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Father Henry Willis's Greatest Hits

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Guest Roffensis
You make some interesting points!

 

I am particularly interested to hear the thought that Canterbury surpassed Salisbury and Lincoln (in its un-restored state, presumably).  I understand from a previous assistant at Lincoln (who is also extremely familiar with the Salisbury organ) that he certainly viewed Lincoln more favourably than Salisbury. He expressed the opinion that it was both louder and more magnificent. However, Canterbury is comparatively little talked-about as far as I know.

 

I think people generally agree that Lincoln is finer than Salisbury, and a lot more colourful. As to Canterbury, it is it's boldness and vigour that set it apart, and the swell,great, pedal, bit of choir including solo tubas at 8 and 4 remain of the old ( 38 stops, out of 52 "original" Willis/HNB) and convey this still. No "big stuff" came off beyond the 32' flue which was not Willis anyway. What Canterbury has that the others lack is like a crashing "vertical judder" to the sound, it sounds together, in a way that Lincoln is "splashy" and Salisbury just thin. There are also some wonderful pleading stops on canterbury, and the flutes are particularly fine. This is clearly one job that Willis did obviously take a lot of time over.

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Thank you! Some good thoughts there.

 

I am now off to play for a visiting choir in Oxford for the week - have a good one, everyone!

 

Alastair, sorry I cannot be much help about French organs, Paris I know and Normandy, but apart from that, I can only recommend Bordeaux Cathedral (C-C). Nice case, too. On the way down (if you are arriving at Cherbourg, not Calais) you could try the big church in the old part of the town (S. Pierre?). Also Valognes (Eglise S. Malo) - nice, two claviers, chamades 8p and 4p on GO. The organ sits on concrete shelves in the rebuilt west end (the US forces managed to trash the town whilst liberating it). Or further to the east coast, there is S. Etienne, Caen (Abbaye aux Hommes) and, of course, the wonderful old C-C at Bayeux Cathedral.

 

If you find some good ones further down, I would be very pleased to hear about them.

 

Best wishes!

 

:mellow:

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Well as a fan of Willis i can tell you of a small instrument in Breage parish church in Cornwall. Gt-88844 (22/3) 2 originally a clarinet on gt instead of 12th

Sw-88884 (II) originally oboe in place of mix

Pd 16-Bourdon-large

16-Quintaton-smaller stopped rank with just a bit of edge--very useful.

This was a house organ in the locality, then given to Truro cathedral (making 2 Willises) then sold to the church where its oak case was cut in two and it was deposited in a north choir aisle chapel! Maybe oneday someone will take pity on it. However the sound is good nothing muddy and a nics wooden claribel on gt.

 

Speaking of Truro...is this not the finest Willis ever built?? Sorry but it was local to me as I grew up down there! 4man and 45 stops in a cathedral-wow what a sound. Mysterious, delicate, majesterial all you could wish for and the most amazing ped ophicleide ever heard!

 

That one gets my vote!

 

Cameron.

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I think people generally agree that Lincoln is finer than Salisbury, and a lot more colourful. As to Canterbury, it is it's boldness and vigour that set it apart, and the swell,great, pedal, bit of choir including solo tubas at 8 and 4 remain of the old ( 38 stops, out of 52 "original" Willis/HNB) and convey this still. No "big stuff" came off beyond the 32' flue which was not Willis anyway. What Canterbury has that the others lack is like a crashing "vertical judder" to the sound, it sounds together, in a way that Lincoln is "splashy" and Salisbury just thin. There are also some wonderful pleading stops on canterbury, and the flutes are particularly fine. This is clearly one job that Willis did obviously take a lot of time over.

 

 

Not having heard Lincoln for a long time and never having heard Canterbury live I cannot contribute any personal information to this debate. But I do have in my possession (although securely filed away so I am quoting from memory)a letter from Philip Marshall written soon after he had made Great CathedraL Organ Series no 18 there. Two of his observations have remained fixed in my memory over 30 years :-

 

(1) the Culverhouse team who had by then recorded several Willis organs thought that Lincoln was a "dud", and the first one they had come across. The explanation seemed to be too much tone escaped up the central tower.

