Organ matters - Organs matter!

Miscellaneous & Suggestions => Miscellaneous & Suggestions => Topic started by: organforumadmin on July 11, 2011, 12:38:48 PM

Title: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: organforumadmin on July 11, 2011, 12:38:48 PM
Hi!


I was contacted this morning by a researcher seeking people enthusiastic about the Pipe Organ with the intention of lifting the instrument out of the perception of that boring old thing in the corner  . . . On the spur of the moment I directed him towards various YouTube videos below as well as to Paul Carr. I also feel that Nigel Allcoat would be great and it would be brilliant if he might possibly be encouraged to join this forum . . . Sean Tucker should be another candidate . . .


Please can people add to this? It's probably the one thread on this site that can make the difference in encouraging a wider public perception of why the Organ really is the King of Instruments . . .


I am directing the enquirer to this post, so this really is the place to give details of any instrument or person you feel to be an important landmark . . .


Best wishes


Forum Admin


Quote
[size=1.35em]Matthew Copley talking about reed pipes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6pfY4ZYw1k (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6pfY4ZYw1k)[/size]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSf7-4t_SWc (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSf7-4t_SWc) St Maximin in France unchanged since before the French Revolution
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPGDiA3fidA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPGDiA3fidA) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Bix-_RlXqs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Bix-_RlXqs) Albi Cathedral organ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi2pdYou-Rs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi2pdYou-Rs) French Baroque masterclass - registration inspired by St Maximin - David Goode giving the masterclass - formerly organist of the 3rd largest organ in the world
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHOcCLvUeH4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHOcCLvUeH4) Young organist John Clark Maxwell, playing with a broken foot
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOyMKVM0tvA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOyMKVM0tvA) Young Ben Scott who is returning to play on 13th August - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0FjU0Iqlhk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0FjU0Iqlhk)


These are really examples of the King of Instruments . . . and hopefully might enable people to understand that the Organ is as
captivating as former generations found Steam trains such as the Royal Scotsman and Mallard, Aeroplanes such as the 747 and Concorde etc etc . But many organs are mere Cessnas . . . even they being enjoyable in a different realm.

Were you to be able to film in France then the Academie d'Orgue at St Maximin is between 19 and 29 August.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GyFn7Wmps8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GyFn7Wmps8) is Jeremy Filsell, organist of the National Cathedral in Washington DC encouraged to play in the style I heard near St Maximin which I introduced to Ben Scott http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAy81I-0O6c (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAy81I-0O6c) through my video at L'Orgue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OARFBig_u9M (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OARFBig_u9M)

Paul Carr is an organist who I believe to be very enthusiastic and Mark Blatchly is often known to play lighter repertoire on the church organ, for instance Eric Coates' London Suite.



Perhaps anyone commissioning a new organ and their builders - such as Cranleigh School . . . or one of the Oxford Colleges with a new organ . . .
Title: documentary film - pipe organ enthusiasts (following David's post)
Post by: James Dawson on July 11, 2011, 02:31:31 PM
Hello,

I'm researching a film about the joys of the pipe organ and want to enlist your help.

I normally work for the BBC and C4 making factual films for them, but at the moment I'm pursuing a personal project about the organ as I have become fascinated with its mechanics, sound and its players.

In order to overcome what I see as a prejudice among the wider lay community I've come to the conclusion, after talking to organists and organ builders, that I need to focus on a special person. Organs and organ music are often perceived as irrelevant, boring, religious even dull. So I'm looking for a genuine organ eccentric who's passionate love of the instrument and its music will help an audience overcome these preconceptions. Someone who doesn't care about what other people think, but who's love of what they do is so infectious that an audience will willingly be led into this musical world.

if you know someone who might fit this bill I would be grateful if you would drop me a line or ring me. My contact details are dawsonjames1@mac.com or 07970 536676.

Many thanks.
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Barrie Davis on July 12, 2011, 09:20:53 AM
Hi

I would suggest Carlo Curley as he embraces the instrument from every aspect and even though some may dislike his approach is very entertaining.
Dr Carol Williams is another, she visits the UK regularly and I am sure she would be happy to be part of this project.

Best wishes

Barrie
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: KB7DQH on July 12, 2011, 09:44:21 AM
This is certainly an intriguing and exciting project! 

I guess I will throw a couple more names into the hat--

Frederick Swann

Hans Ola Ericsson

Roger Sherman

Michael Barone

and most unusually,   Matthew Bellamy-- Yes, that one...

Jean Guillou???

Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: James Dawson on July 12, 2011, 02:01:24 PM
Thank you all for your suggestions. In truth, my instinct is that following international organ recitalists in their work is not the right film to be trying to make.

As I said in the previous post I suspect most people have a latent prejudice against the organ - a secular suspicion.   In order to overcome this prejudice I want find a truly eccentric organist who lives to play, loves what they do beyond all else: someone who's passion will infect an audience and allow them to see and hear the music afresh through their eyes. International recitalists' may very well have this (I am talking to several) but I suspect a film might be stronger if I found a 'diamond in the rough':  a genuine offbeat, eccentric talent who just loves what they do at a local level.

I note what Voix Cynique says about the vast majority of church organs - worrying. Do you have a list of those I should watch out for!

Any suggestions welcome.

Thanks

James
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar on July 12, 2011, 03:40:02 PM
Hi!

I hope you might have spoken to Nigel Allcoat. Eric Deleste on this forum is a candidate and perhaps supreme of all Colin Pykett. From the quantity of research into the physics of pipe organs and of simulating them electronically, the depth and width of his knowledge is clear as also is his lifetime obsession that researching it has become. Whereever one looks on any technical subject, one of Colin's articles often surfaces.

An impressive feat he conducted a few years ago was a demonstration of lost pipe organs through electronic simulation (even if a member here wasn't particularly impressed by a mere recording) which was particularly instructive, particularly with respect to the organ builder Hope Jones who has been villified for a whole century.

In truth, however, Dr Carol Williams does lend a flare and a glamour to the scene otherwise dominated by a generation of predominently grey haired men.

Best wishes,

David P
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: KB7DQH on July 15, 2011, 02:54:06 AM
 :o
Quote
What hope is there for getting young fans of Lady Gaga
Quote
in the Town Halls of Sydney

 Funny thing mentioning Lady Gaga and the Sydney Town Hall organ-- as this popped into the inbox sometime yesterday...

http://www.examiner.com/fashion-in-atlanta/lady-gaga-gives-back-to-aussie-fans-who-gave-first-no-1-hit (http://www.examiner.com/fashion-in-atlanta/lady-gaga-gives-back-to-aussie-fans-who-gave-first-no-1-hit)

Quote
Lady Gaga has a very place in her heart for her Australian fans who were the first in the world to reward her with a No.1 hit!

To show them just how much they meant to her, Lady Gaga put every ounce of energy into that “one-off” million dollar show she had promised her loving fans, to reciprocate her love right back to her Aussie monsters at Sydney Town Hall…

The Town Hall venue had been dubbed the Monster Hall, where Lady Gaga even attempted to play the old pipe organ during her charged theatrical performance for the thousand adoring fans and VIPs.

 ???

This... complicates things ::)
 ;D

Eric
KB7DQH

Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 15, 2011, 06:55:18 PM
To be honest, this film would have to avoid the vast majority of church organs. Maybe the odd really notable instrument - like St Ouen, Rouen, which ought to be filmed before it falls unplayable, given its present decline - but otherwise it will have to focus on concert halls and stately homes. Blenheim Palace, anyone?

