Author Topic: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs  (Read 38208 times)

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pcnd5584

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2011, 09:39:40 AM »
I haven't heard St Alban's Holborn (except on a CD, with Vaughan Williams' Vision of Aeroplanes, among others) but is it really London's loudest organ? St Paul's is very loud (and this instrument is very much worth recording). The Lewis-Willis III at Westminster Cathedral also blows your head off - an instrument of simply awesome power. Again, very much worth recording.

Relative to the size of the building - Saint Paul's is vast. Saint Alban's, Holborn is not. In the building, this organ is truly unpleasant when driven hard.

Westminster Cathedral - yes, but my list was supplied for someone who wished to make a recording, but was un-connected with an established recording company. Therefore, I deliberately avoided the cathedrals and other buildings likely to be very busy, or where permission to record might be difficult to acquire.


Croydon PC is good (I know it well from Croydon Festival organ classes) but the late-60s Harrison rebuild really mucked up the tonal scheme - it's a classic neoclassicisation, albeit done to higher standards than some. Geoffrey Shaw, who runs the organ class, opines that St Michael and All Angels, West Croydon (another Pearson pile) is better (big 3m Father Willis made even bigger by Mander in the 1960s IIRC - though not all the additions work brilliantly). What of Pearson's other London churches? Tiny but incredibly powerful 2m Lewis at St Peter's Vauxhall and a big 3m Brindley & Foster in the cavernous Catholic Apostolic church in Maida Vale...

I have played the Willis/Mander organ ar Saint Michael and all Angels, Croydon, a few months ago. True, it is a good instrument - aside from the (experimental) 32ft. reed, which mostly does not work. Notes which do, sound distinctly odd. However, the rest of the instrument is in fairly good form. One of my colleagues is currently assisting in the running of the music, here.


All Hallows Gospel Oak would be very much worthy (4-manual Hill instrument of 1915), but it's had no major restoration since installation and, while it still makes an heroic noise, it's very leaky now. Then there's the famous Father Willis nearby at St Dominic's Haverstock Hill...

I did not include the fine Hill organ at All Hallows, Gospel Oak, purely for this reason. It would be unreliable for a recording. Neither was I sure, at the time of writing, of the state of the FHW at Saint Dominic's Priory.

The Harris/Hill/Rushworth & Dreaper at St Michael's Cornhill was in fine shape when I heard it earlier today in the highly capable hands of David Liddle - there's virtually nothing this magnificent organ can't do, and it's in a lovely acoustic.

The list was made up of instruments with which I am personally acquainted. I simply have not yet heard or played this instrument. Therefore, I was not prepared to recommend it on second-hand knowledge.

Out of interest, do you (or any other board member) have a current stop-list for this instrument, please? The most recent NPOR survey simply states that the organ has been returned to its 1926 incarnation. I assume that this would not include the action and combination system. It would be helpful to know exactly what has been done.

However, whilst not wishing to comment in detail before hearing it live, a perusal of the 1926 R&D scheme (and some knowledge of their 'house style' at this point) http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N17709, leads me to wonder if this organ may not be quite as versatile as you have suggested. Certainly, from the paper stop-list, whilst it looks to be well-equipped to give a good account of Romantic and symphonic music, I perceive that it appears somewhat less suitable to cope convincingly* with the music of JS Bach and his contemporaries.

Perhaps I shall be able to hear it this summer.

* For my ears.


The 1912 J. W. Walker at the Sacred Heart, Edge Hill, Wimbledon, has just been used for the first time since its complete restoration by Mander - it has a very complete 3m 50-stop specification including three 32fts (Double Open Wood, Acoustic Bass and Contra Trombone) and stands on the West end gallery of a large church with a fine acoustic. I haven't heard it since its restoration but it certainly was a very fine instrument indeed - arguably one of the best of its size anywhere in the country.

At the original time of writing, this organ was very much in the middle of the restoration work and, apart from not being available, I was unsure how it would sound (and play) after it was completed.


Anyone here know the Anneessens/Willis III at the Immaculate Conception in Farm Street? Or the Harrison at H.A. and Jennifer Bate's church, St James's, Muswell Hill?

