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T C Lewis & Thomas Hill

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As noted above on the 'Grove' the wind pressures are recorded as:

 

The Organ, no.141 Volume XXXVI page 17

 

Great Flues 4.5"

Great Reeds 8"

Swell Flues 5"

Swell Reeds 8"

Choir All 4"

Solo Flues 6"

Solo Reeds 16"

Pedal Flues 5"

Pedal Reeds 16"

 

But there must be some confusion here. Perhaps H. Stubbington is recording what the pressures would be in the completed/combined organs. I remember talk about some wind pressures with John Budgen when I helped put in the replacement tuba on the Milton/apse solo. That rank came from the Norman & Beard organ of Christ Church, Lancaster Gate and is quite a bit bigger in scale than the Grove specimen. I never heard the Grove tuba in the apse division but when the N&B one went in (around 1987/8) some commented that it actually sounded better than the other. Perhaps this was because the scale was bigger and was made for a similar pressure. I'm pretty sure that the Milton/apse tuba was on 16" wind and that of the Grove was lower (12") and so Walkers had indeed revoiced it in 1948 and moved the rank up one pipe, to allow for the different pitch, making a new bottom C pipe. Thus the Grove tuba as it is now does not sound as M & Th left it.

 

I can't find an older piece recording the Grove wind pressures but in the recent publication, 'Tewkesbury Abbey. The Abbey Organs' of 2008 by Nicholas Plumley the original Grove pressures are given as:

Great flues 3 1/2" - 4"

Great reeds 5 3/4"

Swell flues 3 1/2"

Swell reeds 5 3/4"

Choir 3 1/2"

Solo flues 3 1/2"

Solo reeds 12"

Pedal flues - various

Pedal reeds 12"

This is almost certainly what I remember. Is any body in contact with John Budgen, he seemed to know the instrument inside-out?

 

F-W

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I can't find an older piece recording the Grove wind pressures but in the recent publication, 'Tewkesbury Abbey. The Abbey Organs' of 2008 by Nicholas Plumley the original Grove pressures are given as:

Great flues 3 1/2" - 4"

Great reeds 5 3/4"

Swell flues 3 1/2"

Swell reeds 5 3/4"

Choir 3 1/2"

Solo flues 3 1/2"

Solo reeds 12"

Pedal flues - various

Pedal reeds 12"

This is almost certainly what I remember. Is any body in contact with John Budgen, he seemed to know the instrument inside-out?

 

F-W

 

Thanks for this F-W, these are exactly what Stephen Bicknell refers to in all the articles he has written about the Grove and so his comments about the Lewis reed comparison does make some sense. Unless Nicolas Plumley got his figures from Stephen and they were wrong in the first place.

I am tempted to believe your theory that the higher pressures H-S was talking about were for his combined organ, but why he would want to make such drastic changes to something that already filled the building with a glorious sound is a mystery. Perhaps the higher pressures were only for the rebuilt Milton organ leaving the original Grove pressures alone.

There is a chance though that Cynic doesn't need to nibble the brim off his trilby just yet. :)

 

...and to keep the post a little closer to MM's original question: Further to Cynic's first post about the fashion for Hill style choruses waning, there were many articles and books written around the turn of the century by people such as Audsley and Dixon, in which Hill, for one, was heavily criticised for sticking with tradition. In fact, rereading some of these pieces, I think today Hill might have been able to sue Dixon for libel.

 

Audsley's point was that Hill didn't really make an effort to build a concert organ, he just expanded his version of a Cathedral organ, and with nowhere near enough string stops for his tastes (only Skinner managed to satiate his demands in that direction) nor enough divisions under expression. Concert organists of the period were expected to reproduce orchestral works as well as the odd piece of 'organ music'.

 

Perhaps Schulze's diapason chorus was not faithfully reproduced everywhere because St. Batholomew's, Armley is not everywhere; it is a cavernous cathedral of a building. I think it was MM who mentioned that the organ must have sounded rather odd (if not painful) in the much smaller church it lived in for a few years (Harrogate). The end of the Victorian period was not as vibrant as its begining, so all that we now generally agree to have been a 'good' organ sound was then considered brash. By the time people's tastes had recovered from lashings of Victorian brown paint, organists and builders were looking towards much earlier periods for their inspiration. The neo-baroque started earlier than people often think. The organ I play in Lausanne was enlarged in 1924 and included a nasard and tierce in the Swell. (Pierre will no doubt tell us of many earlier examples).

 

I am glad that many organ builders and organists are now looking again at some of the organ highlights of the 19th century and not just with faithful restorations, but with completely new organs. And yes I know some builders never actually stopped being inspired by the 19th century, but their customers, on the whole, yearned for something different.

