Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Recommended Posts

I like that Wiederman stuff as well. Look out also for the amazing Passacaglia quasi Toccata on B-A-C-H by Milos Sokola. The only UK recording I know of which should still be available is John Scott's Priory disc from St Giles' in Edinburgh (the last Rieger organ designed by a Glatter-Gotz!). John Scott's performance is very polite and rather slow...

Nicolas Kynaston played the piece, along with some Wiedermann and Germani, for his Hyperion CD from Chichester. Great playing throughout, so supple.

 

Best,

Friedrich

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 1.6k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Here's a little something to uplift you all and gladden your hearts..... :)

 

 

 

Richard Hills FRCO plays 'Tiger Rag' on the Wurlitzer organ in the Assembly Hall, Worthing, UK. The video was taken by David Reed and the audio by John Leeming. The occasion was the Worthing Theatres' 'Open House' day when members of the public wandered in and out of various parts of the building over a period of about four hours. ...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's a little something to uplift you all and gladden your hearts..... :)

 

 

 

Richard Hills FRCO plays 'Tiger Rag' on the Wurlitzer organ in the Assembly Hall, Worthing, UK. The video was taken by David Reed and the audio by John Leeming. The occasion was the Worthing Theatres' 'Open House' day when members of the public wandered in and out of various parts of the building over a period of about four hours. ...

 

 

Thanks for that Quentin! A fantastic rendition.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's a little something to uplift you all and gladden your hearts..... :)

 

 

 

Richard Hills FRCO plays 'Tiger Rag' on the Wurlitzer organ in the Assembly Hall, Worthing, UK. The video was taken by David Reed and the audio by John Leeming. The occasion was the Worthing Theatres' 'Open House' day when members of the public wandered in and out of various parts of the building over a period of about four hours. ...

Just incredible! What technique!! And secure rhythm too (the thing that lets many theatre organists down). This will have me smiling all weekend, even through St John Passion on Sunday...

Link to post
Share on other sites
"I also cannot recall whether, at the time, Glatter-Glotz was still involved with the company."

 

I was astonished to learn that any member of the Glatter-Gotz family had been involved with Rieger-Kloss but you're quite correct. Josef von Glatter-Gotz's association with the company ended, however, in 1945.

 

While I admire your one-man campaign to champion the communist organ in Eastern Europe, I wonder if those organs you like sound well because of the remarkable rooms? I have enough old Supraphon LPs of Rieger-Kloss organs which suggest that this was organubuilding of the lowest possible quality (and enough colleagues from Hungary to Belarus who tell me that it was). Logic would suggest that the organs built prior to the war (ie in the G-G era) were better than the ones built afterwards. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the R-K additions to the organ in Olomouc are removed should the money become available for the organ to be restored.

 

"Until quite recently, I had always thought that the idea of eclecticism was almost unique to England, (the American

Classic close to the same concept). I had always regarded Coventry and Blackburn as ground-breaking internationally"

 

No, the 'neo-classique' idea was really old hat by the time those organs were built. The proposed schemes by GDB for Gloucester and Blackburn were arguably more 'of their time' than the organs that were eventually built there. I suspect, however that neither organ would have found their popularity had the GDB schemes been realised.

 

"There are some very large instruments in the tiny Czech Republic, and of course, a splendid organ-tradition to match....if only they would print the music!"

 

I like that Wiederman stuff as well. Look out also for the amazing Passacaglia quasi Toccata on B-A-C-H by Milos Sokola. The only UK recording I know of which should still be available is John Scott's Priory disc from St Giles' in Edinburgh (the last Rieger organ designed by a Glatter-Gotz!). John Scott's performance is very polite and rather slow...

 

Bazuin

 

-------------------------------------------------

 

 

I don't think "championing the Commuist organ" is really my aim....I hope not anyway!

 

My interest really started with the music I stumbled across, which includes Weidermann, Milan Slavicky and Kodaly among numerous others.

 

I too have heard, (and own) a few of the old Suphraphon recordings, and they are generally fairly awful; usually with the organs way out of tune and badly recorded.

 

However, I have heard quite a few recordings which demonstrate some rather exciting instruments; among them St.James'. Praha and, of course, the Olomouc instrument in question. New organs by Robert Ponca sound good to my ears, and some of the new organs in Poland are rather splendid.