Farm Street: personally, I think that Nicholas Danby had Bishops spoil the tonal scheme in a number of details. Therefore, I did not wish to include this in my list.

Muswell Hill. Again, I have not heard or played this organ, but on paper, it looks to be a little too much like a standard H&H instrument (albeit with a few modifications, such as Choir mutations). Whilst I am fairly well-acquainted with Harrisons' voicing qualities on their modern style post-war instruments, this looked too traditional for me.


Also, Langham Place has a very large amount of pipework by Hunter - it's not just a Willis/H&H job. The acoustic is very dry, though.

Yes - this was is on my list - as was a comment regarding the acoustic properties of this Nash church.



St Barnabas, Ealing, a colossal church (see http://www.barnabites.org/), has recently replaced an small 2m with this: http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N01946. Haven't heard it yet but it should sound spectacular in that building - it already had a fine reputation in a confined chamber in a much smaller building with a dry acoustic.

St Joseph, Highgate, has a highly-reputed 4m Hill (http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=D03544), as does St Peter, Streatham (http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N17302).

Again, I simply had no first-hand knowledge of these instruments, fine though they appear on paper.

I have played on many instruments - but not everywhere.


Another obvious one is the H&H in the Temple Church (though it's just being dismantled for restoration). The Lewis/Willis III at St Mary's Bourne Street is said to be very fine as well, and it's recently been restored. Another Willis III - this time with Gern origins - is that at St John's Holland Road, Kensington, a fine 4m organ in a resonant acoustic - but what state is it in these days?

The Temple Church - again, this was on my list. Saint Mary's, Bourne Street; this is not one of my preferred instiruments. The G.O. is rather small, for example, when compared to the rest of the organ.

Two churches in close proximity, in the Earl's Court area, are St Luke's Redcliffe Gardens, with a magnificent Norman & Beard of 44 stops in a good acoustic (and, I am told, recently overhauled), and St Cuthbert's, Philbeach Gardens, which has a 4m Hunter of some renown, restored two years ago by the Shepherd brothers - there are a few stops prepared for only (according to NPOR) but there are still 48 there.

Again, I have no first-hand knowledge of these instruments.

Southwark Cathedral seems to be rather under-recorded, but then the noise of the trains could make it problematic...

Anyone know the Kenneth Jones 4m at St Peter's Eaton Square? I've spent many hours with it, but I was only about 3 years old then so I can't remember anything of it! Very resonant building, though - went to a piano recital there a couple of years ago where I was deafened by an over-enthusiastic pianist and a big Fazioli...

Southwark Cathedral - for the reason which you mentioned (and the fact that I considered that permission to record would be difficult to obtain), I did not include this superb instrument.

Saint Peter's, Eaton Square - my probelm here was personal. I must confess that I did allow it to influence my decision not to include this organ. As a student, I practised regularly on the old Lewis/Walker instrument (and, in fact, took two of my diploma examinations on it). I was extremely fond of it, and rather devastated when the church was set alight and reduced to little more than the outside walls. Consequently, I simply do not wish even to enter the new building - therefore, I have no idea what this instrument sounds like.


St Cyprian, Clarence Gate, also has a rather fine 3m Spurden Rutt. Fantastic Comper church with fabulous furnishings, all hard, so the acoustic is good...

Again, I do not know this instrument.

Westminster Central Hall is in the closing stages of its rebuild, will be finished in mere weeks - what it will sound like I cannot say. I have to admit that some of the recent works of H&H (who're doing the rebuild) have struck me as highly competent but a bit soulless - but some have been very impressive. I won't judge it until I've heard it. The Walker at St Margaret's, just across the road, is also rather good (though it's been a few years since I've heard it).

Like that at the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, this organ was in the process of being rebuilt, so would have been unavailable. As before, I would need to see how it turned out, prior to making any recommendation.


http://www.stjamespaddington.org.uk/gallery/the-organ.html is, I am told by a source I trust, quite magnificent, and I'm prepared to believe it. Hope to go up there some time soon to hear it for myself. Anyone know what state the big Compton at St Mary Magdalene is in? Last I saw and heard, the place was rather derelict... the church website suggests things are improving, but that the organ can be troublesome. Also, what of the current Compton instrument in Southwark RC Cathedral? Any good? I know that there's a campaign to replace it, but Comptons just are unfashionable at the moment...

