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Unavailable Organ Recordings


Jeremy Jones
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Someone suggested we should have a thread for organ recordings no longer available or which have never been transferred from LP to CD, so here goes with my wish list:

 

Organ of Westminster Cathedral - Nicolas Kynaston

Dupre: Symphony No.2. Evocation. Durufle: Prelude, Adagio, et Choral varie sur le "Veni Creator."

MITRA RECORDS

 

This was recorded in 1984/5 just after the organ had been refurbished and to my mind is the best recording yet made of organ which is notoriously difficult to record. My LP has long since disappeared and although I think it was also issued on CD, the record label Mitra has also appeared to have bitten the dust

 

Organ of Salisbury Cathedral - Jane Parker-Smith

Widor: Symphony No. 5. Jongen: Sonata Eroica. Grison: Toccata in F

EMI RECORDS

 

I had this on an EMI cassette. The Widor and Jongen might be the more well-known pieces, but it was the Grison which really got me excited. Bits of this recording have appeared piecemeal on various CDs, but of the Widor only the Toccata.

 

Organ of Westminster Abbey - Simon Preston

Reubke: Sonata on the 94th Psalm. Liszt: Fantasia and Fugue on ‘Ad nos’

DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON

 

I rate this recording very highly indeed, but it seems to have been deleted by DG fairly soon after release and never reissued subsequently. My cassette has long since worn out so when it appeared on eBay recently I ended up paying £23 for the CD. But it really is that good.

 

Simon Preston - Organs of King’s College, Cambridge / Westminster Abbey / Colston Hall, Bristol / Hull City Hall / St John the Evangelist, Islington - including

Elgar: Organ Sonata in G. Tippett: Preludio al Vespro di Monteverdi and music by Leighton, Bridge, Howells, Britten (Colston Hall)

ARGO/DECCA

 

At one time I had the LP boxed set of these recordings made by Simon Preston in the 1960s, but during various moves it has disappeared. Of these recordings, only a CD of some of the pieces recorded at Westminster Abbey has surfaced on Decca's "The World of..." series.

 

Organ of Westminster Cathedral – Nicolas Kynaston (Vierne: Carillon de Westminster)

Organ of St Paul’s Cathedral – Christopher Dearnley (Ives: Variations on America)

EMI RECORDS

 

I only knew these recordings from an EMI Miles of Music cassette which also had on it excertps from many of Brian Culverhouse's other famous recordings made in the 1960s, including the famous York Minster Cocker Tuba Tune. Some of these have resurfaced on the Amphion CDs but not the two listed above which were always my favourite.

 

Organ of Canterbury Cathedral – Allan Wicks

Messiaen: Transports de joie (L’Ascension). Widor: Allegro from Symphonie VI

CENTAUR

 

These 2 pieces on a cassette were what first really got me excited about the organ. The Messiaen in particular was played at white heat and has to be heard to be believed. Allan Wicks - what an organist!

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Someone suggested we should have a thread for organ recordings no longer available or which have never been transferred from LP to CD, so here goes with my wish list:

 

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

 

 

Sadly, wish lists remain just that due to the relative paucity of support for organ-music and the economics involved.

 

I think I would absolutely go for the performances rather than for the instruments involved, with one or two notable exceptions, and scanning my memory, it's surprising how only a relatively small number of what is a large LP collection, springs to mind as outstanding.

 

In no particular order, I would rate the following as landmark performances:-

 

Francis Jackson - Healey Willan - Introduction, Passcaglia, Chorale & Fugue - York Minster. (Surley the definitive performance of his friend's finest work?)

 

Then, of course, there is Francis Jackson performing his own music, which is great enough to be re-released as of yesterday!!!!!!!! (Please!)

 

Jane Parker-Smith "French organ music" -Blackburn - Vista?

 

Simon Gledhill - Castro Wurlitzer - "California, here I come" CD, which I believe is now out of print, but is a wonderfully crafted disc played by a UK master of the instrument.

 

Roger Fisher - Sonata on the 94th Psalm - Chester Cathedral - utterly outstanding.

 

Of course, there are many other recordings which thrill, delight and move, but I believe the above are truly epic performances.

 

Fortunately, I don't have to worry too much about the performances of the late, great, George Wright playing Wurlitzer as no one else ever could or did, whilst the astonishingly rhythmic, toe-tapping style of Sidney Torch is well preserved for posterity.

