Jump to content
Mander Organs
Sign in to follow this  
Philip

Peterborough

Recommended Posts

http://www.peterborough900.org.uk/news-reader/items/developing-cathedral-music-organ-recital-7.00pm-friday-29th-november.html

 

This may be of interest to some - for two reasons - a new Sonata by Francis Pott (IIRC Quinney has played much of Pott's music before), but perhaps more significantly a statement of intent to bring the organ down to 'standard' pitch. Interesting stuff - Mr Quinney making his mark already perhaps?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.peterborough900.org.uk/news-reader/items/developing-cathedral-music-organ-recital-7.00pm-friday-29th-november.html

 

This may be of interest to some - for two reasons - a new Sonata by Francis Pott (IIRC Quinney has played much of Pott's music before), but perhaps more significantly a statement of intent to bring the organ down to 'standard' pitch. Interesting stuff - Mr Quinney making his mark already perhaps?

This has been an ongoing campaign for many years! I think Andrew Reid is responsible for getting it close to a reality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those who can't wait until 29th November to hear Robert Quinney play they should attend his opening recital on the newly completed organ at Llandaff Cathedral at 19.30 on Friday, 8th November. The programme should show of this remarkable instrument brilliantly let alone his incredible virtuosity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a recital from Peterborough by Robert Quinney being broadcast live tomorrow evening, Sunday 19 January, on Radio 3. As a huge fan of Mr Quinney's playing I am greatly looking forward to this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When holding notes for tonal finishers, I have always been struck by how changing the pitch of a pipe takes the voicing almost back to square one. Is it really wise to change the pitch of an historic organ, I wonder? Isn't this why the Salisbury instrument (largely cone-tuned and flat pitch) has been so fiercely protected by its custodians?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking the same, stewartt. Wasn't the organ of Reading Town Hall recently restored back to its original pitch as the experts had decided the tone had suffered in changing it to A440?

 

Robert Quinney's second point in the interview linked above makes good sense; in the only building in Peterborough suitable for big orchestral concerts it's a shame that they can never use this marvellous organ with an orchestra. But his first point, that his choir members are "used" to hearing, singing and playing music in their daily lives outside the cathedral at A440 and so their brain/larynx is confused when singing at a slightly different pitch, seems specious to me. Most performances of music from the Classical period on "period" instruments are at A430 these days and that often includes operas and other vocal music. There is a campaign (slightly eccentric) to change standard pitch to A432 as that is somehow more natural* and, as the pitch that Verdi knew, is best for operatic tessituras. The demonstration of using the Peterborough organs together was very effective but that just means you shouldn't use them together; they are historically incompatible instruments in any case.

 

I remember singing Evensongs in Peterborough 2 or 3 times in the early 1970s with the RSCM Midland Cathedral Singers; I have no recollection of being disorientated by the pitch.

 

*No, it’s not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with innate. I know a few singers with pitch who have difficulties, but it's usually with transposing the written score, rather than the chosen or enforced A of the performance. None of the instrumentalists I have met, playing 392, 415, 431 ( LSO strings seemed less than keen!) or 466 seem to have had a problem, and a majority of the string players I know have pitch. One of them says that she didn't realise that everyone didn't until she was 24! I don't understand why Robert is so keen on this idea. It's clearly a pity not to be able to perform the Saint-Saens in the cathedral, but apart from that there's not much essential repertoire. I have also sung there (once, bizarrely, in an opera), and it's a difficult space for orchestral concerts. Flattening a large organ is incredibly expensive, as he says, and most organ builders I have met think that there are big problems with re-pitching. Since Peterborough is generally agreed to be a pretty good organ, would it not be better to leave well alone? Perhaps the money might be better put towards a proper concert venue, or a bigger choral foundation fund.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flattening the pitch of the magnificent Hill organ in Lichfield Cathedral was ruled out, I believe, on the grounds that it would alter the character of the instrument. Either they or Peterborough must have got it wrong, surely? My sympathy tends towards Lichfield. It may be anathema on this board to make this suggestion, but if the concern at Peterborough is to have an instrument at orchestral pitch for concert use they could install a top of the range digital solution for a fraction of the cost which would me more than adequate to serve within the context of an orchestral accompaniment without compromising the integrity of the Hill organ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed, Sotto! If a digital instrument is going to sound good anywhere it will be in a great acoustic such as Peterborough. And it's not as though there are going to be that many orchestral concerts with organ; probably three a year, maximum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I couldn't agree more with both Sotto Voce and Innate.

Indeed, I attended Robert Qunney's installation as Director of Music and an electronic was used as the organ's blower had broken down!
Martin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it looks as though the re-pitching is going ahead. The cost is £410K. For not much more than this quite a big new organ (30 stops?) could be built in the cathedral, at modern pitch. Madness!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...