Jump to content
Mander Organs
David Coram

The Worst Organ In The World

Recommended Posts

Are you sure it was the full organ?

Absolutely. I've heard it twice now (at two university graduation ceremonies) and from the repertoire given us I'm quite sure we had full organ. I was sat fairly near the back of the nave, but down there the instrument was less than overwhelming.

 

Although I do not particularly like the work of R&D, I did find this quite a pleasant organ - and comfortable to play.

I'd agree that what there was of it sounded really rather nice.

 

St. Andrew's, Plymouth is also a good instrument - and also more than adequate in this large church.

It's OK. The tone colours aren't that distinctive, though. I'd expect more variety for the size. One result of this "sameness" (and maybe it was intentional) is that it does the smoothest stop crescendo of any organ I've heard - if you like that sort of thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is certainly true - the nucleus of a four-clavier instrument of forty-one stops was used in the present organ.

 

However, comparing it with my memory of the R&D at St. Andrew's, Plymouth (and allowing for the point that Guildford Cathedral is almost certainly considerably larger than its previous home) I suspsct that most ranks were re-voiced and possibly in some cases, re-scaled.

I would concur that both instruments sound very much as if they are out of the same stable. Both have a curious "undervoiced" quality which makes them sound somewhat less loud than they actually are (which may sound a strange statement, but it's true!) The same was true of the only other R&D I can remember playing - a largish three-decker at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Absolutely. I've heard it twice now (at two university graduation ceremonies) and from the repertoire given us I'm quite sure we had full organ. I was sat fairly near the back of the nave, but down there the instrument was less than overwhelming.

 

Therein lies your answer!

 

Just about any British cathedral organ will sound remote and unimpressive from the back of the nave - particularly when it is full of people.

 

Winchester and Salisbury are the same, (although Winchester does have the longest medieval nave in Europe). Walk about three or four bays west of the crossing and it is as if someone has closed a door on the organ.

 

Winchester is slightly better than Salisbury, although it would haver helped if Harrisons had actually placed the Nave division in the nave - rather than in the bay next to the main organ and east of the choir screen - which seals a lot of the tone in the quire.

 

Ah well, at least it is nice and noisy from the console!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ah, the magic words... Rushworth & Dreaper. I don't think I've ever played an organ by them that I didn't despise. Not really really bad organs, just soulless, pointless things.

 

Is anyone able to contradict me and point me at a good example of their work?

 

Yes!

 

While I have to agree that much of R&D's work was, at best, uninspired they did occasionally come up with something really good.

 

I am thinking of the 4m 82 stop R&D in the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling.

 

Built in 1939 it is typical of the period - unashamedly romantic but capable of playing anything. Very little has been changed since then - the Great Octave Quint was moved up an octave to 1 1/3' pitch and the Choir mutations and mixture were rearranged slightly, but other than that it is tonally still in pretty much original condition despite a rebuild in 1990 which was necessitated by water damage caused by a leaking roof.

 

The Choir organ was buried below impost level in the case and was thus much less effective than it might have been, but otherwise it was (and is) a superb instrument.

 

I must admit that there were some minor details of the 1990 work with which I was less than happy - the original piston system had double touch pistons to Great, Swell, and Choir each with it's own pedal combination on the second touch - for some reason the wonderful new solid state system couldn't handle this so the second touch was removed. The original console had a very nice system which allowed you to assign the Swell, Choir and Solo shutters to any of the three swell pedals - this consisted of three horizontal lever switches, arranged above each other - the Solo switch was at the top, with the Swell and Choir swtches below it and you just moved the switch to the left, centre or right position to select which swell pedal controlled that division. Rather than reuse the existing switches, Rushworths put in a little panel with three rotary switches on it that look as if they came off a cheap transistor radio - quite apart from the fact that they look horrible it's impossible to remember which one does what because they are now laid out horizontally.

 

...but those are minor complaints - it still sounds wonderful (and it also has one of the most "comfortable" consoles that I have ever encountered - it was extremely easy to play)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Chester organ is certainly not what one would call a pedigree instrument, but surely it's not so bad that it could be considered to be one of the world's worst organs. The same must be said of Guildford too, for all its faults. And by golly it must be the season of goodwill if I can admit that. though I may despise it, Gloucester is truly not the world's worst. My objectivity on that front will no doubt cease come the New Year when normal service will be resumed.

