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A Strange Thing


Pierre Lauwers
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This was recorded on a 1996-built organ:

 

http://pipeorgan.jp/av/cube/elgar_sonat_mov1_45.mp3

 

Of course there are still some overly high-pitched Mixtures, and

the reeds might need a bit more "finish", but the design is sound

indeed !

Note the Full-Swell, rather satisfying.

 

Now the goal is to obtain that with 25 to 50 stops -after all Ely,

W..., Tewkesbury etc were no huge organs-!

 

Pierre

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This was recorded on a 1996-built organ:

 

http://pipeorgan.jp/av/cube/elgar_sonat_mov1_45.mp3

 

Of course there are still some overly high-pitched Mixtures, and

the reeds might need a bit more "finish", but the design is sound

indeed !

Note the Full-Swell, rather satisfying.

 

Now the goal is to obtain that with 25 to 50 stops -after all Ely,

W..., Tewkesbury etc were no huge organs-!

 

Pierre

 

Well, they were all larger than this! Worcester was the smallest at fifty-five stops, then Tewkesbury, with sixty-seven. Ely was the largest at nearly seventy stops. It is also worthy of note that the FHW organ of Truro Cathedral has but forty-five speaking stops, yet it is comparable in output with many cathedral organs which are somewhat larger.

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This was recorded on a 1996-built organ:

 

http://pipeorgan.jp/av/cube/elgar_sonat_mov1_45.mp3

 

Of course there are still some overly high-pitched Mixtures, and

the reeds might need a bit more "finish", but the design is sound

indeed !

Note the Full-Swell, rather satisfying.

 

Now the goal is to obtain that with 25 to 50 stops -after all Ely,

W..., Tewkesbury etc were no huge organs-!

 

Pierre

Do you have any more details about this instrument please, Pierre?

JC

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Well, the Tewkesbury organ I talked about is of course the "Groove" one.

"Grove" actually. A gorgeous instrument - I still like to listen from time to time to a recording of the 1981 reopening recital by Francis Jackson.

 

Paul

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I apologize I have slightly different data, Pcnd,

 

Tewkesbury, as Michell & Thynne left it: 35 stops.

 

Ely Cathedral, as Arthur Harrison left it: 57 stops.

 

Pierre

 

Tewkesbury - ah, you did not specify which instrument!

 

Ely - your information is incorrect; as Arthur Harrison left it, this instrument possessed sixty-nine speaking stops. If you desire, I am happy to scan the full specification (which includes a list of accessories and wind pressures), and e-mail it to you.

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This was recorded on a 1996-built organ:

 

http://pipeorgan.jp/av/cube/elgar_sonat_mov1_45.mp3

 

Of course there are still some overly high-pitched Mixtures, and

the reeds might need a bit more "finish", but the design is sound

indeed !

Note the Full-Swell, rather satisfying.

 

Now the goal is to obtain that with 25 to 50 stops -after all Ely,

W..., Tewkesbury etc were no huge organs-!

 

Pierre

I have now listened to this recording two or three times and I'm sorry to say that I don't particularly like it. It may perhaps be the performance, which from first hearing I found aggressive and lacking character. (I have only just realised who is playing.) As for the full swell, it doesn't give me the thrilling impression of restrained power that you hear at, for example, Salisbury. However, it's interesting to see and hear the type of instrument that was chosen for this extraordinary building.

JC

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Guest Barry Williams
This was recorded on a 1996-built organ:

 

http://pipeorgan.jp/av/cube/elgar_sonat_mov1_45.mp3

 

Of course there are still some overly high-pitched Mixtures, and

the reeds might need a bit more "finish", but the design is sound

indeed !

Note the Full-Swell, rather satisfying.

 

Now the goal is to obtain that with 25 to 50 stops -after all Ely,

W..., Tewkesbury etc were no huge organs-!

 

Pierre

 

Please tell us who is playing and on which instrument.

 

Barry Williams

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I have now listened to this recording two or three times and I'm sorry to say that I don't particularly like it. It may perhaps be the performance, which from first hearing I found aggressive and lacking character. (I have only just realised who is playing.) As for the full swell, it doesn't give me the thrilling impression of restrained power that you hear at, for example, Salisbury. However, it's interesting to see and hear the type of instrument that was chosen for this extraordinary building.

JC

 

I have to say that I do not like it either. Aside from the fact that there are clearly mistakes and clipped notes, the speeds are too wayward - and in any case, the initial pulse is excessively fast. I am sorry to say that I find the performance to be unmusical. There are, in addition, several clumsy changes of registration; for example, places in which the full Swell comes bursting out of its cage - and promptly punches the listener on the nose....

