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BBC Music Magazine has just popped through my door, bearing a CD of David Briggs playing Vierne Symphony 3 and Widor Symphony 5, and a short improvisation. The details say this was recorded at St Sernin in October 2008 [sic] :) .

 

This is the second time (in 15 years) that this magazine has featured an all-organ CD on its cover (Wayne Marshall played the first), and there has also been one alternating Bach Chorale Preludes with sung versions (David Goode). They have also featured Saint-Saens Symphony 3 'Organ' (David Goode) and Copland's Organ Symphony (Simon Preston). All-in-all, not as bad a record as one could fear.

 

Paul

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BBC Music Magazine has just popped through my door, bearing a CD of David Briggs playing Vierne Symphony 3 and Widor Symphony 5, and a short improvisation. The details say this was recorded at St Sernin in October 2008 [sic] :) .

 

This is the second time (in 15 years) that this magazine has featured an all-organ CD on its cover (Wayne Marshall played the first), and there has also been one alternating Bach Chorale Preludes with sung versions (David Goode). They have also featured Saint-Saens Symphony 3 'Organ' (David Goode) and Copland's Organ Symphony (Simon Preston). All-in-all, not as bad a record as one could fear.

 

Paul

 

Absolutely agree. Top notch stuff. I decided to withdraw my subscription to Choir and Organ this January when it elapsed. My feelings about it were akin to those I have about OR (however I get free OR as part of my subscription to the Newcastle and District Society of Organists so I still subscribe despite my reservations about it). Given last month's Beethoven IX Disc and this one, I am convinced it was a smart move!

 

Charles

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The David Briggs CD from St Sernin was indeed recorded recently. In fact, he is also in the process of releasing a new DVD recorded there - his website states

 

"2 April Release date for 'Bombarde 32', a new 30-minute Chestnut Music DVD, recorded at St Sernin, Toulouse

6-minute Introduction (Information about the Basilica, the Cavaille-Coll organ and our recording sessions)

Widor Toccata from Symphony No 5

and

DJB Improvisation on 'Ave Maria'

including

generous footage of St Sernin and a detailed photographic profile of the 1889 Cavaille-Coll organ"

 

Out of interest, people may be interested to know that David is playing a recital in Notre-Dame de Paris on Low Sunday at 4.30pm, programme below

 

30 March Notre-Dame de Paris at 4.30pm

Choral Improvisation sur le Victimae Paschali (Tournemire/Durufle)

Christ ist erstanden (J S Bach)

Mors et resurrectio (Jean Langlais)

Te Deum (Jeanne Demessieux)

Improvisation on 'Haec Dies' (DB)

 

 

See you there!!

 

Best wishes

 

Neil

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Eagle eyes may notice that Oliver Condy, the magazine's editor, was one of the registrants.

 

Out of interest, people may be interested to know that David is playing a recital in Notre-Dame de Paris on Low Sunday at 4.30pm, programme below

 

30 March Notre-Dame de Paris at 4.30pm

Choral Improvisation sur le Victimae Paschali (Tournemire/Durufle)

Christ ist erstanden (J S Bach)

Mors et resurrectio (Jean Langlais)

Te Deum (Jeanne Demessieux)

Improvisation on 'Haec Dies' (DB)

See you there!!

I'll be there!

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Ah.................well, we could have a gathering of list members afterwards!!!

 

NS

Quite happy to. I suggest we sport large badges on our lapels proclaiming both our nationality and our undying love for the organ, in order to identify ourselves.

 

On second thoughts, this could get us beaten up.

 

Suggestions?

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Quite happy to. I suggest we sport large badges on our lapels proclaiming both our nationality and our undying love for the organ, in order to identify ourselves.

 

On second thoughts, this could get us beaten up.

 

Suggestions?

 

Hoodies perhaps?

 

Seriously - I am quite minded to aim get there (supported by the wonderous Mrs. AJJ who has even volunteered to run me to the Eurostar and give the small AJJs a day out in 'the smoke'!) myself. I'll certainly give it some thought.

