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Peter Clark

Great Cathedral Organ Series - Emi

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Priory reissued a sort of 'greatest hits' double CD from the Ryemuse series a few years ago. ...

 

Anyone else have this set? Highlight for me in the playing is the Guest/Howells track.

Yes, I have it. I bought it because it contains the whole of Sidney Campbell's LP from Windsor - the only one he made, I believe. There are a few fluffed notes, unfortunately, and the organ sounds a little muffled (he insisted on the microphones being placed away from the organ to pick up the "atmosphere" of the building), but his interpretations of the four pieces (Franck's E major Choral and Pièce Héroïque, Roger-Ducasse's Pastorale and Vierne's Carillon de Westminster) are magisterial.

 

For me the best tracks are Richard Greening at Lichfield (Salomé's Grand Choeur and Alcock's Voluntary in G); Christopher Dearnley at Salisbury (Sowande’s Joshua fit de Battle ob Jericho and a piece from the Buxheim organ book in which he manages to make the Willis sound positively medieval) and John Sanders at Gloucester (the Boëllmann Toccata and Karg-Elert's Jesu hilf siegen). Also good are Lionel Dakers (Exeter) and Barry Rose (Guildford).

 

I am afraid that to me GG's Howells is a truly funereal plod. Very atmospheric, to be sure, but I am equally sure it would have irritated HH no end: he couldn't stand his music being played slowly.

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Guest Cynic
Anyone else have this set? Highlight for me in the playing is the Guest/Howells track.

 

If I'm thinking of the same recording, Sine Nomine from Six Pieces, I totally agree with you. That scored full marks for me.

Another very fine track is Lionel Dakers playing Darke's Fantasy from Exeter.

 

It's sad to read above how many organs are no longer to be heard in the same form but not all are worse than they were.

Malvern is very nice now, with the exception of the Tuba which for some reason which I cannot recollect has been reduced to about half its previous power by repositioning. Maybe pcnd bent the ear of the adviser!!

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Malvern is very nice now, with the exception of the Tuba which for some reason which I cannot recollect has been reduced to about half its previous power by repositioning. Maybe pcnd bent the ear of the adviser!!

 

Moi? Shurely shome mishtake!!

 

Not guilty this time - honest....

 

:rolleyes:

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"Manchester has done terrible things to its organs over the years, whether it be the Town Hall or the Wurlitzer organs which once resided in the two big cinemas; only one of which is currently to be heard.........in Stockport."

 

I was on my way back from Doncaster last night (tues) and caught the organist entertains on radio 2, it was ali about the wurlitzer that was placed in Free Trades hall etc .etc and featured some early recordings from its previous incarnation, forgot where (some cinema tho)

Nigel ogden finished with a snippet of him playing at the opening of the organ at Stockport it was Fletchers festival toccata, not too bad either

regards

Peter

p.s. was shown a load of original spool tapes of music recorded in York Minster during early fifties :rolleyes:

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I am sure the CD set that M. Guilmant has in mind is Priory's "Organ Music from 23 British Instruments" where the Howells track is Set 1, no.2 and the Dakers is Stanford's Postlude on a Theme of Orlando Gibbons.

 

 

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

 

 

I have an interesting LP called "Six famous British organ," which includes Ampleforth, Bridlington, Hull City Hall and others which I cannot recall immediately from memory.

 

What always amazes me, is not so much the CHOICES of instrument, but the glaring holes in the line-up.

 

For donkey's years, no-one ever recorded Doncaster PC to the best of my knowledge, and yet this is one of the most fascinating organs in the country, as too is Armley, which has only been recorded a very few times. Two great Schulzes, and almost, if not quite, an empty shelf.

 

Then there is Newcastle Cathedral....what a great, roaring beast that is, with an absolutely HUGE specification based on Lewis pipework, and with one of the loveliest organ-cases in the country.

 

Huddersfield Uni (formerly the Poly) is another superb instrument which never gets and airing.

 

I think John Turner recorded at Glasgow, and almost matched Dr Frank Jackson with his interpretation of the Willan masterpiece, but since then, absolutely nothing.

