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Pierre Lauwers

Herbert Howells

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Not at all - glad to help.

 

As far as I know, virtually always.

 

His Pedal Organs were split between several different chests, since they involved extended (and duplexed) ranks. However, his soundboards were always of the slider variety, as far as I know.

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Not at all - glad to help.

 

As far as I know, virtually always.

 

His Pedal Organs were split between several different chests, since they involved extended (and duplexed) ranks. However, his soundboards were always of the slider variety, as far as I know.

 

.....Like a vast majority of british romantic builders.

And contrarily to the germans.

Mind you, I have gotten a strong impression this kind of things

influenced the composers: actions, chest type...

 

Howells was an improvisatory kind of composer.

Like Franck and Tournemire.

Someone who spent long hours dealing with pneumatic

organs, communicating musical toughts to the pipes trough

this medium.

Pipes that spoke on sliderchests, with all what this implies: attacks,

blending properties...

So all these details might be interesting to note!

Pierre

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I've just had a very original thought!

 

I think we should have just the ONE organ for Howell's muisc.

 

That way, we could send everyone to the same place for the Howells experience, and I propose Coventry!!

 

:P

 

MM

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I've just had a very original thought!

 

I think we should have just the ONE organ for Howell's muisc.

 

That way, we could send everyone to the same place for the Howells experience, and I propose Coventry!!

 

:P

 

MM

 

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

 

 

Sorry....I mis-spelled a word.

 

Musak was the one I was groping for.

 

:P

 

MM

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Well,

 

I'd accept a compromise round.....Say, 100 organs.

100 british organs best suited to Howells, three manuals,

between 39 and XXX stops.

Then you could build St-Bavo's replicas, no problem!

Pierre

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Well,

 

I'd accept a compromise round.....Say, 100 organs.

100 british organs best suited to Howells, three manuals,

between 39 and XXX stops.

Then you could build St-Bavo's replicas, no problem!

Pierre

 

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

 

 

100 say you Sir?

 

Nay Sir, a hundred times a hundred exist throughout the land.

 

The St Bavo replica idea is fine in theory, but we don't have a suitable building. Our cathedrals and churches are just not right, being great rambling edifices with dirty acoustics, or just long, squat things with no acoustic to speak of.

 

Best to catch a plane, I think.

 

MM

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I've just had a very original thought!

 

I think we should have just the ONE organ for Howell's muisc.

 

That way, we could send everyone to the same place for the Howells experience, and I propose Coventry!!

 

;)

 

MM

 

 

I am absolutely certain that this one wouldn't do, despite many subtleties - in its louder moods, Coventry usually sounds pretty un-English. 'French' reeds were not to HH's taste anyway*, but main problem: total absence of Tuba!

A Tuba is vital - and a loud Trumpet isn't the same thing at all.

 

*His least favourite organ was the RFH.

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I am absolutely certain that this one wouldn't do, despite many subtleties - in its louder moods, Coventry usually sounds pretty un-English.  'French' reeds were not to HH's taste anyway*, but main problem: total absence of Tuba!

A Tuba is vital - and a loud Trumpet isn't the same thing at all.

 

*His least favourite organ was the RFH.

A thought has just occurred to me: what, then, are we to make of the Coventry Antiphon (1961) and the Coventry Mass (1968)? Did Howells really write them the building's actual sonorities (including the organ) in his head? Or did he imagine a different ideal? I'm not sure of the chronology, but I guess the earlier piece was conceived before the acoustic and organ were known, but perhaps it might explain why the latter is one of his least inspired works (to my mind at any rate). On the other hand, there's a certain amount of bovine whatsits talked about his canticles being written with the various building's actual acoustics in mind. Sometimes it was so, but by no means always.

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I am absolutely certain that this one wouldn't do, despite many subtleties - in its louder moods, Coventry usually sounds pretty un-English.  'French' reeds were not to HH's taste anyway*, but main problem: total absence of Tuba!

A Tuba is vital - and a loud Trumpet isn't the same thing at all.

 

*His least favourite organ was the RFH.

 

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

 

Holy Trinity, Coventry!!

