Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Who Decides Who Gets To Play What Organs And Why?


Recommended Posts

Hi everybody,

 

I thought I would see if the collective wisdom of the group could provide me with any explanation(s) of something that has always puzzled me, though the matter is hardly of earth-shattering significance.

 

Those of us with even moderately sized CD collections can hardly fail to notice that some instruments appear far more frequently than others. Simply restricting myself to British organs, the area with which I am most familiar, (though I have noticed exactly the same apparent phenomenon with regard to organs in France and Germany)it is glaringly obvious, for example, that whilst Coventry, Blackburn, Salisbury and Norwich Cathedral Organs have been recorded by several different players, some of whom seem to have no discernible connection with the cathedral in question other than being physically present in the building in order to play the organ, other equally fine (or finer?)instruments , eg Liverpool Anglican Cathedral are recorded only by a staff organist and by no one else. I do not intend to multiply examples, though I could.

 

At one level the explanation is obvious. The authorities in the different cathedrals adopt different policies. But why do they do this ? Is the explanation as simple as the personal prejudices and likes of a particular Dean or Provost or are there other reasons more susceptible to objective explanation and discussion. I am taking it as a given constant that the organ is in "recordable condition" and that there is someone who actually wants to record it. There is little mystery about the lack of demand to record instruments which are in such a pitiful condition that no one could be expected to buy or listen to anything recorded on them, at least with any semblance of enjoyment.

 

A related matter is what motivates these policies to suddenly be put into reverse, so that a famine turns into a feast ? For years no CD was available of the Organ in Ripon Cathedral and the position in relation to Liverpool Metropolitain Cathedral was worse, since only the old Ryemuse LP of extracts from the inaugural programme of recitals was available. As I write I can call to mind at least 5 CDs of Ripon and I know of another in the "can" awaiting release: likewise I know of at least 3 CDs using the Metropolitain Cathedral Walker.

 

Does anyone know the answer , or have any plausible theories which can account for this state of affairs?

 

Regards to everybody,

Brian Childs

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 89
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Guest Roffensis
Hi everybody,

 

I thought I would see if the collective wisdom of the group could provide me with any explanation(s) of something that has always puzzled me, though the matter is hardly of earth-shattering significance.

 

Those of us with even moderately sized CD collections can hardly fail to notice that some instruments appear far more frequently than others. Simply restricting myself to British organs, the area with which I am most familiar, (though I have noticed exactly the same apparent phenomenon with regard to  organs in France and Germany)it is glaringly obvious, for example, that whilst Coventry, Blackburn, Salisbury and Norwich Cathedral Organs have been recorded by several different players, some of whom seem to have no discernible connection with the cathedral in question other than being physically present in the building in order to play the organ, other equally fine (or finer?)instruments , eg Liverpool Anglican Cathedral are recorded only by a staff organist and by no one else. I do not intend to multiply examples, though I could.

 

At one level the explanation is obvious. The authorities in the different cathedrals adopt different policies. But why do they do this ? Is the explanation as simple as the personal prejudices and likes of a particular Dean or Provost or are there other reasons more susceptible to objective explanation and discussion. I am taking it as a given constant that the organ is in "recordable condition" and that there is someone who actually wants to record it. There is little mystery about the lack of demand  to record instruments which are in such a pitiful condition that no one could be expected to buy or listen to anything recorded on them, at least with any semblance of enjoyment.

 

A related matter is what motivates these policies to suddenly be put into reverse, so that a famine turns into a feast ? For years no CD was available of the Organ in Ripon Cathedral and the position in relation to Liverpool Metropolitain Cathedral was worse, since only the old Ryemuse LP of extracts from the inaugural programme of recitals was available. As I write I can call to mind at least 5 CDs of Ripon and I know of another in the "can" awaiting release: likewise I know of at least 3 CDs using the Metropolitain Cathedral Walker.

 

Does anyone know the answer , or have any plausible theories which can account for this state of affairs?

 

Regards to everybody,

Brian Childs

 

There are more recordings due out of the Liverpool Met. !! :blink:

Link to post
Share on other sites
There are more recordings due out of the Liverpool Met. !! :blink:

 

regarding Liverpool anglican, I have found that it seems that only "the staff" seem to play this instrument, I have asked on behalf of 2 organists if they could play for an hour and they said no, even though one of the organists was taking his choir there, and had to have one of the organ scholars play for him. . As regards "Paddies Wigwam" , they are a lot more open, I recorded there quite while ago and they were most helpful. I think that recording companies have a certain few "artists" and its they that play the organs to be recorded eg, Graham Barber, Jane Watts etc for Priory,,,, I may be totally wrong on this though

Peter

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is true that only the staff or visiting recitalists get to play Liverpool Anglican.

 

It is "the one" that everyone wants to play, but sadly for everyone who wants to play, the Dean & Chapter stipulate that the organ can only be used for practice when the building is closed (other than for services). When the building is closed, someone has to be there, which costs money.

 

Money is something Cathedrals don't seem to have a lot of these days.

 

It is not the staff being awkward or unfriendly, it is just the way things have to be.

 

Would you want to explain to Ian that you'd broken her?!? :blink:

Link to post
Share on other sites
It is true that only the staff or visiting recitalists get to play Liverpool Anglican.

 

It is "the one" that everyone wants to play, but sadly for everyone who wants to play,  the Dean & Chapter stipulate that the organ can only be used for practice when the building is closed (other than for services). When the building is closed, someone has to be there, which costs money.

 

Money is something Cathedrals don't seem to have a lot of these days.

 

It is not the staff being awkward or unfriendly, it is just the way things have to be.

