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Excellent Vierne from Lincoln


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From my own listening on the radio and very occasionally being present at a service and the rehearsal beforehand my opinion is that the balance of sound in the broadcast is generally dreadful. The service from Lincoln was actually one of the better in this respect.

 

Having heard the Lincoln choir live, on recordings and on radio on occasions since the days of Dr Philip Marshall when, by the admission of several lay clerks whom I knew, they were not very good, I thought the standard of the choir itself on Wednesday was the best I had ever heard it by a very long way and I was most impressed.

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Agree that the sound was not great, it rarely is! I don't understand why they don't set levels and leave the knobs alone! I have played into BBC mics many times and the organ usually sounds dreadful (usually too close) and choirs do not fare much better. I have been known to refuse to play down if some engineer says the organ is too loud and they move the mics always to the improvement of the sound as broadcast - have they not ears?!

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I can't comment about this particular broadcast, as I haven't heard it. Neither can I comment about BBC radio in general, as I rarely listen to it.

 

But if, like me, you watch a fair amount of television, I'm sure you'll agree that producing sound at anything like a standardised level is a lost art. It may be my failing memory, but I'm sure they used to do it better in 'the olden days'!

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I too listened and certainly heard choir and organ through my Bose set-up. Following on from the Voluntary we had some chamber music - the flute sounding as if it was in my room and at least twice the volume of the Vierne. The loudest moments from Lincoln were the two lessons and The Introduction "Welcome to Lincoln". Then we (I) heard a choir in a transept.

Odd.

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I'm sure they used to do it better in 'the olden days'!

As someone who worked in BBC Radio in "the old days" (forty years ago!), I won't disagree; but I'm so far out of touch now that I can't comment on the attitudes of current staff - isn't it outsourced these days anyway?

 

I've even still got my training notes with all the guidance on matching announcements and music, and suchlike.

 

Paul

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As someone who worked in BBC Radio in "the old days" (forty years ago!), I won't disagree; but I'm so far out of touch now that I can't comment on the attitudes of current staff - isn't it outsourced these days anyway?

 

I've even still got my training notes with all the guidance on matching announcements and music, and suchlike.

 

Paul

 

I'm not sure about attitude. It may well be ability (or lack of it)!

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I'm not sure about attitude. It may well be ability (or lack of it)!

The Engineers certainly had the measure of the Lincoln instrument when they recorded Robert Gower there about 1987 - anyone remember "Music for Organ" which went out every Monday evening on R3, about 6.30pm ?? Programme: Pageantry (Campbell), Rhapsody on an Old English Folk Tune (Rootham), Three Pieces (Marshall). This was a consumate demonstration of the instrument (probably recorded from the head of the Nave) and without the assistance of general pistons.

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.....and without the assistance of general pistons.

 

Although - with the Pedal to Great Pistons and Pedal to Swell Pistons couplers you could do quite a few handy things like setting a bass for just about everything. Certainly the lack of generals seemed not to be too much of a handicap pre last restoration.

 

A

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It was very similar when Colin was assistant at Salisbury....loads of French repertoire after the services and amazing registrations. The Lincoln and Salisbury instruments are close in spec and voicing and listening earlier reminded me so much of his playing during his Salisbury days.

 

Having played both instruments (Salisbury many times), I am not sure that I would agree with this. Salisbury is substantially earlier (albeit with additions and alterations in 1934) and there are clear differences in both the written stoplists and in the sound of each instrument. To be honest, I would choose Salisbury over Lincoln without hesitation - there is a somewhat greater tonal palette available (the superb Solo strings of 1934 are an obvious exampe). In addition, Salisbury, being rather earlier is somewhat brighter. I found Lincoln disconcerting in that there is not much 'top' to the sound - the mixtures add very little to the overall effect, which is completely reed-dominated; and, whilst none of the compound stops contain a tierce, they are just too mild. The Choir Mixture (H&H 1960) was quite disappointing - it almost sounded as if it had been re-cast and pitched an octave lower at some point.

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Having played both instruments (Salisbury many times), I am not sure that I would agree with this. Salisbury is substantially earlier (albeit with additions and alterations in 1934) and there are clear differences in both the written stoplists and in the sound of each instrument. To be honest, I would choose Salisbury over Lincoln without hesitation - there is a somewhat greater tonal palette available (the superb Solo strings of 1934 are an obvious exampe). In addition, Salisbury, being rather earlier is somewhat brighter. I found Lincoln disconcerting in that there is not much 'top' to the sound - the mixtures add very little to the overall effect, which is completely reed-dominated; and, whilst none of the compound stops contain a tierce, they are just too mild. The Choir Mixture (H&H 1960) was quite disappointing - it almost sounded as if it had been re-cast and pitched an octave lower at some point.

 

'Just listened to Priory PRCD 379 - English organ music played at Lincoln by CW on the way back from church in the car - on here the organ is as I remember and with the best music suited to it. 'Master Tallis' sounds sublime - like the sort of pre Evensong wandering that some of us at least wish we could replicate. The Alcock I & P is majesterial and the Stanford D Minor Toccata fits the organ like a glove. The playing is of course top notch. I agree about Salisbury in many ways - 'heard it many times though not played anything on it above mezzo piano. Lincoln in the right hands and repertoire is masterfull - French 19th/20th Century repertoire will work well but the instrument's pedigree is firmly on the other side of la Manche.

 

A

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Just listened to the Sunday repeat on FM... I've pushed a few faders in my time, but couldn't hear anything that was absolutely beyond the pale.

Although, perhaps, the version broadcast today is a recording shipped down from Lincoln, and 'twas handled differently on replay.

 

Wednesday's live broadcast signal would have passed through many hands in Lincoln, Broadcasting House and onward down the transmisison chain, and gain-riding could have occurred anywhere.

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