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David Drinkell
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I was very taken with Muso's description of the 16' Tuba at Hull 'barking away like a Cavaille-Coll Bombarde on acid'.

 

The account in 'Choir and Organ' of the new Nicholson organ at Llandaff Cathedral describes it as 'cheerfully authoritative' when leading a big congregation, which I thought was a particularly happy way of putting it, and a fine proof that the organ is successful in doing what it is meant to do.

 

Stephen Hamill of Belfast used to describe the quality of French-style reeds, especially in the bass, as 'blasphemous'. Especially when delivered in a Northern Ireland accent, I reckon that paints a perfect picture.

 

Laurence Elvin used to use the term 'loose' to describe certain types of diapasons, and Father Willis Ophicleides have been described as 'ripping silk' (I think this term was specifically applied to the one at Cirencester PC).

 

On the other hand, the buried and enclosed Choir Organ at St. Mary-at-the-Walls, Colchester was described by the organist as 'a fart in a trance'. (The organ is now in Brentwood Cathedral, where it has a much better site than in its original home).

 

Do any more such apposite descriptions of organs or stops spring to mind?

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I was very taken with Muso's description of the 16' Tuba at Hull 'barking away like a Cavaille-Coll Bombarde on acid'.

 

The account in 'Choir and Organ' of the new Nicholson organ at Llandaff Cathedral describes it as 'cheerfully authoritative' when leading a big congregation, which I thought was a particularly happy way of putting it, and a fine proof that the organ is successful in doing what it is meant to do.

 

Stephen Hamill of Belfast used to describe the quality of French-style reeds, especially in the bass, as 'blasphemous'. Especially when delivered in a Northern Ireland accent, I reckon that paints a perfect picture.

 

Laurence Elvin used to use the term 'loose' to describe certain types of diapasons, and Father Willis Ophicleides have been described as 'ripping silk' (I think this term was specifically applied to the one at Cirencester PC).

 

On the other hand, the buried and enclosed Choir Organ at St. Mary-at-the-Walls, Colchester was described by the organist as 'a fart in a trance'. (The organ is now in Brentwood Cathedral, where it has a much better site than in its original home).

 

Do any more such apposite descriptions of organs or stops spring to mind?

 

 

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

 

 

 

I think the best description I ever heard, was as I sat in St.John-the-Divine cathedral, New York.

 

There was a demonstration of the organ, and one old chap sat in front of me, (possibly wearing hearing-aids), was obviously unprepared for the "State Trumpet."

 

When it pealed forth, the poor man recoiled like he had just been shot by a sawn off Winchester, and almost yelled, "Jesus H Christ!"

 

For me, that sums it up perfectly......

 

 

 

MM

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I've been scanning the memory banks on this one, and I just recalled a delightful comment about an enclosed Choir Ducliana, buried underneath everything and placed against the back wall of the chamber, making it almost totally inaudible with the box closed.

 

The organist of the chapel described it as, "Subtle."

 

 

My description was altogether less flattering......

 

 

 

MM

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Possibly one of the more famous comments was made by the accompanist Gerald Moore, who had briefly been a cinema organist.

 

"The most important stop on this sordid bag of tricks was the Vox Humana, which together with the tremulant, made a sound like the bleatings of a flock of sheep. I never tired of using it. You couldn't go far wrong with the Vox Humana and the tremulant." ;)

 

 

MM

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I was very taken with Muso's description of the 16' Tuba at Hull 'barking away like a Cavaille-Coll Bombarde on acid'.

 

The account in 'Choir and Organ' of the new Nicholson organ at Llandaff Cathedral describes it as 'cheerfully authoritative' when leading a big congregation, which I thought was a particularly happy way of putting it, and a fine proof that the organ is successful in doing what it is meant to do.

 

Stephen Hamill of Belfast used to describe the quality of French-style reeds, especially in the bass, as 'blasphemous'. Especially when delivered in a Northern Ireland accent, I reckon that paints a perfect picture.

 

Laurence Elvin used to use the term 'loose' to describe certain types of diapasons, and Father Willis Ophicleides have been described as 'ripping silk' (I think this term was specifically applied to the one at Cirencester PC).

 

On the other hand, the buried and enclosed Choir Organ at St. Mary-at-the-Walls, Colchester was described by the organist as 'a fart in a trance'. (The organ is now in Brentwood Cathedral, where it has a much better site than in its original home).

 

Do any more such apposite descriptions of organs or stops spring to mind?

 

 

I well remember you telling me about someone standing beside the pedal reed at Down Cathedral describing it as "bullfrogs from hell"!!

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I well remember you telling me about someone standing beside the pedal reed at Down Cathedral describing it as "bullfrogs from hell"!!

 

 

Blimey - yes! I had forgotten about that one! That was on the Great Irish Cathedral Organ Marathon in 1992 which involved giving a recital in each of the 31 cathedrals of the Church of Ireland in the space of a week. I did the playing, my wife Elspeth turned the pages and Mark Larmour and Sean Grear acted as 'roadies'.

 

At Down Cathedral, the pedal reed, added in 1966, is in a little enclosure of its own at the side of the gallery. It was said that it was originally meant for the Royal Festival Hall but never got there. It is, at close quarters, something of a snorter. Sean was leaning against it at the beginning of the last piece (I think, God forgive me, it was Scotson Clark's 'Marche aux Flambeaux') and got the fright of his life. 'Wow!' he said, 'Bullfrogs from Hell!'.

