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Organist Wayne Marshall Live in Manchester


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I'm puzzled that you feel that Croydon's Fairfield Concert Hall organ just doesn't "come together" due to the "acoustic design". Are you referring to the auditorium, as its acoustic is very highly regarded indeed by orchestral players.

 

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Oh dear! I find myself groaning, because it must be 15 years since I've heard the organ at the Fairfields Hall, and aural memory just doesn't last that long.

 

The problem is, we're touching on a massive subject (re: acoustic design/engineering), which has as many dark mysteries as alchemy, and any number of failed exponents.

 

I suspect it may be useful to open up a new thread, because this has absolutely nothing to do with the original topic.

 

I shan't try and dodge the subject due to its complexity, but I need a bit of time to gather my thoughts and retrace some of the steps I made the last time I looked at this. In fact, I'm not absolutely sure that I can do that, and it may be the case that I have to start from scratch again.

 

However, as a teaser, I wonder where the best "rooms" in the UK are to be found?

 

Huddersfield Town Hall is superb, certainly, and so too is the wooden Georgian Theatre at Richmond in North Yorkshire, but for music, my top favourite (which doesn't contain an organ sadly), is the town hall at Queensbury, just outside Bradford, where Black Dyke Mills Band did all their famous recordings, and may still do. It has a musical acoustic to die for.

 

How very different these buildings are from modern ones........hold fire, and we'll get back to it.

 

MM

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Surely an organ requires a somewhat different acoustic ambience to that favoured by orchestral players? Yes, an orchestra could sound good in Gloucester Cathedral, but if one listens to commercial orchestral recordings, there is clearly a more 'studio' type of acoustic being preferred by most, if not all, conductors.

 

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Quite correct, but see my previous post and hang fire.

 

MM

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Surely an organ requires a somewhat different acoustic ambience to that favoured by orchestral players? Yes, an orchestra could sound good in Gloucester Cathedral, but if one listens to commercial orchestral recordings, there is clearly a more 'studio' type of acoustic being preferred by most, if not all, conductors.

Yes, it’s a matter I remember vey well from the acoustics part of my Cambridge music degree three decades ago. What remains a mystery though to this former Croydon resident of seventeen years is that if the sound doesn’t “come together“ in the highly-regarded concert auditorium at Fairfield, Croydon, then I shudder to think of the sound produced by organs in other concert halls with less favoured acoustics. Being the gentleman that he is, MM has been gracious enough to address the point I made, therefore I will "hold fire".

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Yes, it's a matter I remember vey well from the acoustics part of my Cambridge music degree three decades ago. What remains a mystery though to this former Croydon resident of seventeen years is that if the sound doesn't "come together" in the highly-regarded concert auditorium at Fairfield, Croydon, then I shudder to think of the sound produced by organs in other concert halls with less favoured acoustics. Being the gentleman that he is, MM has been gracious enough to address the point I made, therefore I will "hold fire".

 

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I don't think I can really make much of a comment about the Fairfield Hall organ, except to suggest that at various points in the hall, it sounded distant. It may have something to do with the organ being to one side of the stage area, but without going there again, I don't think I can add anything of value.

 

Perhaps 'wolsey' can add his own thoughts on the matter, because I may be quite wrong.

 

MM

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It may have something to do with the organ being to one side of the stage area, but without going there again, I don't think I can add anything of value.

 

I have to say that this is factor which I also thought would account for your opinion.

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I didn't listen to the live recital from Manchester, but as Mrs H. had arranged to go out with some friends, instead played a tape that I made the previous week of the CE broadcast from Winchester Cathedral, itself recorded during the Southern Cathedrals Festival.

 

The Willis sounded absolutely magnificent, much better than in previous broadcasts possibly because the BBC set up their miking arrangements differently than for a live event and because of the large choral forces involved. The highlights for me were.... all of it, actually as the singing was top-notch with suitably excellent accompaniment. The anthem was Howells Coll Reg Te Deum - how nice to hear the Contra Bombarde used for the whole of the final pedal passage and not just the final note as in KCC itself; is the the 32' reed there operated by a coin-in-the-slot machine? It appears so often to be used on just one note at the end of pieces that its use seems to be rationed.

 

The Liszt Ad Nos played by Simon Bell as the voluntary was a stunner (OK the piece is really a bit too long for what it has to say) and really had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.

 

Did anyone else hear it? It may be on the BBC play it again thing for a few days.

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