Some food for thought, anyway.

Saint James, Sussex Gardens, Paddington. Yes - I do know this instrument; I had simply forgotten to include it on my list.

The large Compton at Saint Mary Magdalene is, I believe, in a less than good state. Therefore I omitted it, on grounds of unreliability.

Of the Compton at the Roman Catholic Cathedral, I do not know. I heard it once, and thought that it sounded a little undistinguished. It is, as you suggest, under review. For this reason, I suspected that it might not be in the best of health (otherwise, it would be difficult for the incumbent organists to persuade the authorities that a new instrument was necessary).
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 10:29:42 AM by pcnd5584 »
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revtonynewnham

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #41 on: July 19, 2011, 11:13:00 AM »

Out of interest, do you (or any other board member) have a current stop-list for this instrument, please? The most recent NPOR survey simply states that the organ has been returned to its 1926 incarnation. I assume that this would not include the action and combination system. It would be helpful to know exactly what has been done.



Hi

(St Michael, Cornhill)  I dealt with this NPOR update - and there doesn't seem to be a current (or even a propsed) stop list anywhere on the net, so if anyone does have the relevant info, please send a copy to NPOR!!! 

Every Blessing

Tony

Barry Williams

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #42 on: July 19, 2011, 01:23:53 PM »
Material sent to NPOR seems not to get posted these days.  The huge delay does not encourage folk to submit items.

Barry Williams

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #43 on: July 19, 2011, 05:11:26 PM »
Hi Barry

Yes - if we only had more money - and about 48 hours a day and 10 days a week!  We are concentrating on trying to reduce the backlog - but given the never-ending nature of the project, and the fact that all the updates are currently dealt with by volunteers, I don't think we do too badly.  The activity stats for the current year (see http://www.npor.org.uk/xnpor_stats.shtml) show around 180 survey edits plus a rough average of 30 new surveys a month.  Certain projects (for example, I'd like to blitz the cinema organ surveys - they are far from comprehensive) are on hold so that we can concentrate on reducing the backlog.

Please don't stop sending updates - that just means that ultimately we get further behind when the "gaps" in info eventually catch up.

Every Blessing

Tony

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #44 on: July 19, 2011, 07:13:33 PM »
Hi

Contact the NPOR office and see what the current position is.  I would emphasise that NPOR work needs a great deal of care and careful work to try and eliminate errors - and to conform to the "house style".  It takes some time - and a lot of guidance - to get used to the software.

Mention that the contact is via me if you do make contact.

Every Blessing

Tony

Jonathan Lane

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #45 on: July 19, 2011, 08:33:58 PM »
Slightly off topic here, @ David Pinnegar-  you keep refering to "entertainment organs", surely ANY organ can be an entertainment organ? If you hold a concert on it, that is a form of entertainment.
Depends who is playing and what is being played!

Jonathan
But a concert/recital is a form of entertainment, no matter what and who is playing.

It was slightly tongue-in-cheek!  However, some recitals I have been to have been so academic they have ceased to be entertainment for all present!

Jonathan

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #46 on: July 21, 2011, 01:18:03 AM »
I still dont see any part of this that is going to come across as "fun" in the eyes of the public.......

Jonathan Lane

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #47 on: July 21, 2011, 08:56:18 AM »
I still dont see any part of this that is going to come across as "fun" in the eyes of the public.......
Well, I do agree with this sentiment.  If we are not careful, we will get sidetracked into organ anorakcy!  I repeat an earlier suggestion, Keith Hearnshaw, superb player, very engaging, enthusiastic, the epitome of fun in the organ world!

Jonathan

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #48 on: July 21, 2011, 04:48:52 PM »
I think it will be, have you heard him play?

Jonathan

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #49 on: July 21, 2011, 05:10:36 PM »
The question has to be asked, are we attempting to get them to see the organ and organists or something completely different.  If it is different, so be it, but my work has always been to promote the pipe organ and organists, and in doing so, ensuring more people actually hear how fun, even the conventional, organ is!

