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St Peter's Basilica


Guest stevecbournias

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"3. If there are both English and Americans, it will end up discussing who saved who's butt in the war."

 

(Quote)

 

......And we belgians would have all been buried six feet under the grass had

we not been helped by BOTH the british and the americans.

My own grand-father owed his life having been sheltered in London, while one

of my uncles served in the Royal air force.

 

So thanks to everyone and.....Peace on earth!

 

Pierre

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Yep, there it is: Godwin's law ......

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

 

Thank you for this. It had passed me by. I must ask my son, a philosophy graduate, to explain the finer points to me, but it seems apposite.

 

For the benefit of Mr Bournias, who seems not to like the English very much and indicates he has Hellenic ancestry , I mention the names of two Englishmen to whom he might feel Greece owed some slight debt : George Gordon, 6th Lord Byron, and Nicolas Kynaston for the Athens Concert Hall organ.

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"3. If there are both English and Americans, it will end up discussing who saved who's butt in the war."

 

(Quote)

 

......And we belgians would have all been buried six feet under the grass had

we not been helped by BOTH the british and the americans.

My own grand-father owed his life having been sheltered in London, while one

of my uncles served in the Royal air force.

 

So thanks to everyone and.....Peace on earth!

 

Pierre

 

You mean that WE contributed something to the war effort?

 

That's very hard to believe considering what is portrayed in the Hollywood war films I have seen.

 

Perhaps the efforts of the Russians, amongst many others, may have helped a little?

 

My apologies. This is an ORGAN forum, after all.

 

John

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Guest Lee Blick
The funniest/saddest thing I saw though, was people SMOKING in the "queue" for communion

 

I hate to think what they were using as ashtrays, if not the floor :o

 

I give up. Let steve have his 400 stop bourganitron. You never know. After this pope, it might be an American one next. There could be Tuba Magna Eclairs in abundance! :D

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I remember seeing a piece in an old edition of "The Organ" from fifty years or so ago on the C-C / Mutin scheme. The specification was listed, and read much as you might expect. There was also a photo of a scale model of the organ - a very fine-looking and ornate case with at least two 32' towers. It was not clear from the article where the organ was to go.

 

From what I recall, the project did get some way, and funds were raised; they were ultimately diverted to pay for repairs to the fabric. So AC-C's dearest wish remained unrealised.

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I remember seeing a piece in an old edition of "The Organ" from fifty years or so ago on the C-C / Mutin scheme.  The specification was listed, and read much as you might expect.  There was also a photo of a scale model of the organ - a very fine-looking and ornate case with at least two 32' towers.  It was not clear from the article where the organ was to go.

From what I recall, the project did get some way, and funds were raised; they were ultimately diverted to pay for repairs to the fabric.  So AC-C's dearest wish remained unrealised.

 

 

I think that it was intended to place the instrument at the west end - at least, according to the excellent scale-model.

 

I think they purchased a new floor instead - exciting, eh?

:D

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Guest Roffensis
I find this prejudiced and racial post unacceptable. I am sure many Americans would also find these comments from a fellow countryman unacceptable.

 

The points of view in it are misinformed, biased and untrue. I do not think they have any place on this forum. Personally, I have very rapidly lost any respect and trust in the member who posted them.

 

 

Here here. :D

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My dear GDH (or is it Mr Bournias in disguise?) welcome to the forum. I think you must be not so very experienced in the ways of the internet. If you imagine there is animosity here, have a look round usenet a bit. You will soon change your mind! We have robust views, yes, but animosity? Very little, I think.

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For my part, I would like to endorse many of the comments made by Lee Blick, Roffensis and one or two others.

 

I must confess that I had long since stopped bothering to read postings by Steve Bournias - I just could not be bothered to sort out the (possible) meaning from the 'text-speak' language used. By omitting to use either sensible punctuation or upper-case characters, he generally immured his intentions in obfuscation.

 

Unfortunately, as far as some of us are concerned, it appears that Steve Bournias has 'shot himself in the foot' in any case.

 

Naturally I have no idea why he should have thought it appropriate to make comments regarding the possible outcome of WWII, had not the US entered the fray. However, it is interesting that he should have done so now. There are currently (on UKTV History) a series of programmes concerning this very subject. Such comments have been made before - as have many films (for example, the story of U-571), in which a rather different light has been shed on the matter of where credit is due.

 

Apart from the fact that this board is surely not the place for such outbursts, I must say that I find the attitude of Mr. Bournias rather unfortunate.

 

I am not an expert on WWII (apparently unlike Mr. Bournias) - so I would not presume to judge those matters. However, I do know rather more about the English choral tradition and cathedral music in this country.

