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Michael Cox

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  1. So far, so good. Now those "traditional ways which seem self-evidences" are completely ignored outside the UK (and the United States, Australia, New-Zealand...), and will soon be in the english-speaking world when a next generation of organists will have been trained entirely on modern organs. Let me assure Pierre that New Zealand has several players who really do know how to play Howells- especially with registrational subilties. Some of these players are English born or trained and several are not, including several rather gifted organ scholars in NZ at the moment!! We also have the instruments; the 1906 N&B at Wellington Town Hall for instance, the Dunedin Town Hall Organ, ANY instrument in original preservation by Lawton & Osborne, a 1910 William Hill & Son in Christchurch. Indeed, any any board reader who wants a late romantic organ playing experience should consider a holiday in Aotearoa. For further evidence see the web site of the New Zealand Organ Preservation Trust or www.organz.org.nz Best wishes Michael Cox
  2. Wow! I'm impressed with this. Why don't you write an article for Organists Review on Reger- it would certainly stir our consciousness. Yes- there is a very deep essence in Reger. I believe Karg-Elert had a challenging personality and life-style too. The essence of German composers of this period really interests me-you are so correct to allude to the destructive psyche. We need more understandings like these to assist us to perform the music rather than superficial discussion on this or that organ register.
  3. I would rate Healey Willan's Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue highly. Also worth mentioning are works from the 'North German' organ school by Lubeck, Bohm and Bruhns.
  4. Katherine Dienes no over at St Mary's Warwick formerly Assistant at Liverpool R.C Cathedral. So guys watch out ! <{POST_SNAPBACK}> Katherine is one of several New Zealanders doing wonderful things for classical church music in the UK. Her choral set up at Warwick is very good and she certainly knows how to handle choirboys as evidenced by me in watching her take a rehearsal in October. She has a very good musician in Luke Bond assisting her. Although not female two other Kiwi church musicians of note are Andrew McMillan who is assistant at St Mary's Bourne Street and the superb Thomas Wilson who is doing fantastic work in his position as Assistant Organist at Westminster Cathedral. He's a name to watch out for.
  5. Christopher Herrick is a charismatic organ performer of high ability who really knows how to relate to an audience. He is very popular in New Zealand and Australia where he draws some of the largest organ audiences we have seen in recent years. His Hyperion recordings are very highly regarded here as they are in Europe- Beck's in Munich had every single one of his discs for sale.
  6. The Rawtenstall organ is highlighted in an article by Gerald Sumner in BIOS Journal 18. He concludes that the organ is certainly Hill in character, with a Cavaille-Coll style console and a French quality to the tone. I would thoroughly recommend this article and its general theme of the French influence in High Victorian Lancashire. ..Surely an organ that must be saved.
  7. There are problems - but there are problems everywhere! Quite true, and Australia and New Zealand have similiar issues with once flourishing parish churches of inner city suburbs giving way to their former congregations. Today for example my Choir from affluent Remuera joined with that of the Central Methodist Church in Auckland known as Pitt Street Methodist. Methodism in NZ embraces a polynesian flavour and caters for the diversity of Tongan, Fijian, Samoan, Rarotongan and Niue Islanders. Within this we did an introit by Purcell and his verse anthem "Declare his honour' with organ music by JSB and Whitlock, various hymns from traditional methodist to 'Pacifica' hymns. All blended beautifully with good liturgy and a power point presentation on christian work in the Islands. The organ by the way is a 3 manual George Croft (NZ builder) dating from 1911 with additions in 1936, 1947 and 1965. It has a division of 'floating mutations' at 2 2/3, 2, 1 3/5. Several neo-reform NZ instruments have these. My point is that there can be hope for an organ and choral input in a redefined ministry. And it can save our valuable pipe organs too.
