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Martin Cooke

St Paul's

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I thought that yesterday's service from St Paul's was magnificently well done. Many congratulations to all the musicians involved - (including the trumpeters). I thought the choice of music was spot on - O Thou the Central Orb was a lovely and most fitting inclusion. I felt that the Will Todd piece had much more to say than the Rutter piece at the wedding last year, not that I would wish in any sense to jump any any 'let's bash Rutter' bandwagon. After the dismal commentary on the river pageant from the BBC it was good to hear (for a change) the splendour of the St Paul's organ referred to more than once. The brief snippet we heard of the Bach Toccata in F beforehand sounded electrifying, and I greatly enjoyed and appreciated Simon Johnson's performance of the Walton at the end. So, was that the Trompette Militaire or the 8' Royal Trumpet at its opening?! (Put me out of my misery, Simon!) (I am assuming the former on account of Her Majesty's alleged disapproval of the west reeds on an earlier occasion.) I have to say that I also enjoyed the fanfare at the west door and SJ's fanfare and last verse arrangement of Cwm Rhondda. Any chance of seeing a score?! I'd love to get my head around the harmonic build up to the last line.

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I watched the repeat of the ITV coverage, purely to listen to the organ music before the ceremony and was pleased to hear the Con moto of the Saint-Saens Fantasie in E flat major. I noticed that when the BBC were in St Paul's, they sometimes excluded the sound from there in order to do their commentary.

It would have been lovely to have heard much more of the organ than we actually did !

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Can we ask the BBC for a red organ stop in the top right hand corner to click on to in order to listen to the pre service music while the great and good join the congregation.?Thank goodness Huw wasn't on first mic and talked endlessly through the music.

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That was def the Militaire you heard!

Why are you so sure? I know it was the TM or the RTs but my only real reason for thinking it was probably the TM is because of HM the Queen complaining about the royal trumpets on a previous occasion when John Scott played her out to the Grand Choeur Dialogue.

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/the_queens_diamond_jubilee/9311868/Queens-Diamond-Jubilee-Rupert-Christiansens-verdict-on-the-Service-of-Thanksgiving.html

 

I'm not sure I would call Central Orb 'baggy and second rate'. I'm not entirely convinced it was quite right on Tuesday - but it is a fine piece of church music. The reviewer rated the Will Todd piece quite well, and praised Simon Johnson's 'Cwm Rhondda'. It would be nice to see a score.

 

It must be quite a tricky situation for Will Todd to be in - what he composed for Tuesday would have been many people's first and only impression of his music. Rutter has at least achieved fame already so his reputation is made. I was a little disappointed that only the upper voices sang (OUP are advertising an SATB version though), but the whole 'Diamond Choir' idea was a good one and they sang well. I wouldn't say it was a memorable piece, but it suited the occasion quite nicely.

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'Central Orb baggy and second rate'.

Certainly not, but the nub of this reviewer's pretty crass assessment lies in his statement that the piece is unfamiliar. Surely, anyone who knows anything about church/cathedral music is knows Central Orb. As I said earlier, I think it was a most apt choice. I know anthems are sung to the glory of God, but the words reflect very beautifully on HM as well - she has been been a 'central orb of righteous love' all this time, after all. Harris's 'Faire is the Heaven' would have another option, I would have thought. It was good not to have I was Glad this time, I think - other blockbuster anthems could have been Let the bright seraphim + Let their celestial, but that would have had sad connotations with Charles and Diana's wedding, and also Achieved is the Glorious Work from the Creation - always a good piece for a special service. I have found the Todd quite memorable largely because of the repeated words - I am with you, etc - it is quite unlike the other music of his that I have heard. I am looking forward to getting to know his music - just ordered the new CD with the SATB version on it.

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Hi

 

I watched the repeated on (Virgin) ITV player (I couldn't find it in the listings for BBC). There was a small group of brass players plus timps, so I wonder if the fanfare reeds were used at all.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Ugh! I CAN tell the difference between the sound of a brass group and a chamade stop! If you watched the service (regardless of provider) you should have detected the deployment of the brass group in Old Hundredth and in Cwm Rhondda. My post concerned the voluntary - Ord and Sceptre - played on the organ alone - and which of the fanfare reeds was used for the repeated B motif at the start. It was either (a) the Trompette Militaire or (B) the Royal Trumpet - presumably 8', but I doubt the latter.

