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Jeremy Jones

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  1. Talking of Voluntaries, I once heard the story of how, during his time on the music staff at Clifton College in Bristol, the New Zealand born Dr C S Lang would often play after Morning Chapel the one work he is remembered for, the Trumpet Tune. The senior boys, knowing this was Dr Lang's party piece, instead of filing out with the rest of the school, would pay him the compliment of remaining seated to listen. However, anyone who knows the work will be aware that it runs on a loop and Dr Lang, checking his mirror and seeing boys still in the Chapel, would be encouraged to keep on playing. This state of affairs would usually only last as long as it took the School Marshal (a man feared by all boys) to realise he was missing a Sixth Form. Whereupon he would storm back into Chapel and, without uttering a word but eyes blazing. would extend his arm towards the exit. The effect on the boys was electric. As if of one mind, they would scramble and jostle to avoid catching the Marshal's eye as they sprinted for the exit. Dr Lang was then free to conclude the Trumpet Tune, which by then had long since outstayed its welcome, and return to the Music School, where he was known to spend hour upon hour locked away in a piano practice room practising and refining his scales technique, in the process almost turning them into an art form.
  2. I must admit to not having heard the King's organ live since the 1992 change. However, I do own a number of CD recordings of the instrument and certainly noticed a change in the sound of the organ on one of the most recent recordings made there, namely John Butt's splendid recording of music by Elgar. I was never a great fan of the glittering King's full organ, essentially Great to Mixtures coupled with full Swell, as the enclosed Great Trombas could never be said to be chorus reeds. The post-1992 sound, whilst perhaps not so distinctive, is probably a more musical one. But then, as Mark Wimpress says, the real glories of this instrument are the quieter registers, pungent strings, solo reeds bags full of character, and unlike the rest of the instrument, a Choir organ that speaks directly into the Quire. Perfect for a work such as Percy Whitlock's Folk Tune. Jeremy Jones London
  3. The Hull organ may have 104 stops, but since it is a Compton, surely the more relevant question to ask is how many ranks does it have? Jeremy Jones London
  4. I have today seen on a CD Mail Order website that a new recording of the Royal Albert Hall organ, as restored by Manders, is to be released by Priory Records next month featuring Dame Gillian Weir. The programme is: Liszt: Fantasia and Fugue on 'Ad nos ad salutarem undam' S259 Liszt: Francis Asola walking on the water Howells: Rhapsody in C minor Parry: Fantasia and Fugue 'The Wanderer' Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 Elgar: Nimrod from "Enigma Variations" Lanquetuit: Toccata Incidentally, on same website I saw that Priory will also be releasing next month a mid-price 2CD set of Dame Gillian Weir playing the Manders restored 1861 William Hill Organ in the Ulster Hall, Belfast. The programme for that (very typical of DGW) is: Meyerbeer: Coronation March Mendelssohn: Variations on 'Vater unser' Eben: Sunday Music Bridge: Adagio in E Minor Valente: Lo Ballo dell Intorcia Frescobaldi: Toccata for the Elevation Zipoli: Offertorio in C Stanley: Voluntary in G minor Bach: Concerto in D minor after Vivaldi BWV596 Messiaen: Joie et Clarte Franck: Choral No.2 Mulet: Rosace Couperin: Dialogue sur la Voix Humaine Couperin: Benedictus Couperin: Dialogue sur les Grands Jeux Dupre: Cortege et Litanie Dupre: Allegro Deciso (Evocation) Time to start saving those pennies, I think! Jeremy Jones London
  5. Jonathan, On David Briggs's website, it says he is giving a recital at Bristol Cathedral on 21 April to mark the re-opening of the organ after recent action work. Jeremy Jones London
  6. Re-reading what I said in my previous posting, I perhaps did not explain myself clearly. All I was saying was in that in such a large acoustic as St Paul's, there must be occasions when however honest, musical and articulate the organists' playing may be, such artistry can be lost on those listening in the main body of the cathedral. But what a sound! Jeremy Jones London
  7. Andrew Lucas is surely correct in stating that making music is more important than making sound effects. However, would he not admit, as a former distinguished organist of St Paul's Cathedral, that in that building good intentions to make the former tend to end up producing the latter? Jeremy Jones London
  8. Regarding the Gloucester organ, I think Mark Wimpress hits the nail on the head. David Briggs is an outstanding organist, but was misguided to bring his abiding passion for the French symphonic repertoire, and in particular the Cavaille-Coll in Notre-Dame, to bear on the Nicholson rebuild. Gloucester is just not the place for such a vanity project, but they are lumbered with it now, and will have to make the best of a bad job. If one can look on the humourous side, I understand they are apparently having great trouble keeping the Gloucester reeds in tune, so you see the instrument really does have a French pedigree, even if it is of the mongrel variety! Jeremy Jones London
  9. It is interesting that you couple the Canterbury and Gloucester organs in your message. For me, they are probably the two most unsatisfactory cathedral organs in the country, and in such glorious settings. Canterbury first. What I would really like to see here is the organ put on the screen and a setup similiar to Norwich, York or Lincoln, with the big stuff retained in the triforium. The current Mander Nave division really can't do a proper job of supporting singing in the Nave from its present position, and the main organ in the triforium is not ideal for accompanying the choir. As for Gloucester, I regret what Ralph Downes did in 1971 but the resulting instrument still had some integrity. I am afraid the most recent work on the organ by Nicholsons has made matters worse, and what we have now is a poor imitation of a bad French organ. There are undoubtedly some lovely quiet registers, but the 32ft reed doesn't convince and the full organ sound is strident and unmusical. Personally, I would do away with it all, apart from the glorious case, and start afresh with an unavowed English sounding instrument. But I suspect that this is not financially viable. Jeremy Jones London