 

It is interesting, though, how some of our large cathedral organs are changed beyond reason due to the big personalities of the organists involved at the time, e.g. Roger Fisher (Chester), Arthur Wills (Ely), David Briggs (Gloucester).

 

I recall with some amusement a firecely defensive letter from Arthur Wills that appeared in Organists Review a couple of years ago in response to a review in OR of a CD of the newly rebuilt Ely organ. In it, the reviewer had taken Wills to task for the changes he instigated in the 1970s and welcomed the recent Harrison rebuild which undid much of this work. Wills uncompromising riposte essentially boiled down to one big "I WAS RIGHT!".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
R&D were so keen to continue their connection with this instrument that in the most recent rebuild they (by all accounts) severely undercut all other firms in order to keep it. As it happened, the rebuilding and tonal improvement work turned out particularly well, not least because Geoffrey Morgan kept a very keen eye on them. There is a hillarious story which I'd better not repeat which explains why the tuning contract was then (almost immediately) changed to B.C.Shepherd & Sons. Since their take-over, the Guildford organ has sounded very well.

Oh please? Could I have the story by PM?

 

BTW, my nomination for the worst organ in the country is that of my old school hall. Here is the specification. Note that the letter before each stop indicates which rank (seeing as this is an extension rank afair) the stop relates to:

 

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

 

Clifton College Preparatory School, Clifton, Bristol

School Hall || 2 manuals, 17 stops, extension ranks

 

Pedal:

A Bourdon 16

A Bass Flute 8

B Open Diapason 8

 

Manual 1

B Double Diapason 16

B Open Diapason 8

C Saliconal 8

A Lieblich Gedackt 8

B Principal 4

B Fifteenth 2 (top 12 notes from A)

 

Manual 2

C Contra Saliconal 16

A Lieblich Gedackt 8

C Saliconal 8

A Flute 4

A Piccolo 2

D Double Trumpet 16

D Trumpet 8

D Clarion 4

 

No visible pipes (unless you open the case). Ranks are:

A - Flute (in left case)

B - Diapason (in right case)

C - String (in left case)

D - Reed (in right case)

 

Builder unknown. Installed in hall 1986 by Percy Daniel, Clevedon and probably came from somewhere in SouthEast England.

 

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

 

It was as a pupil of the school that I started learning to play the organ and I started on this instrument. My organ teacher at the time was a man by the name of Robert Fielding (who was, I think, organist of Romsey Abbey, Hampshire for a time: I dunno if he is still there). It was he who described this organ as being "a squeezebox" which I thought was about right. icon_lol.gif

 

Anyway, after a year or so of learning on the "squeezebox" I took to using the excellent (by all accounts) 4 manual, 46 stop organ (Harrison & Harrison 1911 & 1976, restored 1994) in the school chapel. I did my Grade 2 exam on the chapel organ and it was a good instrument. I believe it still is although I left Clifton College in 1995 and have not been in the chapel since then.

 

So it is the organ in the school hall (not the chapel!) that I nominate as my least favourite organ.

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BTW, my nomination for the worst organ in the country is that of my old school hall. Here is the specification. Note that the letter before each stop indicates which rank (seeing as this is an extension rank afair) the stop relates to:

 

Builder unknown. Installed in hall 1986 by Percy Daniel, Clevedon and probably came from somewhere in SouthEast England.

 

So it is the organ in the school hall (not the chapel!) that I nominate as my least favourite organ.

 

Dave

This is like the Clifton Old Boys reunion. Now, if Dave thinks this 1986 4 rank extension organ was bad, he obviously wasn't around to see its predecessor which was freestanding on the hall floor on the left hand side towards the back. There is no mention of it in NPOR but I seem to recall it was a 2 manual with the heaviest tracker action I have ever come across when the two manuals were coupled, as they always needed to be to support the singing of several hundred prep school boys. The facade was your basic pipe rack with no decoration and I seem to recall it regularly needed to be cleaned due to all manner of rubbish the boys would drop into the organ from the balcony above.