 

AJJ

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Absolutely agree. Top notch stuff. I decided to withdraw my subscription to Choir and Organ this January when it elapsed. My feelings about it were akin to those I have about OR (however I get free OR as part of my subscription to the Newcastle and District Society of Organists so I still subscribe despite my reservations about it). Given last month's Beethoven IX Disc and this one, I am convinced it was a smart move!

 

Charles

 

I fully agree with you Charles, with regard to Choir and Organ which has gone from what was orginally quite a good easy-reading magazine to rather a desperate failure.

To this end I wrote to the new editor (who specifically requested comments on the way forward for the magazine in the last issue)

I have yet to receive a reply.

 

TRANSCRIPT OF LETTER TO CHOIR & ORGAN>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Dear Ms Hamilton,

 

I have been a long-term subscriber to this magazine, since the very first issue. I have to say that, of late, on the whole, it has become a real disappointment.

 

ORGANS

 

We need more reviews of organs, specifically digital organs. Lately, it has become very obvious that, when the pipe organ world is quiet, with very few instruments being installed, the magazine really struggles to say anything at all of interest.

How about some reviews of digital organs?

The pages of the magazine are adorned with adverts from the main digital organ builders, but do we know what they sound like?…… er, no, because nobody has actually written anything about them.

It is really the minority of churches which have the funds to put into an inadequate or ailing pipe organ, and why should they. There are so many other things which call upon the finances of most churches these days.

We need to know what these instruments sound like. Now we could all trawl the length and breadth of the country to hear these instruments in the various manufacturers’ showrooms, but how about an unbiased review from someone who really knows a thing or two. Surely the manufacturers of these instrument would welcome reviews of their products.

 

As an organist, I would like to know what these instruments are like. Not just the big ones, but the type which a small church could afford, say between £4,000-£10,000.

How about the organist who would like a practice organ at home? You could really offer some great guidance here, and really boost your circulation, because these are the things which the AVERAGE church really wants to know!

 

LETTERS PAGE

 

Well, actually 1/3 of a page in the last issue, with only one letter from a member of the public. This is pathetic….come on, you can do significantly better than this!

 

CANTUS IN CORO

 

This is a complete waste of time. Who on earth in the average church music scene is going to sing this? Where are you going to get an organist/pianist of sufficient ability who could (would want to) play it?

Are you going to go to the “World premiere” in Berlin? I thought not.

Will it ever be heard again? Nah!

I would rather have my eyes gouged out with a fork.

What a waste of three pages.

 

ORGANO PLENO

 

Charting the saving of a 2nd rate Norman and Beard pipe organ and the fact that it has been saved from the scrapheap and transplanted in Australia is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. We hear all the waffle about “a century old 35 stop ‘elegant’ pneumatic action with ‘progressive features’ and a ‘nobility of tone’. In a professional church music career of over thirty years, I have never yet encountered any pneumatic action which could in any way be described as “Elegant!!”

 

What garbage!

 

But it gets worse - how about the statement “With an actual 8ft diapason, the choir certainly has something to say”…….

What on earth is an ‘actual’ 8ft diapason…or a non-actual one, for that matter. This is utter drivel!

 

I would venture to suggest that Mr Ambrosino steer clear of the happy pills which are so obviously contributing to his ‘rose tinted’ ideas of organ description.

 

IN GENERAL

 

So come on editor! You have the opportunity to rescue this ailing magazine, kicking and whimpering from the pit in which it has now found itself. Get some articles of real interest to singers and organists alike, and get rid of the stupid articles featuring music which no-one will ever play or want to listen to.

 

Yours, with best wishes,

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I fully agree with you Charles, with regard to Choir and Organ which has gone from what was orginally quite a good easy-reading magazine to rather a desperate failure.

To this end I wrote to the new editor (who specifically requested comments on the way forward for the magazine in the last issue)

I have yet to receive a reply.