  10. I have looked on the internet and been unable to find a specification. On the Aberdeen University website, there is lots of information, including pictures of the opening concert with Gillian Weir at the console and photos of the instrument during construction, but no specification. The link below gives a good description of what the organ's character will be: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/newsletter/issue_15/review.hti Jeremy Jones London NW2
  11. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the Adlington Hall organ sits on a gallery supported by two oak trees which pre-date the Hall and still have their roots in the ground. Does anyone know if this is true, and if so, whether this arrangement is unique to Adlington? Jeremy Jones
  12. One of the best things about this discussion board is when you get it straight from the horses mouth, i.e. Andrew Lucas, John Pike Mander, and before he left for New York, John Scott on the St Paul's organ, and in particular, the Trompette Militaire. My memories of the St Albans organ are restricted to a week I spent in the Cathedral there 20 years ago when my school choir took part in a performance and live recording for Deutsche Grammophon of Berlioz's Te Deum with Claudio Abbado conducting the European Community Youth Orchestra. The trebles were banished to pews in the South Nave aisle and because we couldn't see Abbado, our conductor Richard Hickox conducted us standing on a wobbly chair watching Abbado via CCTV! Anyway, the subsequent DG recording which I now have on CD is the only record I have of the St Albans organ, which has a very independent part in the Berlioz, so you really get to hear it. Listening to the CD again, the organ does sound wonderful as played by Martin Haselbock, with a really beefy full organ sound and a wonderful solo flute at the start of the second movement. It would be nice to have a CD of just the organ on its own. How about it, Andrew? As to the plans to enlarge the instrument, including a 32ft reed. Well, I did get up into the organ loft and there is certainly room up there, acres of it, perhaps for the pipes to lie horizontally. But I hope the overall character of the instrument isn't lost in what, in my opinion, is one of Ralph Downes better organs. Jeremy Jones
  13. The Cochereau Solstice DVD can be bought on the internet for around £25.00 from Crotchet, a classical specialist retailer. Click on http://www.crotchet.co.uk/ and in the search box type in "Cochereau". Hope this helps. Jeremy Jones
  14. Mark, G'day mate and thanks for your intelligent posting. You make some very interesting points. You wonder why the airwaves are not blue with outrage that the RAH facade pipes are not to be restored to their original brilliance. Part of the problem is that the Albert Hall is in London, and in such a big city with so many things going on, a matter of whether some organ pipes are restored or not is just not going to be important enough for anyone to be interested. You have to remember that London is more a country than a city, and has the population to prove it. No, were a similiar situation to arise in say Birmingham concerning the facade pipes of the Town Hall Organ, or Liverpool's Willis organ in St George's Hall, then it is more than likely such an issue could and up being debated in the local paper and radio stations. In London? No chance. But getting back to the Albert Hall and the argument that shiny organ pipes might prove to be a distraction. Perhaps there is a case that in the Tennis Masters, just as John McEnroe was serving at match point, he could be dazzled by light shining off an organ pipe. It would certainly be a a novel excuse compared to the usual blandishments of blind line judges. You cannot be serious??? But seriously, only the other night I caught the National Television Awards on the TV from the Albert Hall. There was no sign of ANY organ pipes as they had built a horrible set in front of the organ. The only organ on display that night was the one flashed at Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne by an interloper. Jeremy Jones
  15. A lot of sense is being talked here. The revolution in console technology had largely passed me by until I attended organ concerts at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester (Marcussen) and Symphony Hall, Birmingham (Klais) given by Dame Gillian Weir and John Scott respectively. Both recitals were played on the detached 'tab consoles, and I was amazed that for the duration of both concerts, the only piston used was the sequencer. No stop tabs were changed by hand at any point, and nor were any other manual or pedal pistons used, as far as I could see. While this was incredible, I do feel something is lost in this rush to technology - the human element, perhaps? On the other point raised in this stream about supposed 'improvements' being made to historic instruments. Harrisons and Manders are of course past masters at sympathetic restorations and rebuilds, generally careful to ensure that nothing added should intrude upon the overall tonal scheme. I say 'generally' as a bete noir of mine are the Bombarde reeds Harrisons installed at Westminster Abbey in 1987 which have none of the refinement of the other reeds and are, to my ears at least, not very musical. An exception, I think. No, it is the smaller companies who are asked to restore old Willis, Walker, Hill organs and who make tonal alterations to what were already exceptional instruments. Reasons given for this are legion, ranging from the tonal scheme being developed and expanded to meet the current needs (St Olave's, York) to the original scheme being completed (All Saints, Hertford), complete with the now obligatory 32ft reed. But what is to be done? At the end of the day, if the church organist wants his 32ft reed, or a high-pressure Tuba, and there is money to pay for it, there is not a lot anyone can do. Jeremy Jones
