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The Virgil Fox Phenomenon

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MM - I am quite certain that the rest of the post to which this quote belongs makes many valid points. Personally I am in no doubt as to the technical and academic accomplishments of our transatlantic 'cousins'.

 

However, I do disagree strongly on one point.

 

I am concerned that we still, in this country, tend to ignore the good things which we do have - such as the great variety of superb home-built organs of all styles - not least in our cathedrals and greater churches. These range from Chichester to Westminster Abbey (or St. Paul's or Liverpool - depending on preference).

 

Unfortunately, quotes such as yours above can only serve to advance the view held in some quarters that British organs (at least those not built or rebuilt in the last twenty or so years) are not worthy of respect.

 

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

 

 

Well, we weren't chatting about British organs, so there was no need to mention them. I was merely putting the record straight.

 

If I dare mention this on the Mander Organs board, I recall Stephen Bicknell stating to American organ-builders, "...you guys really are the best in the world."

(Piporg-L)

 

It's no use quoting historic organs in this country by way of comparison with more modern American organs, and for that matter, it's no use comparing the superlative quality of E M Skinner at Yale, with organs built to-day, unless it happens to be valid.

 

Re: Riverside.....the organ was virtually renewed in the last re-build/renewal, with all new chorus work. I seem to recall that the "old" organ now forms part of the Crystal Cathedral behemoth; the other half being the organ which used to be in the Symphony Hall, Boston. The organ you can now hear at Roiverside has little connection with Virgil Fox.

 

It's just that people are so utterly blind to what has been going on in America, and some builders have really made a name for themselves in recent years.

 

I'm personally delighted that, in the face of so much homegrown competition, Mander Organs have also installed a number of highly respected instruments in America, but no one builder is big enough to supply the needs of what is still quite a substantial marketplace for new organs.

 

You know, one only has to marvel at the theoretical writings of someone like C B Fisk, or the late Lawrence Phelps, to appreciate just how seriously they take their organ-building "over there."

 

I am neither pro nor anti-American, but I do prefer it when people actually take the trouble to learn something about the subject, prior to making comment.

 

I've been there, I've played quite a few organs and I've spent hours seeking out solitary Dulcianas, so I do know a something about it.

 

MM

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Well, we weren't chatting about British organs, so there was no need to mention them.  I was merely putting the record straight.

 

I look forward to the day when "most" English built organs are in the same class as those being built in America at the present time, by the best builders.

 

If I dare mention this on the Mander Organs board, I recall Stephen Bicknell stating to American organ-builders, "...you guys really are the best in the world."

(Piporg-L)

 

Well, I mentioned them because you actually brought them into this discussion in the above quote.

 

I had not read Stephen Bicknell's post - but this is, of course, only one person's opinion.

 

It's no use quoting historic organs in this country by way of comparison with more modern American organs, and for that matter, it's no use comparing the superlative quality of E M Skinner  at Yale, with organs built to-day, unless it happens to be valid.

 

Which is why I mentioned Twyford. There are a number of other builders and instruments which I could cite. Take, for example, the work of Goetze and Gwynne or Kenneth Tickell . Both firms are producing consistently superlative instruments and, whilst none so far have been comparable to the size of many examples in the US, I still doubt that their work could be bettered. For that matter, one could also include Manders, Harrisons and probably a number of other organ builders who are currently producing high-quality work.

 

What I am objecting to, is not your statement that North American organ building is extremely healthy or that superb new instruments are being made; rather your inference that here, organ building is of inferior quality - I realise that you did not make this as a statement of fact - nevertheless there is a strong implication to this effect in your original comment.

 

 

Re: Riverside.....the organ was virtually renewed in the last re-build/renewal, with all new chorus work. I seem to recall that the "old" organ now forms part of the Crystal Cathedral behemoth; the other half being the organ which used to be in the Symphony Hall, Boston.  The organ you can now hear at Roiverside has little connection with Virgil Fox.

 

This may be the case, but the point I made was that the Riverside organ was rather too loud for the building - as opposed to who provided which ranks of pipes.

 

You know, one only has to marvel at the theoretical writings of someone like C B Fisk, or the late Lawrence Phelps, to appreciate just how seriously they take their organ-building "over there."

