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Everything posted by davidh

  1. This lecture can now be heard online. http://www.gresham.ac.uk/event.asp?PageId=...mp;EventId=1102 Early on the speaker said, "I have assumed that none of you know nothing about the organ", whereas he meant that he assumed that EVERYONE there knew nothing. As a talk for non-organists it was generally well done, and some of the lecture would be of interest to those who know a lot about the instrument. I think that some of us would argue with some of his statements. He ascribes the reinvention of the organ to an anonymous medieval monk, and suggests that the first of these organs consisted only of 8 foot diapasons - reasonable enough - but in giving an example of what this monk heard, there was not just melody, but harmony from about 600 years later. The link above also gives details of two forthcoming lectures:- - The German revolution in English organ technology. - From Trocadero to Troxy: A Tradition Returns. The second of these is about the "largest Wurlitzer in Europe". The instrument referred to might have been the largest at the time, and there are hopes of restoring it. However, I am not sure that it will then be the largest in Europe, as it will have to compete with the one being rebuilt at the National Golf Club near Uckfield, which claims to be the largest outside of America and Australia.
  2. Adapted from the world of art criticism:- This work has thrown off the constraints of melody, harmony and rhythm. This composer’s native talent has not been crushed by formal musical education. Pushes minimalism far into the realm of non-expressiveness.
  3. Yes, I thought about MM's use of the word. This has changed meaning, from a group which separates itself out from another group, and sometimes has pejorative overtones, including the idea of a group (viewed from the outside) which is heretical and also the idea of a group (viewed from the inside) which considers itself to be the sole possessor of the truth or the only way to salvation. I must admit that judging by the belief in exclusiveness, my denomination started as a sect. Sorry, this is getting a long way from historical opinions of organs. David
  4. The Act of Uniformity of 1559 empowered churchwardens to impose a twelve-penny fine for absence from church, but when this didn't work the requirement to enforce this was moved to bishops and deacons, but the church itself still was unable to enforce this without the help of the civil powers, which was provided by the 'Recusancy Act' of 1581, and this increased the fine to £20 a month. I suspect that MM meant Act of Uniformity rather than Act of Union. There were Acts of Uniformity, but the one of 1662 is the critical one. It was part of the Clarendon Code, which included the Corporation Act (1661), the Act of Uniformity (1662), the Conventicle Act (1664) and the Five Mile Act (1665). There is plenty of scope for argument about what exactly caused the formation of the non-conformist sects (and churches!). The Civil Wars (1642 to 1651) threw people of very different classes together, far from their parish churches, and needing to find ad hoc ways of worshipping. Freedom of thought really became established at that time. In 1640 there were only 22 books published and no newspapers. Five years later there were a thousand books published and more than 700 newspapers. Of the dozens of sects which came into being in the 1640's to 1660's, only the Quakers and the Baptists now survive, but many movements founded a little later proved to be long-lasting, many surviving today. The 1662 Act certainly resulted in the ejection of 2,000 clergy, but I don't know how many of these played any substantial role in the creation of the dissenting churches. And here endeth the sermon for tonight ... David
  5. Catholics versus Protestants: How liturgy affected the development of the organ Speaker(s): Richard Townend, Birger Marmvik Date/Time: 16/09/2010, 6pm Venue: St Margaret, Lothbury - City of London When Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt the church of St Margaret in Lothbury after the Great Fire, it had no organ. The George Pike organ was completed in 1801 and its pipe work, standing in its original case, forms the basis of the 1984 restoration by John Budgen. The rich sound that comes from its pipes have a clarity that has led many renowned experts to call it one of the finest classical organs in Great Britain. It was played by Mendelssohn. For details of the lecture, see http://www.gresham.ac.uk/event.asp?PageId=...mp;EventId=1102 and for details of the organ, see http://www.stml.org.uk/organ.html
  6. It's possible that the comments were not primarily political, religious or even musical. There were far more complaints about the quality of the preaching (or lack of it) and the insistence of the clergy on the minute details of observance. At this time church attendance was compulsory and the church tried to regulate almost every aspect of life. The book that I quoted from contains an extremely long list of complaints against the church, usually recorded when people were brought before the church courts and explained why they had rejected its authority, in details at least. The records also recorded the testimony of neighbours. It was partly this that brought these resentments to the boil after the Civil Wars and exploded into the many varieties of non-conformism. Muso commented that "Only the good people of the Netherlands had the perfect sense to banish organs from worship as Puritans, but to then enjoy them as secular instruments inside churches which, even to-day, have no sanctified status. They are merely buildings, and it is very probable that they were used for a multiplicity of social and political purposes, including the enjoyment of organ concerts." In England people responded to the extravagance of organs and statues bought with their money by destroying them; the Dutch felt that they owned the organs because it was their money which had paid for them. David
  7. In about 1632 Thomas Davis of Taunton said that he would happily give £5 towards getting the organs at St Mary Magdalene church working again. Hugh Willis did not agree: ‘For what purpose shall they be set up, they are good but nothing for pigs to dance by upon the Cornhill.' William Chinnock of West Lidford complained in 1632 ‘that there was nothing done at prayer time in the said church of West Lidford but tooting upon the organs, and that it delighteth him as much to hear his horse fart as to hear the said organs go, and further said that music in church was damnable.’ John Bisse of Cheddar said in 1637 ‘that he would rather hear his horse bray than to hear the organs go’. John Tillie of Wrington denounced the organ as ‘music for dogs and a May game.’ Quoted in ‘The Plain Man’s Pathways to Heaven’ by Christopher Haigh, OUP, 2007
  8. What happens if you refuse? Bell, book and candle? Prosecution in some obscure church court still living in the middle ages? Peremptory dismissal by "the boss"? Does the church have anything worse to threaten?