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Perhaps Schulze's diapason chorus was not faithfully reproduced everywhere because St. Batholomew's, Armley is not everywhere; it is a cavernous cathedral of a building. I think it was MM who mentioned that the organ must have sounded rather odd (if not painful) in the much smaller church it lived in for a few years (Harrogate).

 

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

 

 

Well, yes and no. The redeming feature of the Armley Schulze when at Harrogate, must have been the terraced dynamics and the wealth of exquisite gentler tones. I can well imagine the organist of the day saying, "We never use the 5 rank Mixture in Lent."

 

Lest we forget, the Harrogate organ was removed by the dear old ladies who owned it and loaned it to the church, to be replaced by ANOTHER Schulze organ; the chorus-work of which remains very bold indeed, even though it was messed around with and has been "restored" in the loosest possible sense of the term. The current Great chorus is actually fairly Schulze-like, I would suggest.

 

One of the good things about the Harrogate instrument, is the fact that it has a proper 32ft reed, rather than the relatively poor 32ft reed at Doncaster PC.

 

MM

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

 

One of the good things about the Harrogate instrument, is the fact that it has a proper 32ft reed, rather than the relatively poor 32ft reed at Doncaster PC.

 

MM

 

Oh you are such a tease MM!

 

And for anyone struggling to follow this quaint reference, St. Peter's Harrogate has an electronic 32' reed.

 

The chorus would be Schulze-like as it was actually made by the Schulze firm (even though Brindley & Foster erected it and several other firms have made changes).

 

Perhaps to sound really well, a bold diapason chorus of the Schulze style really needs a generous acoustic. I was just trying to answer the question why there seemed to be relatively few copies of the Armley sound. Did B&F ever produce any diapason chorus that used the exact scales as Schulze did? I know that many Organ builders asked him for details and he was only too willing to provide these. He apparently said something to the effect that, "it's all very well having the scales, they've still got to make them sing"

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Oh you are such a tease MM!

 

And for anyone struggling to follow this quaint reference, St. Peter's Harrogate has an electronic 32' reed.

 

The chorus would be Schulze-like as it was actually made by the Schulze firm (even though Brindley & Foster erected it and several other firms have made changes).

 

Perhaps to sound really well, a bold diapason chorus of the Schulze style really needs a generous acoustic. I was just trying to answer the question why there seemed to be relatively few copies of the Armley sound. Did B&F ever produce any diapason chorus that used the exact scales as Schulze did? I know that many Organ builders asked him for details and he was only too willing to provide these. He apparently said something to the effect that, "it's all very well having the scales, they've still got to make them sing"

 

 

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

 

I wasn't trying to be a tease David, but I may have unwittingly been so if my memory is playing tricks from 2002 when I last heard the organ at St Peter's, Harrogate, when Carlo Curley gave the re-opening recital.

 

Don't quote me on this, but I was under the impression that a NEW 12 note reed extension was installed then, but the 32 "flue" remains electronic due to height restrictions.

 

I think the exact quote from Edmund Schuze was, "I can give dem my scales, but I cannot give dem diss." (He pointed to his ear).

 

With regard to Brindley, it is interesting that he certainly didn't use Schulze scales generally, but I'm not sure what he did at Dewsbury (W Yorks) at the Centenary Methodist Church; the Great chorus of which rang around the building like a banshee, and was said to be a copy of the Armley Schulze chorus. It was 45 years ago that I heard it, and it was a mighty impressive sound. Now scrapped, we will never know for sure.

 

What we do know, is thatCharles Brindley worked with Schulze over in Germany, and on his return (and only on his return), did he set up as an organ-builder in his own rights. He was therefore the natural choice of associate organ-builder when Schulze got the contract for Doncaster, and it is also known that Brindley was good enough a voicer to assist Schulze with the end result; voicing many of the pipes himself. It is also quite likely that Brindley did a lot more than we suspect, and there was a fairly free interchange of staff between Schulze and Brindley when Schulze were "over here," so to speak. (Remember, Schulze did TWO organs in Doncaster, as well as Hindley, Meanwood (Armley), Tyne Dock and whatever bits he may have supplied to other builders.

 

As I've mentioned a number of times, Karl (Carl?) Schulze also remained in the UK when Schulze returned to Germany, and so some of the voicing of Brindley's organs is German, or at least a shared duty between Brindley himself and his head-voicer Schulze. It was a fairly short period; possibly (I'm not sure) between 1870 and 1880 or so, after which Schulze left and worked for Albert Keates; the organs of whom are known to have or had a considerable boldness of tone.