Not that you are either generalising, or making sweeping statements, here....

I can think of plenty of instruments in either good or even excellent condition in this country - I am assuming that they wish to film instruments here, as opposed to (say) France; it would certainly be cheaper to do so. Commendable though such a project is, I doubt that it will have attracted a fat budget from the programme controllers.

I am happy to post a review which I wrote for a different board (no, not the 'other' one....), detailing suitable instruments on which to record, in the London area, if anyone is interested.


Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Holditch on July 15, 2011, 07:44:27 PM
Quote
One thing the programme MUST avoid in EVERY way is snobbery and things which are seen as "high brow". If the viewer gets a whiff of it, the programme has lost its purpose straight away. It must be fun and entertaining to watch, and at the same time be informative, and show all the areas of the organ equally.
Its got to be something that people havent seen before. Other programmes which have been done about the organ have come across as stodgy, boring etc and havent done any favours. Lets not have this one be the same.

Hear hear! I whole heartedly agree
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 15, 2011, 10:13:53 PM
One thing the programme MUST avoid in EVERY way is snobbery and things which are seen as "high brow". If the viewer gets a whiff of it, the programme has lost its purpose straight away. It must be fun and entertaining to watch, and at the same time be informative, and show all the areas of the organ equally.
Its got to be something that people havent seen before. Other programmes which have been done about the organ have come across as stodgy, boring etc and havent done any favours. Lets not have this one be the same.

Well - not all of the other programmes were stodgy or boring. Howard Goodall's Organ Works, shown a few years ago on British network TV was both entertaining and informative. He did a follow-up series on the history of the piano, which I found to be equally good.

There is, of course, also the series currently being issued by Priory: The Grand Organ of (insert name)* Cathedral. To be honest, I think that the interest and accessibility of each is somewhat variable. For the average person, who may have only a peripheral interest in the instrument, some are better than others. The DVD featuring Simon Johnson at  Saint Paul's Cathedral includes a 'tour' around the instrument (in the tonal sense). Unfortunately, he chose to improvise on the theme from Harry Potter - which is, arguably, a little out of the age range of most of those likely to be interested in this DVD. Personally, I would rather he had chosen something different - not necessarily plainsong, but just something not so singularly identifiable. I am sure that there will be others who enjoy it, but I cannot help but think that he has possibly limited his market by using this theme so many times during the course of the DVD.

Then there is the edition from Canterbury Cathedral. Like all the other DVDs, the playing is excellent. However, the repertoire, whilst not being too 'populist', perhaps strays too far the other way. I found some of the pieces a little strange, I must admit.

However, I think that there is definitely value in the series, taken as a whole and, for those who have not yet sampled any of them, I recommend some research, in order to see if any of them may be of interest.



* Around six or seven have been completed and released for sale, to-date; the venues include Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, York Minster, Lincoln Cathedral, King's College Chapel, Cambridge, Saint Paul's Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral and (to be released in a few months) Exeter Cathedral.

Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar on July 15, 2011, 10:21:22 PM
I am assuming that they wish to film instruments here, as opposed to (say) France; it would certainly be cheaper to do so. Commendable though such a project is, I doubt that it will have attracted a fat budget from the programme controllers.

I am happy to post a review which I wrote for a different board (no, not the 'other' one....), detailing suitable instruments on which to record, in the London area, if anyone is interested.[/font]

Hi!

I had a good chat with James a couple of days ago and he does very much appreciate St Maximin, Albi and also the Van den Heuvel instrument at St Eustach. Can any UK organs (and their acoustics) err towards these?

Your list of London area instruments would be a significant resource. .  .  So please . . .

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: organforumadmin on July 16, 2011, 01:33:19 PM
As for Albi, it's so mucked about with... the 1970s rebuild was a disaster. It's not in any way the same as it was after Moucherel rebuilt it all those years ago, the specification doesn't make sense (certain stops plain in the wrong place), some of the voicing is obviously neoclassical and the destruction of the Puget instrument (which was, I am told, of pilgrimage quality, right up there with St Ouen etc) also grates. At least St Maximin is largely as built, has never been romanticised, has never had quality romantic material destroyed, has never had obviously neoclassical-style voicing...


I cannot comment upon the degree of unsubstantial opinionation in other aspects of the post but certainly to my direct experience, St Maximin is indisputably superb but so too is Albi, the philosophy of rebuilding of which was very clear and the firm involved and their voicer, who I know personally, was supremely expert. It is an organ which is a landmark and one that aurally demands attention.


The 1970s rebuild was a tonal triumph and a landmark of its day and certainly not of the nature that the writer above claims. The Moderation team of this forum are frustrated at the continual need for checking the writings of the above contributor.


Forum Admin
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 16, 2011, 01:45:21 PM
... As for David Pinnegar's suggestion of the van den Heuvel at Saint-Eustache in Paris, I'm not sure. Personally, I find its sound to be excessively gritty and unblending - and I find Guillou's playing and improvisation to be self-indulgent rather than approachable. There's too much of what might be termed gratuitous virtuosity there. His influence shows in the organs he's designed - I can't think of one that I actually like, they all sound too harsh to me. Rather, I would look to Cavaillé-Coll's best - Sacré-Coeur, Saint-Sulpice and Saint-Ouen, Rouen. With respect to PCND, the Notre Dame organ has been so mucked about with that its glories are mostly faded - unless and until it's restored to its original state, it cannot, in my entirely subjective opinion, be considered equal to the other C-Cs I've named (although I know Sacré-Couer isn't exactly original - it's not even in its original home). ...

I shall deal with just one paragraph at present - I am expecting visitors shortly.

S. Eustache: I have, at the kind invitation of M. Guillou, had the privilege of playing this monumental instrument. Personally, I found it to be superb - with a wide palette of tone colours and a thrilling tutti. M. Guillou himself I found generous, charming and extremely approachable. Again, as you have said yourself, it is partly about not expecting an organ to do things it was not designed to do. As long as one approaches this organ in this spirit - and does not expect it to sound like a vintage Cavaillé-Coll, then it is possible to appreciate it for exactly what it is - an exciting, colourful and noble instrument.

Sacré-Coeur, S. Sulpice and S. Ouen, Rouen; I agree that these instruments probably repersent some of the finest achievements of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. However, the first has been modified. It is worth comparing the 1898 stop-list with that following the restoration of 1985. For example, at some point since it was built, the Solo Orgue acquired twelve ranks of mixtures - and the Pedal Orgue additional mutations.

To an extent, I would actually agree with you regarding the instrument in Nôtre-Dame de Paris. However, we would probably disagree regarding the state (or date) to which we should wish this instrument to be restored. Personally, I should like to see it reutrn to its late-nineteen-seventies' incarnation - with one exception: I would retain the new chamade stops which were added in the 1990-92 restoration. I think that it was a great shame that both compound stops on the Récit-Expressif were removed, for example.


Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane on July 16, 2011, 04:16:09 PM


As I clarified in my later post, my problem is not with the organs at all. One of my all-time favourites is a 1905 Henry Jones (lightly modified by Walker in 1964) of just 13 stops, which sounds glorious in its huge barn of a church. Unfortunately, fill the church with its congregation (and it's packed every Sunday, with people who REALLY sing), and the organ is barely audible, but that's an aside. The chief problem, I feel, is with the public's image of the organ in church as a concept - which is why I feel it's important to emphasise the organ as a secular concert instrument.
Surely this is a reason why the organ in places of worship should be seen more widely, in many places in England, the organ majestically leads the singing on a Sunday, and is a delight to hear, but all most people know about the organ is what they see on 'The Vicar of Dibley' or 'Emmerdale'!