 

The term 'box of whistles' was surely coined with this instrument in mind, but it served its purpose for me as a useful nursery instrument as a beginner before they would give me the keys to the kingdom of heaven: the 1911 Harrison (IV/46)in the Upper School Chapel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is like the Clifton Old Boys reunion.

Yes, it is isn't it.

 

Now, if Dave thinks this 1986 4 rank extension organ was bad, he obviously wasn't around to see its predecessor which was freestanding on the hall floor on the left hand side towards the back....

I wasn't around to see this one: I was in the pre. 1990 - 1995.

 

...it was a 2 manual with the heaviest tracker action I have ever come across when the two manuals were coupled, as they always needed to be to support the singing of several hundred prep school boys. The facade was your basic pipe rack with no decoration...

Oh dear!

 

...and I seem to recall it regularly needed to be cleaned due to all manner of rubbish the boys would drop into the organ from the balcony above.

Ah yes. I know the balcony you mean. North Town (house) used that one when I was there. (I started of in Taits house then went into North Town myself.)

 

....the keys to the kingdom of heaven: the 1911 Harrison (IV/46)in the Upper School Chapel.

Yep, definately.

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dave's organ reminds me of one I had to inspect a month or two back:

 

Great

Open Diapason 8

Hohl Flute 8

Salicional 8

Principal 4

Harmonic Flute 4

 

Swell

Violin Diapason 8

Rorh Flute 8

Echo Gamba 8

Voix Celeste 8

Gemshorn 4

Contra Oboe 16

Cornopean 8

 

Pedal

Bourdon 16

Echo Bourdon 16

 

The instrument's one saving grace was that about a quarter of the keys didn't actually work, so reducing its awfulness by 25%.

 

Actually, I think the very worst organ I've ever played was the one I got with my first church appointment when I was 14. I can't remember the exact specification, but it was something like:

 

GreatOpen Diapason 8 (BIG)

Clarabella 8

Wald Flute 4

 

Swell

Violin Diapason 8

Salicional 8

Gemshorn 4

 

Pedal

Bourdon 16

 

I've no idea who built it, but it was in a dreadful state and the parish eventually had Osmunds come and repair it. It was only a clean-and-patch-up job, but they did paint the pipes gold and of course the congregation duly thought it sounded so much brighter!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Chester organ is certainly not what one would call a pedigree instrument, but surely it's not so bad that it could be considered to be one of the world's worst organs. The same must be said of Guildford too, for all its faults. And by golly it must be the season of goodwill if I can admit that. though I may despise it, Gloucester is truly not the world's worst. My objectivity on that front will no doubt cease come the New Year when normal service will be resumed.

 

I would not place any of these organs on the 'world's worst' category - they just happened to come up in conversation!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is interesting, though, how some of our large cathedral organs are changed beyond reason due to the big personalities of the organists involved at the time, e.g. Roger Fisher (Chester), Arthur Wills (Ely), David Briggs (Gloucester).

 

I recall with some amusement a firecely defensive letter from Arthur Wills that appeared in Organists Review a couple of years ago in response to a review in OR of a CD of the newly rebuilt Ely organ. In it, the reviewer had taken Wills to task for the changes he instigated in the 1970s and welcomed the recent Harrison rebuild which undid much of this work. Wills uncompromising riposte essentially boiled down to one big "I WAS RIGHT!".

 

There appears to be a fairly common idea that DB changed the Gloucester organ dramatically. This simply is not the case. He caused a Quint 10 2/3p, Tierce 6 2/5p, Septième 4 4/7p and a Bombarde 32p to be added to the Pedal Organ. The Bombarde is not extended and is of full length, heavily mitred. One 8p stop was slightly revoiced and another stop was changed in pitch (details by PM, if anyone desires). A Sub Octave coupler was added to the Swell Organ. No other revoicing or tonal alterations were made at this time. The removal of some of the case-roof panels was carried-out before the Nicholson restoration.

 

Listening to it on the TV broadcast of Midnight Mass, I wonder if NIcholsons have subsequently opened-up the 32p Bombarde. They did, I believe. have to replace some of the tongues fairly soon after the rebuild, due to corrosion. However, on the broadcast, the 32p Bombarde was clearly audible and sounded quite thrilling, whereas in the building (either from the console or downstairs) I clearly remember it being very disappointing (except for EEEE) - something upon which DB also commented.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The brouhaha over Gloucester happened in John Sanders' time (1971) when the Willis as rebuilt by Harrisons was transformed into the current HNB. As I recall, the angst at the time boiled down to "How dare they turn a fine Romantic cathedral organ into bubble-and-squeak".