 

(2) The Lincoln tubas utterly failed to come through full organ - Dr Marshall had come from Ripon where he apparently would have experienced no such a problem, even before the Orchestral Trumpet was added. Indeed these (Lincoln)stops had been referred to by "one local wit" as the "Lincoln Gambas" .

 

Perhaps this is the other way of looking at the fact that these stops are apparently suitable for occasional use as a bombarde chorus added to full organ ?

 

Brian Childs

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Speaking of Truro...is this not the finest Willis ever built?? Sorry but it was local to me as I grew up down there! 4man and 45 stops in a cathedral-wow what a sound. Mysterious, delicate, majesterial all you could wish for and the  most amazing ped ophicleide ever heard!

 

Cameron.

 

I would not necessarily agree with that statement! I beileve that I had a running discussion with John Hosking in connection with the Truro organ a few months ago. Naturally, he liked it very much. However, I am still of the opinion that he was viewing it through rose-tinted spectacles.

 

My points are (having played it on several occasions):

 

1) It is a little too loud for the building.

 

2) With neither the Choir or (more seriously) the Solo being enclosed, there is a lack of subtlety and expression, particularly with regard to the quiet orchestral reeds. (There are, in my opinion, rather finer examples of these at Exeter, in any case.)

 

3) The GO really needs another quiet 8p flute (or a Stopped Diapason) - this was also the view of at least two of the previous organists.

 

4) Personally, I find tierce mixtures irritating after about ten seconds. Whilst I realise that Willis probably intended them to be drawn with the reeds (which do not, frankly, need their help) they are useless in contrapuntal music and merely confuse things in hymn-playing. Furthermore, both mixtures break back at F30.

 

5) The Pedal Ophicleide is useless for anything other that balancing Full Organ. This may be exciting, but it is certainly not versatile.

 

6) There is no 4p flute in the Swell - this is a real handicap , particularly when accompanying.

 

7) In addition to there being nothing above 8p pitch on the Pedal Organ, there is no quiet flute above 16p pitch.

 

8) The GO reeds (and the flue double) would be more useful if they were also available on the pedals and (in the case of the reeds) on the Choir Organ.

 

9) The 32p flue is irregular in speech and volume. AAAA is too loud, whils several other notes are somewhat indistinct.

 

Of course, none of this is to say that it is a bad organ. This is clearly not the case. It does have real majesty and beauty. However, I would not personally term it the best Father Willis ever made!

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(1) the Culverhouse team who had by then recorded several Willis organs thought that Lincoln was a "dud", and the first one they had come across. The explanation seemed to be too much tone escaped up the central tower.

 

(2) The Lincoln tubas utterly failed to come through full organ - Dr Marshall had come from Ripon where he apparently would have experienced no such a problem, even before the Orchestral Trumpet was added. Indeed these (Lincoln)stops had been referred to by "one local wit" as the "Lincoln Gambas" .

 

Perhaps this is the other way of looking at the fact that these stops are apparently suitable for occasional use as a bombarde chorus added to full organ ?

 

Brian Childs

 

Interesting!

 

A previous assitant tells me that it is noticeably louder than Salisbury. However, he did not mention the Tubas.

 

This is all fascinating!

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Interesting!

 

A previous assitant tells me that it is noticeably louder than Salisbury. However, he did not mention the Tubas.

 

This is all fascinating!

 

The memory of the old works well but slowly! Two further snippets have surfaced in my mind re the Lincoln Tubas. Apparently Dr Bennet, the organist at the time, had been a pupil of Rheinberger and thus had certain ideas about how an organ should sound. Also it seems that the equivalent stops at Hereford were used as some sort of model or pattern but without anyone making proper allowance for the difference in size of the two buildings.

 

Sorry I cannot retrieve the letter at the moment or I could be more specific but I am fairly confident that is the gist of it.

 

Brian Childs

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On the other hand, is there really any merit (or musicality) in being able to obliterate the rest of the instrument with single notes on a tuba which may sound as if it were donated by the Merchant Navy?