As for David Pinnegar's suggestion of the van den Heuvel at Saint-Eustache in Paris, I'm not sure. Personally, I find its sound to be excessively gritty and unblending - and I find Guillou's playing and improvisation to be self-indulgent rather than approachable. There's too much of what might be termed gratuitous virtuosity there. His influence shows in the organs he's designed - I can't think of one that I actually like, they all sound too harsh to me. Rather, I would look to Cavaillé-Coll's best - Sacré-Coeur, Saint-Sulpice and Saint-Ouen, Rouen. With respect to PCND, the Notre Dame organ has been so mucked about with that its glories are mostly faded - unless and until it's restored to its original state, it cannot, in my entirely subjective opinion, be considered equal to the other C-Cs I've named (although I know Sacré-Couer isn't exactly original - it's not even in its original home).

As for Albi, it's so mucked about with... the 1970s rebuild was a disaster. It's not in any way the same as it was after Moucherel rebuilt it all those years ago, the specification doesn't make sense (certain stops plain in the wrong place), some of the voicing is obviously neoclassical and the destruction of the Puget instrument (which was, I am told, of pilgrimage quality, right up there with St Ouen etc) also grates. At least St Maximin is largely as built, has never been romanticised, has never had quality romantic material destroyed, has never had obviously neoclassical-style voicing...

This is your opinion, and your entitled to it, however, it is subjective.  I love the Rouen instrument, but also Notre Dame, regardless of what has been done over the years.  An organ has to be a living growing instrument, otherwise it ceases to be that, and just a museum piece.  I also thoroughly enjoy the sound of S. Eustace, and as for Guillou's playing, this is something I like!

Jonathan
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane on July 16, 2011, 09:15:42 PM


Your first observation may well be true, but I fear that even the mere sight of an organ in a church might have people reaching for the off button.

However, to fail to attempt to get people to watch it, could be the same as descending to the lowest common denominator of reality shows.


As for the second, of course it is my opinion, and of course, all opinion is entirely subjective. However, I would disagree with your assertion that "an organ has to be a living growing instrument, otherwise it ceases to be that, and just a museum piece" - it's one thing installing a new console, allowing for registration aids to be installed, but it is quite another to take a world-famous instrument, on which one of the great masters has composed some of the most significant works in the repertoire, and completely change the tonal character of the instrument (whether for better or for worse). Admittedly, Vierne himself had some very strange ideas about what should be done to the ND organ, but that doesn't excuse what was done to it long after his death.

But at what point of history should one consider the organ to be correct, that played by Pérotin the Great or that played by Vierne, or indeed Olivier Latry and the other current incumbents. 

What is the purpose of an organ in a church, that is my fundamental question?  The answer has to be to lead and enhance the worship.  If it doesn't develop through time then it ceases to do that, and does become merely a museum piece.

Jonathan
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 17, 2011, 12:12:44 AM
It would, therefore, appear that the 1981 rebuild was a crime without equal in the organ world: the only others I can think of which come anywhere near are the 1960s rebuild of the Gloucester Cathedral organ and the total revoicing of the Muller organ in the Bavokerk, Haarlem, by Marcussen in the 1950s, who, driven by ideology, zealously removed all nicking from the pipework. It is only in more recent times that scholarship has revealed that this nicking was an original feature of that stupendous, historic instrument and, so, we are deprived of the knowledge of what the organ really sounded like when it sent Leopold Mozart into raptures.

In the interest of accuracy, I should point out that the organ of Gloucester Cathedral was actually rebuilt in 1970-71.

Whilst I am well aware of the controversy which still surrounds the major alteration of this instrument whch took place at this time, I also know it rather well, having been taught on it by David Briggs over a few years. I have also, on several occasions, played it for a number of visiting choirs.

It is easy, with hinsdsight to say that this or that should have been done differently; I myself may have specified a somewhat different stop-list and voicing style. However, to imply that what took place came close to being a 'crime without equal', is both emotive and unhelpful.

For the record, in its previous incarnation, this instrument was neither typically FHW, nor typically Arthur Harrison. Thus there was no particularly compelling reason for preserving the status quo. For example, the G.O. reeds were not Trombe, but a family of Trumpets, speaking on a pressure of 175mm. The Swell Organ was substantially as Willis had left it, in 1898-99. Secondly, the instrument was mechanically unreliable, much of the mechanism being very worn. In addition, the historic case had been quite literally hacked about, not just by FHW, but also by Harrisons, in 1920, when the west face was pushed out unceremoniously, to balance uncomfortably on the parapet of the Pulpitum.

Perhaps at this stage, I should make it clear that I spoke to Ralph Downes at length regarding the Gloucester rebuild. At the time I was writing my degree thesis (in which the organ of Gloucester Cathedral occupied the greater part of a chapter), Downes kindly granted me an interview. We met at the RFH, following one of the 'Wednesdays at 5.55' recitals which were formerly a regular part of the London organ scene. He was extremely courteous and helpful.

Please be in no doubt but that he considered the matter of the Gloucester rebuild long and hard. It was true that he did not like many aspects of the former instrument; however, it was not simply a case of just throwing out the old and replacing all with new. The entire instrument was considered carefully - but, far more than this, the historic cases and their (formerly) speaking pipes, were also given much thought.

Whilst it is easy to point the finger at Downes (for example, for melting down and re-casting many of Cavaillé-Coll's case pipes at Paisley Abbey - in order that the pipe feet lengths should run in inverse proportion to the lengths of the resonators), it is also true that at Gloucester, he showed great respect for the casework and Harris' original 'East' and 'West' Diapasons.

Whether one likes the style of the Gloucester organ or not, it is without question a thoroughly musical instrument. It may be true that the organs at Durham Cathedral or Saint Mary Redcliffe, Bristol will do better justice to Howells or Stanford (although I have played music by both composers at Gloucester quite effectively) - but the inescapable corollary is that the Gloucester organ plays Bach, Buxtehude and even French Romantic music far better than did its predecessor. In fact, there is recorded evidence that many genuine music lovers found the sound of the old organ oppressive and unmusical - particularly when played loudly. I believe it was Norman Sterrett who, writing in The Organ regarding the (then) recent rebuild of the organ of Exeter Cathedral, by Harrisons, described the former instrument in this cathedral - again a mixture of FHW and Arthur Harrison - as often swamping the singers with 'a windy thickness'.

It is worth remembering that these are statements made by people who were actually in these places at these times, and knew these instruments well.

Another consequence of the Gloucester rebuild was a new action, developed for this instrument - electro-mechanical in principle. It eliminated the use of all moving leather parts. I can testify that the rapidity of the response and the rate of repetition was far superior to any other action I had ever played - even prior to Nicholson's restoration.




Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: organforumadmin on July 17, 2011, 12:36:31 AM
What is the purpose of an organ in a church, that is my fundamental question?  The answer has to be to lead and enhance the worship.  If it doesn't develop through time then it ceases to do that, and does become merely a museum piece.

Dear Jonathan

This is a particularly fundamental issue which sometimes one might be excused for not receiving enough attention. Often an instrument that leads a congregation well gets changed simply on the whim of an organist, or in academic places, a fashion of curriculum in playing a different concert or teaching repertoire . . .

The "why" that you identify is the very reason why this forum began with the inclusion of an Atheist's Corner for which it is criticised in some quarters and perhaps instead it should be relabelled "Phiilosophers' Corner" possibly to avoid offending sensibilities. But nevertheless, the why of why we make music and how and why we believe that the organ is a valuable way to do it must go towards the reasons for organs' use and preservation.

