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I have also conducted this with a large choir (125+), accompanied by a quantity of brass (c20) and percussion. This was in a church with the organ split between the west end and ‘in the middle’ (not quite as big as the Kölner Dom), when one of my schools had its 400th ‘birthday’. Fortunately, all the performers were ‘mine’- unlike the situation with the conductor here.

 

I’m sure most of us can imagine the immensely complicated arrangements needed to put together, then produce, such a lengthy service. By the time it came to pass, conducting would be the last thing we’d want to do: more likely, go to bed for a week.

 

[On a humorous note: for a few seconds from 4:47, there’s what I thought were, when originally glimpsed, some fire service personnel in colourful, ceremonial garb !]

 

I’m not sure “gruesome” would be the word I’d use. There are some lovely, almost homely, moments - quite an accomplishment in these circumstances. The conductor seems to be a bit flappy (those loose, open hand gestures would be eradicated from the first session of Conducting 101), not quite comfortable with some of the music, unused to working with instrumental players (who don’t look or sound at ease with him and would probably say something afterwards like ‘typical choral conductor’) and sometimes ‘loose’ around the beat (players hate this); much better with the vocal forces – what must be an assemblage of multiple choirs. That swimming pool acoustic can’t be easy, either.

 

I seem to recall (I was not there) that the (1902 Coronation) première of the Parry had its problems and didn’t go all that ‘swimmingly’, either.

 

At just after 0:48 the organist can be seen in accompanying mode and, from 2:01:20, ‘filling in’ at the console. There is at least one other console shot.

 

All that wonderful smoke at the beginning takes me back. A fine ceremony, in one of the grandest (and holiest) religious edifices of Christendom.

 

I was glad I saw this.

 

 

Glad you enjoyed the clip, firstrees.

 

I haven't been to Cologne Cathedral since 1998 (too long, IMO) and it is indeed a grand building. When I was last there the (then) new Nave organ had been finished and opened. I happened to be standing right underneath it when someone struck up with a chord so loud I jumped. Fantastic sound.

 

Dave

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Glad you enjoyed the clip, firstrees.

 

I haven't been to Cologne Cathedral since 1998 (too long, IMO) and it is indeed a grand building. When I was last there the (then) new Nave organ had been finished and opened. I happened to be standing right underneath it when someone struck up with a chord so loud I jumped. Fantastic sound.

 

Dave

I believe the builder (Klais) chose to sit right underneath it at the opening recital, presumably to assure everyone it was safe!

It hasn't fallen down yet, anyway.

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One of the problems of course is that, although they have a number of choirs singing, they are not in fact a combined choir, but three separate choirs, each with their own brass section, each in a different part of the building! The young people in the white albs seem to be in the apse behind the altar. The choir in black cassocks & white surpluses in the south aisle and the adults in suits are next to the organ console. Now wonder they sounded very untogether at times!

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My Mum was at Bristol Cathedral this morning and came home with the service sheet which was, of course, the morning Eucharist for Palm Sunday. The concluding voluntary was a piece by Jean Langlais called "Les Rameaux" ("The Palms"). I ran a search on YouTube and came up with this piece, called "Evocation et Hommage a Rameau" which, I presume, is the same piece. It is heard here on the organ of Rotterdam cathedral.

 

 

Dave

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Hello Dave - no, that's not quite right. These are entirely separate pieces. "Les Rameaux" (The Palms - as you rightly say) is the third of Trois Poèmes Evangéliques. Meanwhile Hommage à Rameau is something different altogether. It was originally a set of six pieces written in memory of, or as a tribute to Jean-Philippe Rameau, the French Baroque composer. All the best; Martin.

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Les Rameaux is the third of Langlais's "3 poèmes évangéliques" but it is not nearly as popular as the second of the set, "la nativité". I couldn't find a recording on YouTube, but there are CD recordings by George Baker on the organ of St Sernin, Toulouse (a fine Cavaillé-Coll) and by Naji Hakim on the Georg Stahlhuth organ of Saint-Martin de Dudelange in Luxembourg. You may find them on your music streaming service of choice. The Hakim recording is a lot clearer but both are fine performances.

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Hello Dave - no, that's not quite right. These are entirely separate pieces. "Les Rameaux" (The Palms - as you rightly say) is the third of Trois Poèmes Evangéliques. Meanwhile Hommage à Rameau is something different altogether. It was originally a set of six pieces written in memory of, or as a tribute to Jean-Philippe Rameau, the French Baroque composer. All the best; Martin.

Thanks Martin. I had never heard of a piece called "Les Rameaux" so was unsure if I had the right one anyway.

 

Dave

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This sounds splendid. Finnish organist Kalevi Kiviniemi playing the Toccata from Widor's 5th Symphony on the organ of St. Ouen, Rouen.