 

Notwithstanding, I was fascinated to read the tidbits supplied by Brian Childs - I also had heard that Willis viewed the Lincoln tuba ranks as, in effect, 'super' GO reeds - to add at a climax, rather than shout down the rest of the organ.

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Guest Roffensis
I think people generally agree that Lincoln is finer than Salisbury, and a lot more colourful. As to Canterbury, it is it's boldness and vigour that set it apart, and the swell,great, pedal, bit of choir including solo tubas at 8 and 4 remain of the old ( 38 stops, out of 52 "original" Willis/HNB) and convey this still. No "big stuff" came off beyond the 32' flue which was not Willis anyway. What Canterbury has that the others lack is like a crashing "vertical judder" to the sound, it sounds together, in a way that Lincoln is "splashy" and Salisbury just thin. There are also some wonderful pleading stops on canterbury, and the flutes are particularly fine. This is clearly one job that Willis did obviously take a lot of time over.

Not having heard Lincoln for a long time and never having heard Canterbury live I cannot contribute any personal information to this debate. But I do have in my possession (although securely filed away so I am quoting from memory)a letter from Philip Marshall written soon after he had made Great CathedraL Organ Series no 18 there. Two of his observations have remained fixed in my memory over 30 years :-

 

(1) the Culverhouse team who had by then recorded several Willis organs thought that Lincoln was a "dud", and the first one they had come across. The explanation seemed to be too much tone escaped up the central tower.

 

(2) The Lincoln tubas utterly failed to come through full organ - Dr Marshall had come from Ripon where he apparently would have experienced no such a problem, even before the Orchestral Trumpet was added. Indeed these (Lincoln)stops had been referred to by "one local wit" as the "Lincoln Gambas" .

 

Perhaps this is the other way of looking at the fact that these stops are apparently suitable for occasional use as a bombarde chorus added to full organ ?

 

Brian Childs

 

The Culverhouse team recorded all the EMI GCOS series, and it is a shame they thought Lincoln a dud, it's far from that. What should raise a few more eyebrows is their recording technique. Forget the modern approach of a calrec or Michael Smythes way with one stereo or two mikes crossed, the Culverhouse team actually multi miked all over the buildings. Canterbury had a mike in the nave mixed in, Liverpool had several pairs, and another Chalfont recording issued on CD by Rawsthorne had one pair in the chacel high up between the cases, another at the east end facing west, and two more in front of each case facing east. Hardly a accurate portrayal of any organ, and the old Woodward recordings prove what could be achieved with very simple techniques such as Smythe used. So to say Lincoln was a dud, maybe on that recording yes, but it does sound well in the building, and Priory have issued some very faithful recordings to it. To get back to Canterbury, unless you mike high up in the quire, you just miss the nave reverb, and it can sound rather less reverberant than it is, but such a recording will be more accurate to what is there, rather than gimmicky recordings that are actually telling very big lies about sound. I still love Lincoln.

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I was interested to read your post, Richard. I would agree with you. Having made several recordings, I can also testify that there are often 'tricks' played with balance.

 

I, too, rate Lincoln highly.

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Guest Roffensis
I was interested to read your post, Richard. I would agree with you. Having made several recordings, I can also testify that  there are often 'tricks' played with balance.

 

I, too, rate Lincoln highly.

 

 

I have also made loads of recordings, including the tortuous Liverpool metropolitan with its 10 seconds reverb and fitted bounce, and I use flat PMZs but point them at the organ and the results are always good. never mind sticking a mike up the pipes backside and so on, the recordings are perfectly focused and I'm well chuffed. it is the "met pot" as it is. Who else hears it at 10 feet high up!!?? I recorded it from the southern gallery, in excess of 100 feet away. Conversely my own job on a west gallery is impossible to capture, to date accurately. :o:o :o :D;)

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I have also made loads of recordings, including the tortuous Liverpool metropolitan with its 10 seconds reverb and fitted bounce, and I use flat PMZs but point them at the organ and the results are always good. never mind sticking a mike up the pipes backside and so on, the recordings are perfectly focused and I'm well chuffed. it is the "met pot" as it is. Who else hears it at 10 feet high up!!?? I recorded it from the southern gallery, in excess of 100 feet away. Conversely my own job on a west gallery is impossible to capture, to date accurately.  :o  :o :o  :D  ;)