  8. The Reed Organ Museum at Saltaire should be considered a national treasure for English organ building. Reed organs are a parallel development to nineteenth century/early twentieth century pipe organ history. I visited the museum on my first trip to the UK in 1987 and had a great time playing as many of the exhibits as I could. The warm welcome and invitation to have a go was most encouraging. Included in the collection is a spledidly preserved example of a 3 manual John Holt of Birmingham as built for Marmaduke Conway to practice on when not on the Ely Cathedral console. Also to be found is a reed organ by William Hill built very much in the style of the smaller church organs. I'm a great fan of John Holt reed organs as I owned one for quite awhile and several were exported to NZ in the 20s. There are several two manual and one three manual preserved here. These 3 manual models have pedal 32s. The full swell effect on my Holt was most appealing as was the Great Clarinet. The engineering was very creditable. I look forward to visiting Saltaire again when I am the guest of the Bradford and Halifax Organists Associations for a lecture on New Zealand Organ History in November. We also have an interesting 'compensating' reed organ in the Roman Catholic Church of Lyttelton near Christchurch. Reeds plus one Open Diapason 8' rank. Again, perfectly preserved and very loved. Caleb Simper sounds ideal!!
  9. quote=Tony Newnham,Jul 24 2005, 04:55 PM] And I still say that it's insulting. Your right to freedom of speech, as with all rights, also brings responsibilities, especially the responsibilty to respect other points of view, not denigrate them. I would have no problem if you said Latin Mass/traditional music or whatever is your (personal) preference, but to say that it's the only valid worship music is not only insulting, it's patently untrue. I agree with Tony. No classical organist should write off the musical ability and spiritual integrity of those who play in quality church music groups. Some worship bands such as those of the Hillsong churches are extremely sophisicated and play with sensitivity and skill. That's more than could be said for SOME organists. I actually find no difference in ideology between those who play digital organs with artificial audio devices and guitarists or keyboardists. The days of the organist dominating the entire musical culture of a church are greatly over and full credit to the musician in a parish who cooperates with and encourages the work and talents of other musicians. I too love latin and renaissance motets and here at St Mark's Auckland our Agnus Dei settings are such but I also have able clarinet and flute players in my choir and congregation and not to give them opportunity to express there talents is down right wrong and theologically unsound. It IS a question of balance.
  10. I would encourage Edinburgh to be the most viable for an ECHO United Kingdom City for a start. It has such a diverse and interesting organ culture that really does cover many periods. Also, the Scottish seem passionate about organ conservation and its history although I believe the Scottish Historic Organ Trust is now defunct. There are several very fine players there too such as John Kitchen who reguarly record instruments in that region.
  11. I rather agree with some of the sentiments of deadsheepstew. If those of you in England feel passionate about the retention of the Worcester organ why not form a lobby group and approach the Cathedral Chapter, Diocese, Diocesan organ advisor etc. Can anyone get alongside the Organist and Master of the Choristers? The retention of many organs is usually the result of a passionate and determined person attracting a like minded philosophy around him/her. I fought for the preservation of the Wellington Town Hall organ on one hand and lost a battle with an embittered former Cathedral Organist of Auckland who saw no merit in authentic restoration of the 1909 3 manual romantic organ he was in charge of on the other. It was electrocuted and somewhat neo-baroquised by NZ's less discerning firm. Today, only 20 years later everyone regrets that. I too concur with the sentiments about the proposed case designs. Wouldn't it be best to overhaul everything of the Chancel organ and retain that as a musical and artistic (in the broader sense of the word) monument to various important periods of Cathedral organ building. Then commission a new instrument within the existing Transept Hill case in the spirit of the William Hill organ it once valiantly contained but retaining the Hope-Jones solo and pedal registers. What a wonderful project for the right builder and what a British solution for a British Cathedral. The Hill would play all the GREAT repertoire, accompany congregations superbly as pristine Hill & Son organs do and you'd have those unique Hope-Jones voices preserved for colour purposes. The specification of both Hill organs are in various publications. Players and affeciandos would flock to this and Worcester would have two contrasting instruments of enormous merit at well under the estimated cost of two completely new organs. How about a letter writing campaign to the organ magazines?
