Please do post details of concerts, courses and other events into the Calendar
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Oh, with regard to SLJ, I should perhaps point out that the person responsible for the junking of the old organ (there are those who will know to whom I refer, though I shall not name the individual concerned) was also partly responsible for the junking of the wonderful Willis (says he, from the incredibly informed stand-point of having been born some 12 years after its scrapping!) in favour of that irredeemable heap of Austrian junk at Christ Church, Oxford... and I make no apologies for condemning that organ. It isn't the worst example of bodgery around by any means, it's basically solidly built (except for the reportedly fragile action and their ridiculous raising of the case, makes it look like it's gone on an African neck-stretching course) but tonally it has nothing to recommend it whatsoever: such foundation tone as it has is extremely weak and bland, wholly incapable of carrying the hymnody and choral singing which is that cathedral's staple diet. I have also never heard rougher, thinner, more poorly-voiced reeds in my life: they rip your head off with their savagery, yet have no sonority to back up the savagery. Overall, it is hopelessly lacking in both power and richness: it makes its neighbour up at Gloucester look like an ideal cathedral organ (at least Gloucester is a thrilling recital organ with some semblance of richness...).The action and winding at CC has, I am told, been appallingly unreliable in recent times. Now, if they'd kept and restored the Willis (which would have cost less than the new organ), that would not only be much more suitable and satisfying but also a hang sight more reliable! Willis pneumatic actions, when properly maintained, are just about bombproof. That certain of them have survived as long as a century without becoming completely unplayable is testament to the quality of Vincent Willis' designs and the workmanship of the craftsmen who made them. Meanwhile, the instrument known by some Oxford organ scholars as the Austrobortion is falling apart completely and has been for several years, despite now being only 33 years old, and is costing CC a fortune to repair and maintain.
Canterbury lost its Double Open Wood IIRC - and those who remember what the 32ft reed once sounded like say it's been neutered. One thing is for certain: what little sound makes it over the screen westwards then goes straight up the tower. By the time you're halfway down the nave it's very distant and, when the place is full, it's all but totally inaudible at the back. If ever a cathedral REALLY needed a nave organ (and I don't mean a diddy little 1-manual thing in a nasty, clashing classical-type case)...Ah, what one can do with a day stuck at home in the snow and an imagined budget of many millions...