 

Dave

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Some music from Lubeck. The original Marienkirche (St. Mary's Church) was destroyed in WW2 which caused the loss of a 19th Century organ by Schulze and also the Totentanz chapel organ, parts of which dated (according to Peter Hurfords's "Making Music On The Organ" book) as far back as 1476-7 (Hauptwerk and some of the Pedal division) with additions in 1557-8 (Ruckpositiv), 1621-2 (Brustwerk and enlarged Pedal). Luckily, however, the church of St. Jakobi, Lubeck survived the war and so, therefore, did its main organ which contains, according to the church's website - http://www.st-jakobi-luebeck.de/index.php/die-orgeln - pipes dating perhaps as far back as 1466 / 1504 with additions in 1573 and 1673 (the weblink refers to the "historic pipe inventory" of 22 stops). I presume the case also goes back to at least the 1570s work although the website does not say. The website is in German so some use of Google Translate (or a similar site) may be needed.

 

Picture of the gallery organ:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/japanapril2010/4919698320

 

Musically, here is Frantisek Beer with an improvisation on a Toccata. I presume this is played on the main gallery organ.....

 

..... and a piece by J.L Krebs (1713-1780) which sounds like it is certainly played on the main organ.

 

In the first clip, at about 1:55, you can see a view of the church with not only the gallery organ but another instrument on the right which it would seem, from the weblink earlier, could be partly almost as old as the main organ.

 

I have to admit that, in the piece of music, there is a tune at about 1:30-1:35 in which sounds to me like a slight variation of part of the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". Sounds like a very nice instrument. One advantage of having an organ in existence where parts of it are as old as 1466 is that we can get some idea, perhaps, of how instruments of that era - such as the lost Totentanz chapel one of the Marienkirche - would have sounded.

 

HTIOI,

Dave

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In the first clip, at about 1:55, you can see a view of the church with not only the gallery organ but another instrument on the right which it would seem, from the weblink earlier, could be partly almost as old as the main organ.

The smaller organ dates from about the same time as the larger one. It was built in two stages in 1467/1515 by unknown builders, and was rebuilt and enlarged in 1636/7 by Friedrich Stellwagen, one of the most important North-German builders of the era whose main achievement is the large and incredibly beautiful 24-foot organ at St Mary’s, Stralsund, which has been restored around 2000 to its original state.

 

The small organ at St Jakobi is one of the most important landmark instruments in the North. After much enlargement and rebuilding, which included the case (the rebuilt one, incidentally, was drawn once by A. G. Hill), it was restored in 1977 by Hillebrand of Hannover, with reconstruction of the original case and stoplist and slight enlargment of the much tampered-with pedal. The original Subbass, then lost, had been in lead, and at first, the organbuilders couldn’t find lead with the right amount of contamination so that the pipes could actually support themselves. The builders then turned to a church in the Netherlands which got its roof re-leaded, bought the centuries-old lead sheets at a bargain prince, and fashioned the new Subbass from those.

 

The Great sports an almost entirely original chorus of gothic origin, while most of the remaining pipes were built by Stellwagen, except the pedal, which was almost completely new in 1977. Find a stoplist and history (in German) here. Harald Vogel recorded vol. 1 of his complete Buxtehude here. The sound is incomparable – so much depth and sweetness, and a plenum of wonderful blend, balance and control.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Dave, I think you had a cut-and-paste glitch in the post above: you've posted the same link twice.

Well spotted, and thanks. Link corrected.

 

Dave

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Here's the best video I've yet seen of Saint-Sulpice, showing off this organ's many incredible features, like the quadruple rise reservoirs, the barker lever stop actions.

 

Also remarkable for its stunning aural recording and performance, this time of non French music, Mendelssohn's piano prelude and fugue in E minor, another stunning performance by Daniel Roth.

 

https://youtu.be/1V2xhAdtodM

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Happy New Year! I came across this extraordinary video of Olivier Latry improvising on the Fritts organ at Notre Dame University. Impressive stop management, including the use of a foot at one point.

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One from the Mormon Tabernacle, Salt Lake City (USA): an arragement, with vocals (!!), of the Toccata from CM Widor's 5th Symphony involving the choir of the Mormon Tabernacle.

 

Dave

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Happy New Year! I came across this extraordinary video of Olivier Latry improvising on the Fritts organ at Notre Dame University. Impressive stop management, including the use of a foot at one point.

Golly. That is a most interesting way to do stop management!

 

Meanwhile here is the kind of hymn that you might not normally expect to hear in a cathedral. It is the anthem of 1. FC Köln. The occasion was prior to a home football game: the German information about the video also says this:

 

"Before the first home match of the 1. FC Cologne more than a thousand fans of the 1. FC Köln celebrated an ecumenical service. Pray for respect and joy in the game. Club President Werner Spinner was enthusiastic: "It was an incredible moment when the FC anthem played on the organ in the cathedral." After the noon prayer on Saturday, he said that in the coming year this institution would already be a "Cologne tradition".

 

At one point you can see a couple of nuns in the congregation: I wonder what they thought?!

 

Dave

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