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Jeremy Jones

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  1. Go to http://www.mdt.co.uk and under 'New Releases' click on January 2006 and in the search box type in 'Downes' or 'Organ'. You will find the following: DOWNES, RALPH A Centenary Tribute, Rec. 1958-1979. On the organs of the Royal Festival Hall & London Oratory. Amphion PHICD216 Delivery usually takes about 5 working days. Hope this helps. JJ
  2. I think I wood be a 32ft Double Open Wood. Most of the time no one takes any notice of me as that noisy upstart the 32ft reed takes all the bouquets, but make no mistake, sometimes I can shake the very foundations, or at least rattle anything not bolted down. OMG, this is so cheesy!
  3. My new copy of this arrived a few days ago. Although Ralph Downes' playing will be a little austere for some tastes, there are definite gains in clarity. And the spatial spread of the RFH organ comes across brilliantly. The CD is worth its price alone for the notes by Patrick Russill (Downes' nominated successor at the Brompton Oratory) and Kerry Downes.
  4. Can someone explain to me just what exactly is the point of a 64ft stop? It's not as if they add much, if anything, to what with 32fts is already going to be a pretty complete Pedal division. Could it perhaps be something of a virility symbol? Whatever the reason, the musical argument for such a stop eludes me.
  5. The Healey Wilan is available from Amphion Recordings at http://www.amphion-recordings.com on a CD - "Francis Jackson plays organ music from York Minster" - which combines recordings made by EMI in 1964 and Counterpoint Stereo Recordings in 1973. The CD also includes the famous EMI Cocker Tuba Tune. There is really quite a lot around of Jackson playing his own music. On Amphion is a CD - "The Composer Plays" - recorded at Hull City Hall (1986) and York Minster (1973). Also on Priory Records at http://www.priory.org.uk is a 4CD set of Francis Jackson playing his own works recorded at York Minster, Lincoln and Blackburn Cathedrals between 1993-96. This is also on Amphion - "Selections from EMI Great Cathedral Organ Series Volume One". Hope this helps.
  6. Someone suggested we should have a thread for organ recordings no longer available or which have never been transferred from LP to CD, so here goes with my wish list: Organ of Westminster Cathedral - Nicolas Kynaston Dupre: Symphony No.2. Evocation. Durufle: Prelude, Adagio, et Choral varie sur le "Veni Creator." MITRA RECORDS This was recorded in 1984/5 just after the organ had been refurbished and to my mind is the best recording yet made of organ which is notoriously difficult to record. My LP has long since disappeared and although I think it was also issued on CD, the record label Mitra has also appeared to have bitten the dust Organ of Salisbury Cathedral - Jane Parker-Smith Widor: Symphony No. 5. Jongen: Sonata Eroica. Grison: Toccata in F EMI RECORDS I had this on an EMI cassette. The Widor and Jongen might be the more well-known pieces, but it was the Grison which really got me excited. Bits of this recording have appeared piecemeal on various CDs, but of the Widor only the Toccata. Organ of Westminster Abbey - Simon Preston Reubke: Sonata on the 94th Psalm. Liszt: Fantasia and Fugue on ‘Ad nos’ DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON I rate this recording very highly indeed, but it seems to have been deleted by DG fairly soon after release and never reissued subsequently. My cassette has long since worn out so when it appeared on eBay recently I ended up paying £23 for the CD. But it really is that good. Simon Preston - Organs of King’s College, Cambridge / Westminster Abbey / Colston Hall, Bristol / Hull City Hall / St John the Evangelist, Islington - including Elgar: Organ Sonata in G. Tippett: Preludio al Vespro di Monteverdi and music by Leighton, Bridge, Howells, Britten (Colston Hall) ARGO/DECCA At one time I had the LP boxed set of these recordings made by Simon Preston in the 1960s, but during various moves it has disappeared. Of these recordings, only a CD of some of the pieces recorded at Westminster Abbey has surfaced on Decca's "The World of..." series. Organ of Westminster Cathedral – Nicolas Kynaston (Vierne: Carillon de Westminster) Organ of St Paul’s Cathedral – Christopher Dearnley (Ives: Variations on America) EMI RECORDS I only knew these recordings from an EMI Miles of Music cassette which also had on it excertps from many of Brian Culverhouse's other famous recordings made in the 1960s, including the famous York Minster Cocker Tuba Tune. Some of these have resurfaced on the Amphion CDs but not the two listed above which were always my favourite. Organ of Canterbury Cathedral – Allan Wicks Messiaen: Transports de joie (L’Ascension). Widor: Allegro from Symphonie VI CENTAUR These 2 pieces on a cassette were what first really got me excited about the organ. The Messiaen in particular was played at white heat and has to be heard to be believed. Allan Wicks - what an organist!
