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Fernando Germani


Peter Allison
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I thought I might mention that I had the opportunity to listen to some private recordings of the great Germani last night. They were recorded in St. Pauls Cathedral, with the doors locked. The music was all Cesar Frank, 3 chorals etc etc, and all played from memory. The quality was excellent considering it was recorded on a revox spool tape machine, just a little bass shy so I was told, and it was 1954. Its really good to get an incite as to how people played and registrated all those years ago. I also heard Ralph downs and Nicolas Kynyston from a radio broadcast at Armley. Why do the radio presenters not talk like that anymore????

Peter

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I thought I might mention that I had the opportunity to listen to some private recordings of the great Germani last night. They were recorded in St. Pauls Cathedral, with the doors locked. The music was all Cesar Frank, 3 chorals etc etc, and all played from memory. The quality was excellent considering it was recorded on a revox spool tape machine, just a little bass shy so  I was told, and it was 1954. Its really good to get an incite as to how people played and  registrated all those years ago. I also heard Ralph downs and Nicolas Kynyston from a radio broadcast at Armley. Why do the radio presenters not talk like that anymore????

Peter

 

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

 

 

Brian Sewell does!!!

 

:blink:

 

MM

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
I thought I might mention that I had the opportunity to listen to some private recordings of the great Germani last night. They were recorded in St. Pauls Cathedral, with the doors locked. The music was all Cesar Frank, 3 chorals etc etc, and all played from memory. The quality was excellent considering it was recorded on a revox spool tape machine, just a little bass shy so  I was told, and it was 1954. Its really good to get an incite as to how people played and  registrated all those years ago. I also heard Ralph downs and Nicolas Kynyston from a radio broadcast at Armley. Why do the radio presenters not talk like that anymore????

Peter

 

As his last student before he retired, I would love to know more about this Germani recording and in which bank vault it is kept!

I have a multitude of memories of the Maestro and of his times playing and recording in the UK - especially at Selby. But I can't remember him ever talking of St Paulo in London. Nicolas Kynaston (also a student in Rome but before my time) kept very much in touch with him right up to the time he died.

 

As for radio and television presenters - I fear it is the lowest common denominator which motivates them. Some I feel need electricution lessons.

 

Dress on television is a disgrace too. If they called at my door like that I would be highly suspicious of their social standing!

 

Best wishes,

NJA

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As his last student before he retired, I would love to know more about this Germani recording and in which bank vault it is kept!

I have a multitude of memories of the Maestro and of his times playing and recording in the UK - especially at Selby. But I can't remember him ever talking of St Paulo in London. Nicolas Kynaston (also a student in Rome but before my time) kept very much in touch with him right up to the time he died.

 

As for radio and television presenters - I fear it is the lowest common denominator which motivates them. Some I feel need electricution lessons.

 

Dress on television is a disgrace too. If they called at my door like that I would be highly suspicious of their social standing!

 

Best wishes,

NJA

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As his last student before he retired, I would love to know more about this Germani recording and in which bank vault it is kept!

I have a multitude of memories of the Maestro and of his times playing and recording in the UK - especially at Selby. But I can't remember him ever talking of St Paulo in London. Nicolas Kynaston (also a student in Rome but before my time) kept very much in touch with him right up to the time he died.

 

As for radio and television presenters - I fear it is the lowest common denominator which motivates them. Some I feel need electricution lessons.

 

Dress on television is a disgrace too. If they called at my door like that I would be highly suspicious of their social standing!

 

Best wishes,

NJA

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Guest Barry Oakley
As his last student before he retired, I would love to know more about this Germani recording and in which bank vault it is kept!

I have a multitude of memories of the Maestro and of his times playing and recording in the UK - especially at Selby. But I can't remember him ever talking of St Paulo in London. Nicolas Kynaston (also a student in Rome but before my time) kept very much in touch with him right up to the time he died.

 

As for radio and television presenters - I fear it is the lowest common denominator which motivates them. Some I feel need electricution lessons.

 

Dress on television is a disgrace too. If they called at my door like that I would be highly suspicious of their social standing!

 

Best wishes,

NJA

 

Talk of the great Fernando Germani takes me back to 1951 when I heard him give a joint opening recital on the newly rebuilt and enlarged Hull City Hall organ with Norman Strafford, consultant for the rebuild and city organist and custodian. Much earlier in the day I had the good fortune to also hear him play Hull's other big Compton construction at Holy Trinity. Whilst he made use of pistons, I was struck by the infinite variation of colour he was frequently able to achieve by hand registration, a sight one does not see so much of these days.

