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Pierre Lauwers

Herbert Howells

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Isn't it?

You should better upon Virgil Fox then...PWOOP-PWOOP!

Pierre

 

I've heard Wachet Auf with the tune played on a 32' reed before - that was pretty, err, "interesting".

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But we still do not know enough to reconstitute one...

The deal should be: Bach and Couperin organs for Britain,

Howells organs for these funny guys the other side of the Channel.

Mind you, I do not know of one continental organ that would

serve Howells correctly.

Not later than yesterday, I had two belgian organists here listening

to these old (scratchy...) LPs. Their opinions were the same as many

other's:

1)- This is quite interesting and different from what we do know;

 

2)- We do not have such reeds on our own organs.

 

I guess in England many people may have heard this music a bit too often,

moreover it is "too near", it is "daddy's music"...

But for us on the continent Herbert Howells is a completely new field!

Pierre

 

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

 

Pierre will probably fall over when he sees that I am responding to the Howells topic, but I do actually have quite a sneaking regard for two organ-works by the great man himself. (Please don't let anyone else see this post Pierre!! :( )

 

Like Vaughan Williams, give Howells a good theme, and he could make something good out of it, and I refer of course to "Master Tallis' Testament."

 

I wonder if Pierre knows the early work which Howells wrote as a 19 year-old, the "Organ Sonata in C," before his judgement obvioulsy became deeply clouded by a study of Bach's "Harmonic Labrynth?"

 

Just as interesting is the notion that English organ-builders have somehow lost the ability to produce the right sound for this sort of music, when the example you will hopefully be able to hear, proves definitely otherwise.

 

Well, I hope the following URL will gladden his heart, and I can assure Pierre, that this is EXACTLY the right sort of sound for Howells, notwithstanding the ever-so-slightly potent Pedal reed, which is just a tiny bit fierce for the music.

 

The organ is the beautiful 2002 instrument built by our hosts, Mander Organs, for Peachtree Road Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. You will never hear better English Diapasons than this Pierre!

 

http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/0541/

 

The performer is Huw Williams on this recording, which starts at 9min30secs into the recorded broadcast which, with a quick connection, you can easily scroll forward to in Media or Real Player.

 

I am delighted to be able to also provide a link to the first movement only of the "Sonata in C" played on another Mander/Willis organ (1966) which is currently about to be scrapped, at Sheffield Cathedral. They think it is no good!!

 

The performance of the work, played by Graham Matthews, can be found as follows:-

 

http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/shows03_08.htm

 

The music commences at 59min 44secs into the broadcast.

 

Enjoy (If you must!) :huh:

 

MM

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"English organ-builders have somehow lost the ability to produce the right sound for this sort of music"

(Quote)

 

Certainly not!

Rather their customers...

Pierre :huh:

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"English organ-builders have somehow lost the ability to produce the right sound for this sort of music"

(Quote)

 

Certainly not!

Rather their customers...

Pierre :huh:

 

Not even that, Pierre!

 

It is just that we can hear lots of Howells here - there are other things we like, too - and we want our organs to be able to play many things effectively.

 

I can see little point in having an organ which is only tailor-made for Howells.

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Not even that, Pierre!

 

It is just that we can hear lots of Howells here - there are other things we like, too - and we want our organs to be able to play many things effectively.

 

I can see little point in having an organ which is only tailor-made for Howells.

 

I can tell you that in the not so distant past I sat in on discussions for a new organ in the UK where the D of M of the place insisted that the organ should play Howells and should have around 300 levels of memory. All other repertoire or the musical worth of the organ was of secondary consequence. The builder would not change his scheme which he said would work far better in the unusual acoustic as he knew all about acoustics and what would work and what would not work in such a place. Suffice it to say another builder was chosen although the letter from the D of M stated to the 'passed over' builder that his organs were by far the best that they had ever encountered but couldn't give him the contract because .. etc.. (The letter is now framed in the builder's workshop!) He states that it was one of the best pats on the back he has ever had.