  7. I was fortunate enough to play the RFH organ twice in the mid-1980s when only aged about 16. It was amazing really how far sheer chutzpah got me, aided and abetted by a strange willingness by venues such as the RFH, as well as the Royal Albert Hall, Colston Hall (Bristol) and Hull City Hall, which I also got to play, to hand over such instruments for my enjoyment simply based on a nicely written letter. Anyway, the reason I got to play the RFH twice was the first time Ralph Downes was unwell and so instead I was accompanied by his assistant (?) who, whilst a pleasant chap, never left me alone for a minute to sample and find my own registrations for my Bach, Karg-Elert, Mendelssohn etc. A frustrating experience then. Ralph Downes invited me back when he was in better health. To begin with, although he didn't ask me to venture inside the instrument, he did and from deep inside called out to me at the console to play particular notes. We did this for about an hour, and then having earned my keep, he left me to it and disappeared. He eventually reappeared and became thick as thieves with my Grandpa who had by this time arrived. It turned out they were virtually the same age and were swapping war stories. I might not have agreed with his methods - particularly at Gloucester - but Ralph Downes was nonetheless a real inspiration to meet, and I was fortunate enough to bump into him one more time the following year when I was a student at Oundle. As a solo instrument the RFH organ was undoubtedly contraversial and would have benefited from a friendlier acoustic. However, as a frequent concertgoer at the RFH, it seemed to sound at its best when employed with orchestra and chorus when to my ears it lost its rough edges and blended well with the ensemble.
  8. Ever since I first heard the 16/8/4 Bombarde reeds Harrisons installed at Westminster Abbey in 1987, I have had a picture in my mind of the Abbey console with these 3 stops encased and under lock and key. Shrinking violets they are not!
  9. Of couse, some muesli eating, sandal wearing, neo-classical baroque organ worshipping people think Tubas are an utter abomination, but I am fascinated by them. A Tuba is not just a Tuba, if you get my drift. I seem to remember reading a review by Stephen Bicknell in Choir and Organ of a disc of Orchestral Transcriptions played by John Scott Whiteley on the York Minster organ in which he singled out the Tuba for particular censure (I think the word 'execrable' might have been mentioned). Of course the Minster Tuba is a famous example, installed by Harrison & Harrison at the behest of Sir Edward Bairstow in 1916-17 and said to be 'en-chamade'. Someone will no doubt be able to confirm this. On the whole, I tend to prefer Willis Tubas such as those at Salisbury, Lincoln or Westminster cathedrals which can add power to the tutti rather than obliterate it. Harrison & Harrison Tubas on the other hand are not really suitable for this purpose. The King's Tuba, a very individual example, is surely more of a French Horn than a bona-fide Tuba, albeit a very fine (and large) French Horn!
  10. Hah! Now who's doing the misquoting? Here's what I said: "I do agree that we should have more organ festivals here in the UK. There is Oundle and St Albans, of course, but these are small beer compared to what they do on the continent. What we really need is week-long annual organ festivals in major centres that attract the finest players in the world. In the UK, probably only Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and London have enough quality instruments in a confined area to mount such events." I frequently get on a train and head all points North, South, East and West of the Watford Gap to hear individual organ recitals. The past year or so has seen me taking in organ recitals at Liverpool, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Leicester, Lincoln, Manchester, York, Armley, for example. But that is not my point. We need something like a week-long London International Organ Festival with each day consisting of: Various workshops and masterclasses in the mornings and afternoons organised by the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Trinity College of Music and Guildhall School of Music and led by distinguished organists at suitable venues like All Souls, Langham Place, St John's Smith Square, St Giles Cripplegate, City of London School at Blackfriars. A daily choice of 3 of 4 lunchtime recitals at venues like Temple Church, St Lawrence Jewry, St Matthew's Westminster, St John's Smith Square, Dutch Church Austin Friars, St Dominic's Priory Belsize Park, St Helen's Bishopsgate, St James Bermondsey. Choral Evensong at Temple Church, St Paul's Cathedral, All Saints Margaret Street, Westminster Abbey, Southwark Cathedral etc and Mass at Westminster Cathedral. Major evening organ recital by top international recitaltist at venues such as Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Westminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Southwark Cathedral, St Paul's Cathedral. Something like this is ambitious, but it just needs some organisation. Many of the events already occur separately - lunchtime recitals, choral evensong, celebrity recitals at St Pauls, Southwark, Westminster Abbey etc, but it would all be a matter of bringing it all together as a unified major event.
