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Who Decides Who Gets To Play What Organs And Why?


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Guest Roffensis

:P:P

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

 

Mistakes or not, I recall this organ as it was before. Reversing everything would result in the previous mistakes.

 

Always a glorious sound, it nevertheless suffered (and still suffers) from bad siting, "the distant rumble of thunder" from the triforium and possibly the most ineffective Hill Tuba in history.

 

This was always an organ  less than pure in it's origins, and it would be a brave consultant who decided upon an ideal restoration rather than an attempt to improve what is there. The problem will always be the siting of the instrument I'm afraid, because the side aisles are quite small and the nave isn't terribly wide.

 

Of course, a  new free standing Mander at the crossing would be nice, but I feel sure that someone would say it spoiled the view!

 

MM

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

 

 

There is a relatively recent recording of Selby Abbey available. It is a typically well-filled Amphion recording of the present organist Dr.Roger Tebbett. This was made about six years ago and I';m sure it is still in stock.

 

Selby may not be much changed on paper, but those changes are pretty obvious aurally. I agree that this one-typically English instrument deserves to have those changes reversed, but the expense will be sustantial and a rebuild is not overdue mechanically-speaking. Meantime, there are a number of good similar-period Hills around. There's Carlo Curley's favourite at Holbrook, Suffolk and one of my favourites is at Peterborough Cathedral which I fully expect has been restored to splendid correct voice by H&H's recent work. It was really lovely before the fire. Anyone want to suggest others? It was a shame that HN&B went to the wall, though as many now know, the fact that financial reins were held by non-organbuilders must have been a problem.

 

I knew a number of HN&B men and admired (in particular) their mechanical work and the comfort of their consoles - square pistons excepted, though no doubt these were designed to be easy to see (which they were) and impossible to drift round and come unscrewed. They also chewed lumps off over-energetic knuckles.

I think where HN&B went wrong was agreeing/offering to put neo-classical ranks into romantic organs which they did so obviously and thoroughly in several caseas. The Lichfield cathedral instrument (now really wonderfully restored and enlarged) was a classic case.

 

The few HN&B (John Norman ear) instruments that were completely new were very interesting, fresh and exciting. I would nominate the Mormon Tabernale, Hyde Park and Chapel Organ Ellesmere College, Shropshire as examples. In both cases the majority of the fluework was superb. I have to add a rider to that, however: I still dislike the chorus mixtures. Each rank seemed to be voiced with as much harmonic as possible. While a bright unison rank (15th, 22nd etc.) can get away with audible first and second harmonics, but the time a 19th does it too, you get overtones of an out-opf-tune D when you play a C with the mixture drawn!

 

The old RCO organ at Kensington Gore, the Great Mixture had to be sent back and it was eventually softened by the makers. It was still not everyone's idea of perfection. The Pedal Mixture III did not go back, and (correct me if I'm wrong) I remember this as being the loudest stop on the organ.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

 

P.S. My humble apologies to anyone who struggled to read the above post. I intended to proof-read my reply to make it fit for human consumption and pressed the wrong button and submitted it ahead of the correction stage! Now it's out there in the ether and a tricky read, sorry.

 

Oops!

P.

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Yes - my only reservation is that he changes the prescribed registrations - in one case, drastically. The Scherzo in the 2me Symphonie, is marked to be played with reeds 8p and 4p on GPR, with a similar sound on the Pedale, with all Tirasses. However, Pincemaille uses 8p and 2p flutes and basically misses the bright, commanding effect which would have been afforded by the reeds.

 

I have recently recorded the entire symphony (together with other repertoire) on my 'own' church instrument and I use the prescribed registration - I also managed to play it three seconds faster than Pincemaille! :rolleyes:

 

The Scherzo does not, of course, appear in the later editions of the Symphony, being replaced by the Salve Regina. Personally, I think Pierre Pincemaille's approach is appropriate in terms of the overall mood of the work. I originally felt the same about the Intermezzo in the 6th. Symphony, where I have always gone for reeds and mixtures to blow the cobwebs away - but it does tend to make it sound pompous rather than playful!

 

However, the interesting point this raises is how much must we be stick rigidly to the indications of the composer? After all, every instrument is different and surely our aim should be to reveal the beauty of the music as well as we can with the environment and resources available.

 

I am looking forward to Pierre Pincemaille's complete recordings of César Franck's works due out later this year. I'm sure it won't be like those that have gone before.

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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...

 

I don't know if the rules have changed, but back in October 1997 (thanks to my mate writing to Prof. Tracey) I was given a slot on the mighty Willis. I was met by the Organ Scholar (Keith Hearnshaw) on a Sunday afternoon about 4pm and promised "a half hour" on the recital console..

 

Obviously I must have played OK because I was allowed 90 minutes in all, with Mr. Hearnshaw kindly pulling stops and giving gentle advice and encouragement.

 

We did have to throttle back a bit because of guided tours, but he even threw in the (then new) Trompette Millitaire as I concluded my last piece (Guilmant No. 1, finale)

 

It was truly an experience of a lifetime! Even a visit to Blackpool that very evening and a ride on "The Big One" couldn't compare with the adrenaline rush of the Liverpool Organ. Awesome!

