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Mander Organs
Martin Cooke

Howells

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It's not that easy to find Arthur Harrison organs that can be used in an untouched state, ie the player chooses not to use the 'xxxx', but all the fundamentals are still there. I can think of 5 off the top of my head, but none of buildings sound right. Problem is that you need to try to replicate the Gloucester ambience and acoustic too. The latter might more easily be done using a turn of the century Willis. I can only think of 1 AH where the organ can be used appropriately, and the building is about right.

 

AJS

 

 

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

 

 

The only viable solution.........Howells recorded at Holy Rude, Stirling......then Hadrian's Wall re-built bigger and better than before, with draconian border-control and no exports!!!! :D

 

MM

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

 

 

The only viable solution.........Howells recorded at Holy Rude, Stirling......then Hadrian's Wall re-built bigger and better than before, with draconian border-control and no exports!!!! :D

 

MM

 

You go up there and do the playing, I'll call the brickies in. Let's see who finishes first.

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As an alternative, Belgium could take two british

towns over (one whose name begins with a "B", the other

one with a "D").

The flemish would build the wall round one of them, the waloons round

the other. No exports, OK, save towards the continent. This would be

mandatory anyway as the customs paperwork may only be in french

and dutch languages.

 

Pierre

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As an alternative, Belgium could take two british

towns over (one whose name begins with a "B", the other

one with a "D").

The flemish would build the wall round one of them, the waloons round

the other. No exports, OK, save towards the continent. This would be

mandatory anyway as the customs paperwork may only be in french

and dutch languages.

 

Pierre

 

Is the one beginning with a B the one I think it is? In which case, help yourself to the shoddy amalgamation of Rushworth and Dreaper pipework, Keith Scudamore wiring attached to a plywood console with plastic keyboards.

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Is the one beginning with a B the one I think it is? In which case, help yourself to the shoddy amalgamation of Rushworth and Dreaper pipework, Keith Scudamore wiring attached to a plywood console with plastic keyboards.

 

I do not think it is the same B...

 

Pierre

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As an alternative, Belgium could take two british

towns over (one whose name begins with a "B", the other

one with a "D").

The flemish would build the wall round one of them, the waloons round

the other. No exports, OK, save towards the continent. This would be

mandatory anyway as the customs paperwork may only be in french

and dutch languages.

 

Pierre

If I'm right in identifying the instruments, at the moment, they'd only need to take over 'D', since most of the instrument from 'B' is there mid-restoration.

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If I'm right in identifying the instruments, at the moment, they'd only need to take over 'D', since most of the instrument from 'B' is there mid-restoration.

 

Oooh, they may complete the work first, no problemo. We aren't in an hurry,

we wait already since 30 years for that recording. This leaves us some time

to repair the (1950's) trucks of the belgian army; they would not even reach

Zeebrugge in the state they are in nowadays... :P

 

Pierre

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Just relearning that for a recital - the opener, in fact. Good idea?

 

Peter

 

Hmm. Well, now. It can certainly have its place in a recital programme, but, for myself, I don't think I would ever open a recital with a piece by Howells (probably not even Paean, which is about the only one that might qualify). It's just too heavy. The received wisdom is that the opener should be a good-humoured attention grabber that doesn't require too much concentration or intellect from the audience (usually something loud, though that doesn't necessarily have to be the case). Once you've got them in the mood, then you can go on to more searching/demanding stuff.

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Hmm. Well, now. It can certainly have its place in a recital programme, but, for myself, I don't think I would ever open a recital with a piece by Howells (probably not even Paean, which is about the only one that might qualify). It's just too heavy. The received wisdom is that the opener should be a good-humoured attention grabber that doesn't require too much concentration or intellect from the audience (usually something loud, though that doesn't necessarily have to be the case). Once you've got them in the mood, then you can go on to more searching/demanding stuff.

 

Vox, do you really think Joe Public is so stupid ?

They entered a church, after all...

 

Pierre

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Vox, do you really think Joe Public is so stupid ?

They entered a church, after all...

 

I'm not clear whether by that you mean they are stupid or aren't!

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Vox, do you really think Joe Public is so stupid ?

They entered a church, after all...

 

Pierre

 

This is basic programming commonsense, Pierre; it is not at all exclusive to organ recitals. There are situations in which it is reasonable to ignore it, such as if you are playing a specialist programme to a musically sophisticated audience (Messiaen's La Nativité comes to mind), but generally audiences for organ recitals are not musically sophisticated - or, if they are, they are exceedingly small. If you want your audience to come back the next time you give a recital, you will not start with Howells.

 

Churches in Belgium may still be pious places - I have no knowledge of that, so cannot comment - but here in Britain the vast majority have long ceased to be so as far as music is concerned. But let's not start that debate again.