 

TRANSCRIPT OF LETTER TO CHOIR & ORGAN>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Dear Ms Hamilton,

 

I have been a long-term subscriber to this magazine, since the very first issue. I have to say that, of late, on the whole, it has become a real disappointment.

 

ORGANS

 

We need more reviews of organs, specifically digital organs. Lately, it has become very obvious that, when the pipe organ world is quiet, with very few instruments being installed, the magazine really struggles to say anything at all of interest.

How about some reviews of digital organs?

The pages of the magazine are adorned with adverts from the main digital organ builders, but do we know what they sound like?…… er, no, because nobody has actually written anything about them.

It is really the minority of churches which have the funds to put into an inadequate or ailing pipe organ, and why should they. There are so many other things which call upon the finances of most churches these days.

We need to know what these instruments sound like. Now we could all trawl the length and breadth of the country to hear these instruments in the various manufacturers’ showrooms, but how about an unbiased review from someone who really knows a thing or two. Surely the manufacturers of these instrument would welcome reviews of their products.

 

As an organist, I would like to know what these instruments are like. Not just the big ones, but the type which a small church could afford, say between £4,000-£10,000.

How about the organist who would like a practice organ at home? You could really offer some great guidance here, and really boost your circulation, because these are the things which the AVERAGE church really wants to know!

 

LETTERS PAGE

 

Well, actually 1/3 of a page in the last issue, with only one letter from a member of the public. This is pathetic….come on, you can do significantly better than this!

 

CANTUS IN CORO

 

This is a complete waste of time. Who on earth in the average church music scene is going to sing this? Where are you going to get an organist/pianist of sufficient ability who could (would want to) play it?

Are you going to go to the “World premiere” in Berlin? I thought not.

Will it ever be heard again? Nah!

I would rather have my eyes gouged out with a fork.

What a waste of three pages.

 

ORGANO PLENO

 

Charting the saving of a 2nd rate Norman and Beard pipe organ and the fact that it has been saved from the scrapheap and transplanted in Australia is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. We hear all the waffle about “a century old 35 stop ‘elegant’ pneumatic action with ‘progressive features’ and a ‘nobility of tone’. In a professional church music career of over thirty years, I have never yet encountered any pneumatic action which could in any way be described as “Elegant!!”

 

What garbage!

 

But it gets worse - how about the statement “With an actual 8ft diapason, the choir certainly has something to say”…….

What on earth is an ‘actual’ 8ft diapason…or a non-actual one, for that matter. This is utter drivel!

 

I would venture to suggest that Mr Ambrosino steer clear of the happy pills which are so obviously contributing to his ‘rose tinted’ ideas of organ description.

 

IN GENERAL

 

So come on editor! You have the opportunity to rescue this ailing magazine, kicking and whimpering from the pit in which it has now found itself. Get some articles of real interest to singers and organists alike, and get rid of the stupid articles featuring music which no-one will ever play or want to listen to.

 

Yours, with best wishes,

 

 

Shame! You should have told them frankly what you really thought, instead of only hinting at the way you felt.

 

Whoops, sorry - nice one! The magazine I always really wanted to scream at was The Organ under its previous editor. All those reviews of Handel Opera (I probably unfairly assume that he got complimentary tickets by saying he would review these performances) and disparaging remarks in turn about virtually every serious organ-music composer which he (predictably) found boring. Trouble is, they've been kind to me so I felt constrained. The New Management (Dr.David Baker etc.) seem already to have smarted it up a lot!

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I would imagine about an hour, but with DB, you never know! He might offer play for the 6.30pm Mass!!

 

In addition to DB's recital, Olivier Latry is 'on duty' that weekend... 6.30pm Mass Saturday night and all day Sunday. His improvisations at Sunday's 5.45pm Vespers are always stunning. :lol:

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  • 3 weeks later...
I fully agree with you Charles, with regard to Choir and Organ which has gone from what was orginally quite a good easy-reading magazine to rather a desperate failure.