 

Best wishes,

NJA

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Here we agree, of course.

Not all places are suited to X or Y music.

And an H H organ only would be somewhat limited.

What about: Howells (and Elgar, and, and...)-Tournemire-Reger?

So: late-romantic british, french and german?

 

(Already quite a challenge indeed)

The idea would be to combine regional styles, not periods.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Here we agree, of course.

Not all places are suited to X or Y music.

And an H H organ only would be somewhat limited.

What about: Howells (and Elgar, and, and...)-Tournemire-Reger?

So: late-romantic british, french and german?

 

(Already quite a challenge indeed)

The idea would be to combine regional styles, not periods.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

This indeed would result in an interesting instrument - probably one that I might like to play, if it were to be constructed by a reputable builder!

 

I was going to add 'as long as it can play Bach, too' - however, with reference to another thread, I am now quite confused as to what constitutes a 'good' Bach organ!

 

(Personally, I rather like mine - but I think that you all know that....)

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This indeed would result in an interesting instrument - probably one that I might like to play, if it were to be constructed by a reputable builder!

 

I was going to add 'as long as it can play Bach, too' - however, with reference to another thread, I am now quite confused as to what constitutes a 'good' Bach organ!

 

(Personally, I rather like mine - but I think that you all know that....)

 

That is interesting, but I would not dare to go that far.

Should we strictly stay by "Howells-Tournemire-Reger", here are the problems

I identified -and I guess any organ-builder would cite some more-

 

-The chests are not the same: Sliderchests in UK and France, Sliderless in Germany.

 

(The sound is not the same at all, the voicing different)

 

-To have Trombas and Trompettes in the same organ is a voicer's challenge, the

guy who would have to do that could be angry with me for some time.

 

-The wind-pressures should be quite varied. German-style flues and reeds: about

75mm, not more. Would suit british Diapasons, tough, as long as we avoid

the Phonon type ( I would indeed avoid this one definitively!). Trombas and Tubas... Well, let's say 300 to 500mm!

 

-To slot or not to slot the Diapason chorus pipes? That is (one of) THE question(s).

In german and french romantic designs the DC does not exist any more by itself,

it is the backbone of the whole, melted with the other families of stops.

This is the reason why the Principals are slotted.

But in "our" organ we need a Diapason chorus that can be used alone with the

reeds.

A solution would be to have for instance two O.Diap. without slots and one with

as a bridge, two 4' Principals one with one without. But such ideas still need

to be tested on a workshop's windchest.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Good Evening (or morning as the case may be),

 

I have begun getting the Howells Opus 32 Psalm Prelude #1 under my fingers, with the first two pages down pat so far. This is of course a miracle to me considering that not even two years ago I was unable to read more than a single line of music at any one time. At any rate, I would like to ask if there are any recordings of this piece suitable to emulate available here in the 'States?

 

Thank you.

 

- Nathan

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Guest acc
I have begun getting the Howells Opus 32 Psalm Prelude #1 [...] I would like to ask if there are any recordings of this piece suitable to emulate available here in the 'States?

 

Besides the Priory recordings already mentioned, there is Dutch organist Tjeerd van der Ploeg, who has recorded some Howells for the VLS label. Op.32 #1 can be found on this CD. Pierre's comparison of Howells with Tournemire is interesting, since van der Ploeg is quite a Tournemire "specialist" himself (also recorded for VLS).

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I had a trawl through Pipedreams and found three versions, but really can't recommend any of them.

 

The Hyperion recording of Dearnley at St Paul's is quite good, but suffers from the mushy acoustic - and IMO his opening registration is too bright too. For me it doesn't quite get to the heart of the music, though such reactions are very subjective and others may well disagree.

 

My favourite version is by David Willcocks on an old Argo LP of Howells's choral music sung by King's College, Cambridge. Unfortunately you'd have great difficulty running that to earth because it's never been released on CD (Goodness only knows why not - I can only assume Decca don't have the master tape any more).

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