 

I have to confess that I have read little of the writings of Lawrence Phelps; however, I do recall that he provided us with a good example of how not to build a cathedral organ. For the record, Christ Church Cathedral (Oxford) were not only given the problem of having to find a new organ builder quite quickly but in addition, they had to pay for the work already carried-out by Phelps' firm, insofar as design, preliminary site work and the dismantling of the organ was concerned.

 

At Hexham Abbey, whilst I admit that I never had the opportunity of hearing or playing the old instrument, (which included at least six ranks by Avery and contained five clavier divisions, including an Echo Organ), on paper it looks to be a good instrument, with a far greater variety of accompanimental registers than the present instrument contains. In addition, yet another 32p stop was thrown out. Whilst this rank consisted of stopped pipes for the lowest twelve notes, nevertheless in a building the size of Hexham Abbey, it may well have made a fine contribution to both loud and quiet combinations. Since the organ had been rebuilt by Norman and Beard (in their heyday), I doubt that the workmanship of the pipes and chests was of poor quality. I wonder whether it was necessary to throw out what may have been a fine instrument in favour of something completely new.

 

 

I am neither pro nor anti-American, but I do prefer it when people actually take the trouble to learn something about the subject, prior to making comment.

 

I've been there, I've played quite a few organs and I've spent hours seeking out solitary Dulcianas,  so I do know a something about it.

 

MM

 

MM, I fully accept that you clearly know more about North Amareican instruments than I. Certainly, I have not had the opportunity to travel to the US in order to sample them for myself.

 

However, I am concerned by your somewhat dismissive comment above - not all of us have either the financial resources (or the time) to make transatlantic trips - or even trips to Holland at the drop of a hat!

 

I do all I can to keep myself informed of developments in not only the US, but continental Europe, Australasia and a few other places besides. One only has to read articles in Organists' Review or Choir & Organ to gain a reasonable impression of changes and progress. In addition, with the ready availability of good-quality recordings I am far from convinced that I am that ignorant of the subject.

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Well, we weren't chatting about British organs, so there was no need to mention them.  I was merely putting the record straight.

 

If I dare mention this on the Mander Organs board, I recall Stephen Bicknell stating to American organ-builders, "...you guys really are the best in the world."

(Piporg-L)

 

You know, one only has to marvel at the theoretical writings of someone like C B Fisk, or the late Lawrence Phelps, to appreciate just how seriously they take their organ-building "over there."

 

I am neither pro nor anti-American, but I do prefer it when people actually take the trouble to learn something about the subject, prior to making comment.

 

I've been there, I've played quite a few organs and I've spent hours seeking out solitary Dulcianas,  so I do know a something about it.

 

MM

 

Harsh!!!

 

I don't know enough about the USA to make any comment (though I do love the phrase "if it clicks and sticks, it's a Wicks", in homage to one of their organ builders), but I often wonder what would have happened to people like Fisk and Phelps (or V. Fox) if they were born & lived over here.

 

We in the UK seem to specialise in (often extremely gifted) amateurs who bumble along contentedly in their garden sheds seeking no reward other than personal satisfaction. I keep reading that this ethic is pretty much unique to the UK and wonder if that isn't somewhere at the heart of this debate.

 

I would still love to know why so few American organ builders' products have made it over here - Hexham, and nearly Christchurch, Oxford, and that's it. After all, there's hardly any aspect of our lives that hasn't gotten influenced big time by the USA.

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I would still love to know why so few American organ builders' products have made it over here - Hexham, and nearly Christchurch, Oxford, and that's it.

Interesting observation. Could it be because there is hardly any American organ music in the mainstream repertoire over here and therefore no need for the right type of instrument to play it on?

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Interesting observation. Could it be because there is hardly any American organ music in the mainstream repertoire over here and therefore no need for the right type of instrument to play it on?

 

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Huh? :o

 

Do you mean like Bach, and Vierne, and Rheinberger and....etc etc?

 

Newer organs in America can be literally anything you want, from the severe recreation of Schnitger, to American Classic (based on T C Lewis via G.Donald-Harrison), to high romantic (E M Skinner), through to modern-day "French" organs built by Schudi.

