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Jeremy Jones

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Everything posted by Jeremy Jones

  1. I think what the above comments suggest is that at the top end we have 4 or 5 organ building firms such as Manders, and at the other end a similiar number of small firms such as Bill Drake or Goetze & Gwynne, all of which are a byword for quality and craftsmanship and usually get most high profile contracts, providing they haven't gone abroad. And then in the middle we have a multitude of local organ builders such as Percy Daniel where the quality of workmanship and finish can be quite variable, but which are probably not as expensive as the big players for what are in the main small parish church organs, where there isn't much money rubbing around anyway. Jeremy Jones London
  2. I think what Brian says is probably right. From what I can recall, and it is 18 years since I last played this instrument, the Great was very much the primary division and included a huge Open Diapason No. 1. Using the Swell Octave coupler just added the extra bit of power necessary to balance. However, once you based the Great Chorus on the Open Diapason No. 2 the Swell octave coupler wasn't required. But since the main function of the organ was to lead some 600 schoolboys (who took great pleasure in belting out their daily hymn) the latter option was never realistic. Jeremy Jones London
  3. I do have the CDs of both recordings that Philip Ledger made of the King's organ for EMI (both on EMI Eminence) - the one you mention plus a later one (Jeremiah Clarke to Marcel Dupre via Sweelinck, Whitlock, Alain, Jongen etc) that is probably the best recording yet made of the King's organ. Regrettably, however, I would not be willing to part with either, having taken some time to acquire them second hand myself. Jeremy Jones London
  4. By musical heritage, I take it you mean they can't sing in tune. Jeremy Jones London
  5. I was fortunate enough to learn to play the organ on a 1911 4-manual Harrison where the Swell octave coupler was frequently used for full swell. I had thought this was just a one off, and so was suprised to read that there was the need for it at the Abbey. Maybe there are other Harrison organs out there where it is necessary/desirable to use the Swell octave coupler? Jeremy Jones London
  6. The problem with Blackburn is not so much what has been done to it recently, although I do abhor the addition of digital stops. No, the reason why the skids are already under this instrument and why it will surely be replaced in the fullness of time is that only 14 years after it was originally built by Walkers in 1969, the organ had serious wind and action problems. Wood of Huddersfield did a patch and mend job until the money had been raised for a proper restoration job. I don't want to cast aspersions, but one of the reasons why the organs at places like Salisbury, Truro and Lincoln are still in such good condition is that they were solidly built with good materials in the first place. The longevity of these instruments is no coincidence. Jeremy Jones London
  7. I see no reason why a happy medium cannot be reached. Certainly in the case of instruments such as Hereford, Salisbury, Truro and Lincoln, there is no reason why for the forseeable future these instruments should be thrown out and replaced with something new. They are all in good working order and to a greater extent still very much in their original Willis guise. However, with an organ such as at Gloucester one can see that in the next 10-20 years a decision to start afresh could well be on the cards. Yes, it currently has all the mod cons such as a divided pedal board and so on, but tonally the organ is now on a slippery slope where the law of diminishing returns applies. In the last 100 or so years it has had successive rebuilds by Willis, Harrison, Downes/HNB and Nicholsons. Yes, there is some historic pipework buried within the instrument, but it bears no relation to the current overall concept, which is decidedly continental in flavour. A clear out and fresh start must be an attractive option when the organ needs refurbishing sometime in the not too distant future. For Worcester and Sheffield, discussed elsewhere, that time has already come. Jeremy Jones London
  8. I really do think before anyone comments on the Sheffield situation, they should click on the link above and read what the thinking at Sheffield is behind the decision to replace the Willis/Mander organ and what their plans for a replacement are, namely a new West End organ, supplemented by a separate Choir Division. It is possible that some of the existing pipework could be incorporated into the new instrument, though that I think very much depends on who is chosen to build the new organ(s). If the rumours are true and Kuhn have been chosen to build the new instrument then it is likely they will wish to start afresh with new materials throughout. However, if the instrument is to be built and voiced along conventional British lines by a British organ builder, then it is not beyond the realms of possibility that they will at least want to have a close look at the existing pipework to see if any of it might be of use in the new scheme. Jeremy Jones London
