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Guest Andrew Butler

Clifford Harker (Bristol 1949-83) was another master of psalm accompaniment.

 

I have it on the best authority that, when he was assistant at Norwich (before succeeding CH at Bristol) Malcolm Archer used the Cymbelstern in Ps 16 v.7; :rolleyes:

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I think that the secret of raising psalm chanting to a higher level lies with the organist rather than the choir. Philip Marshall's psalm playing was said to 'cast a mystery over the whole scene'. Those who can recall Lincoln Evensongs on R3 will also recall that his hymn introductions were often thrilling and imaginative.

 

I think that the best psalm players favour continuos accomp. Ths story of MA using the cymbelstern is amusing. A bit unsure whether the jingling bells are an asset or not. York seems to have one now tho its not listed in the NPOR spec. JSW uses it in the Jesus College service by Mathias.

 

1130 and hot and sticky in polluted Victoria St SW1 !! Roll on early Sept and the new term !!

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I have it on the best authority that, when he was assistant at Norwich (before succeeding CH at Bristol) Malcolm Archer used the Cymbelstern in Ps 16 v.7;  :rolleyes:

Goodness, I wonder what that sounded like. My recollection of the Norwich Cymbelstern when I played the instrument back in the 70s is that it was rather assertive. I remember trying In dir ist Freude on the Gt diap chorus to Mixture (whether Primary Gt or Secondary Gt I can't recall) and finding the Cymbelstern clearly audible above the lot - so much so that I couldn't keep time!

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Talking abt MA at Noriwch, I wonder if anyone who has kept ye old LPs still has the double album of Howells Choral and Organ music that Norwich produced in the late 70s/early 80s. Expressive singing and powerful playing. A benchmark recording especially as records of Howells were not as commonplace as they are now !!

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  • 3 weeks later...
On the subject of registrants - I recently saw a DVD of Jos vd Kooy playing St Bavo.  His two registrants were utterly on the ball and amazing to watch.  Clearly an art form in its own right.

 

I can also remember a film of Gillian Weir playing the Widor at St Sulpice with two stop assistants. She described playing with two supporters as 'going on a journey together...'.

 

I wonder how many organists got their first seat on an organ bench by being a page turner/stop boy? I can well remember doing this as a boy chorister. It was the start of my love affair with the organ!

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Great sub octaves can be terrificly useful things.  Christchurch Priory is quite at sea without the one that Geoff Morgan had added. 

 

 

Actually, it was a Nave Sub Octave which was added, which does play through the Nave Flues on Great transfer - but does not affect the GO stops.

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DC: Great sub octaves can be terrificly useful things. Christchurch Priory is quite at sea without the one that Geoff Morgan had adde

 

PCND5584: Actually, it was a Nave Sub Octave which was added, which does play through the Nave Flues on Great transfer - but does not affect the GO stops.

 

DC: No it wasn't - it was definitely a Great Sub Octave and affects all the Great stops.

 

Seconds away ... handbags at the ready ... Round 4. (ding)! :rolleyes:

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DC: Great sub octaves can be terrificly useful things.  Christchurch Priory is quite at sea without the one that Geoff Morgan had adde

 

PCND5584: Actually, it was a Nave Sub Octave which was added, which does play through the Nave Flues on Great transfer - but does not affect the GO stops.

 

DC: No it wasn't - it was definitely a Great Sub Octave and affects all the Great stops.

 

Seconds away ... handbags at the ready ... Round 4. (ding)!   :rolleyes:

 

Jeremy - two points:

 

1) I was incorrect - David was correct (my memory was temporarily faulty, probably as a result of reading a Robert Ludlum book at 02h30 this morning).

 

2) I cannot speak for David, but personally I have never owned (or wished to own) any type of handbag - not even one designed by Oscar Wilde.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
====================

Would that not be "A  HAAAAAANDBAG?"

 

:unsure:

 

MM

 

 

Any chance of us going back to the original topic here - registrants, pros and cons?

As a side light on this question, I am just off to play at Liverpool Anglican (sorry to 'venue-drop'!) - and rather interested to study the wad of papers supplied which includes a diagram of the console layout. Those familiar with the titutlaiure's playing habits may like to note that on the recital console

 

1. The ten general thumb pistons have been deliberately located outside the playing area. They are all either above manual V or on the ends of the key frames. Unless one is playing a pedal solo, I don't see how they could be more inaccessible for the actual performer.

