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Mander Organs

RFH Symposium


Chris Woollard

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What a pleasure yesterday to hear Professor Lionel Rogg and Dame Gillian Weir play once more.

The concluding recital by Margaret Phillips was spectacular.

There was mention of the return of regular recitals.

The live video tour of the organ interior was a really good idea. Large screen live video presentations are readily possible these days. Could be used as a way to present the artist hidden up in the loft to the audience far more often.

 

When will the RAH follow by treating its magnificent instrument with some degree of seriousness and exploiting it on behalf of the public.

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I agree; Harrison's presentation was very well presented and the video tour of the organ interior was a splendid idea.

 

The concluding recital was very interesting, particularly in the Sweelink variations, as it demonstrated a number of the quieter stops. I hope we can hear more of these quieter stops in the future.

 

It was also very amusing that Dame Gillian Weir came down on the side of manual changes and the use of heels in Bach. I was astonished too that she mentioned that she had been drawn into conversation with Susi Jeans about whether or not Bach wrote the G min Fantasia because Susi Jeans said exactly the same thing to me once, when I visited Cumberland Lodge for one of her music weeks!

 

I did find however the talk on pipe scales somewhat hard to take in and, as in Downes' book, there was no conclusion on the types of scales that are desirable and how and why these would be affected be the buildings acoustical properties.

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It was also very amusing that Dame Gillian Weir came down on the side of manual changes and the use of heels in Bach.

 

Do, please, tell more. As I was not there I cannot easily imagine why this was very amusing. Maybe it was the way she told it, but I would have expected nothing less from almost any performer on the professional circuit, at least in Britain, for reasons we all surely know very well.

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Dame Gillian was presented with the invitation to perform as a surprise. Not sure about that but she was wearing attractive dress shoes with very pointed fronts. Perhaps she felt heels were safer. Following the performance she was presented with a huge cake to celebrate fifty recitals at the RFH. Dame Gillian then reflected that the number was in fact some 56.

 

I also would have appreciated a conclusion to the paper on pipe scales, especially why the pyramid shaped scaling was chosen. Perhaps this is simply not known.

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Do, please, tell more. As I was not there I cannot easily imagine why this was very amusing. Maybe it was the way she told it, but I would have expected nothing less from almost any performer on the professional circuit, at least in Britain, for reasons we all surely know very well.

Dame Gillian said that she had read that Bach had some sort of overshoes made to enable him to use his heels in playing.

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Dame Gillian said that she had read that Bach had some sort of overshoes made to enable him to use his heels in playing.

 

Thank you. I see what you mean! If that's true I'm surprised it's not in the Bach Reader (not everything is) - though perhaps I have missed it. I read that the use of heels is quite practical at Arnstadt: http://www.albany.edu/piporg-l/FS/sr.html. Sadly, Bach's other instruments no longer exist.

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