 

Would you want to explain to Ian that you'd broken her?!? ;)

Clearly not. However, presumably there has to be some posssibility of making money by hiring out the organ - possibly even a profit. I never supposed that the venues I mentioned were making their instruments available for NOTHING, nor would I expect anyone to except when it is a member of their own staff making a souvenir recording to sell to visitors to the bookshop.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

Some famous organs over-recorded, some seriously under-recorded:

I would like to suggest to you the reasons for this (apparent) problem and they are fairly basic ones.

 

The commonest situation is usually that of the resident organist having to do a CD first or wanting to keep the sole pleasure of such a project to themselves. Some places are not difficult in this regard, I've managed to get in at several places now. However, I have also (and I'd better not name them) approached a number of essentially similar places and received advice that if the organ is going to be recorded, the resident organist(s) will do it. Sometimes this happens in due course, sometimes it doesn't.

 

In the specific case of Westminster Abbey, I was firmly told after a very long wait and a correspondence directly with everyone's favourite Dean (and before the latest musical appointments) that no outsider would ever be allowed to record upon it. The present players are all first-rate, so you should not have to wait very long. In a way, I agree that this is a sadness - visiting teams would be very unlikely to break an organ and all things being equal, would be likely to add to both the reputation of the instrument and the cathedral's cash-flow.

 

One superb venue I wanted to record at a few years ago was so keen for this to happen that they charged us a total facility fee of £50 - and they had someone on duty all the time!! Some folks are really nice, aren't they?

 

To complete the picture: I know for certain that there are places, and I could name them, where not even the cathedral's own musicians have much chance. Some places where the only way to record is to do it a live at a recital. The thought of clergy/officials 'putting themselves out' in any way is unthinkable. Nor would they stump up the £3k or £4k it would take to have something really enjoyable out there in the wider world promoting their establishment.

[cue: off-stage hisses and boos, please].

 

If you are pining to have a favourite organ on CD, my best advice is that you write directly to the organist and ask him/her if one is planned - let them know that they would have your support. Cathedral organists are

1. pretty busy people

2. often 'semi-lapsed' performers

....is this rude or fair? I hope the latter.

 

In an ideal world every decent organ would get recorded at least once every ten years in decent quality audio with a programme of interest and notes/photos to match. However, in the real world...........

Link to post
Share on other sites
Some famous organs over-recorded, some seriously under-recorded:

 

(snip)

 

In an ideal world every decent organ would get recorded at least once every ten years in decent quality audio with a programme of interest and notes/photos to match. However, in the real world...........

 

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

 

I quite agree, but of course, that would be commerical suicide for any recording company.

 

However, there is an alternative; especially in this day and age of computers and mini-disc recorders, DAT, DVD writers etc.

 

With a half decent stereo microphone, it is possible for almost anyone to make a successful recording of virtually any instrument, without recourse to huge amounts of equipment.

 

The web site "Organs & Organists On-line" features many instruments; some famous and others not so famous. If an instrument is threatened by closure of a building, this is the perfect place to archive a recording. It is also the site where

many young organists have posted samples of their abilities (some as young as 13). The performances by David M.Patrick from Gloucester are esepcially fine.

 

This site is almost unique in being open to all, anywhere in the world, and for anyone who wants to record an organ in Azerbijan (I'm not sure how that is spelled, but there IS a new organ there) and inform the world about it, this is the site to do it.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

 

The performances by David M.Patrick from Gloucester are esepcially fine.

 

Is that the same David M Patrick s who used to be assistant at St Michael's , Cornhill?

 

Thank you for the information. I shall follow it up.

 

I am grateful to those to those who have shared their thoughts so far but somewhat depressed , though not surprised, to discover that the explanations put forward are the ones I considered most likely myself. Depressed because those explanation seem to owe more to human failings than human virtues -

 

selfishness "It's my organ and you can't have it to play with..."

 

idleness "It's too much trouble to have a recording crew...."

 

jealousy/ envy " X is a much better player than I am and s/he will not get the opportunity to show me up...."

 

Such attitudes would be deplorable wherever encountered but they are especially to be deplored when associated with the church which is supposed to have a party line that is not in favour of such attitudes. But then in the real world .... Perhaps the person who observed that the Church had nothing to do with Christianity was not over stating the case. But I should leave the sermonising to those entitled to wear their collars back to front.

 

BAC

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

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

 

 

 

Is that the same David M Patrick s who used to be assistant at St Michael's , Cornhill?

 

 

I am grateful to those to those who have shared their thoughts so far but somewhat depressed , though not surprised, to discover that the explanations put forward are the ones I considered most likely myself. Depressed because those explanation seem to owe more to human failings than human virtues -

 

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

 

 

I think it must be the same David M Patrick, who now lives in Norway very sensibly.

 

The business of recording organs commercially MUST take into account sales beyond the UK, and perhaps this is part of the reason why many fine organs in the UK are not recorded often, or at all.

 

The marketing game is such, that sales people have to tap into the x-factor of celebrity and the world awareness of a particular instrument. As regards instruments, Liverpool Cathedral is certainly in a class of its own and enjoys world-status. Both Doncaster pc and Armley enjoy a similar world status, and Blackburn Cathedral has proved its' worth as an instrument which records especially well. In absolute terms, I doubt that there are others instruments which do not either fall into a similar mould as these, or which are unique in the way that the Schulze organs are; no matter how good or original they may be.

 

As regards the choice of performer, it is surely the case, that in a very discerningworld, only the very best, outright concert organists have the necessary x-factor and international reputation....people such as David Briggs, for example.