  12. I agree with these sentiments. I'm reminded of a black n'white photo of Max Reger playing a symphonic organ in Germany-the console lid is piled high with music. Sloppy organ lofts can of course reflect the incumbent musician or reflect a hard working environment! My church is open each day from 8.30am-5.00pm and as I once had 75% of my repertoire stolen and sold to a second-hand music dealer I do not keep even one album around the console now-its all safely in its storage shelves in the locked Choir Vestry. I also have a thing about dusty consoles. Cheers Michael
  13. "I have heard the results of his fantastic reconstruction (2001) of the organ in Christ Church, Clifton, Bristol which was previously JW Walker (1849/1885), WG Vowles (1933), Rushworth & Dreaper (1956) and Nicholson (1978). He replaced the dull-looking side facade with the one now visible (which includes chamades plus a cymbelstern with visible rotating star) and it sounds stunning." I shudder at this, having actually visited this church. Too many rebuilds and why on earth these registers in a medium size parish church? What is their musical justification? Does the 'new' facade conceal the licorice all sorts within? Too much money, too much ego methinks.
  14. One of the difficulties with the Organ Reform Movement was that it had a strong anti-romantic ideology. Instruments that were rebuilt during this time succumbed to having romantic registers removed for those of a different nature and purpose. The late Edwardian organ was a choral accompaniment medium with many mp and mf colours in diapason, flute and soft flue form as paralled with the German symphonic instrument- colours could be experienced at pp,p,mf levels as well as louder of course. The neo-baroque organ is not about wide variances in volume- it is about terraced dynamics where a narrow scaled Octave 4' sits upon a wide scaled flute and then can be joined by a Principal 8' etc. My own 35 stop 3 manual which was designed as a romantic accompanimental organ fell victim to a massive 1970s rebuild which removed the essential Swell reeds for choral accompaniment and indeed, for congregational accompaniment. The Oboe 8' was removed for Contra Hautboy 16', Horn 8' for Trompette 8' and Vox Humana 8' for Clarion 4', add a sharp mixture and you have a registrational headache for any Evensong. The Trompette is only okay to sing with by closing the box, although I have had this rank revoiced. The first essential is a Oboe 8' because that blends with both Flute 8 & 4 and Principal 8 & 4 combinations. Then a closed tone reed Horn 8' or Cornopean 8' In an ideal world you would have these reeds plus 16,8,4 Chorus reeds as in later Willis organs. Of course those blessed with 16 and 8 woodwind reeds on the Choir are doubly blessed for the Office of Evensong.
  15. [ Interestingly, on the useability question, we are not helped by some builders who seem to create historical relics for the sake of it. As usual there's a common sense middle way that works for everyone and upsets no-one. I cannot concur with these sentiments at all. William Darke is one of the best influences in English organ building in the last 20 years. Its because he maintains the one style that he is SO successful. Clients who commission a Drake organ do so because they wish that period style. I have visited his workshop twice, spent time with him and know Grosenvor Square and his wonderful continuo organ at Victoria University in Wellington. These instruments are fine for a particular repertoire that so many others can't handle authentically. Drake organs can play a great deal more too. They are so musical and as I have stated in the forum before- limitations make an instrument better. Middle of the road realises no special result. Witness the Frobenious at Kingston Parish Church- compromise, compromise. It is no coincidence that in the 1980s Drake's organ enterprise and John Wellinghams teaching environment created a completely new breed of player- the historically informed.
  16. 'All is needed now is a few new CDs to document this for those who cannot hear the instrument live.' The two Psalms of David CDs on the Virgin label are absolutely stunning. This is was recorded when Martin Neary was still Organist & Master of the Choristers and Andrew Lumsden Sub Organist. They demonstrate the organ extremely well and Andrew Lumsden as an outstanding colourist. I find several of the Priory psalm series quite unresponsive as to the playing and singing. The Abbey series is something else. Yes- there also seem to be no Westminster Abbey Choral CDs of late. Another policy of the incumbent Dean?