 

Instead, I recommend the superb (and for me, definitive) recording of this piece by Herbert Sumsion on the former instrument in Gloucester Cathedral.* The organ fits the music (and the building) like an old, well-worn glove and the playing is simply better controlled, more approriate in style - and more musical.

 

This is not quite my idea of the most suitable instrument on which to perform this piece:

 

http://www.lares.dti.ne.jp/~jubal/swm/sispec-e.html

 

 

 

* Which, I believe, has been re-mastered and re-released on CD.

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The Milton organ in Tewkesbury is best organ I've played, apart from the choir organ in L'église de la Madeleine, Paris.

 

This latter instrument is quite pleasant - but it cannot really compete with the Van Den Heuvel organ in S. Eustache, Paris - or the superb old Cavaillé-Coll in S. Etienne, Caen. Or, for that matter, the fantastic, exciting and utterly musical instrument by H&H in Coventry Cathedral.

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Tewkesbury - ah, you did not specify which instrument!

 

Ely - your information is incorrect; as Arthur Harrison left it, this instrument possessed sixty-nine speaking stops. If you desire, I am happy to scan the full specification (which includes a list of accessories and wind pressures), and e-mail it to you.

 

 

See here:

 

http://www.ondamar.demon.co.uk/schemes/dixon/ely.htm

 

Pierre

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This is not quite my idea of the most suitable instrument on which to perform this piece:

 

http://www.lares.dti.ne.jp/~jubal/swm/sispec-e.html

* Which, I believe, has been re-mastered and re-released on CD.[/font]

I'm afraid I have to agree. The performance has been referred to above; the organ looks like a generic American 'classic' from the 1980s, but the sound (and even Carlo's frequent changes of colour) doesn't give the impression of anything more than a modest 3-manual. Perhaps it's the acoustic, or compression.

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Caution: Off at a tangent!

 

I notice from the website we were sent to, a number of tracks were apparently recorded by Paulo Pauloni. I has previously assumed that this organist was a creation (in fiction) of the late Stephen Bicknell. Does PP really exist, shock horror? Does anyone know?

 

I had always assumed that Stephen himself did not play, but maybe these are recordings he made. If there exists a real PP, some of Stephen's writings are less funny and more worrying that previously understood! The Stephen Bicknell character of PP, I had assumed (I think I had even been told somewhere) is based on Carlo Curley but these performances cannot be his - he is credited with others correctly - including that rather strange Elgar we were invited to enjoy.

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Caution: Off at a tangent!

 

I notice from the website we were sent to, a number of tracks were apparently recorded by Paulo Pauloni. I has previously assumed that this organist was a creation (in fiction) of the late Stephen Bicknell. Does PP really exist, shock horror? Does anyone know?

 

I had always assumed that Stephen himself did not play, but maybe these are recordings he made. If there exists a real PP, some of Stephen's writings are less funny and more worrying that previously understood! The Stephen Bicknell character of PP, I had assumed (I think I had even been told somewhere) is based on Carlo Curley but these performances cannot be his - he is credited with others correctly - including that rather strange Elgar we were invited to enjoy.

Or could it be a 3rd person, familiar with Stephen's stories, who has assumed the character by way of a nom de plume (or, rather, a nom de clavier)?

 

I haven't looked for any of these recordings, but would suggest that this - 3rd party adoption - would be in rather poor taste if done after Stephen's recent demise, and with knowledge of the event. I sincerely hope this isn't the case.

 

Rgds,

MJF

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Yes - there are sixty-nine speaking stops on this instrument.

 

See again the Pedal....Only two stops there !

(the rest= borrowings and extensions...)

 

As for the Elgar, I did not post it for the playing (which is not my business),

but for the sound.

Pierre

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I recommend the superb (and for me, definitive) recording of this piece by Herbert Sumsion on the former instrument in Gloucester Cathedral.* The organ fits the music (and the building) like an old, well-worn glove and the playing is simply better controlled, more approriate in style - and more musical.

 

* Which, I believe, has been re-mastered and re-released on CD.

The only CD of the Sumsion recording that I can find is on EMI Classics and is rather expensive. Is it good enough to justify a price tag of £35 for a mid-sixties recording? Currently my favourite is the version that is on Thomas Trotter's recent Elgar CD on the Regent label, recorded at Salisbury.

JC

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The only CD of the Sumsion recording that I can find is on EMI Classics and is rather expensive. Is it good enough to justify a price tag of £35 for a mid-sixties recording? Currently my favourite is the version that is on Thomas Trotter's recent Elgar CD on the Regent label, recorded at Salisbury.

JC

The Sumsion Elgar recording is also used as a filler on an EMI reissue of Elgar choral music. Will furnish more details when I am back in the same postal distict as my CD collection.

Paul

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