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[size=7] I had the pleasure of making this recording at St Pauls when Fernando Germani was staying with me as he did on many occasions during his visits to England.

I recorded it on an MSS machine - English made and similar to a Revox and using a single mono microphone - if only I had had a modern digital recorder!

 

Germani recorded the Franck chorale at my request as well as the Grand Piece Symphonique and Finale - all without rehearsal or any retakes and from memory.

John Dykes Bower was with me and was impressed with his management of the organ and use of the Dome chorus. A memorable evening.

 

I subsequently transferred these recordings onto cassette and more recently to CD. The original tapes went to a friend of mine and then to Martin Monkman.

 

I arranged many recitals for Germani through his agent, Ibbs & Tillett, including All Souls, Langham Place, Woburn PC, Alll Saints, Margaret Street, Kings Cambridge etc. and recorded many of these recitals.

 

I hope this information is of interest Nigel!

Best regards

C

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

[size=7] I had the pleasure of making this recording at St Pauls when Fernando Germani was staying with me as he did on many occasions during his visits to England.

I recorded it on an MSS machine - English made and similar to a Revox and using a single mono microphone - if only I had had a modern digital recorder!

 

Germani recorded the Franck chorale at my request as well as the Grand Piece Symphonique and Finale - all without rehearsal or any retakes and from memory.

John Dykes Bower was with me and was impressed with his management of the organ and use of the Dome chorus. A memorable evening.

 

I subsequently transferred these recordings onto cassette and more recently to CD. The original tapes went to a friend of mine and then to Martin Monkman. 

 

  I arranged many recitals for Germani through his agent, Ibbs & Tillett, including All Souls, Langham Place,  Woburn PC, Alll Saints, Margaret Street, Kings Cambridge etc. and recorded many of these recitals.

 

I hope this information is of interest Nigel!

Best regards

C

[right][post=5657]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post][/right]

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

[size=7] I had the pleasure of making this recording at St Pauls when Fernando Germani was staying with me as he did on many occasions during his visits to England.

I recorded it on an MSS machine - English made and similar to a Revox and using a single mono microphone - if only I had had a modern digital recorder!

 

Germani recorded the Franck chorale at my request as well as the Grand Piece Symphonique and Finale - all without rehearsal or any retakes and from memory.

John Dykes Bower was with me and was impressed with his management of the organ and use of the Dome chorus. A memorable evening.

 

I subsequently transferred these recordings onto cassette and more recently to CD. The original tapes went to a friend of mine and then to Martin Monkman. 

 

  I arranged many recitals for Germani through his agent, Ibbs & Tillett, including All Souls, Langham Place,  Woburn PC, Alll Saints, Margaret Street, Kings Cambridge etc. and recorded many of these recitals.

 

I hope this information is of interest Nigel!

 

 

Best regards

C

[right][post=5657]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post][/right]

 

Come to Dinner, Colin. :blink:

Can these originals be prised out of the vault?

N

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I thought I might mention that I had the opportunity to listen to some private recordings of the great Germani last night.

 

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

 

 

I realised something after reading the thread about Germani, I know absolutely nothing about him other than the fact that he was Italian, played the organ rather well and drank a bit.

 

What I do know, is that when I was 15 or 16, he was the organist who absolutely knocked me for six with a stupendous performance of Reger at Leeds Parish Church.

 

I think that Germani's performance was only matched by Melville Cook at the same venue....both were fantastic experiences.

 

Thus began a life-long passion for most (but not all) things Reger, which explains why I tend to channel-hop across to Holland whenever I can during the summer months. I can be there in Haarlem in about 4 hours, and back home by the wee small hours.

 

But what of Germani the teacher, the man and the recitalist?

 

The only story I know of Germani is that told by Noel Rawsthorne, when he set out to impress Germani. Germani didn't blink, but simply said, "Now, we must sit up properly with a straight-back."

 

It was back to basics for Noel!

 

By the seventies or so, Germani seemed to fizzle away from memory, and I guess I was especially fortunate to hear him before he stopped touring around. The only other thing I know, is that I once heard the Germani Toccata played by Jane Parker-Smith.

 

MM

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Almost the first organ recording I bought as a teenager was a 10-inch LP of Germani playing the great Bach Preludes and Fugues in C minor, e minor and C major at Alkmaar. It fundamentally influenced my early approach to Bach. I still think his majestic interpretation of the 9/8 prelude gets to Bach's core more profoundly than the superficial dance most modern players offer us.