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It appears that for some reason, the BBC have not yet loaded the St Paul's Service on their iPlayer.

I was fortunate enough to be able to watch it again, by way of the Virgin Media Catch-up, but this wasn't possible until today.

This covers the 3 hours 51 minutes of the whole of the BBC's coverage from 9.15am.

It can then be editted in order to see the Service again.

It would be impossible to tire of listening to the wonderful music.

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I'm sure it was the Trompette Militaire. The Royal chamades are about 75 yards downstream of the rest of the instrument - wouldn't the few notes in Orb & Sceptre have sounded a bit incongruous coming from so far away?

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Why are you so sure? I know it was the TM or the RTs but my only real reason for thinking it was probably the TM is because of HM the Queen complaining about the royal trumpets on a previous occasion when John Scott played her out to the Grand Choeur Dialogue.

 

My ears told me! The TM & RT's don't sound the same. The TM is hard to mistake for any other stop on that organ and indeed hard to mistake for any organ either

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I was sitting under the Dome on Tuesday morning, and am pretty convinced it was.

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Why are you so sure? I know it was the TM or the RTs but my only real reason for thinking it was probably the TM is because of HM the Queen complaining about the royal trumpets on a previous occasion when John Scott played her out to the Grand Choeur Dialogue.

 

I'd just like to clarify this a little because otherwise the tales get exaggerated with the re-telling.

 

The problem with the Queen and the St Paul's organ's Royal Trumpets is more to do with fanfares in general than the organ stops per se. Rather than have trumpets blasting her ears every time she walks through a doorway the Queen prefers any fanfare to happen before she walks through the doors.

 

The Royal Trumpets are extremely loud, especially when you are standing underneath them. On many occasions I've seen people jump or wince when they go off unexpectedly. So it was always impressed on me that any fanfare for the Queen had to happen as she gets out of the car and comes up the steps and not to start when she is coming through the doors.

 

The Gigout incident is slightly different. In 1985, I think, John Scott played it as a recessional after a large service and no-one bothered to tell him (or the rest of the music staff) that there was going to be a line up of people who had received medals or awards from the Queen who were going to be presented to the Queen inside the west doors at the end of the service. So you can imagine the devastating effect when the trumpets suddenly fired from above in the last few pages of the piece, conversations and presentations were cut short and unsurprisingly the Queen wasn't happy about it at all.

 

The Royal Trumpets aren't banned from being used in her presence, merely that care is required in the timing of their use.

 

I hope this clears this story up.

 

Andrew

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I'd just like to clarify this a little because otherwise the tales get exaggerated with the re-telling.

 

<SNIP>

The Royal Trumpets aren't banned from being used in her presence, merely that care is required in the timing of their use.

 

I hope this clears this story up.

 

Andrew

 

It does, but it's still a VERY GOOD story!

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Although it's perfectly understandable that the Royal Trumpets at St. Paul's need to be kept for special occasions, there's an interesting contrast with St. John the Divine, New York City. I was there on this very Sunday in 2001 with Belfast Cathedral Choir. It was a wickedly hot day, and most of the adults decided to wander around in the relative cool of the cathedral until Evensong time. The guides by the West Door said, 'You will play the organ, won't you?' and we (naturally) said, 'Sure!'. They said, 'And you must try out the State Trumpet!'. So we did, while they sat underneath it, delighted. It's said that the cathedral is so big, the State Trumpet is in a different postal district from the rest of the instrument.....

 

We went and played the new Mander at St. Ignatius the next day - Wow!

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This stirs happy memories of some special moments in America, of which the simply divine "State Trumpets" were but one. I was lucky, because when I first heard them, they were in perfect tune, which is not always the case.

 

Not many registers have "pet" names, but "The horn of the apocalypse" is just perfect; so incredible is the sound. There are probably louder stops in the world, but this has to be the best American organ "experience" and in such a wonderful building and acoustic.

 

Of course, St Paul's has a "pet" name stop: the 32ft Bombarde, which I think they call "The Cement Mixer."

 

When it comes to the Trompette Militaire, it always sounds to me like a Wurlitzer Post Horn played in a big acoustic, but let's not open that particularly exponential can of worms once more....please.