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The Scherzo does not, of course, appear in the later editions of the Symphony, being replaced by the Salve Regina.  Personally, I think Pierre Pincemaille's approach is appropriate in terms of the overall mood of the work.  I originally felt the same about the Intermezzo in the 6th. Symphony, where I have always gone for reeds and mixtures to blow the cobwebs away - but it does tend to make it sound pompous rather than playful!

 

Well, perhaps we can agree to differ - given that the previous two movemets (and the succeeding movement) are generally quite quiet, I still think that the prescribed registration is better. If you play it quickly enough and with good articulation, it should be possible to avoid making it sound pompous. :)

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

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/

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

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/

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With regard to the question posed 'Do you wish to hear Bach played on an organ by Bogbrush and Scraper', I don't really care who built the instrument, or when, so long as the person playing it does so with fire in his/her belly, and produces a musical performance. I've heard Bach played on all sorts of Organs, sometimes well, sometimes badly, but there seems to me to be no automatic corelation between the style of Organ and the quality of the performance.

My apologies to the correspondent whose post I seem to have copied verbatim, and appended my name to - I appear to have pushed the wrong key somewhere - sorry!

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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.

 

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.

 

MM

Sales of commercial organ CDs should take into account the overseas market, but UK record companies should not be making that the driving force behind making recordings. And to be honest, there are already more than enough recordings out there of Vierne, Franck or Widor on the great Cavaille-Coll organs in Rouen, Caen, Toulouse and Paris and Reger or Liszt on German organs at Merseberg, Cologne, Ingolstadt, Leipzig etc made by French and German record labels.

 

I see no reason why a series on the Great French Romantics, played by a first class organist on the Grand Organ of Westminster Cathedral couldn't be a a commercial bestseller. This organ, one of our greatest instruments, is woefully under-recorded. Reger from Norwich has already been done, as has Karg-Elert (Paul Derrett on Amphion) to wonderful effect.

 

Of course, Bach at St George's Hall, Liverpool is a non-starter. It's simply a question of putting the right organ with the right repertoire and the right player.

 

Jeremy Jones

London

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"Of course, Bach at St George's Hall, Liverpool is a non-starter. It's simply a question of putting the right organ with the right repertoire and the right player"

 

(Quote)

 

As far as the continental market is concerned, this would have been true 20 years ago.

But a good choice of Bach's transcriptions by Reger or Liszt, for instance, might give surprising results!

 

And why not try to market british romantic music, after all? Near to nobody knows

it here....Next door! save say Elgar's Sonata (but even this one may have been

listened to by 0,1% of the organists once in their lives...)

 

It is surprising, but a fact: the fashion on the continent today is very different

from the UK's.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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As regards the Whitlock, someone should wake up to the fact he was actually at Rochester Cathedral, and loved that organ. despite two major rebuilds since his time, the organ still is very recognisable, and more importantly retains the exact coulours needed for his music. In all his music you can hear the Rochester influence. Priory diod issue a CD of choral works there, but no one has ever bothered to do anything solo organ wise, not even the five pieces dedicated to locals. His music has always featured at rochester, and I well recall both Robert Ashfield and Joe Levett playing his music. Joe Levett having died only a few years ago was a real loss, as one woh knew him personally, and me him. He was a mine of information concerning both Whitlock and his use of that organ. Instead we get treated to everyone else recording his stuff at St Pauls and so on, and that organ does not quite suit his music in the way Rochester does. Too thin and too much acoustic for a start. Then there are other composers with strong cathedral associations, Harvey Grace at Chichester, Blair at Worcester, the list could go on. Again, it took Amphion to actually reissue any of the old Whitlock recordings at Rochester, and the BBC to broadcast a recital of his music some years ago.

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Priory Did issue a solo recording of Whitlocks organ works played by Graham Barber (volume 1 at Hull city Hall).

 

BTW - just to revert to the RAH thread, would't Whitlocks Symphoiny in g minor be a brilliant suggestion for next years proms season? The voice of Jupiter would lap it up. Not much chance of getting the organ hating BBC to agrre though!

 

:D

Andy.

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As regards the Whitlock, someone should wake up to the fact he was actually at Rochester Cathedral, and loved that organ. despite two major rebuilds since his time, the organ still is very recognisable, and more importantly retains the exact coulours needed for his music.

I wonder. Whitlock's organ would have been this one, more or less (you have to unpick the changes made in 1935): http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N14286

I really can't see much point of contact between this and the current Mander job.

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I wonder. Whitlock's organ would have been this one, more or less (you have to unpick the changes made in 1935): http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N14286

I really can't see much point of contact between this and the current Mander job.

 

I have to agree with VH.

Having sung in the choir there for over 30 years I can safely say I know the organ fairly well.

There is a world of difference between the pre- and post-1989 version, and I doubt very much that Percy would recognize it nowadays.

[For more thoughts on the same instrument, see my post of 16 Jan 2007 on this thread:

http://web16713.vs.netbenefit.co.uk/discus...c=956&st=40]

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