 

2. The advance thumb piston for the sequencer (and there's only one) is firmly placed at the extreme treble end of the Great manual frame - i.e. once again, clearly out of reach if (one's own) hands are busy.

 

3. There are three thumb pistons for the Corona Division - which consists of one stop. Think of the possibilities!!

Corona 1 - Trompette Militaire,

Corona 2 - Trompette Militaire with octave coupler,

Corona 3 - Trompette Militaire with octave and sub!

No wonder the wad of papers (in explaining why this division is reserved for evening performances) refers to the possibility of tourists rushing from the building with ears bleeding.

 

For my six-pence-worth, although I am lucky enough to have married a superb musician who turns an expert page and panics less than I do, I prefer to keep the whole performance my responsibility wherever possible. As a general rule, if I can't get something safely by myself, I more than likely decide that there must be a better place to make my change or I manage without. These days it seems not just acceptable but common for the player to look after dots alone. I can't help thinking that this is both much easier and at least half-way to a 'cop out'.

 

Comments about the use of registrants abroad or on large instruments over here with primitive controls aside (and these are all valid since we will always try to play repertoire that the organ-builder did not have in mind, 100 or more years ago!) where we are dealing with a console with modern aids to a good standard I think a good percentage of the fee ought to go to assistants who do the player's work for him/her!

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Any chance of us going back to the original topic here - registrants, pros and cons?

As a side light on this question, I am just off to play at Liverpool Anglican (sorry to 'venue-drop'!) - and rather interested to study the wad of papers supplied which includes a diagram of the console layout.  Those familiar with the titutlaiure's playing habits may like to note that on the recital console

 

1. The ten general thumb pistons have been deliberately located outside the playing area. They are all either above manual V or on the ends of the key frames. Unless one is playing a pedal solo, I don't see how they could be more inaccessible for the actual performer.

 

2. The advance thumb piston for the sequencer (and there's only one) is firmly placed at the extreme treble end of the Great manual frame - i.e. once again, clearly out of reach if (one's own) hands are busy.

 

 

I believe there is also a sequencer advance which dangles on a bit of wire, so one can have one's registrant at a suitable distance!

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

 

I believe there is also a sequencer advance which dangles on a bit of wire, so one can have one's registrant at a suitable distance!

 

 

I also had heard of a 'slide-show-projector-style' wand, but no reference is made to this anywhere in the copious literature provided; maybe we have both imagined this.

 

The wand (if indeed it exists at all) is, I gather, intended for the use of a second assistant. Being the largest pipe organ in the UK, none of us should be surprised that its use must involve significant extra effort, skill and energy. Someone ignorant of these considerations might wonder whether regular experience over an extended period of time, using a new, purpose-built, state-of-the-art console might make the question of control a little less challenging. But, as they say...'three heads are better than one'!

 

Rather interestingly and (of course) in no way related to the remarks above, the rubric very clearly and firmly states that if visiting recitalists bring more than one page-tuner (or assistant) with them either for rehearsal or the performance, they will be asked to leave.

 

I fully recognise the fact that my recital tomorrow will be the last time I get near this splendid instrument, so you can see that I have nothing to lose by sharing these thoughts with you. :unsure:

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I fully recognise the fact that my recital tomorrow will be the last time I get near this splendid instrument, so you can see that I have nothing to lose by sharing these thoughts with you. :D

I am almost tempted to hire a fast plane or train to get me to Liverpool tomorrow, if only to be present at this seminal event! :D Regrettably, Paul's recital clashes with the opening of the new football season, and my thoughts and hopes will therefore be directed elsewhere as Spurs take on Bolton at the Reebok, a real clash of North and South civilisations! :unsure:

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I also had heard of a 'slide-show-projector-style' wand, but no reference is made to this anywhere in the copious literature provided; maybe we have both imagined this.

 

The wand (if indeed it exists at all) is, I gather, intended for the use of a second assistant. Being the largest pipe organ in the UK, none of us should be surprised that its use must involve significant extra effort, skill and energy.  Someone ignorant of these considerations might wonder whether regular experience over an extended period of time, using a new, purpose-built, state-of-the-art console might make the question of control a little less challenging. But, as they say...'three heads are better than one'!

 

Rather interestingly and (of course) in no way related to the remarks above, the rubric very clearly and firmly states that if visiting recitalists bring more than one page-tuner (or assistant) with them either for rehearsal or the performance, they will be asked to leave.