 

The styles are numerous, and I suspect that the only reason they don't make it over here is simply the cost of actually getting them here and working down to our labour-costs and price etc. The other possible reason is that organ-builders in America have always enjoyed a strong home-market for their products.

 

Of course, there were lots of excellent Wurlitzer Organs imported to the UK, though they did have a factory in England eventually.

 

There were also a fair number of Aeolian Organs imported to this country.

 

MM

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

 

Huh?    :o

 

Do you mean like Bach, and Vierne, and Rheinberger and....etc etc?

 

MM

 

I doubt it - he wrote 'American organ music'. As far as I am aware, none of the composers you mention were American - unless you know something we do not....?

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I think MM meant that the Americans are quite capable of building organs in these styles. I daresay they are; I've played a couple of Baroque-type jobs over there and very good they were too. I don't know that they were better than any European builder could produce though. In any case, I'm not sure why one would want to go to America for European-style organs. What I actually had in mind was what might be called the traditional American organ - the ones rooted in the E. M. Skinner tradition. (At least, that's where I imagine they are rooted. Anyway, I hope you know what I mean)

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I think MM meant that the Americans are quite capable of building organs in these styles. I daresay they are; I've played a couple of Baroque-type jobs over there and very good they were too. I don't know that they were better than any European builder could produce though. In any case, I'm not sure why one would want to go to America for European-style organs. What I actually had in mind was what might be called the traditional American organ - the ones rooted in the E. M. Skinner tradition. (At least, that's where I imagine they are rooted. Anyway, I hope you know what I mean)

 

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Well, I know exactly what you mean. However, Ernest Skinner produced one fine romantic style (with superb build-quality), but his name was incorporated in the revived Aeolian-Skinner company, in which the influences of T C Lewis and Willis tend to dominate, simply because G.Donald-Harrison was an Englishman.

 

It was further elaborated by the work of Phelps, and having played the huge A-S organ at the "Mother Church" (Crhistian Scientist) Boston, I can vouch for the startling difference between this and a traditional E M Skinner organ.

 

If America had one advantage over English organ-builders, it was the fact that the main influence was German Romantic, in the form of the Methuen Organ by Walcker. Thus was eventually born the "American Classic".....an especially effective instrument, on which can be performed most of the organ repertoire.

 

I would just say, that when playing a very large American organ, you don't just pull out fist-fulls of stops. It pays to be highly selective!

 

Of course, there is one thing the Americans HAVE done, and that is to build an organ which actually works in a modern concert hall. The Disney Hall organ actually has registers which compensate for the "hole in the middle" phenomenon I talked about at some length, maybe 18 months ago.

 

MM

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If America had one advantage over English organ-builders, it was the fact that the main influence was German Romantic, in the form of the Methuen Organ by Walcker. Thus was eventually born the "American Classic".....an especially effective instrument, on which can be performed most of the organ repertoire.

 

Although today it is difficult to assess the importance and effect of this instrument, due to the extensive work carried out in 1947, when a comprehensive tonal reconstruction was undertaken, the work being supervised by G. Donald Harrison. In 1970 further work took place, including the re-instatement of a GO reed chorus at 16p, 8p and 4p. These new reeds were of German construction and are of 'great power and brilliance'. The original GO reeds were said to be 'thick-toned', hence their removal in 1947. How 'original' this instrument sounds today as a result of these and the many other tonal revisions*, is therefore open to serious question.

 

In any case, there are surely many instruments in Britain on which most of the repertoire can be performed effectively and without artistic compromise.

 

 

I would just say, that when playing a very large American organ, you don't just pull out fist-fulls of stops. It pays to be highly selective!

 

MM

 

Whilst I am sure that this applies to many players, I get the distinct impression (from reading Ted Alan Worth's book) that pulling out fists-full of stops is exactly what Virgil Fox did a lot of the time.