I am not always certain that those in the decision making process relating to organs follow a philosophy in decisions relating to music akin to the parallel but better understood world of listed building preservation in which academic principles of good conservation practice are widely known and followed.

Post http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,730.msg3211.html#msg3211 (http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,730.msg3211.html#msg3211) starts a thread upon the subject "Certainty of Place" identifying churches as landmarks and the sound remembered from them as landmarks also within the mind. In historic building and landscape preservation, common phrases are "Power of Place" and "Spirit of Place". To consider an organ, especially in the case of one built for a particular place at the time of building of a place, devoid of carrying the intangible elements of Spirit, Power and in the case of a Church, Certainty, is likely to lead to what future generations might consider to be an inadequate decision. As you say, this does not automatically require stagnation.

Best wishes


Forum Admin
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: KB7DQH on July 17, 2011, 12:38:34 AM
So... Why has no one mentioned the Willis at Royal Albert Hall... or its use by "non-classical" musicians performing in the Hall--  "because it's there" ???  (I presume the reason "Lady Gaga" "attempted" to play the Hill at Sydney Town Hall... was for the same reason...)  She also played a "non-pipe" organ at the last Grammy Awards-- where a "real organist" received-- for the first time-- a Grammy AWARD--http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,478.msg1923.html#msg1923 (http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,478.msg1923.html#msg1923) as opposed to being "nominated"-- like another "popular"  organist alluded to earlier :o

I will have to dig through the some 600+ posts I have made to this forum and see if I have lost somewhere an article written in the British press someplace about the commissioning of new organ works specifically to be performed on the Willis at Royal Albert Hall, to promote the greater utilization of that instrument... (or other "Town Hall" organs) by, the name escapes me...(for obvious reasons :o

Quote
Oh dear, is nothing sacred?

That may be the whole point of the near-complete disappearance of the King of Instruments (real, rather than "emulators"-- much of the "popular" repertoire is accompanied by the nearly ubiquitous "Hammond Sound" :(  from the "modern musical scene" (both "Classical" and "modern popular")  at least until recently...  The UK "popular" band Muse has a song amongst their repertoire seldom performed "live" for want of an appropriate instrument readily available--
the notable exception was their benefit concert performed, you guessed it, at Royal Albert Hall!

This performance is, sadly, to my limited knowledge-- unavailable in a high-quality professional form :(  Someone please correct me if I am wrong :-[ ??? ;)  but over 70 (at last count)
"unprofessional" videos of this event have appeared on Youtube--

Searching "Muse Megalomania Royal Albert Hall Pipe Organ" will give you some idea...

Might it make for an intriguing opening sequence for such a documentary ??? ??? ???

Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane on July 17, 2011, 12:45:53 AM

Softly softly catchy monkey... get people interested in the organ as a concert instrument and they may then become interested in it as an ecclesiastical instrument - but too many won't go near a church. I even read recently that something like 80% of professional organists now will no longer play in church - so what are the chances of getting today's yoof interested without showing the organ as a concert instrument?


I teach a nine year old who is fascinated by the organ in church, not from a particularly church family.  Also a number of teenagers.  I don't think it is anything to do with the organ being in church, but the manner in which organists relate to youngsters and others, and the welcome people get when they come into the church building.  Get them into the concert hall and they will stay there and miss a wealth of music for which the organ is best at, i.e. in the liturgy.



At what point in history indeed... difficult to say. However, at Nôtre Dame, the organ exists largely as built by Cavaillé-Coll (whatever the modifications made to it), so that would have to be one of the main candidates for the starting point of a restoration of this historic instrument. In my entirely subjective opinion, the more recent incumbents (from Cochereau on) aren't as significant as Vierne, good as they were and are. With the Pièces en style libre, the Pièces de fantaisie, the six symphonies and the Messe Solonnelle (and that's just for starters), Vierne wrote a vast amount of the present repertoire. Might it be sensible to suggest a compromise of a restoration, with a fully-equipped Skinner-style console, with all the more recent additions available to it and electric action for day-to-day use and the restoration (or construction of a replica) of the Cavaillé-Coll console with Barker lever-assisted tracker action and only the stops Vierne had access to? Such duplicate actions (with two consoles) exist elsewhere (Christchurch Priory among others, although I've heard that the tracker console isn't terribly good to play, with the detached electric console downstairs accounting for about 90% of the organ's use).


I'm not sure I understand your reasoning here.  Surely if these voices are available on the current organ.  It is up to the skill of the organist to select stops that recreate best the Vierne sound, and if the organist is incapable of doing so, having a 'Vierne' console isn't going to make that happen.  A compromise can only ever be that!

Barker lever was only an aid to help the organist play on heavier actions, but the modern electric action has overcome this.  It is a little like buying a beautiful new Aston Martin and insisting it has a starter handle.

As for Christchurch Priory (pcnd knows this organ far better than me), however, a few years ago, on a trip to see the organ in the company of Paul Derrett, Geoffrey Morgan talked about the organ and showed us round.  I played the organ from the detached console but not the mechanical one.  Seeing the position of the attached console was enough to put anyone off, to all intents and purposes being almost in a different room!  I seem to remember Geoffrey saying he didn't like it compared to the Nave console, but my apologies to him if I misunderstood his views!

As for
Quote
What is the purpose of an organ in a church, that is my fundamental question?  The answer has to be to lead and enhance the worship.  If it doesn't develop through time then it ceases to do that, and does become merely a museum piece.

Of course, that is entirely true - but there are enough churches make do with old organs in largely original condition.

But why should we make do?

Jonathan
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 17, 2011, 12:53:27 AM
... Admittedly, Vierne himself had some very strange ideas about what should be done to the ND organ, but that doesn't excuse what was done to it long after his death.

Certainly one or two were a little unorthodox - and would probably not have been regarded as positive steps today. (Incidentally, have you read Rollin Smith's excellent book on Vierne?)

But at what point of history should one consider the organ to be correct, that played by Pérotin the Great or that played by Vierne, or indeed Olivier Latry and the other current incumbents.

... At what point in history indeed... difficult to say. However, at Nôtre Dame, the organ exists largely as built by Cavaillé-Coll (whatever the modifications made to it), so that would have to be one of the main candidates for the starting point of a restoration of this historic instrument. In my entirely subjective opinion, the more recent incumbents (from Cochereau on) aren't as significant as Vierne, good as they were and are. With the Pièces en style libre, the Pièces de fantaisie, the six symphonies and the Messe Solonnelle (and that's just for starters), Vierne wrote a vast amount of the present repertoire.

The question of to which state a particular instrument (in this case, that at Nôtre-Dame de Paris) should be restored is a valid one. It is, as you say, difficult to decide.

However, I must take issue with you regarding your 'entirely subjective opinion' - Le Comte de Saint-Martin may perhaps not have measured up to the musical stature of Vierne, but this is quite simply not true of Cochereau. One cannot make a meaningful judgement purely in terms of the quantity of compositional output. In fact, not only would such giants of the organ world as Marcel Dupré disagree with you (he proclaimed: 'Pierre Cochereau is a phenomenon without equal in the history of the contemporary organ'), but the clergy and chapter of this great cathedral would also take issue with your dismissive appraisal. It was precisely because they recognised the greatness of Cochereau's musical stature and reputation that they decided, on his death, to return to the pre-revolution custom of there being four Titulaires. They reasoned that there was no single organist in France at that time who was of sufficient calibre to succeed him.