To this end I wrote to the new editor (who specifically requested comments on the way forward for the magazine in the last issue)

I have yet to receive a reply.

 

TRANSCRIPT OF LETTER TO CHOIR & ORGAN>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Dear Ms Hamilton,

 

I have been a long-term subscriber to this magazine, since the very first issue. I have to say that, of late, on the whole, it has become a real disappointment.

 

ORGANS

 

We need more reviews of organs, specifically digital organs. Lately, it has become very obvious that, when the pipe organ world is quiet, with very few instruments being installed, the magazine really struggles to say anything at all of interest.

How about some reviews of digital organs?

The pages of the magazine are adorned with adverts from the main digital organ builders, but do we know what they sound like?…… er, no, because nobody has actually written anything about them.

It is really the minority of churches which have the funds to put into an inadequate or ailing pipe organ, and why should they. There are so many other things which call upon the finances of most churches these days.

We need to know what these instruments sound like. Now we could all trawl the length and breadth of the country to hear these instruments in the various manufacturers' showrooms, but how about an unbiased review from someone who really knows a thing or two. Surely the manufacturers of these instrument would welcome reviews of their products.

 

As an organist, I would like to know what these instruments are like. Not just the big ones, but the type which a small church could afford, say between £4,000-£10,000.

How about the organist who would like a practice organ at home? You could really offer some great guidance here, and really boost your circulation, because these are the things which the AVERAGE church really wants to know!

 

LETTERS PAGE

 

Well, actually 1/3 of a page in the last issue, with only one letter from a member of the public. This is pathetic….come on, you can do significantly better than this!

 

CANTUS IN CORO

 

This is a complete waste of time. Who on earth in the average church music scene is going to sing this? Where are you going to get an organist/pianist of sufficient ability who could (would want to) play it?

Are you going to go to the "World premiere" in Berlin? I thought not.

Will it ever be heard again? Nah!

I would rather have my eyes gouged out with a fork.

What a waste of three pages.

 

ORGANO PLENO

 

Charting the saving of a 2nd rate Norman and Beard pipe organ and the fact that it has been saved from the scrapheap and transplanted in Australia is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. We hear all the waffle about "a century old 35 stop 'elegant' pneumatic action with 'progressive features' and a 'nobility of tone'. In a professional church music career of over thirty years, I have never yet encountered any pneumatic action which could in any way be described as "Elegant!!"

 

What garbage!

 

But it gets worse - how about the statement "With an actual 8ft diapason, the choir certainly has something to say"…….

What on earth is an 'actual' 8ft diapason…or a non-actual one, for that matter. This is utter drivel!

 

I would venture to suggest that Mr Ambrosino steer clear of the happy pills which are so obviously contributing to his 'rose tinted' ideas of organ description.

 

IN GENERAL

 

So come on editor! You have the opportunity to rescue this ailing magazine, kicking and whimpering from the pit in which it has now found itself. Get some articles of real interest to singers and organists alike, and get rid of the stupid articles featuring music which no-one will ever play or want to listen to.

 

Yours, with best wishes,

 

I really don't agree with anything here. Let's look at the points in turn:

 

Organs

 

Is the pipe organ world really quiet? Flicking through the recent pages of C&O, I read about the new Taylor and Boodys, the organs by Henk van Eeken, the rather impressive organs built in the US and by Klais in concert halls all over the world. Recently Bernard Aubertin has become more widely known in this country and his work has also been reviewed by C&O.

 

These are all organs of musical interest and distinction, beautifully made, designed and finished to the highest standards. Surely somebody should celebrate their creation?

 

Maybe organ building is quiet in this country, where the bottom end of the market has been eroded heavily by digital imitations of pipe organs and many churches are heavily strapped for cash. Many churches with a failing organ, very little money and no knowledgeable advice think the only way forward is an electronic organ. Quite often, they are not aware of the pitfalls of an electronic imitation organ and unaware of other options, such as "organ transplants" or simply a conservative overhaul, which are often in the same price range.