 

Let them believe Willis re-voiced it!

 

MM

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Although it's perfectly understandable that the Royal Trumpets at St. Paul's need to be kept for special occasions, there's an interesting contrast with St. John the Divine, New York City. I was there on this very Sunday in 2001 with Belfast Cathedral Choir. It was a wickedly hot day, and most of the adults decided to wander around in the relative cool of the cathedral until Evensong time. The guides by the West Door said, 'You will play the organ, won't you?' and we (naturally) said, 'Sure!'. They said, 'And you must try out the State Trumpet!'. So we did, while they sat underneath it, delighted. It's said that the cathedral is so big, the State Trumpet is in a different postal district from the rest of the instrument.....

 

There are a few demos of this stop on You Tube - try the one by Philip Stopford - and if you're in NY, they do a demo of the organ at lunch time on a Monday - great fun - I went to Bruce Neswick doing this a couple of years ago - fabulous improvisation - and then he let everyone up to the loft and somebody (by prior arrangement) played the Elgar Sonata. I got the impression that they would be pretty welcoming of visiting organists having a go if by prior arrangement, probably. The trumpet is astonishing!

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Of course, St Paul's has a "pet" name stop: the 32ft Bombarde, which I think they call "The Cement Mixer."

 

 

MM

 

<anorak> The Contra Posaune is The Cement Mixer :blink: </anorak>

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<anorak> The Contra Posaune is The Cement Mixer :blink: </anorak>

 

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

 

 

Yes of course!

 

I should have known this, having lived with a Fr Willis for awhile. I don't think he ever did Bombardes. They were either Posaunes or Ophicleides.

 

I need to buy a new anorak. :mellow:

 

MM

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This stirs happy memories of some special moments in America, of which the simply divine "State Trumpets" were but one. I was lucky, because when I first heard them, they were in perfect tune, which is not always the case.

 

Not many registers have "pet" names, but "The horn of the apocalypse" is just perfect; so incredible is the sound. There are probably louder stops in the world, but this has to be the best American organ "experience" and in such a wonderful building and acoustic.

 

Of course, St Paul's has a "pet" name stop: the 32ft Bombarde, which I think they call "The Cement Mixer."

 

When it comes to the Trompette Militaire, it always sounds to me like a Wurlitzer Post Horn played in a big acoustic, but let's not open that particularly exponential can of worms once more....please.

 

Let them believe Willis re-voiced it!

 

MM

 

Leslie Barnard once used the term "Mukkinese Battle Horn", not to describe any specific register but as a humorous reference to loud reeds as a whole. I think he may have borrowed it from the Goon Show. I've always fancied having one such....

 

I agree about the Wurlitzer Trompette Militaire. No criticism implied either of Wurlitzer or Willis, although Henry III was, to say the least, coy about the provenance. It's just what's needed in that situation.

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Leslie Barnard once used the term "Mukkinese Battle Horn", not to describe any specific register but as a humorous reference to loud reeds as a whole. I think he may have borrowed it from the Goon Show. I've always fancied having one such....

 

I agree about the Wurlitzer Trompette Militaire. No criticism implied either of Wurlitzer or Willis, although Henry III was, to say the least, coy about the provenance. It's just what's needed in that situation.

 

 

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

 

 

With regard to Wurlitzer Post Horns, they were supplied of course by Gottfried; the same maker responsible for the Trompette Militaire at St Paul's.

 

It really doesn;t need further eleboration, because they are superlative reeds in the American tradition of such things. Of course, in a cinema, they sound brassy, snappy and sassy in equal measure, but in a building such as St Paul's, that smooths out and sounds a little different. The Dome, of course, is one of the key factors in the quality of the sound that we hear down below. The fire and edge are there. but the space and resonance add increased "body" to the sound.

 

I suspect that the Royal Trumpoets at the back, are far closer to the party horn at St John-the-Divine in beng quite thin in tone, and thereofre very strident.

 

I hope it's not an insult to our hosts to suggest that they're not quite as remarkable as the New York State Trumpet, but then, what other reed register actually compares anywhere in the world?

 

It's worth the return air-fare just to hear it live! In fact, it's worth the return air-fare just to hear the reaction of visitors when the beast is unleashed above their heads!

 

MM

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