  9. I know, I know, organists always play too loud! But how on earth are the rest of us supposed to rein in our instincts to 'pull all the stops out' when you have those who should be setting a good example - Prof Tracey at Liverpool and John Scott at St Paul's before he left for NY, to name just two - clearly demonstrating that when it comes to the tutti, you can never draw enough stops. But I am on a dicey wicket from which to admonish others. For in my distant schooldays at morning chapel I seem to recall we used to take great glee in timing Franck's Piece Heroique so that the last page (with Tubas and anything else that might increase the decibel count) would be played when everyone was in their seats and couldn't escape the aural battering, in particular the Headmaster who sat immediately below the organ! Jeremy Jones London
  10. He is spot on! One of the reasons why I love sitting in the Abbey choir for Evensong is that the Abbey organists are not afraid to pull the stops out when accompanying the Choir. The organ becomes an active participant, rather than trying to do an impression of a retiring wallflower, as so often happens. Jeremy Jones London
  11. You are right about a CD that was made of Howells organ music on the Harrison organ at Charterhouse Chapel. It is on the Herald label and the performer was Philip Kenyon who was organist at the school at the time. I briefly worked in the same offices as Philip at Boosey & Hawkes in 1990 but I am not sure what he is doing now. Jeremy Jones London
  12. If it's critic bashing time, can I join in? Critics need to understand that the public wants, and indeed needs, an objective opinion free of the reviewers prejudices, which should, like a coat, be taken off before engaging the critical faculty. I once took a music critic on the Telegraph to task after reading his review of a performance I had also attended at the Royal Festival Hall. The first half of the review was entirely about how expensive his pint of the black stuff had been in the RFH bar prior to the concert. He then allowed this to completely colour his review of the resulting performance. I was gobsmacked at the sheer unprofessionalism on display and duly wrote to admonish him. Needless to say, he was utterly unrepentant, going on about how the pre-concert drinks was all part of the concert experience and therefore fair game! On a separate point, Brian mentions a Kynaston recording on the Mitra label made at Ingolstadt. Kynaston made another recording for Mitra at Westminster Cathedral just after its renovation by Harrisons in 1984 of works by Dupre (Deuxieme Symphonie and Evocation) and Durufle. I had the LP of this and I really don't think a better recording of the Westminster Cathedral organ has been made there since. It was also issued on CD but I don't think Mitra are a going concern any longer. Jeremy Jones London
  13. I have been fortunate to hear the Liverpool organ twice recently in recitals by Malcolm Archer and Andrew Nethsingha. Archer's recital ended with the Vierne Carillon de Westminster and despite sitting at the back, the sheer power of the instrument in the final bars as he brought on pretty much everything bar the Tuba Magna and Trompette Militaire was simply overwhelming and like nothing I had experienced before. Such power really does need to be handled with care. I can't recall any of Andrew Nethsingha's actual programme, but this time other facets of the instrument were on display. I was enchanted by the multitude of different quiet effects Andrew continually drew from the instrument, and equally shattered by the use of the Trompette Militaire in the Corona Gallery. I could quite happily go through the rest of my life never hearing this stop used again. Whether its the voicing or its location, but this is just one very loud and raucous organ stop, and not very musical. On the related topic of recording organs, I have a number of CDs of the organ in St Paul's Cathedral. Probably the best played is John Scott's second volume of works by Marcel Dupre (Passion Symphony. Symphony No. 2 etc) but no account seems to have been made for domestic listening. In order to hear the programme properly you need to sound balance turned up quite a bit, but at one or two key moments will find yourselves catapaulted out of your seat when John Scott really does pull all the stops out (including the West End Trumpets) to shattering effect, both on the stereo system, and indeed your nerves! Jeremy Jones London
  14. Before this thread explodes into another long-winded moan about what's going on at Worcester, could you puhleassseee go and do it on page 698 or whatever it's got to on the Worcester discussion thread. As for the Abbey: 1) Having been fortunate enough to be asked to turn the pages for a recital there, the instrument sounds very different in the loft to what you hear in the Nave. But you don't need to go up to the loft to experience this. In the choir you hear the instrument pretty much as it sounds in the loft, whereas sitting in the Nave it sounds totally different (the booming pedal much more evident here). 2) The Bombarde reeds added in 1987 do the instrument no favours and coarsen what is otherwise a regal sounding tutti. If I had my way, I'd put these under lock and key for very occasional use. Simon Preston used them at the re-opening recital in 1987 at the climax of the Dupre Passion Symphony, and I was not the only one there to cover their ears. 3) Well I only paid £23 for the Liszt/Reubke CD albeit I only got the CD in a jewel case with no booklet. Jeremy Jones London