Might it be sensible to suggest a compromise of a restoration, with a fully-equipped Skinner-style console, with all the more recent additions available to it and electric action for day-to-day use and the restoration (or construction of a replica) of the Cavaillé-Coll console with Barker lever-assisted tracker action and only the stops Vierne had access to? Such duplicate actions (with two consoles) exist elsewhere (Christchurch Priory among others, although I've heard that the tracker console isn't terribly good to play, with the detached electric console downstairs accounting for about 90% of the organ's use).

With regard to the organ of Christchurch Priory, although the reasons behind the decision to build two consoles and fit the instrument with two separate actions, it is true that the attached console is somewhat heavy. furthermore, some of the subsequent additions are not available (for obvious reasons) on this console. To exacerbate matters, there is presently no means of observing a conductor from the attached console.

However, with regard to the organ of Nôtre-Dame, I am unconvinced that there is any point whatsoever in providing duplicate consoles and actions - particuarly when both consoles would have to be placed in the west tribune with the organ.


In fact, Cochereau had the original Cavaillé-Coll stops marked with a red dot on his new Anglo-American console. He also had an electrical device which would annul all the extra stops, in order that players could choose either the full range of the instrument, or the Cavaillé-Coll original. And before you reply to the effect that Cochereau had caused several of the original stops to be altered (particularly the G.O. Mixtures), it is worth remembering that Vierne had also authorised substantial modifications - and would have, given time and money, made further alterations, a number of which would have been somewhat less sympathetic than those which Cochereau effected.

I would dare to suggest that the Cochereau-era rebuild at ND was driven more by the two factors of neoclassical ideology and Cochereau's demands for his highly virtuosic, florid improvisations (which I find I tire of quickly) than mere necessity for the job required of the organ. Daniel Roth et al don't exactly seem to struggle down the road at Saint-Sulpice, though no doubt the original console and combination action present quite a challenge to the player. Again, I suspect that the dual-action, dual-console solution proposed above would circumvent any such problems at ND.

In some ways the rebuild of the organ at Nôtre-Dame was a child of its time - although it is worth remembering that in fact, the rebuild was somewhat protracted, alterations being carried-out piecemeal almost up to the year of his death.

However, your subjective comments regarding his improvisations invite qualification. May I state, for the record, as one who knows a thing or two about improvisation, both liturgical and in concert (and I wonder how many of Cochereau's you have actually listened to in depth?) that whilst they were certainly virtuosic, they were not florid, in the sense of merely being 'showy' or 'excessively ornate'. It must be remembered that, as documented by those who knew him well, Cochereau had a mission - to fill the cathedral with people and to present the organ as a living inspiration and aid to their worship. A number of French organists at the time stated that, without Cochereau, they would all still be playing to empty churches.

Also for the record, at S. Sulpice, M. Roth is assisted much of the time (as is his own Titulaire-Ajointe), by two registrants, who rehearse with both organists. Registrations are planned and recorded in an A4 ring-binder. I have been present at rehearsal and therefore am fully aware of how difficult it would be to give a recital (or even play a service) on this magnificent instrument, without the regular services of the registrants. In addition, it should be said that M. Roth's own improvisations are of a somewhat different style to those of Pierre Cochereau.
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane on July 17, 2011, 12:56:05 AM
"I fear that even the mere sight of an organ in a church might have people reaching for the off button."
 I agree with this quite abit, if you start off with that, they will turn off, and if you stick to that subject throughout the programme, and classical music, a vast majority of the viewers will most probably turn off. Try getting younger people into a church to hear an organ.....its pretty much a failure when you say the word church. Which is unfortunate, but true. Ill probably get shot down now on here, lol

It is strange, because my experience has been completely the opposite.  Youngsters love the sound of the organ, because it can be loud and exciting! 

I do think it is how you approach it though, and people like Keith Hearnshaw are superb at conversing with children and demonstrating the organ.

My philosophy has always been to get children onto the organ, even if they can only play 'twinkle twinkle', they love it.  I play some things, including things like Happy Birthday on the pedals!

Jonathan
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: barniclecompton on July 17, 2011, 01:08:49 AM
Ive only succeeded in getting two people into a church to hear the organ, and neither were very impressed. Ive had far more success having people listen and visit cinema organs.
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane on July 17, 2011, 01:12:19 AM
Ive only succeeded in getting two people into a church to hear the organ, and neither were very impressed. Ive had far more success having people listen and visit cinema organs.

Well, I have been doing this now for 30 years or so, but in that time, literally thousands of children and young people have had a go.  At my last church, the schools came regularly, they got a demonstration, usually in the context of a mock wedding.  Then, if there weren't two many of them, say no more than 30, I would give them all a quick go.

Jonathan
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: KB7DQH on July 17, 2011, 02:24:56 AM
Why programs such as this http://classical-scene.com/2011/07/10/pipe-organ-encounters/ (http://classical-scene.com/2011/07/10/pipe-organ-encounters/)
are so very important...

Quote
Pipe Organ Encounters — in Concerts and Policy
by Christian Lane
Between July 17 and 22 Boston will host Pipe Organ Encounters. Sponsored by the local American Guild of Organists (AGO) contingent, the get-together aims to familiarize thirteen- to eighteen-year-old students of piano and organ with the pipe organ and to socialize them into the organ milieu. Further it provides concerts of interest to the public on important organs in the community. The event will also showcase some of the finest instruments and performers in the area. The official press release and the complete schedule of mostly free concerts is here.

The rest of the article is too large to quote in its entirety
(and too important to ignore)
 so I encourage all to follow the link and give it a read...

but if my signature line could  hold more characters it would read something like this...

Quote
I will say, however, that I cannot endorse the idea of a digital instrument. While technology has made impressive advances in recent decades, there is something about the movement of air through an organ — its intensely living, breathing quality — that is simply irreplaceable and incapable of digital reproduction. To negate the current instrument in favor of a digital organ would, for me, be equivalent to tearing down a stoic Gothic cathedral, awash in symbolism and artistry, only to replace it with a lecture hall. Both are large gathering spaces, and thus serve a common function. But the cathedral, like a pipe organ, represents a height of human ingenuity and craftsmanship. For centuries, both were a pinnacle of human material expression, and thus the closest humans ever came to expressing the divine.

Eric
KB7DQH

Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane on July 17, 2011, 08:58:29 AM
Perhaps the perceived problem the organ has in the eyes of the general public can be summed up, in part, by some or all of these observations:

- Organists tend to be a little eccentric (I include myself in this!)

- Music played can often be academic and unconnected ( for instance, the opening recital at a well known public school a few years ago where, not only did the organ fail, but the organist played such an academic (and subjectively boring) programme that people left half way through.

- Churches are often locked these days, and when they are open, people get such an unwelcoming reception, they never go near them again, particularly true if the visitors are under thirty!

- When people do attend church, the liturgy can be so boring (musically) that they have no hope in having any interest at all.  This also goes for slow and unrhythmic hymn playing,

Well, there's four to be getting on with, I think there are plenty more, and I'm sure they'll come to me during this morning's service.  I also have solutions, but rather than condition responses, I would like to see others' comments first.

I think, if any documentary is to connect with people, it needs to be a combination of high quality music/performers/instruments, but also include accessible and exciting music!

Jonathan
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: organforumadmin on July 17, 2011, 10:29:29 AM
. . . Keith Hearnshaw are superb at conversing with children and demonstrating the organ.