 

Consequently, for what it is worth, I offer a few observations.

 

...'u have way too many cathedrals'... - By what criterior is this judged? Since several dioceses in this country are quite large and each serve hundreds of thousands of people, I doubt that the clergy are at all anxious to amalgamate - thus greatly increasing their already enormous work-loads.

 

...'now u r stuck with buildings that r falling apart and cant be heated or cooled to any level of comfort'... Having visited (and often played the organs of) at least half the cathedrals in the British Isles, I can safely say that this is patently untrue. Our cathedrals are cared for and lovingly restored where necessary by expert craftsmen - with no State help whatsoever. I do not know of any cathedral in this country which is falling down. To say that they cannot be heated is also nonsense. Occasionally, I have been a little cold in a cathedral in the depths of winter. However, just a few days ago, I visited my favourite English cathedral at Exeter. Not only is it in an excellent state of preservation , but it was also very pleasantly warm - the weather outside, for the record, was bitterly cold.

 

Mr. Bournias clearly knows little about the vagaries of the British climate - despite fears of global warming (to which, I believe the US contributes greatly - apparently with impunity) we have not yet reached the point where we need to install air-conditioning in cathedrals for use in the height of summer. Therefore his comment regarding the cooling of our cathedrals is also nonsense.

 

...'the boys choir traditions r virtually extinct'... Utter rubbish! (Sorry to be vehement - but this one really irritated me.)

 

Our cathedral choirs are singing (arguably) better than ever. In my own church we have a reasonably good boys' choir - which is enthusiastically supported by boys and parents alike. At least three neighbouring large churches (all with a cathedral-type choral tradition) each have a good boys' choir - two at least with a current membership in excess of twenty boys. Mr. Bournias may be interested to know that the English choral tradition as heard in our cathedrals and in many of our churches has a large and fiercely-protective following - not just in this country but also in many others.

 

As for 'useless traditions' - I assume that Mr. Bournias is referring to cathedral and cathedral-style choral services (with attendant trappings) which are so highly prized here. I have also observed that these same traditions are also greatly appreciated by overseas visitors - including many fellow-countrymen of Steve Bournias.

 

I have lost count of the number of cathedral services which I have attended (or for which I have played) where there has been a strong, supportive and appreciative congregation.

 

Perhaps Mr. Bournias may care to reflect, and with hindsight, conclude that it is possible that he may have been a little hasty (and largely inaccurate) in his somewhat emotive outburst.

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W/O offending anyone, I would like to put the greatest possible distance between myself and the comments of a certain Mr. Steve Bournais. Not only are they patent nonsense to any right-thinking person, his views are certainly NOT shared by the church musicians of the US. We have, and will continue to look to England for the brightest and best in church music. The standards achieved in Britain w/ a fraction of the resources (money) common in the states is something to be admired by one & all, not to mention CHERISHED.

 

Karl Watson, Staten Island, NY

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I too would like to record my whole hearted endorsement of the sentiments expressed in the two previous posts. My own CD collection contains a number of treasured performances stretching (figuratively speaking) from New York (Gerre Hancock) to Seattle (Peter Hallock). If the performers on these CDs really had so little regard for the English choral tradition, they certainly took an enormous amount of trouble to conceal that fact. I find it difficult to credit that so much time and trouble as has evidently been expended would have been lavished on performances of repertoire which the performers really believed would have been better consigned to a skip and dumped on Statton Island (Fresh Kills is it ?)! So the traffic is certainly not all flowing in one direction, and I am very gt rateful for the immense pleasure that these performances have given me.

 

Brian Childs

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W/O offending anyone, I would like to put the greatest possible distance between myself and the comments of a certain Mr. Steve Bournais. Not only are they patent nonsense to any right-thinking person, his views are certainly NOT shared by the church musicians of the US.  We have, and will continue to look to England for the brightest and best in church music.  The standards achieved in Britain w/ a fraction of the resources (money) common in the states is something to be admired by one & all, not to mention CHERISHED.

 

Karl Watson, Staten Island, NY

 

Please allow me to add my agreement with Karl! Even though I do speak only for myself, ("officially"), I think I can say with fair certainty that most other American church musicians would NOT share Mr. Bournais' terrible comments.

 

Indeed, we DO look to England as upholding the highest possible standards in church music. As a Roman Catholic musician, I can attest to some sad examples of the dismal state of Roman Catholic church music. My own R.C. choir is proud to be affiliated with RSCM (and "Voice for Life"). My church is blessed with a long nave and about 3 seconds of reverb with very warm acoustic. Given the dead, dead, DEAD acoustic of many churches over here, I'd think it fair to say that many American church musicians would gladly work in those old, hard-to-heat-or-cool, stone churches and cathedrals in England! What glorious sounds that live in those old places!!