 

There are so few original Brindley instruments around, but one of them (re-built bot tonally more or less unchanged), is half a mile from where I live. That organ has boldness and clarity, but no evidence of Schulze scaling. Fairly badly sited, it sounds impressive at close quarters, and has the same terraced dynamics one associates with Schulze.

 

Brindley was, I suspect, far more important than we realise, because he was the natural link between the true German organ and the late 19th century instruments which were truer to the "German" style than anything made by Hill, whatever the stop-lists suggest.

 

It always amazes me that the work of Issac Abbott is largely ignored, because tonally, he was right up there with the best. (There is far more mention of J J Binns). Again, there is a startling clarity and beauty in the few original choruses which remain in-situ. Both Brindley and Abbot were far better than Forster & Andrews work tonally, and in the Anglo-German stakes, only Lewis could match or better them in that remarkable period 1870-90 or thereabouts.

 

When Pierre mentioned the nadir of the English neo-baroque, I'm sure he will be interested to know that SOME organists always talked of the "Victorian Baroque," when all around them, those splendid, late 19th century instruments were being discarded or rebuilt beyond recognition in quasi neo-classic style.

 

MM

 

 

PS: The "Schulze" sound at Harrogate was never completely lost, (Gt. 16,8,4,2.2/3 and 2) but I think the Great Mixture was, I believe, new in 2002, and was carefully matched to the unison Schulze ranks which remained from the original organ. It's a good organ, by and large, but as much Abbott and Walker as it is Schulze. A bit like Leeds PC....bits of all sorts, but sounding superb.

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

 

 

Don't quote me on this, ...(ok I won't completely)... a NEW 12 note reed extension... so NPOR needs updating, unless I didn't quite get the latest spec.

 

I think the exact quote from Edmund Schuze was, "I can give dem my scales, but I cannot give dem diss." (He pointed to his ear). Are you sure he was from Jamaica, I always assumed he was German. :)

 

...the Great chorus of which rang around the building like a banshee,...so that tends to support the idea that your average church might have thought a Schulze chorus a bit over the top, particularly if you were a late Victorian one.

 

There are so few original Brindley instruments around, but one of them (re-built bot tonally more or less unchanged), is half a mile from where I live. ... which church is that in?

 

...The "Schulze" sound at Harrogate was never completely lost, (Gt. 16,8,4,2.2/3 and 2) but I think the Great Mixture was, I believe, new in 2002, ...

I understand now why you referred to it as Schulze-style.

 

 

A very interseting post MM.

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A very interseting post MM.

 

Don't quote me on this, ...(ok I won't completely)... a NEW 12 note reed extension... so NPOR needs updating, unless I didn't quite get the latest spec.

 

I think the exact quote from Edmund Schuze was, "I can give dem my scales, but I cannot give dem diss." (He pointed to his ear). Are you sure he was from Jamaica, I always assumed he was German.

 

...the Great chorus of which rang around the building like a banshee,...so that tends to support the idea that your average church might have thought a Schulze chorus a bit over the top, particularly if you were a late Victorian one.

 

There are so few original Brindley instruments around, but one of them (re-built bot tonally more or less unchanged), is half a mile from where I[ live. ... which church is that in?

 

...The "Schulze" sound at Harrogate was never completely lost, (Gt. 16,8,4,2.2/3 and 2) but I think the Great Mixture was, I believe, new in 2002, ...

I understand now why you referred to it as Schulze-style.

 

 

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

 

Try, "I can gif fem my scales, but I cannot gif fem fis" OMG, he sounds Jewish now!

 

The banshee comment was probably misleading. The Dewsbury organ rang around the chapel gloriously, as one might expect from a Schulze inspired chorus. I think there is another organ which has a similar effect somewhere in the North East, but I cannot recall where without digging around.

 

The organ near to me is the one in Keighley Shared Church (formerly the PC), which has only ever had a new Great Trumpet, a rather horrible, scratchy Viole added to the Choir and the Great Lieblich (?) Bourdon re-voiced as a Quintaton very successfully. That work was carried out by H,N & B in 1955, and the organ has not been altered tonally since. In all respects, it is tonally very close to what Brindley & Foster built, with the added advantage of a superb new low pressure Great Trumpet, no doubt voiced by Mr Rundle junior.

 

It is one of the very lastBrindley organs to sound reasonably authentic, and dates from the best period of the firm....originally tracker I presume, with hydraulic blowing.

 

 

MM

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Try, "I can gif fem my scales, but I cannot gif fem fis" OMG, he sounds Jewish now!

Oh, MM, zat confirms my zuspishon zat a propper German aksent is hart to render wiz English spelling.

 

So, Charles Brindley might have said after talking to Edmund: "I can give them my spelling, but I cannot giving them this" (pointing to the tip of his tongue sticking out between his front teeth ever so slightly).