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I must profess my thanks to Colin on what are really good recordings, "my mate from Donny" has the original spool and cassete recordings via Martin Monkman, and I would like to think that they may be issued sometime in the near future as part of a historic tribute, to whom Germani was one of the "greats" of the organ world. I think many of us "younger" ones can benefit from hearing these great masters in their prime along with a few others, GTB for example.

Peter

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
==================

 

 

But what of Germani the teacher, the man and the recitalist?

 

By the seventies or so, Germani seemed to fizzle away from memory, and I guess I was especially fortunate to hear him before he stopped touring around.

 

MM

 

Nicolas Kynaston wrote a moving obitury. I also wrote one (I think for Choir & Organ). I also did the notes for a recording on the Testament label of a number of early Bach recordings - I believe yonks ago on the Alkmaar organ. I must see if I have it. This recording must still be available.

 

The Maestro was an extraordinary man - his stamina left us gasping. His organ class was almost every day with everyone (UK institutions take note!) - morning and late afternoon mostly. Paperwork on Wednesdays. With all this he would then go and give the complete works of JSB twice a week** for 13 weeks in a central Rome church to such a crowd that the only available spot left to sit on was on an altar in a side chapel. And I do not embelish!

 

He had a 'different' sort of appartment/house near the Circus Maximus which was stuffed full of Venetian glass and a complete copy of huge Medici Wedding furniture. In all this was a small 2 man organ. He wished to buy my London organ that had been shut into the Church of The Holy Trinity, Westbourne Terrace W2. He put in an offer only to find that it had been sold the previous week. He wished to connect it to his 4 manual console (already built) in his music room of the villa he had built by a lakeside north of the city. Already it was playing a delicious Baroque instrument salvaged (I think) from Sicily. All this because I raved about the amazing brilliance of the (Lewis) choruses. He wanted to embark upon recording the complete works of Reger on it. (He lived in a world of his own!) In getting electricity to his sumptuous villa he had dynamited the land a little too forcefully, as he destroyed the line to the neighbouring town and plunged it into darkness. He had two full sized Petrof grands also in the villa, one still wrapped in plastic.

 

He enjoyed embelishing his prowess somewhat (absolutely no need to), but I am sure that it was true that a Westminster Cathedral Bach recital made him resign from St Peter's. There was a protest from the Roman Catholics in London (and the Cathedral) that the organist of the Holy See should be playing Protestant music and especially there. I believe that the concert might have been cancelled. Anyone remember this far back?

 

One person who was really really close to him as he was a student for many years in Roma, was Edward Theodore http://www.france-orgue.fr/disque/index.ph...ard%20THEODORE- a fine musician from Sydney. If the Web can locate him, he can tell you far more than the 100's of anecdotes that I possess! I treasure my scores with his markings. All things were based upon fundamental musical good sense and technique. He lived to a grand age and I miss the likes of him as a pedagogue in our world today. He was a link with the age which often takes up many bytes on this site.

 

Best wishes,

Nigel

 

** I will one day print off the programmes for everyone's interest.

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Nicolas Kynaston wrote a moving obitury. I also wrote one (I think for Choir & Organ). I also did the notes for a recording on the Testament label of a number of early Bach recordings - I believe yonks ago on the Alkmaar organ. I must see if I have it. This recording must still be available.

 

The Maestro was an extraordinary man - his stamina left us gasping. His organ class was almost every day  with everyone (UK institutions take note!) - morning and late afternoon mostly. Paperwork on Wednesdays. With all this he would then go and give the complete works of JSB twice a week**  for 13 weeks in a central Rome church to such a crowd that the only available spot left to sit on was on an altar in a side chapel. And I do not embelish!

 

He had a 'different' sort of appartment/house near the Circus Maximus which was stuffed full of Venetian glass and a complete copy of huge Medici Wedding furniture. In all this was a small 2 man organ. He wished to buy my London organ that had been shut into the Church of The Holy Trinity, Westbourne Terrace W2. He put in an offer only to find that it had been sold the previous week. He wished to connect it to his 4 manual console (already built) in his music room of the villa he had built by a lakeside north of the city. Already it was playing a delicious Baroque instrument salvaged (I think) from Sicily. All this because I raved about the amazing brilliance of the (Lewis) choruses. He wanted to embark upon recording the complete works of Reger on it. (He lived in a world of his own!) In getting electricity to his sumptuous villa he had dynamited the land a little too forcefully, as he destroyed the line to the neighbouring town and plunged it into darkness. He had two full sized Petrof grands also in the villa, one still wrapped in plastic.

