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Posts posted by heva

  1. =====================


    I suspect that Sandy MacPherson was the least talented of all the broadcast organists, but he fulfilled a purpose by providing popular music on the radio at a difficult time.


    Reginald Foort was something quite different; a superb musician (FRCO) who specialised in big orchestral transcriptions and appealed to a "classier" market altogether. He was also quite an entrepreneur, and managed to buy the 5-manual BBC-Moller organ from America, which ended up as a touring organ which could be packed into five railway goods-carriages and transported here, there and everywhere. Indeed, there are some amusing accounts of Unit chamber A in Crewe and Unit B and the console being somewhere else entirely. It must have been a nightmare, but at least the instrument was spared and taken back to the US. He made quite a bit of dosh over the years, one must assume, but I don't know of too many extant recordings of the great man in action.


    He is reputed to have been a very elegant and highly competent performer, unlike many of his fellow entertainers.


    The other touring organ was that trailered around by George Patman, of whom I know little about. That was a Harrison & Harrison organ, I believe, and I'm not sure if it didn't form the basis of the organ of St Oswald's, Durham.


    There is a curious connection between the two instruments, which both ended up in the same place, namely the King;s Hall, Harrogate, where they were stored for some time.


    I'll see if I can find a sound-clip of Foort, and add it if I do.





    Allow me to add some historic accuracy:

    The BBC-Moller organ was sold to the 'NRU' (dutch radio) in the early 1960's, placed in a small church in Hilversum. As Cor Steyn (who got it to Holland) died shortly after, the instrument didn't get played much (or good) and was sold off again.

  2. Perhaps it is more about having a little representation in many corners of the world. With the UK export market being as healthy as it has been in recent years there's no harm in that. I don't suppose our hosts would want to be putting up instruments in Japan on a regular basis, but one is nice to have on the CV. Equally, I don't suppose Lynn Dobson wants to be spending a fortune on transatlantic flights, but an Oxford college instrument (even at a loss) will be very good for business back home.


    There is nothing to be scared of. We are not overflowing with Letourneau instruments, as was the fear when they did Pembroke a few years back. There are no more than a handful of Riegers or Frobeniae over here, and it's quite obvious to most which ones they really made an effort with. At least the pendulum is swinging firmly towards finding instruments of character and distinction; there are some times when one or two mainland European firms seem to have been represented much more than is perhaps fair. Instruments which are of lesser quality or which are not as successful as they might be tend to result in a lack of repeat business, or at the very least a couple of fallow decades before someone is willing to give them another shot.


    And we're getting a Taylor & Boody (in Cambridge) shortly; that will be very special indeed. I hope someone brings Paul Fritts over to these shores before too long; the ten or so of his instruments I saw in the USA last year were the most outstandingly detailed and finished I have ever encountered, and I include the work of our most pernickety UK builders (e.g. Drake) in that. If I were ever to emigrate, the availability of a Fritts to play regularly would be a strong deciding factor.



    Maybe it's all about marketing; the organbuilder want to have something for the CV (and business), the 'customer' wants something to distinguish from others to get funding/attention etc. ; quality of work may not even be the deciding factor.

  3. I bet it's lovely. I was in Breda about three years ago. I conducted the Cathedral Singers of Ontario in a concert at the Groot Kerk. They wouldn't let us use the organ, despite having one of Canada's leading recitalists with us (not me), who had given a recital on it previously. I had a look in the Catholic church during the day and saw your little Hill.

    Thing is, 'chez nous' it's quite reverberant, which does miracles with the sound. This organ being previously located in a (so I've been told) bone dry 'acoustic'.

    Indeed, better a few stops to (near) perfection ...

  4. On the subject of small Willis organs. This is an absolute gem and in a stunning room, which isn't very often seen by visitors.




    I'm sorry that the photo cuts half the organ off. I couldn't find a better one on the web. It's the Song School at St. Mary's Edinburgh and the guy playing it is me! I was totally unaware that this photo had been taken till I saw it on flickr!


    The spec is sw: 8 liedlich, 8 v. diap 4 lieb flute

    gt: 8 dulc, 8 diap, 4 princ, 2, fifteenth

    ped, 16 bourdon. Hitch swell.


    It's really lovely. The 8,4,2 chorus fills the room with a bold sound. The lieblich flutes are typical, beautiful examples. I always wished someone would do a recital on it - it would be a pleasure to listen to. I believe Denis Townhill recorded it years ago. Its a shame it didn't get into the recent 'Organs of Edinburgh' book - the room would certainly have made for fabulous photos.


    Our Hill organ (OT, sorry ...) is a splendid example how 7 stop can be enough, specs quite like the above.

  5. =======================


    I couldn't agree more. I know a local organ in Yorkshire with a peculiar pedigree,no famous names associated with it, and a specification which looks like any other quasi neo-baroque job from the 1960's. It is a superb instrument, and very suitable for accompaniment.


    I know a medium-size two manual Abbot & Smith which looks ordinary on paper,but in reality, is just superb for what it is and what it can do.


    Stop lists count for very little.





    Either way, don't exclude the organist who is the one to actually 'make music' on it whatever type of instrument it is.

    If he can't, I guess it doesn't matter how good or suitable the instrument is ...

  6. =====================




    I vividly recall playing this organ, long before the restoration, and the word loud is so....erm....inadequate.


    After the gentile nobility of the Bavokerk, and even the robust sound of the Bavo RC Basilica, this organ was about as out of place as field full of weeds in the lovely Netherlands countryside.


    I recall my host saying, "This organ is very......French......you understand."


    I recall the feelings of relief as we retraced our musical steps back to the Netherlands again.


    My thoughts were, "Big sound: big mistake."


    I can't help thinking that a Cavaille-Coll organ needs plenty of space.




    The organ was built for the 'Paleis voor Volksvlijt' in Amsterdam, which was very much bigger than concerthall in Haarlem:



  7. Surely this should be "Oggi-taf"... :angry:


    "heva", I'm afraid I don't understand your last post. Am I missing an obvious pun?


    Maybe, some years ago I worked with a guy from Manchester area who used a certain f-word pronounced quite like vox.

    But I'm not a native speaker ...

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