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Michael Woodward


Malcolm Riley
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Whlist reading through the latest OR I came across the sad news that Michael Woodward had died. His great contribution to the Art of organ recording is fondly remembered by many, I'm sure. His LPs of Reading Town Hall (Catherine Ennis) and St George's Hall, Liverpool (Christopher Dearnley) did much to raise the general level of importance of these neglected and overlooked Willis instruments. The sumptuously-illustrated gatefold covers told the listener everything they might want to know about each instrument and the player's programme. Michael took infinite pains with every aspect of each disc's production. He was an expert photographer, relishing the typographical and layout challenges involved in the design, invariably producing a handsome sepia-tinged sleeve. On a single saturday in May 1981 he recorded the Choir of Christ's College, Cambridge (MW 923) in eleven anthems (accompanied by Joseph Cullen) and myself in 4 organ solos on the soon to be dismantled Hill Norman and Beard of 1909. Working with him was an education and a pleasure.

 

At one stage, during the recording of Reger's D minor Introduction and Passacaglia, I kept on making a series of silly slips (mostly regsitrational). Sensing my fatigue. Michael called a halt to the proceedings and took me for a walk down Hobson's Lane (of 'Hobson's Choice' fame, I believe) to stretch my legs and to break the tension in the loft. His avuncular care and concern was typical. A few years later I asked him whether he might be free to make a recording of my wedding. Nothing was too much trouble. Having driven over from Harwich to West Sussex, he set up his mics, beloved Revox and a stereo cassette machine discretely behind a floral display in the church. As my new bride and I reached the lych gate he slipped us a cassette of 'highlights' from the service which he had been editing down.

 

A true gentleman and a genuine enthusiast. RIP

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I did not know mr Woodward personally, but it was his series of LP recordings, (now all reissued on CD?) And I am sure they were way ahead of there time, and still get played often. Those precious LP's are what got me interested in recording the organ. So my hat firmly comes of to the genious that was Michael Woodward.

May he RIP

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... but it was his series of LP recordings, (now all reissued on CD?)

I fear not: I have his LP recording of Neil Cox at the Frobenius and Walker organs of Lancing College Chapel, but have yet to see that on CD.

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I fear not: I have his LP recording of Neil Cox at the Frobenius and Walker organs of Lancing College Chapel, but have yet to see that on CD.

 

well most then,

time for Priory to do the others justice, the only CD he made ( I think) is a great rendition of the 6 Trio Sonata's from St. Catherines college???? by the late Peter le Hurray i think

Peter

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