in workshops. I'm impressed by the size and scale of some of the soundboards - this is an organ of some scale.
  12. Yes - interesting organ - be interested to see how it comes out. Also interesting to see the 2 8ft flutes make an appearance on the Great organ again - this tended to be a speciality of Arthur Harrison. This alongside a Jeux de Tierce... An interesting, rather impressive looking, case design too - it will be interesting to see how it comes out.
  13. Thanks. Yes, I agree, I'm quite a fan of the Thorne - it works very well, I think. I like the Agnus Dei too - I tend to be a bit schmultzy and do the organ "echo" of the melody line on a solo stop. I am a bit mischevious and play the final solo echo down an octave on something like an Oboe or Cor Anglais with lots of subtle swell box use: it ends up sounding like something out of an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical... but it works very well. The metronome mark in the Vierne Final is only mimim = 76, which is not fast at all. Quite a few people, especially younger players, tend to play it quite a bit quicker. I don't think it needs to go much, if any faster than Vierne's speed, even in the bone-dry acoustic at my church, but I accept it's pretty easy to speed up in this piece. I hear good things about Peterborough these days. Fantastic building, fantastic organ - I remember singing there years ago and being impressed by the place.
  14. I seem to have joined King's College Chapel on TV and Winchester Cathedral @ Mattins this morning by playing Vierne's Final from Symphonie I. Clearly a select club... The choir sang the Alleluia from Mozart's Exsultate Jubilate, This Joyful Eastertide (arr. Wood) and Now the Green Blade riseth... so all fairly standard stuff... but very enjoyable all the same! We did the Thorne Mass of St. Thomas for the first time today: Rather than a voluntary before the service, we had a congregational practice! It seemed to go well in the service - despite the parrallel 7ths in the Gloria (S &T on "only son of the Father"). We remedied this with a quick rewrite of the tenor part to stay on the B. Overall, I think it's an effective setting. I did the FInal from Guilmant 1 last Easter - just practice it slowly, under complete control (I recommend use of a metronome for this one) and it'll come quite quickly. Happy Easter to all.
  15. Yes, I think you're right, re. the Trumpet - that was my impression too. I think it was someone like Peter Wright who's responsible for the survival of the Clarinet at Warminster. The (emeritus) organist said that they were going to throw it out but PW said it was worth keeping so they found space for it on the Swell Organ... Yes, I've come across some small organs where the only Great Reed is a Clarinet and the best examples are rather clever: Not only are they a Clarinet but they add to the chorus (with rather an exciting fizz) and I've known some where Clarinet 8ft + Principal 4ft give the impression of a small Trumpet, the Principal 4ft adding in the missing harmonics, which is really useful.
  16. Radnor - yes, agreed about horizontal linen-fold panels. Warminster - yes, parts of this organ (great chorus, some of the flutes) are very pretty. I didn't get time to investigate what was what but I would just observe that by 1886, when Vowles first worked on the organ with a move from the West Gallery, they would have started to move to a thicker, more "Victorian" sound and, in any case, it's more likely that any Vowles material is going to be from their 1903 work. I recall the Great Trumpet (HNB 1960s), stands away from the rest of the organ rather uncomfortably and bits of it (one of the Great Diapasons, bits of the choir organ, Great Double) are still a rather a mixed bag. All in all, while it hangs together to the causal listener, closer investigation would uncover rather a patchwork quilt. Personally I'd far rather have the Clarinet back on the Choir organ and the Swell Oboe back at 8ft pitch but overall, I'd agree it is a pleasant sounding organ in the right hands.