Very good suggestion - possibly the ideal person for the documentary . . .
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: twanguitar on July 17, 2011, 11:24:13 AM
I feel anyone meeting with Mr Dawson would need to understand where he is coming from.  Please do not misunderstand what I am about to say, as I emphasise I am not targeting him unkindly with these remarks.  However there is a difference between a documentary which aims to promote the organ and one which will merely treat its audience to half an hour of nutcases talking about their hobby!  I rather suspect the audience for the latter would be significantly larger than for the former.  So which will it be, or might it be something in between?  Currently I have no idea, but it would be worth asking.  Otherwise those taking part in good faith might find they are hurtfully lampooned when it is finally aired - such things happen often in the media.  It definitely happened some years ago when channel 4 did a documentary about the firm I work for, and I was glad I had declined to appear!  The MD was livid and said "never again".

Barniclecompton is clearly coming from a cinema organ background (thanks for your reply to my recent post about The Barn by the way), and in my view s/he might be seeing the organ world as too segregated and Orwellian: cinema organs Good, straight organs Bad.  In reality most people have no idea about or particular liking for either type.  Cinema organ societies and trusts do a great job in keeping a few of the genre alive, but their audience and clientele is in reality far less than the totality of people who go to church and like the organ there, or to classical organ recitals which can pull huge audiences sometimes when there is a famous player.  I don't think our objective of trying to maintain the profile of the organ is served by being too polarised into the straight, cinema or even digital camps.  They are all organs and all can be used to promote our common purpose as far as this forum is concerned.

But I don't think we should rush headlong into publicity which might backfire, unless assurances are given in that regard.

TG
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar on July 17, 2011, 12:15:11 PM
Hi!

Of course Twanguitar's caution is always appropriate - we have seen sensialism over and over again - but to answer your question, he came to see me in the middle of the week and he comes over as a very genuine man wanting to do something in good faith on the basis that in the organ he can see heritage which is being lost. One idea he has is to find, for instance, an instrument on ebay, or ideally one before it gets that far, and possibly film any attempts anyone might be able to make to get the vendors to change their minds and retain the instrument in situ. . . How many churches simply think they can save the space, creating a coffee area, and install an electronic?

During the course of his visit, I introduced him to what we in England would consider to be exotic repertoire, De Grigny, Couperin and the like and I demonstrated them appropriately registered on the concert organ at Hammerwood which is very capable and does justice to the repertoire. After this I introduced him, through speakers that make recordings not sound like recordings but as the real thing, to the instruments at Villefranche, St Maximin, Albi, St Eustache and Charterhouse. Upon going from an electronic to the experience of Villefranche, the superiority of the pipe organ was strikingly apparent.

There are many approaches possible and I have every faith in Mr Dawson's sincerity and abilities.

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar on July 17, 2011, 09:29:04 PM
As for Albi, it's so mucked about with... the 1970s rebuild was a disaster. It's not in any way the same as it was after Moucherel rebuilt it all those years ago, the specification doesn't make sense (certain stops plain in the wrong place),

Stops in the wrong place at Albi?

At some stage you have referred to the Cornet on the Recit as being inclomplete:
http://www.d1.dion.ne.jp/~organ/org/sca.html
gives a 5 rank cornet - would would be 8, 4, Nasard, 2 and Tierce
and on the Echo too as a Cornet separé
and on the Bombarde
and on the Great
and on the Positiv

A cornet on all manuals!

The instrument is a triumph. It is an instrument of Baroque power without equal . . .

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: organforumadmin on July 17, 2011, 10:52:10 PM
[Numerous posts followed earlier mention of Christchurch Priory which clearly demonstrated that people are enthusiastic about pipe organs but which in their volume appropriately became a topic of their own http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,772.0.html]
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: James Dawson on July 18, 2011, 10:21:16 AM
Dear Members,

Thanks you all so much for your suggestions and comments - all gratefully received.

My starting premise when researching this film was that it should aim to explore the organ from a variety of standpoints and that its fundamentally about showing how much pleasure and joy enthusiasts get from it. Music unlocks so much in us all. For me this is the key to making an interesting film. So thanks again for your thoughts, keep them coming.

Best wishes

James
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: KB7DQH on July 18, 2011, 11:36:15 AM
James-- Have you had time to dig around elsewhere in this forum?  If not, here may be a good place to start ;)

http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,26.0.html (http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,26.0.html)

and
"this just in"...

http://www.rushentertainmentcompany.com/Aeolian_Skinner_Opus_1324/The_Story.html (http://www.rushentertainmentcompany.com/Aeolian_Skinner_Opus_1324/The_Story.html)  Likely this story alone would amount to a documentary all to itself :o



Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar on July 18, 2011, 04:39:00 PM
One idea he has is to find, for instance, an instrument on ebay, or ideally one before it gets that far, and possibly film any attempts anyone might be able to make to get the vendors to change their minds and retain the instrument in situ. . . How many churches simply think they can save the space, creating a coffee area, and install an electronic?

Hi!

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=one&Submit=View&index=5

One might ask why a significant school installed an instrument in 2004 and are seeking to rid themselves of it in 2010 . . .

On
http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=one&Submit=View&index=9
we find an instrument by a good maker  restored only as recently as 2002 and now offered for scrap

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=one&Submit=View&index=10
an instrument that cannot be retained in a dance studio - can't places of dance teach music too?

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=1
with the involvement of an organ builder, suggests more than meets the eye

Eureka:
http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=5
for scrap, to make way for an electronic instrument

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=6
fine instrument

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=9
Highgate School Chapel - an instrument built for the chapel at the time, 1874 - historic building - one would think instrument would be considered part of the building . . .

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=12
instrument of less importance being displaced by a devekopment

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=13
Faculty granted . . .

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=14
building for educational purposes - can't include music?

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=15
in a school

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=16
significant instrument

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=17
Barracks chapel and subject to receipt of Lottery grant

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=18
substantial instrument

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=19
important small historic instrument

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=21
being displaced for "other facilities"

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=23
http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=24
would be interesting to know reason for disposal

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=26
good instrument in welsh chapel

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=two&Submit=View&index=29
Organ "cannot be accommodated" in church "reordering" - another coffee bar?

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=three&Submit=View&index=1
comprehensive instrument

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=three&Submit=View&index=2
presumably poor funding for necessary maintenance

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=three&Submit=View&index=3
worryingly fine instrument

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redundant/manResult.asp?manuals=three&Submit=View&index=4
similarly very competant instrument

In the old days of Gesteners, such lists would have occupied 3 pages of A4 giving a three line summary of each . . . and clicking "next" through a database driven website doesn't enable a quick glance to enable anyone to shortlist easily suitable instruments for reuse upon quick perusal.

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: diapason on July 18, 2011, 07:09:21 PM
There are some very fine instruments here, and these are only the tip of the iceberg - both on and off the IBO list. 

Of the instruments mentioned above,  I have some anecdotal knowledge of two:  The Hill in the RMB at Chivenor was, according to a conversation I had some weeks ago with Michael Farley, damaged by long-term overheating of the building.  Apparently, the authorities did not heed the advice in this regard from the organ builder, with catestrophic results for the organ.    I was born in Barnstaple and attended Holy Trinity School, where I came to know the church slightly.  I haven't lived there for almost 50 years, but still have family in the area who have told me that the church is now a High Temple of Happy-Clappy-dom.  No doubt they want the space for the dance band.

Very sad.

Nigel
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 18, 2011, 09:52:37 PM

Here, as promised, is the copy of the list which I wrote for another board, regarding organs worth hearing (and recording), in the Greater London area.

Croydon Parish Church (H&H, IV/P); late Romantic, with a few more recent alterations.