 

Anything less than this, really does have to compete with other offerings from ouside the UK, and in this respect, there are far more appropriate instruments for the purposes of recording the music of the French Baroque, the French Romantic, the German Baroque, the German Romantic etc etc. By and large, there is not a great corpus of internationally respected UK music which can be exported; which is not the same as saying that UK music is rubbish, which it is not. Whilst many on this discussion board might rate Howells highly, his name would barely be known in areas outside the late romantic tradition, and the same goes for almost all other UK composers of whatever era. (That stated, I've heard Frank Bridge played on the Bavokerk organ!!)

 

Ask yourselves a question. Do you want to hear Vierne performed on a "Bogbush & Scraper" or on the Cavaille-Coll at Tolouse? Do you want to hear Reger from Norwich Cathedral, or performed on a great Walcker or Sauer of the era? Above all, do you want to hear Bach played on the organ of St.George's Hall, Liverpool, or on the organs at Zwolle, Naumberg, Haarlem or Groningen.

 

The days when any Tom Armstrong, Dick Popelwell or Harry Britten could record on almost any worthy organ, and sell recordings in a thriving domestic market, are long gone.....and THAT'S THE PROBLEM.

 

MM

 

 

PS: I forgot to include the URL for Organs&Organists on-line, which is:-

 

http://www.organsandorganistsonline.com/

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ask yourselves a question. Do you want to hear Vierne performed on a "Bogbush & Scraper" or on the Cavaille-Coll at Tolouse? Do you want to hear Reger from Norwich Cathedral, or performed on a great Walcker or Sauer of the era? Above all, do you want to hear Bach played on the organ of St.George's Hall, Liverpool, or on the organs at Zwolle, Naumberg, Haarlem or Groningen

(Quote)

 

That is precisely the reason you'd better keep genuine, original organs,

that allow you to present top-recordings nobody could do on a German

organ...

Just a tought!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it must be the same David M Patrick, who now lives in Norway very sensibly.

 

The business of recording organs commercially MUST take into account sales beyond the UK, and perhaps this is part of the reason why many fine organs in the UK are not recorded often, or at all.

 

I AM SURE THAT THIS IS SO BUT AS YOU SAY ONLY PART OF THE REASON. I THINK I WAS PROBABLY GUILTY IN MY INITIAL POST OF NOT MAKING ENOUGH ALLOWANCE FOR THE COMPLEXITIES OF THE ORGAN RECORDING SCENE, WHERE FACTORS COME INTO PLAY WHICH SEEM NOT SO FREQUENTLY PRESENT IN THE CASE OF OTHER INSTRUMENTS OR MUSICIANS. THUS

 

(1) IN PUBLISHING THE TERM "VANITY PUBLISHING" IS USED TO DENOTE OPERATIONS WHICH WILL PUBLISH ANY BOOK AT THE AUTHOR'S EXPENSE ALL THE PROFIT COMING NOT FROM COMMERCIAL MARKETING BUT FROM PROVIDING AN OUTLET FOR THOSE WHO ARE CONVINCED THAT THE REJECTION SLIPS WHICH THEY KEEP GETTING HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE QUALITY/ UTILITY/ INTEREST OF THE MANUSCRIPT THEY SUBMIT BUT WITH THE SHORTSIGHTEDNESS OF THE EDITORIAL STAFF OF CONVENTIONAL PUBLISHING HOUSES. I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT THERE ARE MANY EXAMPLES OF "VANITY RECORDING" OUT THERE, THOUGH I DO THINK I COULD PROBABLY PRODUCE ONE OR TWO EXAMPLES BUT NOT IN A PUBLIC FORUM LIKE THIS. HOWEVER,THIS IS REALLY BY THE WAY , SINCE THERE IS NO MYSTERY ABOUT WHY RECORDINGS FALLING INTO THIS CATEGORY GET MADE WHERE THEY DO.

 

(2) RECORDINGS SEEM MORE FREQUENTLY TO BE MADE TO GENERATE INCOME FOR THE BUILDINGS IN WHICH THEY ARE LOCATED. SOMETIMES THE PURPOSE IS TO HELP TO PAY FOR REPAIRS TO THE INSTRUMENT ITSELF, SOMETIMES FOR OTHER PURPOSES. THE REASON FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SUCH RECORDINGS IS SELF EXPLANATORY.

 

HOWEVER

 

(3) IT APPEARS TO ME THAT THE MAJORITY OF ORGAN RECORDINGS IN THIS COUNTRY THAT DO NOT FIT INTO EITHER OF THE ABOVE TWO CATEGORIES ARE MADE NOT BY THE MULTI NATIONAL BIG PLAYERS, MOST OF WHOM SEEM TO HAVE ABANDONED THE ORGAN, BUT BY SMALL OPERATIONS OPERATING WITH FEW STAFF AND LIMITED RESOURCES.(OR AT LEAST THAT IS HOW THEY STARTED OUT) THE FACT THAT A NUMBER OF THESE ORGANISATIONS ARE NO LONGER IN EXISTENCE SEEMS TO AFFIRM THE TRUTH OF YOUR OBSERVATIONS BUT PRIORY RECORDINGS SEEM TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CARVE THEMSELVES A MARKET NICHE OF SIZEABLE DIMENSIONS. YET THEY ARE BY NO MEANS A LARGE ORGANISATION. AT THE MOMENT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT YOUR EXPLANATION ACCOUNTS PERFECTLY FOR THE VIRTUAL ABSENCE OF THE MAJOR RECORD COMPANIES FROM THE ORGAN MUSIC MARKET BUT CANNOT EXPLAIN WHY THE SMALL ORGANISATIONS WHO ARE STILL ACTIVE CHOOSE TO RECORD WHO THEY DO WHERE THEY DO BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE THE INTERNATIONAL MARKETING EXPERTISE INPUT IN THE FIRST PLACE TO INFLUENCE THE DECISIONS THEY MAKE.