 

He enjoyed embelishing his prowess somewhat (absolutely no need to), but I am sure that it was true that a  Westminster Cathedral Bach recital made him resign from St Peter's. There was a protest from the Roman Catholics in London (and the Cathedral) that the organist of the Holy See should be playing Protestant music and especially there. I believe that the concert might have been cancelled. Anyone remember this far back?

 

One person who was really really close to him as he was a student for many years in Roma, was Edward Theodore http://www.france-orgue.fr/disque/index.ph...ard%20THEODORE- a fine musician from Sydney. If the Web can locate him, he can tell you far more than the 100's of anecdotes that I possess! I treasure my scores with his markings. All things were based upon fundamental musical good sense and technique. He lived to a grand age and I miss the likes of him as a pedagogue in our world today. He was a link with the age which often takes up many bytes on this site.

 

Best wishes,

Nigel

 

** I will one day print off the programmes for everyone's interest.

 

I first met Germani when, as a schoolboy, I turned the pages for his recording of all the Bach organ works at All Souls, Langham Place. Only one LP (which I have) was issued and the Bach was then re-recorded at Alkmaar as a more authentic sound was required.

I subsequently stayed with Germani and his family in Rome and we all went on various holidays to the south of Italy - sometimes visiting organs which he had designed but usually relaxing by the sea and visiting the now well known tourist sites - Vesuvius, Pompeii etc.

I also practised on his 2 manual pipe organ in the Rome house.

I have many letters, photos and recordings of those times and in fact at Nicolas Kynaston's suggestion I wrote some of my memories of Germani in an article for the Journal of The Organ Club.

I am very pleased to hear that my original tapes of Germani at St Pauls are still being enjoyed!

Best wishes

Colin

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The Maestro was an extraordinary man - his stamina left us gasping. .............(snip) ...........wanted to embark upon recording the complete works of Reger.

 

(He lived in a world of his own!)

 

In getting electricity to his sumptuous villa he had dynamited the land a little too forcefully, as he destroyed the line to the neighbouring town and plunged it into darkness.

 

He enjoyed embelishing his prowess somewhat............

 

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

 

Wow!

 

What a tragedy that he never did record all the Reger works.

 

The thing that I found most odd about Germani was the almost cold-blooded approach to Bach: perfect in every way, but somehow souless IMHO.

 

Then I think of the time I heard him play Reger in a white-heat of passion and technical perfection: what an astonishing contrast that made.

 

I have often asked myself the question why, when someone was so inspired by Reger, they could be so fast, technical and somehow uninvolved in the greatness of Bach, whom Reger saw as his main inspiration.

 

It's a funny thing, but I never pull out the old LP of Germani at the RFH playing Bach, but my forty-year-old Germani recording from Selby Abbey, with the Reger "Hallelujah! Gott zu Loben," is right at the front where I can get to it when I want to hear Reger played to perfection.

 

I suppose it will forever remain a mystery to me.

 

The anecdote about the dynamite is just wonderful....thank-you.

 

 

 

MM

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

The anecdote about the dynamite is just wonderful....thank-you.

MM

 

 

Ha! One organist who really could make the earth move .......

 

As for his Bach playing, it was perhaps the style of those times. Nevertheless, it had a subtle grandeur that seemed to fit him so well.

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As for his Bach playing, it was perhaps the style of those times. Nevertheless, it had a subtle grandeur that seemed to fit him so well.

I'm sure that's right. I guess we're talking about the era when Early Music was being rediscovered and "authentic" performances needed to avoid contamination by Romanticism. Germani wasn't the worst offender though. I remember reviews of Lionel Rogg's first set of Bach recordings being criticised for being too clinical (and Rogg himself agreed).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Has the Selby Abbey recording ever been re-issued on CD? I'd love to get my hands on a copy if it has.

 

I couldn't agree more with MusingMuso: I'd never heard Reger played so well as Germani achieved in his recording of "Halleluja! Gott zu loben". For my taste, I still haven't heard anyone better it.

 

MJF

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  • 1 year later...
I thought I might mention that I had the opportunity to listen to some private recordings of the great Germani last night. They were recorded in St. Pauls Cathedral, with the doors locked. The music was all Cesar Frank, 3 chorals etc etc, and all played from memory. The quality was excellent considering it was recorded on a revox spool tape machine, just a little bass shy so I was told, and it was 1954. Its really good to get an incite as to how people played and registrated all those years ago. I also heard Ralph downs and Nicolas Kynyston from a radio broadcast at Armley. Why do the radio presenters not talk like that anymore????

Peter

 

Huw William's played FG's 'Tocatta' at St paul's yesterday. i was impressed with this sparking work and it sounded impressive even though the Dome division is out of action at present.

 

Ed

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