 

MM

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Someone suggested we should have a thread for organ recordings no longer available or which have never been transferred from LP to CD, so here goes with my wish list:

 

Organ of Westminster Cathedral - Nicolas Kynaston

Dupre: Symphony No.2. Evocation. Durufle: Prelude, Adagio, et Choral varie sur le "Veni Creator."

MITRA RECORDS

 

This was recorded in 1984/5 just after the organ had been refurbished and to my mind is the best recording yet made of organ which is notoriously difficult to record. My LP has long since disappeared and although I think it was also issued on CD, the record label Mitra has also appeared to have bitten the dust

 

Organ of Salisbury Cathedral - Jane Parker-Smith

Widor: Symphony No. 5. Jongen: Sonata Eroica. Grison: Toccata in F

EMI RECORDS

 

I had this on an EMI cassette. The Widor and Jongen might be the more well-known pieces, but it was the Grison which really got me excited. Bits of this recording have appeared piecemeal on various CDs, but of the Widor only the Toccata.

 

Organ of Westminster Abbey - Simon Preston

Reubke: Sonata on the 94th Psalm. Liszt: Fantasia and Fugue on ‘Ad nos’

DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON

 

I rate this recording very highly indeed, but it seems to have been deleted by DG fairly soon after release and never reissued subsequently. My cassette has long since worn out so when it appeared on eBay recently I ended up paying £23 for the CD. But it really is that good.

 

Simon Preston - Organs of King’s College, Cambridge / Westminster Abbey / Colston Hall, Bristol / Hull City Hall / St John the Evangelist, Islington - including

Elgar: Organ Sonata in G. Tippett: Preludio al Vespro di Monteverdi and music by Leighton, Bridge, Howells, Britten (Colston Hall)

ARGO/DECCA

 

At one time I had the LP boxed set of these recordings made by Simon Preston in the 1960s, but during various moves it has disappeared. Of these recordings, only a CD of some of the pieces recorded at Westminster Abbey has surfaced on Decca's "The World of..." series.

 

Organ of Westminster Cathedral – Nicolas Kynaston (Vierne: Carillon de Westminster)

Organ of St Paul’s Cathedral – Christopher Dearnley (Ives: Variations on America)

EMI RECORDS

 

I only knew these recordings from an EMI Miles of Music cassette which also had on it excertps from many of Brian Culverhouse's other famous recordings made in the 1960s, including the famous York Minster Cocker Tuba Tune. Some of these have resurfaced on the Amphion CDs but not the two listed above which were always my favourite.

 

Organ of Canterbury Cathedral – Allan Wicks

Messiaen: Transports de joie (L’Ascension). Widor: Allegro from Symphonie VI

CENTAUR

 

These 2 pieces on a cassette were what first really got me excited about the organ. The Messiaen in particular was played at white heat and has to be heard to be believed. Allan Wicks - what an organist!

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Sadly, wish lists remain just that due to the relative paucity of support for organ-music and the economics involved.

 

I think I would absolutely go for the performances rather than for the instruments involved, with one or two notable exceptions, and scanning my memory, it's surprising how only a relatively small number of what is a large LP collection, springs to mind as outstanding.

 

In no particular order, I would rate the following as landmark performances:-

 

Francis Jackson - Healey Willan - Introduction, Passcaglia, Chorale & Fugue - York Minster. (Surley the definitive performance of his friend's finest work?)

The Healey Wilan is available from Amphion Recordings at http://www.amphion-recordings.com on a CD - "Francis Jackson plays organ music from York Minster" - which combines recordings made by EMI in 1964 and Counterpoint Stereo Recordings in 1973. The CD also includes the famous EMI Cocker Tuba Tune.

Then, of course, there is Francis Jackson performing his own music, which is great enough to be re-released as of yesterday!!!!!!!!  (Please!)

There is really quite a lot around of Jackson playing his own music. On Amphion is a CD - "The Composer Plays" - recorded at Hull City Hall (1986) and York Minster (1973). Also on Priory Records at http://www.priory.org.uk is a 4CD set of Francis Jackson playing his own works recorded at York Minster, Lincoln and Blackburn Cathedrals between 1993-96.

Roger Fisher - Sonata on the 94th Psalm - Chester Cathedral - utterly outstanding.

This is also on Amphion - "Selections from EMI Great Cathedral Organ Series Volume One".

 

Hope this helps.

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Find that I agree w/ ALL (save the DG/Preston) of Jeremy's choices. I too have been waiting patiently for these favourites to come back. The Kynaston recordings, esp. those fr Westminster Cathedral have a special place in my affections.