 

;)

 

MM

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
A thought has just occurred to me: what, then, are we to make of the Coventry Antiphon (1961) and the Coventry Mass (1968)? Did Howells really write them the building's actual sonorities (including the organ) in his head? Or did he imagine a different ideal? I'm not sure of the chronology, but I guess the earlier piece was conceived before the acoustic and organ were known, but perhaps it might explain why the latter is one of his least inspired works (to my mind at any rate). On the other hand, there's a certain amount of bovine whatsits talked about his canticles being written with the various building's actual acoustics in mind. Sometimes it was so, but by no means always.

 

Some settings certainly seem to have the final acoustic in mind, but then one lofty resonant building can sound much like another. The St.Paul's and Gloucester Evening Canticles share characteristics that fit with this. Some settings were written for particular friends, I'm sure (buildings and acoustics notwithstanding) and (hush) some maybe for money!

 

This sounds both cheeky and critical of the great man, whom I definitely admired and liked, but I think what concerned him most with a number of compositions was whether they were going to get performed at all! I think this is one of the reasons that he took to writing for cathedral/collegiate choirs - first they would be flattered by having a setting of their own, and so would keep it in performance and second, the standard would be pretty high.

 

HH was certainly at some pains not to make his music appear too easy for fear of amateurs performing it in an amateurish way.

 

He expected high standards in performance and could be both irrascible and downright rude if they were not. I think it it true to say that (in his hey-day) he ran Edward Bairstow neck-and-neck for the reputation of most outspoken/least forgiving judge at competitive festivals.

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I do have an LP recorded at Coventry with Howells.

My conclusion is: no way!

Too modern by far.

So we still need 100 others...

Pierre

Pierre might find a new CD of Howells organ music on the Lammas label more suitable. This features three Psalm Preludes, three of the '6 Pieces', Rhapsody No. 3 and the Partita, played by Christopher Stokes on the 1957 H&H organ at Manchester Cathedral. By no means a 'pedigree' H&H, but despite its vintage certainly nothing like Coventry.

 

Information on the Manchester organ can be found at http://www.manchestercathedralonline.co.uk/organhist.html and the CD at http://www.lammas.co.uk

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Am I the only person on this thread who thinks that MM's desire to send all lovers of Howell's organ music to Coventry had nothing to do with any organ to be found in that city but with a quite different use of the phrase "send to Coventry". I just wonder whether I am getting too cynical as I age but my first thought on reading his post was not to assume he was recommending that city as the locus of the ideal Howells organ !!

 

Brian Childs

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Anyway, Coventry is a neo-classic organ whose Mixtures are definitively too powerfull, too harsh and too high-pitched for any romantic, late-romantic or Post-romantic music.

It is perfect for say post-WW II Messiaen's music.

After all, isn't that normal?

Pierre

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Anyway, Coventry is a neo-classic organ
JUst to be pedantic (coz I'm in one of those moods today) Coventry isn't a neo-classic organ. A Grant Degens & Bradbeer is a neo-classic organ. Coventry is an eclectic organ. Not quite the same thing.

 

I don't disagree with you about the mixtures though: they are not authentic for Howells. (But Howells can still sound fine on it.)

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JUst to be pedantic (coz I'm in one of those moods today) Coventry isn't a neo-classic organ. A Grant Degens & Bradbeer is a neo-classic organ. Coventry is an eclectic organ. Not quite the same thing.

 

I don't disagree with you about the mixtures though: they are not authentic for Howells. (But Howells can still sound fine on it.)

 

I had noticed! (About the pedantic bit!)

 

I do agree about Coventry, though. Having played it on several occasions (including service-playing and being locked-in with it for three nights in a row :huh: ) and also having given two recitals on it, in my view it is a fantastic instrument; and, if it has to be given a label, then 'eclectic' is quite suitable. I wish that someone would have the original voicing of the Solo reeds re-instated, though - they are currently too 'fat' and have lost some of their fire and excitement.

 

As a practising organist of reasonably wide experience, I would disagree with Pierre - the mixtures are certainly not harsh or too powerful - just superbly voiced, arguably by some of the best voicers in the business at the time. I agree that they are a little bright for Howells - but I have heard performances of some of his works, where a little 'daylight' would have been welcome.

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I had noticed! (About the pedantic bit!)