Saint Giles, Cripplegate (Mander, III/P). The tutti is bright and clear on this English version of a neo-Classical organ. The organist is Anne Marsden Thomas.

If you desire a louder tutti (and perhaps one which is a little more reed-dominated), the following two instruments may be worth considering:

Saint Alban's, Holborn (Compton, III/P). This organ is widely regarded as the loudest church instrument in London. After many years of perfecting the art of constructing organs which were to be sited in chambers, Compton apparently found the transition to an open, west end site somewhat problematical. Apparently, at one point, thick wood baffles were installed around the pipework of the G.O., simply as a desperate measure to avoid listeners being plastered against the east wall of the church with their hair and general appearance looking as if they were testing a wind tunnel for British Aerospace.

Saint Luke's, Chelsea (Compton, III/P). This vast three clavier instrument is one of the most successful essays in the extension principle which is known to me. Compton's careful experimentation and thoughtful design (and inspired voicing) resulted in a large, colourful organ with a great personality. I doubt that this church would be expensive to hire, either. One caveat - it is a while since I last played this organ, so I do not know in what state it is currently maintained. The only malfunction which happened whilst I was playing for a service was that, on the luminous light-touch console, the Contra Posaune cyphered. I was able to persuade this stop to retire gracefully about three seconds prior to the start of Howells' Collegium Regale setting of the Nunc Dimittis. (For those who are unfamiliar with this work, a 32ft. reed at this point would be about as desirable as being trapped in a lift with a dead horse.)

Other organs within Greater London which you may wish to consider:

Saint Stephen, Walbrook (Hill/HN&B, III/P). This instrument is situated at the west end of this comparatively intimate church. However, the acoustic ambience is glorious. This building, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, may have been used as the prototye for Saint Paul's Cathedral - the one common architectural feature being a central dome (although the treatment is rather different to that at Saint Paul's). The organ is a fair sized three clavier instrument, basically Romantic in character. The full organ is quite powerful enough for its location - aided by the superb acoustics.

Saint Anne's, Limehouse (Gray & Davison, III/P) may be worth investigating, now that it has received a sympathetic restoration in 2006, at the skilled hands of William Drake. It still has the original console, but the tutti, which is largely dominated by G&D's superb Pedal and G.O. reeds (Grand Bombarde 16ft., with Posaune 8ft. and Clarion 4ft.), is breathtaking.

If you feel that you really must have a tutti containing H&H Trombe, these two instruments may be just what you are looking for:

The Temple Church (H&H, IV/P). Sir George Thalben-Ball was Organist and Choirmaster here for many years. This organ (installed after WWII, to replace the Rothwell instrument which became 'rebuilt' courtesy of the Luftwaffe) was originally constructed for the ballroom of Lord Glentanar's private residence, in Scotland. It is a large and colourful instrument - oh yes, is has Trombe at 8ft. and 4ft. on the G.O.

All Saints', Margaret Street (H&H, IV/P). This church is a fine example of the type of architecture favoured by the Tractarian movement. In this comparatively small building, Arthur Harrison installed a large four clavier instrument, replete with a 32ft. Double Open Wood on the Pedal Organ, a colourful, enclosed Choir Organ, a family of (enclosed) Trumpets at 16ft., 8ft. and 4ft. pitch on the G.O. and a thrilling Orchestral Trumpet 8ft. played from the Solo Organ. It was restored recently, again by Harrisons, who altered the composition of the mixture stops - including, I believe, re-instating the G.O. Harmonics.

For a brighter, clearer sound, you could try this instrument:

All Souls, Langham Place (Willis/H&H, IV/P). This large organ stands in the west gallery of this, the 'BBC' Church (so-called, because of its close proximity to Broadcasting House). It is generally used for the broadcast of the Daily Service, on British radio. The instrument is tonally very complete, spread over four claviers, with two 32ft. ranks on the Pedal Organ (one being a Contra Trombone), a Positive Organ, large G.O. and Swell and a colourful Solo Organ, culminating in an unenclosed Tuba and a Fanfare Trumpet. The only possible drawback is that the building possesses an acoustic ambience which makes the Royal Festival Hall sound warm and fluffy.

If you prefer something a little closer in sound to a 'Father' Willis organ, this may be worth considering:

Saint Augustine's, Kilburn (Willis/H&H, III/P). This moderately sized instrument has a fairly complete G.O. and Swell. However, the Pedal Organ (as was often the case with FHW) consists of only a handful of stops - although one is Willis' trademark Ophicleide - a veritable thunderbolt. The Choir Organ has seven registers, including a Clarinet. The Solo Organ has never been installed. The instrument is sited on the north side of this large edifice, designed by John Loughborough Pearson (who was also the architect for Truro Cathedral, in Cornwall).

One further organ:

Saint John's, Upper Norwood (Lewis, III/P). This fine instrument was restored sympathetically by Harrisons, a number of years ago. It is an excellent example of the work of T.C. Lewis and produces a magnificent sound in a reasonably favourable acoustic.

I hope that the above is of some use to you.

I have played, at some point, many of these instruments and, if you desire, I can probably provide a specification and further details of any or all of them.

Naturally, I am unable to state whether or not the relevant authorities for each building would grant permission to record - or, for that matter, whether the organs are of a sufficiently reliable standard to be used. Notwithstanding, I believe that most, if not all of these instruments are kept in good playing condition.

You are welcome to contact me by PM, if you should require further details.
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar on July 18, 2011, 10:45:30 PM
Hi!

What a list - a most useful catalogue of landmarks.

The mention of delights in Trombes and unenclosed Tubas together with the problem of a dry acoustic makes Charterhouse at Godalming worth the mention as being a good example of this type of instrument in an acoustic well worthy of the instrument . . .

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 18, 2011, 11:14:32 PM
... As for Albi, it's so mucked about with... the 1970s rebuild was a disaster. It's not in any way the same as it was after Moucherel rebuilt it all those years ago, the specification doesn't make sense (certain stops plain in the wrong place), some of the voicing is obviously neoclassical and the destruction of the Puget instrument (which was, I am told, of pilgrimage quality, right up there with St Ouen etc) also grates. At least St Maximin is largely as built, has never been romanticised, has never had quality romantic material destroyed, has never had obviously neoclassical-style voicing...

To be strictly accurate, there was no 1970s 'rebuild'. Schwenkedel of Strasbourg dismantled the old organ in 1971, with the intention of providing a new organ, which was to have been influenced by neo-Baroque thought. However, it soon became apparent that a considerable portion of the orginal instrument had survived; therefore, the plans changed substantially. On 3 May 1977, the contract for restoration by Bartoloméo Formenteli of Pedemonte, Italy was signed. The rebuild itself was not completed until 1981.

The scheme which was drawn up called for reconstruction of Moucherel's original instrument, but incorporating the changes and additions by the other builders who had worked on the organ, up until 1825. The original G.O. and Positif chests were restored, the others newly constructed in period style. A new console, also in period style, was provided, with original key compasses (although the Pédale was extended up to F', but with a French-style pedlboard) and new mechanical action.

In fairness, it has to be said that there were a few aspects of the scheme - or at least the re-interpretation of it - which came as a surprise to at least one player. 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.

In 1976 he lost the use of his right arm in a traffic accident; tragically, this put an end to his career as an organist. Darasse then turned to composition and teaching. In 1985 he was appointed professor of the Organ class in the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Lyon, and in 1991 he became Director of the Conservatoire National de Paris. He was a very gentle person and exercised his talents in various disciplines: composition, teaching, expertise in organ building. He died in 1992.

