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Jeremy Jones

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Everything posted by Jeremy Jones

  1. I would have to disagree with you there, Barry. I have only ever been to Lincoln once for an organ recital a couple of years ago, but from my seat in the Nave there was a whole lot of organ coming my way! I also have the Amphion CD live recording of Roger Fisher playing the Whitlock Organ Sonata at Lincoln. This was made from the tapes of two private recordings of Roger's recital (permission had been given), one recorded in the Quire and the other in the Nave. On the CD, the first and last movements are taken from the recording made in the Nave and the central movements from that made in the Quire.
  2. John, it was the Saito Kinen Orchestra directed by Seiji Ozawa. More information about this extraordinary orchestra can be found here.
  3. A choir I was in gave a concert in Malmesbury Abbey in 1986 or 87 on a wonderful midsummers night. I seem to recall there was what looked like a relatively new organ, although it looked and I thought sounded a bit of a cheap job. Ton Koopman was due to give a recital about that time, so it may not have been that bad!
  4. Carlo Curley at the Colston Hall in Bristol had me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole concert. I know many find him toe-curlingly naff, but when he tackles the 'serious' repertoire he can be really good. Peter Hurford, also at the Colston Hall, but just one work - JSB's Passacaglia in C minor. He played the opening pedal motif on full organ, 32ft Double Ophicleide et al, something I had never heard anyone else do, and it had my hair standing on end! First time I heard Martin Baker play at Westminster Abbey. Without knowing who he was, I immediately recognised that here was an immense talent. Colin Walsh sending his audience at Westminster Abbey home with a syncopated skip in their step with a scintilliating performance of the Final from Vierne 6. John Scott playing Bonnet's Variations de Concert at Symphony Hall, Birmingham. His pedal technique was just astonishing. Nicolas Kynaston at Westminster Cathedral - he made this beast of an organ sing like no one else I had heard before or since. Malcolm Archer playing Carillon de Westminster at Liverpool Cathedral. The wall of sound he sent crashing down on the poor audience at the climax was truly terrifying. And from non-organ performances: Gennady Rozhdestvensky conducting the LSO and LSO Chorus in Walton's Belshazzar's Feast at the Barbican. This was the first time I had heard this work, and what with extra brass bands at either side of the Circle, it just blew me away. Bernard Haitink conducting the LPO at the Festival Hall. In the first half, a stunning performance of the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 with Nigel Kennedy the soloist. I later heard that Haitink sent Kennedy a bottle of vintage champagne to thank him for such a great performance. The second half was if anything ever better, with a staggering performance of the Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony that you can hear on their subsequent EMI recording which won the Gramophone Record of the Year award. Peachy! Sir Colin Davis conducting Berlioz's La damnation de Faust at the Barbican with the LSO and LSO Chorus. I had a slightly different viewpoint here as at the time I was a tenor in the LSO Chorus. I just thought Sir Colin's conducting and the playing of the LSO was immense.
  5. As someone who worked in the production department of one of our major music publishers some 15 or so years ago, I would heartily concur with what Frank says. Until the relatively recent introduction of computers, engraving metal plates by hand was a standard way of producing music scores. The engravers who worked down the corridor from me were a real bunch of characters and all too aware that their discipline was very much a dying breed. So the reason why such mistakes remain simply boils down to a matter of cost. Unlike 'Easy to Learn Clarinet' and its ilk, I can't imagine there is much money to be made from publishing organ music, so don't expect the situation to change anytime soon.
  6. "The Blower Room" or "Solo Room" sounds like a forum for a bunch of organist old farts who just want to talk about wind pressures and harmonic trebles (yawn). How about something that seems a bit more welcoming like "The Dog and Duck" with JPM behind the bar serving the drinks?
  7. Have to agree that the Robert Quinney and Simon Preston CDs from Signum are real gems. As to whether the Robert Quinney 2CD set is a pretty fair reflection of the Westminster Cathedral organ as heard in the building with the exception of the 32ft pedal reed which is much bigger. Of course, it is not as good as hearing this instrument in the flesh, which is always a stirring experience. It is a very difficult organ to record, such is its power - in the building you need to be at least halfway down the nave if you don't want to be blown onto your knees by the tutti - and very few record companies have ever really succeeded in capturing its unique soundworld. However, what is really special about this organ is that it sounds like no other - no mean feat! Much of this is to do with the quality of the reeds, particularly the Swell chorus reeds which breath fire like no other Swell reeds I have ever heard, but also, as intimated above, due to the one stop wonder that is the X rank Grand Chorus.