 

If Mr. Bournais is going to place his frighteningly huge (and "unique") specification for St. Peter's Basilica on this board for discussion, he'd best be willing to accept graciously the comments by other posters. And, he would do well to not make sweeping accusations and negative comments "on behalf of" other Americans -- musicians or otherwise.

 

All best wishes to our dear friends in England!

 

David

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steve,

 

Grow up!  :)

 

Hear! Hear!

 

Whilst I do not wish unnecessarily to prolong this matter, if Mr. Bournias will trouble himself to read my previous post (6 Jan.; 23h31), he will find that I did not offer an objection to the enormous proposed scheme for St. Peter's, Rome. What I did object to was the tone of his remarks concerning the state of English (or British) cathedrals and their choral tradition.

 

However, I will state that I am still not remotely impressed by any of his schemes. If the most recent submission (above) is the 'restrained scheme', I prefer not to imagine what a 'full' scheme might be.

 

Furthermore, whilst many contributors are not full-time organ builders, some of us do have some experience in practical organ building, together with a reasonably good knowledge of the subject. Speaking only for myself, I would not dream of suggesting that my own knowledge of the subject is anything like as comprehensive as, for example, Mr. J. Mander. Notwithstanding, I do have a reasonably good knowledge of British and continental European organ design - partly through often serving as a consultant to various churches and also through first-hand knowledge and experience as a professional performer to concert standard.

 

Unfortuantely, enormous schemes, which appear to consist of just about every stop ever invented and arranged in order of pitch within multiple departments do not interest me one whit. I have placed several of my own schemes on this board. Some contributors like them and some do not. What they have promoted is lively and healthy discussion.

 

I confess that, as a practising organist of many years' experience, I can see little to interest me in your particular style of instrument - enormous is not always best. There may well be others who like your schemes - I just happen not to like them - it is of no consequence in the great scheme of things.

 

Just enjoy the debate.

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I have indeed looked at some of your other schemes - I find them unnecessarily large and apparently containing several redundant features. For example, your two-clavier scheme for USA church usage. I can see little point in the wholesale duplexing of ranks between each department. Rather, a well-balanced department should be able to stand alone, as it were, augmenting resources simply by the coupling of one division to another.

 

Whilst I too would prefer intsruments which rely on un-forced tone, rather than very heavily-blown pipes, I would maintain that there are practical limits on the size of an organ - even in a building commensurate in size with St. Peter's, Rome.

 

Speaking personally, I can see little merit in anything larger than Nôtre-Dame de Paris - an instrument I of which I am particularly fond.

 

As an organ designer and a professional organist myself, I am concerned that there is far too much apparent tonal duplication in your schemes - and also considerable waste of resources.

 

Consider the organ of York Minster back around 1823* - when Matthew Camidge designed an astonishing scheme. Unless my memory is faulty, I believe that he, too, relied heavily upon multiple ranks; for example two fifteenths, two twelfths, two mixtures (of identical composition), two trumpets, etc, in the various departments. He had surmised that these duplications would be necessary in order to fill the vast nave.

 

To an extent, Wesley made a similar mistake in his original design for the organ of St. George's Hall, Liverpool. Here, too, there was a certain amoumt of (redundant) duplication. He also insisted on the retention of the (by then) somewhat arcane long compass for the claviers - possibly under the mistaken impression that this would provide the desired gravitas.

 

There are, too, laws of physics and acoustics against which we fight in vain. I am no expert, but I understand that (for example) two solo reed stops, used simultaneously, will not necessarily result in a doubling of the output, as measured in decibels. Consider the two large reeds on the Solo Organ of the masterpiece, by T.C Lewis, at Southwark Cathedral. Both the Tuba Magna and the Trompette Harmonique speak on a pressure of 300mm. Used singly, each imparts a noble and clear sound. Used together, there is a definite change in timbre - but little additional volume.

 

It is, in fact, very easy to design an organ with a huge list of stops, spread over multiple departments. It is also comparatively easy to design a two-clavier instrument of sixty speaking stops. However, it is altogether a different matter to produce a practical and effective scheme for an instrument of two claviers and no more than twenty speaking stops in total.

 

I await your scheme with interest.

 

* I cannot now recall whether this is the date of the genesis of the organ designed by Camidge - or the date of its (or its predecessor's) destruction by fire, at the hand of the brother of the artist, John Martin.

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