 

To make this a bit more on-topic: I like listening to Cynic's latest Doncaster recording -- rock-solid playing, an thrilling choruses indeed --, but the hissing noise from the trunks and/or chests is quite intense all the time, and becomes annoying as soon as registration goes down to pp level. Pity. I suspect the organ deserves better than that.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Oh, MM, zat confirms my zuspishon zat a propper German aksent is hart to render wiz English spelling.

 

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

God.... this thread is like reading the script of Where Eagles Dare....

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Oh, MM, zat confirms my zuspishon zat a propper German aksent is hart to render wiz English spelling.

 

So, Charles Brindley might have said after talking to Edmund: "I can give them my spelling, but I cannot giving them this" (pointing to the tip of his tongue sticking out between his front teeth ever so slightly).

 

To make this a bit more on-topic: I like listening to Cynic's latest Doncaster recording -- rock-solid playing, an thrilling choruses indeed --, but the hissing noise from the trunks and/or chests is quite intense all the time, and becomes annoying as soon as registration goes down to pp level. Pity. I suspect the organ deserves better than that.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

 

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

 

 

That's wonderful Friedrich! Just like the voicer from Klais I met at Leeds Cathedral recently.

 

There is that famous quote about Snetzler, when an organist played at Halifax Parish Church. (Possibly Herschel).

 

Snetzler ran around the church, crying, "Te devil, Te devil. He doth run round te keys like one cat, and does not give my pipes room for to spheak."

 

Now concerning Cynic's hissing noises, have we established if this was a live recital or not, as the case may be? :P

 

It isn't impossible to have audiences making hissing noises for all the right reasons. I think it was the late Noel Coward who complained about hissing noises from ther audience, and it seemed to happen at the same point in the performance. Going to investigate at one matinee, he heard people saying, "Oh see, it's Celia Spencer; Cissy Spencer's sister."

 

Maybe it was something like, "Cynic's playing Percy's Siciliano."

 

Sorry Paul, I'm sure it was just a touch of wind. :rolleyes:

 

At least Friedrich didn't equate escaping wind with the 32ft reed.

 

MM

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God.... this thread is like reading the script of Where Eagles Dare....

 

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

 

Where was that castle?

 

I must dig out the DVD.

 

MM

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Guest Cynic
Oh, MM, zat confirms my zuspishon zat a propper German aksent is hart to render wiz English spelling.

 

So, Charles Brindley might have said after talking to Edmund: "I can give them my spelling, but I cannot giving them this" (pointing to the tip of his tongue sticking out between his front teeth ever so slightly).

 

To make this a bit more on-topic: I like listening to Cynic's latest Doncaster recording -- rock-solid playing, an thrilling choruses indeed --, but the hissing noise from the trunks and/or chests is quite intense all the time, and becomes annoying as soon as registration goes down to pp level. Pity. I suspect the organ deserves better than that.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

 

I am most grateful for Friedrich's mention of this CD, and I am glad that my playing did not put him off.

 

The wind noises, yes. Well, there is an explanation, and it comes in several parts.

 

First, I'd registered the programme with my wife sitting diagonally opposite the organ fronts, west and south if you see what I mean. The Choir organ is under-used by many players, mostly because its full virtues cannot be appreciated from the console, it is 'round the corner'. When I listened carefully to it, the character is one of an open 'Solo' - it consists of absolutely gorgeous, fresh and innovative flutes in chorus with a number of sonorous 8's of 'cello' class. You will understand, having balanced my voices and set all pistons, marked all copies, I was pretty insistent that our microphones picked up the same balance between divisions that we'd decided worked best.

 

Because of this, it could be my fault that our engineer on this occasion, Martin Monkman, drew his microphones further forward than usual. Of course, one has to be relatively near the organ anyway in St.George's Doncaster to avoid background sounds from the road. There is a dual carriageway and several sets of traffic lights all within two hundred yards of the church. If you sit down the nave listening to a Friday lunchtime or a Saturday evening recital I (as I have done many times) you get a fair helping of road along with your music!

 

Now, while the organ had a new console not long ago, the remainder of the instrument has never been 'done up' in one go. In the twenty or so years I have known it, the same (excellent) organ builder has been quietly working his way around it, doing up a division at a time. I remember the joy one year when an insurance payout enabled the Swell to be done, for instance. It's a huge Victorian church, but the congregation is not particularly large and Doncaster is no longer a wealthy place.