 

 

I wholeheartedly agree with what I take to be the thrust of Richard's point. I have long been of the opinion that any recording of an organ ought to come with a sketch map to show where the microphones were placed in relation to the instrument (and each other, if more than one is used), so that the listeners can know whether they have any realistic possibility of actually hearing the sound as recorded if they visit the building. This point is hardly new. I seem to have a vague recollection of a review by (Isla Tait ?) in the 1960s making the point that she wished to know if she was hearing the organ as she would if she were suspended 18 feet below the ceiling with her ears 6 feet apart, or something in this vein. If space on an insert is limited I personally would sacrifice the sometimes over lengthy listing of couplers and accessories at the end of a stop list in order to have it. I particularly think that such information ought to be provided as a matter of course in those recordings whose primary purpose is to serve as a memento of the instrument so that the focus is on the organ rather than the music. I know that some heartily disapprove of recordings of this type but surely no one is going to deny they exist and claim instead that all those recordings which contain at least 4 from BWV 565, Widor Toccata, Prince of Denmark's March (variously attributed), Guilmant (op 15), Boellman Toccata and Kark-Elert's Nun Danket are actually about a different musical vision ?

 

However, unlike some who seem to have clear preferences for a particular approach to recording, I can live with a variety of approaches, including multi-miking, which can produce some spectacular results, as it did with Christopher Dearnley at St Paul's on GCOS No 17. But I do want to be told.

 

Regards to one and all,

 

Brian Childs

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The Culverhouse team recorded all the EMI GCOS series, and it is a shame they thought Lincoln a dud, it's far from that. What should raise a few more eyebrows is their recording technique. Forget the modern approach of a calrec or Michael Smythes way with one stereo or two mikes crossed, the Culverhouse team actually multi miked all over the buildings. Canterbury had a mike in the  nave mixed in, Liverpool had several pairs, and another Chalfont recording issued on CD by Rawsthorne had one pair in the chacel high up between the cases, another at the east end facing west, and two more in front of each case facing east. Hardly a accurate portrayal of any organ, and the old Woodward recordings prove what could be achieved with very simple techniques such as Smythe used. So to say Lincoln was a dud, maybe on that recording yes, but it does sound well in the building, and Priory have issued some very faithful recordings to it. To get back to Canterbury, unless you mike high up in the quire, you just miss the nave reverb, and it can sound rather less reverberant than it is, but such a recording will be more accurate to what is there, rather than gimmicky recordings that are actually telling very big lies about sound. I still love Lincoln.

 

So do I. I was merely providing information. Not expressing a personal preference, one way or the other.

 

BAC

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Guest Roffensis
So do I. I was merely providing information. Not expressing a personal preference, one way or the other.

 

BAC

I know that, I was also talking generally about the whole situation regrading recordings and so on, highlighting Culverhouse's techniques. No offence to anyone i assure you!!

All best,

Richard

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Guest Roffensis
I wholeheartedly agree with  what I take to be the thrust of Richard's point. I have long been of the opinion that any recording of an organ ought to come with a sketch map to show where the microphones were placed in relation to the instrument (and each other, if more than one is used), so that the listeners can know whether they have any realistic possibility  of actually hearing the sound as recorded if they visit the building. This point is hardly new. I seem to have a vague  recollection of a review by (Isla Tait ?) in the 1960s making the point that she wished to know if she was hearing the organ as she would if she were suspended 18 feet below the ceiling with her ears 6 feet apart, or something in this vein. If space on an insert is limited I personally would sacrifice the sometimes over lengthy listing of couplers and accessories  at the end of a stop list in order to have it. I particularly think that such information ought to be provided as a matter of course in those recordings whose primary purpose is to serve as a memento of the instrument so that the focus is on the organ rather than the music. I know that some heartily disapprove of recordings of this type but surely no one is going to deny they exist and claim instead that all those recordings which contain at least 4 from BWV 565, Widor Toccata, Prince of Denmark's March (variously attributed), Guilmant (op 15), Boellman Toccata and Kark-Elert's Nun Danket are actually about a different musical vision ?