 

I do agree about Coventry.............. I agree that they are a little bright for Howells - but I have heard performances of some of his works, where a little 'daylight' would have been welcome.

 

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

 

Nothing is too good for Howells!

 

:huh:

 

MM

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"Coventry isn't a neo-classic organ. A Grant Degens & Bradbeer is a neo-classic organ. Coventry is an eclectic organ. Not quite the same thing."

(Quote)

 

-Eclectic organs from about 1930 up to 1978= Néo-classique.

 

Some examples: Coventry, St-Albans, Holtkamp Senior organs, Victor Gonzalez,

Hans-Gerd Klais.

 

-Historic styles without modern features nor Swellboxes etc= Néo-baroque.

 

Example: Brombough, Ahrend, Aubertin.

 

The Néo-classique organ is not very well understood, because Norbert Dufourcq took that name for himself while working with Victor Gonzalez.

But Klais in Germany and Holtkamp in the USA did exactly the same thing before Gonzalez! modern "in the open" design included.

See for instance what Klais built in Antwerps as early as 1930:

http://users.skynet.be/quickbase/parochie/klaisorgel.html

 

So any organ that gathers classic and romantic features before 1978 (Beauvais) is a neo-classic one.

Pierre

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Guest Roffensis

You can play just about anything on Coventry, it's a case of knowing how to use the job, and not taking each stop literally only by its name on the stopknob. There is an incredible amount of colour on that organ. :huh:

All best,

R

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Exactly, Richard.

 

Pierre: I think there may be a difference in national terminology here. I understand what your are is saying, but I feel pretty sure that British organists understand the terms "neo classic" and "neo baroque" as meaning exactly the same thing. Of course it may just be me who is misunderstanding the usage, but I don't think so.

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Exactly, Richard.

 

Pierre: I think there may be a difference in national terminology here. I understand what your are is saying, but I feel pretty sure that British organists understand the terms "neo classic" and "neo baroque" as meaning exactly the same thing. Of course it may just be me who is misunderstanding the usage, but I don't think so.

 

Of course Vox Humana,

 

Here I prefer the french and belgian terminology; why have two names if

they mean the same thing?

Moreover, this permits not to file all eclectic organs in the same class; today's

Fisk organs are no neo-classic ones in the Klais or Gonzalez manner.

 

As for Coventry, I do not mean it is not a good organ -it is!-, but simply that

it does not fit Howell's music.

A bit light? Well, OK, but then let's try Dulciana Mixtures in Bach... :huh::lol::lol:

Pierre

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"Coventry isn't a neo-classic organ. A Grant Degens & Bradbeer is a neo-classic organ. Coventry is an eclectic organ. Not quite the same thing."

(Quote)

 

-Eclectic organs from about 1930 up to 1978= Néo-classique.

 

Some examples: Coventry, St-Albans, Holtkamp Senior organs, Victor Gonzalez,

Hans-Gerd Klais.

 

-Historic styles without modern features nor Swellboxes etc= Néo-baroque.

 

Example: Brombough, Ahrend, Aubertin.

 

The Néo-classique organ is not very well understood, because Norbert Dufourcq took that name for himself while working with Victor Gonzalez.

But  Klais in Germany and Holtkamp in the USA did exactly the same thing before Gonzalez! modern "in the open" design included.

See for instance what Klais built in Antwerps as early as 1930:

http://users.skynet.be/quickbase/parochie/klaisorgel.html

 

So any organ that gathers classic and romantic features before 1978 (Beauvais) is a neo-classic one.

Pierre

 

Pierre - I think that you would find that a number of English organists may still be happy to term Coventry 'Eclectic' - it is not strictly neo-classical. The term is, in any case, still somewhat ephemeral and cannot be aligned rigidly to a particular time-line. In amny ways, Coventry blurred the edges and crossed the boundaries. It is also (arguably, as always) one of the most successful British instruments of its type, at any period.

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A bit light? Well, OK, but then let's try Dulciana Mixtures in Bach... :huh:  :lol:  :lol:

Pierre

I meant 'light', in the sense of 'bright' - not as in lacking weight or substance.

 

Personally I would not wish to have dulciana-anythings in any music!

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