 

 

 

* For example, the old (unenclosed) Choir Organ was re-designed as a 'dazzling' Positive section with several mutations and two sharp mixtures. The fourth clavier (formerly Solo) was re-cast as a Choir Organ and was given a chorus of Baroque reeds. The Swell was also given a new chorus of French Trompette-style reeds. In addition, the composition of the mixtures was 'radically changed'. The Pedal Organ was modified and augmented, in order to bring it into line with the clavier tonal alterations. An adjustable combination system was also added in 1947, together with a radiating and concave pedal board.

 

When the Methuen organ, in its present incarnation, is compared with the British-built grand old instrument of Sydney Town Hall (considerably closer to its original state apart from one or two minor tonal alterations, full enclosure of the Choir Organ, electric blowing and a restoration or two), I remain un-convinced that the US has a monopoly on good organ design.

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

 

Of course, there is one thing the Americans HAVE done, and that is to build an organ which actually works in a modern concert hall. The Disney Hall organ actually has registers which compensate for the "hole in the middle" phenomenon I talked about at some length, maybe 18 months ago.

 

MM

 

I do not doubt that the organ of the Disney Hall is an exciting and vital instrument. However, we are not entirely deviod of good concert hall instruments here, manufactured by British firms.

 

The Harrison organ of the Colston Hall, Bristol is a superb instrument and is able to cope with virtually any demands which may be made of it.

 

There is also the organ of St. George's Hall, Liverpool, which is gradually being restored to full playing order. It may not have thirty-six ranks of mixtures - or even a department apparently named after a large furry animal now chiefly found in Peru - or any number of other unusual features, but it handles the mainstream repertoire superbly.

 

For that matter, the Harrison organ in Newcastle City Hall (currently playable, as far as I know) is also an excellent instrument.

 

Notwithstanding the (formerly) appalling acoustics of the RFH, this instrument also seemed to work well to my ears - although it did depend on who was playing it. Registered with care and thought it could sound superb; however, if registerd in a haphazard or slavishly theoretical fashion it could sound worse than most.

 

Then there is the great RAH organ, restored by Mander Organs - which is a comprehensive and stunningly exciting organ.

 

Of course, there is also the Hill/Willis/Mander organ of Birmingham Town Hall, shortly to be restored and re-commissioned, so I hear.

 

All of these instruments are superb musical instruments in their own right - and have the (arguable) advantage that they do not resemble an exploding pencil-case in appearance.

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Of course, there is one thing the Americans HAVE done, and that is to build an organ which actually works in a modern concert hall. The Disney Hall organ actually has registers which compensate for the "hole in the middle" phenomenon I talked about at some length, maybe 18 months ago.

But how American exactly is the Disney Hall organ? As I understand it the voicing was done by Manuel Rosales, but the pipes were made by Glatter-Götz.

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But how American exactly is the Disney Hall organ? As I understand it the voicing was done by Manuel Rosales, but the pipes were made by Glatter-Götz.

 

Indeed Vox - I had omitted to mention this salient fact.

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Guest Lee Blick
Personally, I hope that British organs never reach the over-inflated proportions of these mighty beasts

 

I do agree. I do find it rather perplexing to see rather modest American churches having monster organs in them. A case of vanity over taste, I guess.

 

One of the amazing things about British organs and church music over the decades is the quality of the instruments and music-making despite scant resources. Much of it achieved through passion, devotion and community dogedness rather than throwing money at it. An example of true Christian witness? But I think we have got to the point where the resources, financially and in personnel have become so scant it is destroying the very foundations at local level.

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I do not doubt that the organ of the Disney Hall is an exciting and vital instrument. However, we are not entirely deviod of good concert hall instruments here, manufactured by British firms.

 

 

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

 

We're going over old ground, but what I find remarkable about the Disney Hall organ is the fact that they:-

 

a) Recognised an acoustic problem with modern concert halls and the materials from which they are made (We discussed the materials some while ago)

 

:o Researched it thoroughly, using acoustic modelling

 

c) Came up with a solution

 

d) Carried it out very effectively

 

Unfortunately, other comparisons in "pcnd's" post are not really valid, even if the RFH comes close to being "modern."

 

I would suggest that almost ALL the problems associated with the very fine Harrison at the RFH, do actually stem from the building and not the organ. It was something which could never have been anticipated when the organ was designed and executed, because the hall was still being constructed, and not even to specification.