  15. If I can deal with some of the points raised since my earlier rant. I probably did come across as a bit London-centric, but that was not my intention. Any new CDs of instruments in the British Isles are always welcome, particularly as I don't have enough leisure time to travel and hear the instruments in the flesh. Only last night I put on a brand new CD from Herald of the Hunter/HNB/Daniel organ in Brentwood Cathedral. I'd been a bit sniffy about this organ, worried that the original core of the instrument (Hunter) had been lost with the various additions made over the years (Fanfare Trumpet et al) but, judging from the CD, it sounds a fine instrument in a mercifully reverberant acoustic. Perhaps I was a bit hard on Hyperion and Priory, but that is because my CD collection is full to overflowing with CDs from both companies and I am one of their biggest fans, and have been disappointed by the recent output from Herrick and Priory as a whole. My comments about Jeremy Filsell and Signum Records were again made as a fan of both, even if they were a bit caustic in places. On the Filsell Dupre, I agree that recording the whole oevre on one instrument is not ideal. Ben van Oosten on MDG seems to have the right idea, with the series being recorded on Cavaille-Coll, Willis and Casavant organs at Rouen (St Ouen), Paris (La Madeleine), Dublin (St Patrick's Cathedral) and Montreal (Église St-Jean-Baptiste). This series shows signs of some thought and care in the preparation, not to mention some stupendous playing. The lack of recordings of the Festival Hall organ is indeed a disappointment. I would imagine that from a commercial point of view, it would not be viable for the hall to be made available for recording sessions during the day or evening, and that just leaves the option of recording through the night. When the organ recital series was re-started 5 years ago, the first series of recitals was recorded by the BBC, so perhaps some enterprising record label could come to an agreement with the BBC to licence these for commercial CD release. The James O'Donnell CD recorded at Westminster Cathedral is called Great Organ Favourites and has appeared on several obscure labels. It is very much a CD for the Cathedral shop, featuring works by Bach; Handel; Clarke; Saint-Saens; Widor; Peeters; Brahms; Mulet; Boellmann; Tchaikovsky; Vierne. Mention of recordings of the Healey Willan. Four others I don't think have been mentioned: 1) David Hill at Westminster Cathedral (Priory LP Archive Series). 2) Andrew Johnstone on the Willis organ in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin (Metier). 3) David Halls gives probably, in my opinion, the best recording of the work on the organ of Salisbury Cathedral (VIF Records). 4) Dame Gillian Weir on the organ of the First Church of Christ, Scientist; Boston, Mass. Jeremy Jones London
  16. This discussion has touched a nerve with this contributor, as it is something I have been fermenting about for some time. So please excuse me if it all comes out in a bit of a mess. I think if the first question our native record companies (Priory etc.) are asking before making a recording is "How will it sell in Outer-Mongolia?" then they may as well jack it all in right now. You only have to look at other organ specific record labels from other countries - JAV, Gothic, Pro Organo, IFO, Motette, Festivo, Aeolus - to name just a few to see that 90% plus of their output is recorded on native soil for native consumption. Some will end up being bestsellers that do very well overseas, but that's the cherry on the cake, not the raison d'etre for the cake itself. (I did warn you my syntax would go to pot). Priory with their Great European and Australasian Organs series have taken their eye off the domestic market, as have Christopher Herrick on Hyperion, both being guilty of seeing how much money there is to be made by recording instruments outside the UK. They forget that these markets already have their own home grown companies doing what they should be doing back in the UK. But I don't want to just pick on these two. There are other examples of missed opportunities as our record companies have preferred to travel abroad rather than mine the riches we have here. Jeremy Filsell, a fine organist, has just recorded the complete Vierne symphonies at St Ouen, Rouen for Signum. Wonderful, you might think. Well yes, except that Ben van Oosten to name just one organist has already done that, and we are not exactly short of recordings of the Rouen instrument anyway. Would it not have been wonderful if these recording had been made here in the UK. We have some very fine instruments here that could add something new, rather than just another set of the Vierne Symphonies on a Cavaille-Coll. Westminster Cathedral, Truro, Lincoln, to name just three. Mind you, both Filsell and Signum have some previous here. What a missed opportunity was Filsell's complete set of the Dupre oevre on Guild, recorded on the Möller organ of St Boniface Episcopal Church, Sarasota, Florida. Had this series been recorded at Westminster Cathedral, or another fine pedigree Willis instrument suitable for this repertoire, this would have been a must-buy. A missed opportunity. And going back to Signum and a recently released CD of theirs had Colm Carey playing English organ music written in 1937: Whitlock's Sonata and Bairstow's Sonata in B flat. Now isn't there a new organ that was built in 1937 that has always sounded particularly convincing in the English repertoire? Of course, Arthur Harrison's final masterpiece at Westminster Abbey. A logical coupling, one would think. Signum had other ideas and the Letourneau organ in the Church of the Ascension and St