 

Leeds PC is another instrument which has had some recordings made of it, but which deserves more, if only as an object lesson in how to voice a big organ in a rotten acoustic.

 

Are there recordings of St.Giles' Edinburgh, bceause that is a truly fine new instrument?

 

What about the gorgeous Frobenius at Queens' College, Oxford....another neglected masterpiece of an instrument.

 

I have so many recordings of quite mediocre instruments, often played by brilliant organists, who make the best of what is on offer.

 

Just how DO the recording companies decide the issue of which organs to record?

 

MM

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"Manchester has done terrible things to its organs over the years, whether it be the Town Hall or the Wurlitzer organs which once resided in the two big cinemas; only one of which is currently to be heard.........in Stockport."

 

I was on my way back from Doncaster last night (tues) and caught the organist entertains on radio 2, it was ali about the wurlitzer that was placed in Free Trades hall etc .etc and featured some early recordings from its previous incarnation, forgot where (some cinema tho)

Nigel ogden finished with a snippet of him playing at the opening of the organ at Stockport it was Fletchers festival toccata, not too bad either

regards

Peter

p.s. was shown a load of original spool tapes of music recorded in York Minster during early fifties :rolleyes:

 

 

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

 

I helped to remove the Wurlitzer from the Free Trade Hall, and what a job that was, with seemingly endless flights of steps to the chamber above the stage, and armfuls of Tibias, English Trumpets, Flutes and Strings on the way down. I was so knackered by the end of the day, I even upset Jose Lawrence the actress, who had breezed in for a quick cup of coffee in the cafe area.

 

She probably thought I was some 'orrid, common workman in my natty, bright red, figure-hugging, motor-racing overalls, but she shouldn't have tried to purloin the ashtray!

 

I think the organ has now found a good and stable home in Stockport, and I suppose it's not THAT far from Manchester by train or bus.

 

The trouble is, the Lancaster Theatre Organ Trust still have a Wurlitzer in want of a good home, since Granada closed down the "Studio Tour" complex where it once stood, complete with new replica-console, following an earlier fire while the original console was in storage.

 

The poor Theatre Organ people really do have constant problems trying to find safe and secure homes for these fascinating instruments, but I see that the ex-Oldham, ex-Hampsthwaite (Harrogate area), ex-Pudesy (Leeds) and ex-Brighouse Wurlitzer is now to be assembled (if it isn't already) in the rather lovely model-village of Saltaire, where the Reed Organ museum is.

 

I always thought of Saltaire as the perfect venue, and I'm glad that someone else had the foresight to recognise the potential, since I distanced myself from the Cinema Organ Society some years ago.

 

On the subject of Percy Fletcher, I think the Toccata is perhaps the only, or at least one of the few organ works he wrote, and it is quite effective. Percy Fletcher did a lot of light-music for the "Beeb," and the Toccata was a rare excursion into the realm of classical music. He was, I suppose, the reverse of Percy Whitlock.

 

MM

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What about the gorgeous Frobenius at Queens' College, Oxford....another neglected masterpiece of an instrument.

Just after it was installed the provost's cook gave me an LP of it - James Dalton playing the larger Bruhns E minor, selections from the Orgelbüchlein and some Couperin. It was the first time in my sheletered upbringing that I had ever heard a clasically voiced organ and totally quite bowled me over. Surely it must have been recorded since, but I cannot remember seeing anything.

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Guest Cynic
=========================

I have an interesting LP called "Six famous British organ," which includes Ampleforth, Bridlington, Hull City Hall and others which I cannot recall immediately from memory.

 

What always amazes me, is not so much the CHOICES of instrument, but the glaring holes in the line-up.

 

For donkey's years, no-one ever recorded Doncaster PC to the best of my knowledge, and yet this is one of the most fascinating organs in the country, as too is Armley, which has only been recorded a very few times. Two great Schulzes, and almost, if not quite, an empty shelf.