 

Of course, organ-building is not just a matter of what sounds well, but what is built well, and I think this is where the "communist organ" tends to fall down. I know that in Poland, the (presumably) state-owned companies had all sorts of organ bits and pieces stored, and when a re-build was required, they just raided whatever they could find and stitched it all together as best they could; often without too much regard to the finished product. I cannot imagine that religious matters found much favour with the communist authorities, even in very catholic Poland, and certainly not with the communist masters in Moscow. Those associated with church and church-music were treated dreadfully by the aggresively atheist, communist regime of the former Czechoslovakia, as the late Petr Eben and Milan Slavicky would have known only too well. Slavicky would never have survived but for the kindness of a catholic priest in Moravia, who found Slavicky's wife cleaning work which enabled them to survive a pitiful existence; all because Slavicky himself had crossed swords with the politico-musical establishment. (I think it was something to do with refusing to write "people's music" containing folk-song and the like).

 

I suspect that in that country, (and possibly elsewhere), anything resembling a high standard was probably a fight against the worst possible odds, and of course, everything electrical would be based on standardised parts used in other industries, but to what extent, I have no idea.

The ply-wood cladding of the Olomouc console is fairly typical, I suspect.

 

Some of the communist organs remind me of Skoda from the same era, which somehow managed to produce quite good vehicles, (and railway engines/marine engines/turbines), in spite of everything.

 

The point is, of course, that the commuist era was relatively brief in terms of organ-building history, and many very old instruments survived. Others were neglected terribly, with vandalism an apparently popular pastime. I recall seeing a photograph of a pile of wood splinters which had apparently been a 16th or 17th century organ, and even now, many old organs are silent or in a terrible state.

 

As for the pre-war era, I always like to remind people that the former Czechoslovakia, (largely centered around Praha), was once, (until 1930), the fourth wealthiest country in the world, with a fine history of academia, science, engineering, music and, of course, literature, among other things. The Hungarians produce more Nobel prize winners than any other European nation. These people are not fools, by any means, but they have struggled.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's a little something to uplift you all and gladden your hearts..... :)

 

 

 

Richard Hills FRCO plays 'Tiger Rag' on the Wurlitzer organ in the Assembly Hall, Worthing, UK. The video was taken by David Reed and the audio by John Leeming. The occasion was the Worthing Theatres' 'Open House' day when members of the public wandered in and out of various parts of the building over a period of about four hours. ...

 

===============================

 

 

Well, I did tell you that Wurlitzer actions were quick!!!!!!!!

 

Bloomin 'eck!

 

Richard Hills is just a phenomenon as a theatre organist, and he really can take on the Americans at their own game, at which some of them are quite superb.

 

NOW you know why I want to go and have pizza at Mesa, Arizona..........

 

As they say in the cartoons......"That's entertaintment, folks!"

 

:o:o

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely incredible playing and he looks so relaxed and happy with what he is doing. His improvisations during Solemn Benediction at St Mary's Bourne Street are just as good and you kneel there expecting to hear something like Percy Whitlock meets "I do like to be beside the seaside" at any minute. I've also overheard him practicing the accompaniment of a Mozart Mass and he was working very hard at it and in great detail.

 

Malcolm

Link to post
Share on other sites
Crumbs. What amazing facility! I don't think I've ever seen anyone with a securer sense of geometry.

 

 

========================

 

 

You've got to resepct the technical facility of course, but it's much more than that with Richard Hills. Underpinning it all is an innate musicianship of very high calibre, and if anyone cares to dig, there is another U-tube clip of Richard re-creating the style of one of my theatre organ heroes, Brian Rodwell, who was just the complete all-rounder as pianist, electronic organ specialist, theatre organist and arranger.

 

Such talent is very rare, and it is especially interesting when it crosses boundaries and genres.

 

The geometry thing is interesting, because although the arpeggios and chromatic runs require facility, the "bounce" across manuals is not just put in for show.

 

Using similar registrations on at least two manuals, (such instruments being Unit organs where this is possible), the percussions can be set differently on each, thus enabling the organist to get syncopation into the rhythm accompaniment.