 

However, unlike some who seem to have clear preferences for a particular approach to recording, I can live with a variety of approaches, including  multi-miking, which can produce some spectacular results, as it did with Christopher Dearnley at St Paul's on GCOS No 17. But I do want to be told.

 

Regards to one and all,

 

Brian Childs

 

Michael Smythe always stated on his vista issues where the mikes were, the Herrick/St Pauls was recrded in a most interesting position between NE and SE quarter galleries, upside down pointing into the chancel. Gymnasts and those who like bungee jumping may like to compare notes! But it again proves the point, that what heard is not St Pauls, and any organ can be made to sound like anything really with a little tweaking. That is my own point, and the trouble with any recordings is that people judge an organ by them. A mike hears totally differently to the human ear, and all loudspeakers are inherently flawed. So, nothing is ever going to sound in any way accurate. So much for organ builders taking pains over voicing if that is all some base their opinions of organ on. So i think ultimately one should go for entirely natural sounds as much as can be met, as one hears the organ in the building. It doesn't stop at organs either, orchestras are still often recorded with multi miking techniques that do not reflect correct orchetral balance whatever.

All best,

Richard

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I wholeheartedly agree with  what I take to be the thrust of Richard's point. I have long been of the opinion that any recording of an organ ought to come with a sketch map to show where the microphones were placed in relation to the instrument (and each other, if more than one is used), so that the listeners can know whether they have any realistic possibility  of actually hearing the sound as recorded if they visit the building. However, unlike some who seem to have clear preferences for a particular approach to recording, I can live with a variety of approaches, including  multi-miking, which can produce some spectacular results, as it did with Christopher Dearnley at St Paul's on GCOS No 17. But I do want to be told.

 

Regards to one and all,

 

Brian Childs

 

Hi

 

I think it's worth remembering that multiple microphones was often the norm for recording (as opposed to broadcasting) when the GCOS was recorded - and often still is today. Purist recordings have their place - but we do need to remember that a CD is primarily intended for home entertainment (anad to make money) - not as a documentary record. Inevitably, there will be compromises. I have a problem with some Priory releases that preserve the dynamic range of the organ from pp-fff - in most domestic settings, that means constant adjustments to the volume control to hear the soft passages above the ambient noise (traffic, etc), or being nearly deafened with the loud bits. There is a particular problem with divided organs - there often will not be one place that does every part of the instrument justice.

 

I've recently bought a Rick Wakeman recording made at Lincoln Cathedral - primarily on the organ. That's very interesting - especially as there's a bonus CD that includes binaural versions of some of the tracks - very impressive on headphones.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Roffensis
Hi

 

I think it's worth remembering that multiple microphones was often the norm for recording (as opposed to broadcasting) when the GCOS was recorded - and often still is today.  Purist recordings have their place - but we do need to remember that a CD is primarily intended for home entertainment (anad to make money) - not as a documentary record.  Inevitably, there will be compromises.  I have a problem with some Priory releases that preserve the dynamic range of the organ from pp-fff - in most domestic settings, that means constant adjustments to the volume control to hear the soft passages above the ambient noise (traffic, etc), or being nearly deafened with the loud bits.  There is a particular problem with divided organs - there often will not be one place that does every part of the instrument justice.

 

I've recently bought a Rick Wakeman recording made at Lincoln Cathedral - primarily on the organ.  That's very interesting - especially as there's a bonus CD that includes binaural versions of some of the tracks - very impressive on headphones.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

I Just had a listen to that, there are snippits on line. The first piece is pretty good, but I note that the pedals are basically all pedal points, which is ok, but a bit hard to get into. Still, a very worthwhile and interesting CD. Another very interesting CD is by David Bedford with Mike Oldfield, "Instructions For Angels", which used Worcester Cathedral in overdrive to great effect. This is reissued on CD but may be hard to find in some places. The organ as ever sounds wonderful, and Mike Oldfield on his electric Guitar (also in the building) makes a most interesting contrast. let's also not forget Wakeman on the "Six Wives" using St Giles Cripplegate, another gem of an organ, very well restored by Manders. It also featured in "Close To The Edge" by Yes. meanwhile Ely was used in Classic Rock for a whiter shade!!!! Well it makes a change from Bach what!!??