The marketing game is such, that sales people have to tap into the x-factor of celebrity and the world awareness of a particular instrument. As regards instruments, Liverpool Cathedral is certainly in a class of its own and enjoys world-status. Both Doncaster pc and Armley enjoy a similar world status,

WHY THEN DO SO RELATIVELY FEW RECORDINGS OF EITHER INSTRUMENT EXIST COMPARED WITH SAY COVENTRY WHICH YOU DO NOT MENTION IN THE SAME BREATH AS THESE ? FURTHERMORE THE RECORDINGS OF WHOSE EXISTENCE I AM AWARE WERE MADE BY THE TIDDLERS RATHER THAN THE BIG FISH. WAS SELBY ABBEY A WORLD CLASS/RENOWNED INSTRUMENT WHEN GERMANI RECORDED IT FOR A MAJOR RECORD COMPANY ? OR DOES THIS EXAMPLE BELONG TO A DIFFERENT ERA IN WHICH DIFFERENT CONSIDERATIONS APPLIED ?

and Blackburn Cathedral has proved its' worth as an instrument which records especially well. In absolute terms, I doubt that there are others instruments which do not either fall into a similar mould as these, or which are unique in the way that the Schulze organs are; no matter how good or original they may be.

 

As regards the choice of performer, it is surely the case, that in a very discerningworld, only the very best, outright concert organists have the necessary x-factor and international reputation....people such as David Briggs, for example.

BUT IS THERE NOT A PROBLEM HERE IN THAT PEOPLE WITH A WORLD CLASS REPUTATION WOULD QUITE RIGHTLY EXPECT TO BE PAID WORLD CLASS LEVEL FEES AND THAT AS YOU HAVE SAID BEFORE (AND REPEAT AT THE END OF THIS MESSAGE) THERE IS NOT A BIG ENOUGH AUDIENCE OUT THERE PREPARED TO PUT ITS HAND DEEP ENOUGH INTO ITS POCKET TO PAY FOR THIS ? YET THE RECORDINGS DO GET MADE.

 

Anything less than this, really does have to compete with other offerings from ouside the UK, and in this respect, there are far more appropriate instruments for the purposes of recording the music of the French Baroque, the French Romantic, the German Baroque, the German Romantic etc etc.

 

SELF EVIDENTLY TRUE , AND YET WE HAVE CHRISTOPH KELLER PLAYING A COMPLETE WHITLOCK PROGRAMME INCLUDING THE SONATA AT ALTENBURG CATHEDRAL AND THE ELGAR SONATA PLAYED ON A CAVAILLE COLL. MIGHT IT NOT BE THE CASE THAT ORGAN ENTHUSIASTS SUCH AS THE MEMBERS OF THIS SITE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE BOTH AN AUTHENTIC PERFORMANCE AND A TOP CLASS PERFORMANCE ON THE SORT OF INSTRUMENT THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO HEAR IN THE FLESH -PERHAPS A DIFFERENT KIND OF REFERENCE PERFORMANCE. ALSO THIS ARGUMENT ONLY ADDRESSES THE SITUATION WHERE THE FOCUS IS ON THE MUSIC BUT WITH THE ORGAN, CERTAINLY FAR MORE THAN ANY OTHER INSTRUMENT, THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARE LISTENING TO THE INSTRUMENT AS MUCH AS THE MUSIC. WE CAN ARGUE, IF YOU WISH, ABOUT WHETHER THIS OUGHT TO BE SO, BUT IT CANNOT BE PLAUSIBLY DENIED THAT IT IS IN FACT SO!

 

By and large, there is not a great corpus of internationally respected UK music which can be exported; which is not the same as saying that UK music is rubbish, which it is not. Whilst many on this discussion board might rate Howells highly, his name would barely be known in areas outside the late romantic tradition, and the same goes for almost all other UK composers of whatever era. (That stated, I've heard Frank Bridge played on the Bavokerk organ!!)

 

I AM SURE YOU ARE RIGHT BUT THEN WE HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN THERE WAS A BIG GAP BETWEEN PURCELL AND ELGAR, WHILST BRITTEN WROTE NEXT TO NOTHING. STRANGE WHEN YOU CONSIDER THAT PETER STARTED OUT AS AN ORGAN SCHOLAR. THAT SAID I THINK OUR B TEAM IS AS GOOD AS THEIR B TEAM WHEN WE COME DOWN TO PEOPLE LIKE SPETH AND THE UNFORTUNATELY NAMED MR FUX, THOUGH THE WRITING STYLES ARE CLEARLY NOT THE SAME.

 

 

 

Ask yourselves a question. Do you want to hear Vierne performed on a "Bogbush & Scraper"

THIS IS A BUILDER WHOSE WORK I HAVE NEVER COME ACROSS SO I AM NOT REALLY ABLE TO ASSESS ITS SUITABILITY FOR VIERNE . DID THEY TEND TO IMITATE CAVAILLE COLL OR WILLIS OR WAS IT PERHAPS JOHN COMPTON WHO INFORMED THEIR TONAL IDEALS ? PRESUMABLY ONE OF THEIR INNOVATIONS WAS A REVOLVING MUSIC FEEDER TO ENABLE MUSIC TO BE CONVENIENTLY DEPLOYED IN ROLLS, WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY MAINTAINING A CURIOUS ALLEGIANCE TO WATER POWER TO PROVIDE THE WIND SUPPLY ?

or on the Cavaille-Coll at Tolouse? Do you want to hear Reger from Norwich Cathedral, or performed on a great Walcker or Sauer of the era? Above all, do you want to hear Bach played on the organ of St.George's Hall, Liverpool, or on the organs at Zwolle, Naumberg, Haarlem or Groningen.