 

Then there is Newcastle Cathedral....what a great, roaring beast that is, with an absolutely HUGE specification based on Lewis pipework, and with one of the loveliest organ-cases in the country.

 

Huddersfield Uni (formerly the Poly) is another superb instrument which never gets and airing.

 

I think John Turner recorded at Glasgow, and almost matched Dr Frank Jackson with his interpretation of the Willan masterpiece, but since then, absolutely nothing.

 

Leeds PC is another instrument which has had some recordings made of it, but which deserves more, if only as an object lesson in how to voice a big organ in a rotten acoustic.

 

Are there recordings of St.Giles' Edinburgh, bceause that is a truly fine new instrument?

 

What about the gorgeous Frobenius at Queens' College, Oxford....another neglected masterpiece of an instrument.

 

I have so many recordings of quite mediocre instruments, often played by brilliant organists, who make the best of what is on offer.

 

Just how DO the recording companies decide the issue of which organs to record?

 

MM

 

St.George's Doncaster was recorded relatively recently, a programme played by Joseph Sentance (then DOM) immediately after Nicholsons' new console went in and just before he left for Sherborne Abbey. It got good reviews. The real problem with recording there is the major arterial road which lies less than 100 yards down the slope from the church. Anyone trying to get half-decent results there would have to work right through the night and expect to retake any passage involving soft stops several times! The only other alternative would be persuading the constabulary into closing all roads for the purpose; goodness knows how that might be achieved!

 

I agree with MM that some fine organs seems under-recorded. There are a number of possible reasons for this. In more than one case, I have approached the authorities with a view to making a CD, and been told that the incumbent organist will shortly be making a CD of his own, only for me to sit back and wait for several years for this to appear - if at all! There are others where despite the fame of the instrument, there is a major problem when one encounters them in the flesh. One much written-about town hall instrument, for instance, leaks like a sieve and any high-quality recording would show this up very clearly.

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What about the gorgeous Frobenius at Queens' College, Oxford....another neglected masterpiece of an instrument.

 

I'm giving a recital on that next month and have heard good things about it, although have never heard it myself nor come across any recordings. I'll look forward to it!

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Surely it must have been recorded since, but I cannot remember seeing anything.

Dalton playing Sei Gegrüsset here.

 

Paul

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St.George's Doncaster was recorded relatively recently, a programme played by Joseph Sentance (then DOM) immediately after Nicholsons' new console went in and just before he left for Sherborne Abbey. It got good reviews. The real problem with recording there is the major arterial road which lies less than 100 yards down the slope from the church. Anyone trying to get half-decent results there would have to work right through the night and expect to retake any passage involving soft stops several times! The only other alternative would be persuading the constabulary into closing all roads for the purpose; goodness knows how that might be achieved!

 

I agree with MM that some fine organs seems under-recorded. There are a number of possible reasons for this. In more than one case, I have approached the authorities with a view to making a CD, and been told that the incumbent organist will shortly be making a CD of his own, only for me to sit back and wait for several years for this to appear - if at all! There are others where despite the fame of the instrument, there is a major problem when one encounters them in the flesh. One much written-about town hall instrument, for instance, leaks like a sieve and any high-quality recording would show this up very clearly.

 

 

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

 

Doncaster is fairly quiet between 2.30am and 4.30am these days, since they built the new bridge, but I quite understand what Paul is saying. I was aware of the Joseph Sentence recording, but that seems to be the only one I can personally think of.

 

Armley faired a little bit better when Arnold Mahon was organist there, but of course, the organ was in such a diabolical state prior to the recent rebuild, the lack of more recent recordings prior to that time is quite understandable.

 

Is wind-noise such a major problem, when certain digital organs in America now include it, and the noise of digital bellows flopping down dead is heard when the thing is switched off?

 

Anyway, the reason I asked about all this, is really something to do with marketing, because organ-enthusiasts seem to fall into two distinct groupings: those who like organ music, and those who like to hear and compare different organs. Some people like both of course, but I can't help thinking that a selection of organs on one CD would actually appeal to a wider listening public, whilst musically, the right music could be guided towards the right organ, and show off the skills of the performer rather better.