 

Many churches also lack the confidence and leadership to launch an appeal for their church organ and so an important part of the church fabric is removed or left to rot further.

 

Are we going to pump new energy into the organ building world by reviewing digital simulations of real pipe organs? Or will giving more pages to reviewing digital simulations just perpetuate the erosion of real pipe organs by digital imitations further?

 

One purpose of organ reviews is to identify new trends and ideas in organ building. How can an imitation of pipe organs lead organ culture and thinking? If we loose real organs, how can electronic organs bear the weight of musical development currently borne by the instruments they aim to imitate?

 

Letters Page

 

Is pathetic, I agree. However, I wish Organists' Review would take a lead from Choir & Organ and use a little more editorial discretion to refrain from publishing the more mindless and uninformed rants I have read on OR's letters pages recently.

 

Cantus in Coro

 

I agree that very little of the music published here is going to appeal or work for an average parish choir but I think this item exists for a different reason.

 

Young, up and coming composers find it extremely difficult to get established as a name so need encouragement and opportunities to get known. I think these pages act as forum for some much needed publicity of up and coming composers.

 

I remember reading about the likes of Tarik O'Regan, Gabriel Jackson and Co. for the first time on these pages of C&O. Over the past 5 years, they have become established as better known modern composers in the choral and music world at large.

 

It tends to be the (full-time, highly competent) professional music world that leads the way on contempary music and clearly this article is focused towards that end of the market. However, over time, ideas will funnel down to the more grass-roots level and maybe in time, if these pieces become better known, local parish choirs will be able to tackle some of them.

 

I think it is important to encourage new blood to write music of high quality and new ideas, otherwise the world of composition would become very stale.

 

For those choirs who need simple, undemanding music, I would warmly commend music by Margaret Rizza. Most parish choirs I know wouldn't be able to tackle "Faire is the Heaven" by Harris, a large Gabrielli mass or Howell's early Westminster service so why should modern choral music always be written for the lowest common denominator?

 

Organo Pleno

 

Let's take the example you give of the installation of the Norman and Beard organ in Parramatta Cathedral by Peter Jewkes & Co.

 

Firstly, this organ is very far from 2nd rate. Norman and Beard, while they operated on a huge scale, were quite capable of turning out an organ of exceptional quality. One glance at the console of the Usher Hall organ in Edinburgh will convince you that Norman and Beard knew a thing of two about quality.

 

For reasons that Jonathan Ambrosino makes luminously clear in his write-up, N&B organs do not always deserve the malignment they get, as was apparent in your rather less well-informed letter. Jon Ambrosino explains why the organ was progressive and its likely importance. I won't bother to paraphrase the excellent article on the organ any further - I would just suggest you read it again.

 

This article has other distinctive points which I think are worth highlighting:

  • It shows a far more imaginative approach to organ building on a budget than just getting an electronic organ, which would have probably been in the same order of cost as the project at Parramatta. This imginative and sensitive organ transplant project probably cost in the same order as a high end electronic simulation organ. Bear this in mind when you were asking for more reviews of digital organs for churches on a budget.
  • It shows an organ transplant looking fresh and contempory in a contempory space - something I did not think could be successful.
  • It is a good example of saving something of historical value in an original and unique way and giving it an opportunity to live again - something it didn't have in its previous home.
  • It shows that not every English organ builder was throwing away mixtures and choruses in 1900 - even a "progressive" builder like N&B.
  • It highlights the current organbuilding world in Australia and NZ, something I doubt even the better informed members of the Mander Organ Bored in the UK know much about.

Overall, I find Jon Ambrosino is one of the most elegant, erudite and penetrating writers on organs today. He has a real ability to draw out trends and make apposite points in the flow of describing something. His writing is lucid, elegant, clear and concise. Since the sad demise of Stephen Bicknell, I cannot think of a writer on organs who can match Jon Ambrosino's talents. Choir and Organ are lucky to have him.