 

 

 

THE SERIOUS ANSWER IS THAT I AM SUFFICIENTLY GREEDY TO WANT BOTH, AND THAT IF FORCED TO CHOOSE I WOULD NOT NECESSARILY CHOOSE AS I SHOULD. I KNOW WHAT IS GOOD FOR ME AND I KNOW WHAT I LIKE AND THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS THE SAME THING. I CONFESS TO LOVING KEVIN BOWYER'S "A LATE TWENTIETH CENTURY EDWARDIAN BACH RECITAL" BUT THE FIRST COMPLETE BACH SET I OWNED WAS LIONEL ROGG AT THE GROSSMUNSTER, ZURICH. WHERE DO THOSE PERFORMANCES COME ON THE SLIDING SCALE OF AUTHENTICITY. IF WE WANT AUTHENTIC DUPRE IS IT NOT THE WANAMAKER STORE ORGAN RATHER THAN ST SULPICE FOR THE FIRST SYMPHONY ? ONE FURTHER POINT. ALTHOUGH I USED HOME GROWN EXAMPLES BECAUSE IF CHALLENGED I COULD PRODUCE THE SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR MY POSITION WITHOUT ANY GREAT EFFORT, I HAD INTENDED MY QUESTION TO EMBRACE NOT MERELY THE UK BUT ANYWHERE WHERE TWO OR THREE (OR EVEN ONE) OF OUR MEMBERS ARE GATHERED TOGETHER. THUS I WOULD ALSO LOVE TO KNOW WHY WE HEAR SO LITTLE OF THE EXCITING EASTERN EUROPEAN ORGANS WHICH YOU ARE NOW RESEARCHING, WHILST BEING AFFORDED PERHAPS TOO MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO HEAR SOME EXECRABLE MODERN EXAMPLES OF THE ORGAN BUILDER'S CRAFT FROM OUR CLOSER EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURS

 

The days when any Tom Armstrong, Dick Popelwell or Harry Britten could record on almost any worthy organ, and sell recordings in a thriving domestic market, are long gone.....and THAT'S THE PROBLEM.

 

DESPITE APPEARANCES I AGREE WITH YOUR BASIC DIAGNOSIS WHICH I THINK EXPLAINS QUITE A LOT, BUT NOT ALL, NOR DO YOU CLAIM IT DOES . IN FACT I AM NOW SOMEWHAT PUZZLED WHY AS MANY ORGAN CDs ARE RELEASED AS IN FACT MAKE IT OUT INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

 

MM

PS: I forgot to include the URL for Organs&Organists on-line, which is:-

 

http://www.organsandorganistsonline.com/

[

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
It is true that only the staff or visiting recitalists get to play Liverpool Anglican.

 

It is "the one" that everyone wants to play, but sadly for everyone who wants to play,  the Dean & Chapter stipulate that the organ can only be used for practice when the building is closed (other than for services). When the building is closed, someone has to be there, which costs money.

 

Money is something Cathedrals don't seem to have a lot of these days.

 

It is not the staff being awkward or unfriendly, it is just the way things have to be.

 

Would you want to explain to Ian that you'd broken her?!? ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Brian,

 

A simple question.

I live in a country next to England. Since 30 years, the situation

is the same: if I want to buy any recording of english music

recorded with english organs, I must:

 

-Pay a travel to London

 

-Search myself in the boxes, and I have to know precisely

what I want.

 

(If it were the 10,000th Bach recording on any neo-baroque screaming

machine, suffice a bicycle and two kilomètres).

 

Now a fact:

 

On the french Plenum forum you have some hundreds of members, a majority

of whom are organists. Before I joined non one had ever heard of the

name "Herbert Howells" but perhaps two, who travel in England regularly.

 

An explanation may be here:

 

there is not a great corpus of internationally respected UK music which can be exported

(Quote)

Where is the culprit? Certainly not the music itself!

Some times ago, dealing with a subject that seems to be just another

taboh, I placed a link to some extracts of S-S Wesley choral music.

In france and Belgium these had a tremendous effect, I got tents and

tents of information demands.

If you have music that should be exported, then this one is a fine example.

But the very people who recorded it told me "We shall never make it

again because it did not sell" (In England, of course. The thing never was

to be find elsewhere).

 

So a bit of marketing would help. Need a sales representative? I'm free

(but expansive) ;)

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
well, as a "non playing" organ enthusiast of a few years, I can only say, what ever the music and whatever the organ, if it sounds right and we enjoy it, so be it. I have recorded a polish recitalist in Durham, Liverpool met, Leeds T.H. manchester cathedral and others, playing similar programes at each, he played pieces that no english organist would consider playing on these organs, as it "would not be right" eg: Mass For The Parishes _ on the Hull City Hall organ and St. Oswalds, Durham (peter collins 1988) they both sounded right, well, to me they did. listning to them a few years on, they sound ok.A friend of mine who shall remain nameless, suffice to say he is a regular recording "artist" and organist and choirmaster of one of our main cathedrals, when asked what he thought of a famous german organ in the yorkshire (???) "its ok for german stuff, but not much else. Mmmmm makes you think ;)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Brian,

 

A simple question.

I live in a country next to England. Since 30 years, the situation

is the same: if I want to buy any recording of english music

recorded with english organs, I must:

 

-Pay a travel to London

 

-Search myself in the boxes, and I have to know precisely

what I want.

 

(If it were the 10,000th Bach recording on any neo-baroque screaming

machine, suffice a bicycle and two kilomètres).