 

I have a few recording compilations like this, including an Amsterdam organ-crawl, the three organs in the Laurenskerk Rotterdam, that wonderful Flor Peeters tour of the Netherlands and, on tape, many of the original broadcasts of Geraint Jones, which make wonderful listening even to-day, even though mine are in mono.

 

Just a thought....I'll shut up about it now.

 

MM

 

MM

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I'm giving a recital on that next month and have heard good things about it, although have never heard it myself nor come across any recordings. I'll look forward to it!

 

 

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

 

 

You will love it, and what's more, the organ will tell YOU how it wants the music to be played.

 

Not many instruments can do that.

 

MM

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Guest Barry Williams

"The only other alternative would be persuading the constabulary into closing all roads for the purpose; goodness knows how that might be achieved."

 

I have had that happen.

 

I recorded at St Jude's Thornton Heath in the nineteen seventies. It is on a major road between two roundabouts. My page turner was an off-duty policeman. When, rather late at night, I had smudged Vierne's Naiades for the fourth time he went out and made a 'phone call. A while later we saw blue lights and thought there had been complaints from the neighbours about organ noise. The police kindly blocked off the road and I gave a 'clean' performance, first time. (All the other 'clean' takes were spoiled by the traffic noise from juggernauts!)

 

 

Barry Williams

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

You will love it, and what's more, the organ will tell YOU how it wants the music to be played.

 

Not many instruments can do that.

 

MM

 

Thanks, MM. I'm looking forward to it with even greater relish now!

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If I'm thinking of the same recording, Sine Nomine from Six Pieces, I totally agree with you. That scored full marks for me.

Another very fine track is Lionel Dakers playing Darke's Fantasy from Exeter.

 

It's sad to read above how many organs are no longer to be heard in the same form but not all are worse than they were.

Malvern is very nice now, with the exception of the Tuba which for some reason which I cannot recollect has been reduced to about half its previous power by repositioning. Maybe pcnd bent the ear of the adviser!!

Yes, an oft quoted comment. The facts are that the Tuba is the same volume as before, its just the rest of the organ that's louder. It used to obliterate the rest of the organ, not so much now. I'm told that there is a good chance that the Tuba wasn't originally in the Solo box when R&D did the 1920's work, and that perhaps it shouldn't be in there now. However, I do agree that in relation to the rest of the organ it sounds quieter and isn't as effective. Still a French Horn to die for though.

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I'm giving a recital on that next month and have heard good things about it, although have never heard it myself nor come across any recordings. I'll look forward to it!

Beautiful, I did one there a couple of years ago. Pick the right repertoire and you're on to a winner. Incidentally, its the only place I've given a recital in where no one claps until the end of the last piece, is this common elsewhere?

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

I have an interesting LP called "Six famous British organ," which includes Ampleforth, Bridlington, Hull City Hall and others which I cannot recall immediately from memory.

 

What always amazes me, is not so much the CHOICES of instrument, but the glaring holes in the line-up.

 

For donkey's years, no-one ever recorded Doncaster PC to the best of my knowledge, and yet this is one of the most fascinating organs in the country, as too is Armley, which has only been recorded a very few times. Two great Schulzes, and almost, if not quite, an empty shelf.

 

Then there is Newcastle Cathedral....what a great, roaring beast that is, with an absolutely HUGE specification based on Lewis pipework, and with one of the loveliest organ-cases in the country.

 

Huddersfield Uni (formerly the Poly) is another superb instrument which never gets and airing.

 

I think John Turner recorded at Glasgow, and almost matched Dr Frank Jackson with his interpretation of the Willan masterpiece, but since then, absolutely nothing.

 

Leeds PC is another instrument which has had some recordings made of it, but which deserves more, if only as an object lesson in how to voice a big organ in a rotten acoustic.

 

Are there recordings of St.Giles' Edinburgh, bceause that is a truly fine new instrument?

 

What about the gorgeous Frobenius at Queens' College, Oxford....another neglected masterpiece of an instrument.