 

I quite agree about "pcnd's" assessment of Methuen in another post. It was certainly Americanised to a large extent by G.Donald-Harrison, just as the Mother Church, Boston, organ (Skinner) was totally "American Classicalised" by Phelps

 

However, the Methuen was around in original condition, so that G.Donald-Harrison at least heard it as it was originally. That is the important point, I suspect, which gave rise to the wonderful Mormon Tabernacle instrument.

 

Of course, we're talking about and comparing the best of the best on both sides of the pond, by and large, and in America, you find a lot of "war horses" from less distinguished builders, where extention is used to the full. Thus, the "average" American organ is much less sophisticated, and tends to be duplexed to the point of absurdity. Hence the Americans always refer to V/54 or IV/48; referring to number of manuals and number of ranks.

 

When one sits at a huge Austin or Moller console, with maybe 200 plus stops, you soon discover that they are not quite so substantial as the stop-list might appear, (though substantial enough!)

 

In fact, for anyone who wants to compare quality against quality, then it is necessary to compare an organ like St.John the Divine, NY, with an organ like Liverpool or Winchester; the outcome being a musical draw, because they are all so very good.

 

Sadly, I have never played the Newberry Organ at Yale, with an immense specification, but I am told that it really is something else. A BIG organ with solid chorus-work, it is the enormous wealth of orchestral voices which most stand out, and they really are in a class of their own.

 

Anyway, apart from the Virgil Fox connection, it is difficult to understand how we got to this point. As we seem to have done, I wonder how many people, without cheating, could name a dozen American organ-builders who's name doesn't include the words Moller, Austin, Wicks or Skinner?

 

MM

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... Unfortunately, other comparisons in "pcnd's" post are not really valid, even if the RFH comes close to being "modern."

 

I confess that I cannot see why this should be the case, "MM" - if a particular instrument preforms well in the function for which it was designed, surely the date of its conception and completion are irrelevant.

 

I would suggest that almost ALL the problems associated with the very fine Harrison at the RFH, do actually stem from the building and not the organ. It was something which could never have been anticipated when the organ was designed and executed, because the hall was still being constructed, and not even to specification.

 

MM

 

I would agree with you, "MM"; although I would add that it was largely due to the fact that Hope Bagenall (the acoustics 'expert') used incorrect calculations and theoretical 'models' when planning the acoustic environment of the RFH auditorium.

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I confess that I cannot see why this should be the case, "MM" - if a particular instrument preforms well in the function for which it was designed, surely the date of its conception and completion are irrelevant.

I would agree with you, "MM"; although I would add that it was largely due to the fact that Hope Bagenall (the acoustics 'expert') used incorrect calculations and theoretical 'models' when planning the acoustic environment of the RFH auditorium.

 

 

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Oh dear! Tut Tut!

 

"Pcnd" would never make a lawyer.

 

I said "the RFH," which refererred to the hall itself; not the organ.

 

In all fairness to acoustic "experts," it has always been something of a black-art, but around 1955, there were certain theories flying around and acoustic-modelling was in its infancy. I can't recall all the details, but when we were talking about "modern concert halls" (18 months ago?), I did quite a bit of digging around for information, and even though memory may play tricks, I'm fairly certain that light was shed on those early years via the "Arup & Associates" web-site.

 

What I also discovered, was the fact that even the acoustic-model was to be rendered fairly irrelevant, because some (if not all) of the acoustic-boarding and design deatures were not followed; resulting in a radically different performance even to that originally intended.

 

In fact, I've always admired the RFH organ enormously, but that is not to suggest that I am not aware of the acoustic problems and the effect it has upon the dispersion and tonal balance of the instrument.

 

In fairness to myself and those who entered into discussion on the subject of acoustics, we covered quite a lot of ground, and whilst I don't have all the data ready to hand, (ie: I haven't a clue where I put the disc!), what emerged from that thread was the nature of many modern materials used in construction work.

 

We all tend to think of "absorbency coefficients" as being linear; using the simple argument "bricks is good and cotton-wool is bad."