 

PIERRE, I SYMPATHISE BUT I ASSUME THAT THE INTERNET COMBINED WITH CUSTOMS FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS WITHIN THE EU MUST HAVE HELPED THE SITUATION A BIT. BEING ABLE TO LISTEN TO NEW RELEASES ON THE MANUFACTURERS WEBSITE IS ALSO A GREAT BENEFIT.

 

Now a fact:

 

On the french Plenum forum you have some hundreds of members, a majority

of whom are organists. Before I joined non one had ever heard of the

name "Herbert Howells" but perhaps two, who travel in England regularly.

 

An explanation may be here:

 

there is not a great corpus of internationally respected UK music which can be exported

(Quote)

Where is the culprit? Certainly not the music itself!

Some times ago, dealing with a subject that seems to be just another

taboh, I placed a link to some extracts of S-S Wesley choral music.

In france and Belgium these had a tremendous effect, I got tents and

tents of information demands.

If you have music that should be exported, then this one is a fine example.

But the very people who recorded it told me "We shall never make it

again because it did not sell" (In England, of course. The thing never was

to be find elsewhere).

 

So a bit of marketing would help. Need a sales representative? I'm free

(but expansive) ;)

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

 

 

BUT THERE ARE HOPEFUL SIGNS THAT THE SITUATION MAY BE STARTING TO CHANGE. IN A PREVIOUS REPLY I MENTIONED THE EXAMPLE OF THE WHITLOCK SONATA FROM ALTENBURG. THE ITALIAN ORGANIST MASSIMO NOSETTI FREQUENTLY RECORDS ENGLISH PIECES INCLUDING SUCH SURPRISING CANDIDATES AS HOLLINS AND WHITLOCK ON MODERN ITALIAN ORGANS.HE HAS EVEN COME TO ENGLAND TO RECORD ENGLISH MUSIC ON AN ENGLISH ORGAN. SO IF PLAYERS AND MUSICIANS ARE STARTING TO PERFORM THE MUSIC - AND THE HEARERS ARE SUFFICIENTLY IMPRESSED TO WANT MORE OF IT - THEN SURELY MODERN TRADING WILL ENABLE THEIR WISHES TO BE MET FAR MORE EASILY THAN IN THE PAST?RECORD STORES MUST SURELY RESPOND POSITIVELY TO THE DEMANDS OF THEIR CUSTOMERS IN A WAY THEY PERHAPS DID NOT IN THE PAST, IF ONLY BECAUSE CUSTOMERS TOLD TO SERVE THEMSELVES FROM THE INTERNET FOR ITEMS WHICH THE STORE DOES NOT HAVE OR DOES NOT WANT TO TROUBLE ITSELF TO OBTAIN WILL FIND IT EQUALLY EASY (AND PERHAPS CHEAPER) TO SERVE THEMSELVES WITH THINGS THE STORE DOES HAVE. BUSINESS SUCCESS DOES NOT SEEM TO ME TO LIE IN THAT DIRECTION !

 

REGARDS,

 

BRIAN CHILDS

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

If you have music that should be exported, then this one is a fine example.

But the very people who recorded it told me "We shall never make it

again because it did not sell" (In England, of course. The thing never was

to be find elsewhere).

 

So a bit of marketing would help. Need a sales representative? I'm free

(but expansive) :P

 

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

 

 

Take two modern organ works....the Toccata, Chorale & Fugue and the Diversion for Mixtures by Francis Jackson; both fine pieces which compare very well with almost anything else written after 1960 or so.

 

Who has ever recorded them other than the composer? I'm glad to say, Simon Nieminski has produced an excellent CD of Francis Jackson's music from Edinburgh.

 

Then there is the Healey-Willan "biggie"....the Intro, Passacaglia, Choral & Fugue, which I think is one of the greatest romantic organ works.

 

Are they known in mainland Europe?

 

I somehow doubt that they are well known outside England (and Canada in the case of the Willan).

 

Maybe it is a fact of organ-life, that organists play in "schools of thought"....Bach and Reger in Holland, Vierne and Dupre (etc) in France and Howells in England.

Maybe insularity is not just an English disease after all.

 

Brian, I loved the bit about paper rolls and water-power.....that was really very funny.

 

Pierre, I think you may be EXPENSIVE rather expansive, but you could of course be both!! ;)

 

As for Dupre at Wanamaker (now Lord & Taylor department store), well I seem to recall that he performed there and gave his "Passion Symphony" the first (improvised) rendering in the States...possibly on the Wanamaker organ.

 

MM

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for the fault, MM!

 

Maybe insularity is not just an English disease after all.

(quote)

 

Aaaaaaaaaaaah, fine!

And of course it is not. Mind you, I am a native of a lilliputian country

with four languages, crammed between Germany, Holland, England and France,

often dealing as a battlefield between these. (I forgot Luxembourg, which is not fair

so good is the organ life there).

So here we know what international is about. I read one day The Times, the

next the Frankfurter allgemeine Zeitung,the next Le Monde....etc. Quite normal

for "old belgians" like me.

I mean this: European countries were no more islands in 1910.

Thereafter, the WW and WW once more were the disasters we know, plus another one

we still need to understand: all european countries are still islands now, with every

one ignoring largely what happens in the others.

 

-Cite me three preserved baroque flemish organs. Could you?

 

-Ask any belgian organist for three fairly preserved Willis organs. Any hope?