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The H & H rebuild at Gloucester was 1920, so Howells's formative years and early compositions would have related to a Fr Willis, not the H & H. But I still hear his work, and hear the building, and think that this has as much to do with what imbued him.

 

AJS

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Has anybody tried to play Howells on a french organ ?

At Ieper Cathedral (Anneessens) the results are surprisingly good.

 

Pierre

My very first experience of a French organ was as a 14 year old, hearing my teacher play (after some de Grigny) Howells' Saraband for the Morning of Easter. The organ was St Denis and left an indelible impression. I can still feel the Contrebombarde on bottom C... :rolleyes:

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Has anybody tried to play Howells on a french organ ?

At Ieper Cathedral (Anneessens) the results are surprisingly good.

 

Pierre

Oh Yes! I'm sure Howells would sound good at Ieper. If you have any links to recordings, I would be interested to hear them.

JC

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Not with Howells, but Elgar:

 

http://www.andriessenorgelbouw.be/en/ISM-info.html

 

(Links to the sound files above the Specifications)

 

Do not mind the "frenchy" stops names !

 

Pierre

Thanks, Pierre. I am familiar with that recording and it is always a pleasure to hear the distinctive tones of the Anneessens organ. It is many years since I was last at Ieper Cathedral and I would love to hear some Howells on it.

JC

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It is interesting to note that Ieper's organ is not huge at all (40 stops!).

What counts -besides the dark colours etc- is the generous acoustics;

it is better to have 40 stops with 5 seconds + reverberation than 100

stops in a dry acoustics !

This is particularly important for Howell's music, and another example

comes to mind: Messiaen, who composed his organ works for the

Eglise de la Trinité, where we also have more than 5 seconds reverberation.

"Acoustics" may be taken for the most important organ stop !

 

Pierre

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I would love to try this organ. One question: what's a "Bourdon Harm. 8"?

 

The "Bourdon harmonique" is a triple-lenght stopped Diapason, exactly like

Thynne's "Zauberflöte" in England.

The difference with the Zauberflöte is the scale, which is larger; while the Zauberflöte

may be understood as an "harmonic Quintatön", the Bourdon harmonique is an harmonic

Gedackt.

Schyven also built Bourdons harmoniques in Belgium.

Of course the pipes are harmonic only from c!

 

Would you want to visit the organ, you can contact Ludo Geloen through this Website:

http://users.telenet.be/geloen/orgiep.html

ludo.geloen@pandora.be

 

He is a big friend of this organ.

Pierre

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it is better to have 40 stops with 5 seconds + reverberation than 100

stops in a dry acoustics !

This is particularly important for Howell's music..........

"Acoustics" may be taken for the most important organ stop !

 

Pierre

 

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

 

 

I reckon that Howell's music is vastly improved when you have 250 stops at your disposal and 5 tremulants, speaking into a totally dry acoustic. A few traps and effects, and Howell's music takes on a whole new meaning! :rolleyes:

 

MM

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

 

 

I reckon that Howell's music is vastly improved when you have 250 stops at your disposal and 5 tremulants, speaking into a totally dry acoustic. A few traps and effects, and Howell's music takes on a whole new meaning! :rolleyes:

 

MM

How(el)ls with laughter.

 

AJS

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This is basic programming commonsense, Pierre; it is not at all exclusive to organ recitals. There are situations in which it is reasonable to ignore it, such as if you are playing a specialist programme to a musically sophisticated audience (Messiaen's La Nativité comes to mind), but generally audiences for organ recitals are not musically sophisticated - or, if they are, they are exceedingly small. If you want your audience to come back the next time you give a recital, you will not start with Howells.

 

Churches in Belgium may still be pious places - I have no knowledge of that, so cannot comment - but here in Britain the vast majority have long ceased to be so as far as music is concerned. But let's not start that debate again.

I agree with Vox, here. In recitals where I have programmed a piece of Howells, this has usually been the only piece which members of the audience have spoken about in a negative fashion afterwards.

 

I am afraid I simply do not regard most of his organ music as recital repertoire - I think that much it (even the rhapsodies) is better as mood-setting music, before or after a service - ideally Evensong.

 

Pierre, I do not think that it is necessarily a case of regarding an audience as stupid; in England these days, organ recital audiences are almost invariably small - sometimes even including concerts given by world-class players. Occasionally this is partly due to a particular instrument. However, one has to be very careful when programming a concert. I have a colleague for whom I occasionally play lunchtime recitals (at his church). He often returns proposed programmes sent in by other recitalists, with directions to change certain pieces - not necessarily because other recitalists have played a particular work recently. He maintains that he wishes to keep up (and even increase) the size of his target audience, and he feels that this will not be achieved if programmes are too heavy, academic or featuring too much of one particular composer. As far as I understand, he is not keen on Howells at these recitals, either.

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