 

I have so many recordings of quite mediocre instruments, often played by brilliant organists, who make the best of what is on offer.

 

Just how DO the recording companies decide the issue of which organs to record?

 

MM

 

Where to start?

-Ampleforth; def worth hearing

-Bridlington; sorry I didn't hear this before the rebuild

-Armley; have excellent Barber recording of christmas music (inlc Eben Good King Wenc var)

-Leeds PC; there's a good recording on Naxos by Simon Lindley, though repertoire the usual organ showpieces. I'm not sure if h=it has been recorded since the new Trumpet was added

-St Giles; first CD on the new organ which I still listen to by Simon Bertram, really excellent playing, and there's a new Messiaen set on Delphian which was released last month.

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Beautiful, I did one there a couple of years ago. Pick the right repertoire and you're on to a winner. Incidentally, its the only place I've given a recital in where no one claps until the end of the last piece, is this common elsewhere?

 

Yes, I've observed this in recitals I've given at several Cathedrals and some of the bigger churches over the past 12 months or so. It seems to have become part of the "tradition" in a number of places. It's quite refreshing not to break up the programme with applause after each item, and saves the audience the embarrassment of knowing when - or when not - to clap. :)

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Still a French Horn to die for though.

As is the one at St Andrew's, Plymouth - from the same stable (I can't believe I've just written that!) I have to agree that the Malvern instrument is rather superior.

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

 

 

Then there is Newcastle Cathedral....what a great, roaring beast that is, with an absolutely HUGE specification based on Lewis pipework, and with one of the loveliest organ-cases in the country.

 

There is, of course, now a recording of this instrument - number eight in Regent's English Cathedral Organs series of which the latest release is number 14 featuring Southwell. The Great Cathedral Organ Series never got beyond 19. Number 20 was supposed to be Peterborough but the series was pulled before it was released. RCA's English Organ Collection which used Michael Smythe recordings featuring Ronald Perrin at Ripon and Harrison Oxley at St Edmundsbury as well as others had an even shorter life span.

Huddersfield Uni (formerly the Poly) is another superb instrument which never gets and airing.

 

I think John Turner recorded at Glasgow, and almost matched Dr Frank Jackson with his interpretation of the Willan masterpiece, but since then, absolutely nothing.

 

Recently released on the rebuilt organ was a CD of John Turner playing his own Transcription of Haydn's Seven Last Words

 

Leeds PC is another instrument which has had some recordings made of it, but which deserves more, if only as an object lesson in how to voice a big organ in a rotten acoustic.

 

Are there recordings of St.Giles' Edinburgh, bceause that is a truly fine new instrument?

 

In addition to the CDs already mentioned John Scott recorded there for Priory and there was a cassette of Herrick Bunny made shortly after it was installed including Vierne's Carillon de Westminster complete with the Swell Glocken

 

What about the gorgeous Frobenius at Queens' College, Oxford....another neglected masterpiece of an instrument.

 

I have so many recordings of quite mediocre instruments, often played by brilliant organists, who make the best of what is on offer.

 

Just how DO the recording companies decide the issue of which organs to record?

 

MM

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Where to start?

 

-Leeds PC; there's a good recording on Naxos by Simon Lindley, though repertoire the usual organ showpieces. I'm not sure if h=it has been recorded since the new Trumpet was added

-

 

It has been by Simon Lindley.

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As is the one at St Andrew's, Plymouth - from the same stable (I can't believe I've just written that!) I have to agree that the Malvern instrument is rather superior.

 

Wot, Vox praising the organ at St. Andrew's, Plymouth??!! :)

 

Next thing, he'll be saying that John Hele was the greatest organ builder and voicer who ever lived! :PB)

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Individually the stops at St Andrew's are all very good, apart from the indifferent diapasons. It is the fundamental philosophy of the organ that is flawed.

 

I rather suspect that the Hele organ that was destroyed in 1941 was superior, if only because it was founded upon a three-decker Gray & Davison of 1859. But I wasn't there, so what do I know?

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