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Guest Roffensis
Someone suggested we should have a thread for organ recordings no longer available or which have never been transferred from LP to CD, so here goes with my wish list:

 

Organ of Westminster Cathedral - Nicolas Kynaston

Dupre: Symphony No.2. Evocation. Durufle: Prelude, Adagio, et Choral varie sur le "Veni Creator."

MITRA RECORDS

 

This was reissued in full on CD! RA

 

This was recorded in 1984/5 just after the organ had been refurbished and to my mind is the best recording yet made of organ which is notoriously difficult to record. My LP has long since disappeared and although I think it was also issued on CD, the record label Mitra has also appeared to have bitten the dust You can always email me!!...........

 

Organ of Salisbury Cathedral - Jane Parker-Smith

Widor: Symphony No. 5. Jongen: Sonata Eroica. Grison: Toccata in F

EMI RECORDS

 

Jongen and Grison both reissued! RPA

 

I had this on an EMI cassette. The Widor and Jongen might be the more well-known pieces, but it was the Grison which really got me excited. Bits of this recording have appeared piecemeal on various CDs, but of the Widor only the Toccata.

 

Organ of Westminster Abbey - Simon Preston

Reubke: Sonata on the 94th Psalm. Liszt: Fantasia and Fugue on ‘Ad nos’

DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON

 

Yep, on CD as well! RA

 

I rate this recording very highly indeed, but it seems to have been deleted by DG fairly soon after release and never reissued subsequently. My cassette has long since worn out so when it appeared on eBay recently I ended up paying £23 for the CD. But it really is that good.

 

Simon Preston - Organs of King’s College, Cambridge / Westminster Abbey / Colston Hall, Bristol / Hull City Hall / St John the Evangelist, Islington - including

Elgar: Organ Sonata in G. Tippett: Preludio al Vespro di Monteverdi and music by Leighton, Bridge, Howells, Britten (Colston Hall)

ARGO/DECCA

 

The Kings/Franck Piece Heroique reissued, rumoured to be a set of Preston coming out sometime like the Hurford. RA

 

At one time I had the LP boxed set of these recordings made by Simon Preston in the 1960s, but during various moves it has disappeared. Of these recordings, only a CD of some of the pieces recorded at Westminster Abbey has surfaced on Decca's "The World of..." series.

 

Organ of Westminster Cathedral – Nicolas Kynaston (Vierne: Carillon de Westminster) Problems with copyright on this one I heard....RA

Organ of St Paul’s Cathedral – Christopher Dearnley (Ives: Variations on America)

EMI RECORDS

 

Only the Ives and Mendelssohn not reissued of this LP.....great pity.

RA

 

I only knew these recordings from an EMI Miles of Music cassette which also had on it excertps from many of Brian Culverhouse's other famous recordings made in the 1960s, including the famous York Minster Cocker Tuba Tune. Some of these have resurfaced on the Amphion CDs but not the two listed above which were always my favourite.

 

York GCOS reissued in full on Amphion, the Polydor one on Chandos. RA

 

Organ of Canterbury Cathedral – Allan Wicks

Messiaen: Transports de joie (L’Ascension). Widor: Allegro from Symphonie VI

CENTAUR

 

Originally Decca, and yes a sad ommision. RA

 

These 2 pieces on a cassette were what first really got me excited about the organ. The Messiaen in particular was played at white heat and has to be heard to be believed. Allan Wicks - what an organist!

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I only knew these recordings from an EMI Miles of Music cassette which also had on it excertps from many of Brian Culverhouse's other famous recordings made in the 1960s, including the famous York Minster Cocker Tuba Tune. Some of these have resurfaced on the Amphion CDs but not the two listed above which were always my favourite.

 

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

 

 

On the subject of recordings, it's good to see the name of Brian Culverhouse mentioned.

 

He takes responsibility of some of the finest recordings ever made, and not just in the limited organ-world.

 

Did anyone ever do it better?

 

MM

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Guest Roffensis
===========================

On the subject of recordings, it's good to see the name of Brian Culverhouse mentioned.

 

He takes responsibility of some of the finest recordings ever made, and not just in the limited organ-world.

 

Did anyone ever do it better?

 

MM

 

Culverhouse used to multi mike a lot, so the sound is possibly not entirely "honest". Of course mikes do not "hear" as we do. Taking Canterbury as a for instance, the HMV GCOS, despite (I believe) having a second pair of mikes in the nave, the organ and building actually sound very akin to what is (or was.....)heard live. I guess it all comes down to mixing in under such circumstances. Culverhouse did not use a Calrec. He did another LP at Canters, on Polydor, and that was clearly in the choir area, from quite low down, so that little nave acoustic gets picked up. Very accurate sound in that position. More accurate of the cathedral as a whole perhaps was Micahel Smythe on Vista, who only ever used a single point stereo or crossed pair. His Decca Canterbury was stunning, very true. This was again in the choir area, but miked high up, so the nave acoustic is picked up more. For modern recordings I think Martin Monkman takes some beating!