  8. Last night I played, "How much can you drink before you get a hangover?". Today I am playing, "What do you do with a drunken soldier....". Well at least your bride didn't disappear into thin air, as happened to poor Catherine Tate in the Christmas Dr Who. PS Anyone know which church was used? Since they film it in Cardiff, it was probably one of the city centre ones.
  9. Back to work today with a hangover, only to find you've all been very busy bunnies over the festive period, playing for services and finding the time to post on this board. And there was me thinking only the female of the species could multi-task! With Christmas but a distant memory - if you can remember it, you weren't drinking enough - may I wish New Year Reetings to one and all.
  10. Well volume would not be a problem for me as my landlady is exceedingly deaf, as confirmed by the fact that even though I sometimes playback organ CDs at floor shaking levels, she is always saying what a quiet person I am and that she never knows when I am in or out! However, a distinct lack of floor space would mean a house organ would have to be constructed along the lines of those employed at Philadelphia's Girard Chapel, i.e. suspended from the ceiling, which given the weight bearing issue, could be a problem!
  11. Each year I have the best of intentions of sitting through Carols from Kings on BBC2, but inevitably I either end up falling asleep after about half an hour, or, if still conscious sheepishly turn over to watch something less boring instead. Apparently King's are celebrating the DoM's 25th anniversary, but as I have previously indicated, I see signs of stagnation and complacency and feel a new broom is needed to inject some new life into the institution.
  12. I think this is great advice, not just for the organ, but for when leaving one's domestic dwelling. "Winds off" might not be appropriate, though!
  13. Mention of organs on TV very timely, given both Lichfield and Canterbury featured on terrestrial TV on Sunday. Lots of close ups of Alex Mason's fingerwork at the fine looking console in SoP and the Choir organ case. I'd never realised before that the mouths were gold painted. Then later on way past pumpkin time, the first of a series of programmes about life at Canterbury leading up to Christmas, broadcast on the cultural wasteland that is ITV1. And yet ... and yet, only 10 minutes into the programme we were up in the triforium inside the organ watching the organ tuner do what organ tuners do, and also giving an interview. I had to laugh when the unsighted woman interviewer cheerily said she supposed that after all his hard work leading up to Christmas he would be looking forward to attending the Christmas Eve service to hear the fruits of his labour? Er no, he replied, actually he was an atheist and he and the family would be going abroad for a few weeks!
  14. Jeremy Jones

    The Ugly!

    I'm equally torn about whether to nominate this one .... With its pedigree, I'm sure it sounds lovely, something I'll have to find out for myself next year when it seems a sizeable proportion of contributors to this board are appearing! http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N11434 and I love the tiddly 'plug-in' console http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D07173
  15. All this talk about the many fine organs to be found in Bristol - enough, I would have thought, for a half-decent organ festival - and yet no mention of the H&H in the Colston Hall. This was built about the same time as the RFH organ, and yet is very different. Having played both, I would unhesitatingly chose the Bristol instrument over its more famous brother on the South Bank. I have heard both Peter Hurford and Carlo Curley produce wondrous results on it - Bach works surprisingly well, probably in part due to the really quite spicy diapason chorus on the Great, which has a nice edge to it.
  16. Pity! I was rather looking forward to chamades at dawn.
  17. Cleobury? Sense of humour? Pigs might ... oh!
  18. Justin Sillman told me in the late 1980s that Stephen Cleobury wanted to throw out the Harrison organ and replace it with a tracker action job in a slimmed down case. In that acoustic, I guess pretty much anything half-decent would sound fantastic.