 

If the original organ was anything like Exeter Cathedral (also an ex-Willis H&H) the criticisms may have been valid. The old organ sounds features on the Priory reissue of Ryemuse recordings and it sounds quite decent, whereas the present organ seemed rather ungracious to me in this year's midnight mass. It sounds pretty good on Hurford's disc of Krebs chorales though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I wonder if NIcholsons have subsequently opened-up the 32p Bombarde. They did, I believe. have to replace some of the tongues fairly soon after the rebuild, due to corrosion. However, on the broadcast, the 32p Bombarde was clearly audible and sounded quite thrilling, whereas in the building (either from the console or downstairs) I clearly remember it being very disappointing (except for EEEE) - something upon which DB also commented.

 

 

All this is correct. The relatively recent revoicing of the (initially pretty-well-ineffective) Nicholson 32' reed at Gloucester was by Keith Bance who has been doing quite a bit of revoicing/finishing for Nicholsons since the untimely death of Arthur Jones. Other recent work by the same team has been at Malvern Priory and Bridlington I believe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Lee Blick

I was organist at a church in Chingford (Barry Rose was organist here apparently) and it had an organ installed by Leonard Reeve, an organ builder from the Leicester area?

 

It was squashed into a tiny tower, very drafty with no insulation, so you can imagine, it never kept in tune. The Swell soundboard was starting to split and was emitting strange noises. It had a horrid scratchy viol d'orchetre on the Swell, which sounded even more horrid coupled to the Voix Celestes. The Pedal organ had a Bourdon at 16, 8, 4 pitches and then a 4ft Rohr Schalmei which I can only describe sounded like 'baby farts'. The tremulant didn't extend as far to this stop either. The console was a rehashed Compton tab version, originally not designed to accomodate thumb pistons, but there they were, too close to the black keys. Not so good when the combination suddenly changes mid-flow. What else was bad about it, oh yes... the detached console was placed right in the middle of the congregational seating, so you can imagine what is like to concentrate at the final voluntary. The organ has been replaced by a digital organ since.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was organist at a church in Chingford (Barry Rose was organist here apparently) and it had an organ installed by Leonard Reeve, an organ builder from the Leicester area?

 

It was squashed into a tiny tower, very drafty with no insulation, so you can imagine, it never kept in tune.  The Swell soundboard was starting to split and was emitting strange noises.  It had a horrid scratchy viol d'orchetre on the Swell, which sounded even more horrid coupled to the Voix Celestes.  The Pedal organ had a Bourdon at 16, 8, 4 pitches and then a 4ft Rohr Schalmei which I can only describe sounded like 'baby farts'.  The tremulant didn't extend as far to this stop either.  The console was a rehashed Compton tab version, originally not designed to accomodate thumb pistons, but there they were, too close to the black keys. Not so good when the combination suddenly changes mid-flow.  What else was bad about it, oh yes... the detached console was placed right in the middle of the congregational seating, so you can imagine what is like to concentrate at the final voluntary.  The organ has been replaced by a digital organ since.

It reminds me of an almost identical organ in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Southampton. Made by Hall and Broadfield circa 1968. Vile thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It reminds me of an almost identical organ in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Southampton. Made by Hall and Broadfield circa 1968. Vile thing.

 

The one in Portswood? Console down the front, pipework stuffed somewhere up above amidst the brickwork?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If the original organ was anything like Exeter Cathedral (also an ex-Willis H&H) the criticisms may have been valid.

 

Not remotely!

 

The old Gloucester organ probably had more in common with the Crediton organ. Certainly, listening to the 'Great Cathedral Organ Series' recording and the later (?) recording of the Elgar Sonata, the organ sounds thick and lacking in brilliance. Whilst there are some beautiful quiet sounds, the GO Trombi are opaque, as is the Pedal Ophicleide and would probably have become extremely unpleasant with prolonged use.