  17. Agreed. I saw it recently and can attest that the 1792 G.P England organ case survives, although only the frontage really survives - the rest and and the console are long gone in previous rebuilds. IMO, Blandford Forum is now a far better example. I would say "recently rebuilt by Griffiths and Cooper" - it is more of an update of the HNB 1960s rebuild with a new console, E-P action, etc. There is little to do with historic restoration in the work on this organ - it is more a story of ongoing development to keep up with the expectations and desires of the organist to have an up-to-date organ (even most recently), a story that has been perpetuated ever since the middle of the 19th century. I visited Old Radnor with Stephen Bicknell some years ago. Although George Sutton might not have found J W Walker quite to his taste, the 1870 organ in the case is a little gem. Barely touched - trigger swell, straight pedalboard to d; Walkers managed to fit an 8ft Great organ into the 6ft case with quite a degree of skill and - for the time - quite a degree of sensitivity. One certainly has the feeling that Walkers raised their game with this organ, putting in a special effort on this organ and it's a very good example of their work. I know Stephen once cast aspersions on the unusual horizontal linenfold pannelling at Old Radnor - during our visit (which was a much longer visit than his previous visits), he was of the opinion that the linenfold pannelling may well be original as it matches the vertical pannelling exactly. I remember spending quite a lot of time looking at this in detail... It's a fascinating case, with tantilising clues of its history and previous organs.
  18. Slightly off topic, but I hope I can stretch the scope of this forum to include Choral Music... Which editions of Vivaldi's Gloria come recommended? I've used Ricordi, with the mistakes and disasterous keyboard reduction in the past - are there any better ones out there? We'll probably end up with a small band but we'll need a compatible decent vocal score with a reasonable keyboard reduction for rehearsals.
  19. I'm not that surprised to hear that - I know which one I think presents the bigger challenge! Not to say the Reubke doesn't have its own challenges - it's just that they're different challenges.
  20. Jos van der Kooy has released a recording of the Mendelssohn Organ Sonatas at the Bavokerk Haarlem, on the 1738 Mueller/ 1968 Marcussen organ: No.3 in A Major - 1st Movement No.6 in D minor - variations on "Vater Unser im Himmelreich" I think this is a CD I'm going to buy. The best recording I've heard of this lovely organ (captures the acoustic beautifully and yet is beautifully clear and faithful), faultess, indeed definitive, interpretation. http://www.challenge...duct/1225097294
  21. I'd agree with MM: The Schumann BACH Fugues present challenges at every level - technical, musical, compositional, interpretational, emotional. They are not pieces for an immature musician to take on - if you're one of those, stick to your flashy show-off toccatas. But if you want something to work at for months, that deepens your musicianship, these pieces more than repay the effort you put in.
  22. Yes, Oxford University Press do a transcription of the Spitfire Prelude. They used to do it as a separate piece, now it seems to be part of "a Walton organ Album", which has lots of other goodies as well, like Crown Imperial, Orb and Sceptre, etc. http://www.sheetmusi...n-Album/3621259# Ought to point out it won't include the fugue. The Prelude is really pretty easy - entirely sight-readable but some of the rhythms might need a bit of unpicking.
  23. Well, Willian was hugely influenced by Reger: the Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue in Eb minor is a good example - I would say without Reger, Willian would have been very different! I like the story of Reger when challenged that his music had too many notes, he replied along the lines of "there is not one unecessary note in my music"!
  24. Lol. Yes, I wonder how the Walton sounds in the Berliner Dom? Especially now the big Sauer is restored (and pretty magnificient too, IMO). Thanks to others for their points and suggestions.
  25. I heard an interesting story at the weekend about Karg-Elert's well known Marche Triomphale on Nun Dankett Alle Gott. The story goes that Siegfreid Karg-Elert wrote it with a view for it to be played in the thanksgiving celebrations in Westminster Abbey once the Germans had won World War I. Does anybody know anything more about this? Even if there's not a shred of truth to it, I thought it was rather a good story - even if they never quite made it to Westminster Abbey as they intended, I have always felt this piece has a very "British" feel to it with the way it wears its grandeur quite lightly and it works especially well on British organs. Karg-Elert's piece has certainly won a place in the hearts of many British organists and congregations and I feel is a nice illustration that music can succeed where war fails.
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