Jonathan

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #50 on: July 21, 2011, 05:12:35 PM »

I think from what Ive seen here, most people in the group are abit out of touch with the general public.

But, as my last post said, what is the point of an organ forum but to promote the organ.  Would you expect the RSC to do Eastenders?

Jonathan

David Pinnegar

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #51 on: July 21, 2011, 05:14:57 PM »
I repeat an earlier suggestion, Keith Hearnshaw, superb player, very engaging, enthusiastic, the epitome of fun in the organ world!

Hi!

Yes - I hope that James and Keith are in touch with each other now on Facebook.

We have a dilemma in many ways - on the one hand one can dumb down and appeal to popular culture and the discussion in Atheists' Corner on Organ is God demonstrated the way in which drums and guitars can be a way for people to be led in - or one can be so over-the-top in magnificence that none can be other than overawed. For over 1000 people to have performed the Havergal Brian Gotheick Symphony in the Albert Hall at the weekend was an event so spectacular that even the follow-the-herd man-in-the-street may turn his or her head to ask what the fuss is going on and see that there's something there that's worth paying attention to. It's the critical mass that one has to achieve.

Hugh Potton playing Reubke is capable of having touched the soul as is demonstrated by the comment on YouTube of the video of him having done so, and it is in the organ to touch the soul that makes the instrument of even greater value.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

Jonathan Lane

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #52 on: July 21, 2011, 05:16:29 PM »
I think it will be, have you heard him play?

Jonathan
Just watched some on youtube. Good n all that, but....its still the same. They will turn off. It IS too high brow.
I think from what Ive seen here, most people in the group are abit out of touch with the general public.

My question stands, and is even more strongly put when you look at Keith's discography: http://www.keithhearnshaw.co.uk/discography.htm

Jonathan

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #53 on: July 21, 2011, 05:23:00 PM »

Hugh Potton playing Reubke is capable of having touched the soul as is demonstrated by the comment on YouTube of the video of him having done so, and it is in the organ to touch the soul that makes the instrument of even greater value.

Best wishes

David P

If you can make 50-1000 or more people clap along, sing along, enjoy the music and walk out at the end of the concert/dance/show  happy, then you have touched peoples souls. There is one member on this site who does this on a DAILY basis.
[/quote]
I think we are going to have to agree to disagree, because that, in my opinion, is not touching the soul.  I would rather touch the soul of one person, which happened recently when I played Jongen 'Chant de Mai' during communion, than entertain a thousand.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

David Pinnegar

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #54 on: July 21, 2011, 05:29:40 PM »
If you can make 50-1000 or more people clap along, sing along, enjoy the music and walk out at the end of the concert/dance/show  happy, then you have touched peoples souls. There is one member on this site who does this on a DAILY basis.

Point well argued . .. and I hope that he will make himself known to James and or that someone may draw attention to who you're thinking about on this thread . . .

Jonathan - it's the delight of Quantum Theory that permits an electron to be in two places at once (Colin might comment here . . . ) and I agree with you too!

The key to a documentary is quite possibly a duality of spirit of the organ and a multiplicity of appeal at different times, different places and in different moods. A universality. No one path being the only path, a permissiveness of plurality . . .

Making people happy, making people cry - there are few single instruments that can do that!

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

Jonathan Lane

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #55 on: July 21, 2011, 05:59:38 PM »
Ive said his name on here before, but it seems to have been dismissed.
an organ can be making people happy, making people cry-making people dance, making people sing, making people clap, making people be lost in the magic of a film, making people laugh.
Imitating an orchestra, a band, a train, a bird, a car, a boat, a marching band, a whistle, a flute, a clarinet, an oboe, a swarm of violins, a fanfare of trumpets, a choir, a piano, a ship yard, animals, a cathedral organ, a fair organ, ....the list goes on.
And a glimpse of heaven!

