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davidh

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Everything posted by davidh

  1. And, yet again, there are two different versions of Young's temperament !!!
  2. Kirnberger II or Kirnberger III ? When the version is not specified, the usual assumption is that the IIIrd is used. In the clavichord world Miklos Spanyi has been making a lot of use of Kirnberger II, very effectively. Recently I heard David Breitman perform Mozart, CPE Bach, Haydn and early Beethoven on a Paul McNulty fortepiano, using this temperament, and it sounded wonderful, far better to my ears than KIII. Of course one of the issues is how far you are prepared to be restricted in the range of keys that you can use.
  3. All very useful and very neatly set out. It's odd that Fenner Douglass is not mentioned (as there are other secondary sources in the bibliography). For readers who prefer English see "The Language of the French Classical Organ" by Fenner Douglass, second edition 1995, Yale University Press. Copies are available from Amazon at £14.50.
  4. When I visited a Swiss protestant church I heard the chorales sung very slowly, with a long pause at the end of each line. I think that there was a punctuation mark at the end of each line, so phrases weren't split unnaturally. It all worked very well, and gave me the unusual feeling that the congregation members were actually thinking about the words that they were singing. There are many chorale preludes which separate the lines of the text with long ornamental passages, and I suspect (others will know more about this) that the organists would improvise similar passages in these pauses when hymns were sung; not to the taste of everyone when J S Bach was playing.
  5. Look here http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/organ.html for an interesting specification.
  6. I remember how when I was a teenager I had access to an organ, on which I practised one Saturday. On the following day, part way through the service, there was a cipher. The trustees blamed me, although still I can't think of anything that I could have done from the console of an electric-action instrument which could have caused it. The moral of this story, is that if something goes wrong, the teenager is likely to get the blame.
  7. That's what comes from casting artificial pearls before real swine.
  8. I may be grumpy, but there is a serious point to be made. There are many people around who are knowledgable about organs, and if any one of them had been invited to view the programme at a late stage in editing, most of the errors would have been identified and removed. I am sure that there was plenty of other good material available which could have been spliced in to fill any gaps. WE know that there are errors, because it is our particular interest, but when we watch programmes on other topics we don't always question what we are told. One can't expect the production teams to know a lot about all of the programmes that they work on, but I think that it is reasonable to expect that people who know the subjects should check programmes for accuracy before they are broadcast.
  9. Curiously the presenter announced a trumpet stop and then drew a "cornopean". He continued about "The lovely trumpet descant that is based on the tune associated with the great organists Henry Purcell and Jeremiah Clarke". The programme "factsheet" states "The trumpet descant is based on the famous 'Trumpet Voluntary', thought for many years to be by Henry Purcell, but now known to have been composed by Jeremiah Clarke." It certainly has nothing to do with the famous 'Trumpet volunteer" based on the Prince of Denmark's March, which probably was written by JC but mistakenly attributed to Purcell by Henry Wood. It is actually based on the "Martial Air" which, as far as I know, has never been associated with Clarke.
  10. And another! "The idea of a town hall, a concert hall with its own instrument is a thing unique to Britain and starts in the 19th century and it's all part of civic pride." Technically that may be strictly true, but it's as well to remember the Dutch tradition, that the organ in the church often belonged to the town, and the organist was employed by the town rather than the church.
  11. Just one more niggle while we are about it. "The way this pipe speaks is much like a child's recorder ..." Not the same as like an adult's recorder, then. The recorder can be a very beautiful and subtle instrument when well played, but that phrase, probably quite unintentionally, doesn't do the recorder justice.
  12. It might be better to tell him to get someone else to cut his hair.
  13. I have just ordered Vol 1 (the DVD) from amazon.fr and they claim to have despatched it yesterday.
  14. You were invited to join the rota and the FD asked you to play on the understanding that you would be paid for it, so you have a verbal contract which is just as binding as a written one, although it is much harder to establish exactly what the terms are, and a court would judge on what is usual and customary in such cases. What you do not have is a written contract.
  15. SACDs are a problem for those of us who use a DVD player for playing CDs. Once that they have detected that there is a second layer they are unable to cope. One solution to this problem, if you have a computer with a CD reader, is to copy the CD (and it copies the CD layer only) onto an ordinary CD. Doesn't work if your computer has a DVD reader!
  16. I recently saw advertisements on the web for a DVD: "J S Bach and the Magic of Slovak Caves", and as it was very cheap I indulged my curiosity. The organ pieces are familiar - Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV565, Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C, Prelude and Fugue in A minor, Fantasy and Fugue in G minor, and several chorale preludes. The pictures are almost exclusively of Slovak Caves, with occasional pan and zoom shots of two different werkprinzip organs. Much is made of the visual pun with the similarity in form of rows of organ pipes and stalagtites. Neither of the organs pictured is the one being played. The on-screen titles show: "Lamp of God" instead of "Lamb of God", and because the person who did the titling mistook the end of a section in the Toccata, Adagio and Fugue for the end of the piece, every subsequent title is out of place. The final piece is therefore given the title "Slovak Gaves" (instead of "Slovak Caves") to complete the track list. The firm which did this refers to its work as "authering". However, I have many recordings of these pieces, and while several performances are as good as on the DVD, none are better. The tuning is clearly not ET, although I thought that it was rather milder than 1/4 comma mean-tone. I contacted Miklos Spanyi whose name appears on the box, and he replied: "This is in all probability the same recording which has been issued on numerous labels either under my name or 'Otto Winter'. This is undoubtedly my recording, one half of a material of about 2 hours (2 cd's) of Bach's organ pieces recorded in 1987 on a little organ in Szombathely/Hungary, built in 1986 by Orgelbau Eule (Bautzen,Germany) very much in the style of Gottfried Silbermann. The tuning was the only slightly modified tuning once supposed to be Silbermann's: 1/6 pyth. comma meantone. (In recent times it has been pointed out that Sorges' description of Silbermann's tuning principles was false, Sorge deliberately wanted to create a negative impression of Silbermann.) This recording was made by Hungaroton, in those times still a state-owned firm offering recording services with Hungarian artists and technicians on order of 'Western' tradesmen making deal with cheap classical recordings. This is how my cd's were issued in many places (mostly Germany or Austria) with the false artist name Otto Winter and adding 'on Silbermann organ'. As far as I know no further versions with Otto Winter's name are available." It was available on Cd from Point Classics at a very low price. Now it's out of stock, and copies are advertised on the web at prices from £87.55 to £133.29. David Hitchin
  17. davidh