Richard Astridge :)

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Just for the record (or CD rather), the recordings by Kynaston in Westminster Cathedral (Dupré evocation & sinfonie2, Duruflé suite) is available on CD - I bought it last december at Saturn in Köln, on the MITRA label nr. CD16250.

 

So if you can't get it by the web, get over to ze Hansaring and get ze cd overzere ...

And check out the Dom-organs afterwards - it is said to take just a little while until the new chamades at 1000mm windpressure (!) are placed at the west-end.

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Guest Roffensis

That was on Vista and a gem, and like them all, was deleted and not yet reissued. The master tapes do however exist, but it takes a wise record producer to see the potential of these old recordings. A lot these days comes down to money, and I fortunately kept all of my own vinyl, as I knew a lot would never again see light of day. Investing in a front line turntable and arm was the best thing I ever did. Meanwhile it may interest people to know that the Lincoln Minster Choir and Organ LP on vista WAS reissued on Cantoris, and that all of the Rheinberger Sonatas on Vista were reissued on Prezioso. I also spotted a Bridlington Priory organ CD that appears to have a lot of the old Vista LP of that instrument on it......... :)

R

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Culverhouse used to multi mike a lot, so the sound is possibly not entirely "honest". Of course mikes do not "hear" as we do.

 

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

 

Indeed microphones do not hear as we do, and this is the basis for mutliple microphone placements, because our brains process what we hear very substantially, to the extent that we can focus on a single spoken voice in a crowded room. Psychology explains this as "cognitive hearing."

 

We are unable to perform this miracle when listening to a recording, because we react to the natural acoustic of the live event, and effectively cancel it out and relegate the "mush" to background noise.

 

Human hearing is nothing short of miraculous, and should anyone doubt it, get someone to stand behind one and make clicking noises whilst you wear a blindfold and then point towards the source of sound. It is possible to pinpoint the direction of sounds very precisely; possibly a legacy of our hunter-gatherer days. However, it is even more complex, because low-frequency sounds do not fare so well, yet in the mid-frequencies, we are especially alert to directional sound.....which brings me back to acoustics and mid-range absorbency in modern concert-halls.

 

The recording of Jane Parker-Smith at Blackburn, playing Tournemire, Dupre, Durufle, Langlais (etc) as Nick Bennett pointed out, is a perfect example of all that is right and wrong with single-point microphone techniques in a big acoustic. The ambient sound is generous and loyal to the effect in the building, but the clarity has disappeared.

 

I wouldn't put this down to the qualities of the superlative Neumann Microphone (an SM2 stereo job) or the excellence of the analog Revox A-77 used, but rather, the nature of the acoustic interface we experience live, as described above.

 

With multiple microphones, a superb ear such as Brian Culverhouse and his team (Couzans?) had, they could probably get a more "natural" sound than any single-point set-up could ever achieve.

 

I believe that Mr Wylde of Henry Willis & Sons was also enthusiastic about single point recording techniques, which he used on his own record-label some years ago. He certainly used a Calrec single-point stereo microphone!

 

MM

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Those pay attention to such matters may have noted that the last update on the Amphion Website still stands as May 2005, however, the good news is that the February issue of Organists' Review will carry a large advert for a couple of new Amphion releases, one of which features a selection of recordings of Ralph Downs both on the RFH and Brompton Oratory organs, including tracks drawn from the famous Pye Golden Guinea Bach/Widor LP and also from recordings made by Michael Smythe, which hopefully signals the resurgence of Amphion. Since Martin Monkman's historical recordings series has now reached the 1950s, it has to be a possibility (though copyright considerations obviously

arise) that the next stop is the 1960s after all we have already had highlights from the Great Cathedral Organ Series. We can but hope.

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Those pay attention to such matters may have noted that the last update on the Amphion Website still stands as May 2005...........the next stop is the 1960s after all we have already had highlights from the Great Cathedral Organ Series. We can but hope.

 

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

 

 

And wouldn't it be wonderful if the BBC would allow CD versions of John Betjamin's "Britain's Cathedrals and their Music?" I suppose someone will tell me that they ARE available!