  17. Simon Preston had Harrisons change the voicing of the Westminster Abbey Great Trombas to Posaunes in the 1982 reconstruction. This is all documented in Dr David Knight's excellent article in BIOS 23. There is actually a quote on a page about 'the change in nomenclature in 1982 from 'Tromba' to 'Posaune' highlights the change in voicing from 'smooth and intense' Trombas to Posaunes 'to give added fire to the ensemble'. There is a wonderful old recording of the Abbey organ on the EMI Great Cathedral Organ Series which really shows it colours in Rheinberger's Sonata 8. If you want to enjoy true Great Tromba tone try Christopher Herricks Organ Fireworks recording at Wellington Town Hall NZ. 1906 Norman & Beard - an Edwardian English concert organ at its greatest. And the Swell reeds are period Posaunes and absolutely superb.
  18. All this nonsense about 32' effects is simply organist ego talk. Where we have a substantial building with room and provision for 32's then let them be real. But in most parish church situations the provision of 32' digital stops in existing pipe schemes just serves to perpetuate this 'it must sound/be like a Cathedral myth'. This is EXACTLY the sensibilities Digital pedlars play with- how many adverts do we see where Copeman Hart, Rodgers, Allens et al play on our fantasies to have 'cathedral effects'? The only digital organ ever to 'pop my cork' was the Copeman Hart installed in Southwell Cathedral which I played for two hours in 1994. I actually liked it BETTER than the Nave organ which I found a little bit of a bitzer- although to be fair I should like to hear it in service work. Why can't a parish church organ BE a parish church organ. When I want a 32' for the last chord of (for example) Thalben-Ball's 'Elegy' I draw my Open Wood 16. In our totally dry acoustic that works remarkably well. In Wellington Cathedral a 32 flue rank was installed constructed from a stopped 16 wood. The result is most ineffective in certain notes due to the organ chamber and the problem of standing waves. Keep digitals where they belong- in the home/music room!
  19. >>>Most surprising to me about the work which Sam Clutton oversaw at Ely was the difference in approach to the work just a few years earlier at St. Paul's where there was a conscious aim to keep well within the general style of the Willis work. The approach at Ely was much more radical and ultimately (in my opinion) flawed. But it is so easy to criticise all these years later and one has to keep it all in context.<<< This is highly interesting John and vital information to the debate. I would hope that if one were to encounter the Ely organ in supreme 1908 condition now that one would propose the most strictest of preservation schemes with an option for a second organ of defined character as required for contrasting musical use. As I have alluded to in other posts the 1908 scheme caught the attention and passion of several contemporary and later writers in the same way as the Armley Schulze did. But the 1970s was about 'progressive change' in a great many sociological contexts and that led to vast obliteration of romantic organ heritage throughout the western world. By contrast it also lead to some staunce preservation such as at Sydney Town Hall and the likes of Australian David Kinsela in tactling the 'establishment' in England and Australia. Such rebuilds were indeed the very catayst for the creation of BIOS. An interesting bi-line is what we do with contemporary instruments by illustrious builders constructed new in that period. Take for example the 1968 Harrison and Harrison in Auckland's Cathedral of the Holy Trinity which commissioned a report from Mark Venning last year. With period features such as no Pedal Open Wood, no Swell Oboe, a high pitched swell mixture that is contrapuntally useless, a typical fanfare reed of the time, open shallot chorus reeds, open toe flue voicing one could be tempted to meddle as some have proposed. Should we leave well enough alone as per the RFH? Or we do we alter to suit the neo- romantic needs of the twenty-first century. It brings us back to Ely I guess. Regrettable modifications but in the context of a later period of time tolerably understandable.
  20. The Horn Quint - surely you can find a more worthy rank, in order to lament its passing? I suspect that it was used about as much, during its life... Arthur Harrison must of incorporated it for some reason. For that intention alone it could be deemed worthy of preservation. The 1970s was generally a dreadful time for organ preservation as the Organ Reform Movements 'rebuild' phase was at its height in many English speaking countries. If we recall the postings made on organ preservation in this site last year can it not be too much to wish that one prime example of an Arthur Harrison Cathedral organ dating from the first decade of the twentieth century could have been perfectly preserved. And was not the Canterbury Cathedral Organ also a victim of this 'progressive' thinking. It would a very worthwhile academic exercise to critically assess the organ consultancy of Cecil Clutton and align that with his written philosophies.
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