 

At risk of repeating myself 'ad nauseum,' what I discovered was the very specific acoustic performance of contemporary building materials, which do not act in an acoustically linear way (ie: equal absorption of sound at all frequencies). When traditional wood, stone, brick, tile or plyboard are used in a building, the outcome is usually favourable, irrespective of the amount of actual resonance, because such materials act in a largely linear fashion.

 

Due to various pieces of legislation, as well as specific acoustic-engineering designs geared towards clarity of speech, contemporary materials have to do several things. They have to be either flame-proof or flame-retardent to an extrordinary degree, they have to perform as heat insulators and they can either be structural or non-structural. This means that nowadays, many internal walls and cavity spaces, are made from specialised laminates, which can then be engineered acoustically.

 

It's when you look at the acoustic characteristics of these materials, that something quite alarming comes to light. Because many halls feature not only music, but amplified synthetic sound as well as oratory, the acoustic-engineers set about developing materials which absorb specific frequencies more rapidly than others. Speech clarity seems to be best served when bass is killed rapidly, and higher-pitched sounds are reflected or directed towards the audience. Furthermore, to virtually eliminate the mid-range boom which leads to mid-range sound distorton in speech and electronic-music, there are materials which do this very precisely.

 

Now an acoustic-instrument such as an organ, which does not have its' own resonance-chamber, relies heavily upon the acoustic inter-action of the building in which it stands; the secret of all truly great sounding organs. If the materials are fibre honeycombs designed to aid speech-clarity, where bass is rapidly absorbed and higher pitched sounds reflected and directed, the acoustic is completely at odds with what an acoustic instrument requires.

 

It's a long time since I went into the RFH, but I recall that if one closed one's eyes, it sounded like there were two organs. There was the direct sound from the organ chambers, and then secondary reflections from the side-walls and ceiling; each separated by a tiny fraction in time. It is unsettling, to say the least. Furthermore, because the sound is modified by the building materials, what you tend to hear is upper-partials and low fundamentals, and a rather subdued "middle" frequency sound, which is where "musical bloom" usually occurs.

 

In fact, using a graphic equaliser, one can turn an Arthur Harrison organ into something similar to the RFH instrument, simply by shutting down the middle frequency slider controls.

 

That tells us something about the nature of the problem to hand.

 

I'm sorry this is taking so long, but we finally arrive at the "Disney Hall," where the American organ-builders and consultants recognised the nature of the problem.

By using quite heavy-pressure re-inforcing registers at the middle frequencies around 8ft tone, they have been able to compensate for the style of acoustic found in many a concert-hall built to-day, and I am impressed by this, because I thought I was possibly the only person in the world who seemed to have any understanding of it at one time. I'm delighted that other now recognise the problem.

 

People criticise the splendid Marcussen at Manchester, in the Bridgewater Hall. It sounds a bit thin and distant, yet Marcussen, working in a normal church environment, are capable of building magnificent-sounding instruments.

 

Now this leads us on to an instrument like the Colston Hall, which sits mid-way between the brightness of the RFH instrument, and the heavier tones of Arthur Harrison. No wonder it works!

 

This is EXACTLY what a modern concert-hall requires....plenty of middle, sufficient brightness and a strong bass.....precisely what Wurlitzer were doing in cinema buildings back in the 1930's. (It's interesting to compare a graphic-display of a Wurlitzer organ and a normal cathedral organ.....the balance in the spectra are very similar, even though they sound very different).

 

So you see, behind a few very simple statements was a history of rather involved discussions, which we juggled with previously.

 

What the hell this has got to do with Virgil Fox I'm not quite sure, except to say that played at Riverside, where the acoustic was virtually nil, and where Virgil Fox developed a rather interesting technique for sounding off final chords on the organ. He actually rolled his hands off the keyboards from right to left; leaving the pedal-note until last, which gives a similar effect to a resonant acoustic, where none actually existed! It can be heard on a number of the Riverside recordings, and Carlo Curley uses the same technique from time to time.

 

It was actually very clever, but of course, Virgil Fox was altering the note values as usual!!!!!!

 

MM

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

 

Oh dear! Tut Tut!

 

"Pcnd" would never make a lawyer.