  19. Could be that the smell of all that leather helps the organist to better appreciate the moo-sic.
  20. Aw, Paul! You had to go and spoil it at the end with a heartless comment about the 4m Harrison in Clifton Chapel. No, seriously, I have a soft spot for this instrument as it was my constant refuge for four or more years whilst a boarder at Clifton. Hidden away up in the organ loft, it helped me to retain my sanity. However, you are not far off the mark with your comment about it being a blunt instrument. The huge 8ft Large Open Diapason on the Great is situated just above the organists head and once drawn, it was impossible to get any sense of balance, something always difficult in any case in attached consoles. And then there were the Great 8ft and 4ft Trombas which I never really found any use for, apart from as largeish solo trumpets in voluntaries by John Stanley and William Walond. Chorus reeds they were most definitely not. However, the 8ft Stopped Diapason (Choir) and 8ft Lieblich Gedackt (Swell) plus the strings on both Swell and Solo were a real delight and the organ really showed its quality in the more reflective works by composers such as Whitlock and Stanford. But my abiding memory is of accompanying 600 boys in Crown Him With Many Crowns (their favourite) - as you say, it worked well in leading the school in hymn singing. Incidentally, it was on this organ that Andrew Nethsingha learnt his trade before going off to bigger and better things at Windsor, St John's, Wells, Truro and now Gloucester (ah well, you can't have everything!).
  21. Tricky, this one. Despite singing Choral Evensong in the Cathedral with a visiting choir and having been given a demonstration of the organ up in the cramped organ loft, the Bristol Cathedral organ did not make an impression on me as being anything other than a run of the mill cathedral instrument. Older and wiser, I still don't understand fully what all the fuss is about. St Mary Redcliffe, which I have played and on which I gave my one and only recital on, is a pig of an instrument to play for the reasons already outlined by Andrew Butler and others. However, taking a step back to appreciate the instrument as a whole and ignoring the difficulties the player has to overcome, I have to agree with Arthur Harrison who towards the end of his life indicated he regarded this organ as his "finest and most characteristic work". When you couple this assessment with its magnificent setting - the church is in my opinion a far superior building to the architecturally ordinary cathedral (Elizabeth I is reputed to have declared during a visit to Bristol in 1574 that St Mary Redcliffe was the "fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in England" - then in my humble opinion Redcliffe leaves the Cathedral out for the count.
  22. No one's mentioned Gloucester yet, but looking at NPOR it would seem to have been put through the mincer by a succession of strong minded characters looking to put their stamp on it: Father Willis, Arthur Harrison, Ralph Downes, David Briggs... As I've said many times before, time to bin the lot and start afresh. Mention of St David's - Tim Noon has made a second, and much better, recording on the organ in 'Little England' which was recently released. I think it's called 'Rhapsody' and includes Whitlock's Plymouth Suite.
  23. "Let there be light", in the case of direct sunlight on the console, could, I imagine, be a problem for luminous stop controls insomuch as it becomes difficult to detect which stops are 'on'. It's many moons now since the day I played the Hull City Hall organ when the old luminous stop console was still in situ, and so I have forgotton whether this was a problem. Paul? Anybody?
  24. I'm not sure there's an organ recording out there that I couldn't live without ... but otherwise: Reubke: Sonata on the 94th Psalm (Simon Preston, Westminster Abbey, DG) It's a toss-up between this and the Liszt 'Ad nos', but I think the Reubke is the finer work. Dupre: Symphony No. 2 (Nicolas Kynaston, Westminster Cathedral, Mitra) A fabulous recording of this hard to record instrument, and playing that defies belief. Organ Spectacular (Huw Williams, St Paul's Cathedral, Guild) Trying to record the St Paul's organ for domestic listening is like trying to nail jelly to the wall. This recording seems to do the trick, for once, with the mics clearly focusing on the Chancel Organ, but you are always aware of the big guns up in the Dome. Huw Williams playing is superb and I find myself constantly reaching for this new CD to play again. The Wonderful Willis (David Halls, Salisbury Cathedral, VIF Records) David Halls knows this organ better than most, and you can tell in this wonderful CD, from the opening Cook Fanfare to the rousing Healey Willan IP&F that closes it. The tubas have never been better recorded and there's a work on the disc by my uncle, Peter Witchell, so that clinches it! Alfred Hollins Concert Overtures (Malcolm Archer, Norwich Cathedral, Meridian) Back in the mid-1980s, having been given a personal demonstration of the Norwich organ by Mr Archer himself, I bought this 45rpm LP in the Cathedral Shop. Superb rhythmic playing allied to a wonderful recording of the Norwich organ makes this a winner, and for a small fee Meridian very kindly burned a CD for me after the LP had had its day. What more can one ask for?
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