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Richard.

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Michael Smythe always stated on his vista issues where the mikes were, the Herrick/St Pauls was recrded in a most interesting position between NE and SE quarter galleries, upside down pointing into the chancel. Gymnasts and those who like bungee jumping may like to compare notes! But it again proves the point, that what heard is not St Pauls, and any organ can be made to sound like anything really with a little tweaking. That is my own point, and the trouble with any recordings is that people judge an organ by them. A mike hears totally differently to the human ear, and all loudspeakers are inherently flawed. So, nothing is ever going to sound in any way accurate. So much for organ builders taking pains over voicing if that is all some base their opinions of organ on. So i think ultimately one should go for entirely natural sounds as much as can be met, as one hears the organ in the building. It doesn't stop at organs either, orchestras are still often recorded with multi miking techniques that do not reflect correct orchetral balance whatever.

All best,

Richard

 

 

The first time I heard the Herrick CD was on the record player (and I mean record player - not stereo system) at home. I thought the reed used in the Mathias Processional was a particularly assertive orchestral oboe: my current view tends to favour the Trompette Militaire ! Of course Richard is correct that flesh and blood do not hear like metal and plastic and that all recordings are an artificial experience. But, like much of life, a good many shades of grey intervene between purest white and darkest black. Richard's concluding remarks above seem to me to indicate that he would believe it is possible to get a reasonable approximation of the sound heard in the building, through the use of simple techniques. I agree. Many of the recordings which I have of Hull City Hall provide a very good approximation to how the organ sounds in the hall, at least to me (and an additional problem is not only that microphones and people "hear" differently - different people hear "differently" and the same individual's hearing does not remain the same throughout life). But I also agree with Tony 's point : the majority of commercial organ recordings are made to entertain the buyers - whether they do or not is a separate issue. Recordings for the purposes of sound archives are one thing: there fidelity is everything; but when the objective is entertainment surely we can afford to indulge a variety of approaches, even occasionally that used on the LP "Organ in Close Up" recorded by Leslie Pearson on All Soul's, Langham Place with the microphones INSIDE the case . I wonder if Richard had this , admittedly rather unusual , approach in mind when he referred to "sticking a mike up the pipe's backside" ?

 

All the best,

 

Brian Childs

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The first time I heard the Herrick CD was on the record player (and I mean record player - not stereo system) at home.  I thought the reed used in the Mathias Processional was a particularly assertive orchestral oboe: my current view tends to favour the Trompette Militaire ! Of course Richard is correct that flesh and blood do not hear like metal and plastic and that all recordings are an artificial experience. But, like much of life, a good many shades of grey intervene between purest white and darkest black.  Richard's concluding remarks above seem to me to indicate that he would believe  it is possible to get a reasonable approximation of the sound heard in the building, through the use of simple techniques. I agree. Many of the recordings which I have of Hull City Hall provide a very good approximation to how the organ sounds in the hall, at least to me (and an additional problem is not only that microphones and people "hear" differently - different people hear "differently" and the same individual's hearing does not remain the same throughout life).  But I also agree with Tony 's point : the majority of commercial organ recordings are made to entertain the buyers - whether they do or not is a separate issue. Recordings for the purposes of sound archives are one thing: there fidelity is everything; but when the objective is entertainment surely we can afford to indulge a variety of approaches, even occasionally that used on the LP "Organ in Close Up" recorded by Leslie Pearson on All Soul's, Langham Place with the microphones INSIDE the case . I wonder if Richard had this , admittedly rather unusual , approach in mind when he referred to "sticking a mike up the pipe's backside" ?