Agnes, Washington DC was the chosen instrument for this recording! Being a Londoner, the organs at Westminster Abbey and that in the Cathedral at the other end of Victoria Street are both favourites of mine. I still recall great recitals I have attended at the Abbey given by Simon Preston (during his heyday), Colin Walsh and Martin Baker, and at the Cathedral given by Langlais, Jennifer Bate (the UK premiere of Messiaen's Livre du Saint Sacrement), Nicolas Kynaston and Jane Parker Smith. But where are the recordings of these great instruments? The last organ CD out of the Abbey was of Andrew Lumsden 1991 vintage. As for the Cathedral, David Hill put out a few CDs before he left in 1987 but the only recordings since have been by Iain Simcock (disappointing Vierne IV & VI and Francis Pott's Christus) and an organ pops CD by James O'Donnell. I understand that Robert Quinney made a recording or two for Signum (brownie points) recently but these have yet to be released. Of the current Master of Music (the aforementioned Mr Baker) I am not aware he has ever made a solo CD, which for such a talent is a scandal. As has already been said, one must assume it is the authorities who have put a bar on recordings being made more frequently, especially at the Abbey. They had a fantastic Whitlock recital series recently and I couldn't help thinking this was just the sort of fare that the Abbey organ should be recorded for posterity. A bit of rant, for which apologies, but I must end by saying that every cloud has silver lining, and in this case it is Regent Records. Three Cheers to Gary Cole, for without his company's continued output of UK based organ recordings, each month's new releases listings would be that much duller. Jeremy Jones London
  17. In my view Brooks shoots himself in the foot in the OR letter since for his recital series at All Souls, Langham Place, the only information one ever gets is the name of the recitalist plus, if we're lucky, some crumbs about the programme (i.e. "including Franck's Trois Pieces"). Try the All Souls website and there is no mention anywhere about the organ or the recitals. Plus he does hold them on Monday nights, a notorious dead spot in the week where even Central London cinemas offer reduced prices to try and lure the punters in. Jeremy Jones London
  18. Riddle me this, riddle me that .... Well, you could always come to London and hear the old Gloucester Tuba in situ at All Saints, Margaret Street. Jeremy Jones London
  19. Purely judging by the amount of testosterone being unleashed on some of these threads, e.g. Ally Pally, I suspect not. Jeremy Jones London
  20. Two obvious recent examples of fund-raising CDs were that released by Peterborough Cathedral following the recent fire and the 2CD set released on the RLPO Live label of the organ in St George's Hall, Liverpool played by Christopher Dearnley (early 1980s provenance) and Ian Tracey (some 10 years later). Both CDs raised awareness of the situation by reminding what could be lost, whilst at the same time being a useful fund-raising tool. If the Ally Pally combatants could lay down their arms long enough to work together to produce something similiar, wonders would never cease! Jeremy Jones London
  21. While sound samples are all very well, not everyone (and I include myself here) are not so technically up to speed on all this download stuff. No, what's really needed is a new CD of the organ as it sounds now. If said instrument truly is as wonderful as some people here say it is - and my God it better be for all the vitriol that's been sprayed left, right and centre - then a CD would be the best way to send out a message that this organ needs saving, whilst also helping to raise funds to complete the damn thing. Whatever happens, all this in-fighting is SO counter-productive. Anyone with a brass farthing or two to rub together who might consider putting their hands in their pockets to save the Ally Pally organ will take one look at thie clash of egos as Rome burns, and swiftly move on. Jeremy Jones London
  22. It would be helpful if Richard could tell us something about the dispostion of the organ, in particular which part of the organ is housed in the smaller case seen at the west end of the south choir aisle. Many thanks, Jeremy Jones London
  23. There is already a website up and running which caters for just this sort of thing at http://organrecitals.com It really is very comprehensive. Jeremy Jones London
  24. Some wonderful pictures of the interior or Beverley Minster and its HNB organ. The picture of the console reminded of the time I played the HNB pre-Mander organ at St John's College, Cambridge, and those stubby square HNB pistons which I really don't like at all. The console of the Hull City Hall instrument looks a lot better since they replaced the Compton luminous touch stop buttons. I played this organ once and found these buttons a real menace, as the bulbs had blown in some of the stops and when the sun came out it was almost impossible to see which stops were 'on'. Not a favourite instrument of mine, really. But a trip to Beverley would certainly seem worthwhile. Jeremy Jones London
  25. I think it is good that you were able to take some positive aspects from the project, and you probably learn more from these situations than when everything goes swimmingly. Mention of looking at the case head on, do my eyes deceive me or are some of the case front pipes not symmetircal? Jeremy Jones London
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