 

I fully recognise the fact that my recital tomorrow will be the last time I get near this splendid instrument, so you can see that I have nothing to lose by sharing these thoughts with you. :unsure:

 

Good luck! Sadly I cannot be there, but I'd be really interested to hear how you get on. I'm a long-time fan of this organ, and I think the overall effect in the building can be stunning. But I gather it is rather difficult to play - and not just down to the registration aids!

 

BTW it is no longer the largest pipe organ in the UK, courtesy of Mr Mander and the RAH - although I hear that situation may soon be rectified.....

 

JJK

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One of the irritations of LC is at the end of service orders there is a pompous little paragraph instructing the punters not to applaud at the end of the organ voluntary. It states that the OV is part of the worship therefore to be enjoyed but not applauded. I would have no intention of appluading but resent being treated as an imbecile !

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One of the irritations of LC is at the end of service orders there is a pompous little paragraph instructing the punters not to applaud at the end of the organ voluntary. It states that the OV is part of the worship therefore to be enjoyed but not applauded. I would have no intention of appluading but resent being treated as an imbecile !

I can see where they are coming from, but isn't this taking resistance to things happy-clappy a bit far? At Rochester Cathedral the audience is very ready to applaud a good voluntary. In fact, when I was playing for a eucharist there earlier this year, though I was completely unaware myself, apparently one person in the congregation even applauded my gospel improvisation! It caused a certain amount of mirth (and incidentally made me wonder about the propriety of what I'd done). Bottom line here, I think, is that Rochester has more the air of a large parish church than a cathedral, partly, I feel, because little things like this help to promote a sense of community. Surely that is a good thing?
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I think, Jeremy, that hearing Paul at LC would be cheaper. Big Sam will still be in a strop from not getting the Engulund job. Mid table I think for Bolton this season. Talking about Liverpool, I think the same charge can be made about Prof Tracey as CC. Limited repertoire. Has anyone ever heard him play a Vierne Symphony or Dupre?

 

I was just reflecting how the topics on this discussion board wax and wane. Ally Pally and Worcester used to be hotly debated. No one mentions them anymore. JPM never contributes either which is a shame.

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Talking about Liverpool, I think the same charge can be made about Prof Tracey as CC. Limited repertoire. Has anyone ever heard him play a Vierne Symphony or Dupre?

I think this may be connected to a point I previously made elsewhere on this forum about organists staying in one place for too long and getting set in their ways. Ian Tracey (and Ian Wells for that matter) has been at Liverpool for more than 20 years now. Who knows, maybe a move to another post and another instrument would inspire him to explore other by-ways of the repertoire.

 

I was just reflecting how the topics on this discussion board wax and wane. Ally Pally and Worcester used to be hotly debated. No one mentions them anymore.

I think both of these have been done to death, which is why no one mentions them anyone, even the redoubtable Mr Lauwers, although I happen to know he has set up his own forum "The Romantic Organ" which has its own section on the Worcester organ and where Pierre really gives a full background on this instrument from beginnings right up to the present day.

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Might as well have a rant…

 

Being one of the board's organ scholars(!) and having read the thread, it is nonsense that the 'organ scholars of the modern age' need a registrant. Having just returned from a singing tour at Ripon Cathedral and played their beautiful Harrison & Harrison for 5 services, I can certainetly vouch that a registrant is NOT necessarily! At Ripon the visiting organist is allocated only 1 channel for generals and divisionals, and seeing as though in each evensong there are psalms, canticles and an anthem to accompany as well as a voluntary this was nigh impossible and very irritating actually!

 

Clearly every organ is different, in Chester there are 14 generals on each of the 30-odd channels, 8 of which can be accessed via toe-pistons, whereas in Ripon there are only 8 generals which are only placed at the top of the manuals under the music desk. In Chester it wouldn’t be impossible to register an entire piece just using the toe-pistons, yet on organs like Ripon it was sometimes impossible to press generals without missing out notes!

 

My music copies are often covered in markings indicating what to press, such as ‘ch 3’ or ‘sw 7’, I try to always prepare the registrations before-hand; I hate playing and having not practiced my registrations!