  11. Up until recently, state funding of the arts in Europe has been generous, but times are changing. If they want the same high standards of arts provision to continue, alternative sources of funding are going to have to be found. In this, of course, the UK is 20-30 years ahead of the game. I do agree that we should have more organ festivals here in the UK. There is Oundle and St Albans, of course, but these are small beer compared to what they do on the continent. What we really need is week-long annual organ festivals in major centres that attract the finest players in the world. In the UK, probably only Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and London have enough quality instruments in a confined area to mount such events.
  12. Responding first to the assertion made here that with regards to repertoire, the future is Czech and no music of note by British composers is worth bothering with. I think this is a little narrow minded and probably a case of thinking the grass is always greener elsewhere. Just as with British music, there is probably some very good Czech organ music but also some very bad stuff as well. Rather then define music by country, i.e. British bad, Czech good, let's sort it by good and bad music. Going back to Pierre's question about the lack of British built organs on mainland Europe, look at it from their point of view. Surely, to them it must seem as if the British don't have any confidence in their own native organ-builders. Look at where the contracts for many of our most prestigious organs have been awarded to: Tonbridge School (Marcussen) Symphony Hall, Birmingham (Klais) Bridgewater Hall, Manchester (Marcussen) Haileybury College (Klais) Oundle School (Frobenius) St Marylebone Parish Church (Rieger) Kingston Parish Church (Frobenius) St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh (Rieger) St Lawrence Jewry, London (Klais) Royal College of Organists (Goll) Mainland Europe must think we know something about our organ-builders that they don't, such is the paucity of any contracts for major new builds going to Manders, Harrison, Walkers, Nicholson, Tickell. Fortunately, they have managed to keep their heads above water with signifcant refurbishment projects and new builds for North America. There is of course another aspect to consider. The most popular repertoire for organists today is the music of J S Bach and the French Romantic School, neither of which, if we are honest, are really suited to the traditional British organ whose primary purpose is the accompaniment of the Anglican choral tradition. The two are generally incompatible. You only have to look at the Royal Academy of Music in London to understand this. First came the 4M Rieger across the Marylebone Road in St Marylebone Parish Church in 1997 and then six years later in 1993 the installation of the 2M Van den Heuvel in the RAM's Duke's Hall. These instruments cover both bases listed above admirably, as of course do the other instruments listed above. A co-incidence? I think not.
  13. Pierre asks the 64 million dollar question, and the answer just now would appear to be, 'Not a lot'. We have seen in recent years Marcussen at Tonbridge School and Klais at Symphony Hall, Birmingham adjust their cloth to the extent that one could be forgiven, if you shut your eyes, for thinking these instruments were built in the UK. As for our own native organ builders, they have also adjusted their cloth to meet the requirements of the times and organ consultants to the extent that I sometimes think they've forgotten how to build a large traditional British organ. One problem has been the lack of opportunity, but there is also the influence Ralph Downes had as well, which has been immense. If you look at the large instruments UK organ builders have produced over the past 40 years for UK based customers, very few of them could be said to have been built on traditional lines, following in the tradition of William Hill, Arthur Harrison and Henry Willis. I have listed some examples below of major builds during this time, but how many can be said to be truly traditional? Many have French-style reeds and choruses that are based on the neo-classical school that swept through the country from the Royal Festival Hall organ onwards. How many of these can be said to be the true descendants of the Hill, Harrison, Willis traditions and not affected by the continent to the extent that you could hear one of them blindfold and say, "Now that's a Harrison, Willis, Mander etc." St Albans Abbey (Harrison 1962) Coventry Cathedral (Harrison 1962) Fairfield Halls, Croydon (Harrison 1964) St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle (Harrison 1965) Winchester College (Manders 1984) Bolton Town Hall (Walkers, 1985) Leighton Buzzard Parish Church (Harrison 1989) St Martin in the Fields, London (Walkers 1991) Douai Abbey (Tickell 1993) St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham (Walkers 1993) St John's College, Cambridge (Manders 1994) Chelmsford Cathedral (Manders 1994/5) St Barnabas, Dulwich (Tickell 1997) Lower Chapel, Eton College (Tickell 2000) Rugby School Chapel (Kenneth Jones 2001) and looking ahead: St Peter's, St Albans (Manders 2006) Cheltenham Ladies College (Tickell 2006) Worcester Cathedral (Tickell 2008)
  14. Go to http://www.tickell-organs.co.uk/specInfo/Worcesterspec.htm for the specification of the Worcester Quire Organ, an explanation of the organ's disposition, the plans for Transept and Nave organs by Nicholsons and a link to the drawings of the proposed Quire cases.