 

Actually, with a bit of.....well...a lot of practice......the bounce is not that difficult to achieve, compared to say, a counter melody in the left-hand, when the left hand is also playing accompaniment chords at the same time. That involves different finger pressures to get the double-touch action working.

 

Of course, then they have sustainers, double touch keys, general crescendo pedals, independent tremulants, percussion and effects buttons.......it's all terribly non-baroque.

 

Some organists, (and others), spend a lifetime trying to get to grips with these beasts, but since the dau they were invented, there have probably never been more than perhaps 20 or 30 absolute masters of them.

 

I'm delighted to say that Richard Hills is one of them.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard it said by more than one person - including one who taught him the organ at school and much later worked with him as a colleague at Bourne Street - that he is often regarded as a re-incarnation of Whitlock! Both, of course, were connected, in their young days, with Rochester.

 

Malcolm

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, a very effective piece. It can be found in the Universal edition of Mozart's Orgelwerke. Book 1 (Six Pieces for Organ Solo). UE Number 17155. This also contains his Fugue in G minor (K 401), Trio in G (K443), Fugue in E flat (K 153), Fugue in G minor (K 154) and Eine kleine Gigue ("Leipziger Gigue")(K 574).

Best wishes,

DKP

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, a very effective piece. It can be found in the Universal edition of Mozart's Orgelwerke. Book 1 (Six Pieces for Organ Solo). UE Number 17155. This also contains his Fugue in G minor (K 401), Trio in G (K443), Fugue in E flat (K 153), Fugue in G minor (K 154) and Eine kleine Gigue ("Leipziger Gigue")(K 574).

Best wishes,

DKP

Free score here: http://imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/7/74...ie_22_KV399.pdf

Link to post
Share on other sites
I've heard it said by more than one person - including one who taught him the organ at school and much later worked with him as a colleague at Bourne Street - that he is often regarded as a re-incarnation of Whitlock! Both, of course, were connected, in their young days, with Rochester.

 

Malcolm

 

------------------------------------------

 

 

With all respect to the memory of Pecy Whitlock, I don't think he was as celebrated as a light-organist as he was a classical organist and composer; which is not to suggest that he was anything but good at it.

 

Richard Hills is more in the mould of Quentin Maclean, (Sub-Oganist at Westminster Cathedral in Terry's days, and pupil of Karl Straube and Max Reger at Leipzig), with just a complete command of both genres.

 

I also detect a lot of the late Brian Rodwell's style, ( friend of my mother and a local celebrity), who was a brilliant up-tempo performer and jazz musician, with an absolutely unique and very original approach to light organ playing.

 

I may be wrong, but I think Richard Hills spent time studying with John Norris, who was unusually gifted, but seldom performed in public.

 

Richard Hills is also Artistic Advisor to the Cinema Organ Society, having more or less burst onto the theatre organ scene. I don't know whether he still does it, but he was often to be heard at the Habitat Store on Regents Street, London, which uses the old cinema building. The store very kindly agreed to take the organ on as part of the development, and now it is something of an attraction.

 

I think it's wonderful that someone so gifted should be passing on the tradition to another generation, when many people believed that it would all die out after the passing of the cinema performers of yesteryear, and the audiences which heard them.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
------------------------------------------

 

 

With all respect to the memory of Pecy Whitlock, I don't think he was as celebrated as a light-organist as he was a classical organist and composer; which is not to suggest that he was anything but good at it.

 

Richard Hills is more in the mould of Quentin Maclean, (Sub-Oganist at Westminster Cathedral in Terry's days, and pupil of Karl Straube and Max Reger at Leipzig), with just a complete command of both genres.

 

I also detect a lot of the late Brian Rodwell's style, ( friend of my mother and a local celebrity), who was a brilliant up-tempo performer and jazz musician, with an absolutely unique and very original approach to light organ playing.

 

I may be wrong, but I think Richard Hills spent time studying with John Norris, who was unusually gifted, but seldom performed in public.

 

Richard Hills is also Artistic Advisor to the Cinema Organ Society, having more or less burst onto the theatre organ scene. I don't know whether he still does it, but he was often to be heard at the Habitat Store on Regents Street, London, which uses the old cinema building. The store very kindly agreed to take the organ on as part of the development, and now it is something of an attraction.