 

I said "the RFH," which refererred to the hall itself; not the organ.

 

 

Since we were discussing concert hall organs, I am at a loss to understand how I was supposed to deduce that from your above-quoted comment.

 

In my limited experience, lawyers tend to phrase both their written and verbal arguments with rather more care - and certainly less ambiguity.

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In my limited experience, lawyers tend to phrase both their written and verbal arguments with rather more care - and certainly less ambiguity.

 

Depends which side they're on.

 

As for VF I have been busy reading the "Dish" book and don't really see where we're trying to get to with a debate. There's just no reaching agreement on such a wildly extreme character. Success ultimately was built on the character first and the musician second, and I personally find the musician aspect generally unattractive because it feeds on so many of the character traits. If you take away the Fox "charisma" the rest doesn't seem to be able to stand up on its own, a little like Hancock's Half Hour after the removal of Sid James and the others, or The Beach Boys after Brian Wilson stopped taking an active role. I suppose if the purpose of the thread was to get people to look, listen, read and form their own opinion rather than going with received wisdom, it's been a great success.

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Guest Lee Blick

I just thought of an idea for the next generation of 'entertainer organist':

 

Elvis organist impersonater

 

Chas & Dave English organist duettists

 

'Nadia' from Big Brother organist chick

 

 

Any takers?.... <_<

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Depends which side they're on.

 

 

This may be true. However, it has also been my experience that lawyers who fail to phrase a question or to make a statement which lacks clarity are themselves taken to task - not those who have mis-understood the point.

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This may be true. However, it has also been my experience that lawyers who fail to phrase a question or to make a statement which lacks clarity are themselves taken to task - not those who have mis-understood the point.

 

Sustained.

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Depends which side they're on.

 

As for VF I have been busy reading the "Dish" book and don't really see where we're trying to get to with a debate.  There's just no reaching agreement on such a wildly extreme character.  Success ultimately was built on the character first and the musician second, and I personally find the musician aspect generally unattractive because it feeds on so many of the character traits.  If you take away the Fox "charisma" the rest doesn't seem to be able to stand up on its own, a little like Hancock's Half Hour after the removal of Sid James and the others, or The Beach Boys after Brian Wilson stopped taking an active role.  I suppose if the purpose of the thread was to get people to look, listen, read and form their own opinion rather than going with received wisdom, it's been a great success.

 

 

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Virgil Fox was no more extreme than others in the musical field, but he just happened to be an organist.

 

The point, if there are any, is that Fox was Fox, like Frank Sinatra, who "did it his way."

 

It was cult showmanship, but with a very serious side when he wasn't playing to the gallery.

 

The discussion could only ever prove one thing, that entertainers NEED an audience, and less charismatic people often need a spiritual experience from the music.

 

Indeed, it WAS about personality traits, human weaknesses and a certain "devil take the hindmost" attitude to organ-playing, but my God, Virgil Fox remains a unique phenomenon, who has influenced possibly more organists than almost anyone else in America.

 

He may have had his critics, and he may been a larger than life gay icon, but his style could only ever survive in a society which placed showmanship and panache above all else. He certainly had that!

 

MM

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In my limited experience, lawyers tend to phrase both their written and verbal arguments with rather more care - and certainly less ambiguity.

 

 

 

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

 

 

At the tender age of 17, I stood up in court unrepresented and blew a case out of the water.

 

"Your vehicle has failed the MOT test of roadworthiness. If you intend to use the vehicle on the public roads the necessary work must be carried out without delay and the vehicle taken to an authorised examiner within 7 days from the date of this notification whereupon a reduced fee will be payable"

 

It didn't make sense and it was misleading!

 

<_<

 

MM

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

At the tender age of 17, I stood up in court unrepresented and blew a case out of the water.

 

"Your vehicle has failed the MOT test of roadworthiness. If you intend to use the vehicle on the public roads the necessary work must be carried out without delay and the vehicle taken to an authorised examiner within 7 days from the date of this notification whereupon a reduced fee will be payable"

 

It didn't make sense and it was misleading!

 

<_<

 

MM

 

 

It seems perfectly clear to me.

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