 

A former assistant, Herbert Byard, wrote an article on the Gloucester organ in The Organ, shortly after the instrument's radical transformation by Ralph Downes. In it, he states that many people (including many genuine music-lovers) found the old organ oppressive and heavy, particularly when played loudly.

 

As far as Exeter is concerned, this instrument is one which I know quite well. It has a very distinctive sound (not greatly modified in the recent restoration). To my ears, it does not sound like a typical Willis - or a Harrison, for that matter. This is not to say that it has an unpleasant sound. I find it one of the most satisfying instruments on which to play - certainly the most comfortable - along with Coventry.

 

Perhaps one of the failings of the recent work [at Exeter] was that the GO mixtures were not revised - as they stand, they lack brilliance and clarity. The IV-rank sounds very 'quinty' and the Sharp Mixture (29-33-36 at CC) add little in the way of brilliance. This aside, I consider it to be a very fine organ.

 

On the subject of the Crediton organ (H&H 1921), recently restored by Michael Farley, I heard a new CD a few days ago. Whilst the quality of the playing is excellent, I was un-impressed with the sound of the organ. The full GO and Pedal I found distinctly unpleasant - the GO reeds were the most opaque I have ever heard - like Tubas. The 32p reed (which was used extensively) was also somewhat strident in its middle range (which is, I recall, the Ophicleide, from which it is extended).

 

The recording quality was acceptable, as was the balance. However, I realise that a recording is not necessarily a true representation if the instrument, as heard in the building.

 

I played the restored organ about a year ago and, whilst it did sound a little better in the building, I came away with the impression that there would be little for the Pedal and GO reeds (or the Tuba) to do, on a normal Sunday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know what you mean about the Crediton organ. I think it's a fine instrument of its type, but it is a bit opaque. But that's Trombas for you, isn' it? I hate the things personally; I can't see they have any musical advantage over brighter reeds of the Trumpet variety. The acoustics of the church don't help either. But, like I say, if you accept the organ on its own terms... well... I know far worse!(Incidentally, I see the organist has just had a Phoenix installed in his home with an identical spec. plus several additions.)

 

I accept that Exeter is neither pukka Willis nor typical H&H. From what you say, H&H must have done a more radical job at Gloucester than at Exeter. I wonder what the original Gloucester Willis (as known to Howells) sounded like. More like Hereford, I would hope.

 

Exeter is an very fine instrument with a wonderfully rich tone; it sounds best in the nave IMO. I really don't think it would be improved by more brilliant mixtures. In fact, I imagine they would ruin the instrument. I think even the current Sharp Mixture was a mistake. It's just not that sort of organ. Yes, it isn't loud enough for a nave congregation, but I don't think tinkering with a few stops here and there is the right way to go. IMO, the 2001 rebuild wasn't an unqualified success. As I think I've said elsewhere, the 32ft reed sounds like the results of an indigestible curry and the new Great Principal sticks out like a sore thumb. I can't see why the latter was necessary when there's a whole new Minstrel department for nave accompaniment. I guess this is a case where I have to swallow my pride about spreadeagling organs: the Minstrel Organ was clearly necessary and there really wasn't anywhere better to put it.

 

On the subject of tinkering with Romantic Organs by adding/strengthening the upperwork, does anyone share my views about the Hereford Cathedral Willis? I've got Graham Barber's disc of the Howells Sonata & Six Pieces and both the organ and playing sound wonderful in every way - except for that horribly tinkly and percussive Great Mixture IV that H&H added in 1978. At least, I assume that's the culprit; I can't see what else it could be. It just doesn't sound part of the same instrument. I'm not saying that it's necessarily H&H's fault; in cases like this how do you know whether to blame the organists or the builders? I'm only guessing, but I bet the needs of congregational accompaniment were behind that addition too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Exeter is an very fine instrument with a wonderfully rich tone; it sounds best in the nave IMO. I really don't think it would be improved by more brilliant mixtures. In fact, I imagine they would ruin the instrument. I think even the current Sharp Mixture was a mistake. It's just not that sort of organ. Yes, it isn't loud enough for a nave congregation, but I don't think tinkering with a few stops here and there is the right way to go. IMO, the 2001 rebuild wasn't an unqualified success. As I think I've said elsewhere, the 32ft reed sounds like the results of an indigestible curry and the new Great Principal sticks out like a sore thumb. I can't see why the latter was necessary when there's a whole new Minstrel department for nave accompaniment. I guess this is a case where I have to swallow my pride about spreadeagling organs: the Minstrel Organ was clearly necessary and there really wasn't anywhere better to put it.