 

I think it's wonderful that someone so gifted should be passing on the tradition to another generation, when many people believed that it would all die out after the passing of the cinema performers of yesteryear, and the audiences which heard them.

 

MM

Following on in the tradition, Richard was organ scholar at Westminster Abbey, but I wonder if he ever got to play Tiger Rag there? :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
I noticed in the recording of Richard Hills that the "second touch" facility is in use. Does anyone know if second touch features in any classical organ?

 

The 1879 Willis in St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh acquired 'second touch' in 1897 thanks to Hope Jones.

 

See E01407 for details.

 

Not sure how long it lasted - NPOR doesn't list any work between a 1901 "cleaning" by Norman & Beard and the 1929 Arthur Harrison rebuild, but I seem to remember having been told that the Hope Jones action didn't last that long ...

Link to post
Share on other sites
I noticed in the recording of Richard Hills that the "second touch" facility is in use. Does anyone know if second touch features in any classical organ?

 

 

=============================

 

 

I just knew I would find one if I dug around the name John Compton.

 

So the answer is "YES," for the organ of Downside Abbey, but I'm not sure about others.

 

What about the BBC Compton at Maida Vale and possibly other "dual-purpose" Compton organs?

 

The organ at the Southampton Guildhall has double touch keys.

 

I also checked out the Christie/Hill,Norman & Beard at the Brighton "Dome" Pavilion, which is largely "straight" with a few bits of toy-counter and percussions added.....This was a "Yes" also.

 

Compton stop-key consoles featured a very useful "double touch" stop-cancelling mechanism, where additional pressure on a stop-tab would cancel all other stops of the same department. I played one like this for a few years, and I can never understand why it didn't catch on, because it made lightning changes of registration possible.

 

H,N & B used something similar, but with a canceller bar just above the tabs.

 

I can't remember whether the organ at Hull City Hall, (the original luminous console) had double-touch stop cancelling, but I think it may well have had. I have a vague recollection of Peter Goodman giving me a brief lecture about it before I was let loose on an unsuspecting (and deeply unprepared) public. The organ didn't have double-touch key action.

 

Diverting slightly, the great master of Double Touch key action was Reginald Porter-Brown, who seemed to be as musically eccentric as he was brilliant. I don't know much about him, but he became known as "the organist with three hands" due to his use of double-touch counter melodies.

 

I bet the neo-classicists are hating this!

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites

Compton stop-key consoles featured a very useful "double touch" stop-cancelling mechanism, where additional pressure on a stop-tab would cancel all other stops of the same department. I played one like this for a few years, and I can never understand why it didn't catch on, because it made lightning changes of registration possible.

Compton DRAWSTOP consoles sometimes featured second-touch. An extra pull on a drawstop would cancel all other stops on that division. I have heard it said that the H&H console at Kings had this feature many years ago - and that the console carried a nameplate acknowledging a Walker patent for the mechanism.

Maybe someone can substantiate that ?

 

H

Link to post
Share on other sites
Compton stop-key consoles featured a very useful "double touch" stop-cancelling mechanism, where additional pressure on a stop-tab would cancel all other stops of the same department. I played one like this for a few years, and I can never understand why it didn't catch on, because it made lightning changes of registration possible.

Compton DRAWSTOP consoles sometimes featured second-touch. An extra pull on a drawstop would cancel all other stops on that division. I have heard it said that the H&H console at Kings had this feature many years ago - and that the console carried a nameplate acknowledging a Walker patent for the mechanism.

Maybe someone can substantiate that ?

 

H

 

The Walker I played in London about 20 years ago had tab stops and a double touch canceller was one of the playing aids, as a tab; I suspect this is a Walker innovation since I had never seen one before. I've never seen it as a drawstop.

 

Peter

Link to post
Share on other sites
The Walker I played in London about 20 years ago had tab stops and a double touch canceller was one of the playing aids, as a tab; I suspect this is a Walker innovation since I had never seen one before. I've never seen it as a drawstop.

 

Peter

St David's Metropolitan Cathedral in Cardiff (1950s Compton - drawstop console) has it - only on the 8 foot stops though. I believe that the organ isn't in a very good state now...

 

Q

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...