 

All the best,

 

Brian Childs

 

 

Very good, and yes it was exactly what I was referring to!! Well done!! It was Leslie Pearson playing on a record issued on Decca Phase 4, a veritable gem. It's good that others recall this unique record!!! I feel quite stumped now!! Another one was of Murray Somerville playing at New College Oxford, a piece for organ and electronic something or other, anyhow, this had the 16 foot bourdon recorded with a mike dropped down a pipe. Apparently a pure 16 tone was required. :lol: This intrigued me as the pipe will have been stoppered!!?? :blink: Anyway, a most untinteresting sound resulted, rather like a hoover, and hardly worth such effort. That came out on Abbey, and waxes lyrical on my shelf still. I'm just too lazy to check it out!! Regarding Herricks St Pauls, I well recall a friend playing this to me (even though I had my own copy and still do) and saying "ooh it just doesn't sound like that now" referring to Manders rebuild in the 70s. This was the cause of many arguments over that, he an armchair listener, revelling in the fire and brassiness of it. Despite me pointing out constantly that it never has sounded like that record ever, he was not convinced. So, me being the usual crafty whatname, found a record of Dearnley playing Boelmann on the restored organ. Just the chancel I might add..... I said "this was done before, you can tell".... :lol: anyhow he said "ah yes, you CAN tell" etc etc. So....more revelling about this glorious Willis that was, me reaching for the Gin for sanity. I then announced "well it B... well isn't, its as it is now" and that shut him up big style. But the thing is how people get carried away about such issues. I often heard St Pauls before the 70s rebuild, and it has very many more strings to it's bow now. No arguing that one. I even had to suffer comments about the "glorious" :lol: SE quarter gallery Lewis pipes as being Manna from heaven, 916 pipes no less. Pity they were opened right up and screamed, not to mention one being starkly aware exactly where the racket was coming from, in a way that today with the new Diapason chorus it's not as easy to tell. And it all blends. Another gem from St. Pauls is E Power Biggs doing Medelssohn sonatas......any takers!? The Tubas sound wonderful!!!!!!!

All best,

Richard

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On the other hand, is there really any merit (or musicality) in being able to obliterate the rest of the instrument with single notes on a tuba which may sound as if it were donated by the Merchant Navy?

 

Merit and musicality may not necessarily point to the same answer here. It could plausibly be argued that a solo tuba, like a town cryer, needs to be able to be heard over the surrounding bable. And in small doses the impact of such a stop can be undeniably exciting. Perhaps it is one of those experiences in life which we intellectually know we should not like, but secretly do ? Personally, I think a little goes a long way and such a stop would not be high on my list of essentials, but where they already exist in large organs whose players have other options at their disposal their removal would be wanton vandalism. I instance the Tuba Mirabilis at York and (though very different in tone) the Fanfare Trumpet on the Ulster Hall organ in Belfast.

 

BAC

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Guest Roffensis
On the other hand, is there really any merit (or musicality) in being able to obliterate the rest of the instrument with single notes on a tuba which may sound as if it were donated by the Merchant Navy?

 

Merit and musicality may not necessarily point to the same answer here. It could plausibly be argued that a solo tuba, like a town cryer, needs to be able to be heard over the surrounding bable. And in small doses the impact of such a stop can be undeniably exciting. Perhaps it is one of those experiences in life which we intellectually know we should not like, but secretly do ? Personally, I think a little goes a long way and such a stop would not be high on my list of  essentials, but where they already exist in large organs whose  players have other options at their disposal their removal would be wanton vandalism. I instance the Tuba Mirabilis at York and (though very different in tone) the Fanfare Trumpet on the Ulster Hall organ in Belfast.

 

BAC

 

Here's another one for you!...Francis Jackson/York Minster on either Alpha, or saga (beautifully pressed....), in 1964. Take a walk back in time and revel in the very closely miked Tuba, it's hilarious!!!

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Well, it's like with the Plum-Pudding; a bit sometimes is good, too much

would mean...

A good Tuba that can be pitted against the Tutti is interesting.

On the continent this is unknown, and when I make friends listen to this

Tuba at Westminster in Reubke and Liszt (S.Preston 1985) they would

sign the contract!

(Of course this Tuba is the H&H type, there are others).