 

As I have mentioned before on these pages, at the time the new console was paid for (and boy, did that cost???!!!! D.S*.Nicholsons did it) a former vicar Revd.John Bird felt obliged to turn down the Heritage Lottery grant that he was offered because a condition of this was that the four-man blowing system (of which only drawings survived) had to be put back. He said that he could not in all conscience accept so much public money if it was to be spent on something that would never get used. The church authorities have had other little grants towards work, but never (to my certain knowledge) a large grant from anywhere - does this explain why if you bring your microphones near, you are bound to hear wind noises? Every chest will have a few little leaks, even if they are only tiny holes around the pull-wires of the key action.

 

For me, while I accept that there are places in the church where the instrument can sound more impressive, I am still pleased that we caught the detail of Schulze's little voices so fresh and clear.

 

Of course, having caught your actual sound, many will not know what tinkering sometimes happens to that digital signal in some hands. Your less scrupulous company upon hearing a bit of continual hissing throughout would merely adjust the wave form parameters, top-slice some of the upper partials and this sound would be much less obvious. Well, while Martin would know how to do this, he (and I) would be anxious not to do so. If you cut down the sort of pitches that produce that hiss, you lose not the actual notes, maybe, but you certainly lose the overtones of high-pitched stops and reeds - you literally dull the edge of everything.

 

I have made 33 CDs to date, and because of the Benchmarks series which always includes six organs per issue that means I have recorded more than 80 instruments, on only one CD was there ever, to my knowledge, an adjustment made which equates to our changing the actual sound obtained on the day. I could offer a bottle of Champagne for the first correct guess, but I doubt if anyone reading this has the relevant CD, let alone the experience in that building (up close and personal) that would show up the change we felt forced to make. It is with the greatest of reluctance that anyone with principles puts them aside and pulls a trick. Why did I and (another) engineer do that one? Upon hearing our recording back, after all chance of re-recording was gone, we found that the Great Mixture spoiled every piece we used it in, I mean thoroughly spoiled it. If I couldn't bear to listen to the recording we had, what chance did I have of selling it to others? Yes, the organ in question sounds generally that bit less exciting, but at least the CD can now give pleasure, which it didn't before our adjustment. Quite apart from anything else, any dog owner would have had a frantic pooch on their hands every time that particular CD got put into the music centre.

 

After the Doncaster recording came out, I had a long and sad letter from a (very) expert recording engineer saying how disappointing he'd found it. Almost by the next post came a rave review from the Karg-Elert Society, and a rave review from International Record Review. The Organ liked it too, though I accept two further magazine reviewers have commented upon the record quality. I'm happy to find that anyone gets pleasure from my work and, let's face it, you can't please everyone!

 

 

 

*Dear Sweet

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Now, while the organ had a new console not long ago, the remainder of the instrument has never been 'done up' in one go. In the twenty or so years I have known it, the same (excellent) organ builder has been quietly working his way around it, doing up a division at a time. I remember the joy one year when an insurance payout enabled the Swell to be done, for instance. It's a huge Victorian church, but the congregation is not particularly large and Doncaster is no longer a wealthy place.

 

As I have mentioned before on these pages, at the time the new console was paid for (and boy, did that cost???!!!! D.S*.Nicholsons did it) a former vicar Revd.John Bird felt obliged to turn down the Heritage Lottery grant that he was offered because a condition of this was that the four-man blowing system (of which only drawings survived) had to be put back. He said that he could not in all conscience accept so much public money if it was to be spent on something that would never get used. The church authorities have had other little grants towards work, but never (to my certain knowledge) a large grant from anywhere - does this explain why if you bring your microphones near, you are bound to hear wind noises? Every chest will have a few little leaks, even if they are only tiny holes around the pull-wires of the key action.

 

 

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

 

 

I think I'm right in saying that a quite large amount of money was left to the organ-fund by the late Dr Magnus Black, who had been organist at Doncaster forever when he shuffled off. I'm not sure if he didn't leave his entire estate, but it was certainly a handsome sum, such was his love of that wonderful instrument.

 

MM

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I am most grateful for Friedrich's mention of this CD, and I am glad that my playing did not put him off.

Not at all. Moreover, I liked the programming a lot. To include those Töpfer variations for a stop-by-stop introduction to a Töpfer-scaled organ is really a nice idea. Merkel is a new favourite of mine (in part due to Halgeir Schiager's sensational Simax recordings), and it was nice to find him here. To conclude the CD with Wiedermann impetuoso is nice too -- those tumbling-down octaves sound very excitingly with this chorus. And the Liszt, of course, is quite at home here. Very exciting crescendo in the end of the first build-up, stacking mixture upon beaming mixture!