 

In General

One of the things I like about C&O is that it gives a lot of priority to the human element and musical elements of organs and choirs. It is not frightened to publish lots of articles about people and musicians - either dead or alive, but mainly alive - and their lives and work. This is something I found peculiarly absent in Organists' Review, especially under the old regime. As any musician knows, the main point of their work is to make music and they just have to work with the organ at their disposal so I think it's right that a general choir & organ music magazine should focus on the musicians, music and people working in the field first.

 

However, I think the recent edition of Organists' Review, with its focus on Scandanavian organ music, is really rather good. C&O's competition is getting stronger!

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However, I think the recent edition of Organists' Review, with its focus on Scandanavian organ music, is really rather good.

 

 

There, in a nutshell, is one of the main problems with the current OR, in my humble opinion. If you're interested in 'The Topic' all well and good. As things used to be, it didn't matter which aspects of the organ world particularly turned you on, because there was always something for everyone. I found it completely un-put-downable (please forgive this word!). It was the single piece of post whose arrival automatically suspended every other activity, save that of having to go to work!

 

Now, in OR worthy article is followed by worthy article, all entering into a 'feature' subject in fair to (let us be honest) severe academic detail - except (rather curiously) new organs, which are often simply summarised. C&O currently does this aspect better, as does The Organ at last. By chance, I discovered, rather to my amazement that at least one of the organs covered in print recently (Cheltenham Ladies' College) had not actually been visited. It was written up, but the summary omitted what I would have thought many wanted to know: i.e. what was it actually like? Did it triumph over the difficulty presented by the site and the acoustic? Of this, very honestly, nothing was said. At least, the author (Paul H) did not make up what he did not know, unlike the tabloid press!

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You don't have to be interested in "The Topic" to find it interesting. I found reading about "The Topic" as a complete new-comer rather whetted my appetite. OR is tending to be more academic and more heavy weight - but I found the last edition to be a good read - I've spent more time reading it than the latest C&O.

 

I cancelled my subscription to OR several years ago under the old regime - I had got sick and fed up of installment after installement of concert hall organ specifications month after month. Again, I doubt Paul Hale had actually visited all of them - the write-up on them was perfunctory at best (although he did do a good write up of de Monford Hall). I find people writing about the experience of hearing and playing an organ and its history far more interesting than reading through the stop list. I felt OR was becoming rather train-spotterish and needed some steely editorial control to bring back articles of interest.

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Out of interest, people may be interested to know that David is playing a recital in Notre-Dame de Paris on Low Sunday at 4.30pm, programme below

 

30 March Notre-Dame de Paris at 4.30pm

Choral Improvisation sur le Victimae Paschali (Tournemire/Durufle)

Christ ist erstanden (J S Bach)

Mors et resurrectio (Jean Langlais)

Te Deum (Jeanne Demessieux)

Improvisation on 'Haec Dies' (DB)

So, who else went? I threw caution aside and booked myself and a brave Mrs. N on the overnight coach from Victoria. Despite arriving at Gallieni at 5:30am (losing two hours through time zone and French summer time) with all of two hours sleep, we had a respectable day, hearing the organs at Sacre-Coeur (ravishing sound but was crying out for a tuning) and Notre-Dame, making good and rapid use of the Metro, and eating steack-frites. The recital was superb, and I thought that the sound of the organ in the nave was far better than that heard on recordings, presumably a function of the acoustic and the fact that the instrument was voiced for the nave, not ten feet off the tribune! The improvisation was as a suite in true Cochereau style, but with a clear vein of Briggs running throughout. Much use of chamades (pcnd - restrain yourself) and there was a standing ovation from a packed nave. Afterwards, I hoped to tag onto the back of line of those visiting the organ loft for Vespers and the mass, but somehow M. Latry saw beyond my dishevelled appearance and camera round my neck to determine that I may not in fact have been a genuine French organ student, and firmly closed the gate long before I reached negotiating distance.