 

(etc)

Best wishes,

Pierre.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
well, as a "non playing" organ enthusiast of a few years, I can only say, what ever the music and whatever the organ, if it sounds right and we enjoy it,  so be it. I have recorded a polish recitalist in Durham, Liverpool met, Leeds T.H. manchester cathedral and others, playing similar programes at each, he played pieces that no english organist would consider playing on these organs, as it "would not be right" eg: Mass For The Parishes _ on the Hull City Hall organ and St. Oswalds, Durham (peter collins 1988) they both sounded right, well, to me they did.  listning to them a few years on, they sound ok.A friend of mine who shall remain nameless, suffice to say he is a regular recording "artist" and organist and choirmaster of one of our main cathedrals, when asked what he thought of a famous german organ in the yorkshire (???) "its ok for german stuff, but not much else. Mmmmm makes you think  ;) 

 

 

Yes, and he's quite right about Armley!!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I am a native of a lilliputian country

with four languages, crammed between Germany, Holland, England and France,

often dealing as a battlefield between these. (I forgot Luxembourg, which is not fair

so good is the organ life there).

So here we know what international is about. I read one day The Times, the

next the Frankfurter allgemeine Zeitung,the next Le Monde....etc. Quite normal

for "old belgians" like me.

I mean this: European countries were no more islands in 1910.

Thereafter, the WW and WW once more were the disasters we know, plus another one

we still need to understand: all european countries are still islands now, with every

one ignoring largely what happens in the others.

 

-Cite me three preserved baroque flemish organs. Could you?

 

-Ask any belgian organist for three fairly preserved Willis organs. Any hope?

 

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

 

Belgium? I'll just get the map out....yes....there it is.

 

I've been there!

 

I once transported a Formula One racing car to Spa, and once watched the Boucles de Spa car-rally around the Ardennes....they drive on the right you know.

 

Nice chocolates.

 

I know a bit about the organ at Antwerp Cathedral, I know the name Aneesens because there were two of their organs near to me (sadly no more save for a row of 16ft case pipes and the case itself).

 

Sorry....I can't mention a single baroque organ in Belgium, but I do know of an old baroque instrument by Picardy in Holland, which I think must be French.

 

However, I DID meet Flor Peeters and heard him play live, so I'm not completely ignorant.

 

Nevertheless, I probably know more about Lilliput and Poland coming to think of it.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
Dear Brian,

 

A simple question.

I live in a country next to England. Since 30 years, the situation

is the same: if I want to buy any recording of english music

recorded with english organs, I must:

 

-Pay a travel to London

 

-Search myself in the boxes, and I have to know precisely

  what I want.

 

(If it were the 10,000th Bach recording on any neo-baroque screaming

machine, suffice a bicycle and two kilomètres).

 

Now a fact:

 

On the french Plenum forum you have some hundreds of members, a majority

of whom are organists. Before I joined non one had ever heard of the

name "Herbert Howells" but perhaps two, who travel in England regularly.

 

An explanation may be here:

 

there is not a great corpus of internationally respected UK music which can be exported

(Quote)

Where is the culprit? Certainly not the music itself!

Some times ago, dealing with a subject that seems to be just another

taboh, I placed a link to some extracts of S-S Wesley choral music.

In france and Belgium these had a tremendous effect, I got tents and

tents of information demands.

If you have music that should be exported, then this one is a fine example.

But the very people who recorded it told me "We shall never make it

again because it did not sell" (In England, of course. The thing never was

to be find elsewhere).

 

So a bit of marketing would help. Need a sales representative? I'm free

(but expansive) ;)

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

 

 

It seems to me that too much empahasis is placed on a CD selling well. My own personal view is that those that do sell well should finance overall lesser known or recordings that do not sell as well. The Messe a Quatre Voix (Hunt/Worcester) should never have been deleted, but was, and I was one of the lucky to find a copy even so, but it remains a loss to the rest out there. Such recordings are important because they can reveal little known works, and in this case the quality of an organ in full flow, accopanying a choir...to great effect, in this case the threatened Worcester organ. When one considers the wealth of material Decca have, not to mention EMI, it becomes a travesty. It took Amphion to see virtue in reissuing much of the GCOS EMI records. These days it all comes down to money, and that is sad.

As to access to cathedral organs, these instruments belong to the diocese, and are often paid for by people within them. Organists are merely custodians, and do NOT own their organs. There is not enough interest now in the instrument, so any interest should be firmly encouraged. Any recordings by anyone should not present obstacles, and the word "No" you can't record or play Upminster Cathedral is narrow, selfish, and forms no outreach whatever. The attitude is simply insular, and that is not what the church should be about, and it should not allow such attitudes. The church is about people who ARE the church. Thats' the religious argument. As to the other, well I've already said it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
It seems to me that too much empahasis is placed on a CD selling well. My own personal view is that those that do sell well should finance overall lesser known or recordings that do not sell as well.

 

When one considers the wealth of material Decca have, not to mention EMI, it becomes a travesty. It took Amphion to see virtue in reissuing much of the GCOS EMI records. These days it all comes down to money, and that is sad.

 

As to access to cathedral organs, these instruments belong to the diocese, and are often paid for by people within them. Organists are merely custodians, and do NOT own their organs. There is not enough interest now in the instrument, so any interest should be firmly encouraged. Any recordings by anyone should not present obstacles, and the word "No" you can't record or play Upminster Cathedral is narrow, selfish, and forms no outreach whatever.

 

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

 

 

It is a fact of financial life that the big record companies have been forced to drop a lot of classical issues due to the illegal pirating of pop records in mp3 format on the internet. The big name record companies have long subsidised the production and distribution of classical recordings, and with a very substantial drop in CD sales across the globe, they have been forced into an awkward position.

 

The companies still want the prestige of having classical music listed on their labels, but now, they have been forced to drop things which do not make money or perhaps even cover costs. (If there is someone closely connected with the recording industry, I'm sure they could fill in the details for us).

 

However, the next time you go to BUY a CD, rather than download something ilegally or make copies of things, just tip a wink at Robbie Williams, Blur, Charlotte Church and the Scissors Sisters!! (I love the Scissors Sisters!!)