 

 

I agree with much of what you say.

 

However, the new 4p Octave on the GO was something which I suggested to Paul Morgan several years ago, along with the Viole Céleste. Personally I think that the Octave has improved the clarity and power of the GO chorus noticeably! I cannot agree about the mixtures - it really needs brightening-up, particularly since the Choir lost its Cimbel and the Twenty Second was re-scaled as a Larigot - a retrograde step, as far as I am concerned.

 

The new Minstrel Organ certainly helps the organ to fill the building - I am not at all sure that it is still too quiet for the cathedral!

 

However, I do agree about Crediton - I suppose, given that it is largely in its original state, the voicing of the chorus reeds should rightly have been preserved. I would still prefer something which I could use without getting a headache, though....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder how much the sound of the Crediton instrument has been changed by raising it to A=440? Harrison's have strongly recommended against doing the same at Halifax because they believe it would change the character of the instrument. Michael Farley, who happened to be tuning the (Crediton) instrument when I called in last year, he told me it had taken a long time for the reeds to settle down at the new pitch.

 

The Crediton organ is pushed out of the way in a transept, and whilst it is very loud at the console, it isn't excessive down the nave. There is the same problem at St Margaret's, Ilkley.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Crediton organ is pushed out of the way in a transept, and whilst it is very loud at the console, it isn't excessive down the nave.  There is the same problem at St Margaret's, Ilkley.

 

True - but I still found it nasty at the console.

 

Bear in mind that the Cantoris stalls are just a few feet in front of the case.... I still see little point in having GO reeds that swamp not only a choir, but most of the rest of the instrument!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The one in Portswood? Console down the front, pipework stuffed somewhere up above amidst the brickwork?

That's the one. Visually, it reminds me of a bird's nest. I would much rather have the TSCH organ than that thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The worst organ in the world?

 

I have just remembered - I played it for a concert, once. (I still have the video, if anyone needs cheering-up.)

 

The Orgue-de-Choeur, at Chartres Cathedral.

 

I think that 'a pile of poo' would sum up nicely.

 

It consisted of two claviers and pedals. The pipe-work was situated in boxes which bore a striking resemblance to coal bunkers (but were painted a dull buff hue) - and there was no swell box. There was, however, a centrally-placed swell pedal.

 

Tonally, it was absolutely dire - as was the tuinng. The action was 'loose' and I do not recall any ventils or pistons at all. The console did in fact look as if it had started life as a mail-order kit, fashioned from box-wood.

 

There was no blend, to speak of - save that some of the sounds it made were similar to those produced by a blender....

 

Personally, I have never played a worse instrument - in every sense of the word.

 

I heartily recommend a visit. Unless it has been the subject of a major rebuild (or a large skip), I can just about guarantee that you will not have heard or seen anything like it.

 

 

 

Ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

The worst organ in the world?

 

 

 

Your account of Chartres OdeC reminds me:

I once had to give a recital on the Orgue de Choeur at Rheims Cathedral (c.1980). This was mostly down to the fact that the titular organist had absented himself in advance of my published recital on the Gonzalez and had taken the (apparently only) key with him! This fact was only discovered minutes before the start time - no rehearsal time of course, after all this was France!

 

My first note (Pedal CCC for Bach's Fantasia in Cm) stuck down and stayed down. The whole organ looked extremely dodgy, most notably the fact that it leaned into the cathedral at an angle of at least 10% degrees from the vertical, so I was lucky that some manuals-only music in my bag passed any kind of muster.

 

Ah... standards are so high everywhere other than here in dear old Blighty aren't they?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh yes!

 

I can think of a few other occasions - almost all of them in France.

 

Funny, is it not? They (French organists) come over here and we afford them unlimited access to our finest instruments (which they then often take for granted) but an English organist on a French cathedral organ?! I have been fortunate on some occasions and actually engaged to play on some others - but apart from this....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...