  16. If St Ignatius really is then an English organ, then Manders should surely have had the confidence to give the manuals and stops the English names to go with it. I'm afraid that, as with so many things, this goes back to the Royal Festival Hall organ. Pre-RFH, everyone knew what you got from a British organ, and we were, availability of post-war materials permitting, pretty good at making them. But since the RFH British organ builders seemed to have had an identity crisis. The advantage of asking Klais, Marcussen, Frobenius, Rieger etc. to provide you with a new organ is you pretty much know what you are going to get. Alright, there are exceptions - the Marcussen at Tonbridge School Chapel and the Klais at Symphony Hall, Birmingham - but these are very much the exception rather than the norm. With British organ builders, picking a builder is sometimes only the first of many decisions to be made. Is it to be a la Cavaille-Coll, or maybe based on a William Hill scheme from the mid-nineteenth century, or a neo-baroque instrument straight out of the North German school? Is it no wonder British organ builders are undergoing such an identity crisis? The RFH organ had everyone in a spin 50 years ago, and the after effects are still very much in evidence today. Jeremy Jones
  17. The current Worcester Cathedral organ is a disaster and has been for many years - you cannot judge an instrument just by hearing it on a CD recording. The proposals for two new organs look interesting, but why the need for two instruments? I am not that familiar with the layout in Worcester but surely a unified scheme would be a more musical option. The only good thing from the old Worcester organ was the 1874 Gilbert Scott case in the South Transept. If the case cannot be retained in the new scheme, I hope a good home can be found fot it. Jeremy Jones
  18. John, Thank you for your reply. I only hope no final decision has been made yet. From the RCO, such a decision to appoint an organ builder from abroad to build an instrument for their new premises in Birmingham could only be taken as a resounding vote of no confidence in British organ building. Surely we want an instrument that shows just how good home-produced instruments can be. I hope this is not taken as the rantings of a little Englander - it is not my attention - as I am full of admiration for the best of the work of Rieger, Klais, Frobenius, Metzler, Marcussen etc. It is just that with very few exceptions, all of the significant new builds in this country in recent years have gone to overseas contractors, and what I really want to see is the very best that Manders, Harrisons, Walkers, Nicholsons, Tickell can produce. In this country we can see for ourselves at St Giles in Edinburgh, Tonbridge School Chapel, Symphony Hall in Birmingham, Haileybury College what fine large instruments some of the oversees builders mentioned above can produce. But can we really say the same about UK based organ builders. Harrisons have proved themselves to be superb restorers of many landmark instruments such as the Usher Hall, Reading Town Hall and the cathedral instruments in Lichfield, Ely, St Davids, Leicester, Hereford, Lincoln. But how many people in the UK know what a significant new Harrison sounds like? You have to go to North Carolina, Michigan or Missouri in the USA to find out. For Manders magnum opus, you have to go to New York! I would be interested to know what others think. Jeremy Jones
  19. Does anyone know whether an announcement has been made concerning which organ builder has been awarded the contract to build a new organ for the Royal College of Organists in Birmingham? I seem tor recall reading that whichever builder was awarded the contract would have a free hand in the design of the instument. Jeremy Jones
  20. Anthony, The Walt Disney Hall organ in Los Angeles opened last weekend. You can find out more about the events and some background on the organ itself by going to: http://www.andante.com/article/article.cfm?id=24510 Unlike the bitty relaunch of the Royal Albert Hall organ, Disney Hall have got a proper programme of events, including four solo recitals. One can't vouchsafe for what the organ sounds like, but I certainly like their style in launching the instrument. Perhaps something for us in the UK to learn about why it's impotant to blow our own trumpet when a new instrument or important rebuild is launched. Jeremy Jones
  21. First of all may I say it is great to have the discussion board back online. I have not yet managed to hear the RAH organ in the flesh since it was reopened in June this year, and intend to put that right as soon as possible. However, I did hear it on BBC Radio 3 in a Prom performance of Janacek's Glagolitic Mass where David Goode was the soloist. Taking into account problems with microphone placings et al, I was neverthess bowled over by what I heard. The Royal Albert Hall organ I have grown up with, and played a couple of times, was a wheezy old beast. Now, there is more than enough wind to produce a genuine attack to the playing, which is very welcome. I do have one question. Although the organ has been fully restored, the case and pipe rack have not. Are there plans, and funds, for this work to be carried out, and if so, what will the pipes look like afterwards? I seem to remember seeing a painting of the hall where the organ pipes were gold. Is this fanciful?
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