 

Return journey was rather more sobering. Being interrogated in a cold fluorescent-strip-lit hall by French customs at 2am isn't as charming as it sounds, although their approach may have been influenced by the arrest of two passengers for (I believe) drug possession, and a third for using a passport containing a picture of someone else entirely. Being interrogated by British immigration at 3am, one building further on, was a comparative pleasure. Despite all this, I cannot honestly recommend travelling by coach, even if your slender budget rules out a hotel. Eurostar next time, I think. :rolleyes:

 

Nachthorn's summary of Paris:

 

Hearing lots of organs on Sunday - good.

Cafe food - very good.

Day pass for Metro - indispensable.

Entrance fee for Sainte-Chapelle - extortionate*.

Overnight coach trips - bad.

 

(*And I should add that access to Sainte-Chapelle is through the Palais de Justice, where you have to pass through an airport-style security check. I didn't care as I have to endure an identical process at work every day, but some might find the combination of body-search and entrance fee a little off-putting.)

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Have to say Briggs is at his best in this Recording . Stupendous majesty and awe. The arresting opening bars in the Vierne just sent shivers down my spine. I like the reeds in this Organ they just have the right amount of attack and bite without being too overblown more likely in some of our English instruments. I can't get enough of this CD !

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So, who else went? I threw caution aside and booked myself and a brave Mrs. N on the overnight coach from Victoria. Despite arriving at Gallieni at 5:30am (losing two hours through time zone and French summer time) with all of two hours sleep, we had a respectable day, hearing the organs at Sacre-Coeur (ravishing sound but was crying out for a tuning) and Notre-Dame, making good and rapid use of the Metro, and eating steack-frites. The recital was superb, and I thought that the sound of the organ in the nave was far better than that heard on recordings, presumably a function of the acoustic and the fact that the instrument was voiced for the nave, not ten feet off the tribune! The improvisation was as a suite in true Cochereau style, but with a clear vein of Briggs running throughout. Much use of chamades (pcnd - restrain yourself) and there was a standing ovation from a packed nave. Afterwards, I hoped to tag onto the back of line of those visiting the organ loft for Vespers and the mass, but somehow M. Latry saw beyond my dishevelled appearance and camera round my neck to determine that I may not in fact have been a genuine French organ student, and firmly closed the gate long before I reached negotiating distance.

 

Return journey was rather more sobering. Being interrogated in a cold fluorescent-strip-lit hall by French customs at 2am isn't as charming as it sounds, although their approach may have been influenced by the arrest of two passengers for (I believe) drug possession, and a third for using a passport containing a picture of someone else entirely. Being interrogated by British immigration at 3am, one building further on, was a comparative pleasure. Despite all this, I cannot honestly recommend travelling by coach, even if your slender budget rules out a hotel. Eurostar next time, I think. :rolleyes:

 

Nachthorn's summary of Paris:

 

Hearing lots of organs on Sunday - good.

Cafe food - very good.

Day pass for Metro - indispensable.

Entrance fee for Sainte-Chapelle - extortionate*.

Overnight coach trips - bad.

 

(*And I should add that access to Sainte-Chapelle is through the Palais de Justice, where you have to pass through an airport-style security check. I didn't care as I have to endure an identical process at work every day, but some might find the combination of body-search and entrance fee a little off-putting.)

 

 

Wow - I'm envious! I nearly did it myself (Mrs AJJ was fine about letting me out of the country) but chickened out with the thought of what I would have felt like at school on Monday morning with concerts etc. to negotiate before we finally hit France for ten days on Sunday next. 'Would probably have gone Eurostar though - even the coach from down here to London is too much for my constitution. Maybe another day.

 

AJJ

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So, who else went?

We were there, only got back last night.

 

Truely amazing playing on the most amazing instrument in one of the most famous buildings in the world - can't get it much better than that.

 

Anyone know where Ste Clotilde's new mobile console is parked? I couldn't find it!!

 

Heard St Eustache 'through the walls' late on Sunday night on the way back from eating... Franck Choral 2 with all the wide scale mutations going... We felt it before we heard it!!

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