 

I wish we had some large Schulze left over here. There were two in Bremen (Liebfrauen and cathedral), but both were replaced by more fashionable builders around 1900 (Steinmeyer and Sauer, respectively). The cathedral organ had in the pedal a free reed 16-foot with wooden reeds, named "Riem" after the organist. The most important continental Schulze, of course, sat behind the monumental gothic case in St. Mary's, Lübeck. It must have been extremely beautiful and inspiring, even found its way into Thomas Mann's "Buddenbrooks" novel, and was virtually unaltered when it burned down in the 1942 air raid. (What is there now apparently is ready for the oven, or melting pot, respectively. They have a new and very fine organist now, Johannes Unger, so let' see what is going to happen.)

 

This is to say that Doncaster and Armley are the only surviving examples on a large scale for the art of this once-famous organbuilding family. So I gladly take any chance to listen to it, hissing noises or not. All the more when some exciting playing and repertoire are included.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Guest Cynic
Not at all. Moreover, I liked the programming a lot. To include those Töpfer variations for a stop-by-stop introduction to a Töpfer-scaled organ is really a nice idea. Merkel is a new favourite of mine (in part due to Halgeir Schiager's sensational Simax recordings), and it was nice to find him here. To conclude the CD with Wiedermann impetuoso is nice too -- those tumbling-down octaves sound very excitingly with this chorus. And the Liszt, of course, is quite at home here. Very exciting crescendo in the end of the first build-up, stacking mixture upon beaming mixture!

 

I wish we had some large Schulze left over here. There were two in Bremen (Liebfrauen and cathedral), but both were replaced by more fashionable builders around 1900 (Steinmeyer and Sauer, respectively). The cathedral organ had in the pedal a free reed 16-foot with wooden reeds, named "Riem" after the organist. The most important continental Schulze, of course, sat behind the monumental gothic case in St. Mary's, Lübeck. It must have been extremely beautiful and inspiring, even found its way into Thomas Mann's "Buddenbrooks" novel, and was virtually unaltered when it burned down in the 1942 air raid. (What is there now apparently is ready for the oven, or melting pot, respectively. They have a new and very fine organist now, Johannes Unger, so let' see what is going to happen.)

 

This is to say that Doncaster and Armley are the only surviving examples on a large scale for the art of this once-famous organbuilding family. So I gladly take any chance to listen to it, hissing noises or not. All the more when some exciting playing and repertoire are included.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

:rolleyes: Thanks, F!

 

To coin a phrase: I love it when a plan comes together!

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The most important continental Schulze, of course, sat behind the monumental gothic case in St. Mary's, Lübeck. It must have been extremely beautiful and inspiring, even found its way into Thomas Mann's "Buddenbrooks" novel, and was virtually unaltered when it burned down in the 1942 air raid.

 

(What is there now apparently is ready for the oven, or melting pot, respectively. They have a new and very fine organist now, Johannes Unger, so let' see what is going to happen.)

 

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

See Part 8, Chapter 6 of Mann's majesterial account of the decline of a patrician Lübeck family, for an affectionate portrait of Edmund Pfühl, "Organist von Sankt Marien" and music teacher to the young Hanno, the last doomed generation of a once thriving merchant dynasty.

 

Like many characters in the novel, Pfühl is thought to be based on a real-life person, one Hermann Jimmerthal, Marienorganist from 1844-1886, and thus contemporary with much of the action (and also the Schulze organ). His long tenure is comparable with Buxtehude's 300 years earlier.

 

One of several memorable scenes describes a Sunday morning service at St Marien, with Hanno sitting with Pfühl in the organ loft high up at the west end, "in the midst of a mighty tempest of rolling sound" proudly assisting with stop pulling etc. Pfühl improvises quietly after the hymn before the sermon, "slowly lifting his hands from the keys, leaving a deep bass note lingering solemnly round the building", as the Pastor climbs the steps to the pulpit. Pfühl then quietly mocks the Pastor's exaggerated, melodramatic delivery. Secretly they conclude "that the sermon was mere twaddle and that the real service consisted in what the Pastor and his congregation regarded merely as a devotional accessory: namely the music".

 

The appearance of this benign and sympathetically drawn character makes for a rather special interlude in this great novel.

 

Let's hope something brave and far-sighted does indeed come of the plans for a new organ at St Marien. I remember hearing the present Kemper machine soon after its installation over 40 years ago and feeling very disappointed. This great church deserves something better.

 

JS

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Not at all. Moreover, I liked the programming a lot. To include those Töpfer variations for a stop-by-stop introduction to a Töpfer-scaled organ is really a nice idea. Merkel is a new favourite of mine (in part due to Halgeir Schiager's sensational Simax recordings), and it was nice to find him here. To conclude the CD with Wiedermann impetuoso is nice too -- those tumbling-down octaves sound very excitingly with this chorus. And the Liszt, of course, is quite at home here. Very exciting crescendo in the end of the first build-up, stacking mixture upon beaming mixture!