 

I must admit that the recording companies are a bit dim, because in classical music, archives are everything for the serious student. Someone mentioned Germani at Selby Abbey....absolutely stupendous Reger right there in the HMV/EMI archives. This is just one example. If they were REALLY commercially bright (which they don't seem to be) they would open up an internet archive facility and charge an annual fee to download or listen to things, just as Naxos do.

No fees, no contracts.....just pure profit after expenses.

 

Organists could then be Harrisoned to death on a daily basis!!

 

Hyperion were/are embroiled in a big litigation case, and have stated that it will effect their operations for the future without "help" from the likes of us in the form of donations. Their recordings of Petr Eben are very significant, and of course, they are the company responsible for the Christopher Herrick "fireworks" series.

 

As for "cathedral organs" being made available, I think that would be a recipe for chaos. I recall an old gentleman who played something vaguely in the style of Handel's "Largo" everywhere he went....sometimes in G, sometimes in F#, often in Db and a very creative version in 12-tone, which had us all running for the pub!

 

Perhaps a couple of "open days" such as they have in Holland, with careful management, would be a far better way. That said, I am often appalled that cathedrals don't have "minor celebrity" lunch-time recitals....local organists who know what they are doing, on a no-fee basis. I can think of no better public-relations exercise.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
=========================

It is a fact of financial life that the big record companies have been forced to drop a lot of classical issues due to the illegal pirating of pop records in mp3 format on the internet. The big name record companies have long subsidised the production and distribution of classical recordings, and with a very substantial drop in CD sales across the globe, they have been forced into an awkward position.

 

The companies still want the prestige of having classical music listed on their labels, but now, they have been forced to drop things which do not make money or perhaps even cover costs.  (If there is someone closely connected with the recording industry, I'm sure they could fill in the details for us).

 

However, the next time you go to BUY a CD, rather than download something ilegally or make copies of things, just tip a wink at Robbie Williams, Blur, Charlotte Church  and the Scissors Sisters!! (I love the Scissors Sisters!!)

 

I must admit that the recording companies are a bit dim, because in classical music, archives are everything for the serious student. Someone mentioned Germani at Selby Abbey....absolutely stupendous Reger right there in the HMV/EMI archives. This is just one example. If they were REALLY commercially bright (which they don't seem to be) they would open up an internet archive facility and charge an annual fee to download or listen to things, just as Naxos do.

No fees, no contracts.....just pure profit after expenses.

 

Organists could then be Harrisoned to death on a daily basis!!

 

Hyperion were/are embroiled in a big litigation case, and have stated that it will effect their operations for the future without "help" from the likes of us in the form of donations. Their recordings of Petr Eben are very significant,  and of course, they are the company responsible for the Christopher Herrick "fireworks" series.

 

As for "cathedral organs" being made available, I think that would be a recipe for chaos. I recall an old gentleman who played something vaguely in the style of Handel's "Largo" everywhere he went....sometimes in G, sometimes in F#, often in Db and a very creative version in 12-tone, which had us all running for the pub!

 

Perhaps a couple of "open days" such as they have in Holland, with careful management, would be a far better way. That said, I am often appalled that cathedrals don't have "minor celebrity" lunch-time recitals....local organists who know what they are doing, on a no-fee basis. I can think of no better public-relations exercise.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well,

 

To summarize Belgium with "Chocolate, Boucles de Spa, Antwerps Cath. Organ

and an Anneessens", could be compared with summarizing England

with Mint sauce, St Paul's Cath Organ plus a H&H I don't remember where...

 

No, we need to realize how little "europeans" we (all) still are.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well,

 

To summarize Belgium with "Chocolate, Boucles de Spa, Antwerps Cath. Organ

and an Anneessens", could be compared with summarizing England

with Mint sauce, St Paul's Cath Organ plus a H&H I don't remember where...

 

No, we need to realize how little "europeans" we (all) still are.

 

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

 

 

Well at least Belgium isn't just Garlic and Accordians like France!

 

By the way Pierre, you forgot the beer!

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites

[

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

Take two modern organ works....the Toccata, Chorale & Fugue and the Diversion for Mixtures by Francis Jackson; both fine pieces which compare very well with almost anything else written after 1960 or so.

 

Who has ever recorded them other than the composer? I'm glad to say, Simon Nieminski has produced an excellent CD of Francis Jackson's music from Edinburgh.

 

Then there is the Healey-Willan "biggie"....the Intro, Passacaglia, Choral & Fugue, which I think is one of the greatest romantic organ works.

 

Are they known in mainland Europe?

 

I somehow doubt that they are well known outside England (and Canada in the case of the Willan).

 

 

 

As a simple matter of information the Jackson Toccata Chorale and Fugue has been recorded relatively recently by both Roger Fisher at Hull City Hall and Colm Carey at St Peter's Ad Vincula in the Tower of London. For Diversion for Mixtures I have a vague memory that Graham Matthews once recorded it at Sheffield Cathedral but I am too lazy to go up to my attic to check that. But these are I think the exceptions which prove the rule. I can certainly not call to mind any recording of the Willan stemming from mainland Europe. In fairness to our European colleagues, its layout does pretty much assume a large Anglo-American organ , and its particular registration suggestions would have to be rethought, but I would have thought that if you can play Whitlock at Altenberg Willan should present few problems there. It is certainly a very fine piece and in my opinion easier to come to terms with on first hearing than the similarly scaled work by Reger. (I am expressing no opinion on whether it is in fact a better work than the Reger. I have one but I am keeping it to myself for the moment)

 

Anyone out there able to provide any more examples ?

 

Brian Childs

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...