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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I Just had a listen to that, there are snippits on line. The first piece is pretty good, but I note that the pedals are basically all pedal points, which is ok, but a bit hard to get into. Still, a very worthwhile and interesting CD. Another very interesting CD is by David Bedford with Mike Oldfield, "Instructions For Angels", which used Worcester Cathedral in overdrive to great effect. This is reissued on CD but may be hard to find in some places. The organ as ever sounds wonderful, and Mike Oldfield on his electric Guitar (also in the building) makes a most interesting contrast. let's also not forget Wakeman on the "Six Wives" using St Giles Cripplegate, another gem of an organ, very well restored by Manders. It also featured in "Close To The Edge" by Yes. meanwhile Ely was used in Classic Rock for a whiter shade!!!! Well it makes a change from Bach what!!??

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Richard.

 

Hi

 

Yes, the Lincoln recording is very obviously Wakeman - not really great music, but enjoyable none the less. IIRC, he used the Compton 2m at South Harrow Baptist Church (the church where he grew up) on the original "New Gospels" (I've got it on LP, but they haven't been unpacked since we moved here, so I can't easily check).

 

I'll have to look out for the Mike Oldfield CD. I have a particular interest in organ plus other instruments, both contemporary and historical. Another LP that I have is organ and guitar duets (John Williams & Peter Hurford). I really must get my LP's out and have another listen.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Another one was of Murray Somerville playing at New College Oxford, a piece for organ and electronic something or other, anyhow, this had the 16 foot bourdon recorded with a mike dropped down a pipe. Apparently a pure 16 tone was required. :lol: This intrigued me as the pipe will have been stoppered!!?? :blink: Anyway, a most untinteresting sound resulted, rather like a hoover, and hardly worth such effort. That came out on Abbey, and waxes lyrical on my shelf still. I'm just too lazy to check it out!!

 

IS THAT "CHECK" OR "CHUCK" , RICHARD ? I SHARE YOUR VIEW OF PRELUDE FOR ORGAN AND TAPE BY ONE RICHARD STEWART. IF YOU LOOK AT THE SLEEVE, AS I HAVE JUST DONE, TWO MATTERS OF NOTE ARE MURRAY SOMERVILLE'S APPALLING TASTE IN TROUSERS.( DID WE REALLY DRESS LIKE THAT THEN ?) AND THE NAME OF THE PRODUCTION ASSISTANT - ONE PAUL HALE !

 

 

 

 

 

Regarding Herricks St Pauls, I well recall a friend playing this to me (even though I had my own copy and still do) and saying "ooh it just doesn't sound like that now" referring to Manders rebuild in the 70s. This was the cause of many arguments over that, he an armchair listener, revelling in the fire and brassiness of it. Despite me pointing out constantly that it never has sounded like that record ever, he was not convinced. So, me being the usual crafty whatname, found a record of Dearnley playing Boelmann on the restored organ.

 

THAT WOULD BE THE RECORDING OF THE WHOLE SUITE RECORDED BY MICHAEL WOODWARD, SO IT MIGHT COME OUT ON PRIORY. IF MY MEMORY IS RIGHT THE BOELLMAN IS ALL ON THE CHANCEL EXCEPT FOR THE 32' CONTRA VIOLONE ADDED AT THE END

 

Just the chancel I might add..... I said "this was done before, you can tell".... :lol: anyhow he said "ah yes, you CAN tell" etc etc. So....more revelling about this glorious Willis that was, me reaching for the Gin for sanity.

 

EXCELLENT IDEA. I USE SINGLE MALTS FOR THE SAME PURPOSE.

 

I then announced "well it B... well isn't, its as it is now" and that shut him up big style. But the thing is how people get carried away about such issues. I often heard St Pauls before the 70s rebuild, and it has very many more strings to it's bow now. No arguing that one. I even had to suffer comments about the "glorious" :lol: SE quarter gallery Lewis pipes as being Manna from heaven, 916 pipes no less. Pity they were opened right up and screamed, not to mention one being starkly aware exactly where the racket was coming from, in a way that today with the new Diapason chorus it's not as easy to tell.

 

And it all blends. Another gem from St. Pauls is E Power Biggs doing Medelssohn sonatas......any takers!? The Tubas sound wonderful!!!!!!!

 

DOES THIS REALLY EXIST RICHARD / I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR IT !

 

 

regards,

 

Brian Childs

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