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I mentioned this somewhere else on this board.

 

Visiting the GDB organ at York University in the early 70's I was standing next to an old organist who had been a pupil of Bairstow. On hearing the 16' reed on the Brustwerk she indignantly exclaimed "I don't care what K**** J***** says - it's not a musical noise"!!!

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My son was two years old when Nicholsons rebuilt the Gloucester Cathedral organ in 1999/2000. I was keen to show him the 32' Bombarde being installed and voiced. "Daddy! Haeicopter!!!" he said, with a nervous grin.

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There is a memorable description somewhere back in 'The Organ' where aspects of the (then new) Positive Organ fluework at Guildford Cathedral are described as being like 'green seaweed floating in alabaster' or something equally poetic. Possibly there is somewhere that '8 foot plus fractions' does resemble this but I find it hard to think of in the context of the above cathedral! I also vaguely remember someone writing about the 'halitosis from big Open on the Great at Leicester Cathedral wafting down the north aisle'!

 

A

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This may point you in the general direction :unsure:

 

Wow Contrabordun! How long did it take you to find that! I am impressed....I was talking to RAC earlier (another board member whose posts are infrequent, but good), and he suggested that the "wasp in a jam jar" expression appeared to be of my own making in the older post you have dug up.....It was never meant to read like that....someone else must take the credit (after thinking about this during the course of the afternoon, I am wondering whether it was Father Willis who likened the swell reeds of one of his competitors as "wasps in a jam jar")?

Best wishes

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There is a memorable description somewhere back in 'The Organ' where aspects of the (then new) Positive Organ fluework at Guildford Cathedral are described as being like 'green seaweed floating in alabaster' or something equally poetic. Possibly there is somewhere that '8 foot plus fractions' does resemble this but I find it hard to think of in the context of the above cathedral! I also vaguely remember someone writing about the 'halitosis from big Open on the Great at Leicester Cathedral wafting down the north aisle'!

 

A

 

 

The Guildford quote was E.H. Gallagher (if I've got his initials right) and I think it was exotic seaweed floating in green champagne. C.S. Lang wrote in the next number to complain about such fanciful language, to which Gallagher replied that he thought of Lang as an expert on Tubae rather than blockfloten.

 

I've seen several opinions - including Sumner and Bernard Edmonds - of Leicester Cathedral organ to the effect that it was never a particularly good example of a Harrison, but then I gave a recital on it and it seemed to me that it did what it was meant to do in highly distinguished style. The Taylor at the De Montfort Hall is often quoted as being better, but I don't know that one.

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How long did it take you to find that!

I Googled "wasp in a jam jar" + organ and it came straight back. But oddly enough, it doesn't seem to find that page if you search it now - it finds this thread instead. :unsure: Just one of the ineffable mysteries of Google, I suppose.

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Not quite organ related - but a description which I'm sure will raise a smile no less...

 

One of my University lecturers (a highly acclaimed organist also) publicly described the French 17th Century harpsichord he was playing in recital as like 'lying in a bed of red velvet' !!! We've never let him forget that one....

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A couple of Elvinisms:

"A dazzling stream of silver" for Harrison's new choir Mixture at Lincoln in 1960.

"Golden-toned Trumpets" for the Great Trombas at Ripon.

 

Similes such as those quoted can be interesting, and sometimes charming even but they do not really contribute very much I feel towards an understanding of the point they are trying to make save their indulgence in quaint,descriptive language more worthy of a bad novel.

 

The closest example I could quote as being representative was whilst in attendance at a recital given in Liverpool Cathedral some time ago when after the metalwork located up in the tower was brought into use a rather cut glass voice behind me stage whispered that she, " thought it sounded more like a ragmans bugle ".

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I don't think it has anything to do with acceptable credulity. Am I too sensitive? - I just find the story hugely offensive! That kind of comment, even with the asterisks, has no place on this board.

 

It should be deleted.

 

 

Here here! And see previous posts on such matters!?

 

CP

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. Am I too sensitive?

 

 

I think so SL but let the mod decide and then we'll know. Accept and move on. We all have different standards and CB only implied words - the level of offense depends on what letters you replaced the **** with!

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I have to say I agree with Double Ophicleide on this one....comparisions with that loony who recently upset a lot of people here are a little unfair.....his was a continual barrage. This was a passing (if a tad grimace-inducing) comment.

I guess the moderator will comment at some point?

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. Am I too sensitive?

 

 

I think so SL but let the mod decide and then we'll know. Accept and move on. We all have different standards and CB only implied words - the level of offense depends on what letters you replaced the **** with!

 

No I won't accept and move on. I find this comment offensive and not acceptable on a board such as this.

 

I have to say I agree with Double Ophicleide on this one....comparisions with that loony who recently upset a lot of people here are a little unfair.....his was a continual barrage. This was a passing (if a tad grimace-inducing) comment.

I guess the moderator will comment at some point?

 

I'm afraid I have no idea what you are talking about!!!

 

I repeat - I think this comment has no place on this board. The implication by the **** is obvious - it is offensive.

 

So - when will the moderator comment?

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