    Hugo Distler

    I first came across Hugo Distler's organ music nearly 50 years ago, on a 10 inch LP recorded by Piet Kee at Almaar, playing the chaconne from "Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland. With some difficulty I found and bought the score, playing some parts on the piano, as I had no access to an organ then. For a while he was little known outside Germany, but he was vey much celebrated by young Germans, especially for his choral music, as they saw it as modern music with roots in the great German Baroque tradition, untainted by Naziism. A friend who visited Germany brought me back a box of 6 LPs, with all of Distler's organ music, played by Arno Schonstedt, and including a few recordings of Distler himself playing. I learned more from Larry Palmer's book, "Hugo Distler and his Church Music." More recently many CDs have become available, organ works played by Armin Schoof, and both sacred and secular choral works of great beauty. Bas de Vroome's complete recording of the organ works has excellent interpretations played on several carefully chosen Dutch instruments.
  18. I didn't have the opportunity of playing the organ (or any keyboard regularly) until I retired. Now I have joined the local association, have been on two tours overseas, and I'm learning to play, very much helped by a church a few hundred yards away with an organ they let me use for practice almost every week-day. At 65 one doesn't learn very quickly! I was just getting to the stage where I was thinking that I might cautiously try playing organs on one of these trips - just something short and simple on some quiet stops. Guilmant's post makes me wonder whether "elderly people" "of a very low standard of playing" are considered an asset for a local association or a liability.
  19. Forgive me if this is straying closer to theology than to music, but what evidence is there that God enjoys the B Minor Mass more than Daisy, Daisy? David Hitchin
  20. According to Kimber Allen, "Music Desk Hook"
  21. If it were rebuilt somewhere other than the RFH it might sound better.
  22. In the notes to the contract it states: "First, it clarifies exactly what the church and the organist can expect from each other, so there is no argument later on whether the organist should play for a service on Ash Wednesday or arrange for the organ to be tuned." but there seems to be no mention of tuning in the draft contract.
  23. On checking the above two sites it can be seen that there are going to be some substantial alterations and additions. The case is to be split in two - or more likely, two completely new cases are to be made, on either side of the choir. Two stops are to be added to the Great, three to the Swell, 7 to the pedal, plus a change from a posaune to an ophicliede, and a new solo manual with 12 new stops is to be added. Estimated cost, £1,000,000.
  24. Many years ago my wife and I thought it would be a good idea to take my three-year-old son to a small concert. We sat at the front. As they started singing the first piece the young ladies started to giggle, and then tried harder and harder to suppress their laughter. Then we looked at my son, and saw that he had been making faces at them. Then there was an organ solo. I don't know exactly what happened, or how it was done, but the organist slipped off the bench and his shoe flew into the air. Unfortunately my son couldn't understand why that didn't happen again at every other concert he was taken to afterwards.
  25. This is a very late reply to the previous message (I have only just joined the list), but I have good news. Rogg's Art of Fugue is now available with some other works on CD EMI Gemini - 3817662 (CD - 2 discs) for a very reasonable price, for example at http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/ Does anyone know if the sheet music of Rogg's completion of the 14th has ever been published, and, if so, where it might be obtained? David Hitchin
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