 

I wish we had some large Schulze left over here. There were two in Bremen (Liebfrauen and cathedral), but both were replaced by more fashionable builders around 1900 (Steinmeyer and Sauer, respectively). The cathedral organ had in the pedal a free reed 16-foot with wooden reeds, named "Riem" after the organist. The most important continental Schulze, of course, sat behind the monumental gothic case in St. Mary's, Lübeck. It must have been extremely beautiful and inspiring, even found its way into Thomas Mann's "Buddenbrooks" novel, and was virtually unaltered when it burned down in the 1942 air raid. (What is there now apparently is ready for the oven, or melting pot, respectively. They have a new and very fine organist now, Johannes Unger, so let' see what is going to happen.)

 

This is to say that Doncaster and Armley are the only surviving examples on a large scale for the art of this once-famous organbuilding family. So I gladly take any chance to listen to it, hissing noises or not. All the more when some exciting playing and repertoire are included.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

 

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

 

 

I'll second that, because this wonderful instrument has barely been recorded. Joseph Sentance produced a CD, but I'm not aware of any other recordings, when far less worthy instruments have been recorded again and again. It just doesn't make sense, and furthermore, I can never recall a single recital broadcast from Doncaster on Radio 3.

 

Armley is alweays held up as the best Schulze, but actually, I think I prefer Doncaster in some ways. It is more subtle and somehow more magical, whereas Armley stuns the senses more immediately. Both are stupendous instruments in their own way.

 

So this is an important milestone, to have a high calibre performer present a CD on a very importrant instrument which has been sadly overlooked.

 

MM

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I can't find an older piece recording the Grove wind pressures but in the recent publication, 'Tewkesbury Abbey. The Abbey Organs' of 2008 by Nicholas Plumley the original Grove pressures are given as:

Great flues 3 1/2" - 4"

Great reeds 5 3/4"

Swell flues 3 1/2"

Swell reeds 5 3/4"

Choir 3 1/2"

Solo flues 3 1/2"

Solo reeds 12"

Pedal flues - various

Pedal reeds 12"

This is almost certainly what I remember. Is any body in contact with John Budgen, he seemed to know the instrument inside-out?

These same figures are in John Budgen's notes for the program of the reopening recital after he restored it in 1981.

 

Paul

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

 

 

I'll second that, because this wonderful instrument has barely been recorded. Joseph Sentance produced a CD, but I'm not aware of any other recordings, when far less worthy instruments have been recorded again and again. It just doesn't make sense, and furthermore, I can never recall a single recital broadcast from Doncaster on Radio 3.

 

Armley is alweays held up as the best Schulze, but actually, I think I prefer Doncaster in some ways. It is more subtle and somehow more magical, whereas Armley stuns the senses more immediately. Both are stupendous instruments in their own way.

 

So this is an important milestone, to have a high calibre performer present a CD on a very importrant instrument which has been sadly overlooked.

 

MM

 

 

I think the main reason for so few recordings is the question of the road nearby, one would have to have friends in the Police and on the council and still record in the dead of night if one were to be able to have a free hand with microphone positions. If we were still in the 1980s, I'd say joining the Masons would give you a chance.

 

However, the status of this organ as severely 'under-recorded' has ended. Hot off the presses (any day now) there's another CD from St.George's Doncaster engineered by Jonathan Wearn (whom cognoscenti will certainly have heard of, he has been responsible for the technical side of many superb projects with Nicholas Kynaston). It is a mixed-bag programme featuring both well-known and unusual items likely to appeal to a wide audience and the artist is Darcy Trinkwon who I'm confident will not just play safe and dull - he never does. I'm not sure where to link to, but keep your eyes open if you admire this organ, that CD will be very well worth collecting!

 

Cheers!

P.

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If we were still in the 1980s, I'd say joining the Masons would give you a chance.

 

I would never have thought, Paul, that you were a man to read the gutter tabloids. Of course, Poulson and his cronies were kicked out at the time by the United Grand Lodge of England. Incidentally, I see you are giving a recital later in the year at Durham Cathedral in aid of Masonic Charities.

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I would never have thought, Paul, that you were a man to read the gutter tabloids. Of course, Poulson and his cronies were kicked out at the time by the United Grand Lodge of England. Incidentally, I see you are giving a recital later in the year at Durham Cathedral in aid of Masonic Charities.

 

 

Sorry if I have given offence, it was wry attempt at humour, but it is also quite possibly the truth.

As far as The Masons are concerned, I know several, like several but am not inclined myself. I'm not the sort of stable character they'd like anyway. I'm a maverick and only partly house-trained.

 

As for the recital in Durham, quote: 'the truth? You can't handle the truth!'