  15. This is like the Clifton Old Boys reunion. Now, if Dave thinks this 1986 4 rank extension organ was bad, he obviously wasn't around to see its predecessor which was freestanding on the hall floor on the left hand side towards the back. There is no mention of it in NPOR but I seem to recall it was a 2 manual with the heaviest tracker action I have ever come across when the two manuals were coupled, as they always needed to be to support the singing of several hundred prep school boys. The facade was your basic pipe rack with no decoration and I seem to recall it regularly needed to be cleaned due to all manner of rubbish the boys would drop into the organ from the balcony above. The term 'box of whistles' was surely coined with this instrument in mind, but it served its purpose for me as a useful nursery instrument as a beginner before they would give me the keys to the kingdom of heaven: the 1911 Harrison (IV/46)in the Upper School Chapel.
  16. Lucky you! I learnt to play the organ on this fine instrument between 1983-87 but never got to have a look inside. I understand that Priory will be issuing a CD of Adrian Partington playing this organ in 2006 - Volume 3 of the Complete Organ Works of Basil Harwood. Volumes 1 and 2 were made at Bristol Cathedral and Birmingham Oratory.
  17. I used to deputise for a couple of churches in South Kensington and Earls Court in West London, but with the pay so paltry and no WC facilities necessitating a visit to nearby bushes, I gave it up as a bad job. Why should organists have to put up with this?
  18. The Chester organ is certainly not what one would call a pedigree instrument, but surely it's not so bad that it could be considered to be one of the world's worst organs. The same must be said of Guildford too, for all its faults. And by golly it must be the season of goodwill if I can admit that. though I may despise it, Gloucester is truly not the world's worst. My objectivity on that front will no doubt cease come the New Year when normal service will be resumed. It is interesting, though, how some of our large cathedral organs are changed beyond reason due to the big personalities of the organists involved at the time, e.g. Roger Fisher (Chester), Arthur Wills (Ely), David Briggs (Gloucester). I recall with some amusement a firecely defensive letter from Arthur Wills that appeared in Organists Review a couple of years ago in response to a review in OR of a CD of the newly rebuilt Ely organ. In it, the reviewer had taken Wills to task for the changes he instigated in the 1970s and welcomed the recent Harrison rebuild which undid much of this work. Wills uncompromising riposte essentially boiled down to one big "I WAS RIGHT!".
  19. Yes, despite some reservations, the Symphony Hall Klais is a wonderful instrument in so many ways. I don't think it's a very honest instrument - it's not what you might call a typical Klais instrument and I suspect the Bonn organ builders had quite a steep learning curve on this project - but the end results are undeniably a superbly constructed and tonally finished instrument. And perhaps most important of all, it is not underpowered like the Marcussen at Bridgewater Halll.
  20. Mark Venning at Harrisons is said to be a fine organist. To my knowledge in the past year he has given at least 2 recitals in London at St Margaret's, Lee and Westminster Abbey. Now that is certainly what I would call putting one's head above the parapet!
  21. Which, of course, makes the Klais at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, such a strange beast. It looks to me like Klais initially got lost on their way to Symphony Hall and found themselves in the Town Hall. Inspired by the Hill organ there, they went away and essentially built a traditional English Town Hall organ, albeit in a Klais 21st Century way. For heavens sake, the organ has an enclosed rank of Tubas! If Symphony Hall wanted an organ like this, why didn't they go to someone like Manders or Harrison for whom such instruments are in their DNA?
  22. I think the video screen at organ recitals have their place. Vindication of their use for me came in March last year when I attended Thomas Trotter's opening recital of the renovated 4M Harrison organ at Leicester Cathedral. The console is situated on a gallery at the West End of the Cathedral and so a video screen was the only way to see TT strut his stuff. Halfway through the excellent recital, TT turned to the camera to address the audience downstairs, which included the great and good of Leicester. TT then proceeded to give a brilliant demonstration of each section of the organ, which is housed in 3 separate cases. Talking to the camera, TT highlighted individual stops of particular note and gave a brief demonstration of each on the organ. Not only was this educational for the audience below, it was a brilliant way of showing the money men what their money had been spent on.
  23. I've got Allan Wicks to thank for getting me started on Messiaen. I had a tape of him playing at Canterbury - can't remember what else was on it - but his blazing performance of 'Transports de joie' from L'Ascension blew me away and had me thinking, "I want some more of that!!!".
  24. At the end of the day it boils down to keeping up with the Jones's.
  25. I do have the Wayne Marshall CD and the organ sounds like a fine instrument despite some machine gun like playing. Copies of the CD do periodically appear on eBay if anyone is interested.
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