 

Personally I am much more comfortable in the organ loft by myself, and any organist who plays for services day in and out will be used to playing without a page-turner and registrant. By leaving all the stop changes to muggings here (me) I know that I can half trust myself and therefore not have the worry have nodding or shouting when I want the button pressed! As for page turns, there are usually only one or two tricky page turns when accompanying, and this can be got around by the simple means of a photocopier! But then again, I have had to call for a page turner when playing pieces such as the Howells St. Paul’s and Purcell’s My Beloved Spake (very long and busy!), but the page turner didn’t go near my buttons! ;)

 

So back to the original topic, registrants! I think this ‘wunderkind son’ that was mentioned needs to adopt a new registering technique. Suggesting that he cannot manage a set of canticles without a registrant is ridiculous. If the music was Kelly in C on a tracker with no buttons then yes use an registrant, but otherwise surely not! How on earth would one manage when the time comes when no assistant is available on an unfamiliar organ. When one of our visiting recitalists pulled out of one of our Thursday afternoon series, Philip Rushforth stepped in at a morning’s notice and hand registered an entire programme of music on the spot with no preparation time whatsoever. This amazing skill comes with practice, and not by using the sequencer throughout or by using a registrant.

 

Phew, got all that off my chest. My point is that a ‘serious’ organist should not depend on a sequencer and YES it is a filthy habit! And anyway, how much more satisfying is it when you have total control over an instrument (something I am still working on!!) rather than having someone pressing general 4 a beat late! :lol:

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Might as well have a rant…

 

Being one of the board's organ scholars(!) and having read the thread, it is nonsense that the 'organ scholars of the modern age' need a registrant. Having just returned from a singing tour at Ripon Cathedral and played their beautiful Harrison & Harrison for 5 services, I can certainetly vouch that a registrant is NOT necessarily! At Ripon the visiting organist is allocated only 1 channel for generals and divisionals, and seeing as though in each evensong there are psalms, canticles and an anthem to accompany as well as a voluntary this was nigh impossible and very irritating actually!

 

 

Pah, channels. When I had my first experience of the organ at Ripon (1985?), as page turner, then going on to have organ lessons on it, the pistons were set by an array of toggle switches behind the player in a wall cabinet. No channels, no generals.

 

I don't think people need a registrant. However, I do think that a lot of players of the "modern age", myself included, struggle to make the most of an instrument's colour without a usable piston system, especially on larger instruments. I'm gradually being trained out of the habit though, by having a very unreliable piston system that was designed in 1935, and hasn't been changed since it was installed... There're only so many times the clergy will put up with you attempting a subtle post-communion improv only to find the great clarion hanging a few mm out where you were expecting a solo flute...

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This is an interesting point. I was giving a bad lunchtime recital at Lichfield Cathedral on Sunday and I felt that I was so much used to a ‘stepper’ system. This means that an organist can ‘step’ through the generals. The system they have at Lichfield was ok but I would imagine it’s what you are used to. At the Symphony Hall, Birmingham we they have a floppy disc system the (almost) works very well so that one does not need an assistant. The system they have at St. Chad’s Cathedral is ideal – it is a stepper system so that students have their own memory. I think it depends on what organ one is playing and the complexity of the piece. P.s. I have not read the whole of the thread because most of them end up talking about wind pressures – but that’s a personal thing!

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I don't think people need a registrant. However, I do think that a lot of players of the "modern age", myself included, struggle to make the most of an instrument's colour without a usable piston system, especially on larger instruments.

 

Us organists here in Chester are spoilt! As well as having 30-odd channels (I forget how many there are as I only(!!) use 20-25) we have 500 sequencer steps, 11 divisionals on EACH manual as well as an A, B and a C button on each manual. I'm eventually getting to your point about colourfull registrations...The ABC buttons are ace for word painting in the psalms! For example I have:

SW A - strings + octave,

SW B - 2' + octave

SW C - Contra Fagotto 16' with Oboe 8'

 

I know what its like when you said about your Clarion, our pedal Trombone stop went through a phase of not cancelling! The clergy probably thought we were blowing rasberries at them!! ;)

 

P.s. I have not read the whole of the thread because most of them end up talking about wind pressures – but that’s a personal thing!

 

Not really my cup of tea either, I just play the thing! :lol:

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I think that the best psalm players favour continuos accomp. Ths story of MA using the cymbelstern is amusing. A bit unsure whether the jingling bells are an asset or not. York seems to have one now tho its not listed in the NPOR spec. JSW uses it in the Jesus College service by Mathias.

 

Are you sure York has a Cymbelstern??!!

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