 

Ah well, (100% honestly) how else was I to get onto that fabulous organ? I've been trying for years without so much as a sniff of the console. I'll never forget when I went up there with The Organ Club; we were based in Newcastle for a few days and visited and (with that one exception) played all the organs of consequence that lie between Gateshead and Carlisle. We paid for the privilege of a recital for the Club at Durham from the Organist and Master of The Choristers. It was impeccably played, lasted 25 minutes and contained nothing from these shores. And no, we weren't allowed to see the console, not a single one of us. Oh, and the public got in free, of course.

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Ah well, (100% honestly) how else was I to get onto that fabulous organ? I've been trying for years without so much as a sniff of the console.

And no, we weren't allowed to see the console, not a single one of us. Oh, and the public got in free, of course.

 

 

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

 

 

:D:lol::lol:

 

Some things never change!!!!!!

 

I recall a trip there back in the early 70's, when Conrad Eden was O&MOC at Durham, and exactly the same thing happened.

 

He allowed the late Keith Rhodes to play the instrument, and Conrad Eden stayed in the choir. What he didn't know, was that we kept him talking in the choir, and we took turns to sneak up to the console and have a quick play without him knowing.....it was like something out of a Bond novel.

 

At the end, Keith Rhodes delivered the usual thanks, and his words were memorable:-

 

"Should Conrad ever wish to bring the members of the Durham Association to Bradford, I would be personally delighted to offer a similar level of kind hospitality."

 

The whole trip was a complete flop beause of it, and it prompted me to tell Dr Eden that I wasn't too partial to Willis, and Harrison probably ruined it in any event! Then I added the punch line, "You could do with a good neo-classical instrument." (I KNOW I was telling porkies, but to see his face turn slightly crimson was hugely enjoyable).

 

MM

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I think the main reason for so few recordings is the question of the road nearby, one would have to have friends in the Police and on the council and still record in the dead of night if one were to be able to have a free hand with microphone positions. If we were still in the 1980s, I'd say joining the Masons would give you a chance.

 

 

Cheers!

P.

 

 

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

 

 

You should have recorded the last three Sibelius works; the "Marche Funebre," the "Ode to fraternity" and the "Hymn," which Sibelius wrote for organ after joining the Masons.

 

Now there's a neat idea for your Durham recital.

 

MM

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Ah well, (100% honestly) how else was I to get onto that fabulous organ? I've been trying for years without so much as a sniff of the console. I'll never forget when I went up there with The Organ Club; we were based in Newcastle for a few days and visited and (with that one exception) played all the organs of consequence that lie between Gateshead and Carlisle. We paid for the privilege of a recital for the Club at Durham from the Organist and Master of The Choristers. It was impeccably played, lasted 25 minutes and contained nothing from these shores. And no, we weren't allowed to see the console, not a single one of us. Oh, and the public got in free, of course.

 

I think sometimes there are rules laid down by Dean and Chapter, and sometimes the pressure may get too much, but generally it's a shame when custodians of famous organs decline to allow others near them. I believe that many years ago when the Organ Club went to York Minster, Francis Jackson insisted that every member try the organ, even those who couldn't play. Freddie Symonds, the secretary (a non-player), told me that even he had to sit on the stool and hold down a chord. My own experience, at the age of fourteen was 'of course you may come and play the organ'. I sat up in the loft while Francis accompanied Evensong (an experience that is still vivid in my mind) and afterwards he let me loose. I had similar experiences with the likes of Allan Wicks and Simon Lindley. I resolved then that if I ever had an large or important instrument in my charge, I would let people play it, and I've always stuck to that.

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Sorry if I have given offence, it was wry attempt at humour, but it is also quite possibly the truth.

As far as The Masons are concerned, I know several, like several but am not inclined myself. I'm not the sort of stable character they'd like anyway. I'm a maverick and only partly house-trained.

 

As for the recital in Durham, quote: 'the truth? You can't handle the truth!'

 

Ah well, (100% honestly) how else was I to get onto that fabulous organ? I've been trying for years without so much as a sniff of the console. I'll never forget when I went up there with The Organ Club; we were based in Newcastle for a few days and visited and (with that one exception) played all the organs of consequence that lie between Gateshead and Carlisle. We paid for the privilege of a recital for the Club at Durham from the Organist and Master of The Choristers. It was impeccably played, lasted 25 minutes and contained nothing from these shores. And no, we weren't allowed to see the console, not a single one of us. Oh, and the public got in free, of course.

 

as Cynic knows, my father is organising it, and its going to be such a pleasure hearing him play

what IMHO is one of the finest instruments in the UK at the moment, and that it will be greeted with great respect from the local masonic fraternity and non masons alike, as a special occasion

Peter

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