 

Then a "must hear" from the same archives would have to include Geraint Jones on historic European organs (which are available through the US based OHS catalogue, I understand) as well as a fascinating BBC broadcast of re-created Beethoven "organ works" comprising of Trios.

 

I would love to know something about the origin of that Radio 3 broadcast, which was played by Wilhelm Kumbacher (Cumbacher, Culmbacher?). I cannot recall whether there were works completed by the performer, or some other, but were I think Beethoven study-works in the style of Bach. Stunning music!

 

 

MM

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one of my favourites is Charles Benbow playing the small 2 manual organ of the German church in Paris. Its on the philips label, BWV 529. is one of the best I have heard. I have the good fortune of having a friend who has what is probably the best collection of organ music I have ever come across, 100's LP's (including 2 or 3 sets of the GCO in mono and stereo, a few thousand CD's including broadcasts from the 50's to today and 100's of"private" recording. He will probably read this so I will not say who they are of. Of the few recordings I have done, I used a crossed pair of AKG414's (figure of eight pattern) straight to DAT. The quality is very good especially 20 feet in the air in the choir at Durham Cathedral, trouble is the bombarde tuba's make a hell of a noise :)

Peter

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

Then a "must hear" from the same archives would have to include Geraint Jones on historic European organs (which are available through the US based OHS catalogue, I understand) as well as a fascinating BBC broadcast of re-created Beethoven "organ works" comprising of Trios.

 

 

I have never come across these on the OHS site, but the Amphion catalogue lists 3 CDs of Geraint Jones PHICD 148 " A Tribute to Geraint Jones" (Amorbach, Ottobeuren and Steinkirchen) and Organists of the 1950s Vol 3 (Steinkirchen) I have got. PHICD 149 Geraint Jones Vol 2 is shown on the Allegro Music website but without contents being listed. I have never come across it and suspect it may have been planned for release but never actually made it. Still 2CDs from the late 1940s and the early 1950s is a start. As far as I know both CDs are still available for order but Allgro Music could doubtless advise.

 

Brian Childs

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Those pay attention to such matters may have noted that the last update on the Amphion Website still stands as May 2005, however, the good news is that the February issue of Organists' Review will carry a large advert for a couple of new Amphion releases, one of which features a selection of recordings of Ralph Downs both on the RFH and Brompton Oratory organs, including tracks drawn from the famous Pye Golden Guinea Bach/Widor LP and also from recordings made by Michael Smythe, which hopefully signals the resurgence of Amphion.

My new copy of this arrived a few days ago. Although Ralph Downes' playing will be a little austere for some tastes, there are definite gains in clarity. And the spatial spread of the RFH organ comes across brilliantly. The CD is worth its price alone for the notes by Patrick Russill (Downes' nominated successor at the Brompton Oratory) and Kerry Downes.

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My new copy of this arrived a few days ago. Although Ralph Downes' playing will be a little austere for some tastes, there are definite gains in clarity. And the spatial spread of the RFH organ comes across brilliantly. The CD is worth its price alone for the notes by Patrick Russill (Downes' nominated successor at the Brompton Oratory) and Kerry Downes.

 

Hi Jeremy,

 

Could I possibly trouble you to tell me who supplied your copy and also the number. I did not keep a copy of the OR proofs and so have forgotten the number . I seem to recollect PHICD 214 but I could be wrong on that.

 

Many thanks.

 

Brian Childs

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Hi Jeremy,

 

Could I possibly trouble you to tell me who supplied your copy and also the number. I did not keep a copy of the OR proofs and so have forgotten the number . I seem to recollect PHICD 214 but I could be wrong on that.

 

Many thanks.

 

Brian Childs

Go to http://www.mdt.co.uk and under 'New Releases' click on January 2006 and in the search box type in 'Downes' or 'Organ'. You will find the following:

 

DOWNES, RALPH A Centenary Tribute, Rec. 1958-1979.

On the organs of the Royal Festival Hall & London Oratory.

Amphion PHICD216

 

Delivery usually takes about 5 working days.

 

Hope this helps.

 

JJ

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Go to http://www.mdt.co.uk and under 'New Releases' click on January 2006 and in the search box type in 'Downes' or 'Organ'. You will find the following:

 

DOWNES, RALPH A Centenary Tribute, Rec. 1958-1979.

On the organs of the Royal Festival Hall & London Oratory.

Amphion PHICD216

 

Delivery usually takes about 5 working days.

 

Hope this helps.

 

JJ

 

Dear Jeremy,

 

Most helpful. Thank you very much.

 

Brian Childs

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