  9. Thanks, John. I followed the advice, ordered the score and received it a while ago.
  10. Why is it necessary to burn the upperboards? I can imagine that some time ago countersinks were either expensive or not available, so that a hot iron would be the most convenient way of countersinking a hole. Why isn't a simple countersink adequate for this purpose?
  11. I have also heard that David Goode forgot to take his music when crossed the Atlantic to give a series of recitals, so he just did them all from memory.
  12. If you send me a PM with your email address I will put you in touch with a friend who is extremely knowledgeable about Spanish organ music and its publishers. (I need an email address so that he can reply, as he is not a member of this list).
  13. I suggest that you read "Going Dutch - how England Plundered Holland's Glory" by Lisa Jardine. William of Orange came with 500 ships, 20,000 soldiers and 20,000 mariners and support staff. Clearly, even if he had lost his invitation card, no one was going to turn him away. The semi-myth of the "invitation" began even before he arrived, with the printing of thousands of propaganda leaflets. In William's favour, it might be noted that the itinerary of his triumphant march to London included visits to famous gardens. However, it was a failure; he just didn't bring the same number of organ-builders with him.
  14. On several evenings in the coming week, on Sky Arts, J S Whiteley is playing Bach organ works of various lengths, repeated the following mornings. These are billed as "New", but I don't know whether this means (1) never heard before anywhere or (2) never heard before on Sky arts.
  15. That was from Jos van de Kooy at Haarlem, and there is more similar on his DVD from the Westerkerk at Amsterdam. There is another example of this at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiFLW1pJTyM although Everhard Zwart's DVD from Dordrecht has better examples than shown here. The lesson from this is that every organist should have two children and train them in the art of registration from an early age. It's also worth looking at Jaap Kroonenburg playing Feike Asma at Maassluis, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSkj_hMU8Bc As well as watching, to see how the trick is done, it is worth listening very carefully to the DVDs on good quality equipment and noting how very smooth gradations of dynamics are possible without a swell pedal. But then it works with the Dutch voicing!
  16. Would Alfred Brendel choose to play Beethoven on a piano with the sound of one from 1800, or would he choose the best sounding instrument available in 2010? And would his choice be the right one? The aim of modern piano builders is to make an instrument in which there is a single steady gradation of tone from the bottom to the top, whereas early pianos often had three distinct regions, and composers exploited those differences. As for Bach, there are some instruments (and not just organs) from which the separate contrapuntal lines can be heard clearly and distinctly, and others which simply produce a blur of sound.
  17. I can recommend the Lexicon of Musical Invective, written by Nicolas Slonimsky. This is a compilation of critical reviews. Charles Ives got tired of his music engraver "correcting" his music, "Those wrong notes; all of them are right". He also advised one of the more timid members of the audience to "stand up and use his ears like a man."
  18. Memories of a manual labourer ?
  19. There are many other video clips of Matteo Imbruno on the web; see http://www.antenna.nl/matteo.imbruno/english-version.html There is also a discography. However, there is nothing there to identify the label or catalogue number of any of his CDs, and a search of the internet CD suppliers that I know, in the UK and elsewhere, fails to find anyone selling his CDs, and an email to the man himself has not yet produced a reply. Does anyone know where Matteo Imbruno's CDs can be purchased online?
  20. I made the mistake (?) of listening to this one first, and after that all of the others, including the later suggestions, were right out of the running. I must find out more about Matteo Imbruno and hope to hear more of the Bader organ at Zutphen
  21. Thank you very much for that information.
  22. Does anyone know who publishes the music for the 7 verses of the Vater unser im Himmelreich by Jacob (Jakob?) Praetorius? Several suppliers offer volumes of his works, but don't list the contents.
  23. When my father died there wasn't much to laugh about, but when we went to the funeral directors we couldn't help ourselves. Their expensively produced brochure cataloguing their services contained a very long and impressive list of the music in the crem organist's repertoire. I can't remember all of the details, but it included such things as Handle's Lager, Mozart's Moonlight Sonata, a theme from a Sympathy (perhaps appropriate in the circumstances) and the printing errors went on and on and on. Perhaps it wasn't a bad thing; it certainly broke the tension.
  24. Willem Tank is working on a research project about the performance of Bach's music, and I think that this clip is a small part of it. I get the impression that he is well known for his performances of Bach, but none - or almost none are available on CD yet. I have copied the audio from this clip onto a CD and played it to several groups of people who are deeply interested in classical music, although none is an organ specialist. In every group one or more people have, unprompted, said that they have never heard a better organ or a better performance of this work. David
  25. I have heard the piece played very effectively on a two-manual instrument - but I don't know how it was done.
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