Jonathan

David Pinnegar

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #56 on: July 21, 2011, 11:42:18 PM »
Albi-
In particular, the placement of the  Voix Humaine (new, copied from Moucherel) on the Bombarde manual , where it had never been in the organ's entire history, (nor would be on any other classical French organ). Furthermore, this meant that it was not located on the same clavier as the foundation stops which were always drawn with it in classical practice (8ft. Bourdon and 4ft.' Flûte). I It is highly probable that this was due to the influence of Xavier Darasse*, who was a consultant for the restoration project. It was his custom to avoid using flue stops with solo reeds. When one American organist asked for his advice on registering a Dialogue de Voix Humaine on this instrument, "...he had me draw the lone Voix Humaine of the Bombarde and accompany it on the Grand Orgue 8ft. Montre alone - no coupler, of course". §

* Xavier Darasse was born in Toulouse in 1934 and grew up in a musical family; his mother was also an organist. At the age of sixteen, he was admitted to the Conservatoire National de Paris where he won numerous awards, including first prize for Harmony and Counterpoint, Organ, Improvisation, and later first prize for Composition in the class of Olivier Messiaen. There followed a brilliant career as a performer, with concerts in Europe, Russia, the United States, Canada, and Japan. In 1966 he established the organ class at the Conservatoire de Toulouse and became the principal organiser of musical events in his city.
. . .

Xavier Darasse also participated for several years in the Académies d’été de Saint Maximin, where he gave master-classes and recitals. In the 1972 concert, titled The Symphonic Turning Point , he performed works by Mendelssohn, Liszt and Franck on the Isnard organ.
[/font]


Hi!

It's so easy for posts to get overlooked - I'm sure that all readers would like to thank you for the depth and breadth of this background information.

Whilst there might not have been apparent historical precedent for what he did, a man of such experience and erudition must have had his particular reasons for leading the style in such a manner. Of course one idiosyncracy does not detract from the sheer magnificence of the whole instrument. As I write I'm listening to another Albi disc and Mary Pratt Molinier certainly uses the untremulated and unaccompanied Vox Humana to good effect setting off a louder flute on another manual.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #57 on: July 22, 2011, 12:30:07 AM »
Reading through this subject area leads me to believe James could dredge up enough material for an entire documentary series, like so many that have been produced in the U.K. over the years which have appeared here in the USA on public television, and a few on unbelievably obscure subjects, which made for "excellent television" based on their expert execution.

 Just based on the discussions spawned by this subject in this forum alone one realizes the possibility that one or two hours of programming would just barely scratch the surface...

After sending a message to a group of students working on a pipe organ project

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/studentrnd/robotic-pipe-organ


 and funding through Kickstarter.com I searched "pipe organ" and another project, a documentary... made itself evident...

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/778898172/the-opus-139-project?ref=live

Quote
Opus 139: To Hear the Music is a documentary-in-progress celebrating the first 50 years of the C.B. Fisk Pipe Organ Company. The film will tell the interwoven stories of founder Charles Brenton Fisk, his unique workshop, and the collaborative enterprise of creating, installing, and voicing a new pipe organ for the magnificent Memorial Church at Harvard University. It will be a rare opportunity for viewers to see the intricate design process, attention to detail and stunning craftsmanship involved in the construction of this largest of musical instruments. In the last act, the soaring glory of the new instrument at Harvard will be heard at its inaugural concert.

This project DID meet its funding goals on that website so there is obviously interest in productions along the lines of what is currently being discussed 8) ;)

Eric
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« Last Edit: July 22, 2011, 07:49:43 AM by KB7DQH »
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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #58 on: July 22, 2011, 09:57:16 AM »
Hi

I'm a little concerned that this debate is going down the rather old and tired theatre organ vs straight organ route.  Please remember that what "I" like will probably be different to what "You" like and respect each others point of view.

There are good and bad organs (and organists) in every genre.

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Jonathan Lane

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Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
« Reply #59 on: July 22, 2011, 02:03:57 PM »
I wouldn't want to say that either classical organ or theatre organ are good or bad, or one is better than the other.  I still like cinema organs, and listen occasionally.  I grew up listening to a lot of this music.  However, my preferred option is classical organ, and feel the theatre/cinema organ has a very limited audience compared to say The Proms (perhaps even the organ based Proms).  I think they all have their place and time.  Watching David Briggs improvising to silent films is a delight, but I suspect some would find it too heavy!

Jonathan
« Last Edit: July 23, 2011, 02:24:25 AM by Jonathan Lane »

 


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