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.

See his obituary in The Independent, Saturday 5 December, 1992:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-xavier-darasse-1561709.html

§ Timothy Tikker; organist, composer and improvisor. He is currently College Organist at Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI.  He is also a DMA student with a major in Organ and Church Music, in the studio of Marilyn Mason at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor .


 

Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 18, 2011, 11:33:18 PM
Hi!

What a list - a most useful catalogue of landmarks.

The mention of delights in Trombes and unenclosed Tubas together with the problem of a dry acoustic makes Charterhouse at Godalming worth the mention as being a good example of this type of instrument in an acoustic well worthy of the instrument . . .

Best wishes

David P

You are welcome. I hope that it helps your enquirer.

It would be good to hear (and play) the Charterhuose instrument, if this were possible. Do you have any contact details for anyone who might be willing to allow me to do so, please?
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar on July 19, 2011, 02:45:41 AM
You are welcome. I hope that it helps your enquirer.

It would be good to hear (and play) the Charterhuose instrument, if this were possible. Do you have any contact details for anyone who might be willing to allow me to do so, please?[/font]

Hi!

Yes - I can put anyone in touch and will PM. Here's the instrument doing what it was certainly not intended to be its usual repertoire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIl-LRafVO4

Thanks so much for filling in the detail on Albi - I have just been listening to a disc of Mary Prat-Molinier playing it and finding superbly exquisite tones on it especially with the Vox Humana and the Cromorne. There is a Bombarde-GO coupler so the Vox would be used with the Bourdon there and whilst unusually, I wonder if it was put on the Bombarde to add character to the reeds there?

Certainly at St Maximin Philippe Bardon, who has considerable panache in this repertoire, uses the Cromorne and Cornet together with Principal 4, and or Trompette 8 and or Clairon 4 from time to time. Anyone interested in registration would find his disc Apothéose de Lulli very interesting as it gives the registrations for each item on the disc.

I don't know about the effect at the console but at St Maximin, going to the Grand Jeu makes you jump in surprise on the bench. Quite an extraordinary instrument. Although the sound is masked by the automatic volume control of the camera, you can see me quite off-put in practice when changing from the bottom manual to the Grand Jeu on the second manual near the beginning:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRuYTt1tuYM

Another instrument of delight is L'Escarene behind Nice, not far from Villefranche and built the following year in 1791 by the Grinda brothers. It's in a stronger temperament than Villefranche, probably near Meantone. The disc of René Saorgin playing it is delightful and it includes a rendition of the Marseillaise which apparently was the saving of St Maximin. When Napoleon's troops entered the Basilica to destroy the organ, the organist struck up their favourite chant upon the dozen(ish) ranks of Trumpets . . . and the troops decided that the instrument should not be destroyed. L'Escarene is only 1 manual compared to the 4 of St Maximin but even on this lesser instrument M. Saorgin's playing gives a strong hint of what the effect must have been on the troops at St Maximin.

Another British instrument of note is that of Wimborne Minster where the en chamade trumpets are an orchestral variety and very shockingly so, put to excellent use on the CD http://organanoraks.com/pcndcd1.html which I bought some while ago, enjoyed and thoroughly recommend. There's a nice photo of the trumpets on the disc on the webpage.

Best wishes

David P

Postscript: The René Saorgin performance on the L'Escarene disc is brought to a close by a piece called "Grand Choeur" by Charles-Alexandre Fessy (1804-1856) and is a most charming rendition which one would think was on a Wurlitzer - but in Meantone tuning and a delightful lightness in the voicing. This church instrument is worth researching by anyone seeking a direction in Entertainment Organs . . .
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane on July 19, 2011, 08:09:25 AM
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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 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/ (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 (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 (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 (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 (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).
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: revtonynewnham 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Barry Williams 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: revtonynewnham 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: revtonynewnham 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: barniclecompton 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.......
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane on July 21, 2011, 04:48:52 PM
I think it will be, have you heard him play?

Jonathan
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: KB7DQH 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 (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 (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
KB7DQH
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: revtonynewnham 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.

Moderator
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: revtonynewnham on July 22, 2011, 03:54:45 PM
Hi

The weekly lunchtime organ recital series at Bradford Cathedral (hardly an easy place to get to, and with a local population in the city of probably 30% or more Asian) gains an attendance of 60-100 every week (the excellent buffet lunch at a very reasonable price probably helps - but isn't the total answer).  Last year we filled that same cathedral on a weekday evening in February for a concert by Carlo Curley.  I suspect that Barnicle COmpton isn't looking wide enough.

The COS Wurlitzer a Saltaire doesn't seem to attract more than 100-150 on a Sunday afternoon - and I suspect from a much wider area than the cathedral's lunchtime series.

I enjoy most styles of organ music - even what others might consider boring - that's down to taste again.  I've played a few cinema organs (probably pro-rata a greater percentage of the surviving instruments of that genre than "straight" organs) - including, at one time, a regular gig on the Rye Wurlitzer - so kindly don't tell me that my attitudes are like a brick wall!!!!

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar on July 22, 2011, 05:28:09 PM
Hi!

Brilliant grist to the mill and certainly shows James diversity is part of the scene and that in one way or other people like the sound of air emerging from pipes!

One of the most interesting organs in the country must be that of Wimborne Minster of which Cecil Clutton wrote "It is very rare indeed to see a specification of whatever size in which there is nothing to criticise, but this is one. It has a proper balance between classical and romantic; no stop is superfulous or misplaced. All essential balances are present." He adds: "this must be one of the largest surviving collections of British pipework predating Smith and Harris"

It would be great for a documentary to see if one might have a visit with the organ builder to show us an ancient pipe or two and its condition.

On the Great the 2nd Open Diapason, Rohr Flute, Twelfth and Fifteenth together with Positive Principal and 4ft Chimney flute are from 1664!

On the Swell, the Open and Stopped Diapasons, Principal and 4ft Flute are from 1764.

However, how original their sound might be might be another matter - wind pressures in use might have changed in the 19th century and presumably they would have been tuned to Meantone rather than equal temperament.

Best wishes

David P

Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: comptonplus on July 22, 2011, 09:17:29 PM
I personally think to catch a wider audience, the programme needs to concentrate on ALL aspects of the organ, Cinema/Theatre, Classical/Church.

My personal view, if it concentrates on just one or the other, it's missing out on a GREAT opportunity!

I'm a keen theatre organ fan, and to see it almost being 'dismissed' is a great shame, they are still pipe organs and have a lot to offer, be it in the Blackpool stytle or more orchestral (I am a fan of Blackpool, others may not be, down to your choice!) If you cover everything, then everyone will see some part of the organ scene which MAY appeal to them. If none of it does, well, they shouldn't have bnothered tuning in to see the programme!

If it is to be a TV Documentary, the man in the street will see Church/Classical organ and turn off immediately, but if you see a man in a white suit popping up out of the floor, I think it's more likely he will leave the TV on, even if for a split second to laugh at it! :-)
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 22, 2011, 10:24:22 PM
.... I recall PCND saying that he'd heard superb Vierne on a cinema organ and I have to say I'd much rather listen to Vierne or orchestral symphonies in transcription - anyone brave enough to take on the Havergal Brian Gothic?  ;D - than 'Oh I do like the be beside the sea-side' and the rest of the sentimental twaddle that seems to be the stock-in-trade of too many theatre organists. For God's sake we want something with some weight and profundity to dig into intellectually, not just to appeal on a totally superficial level!

Not quite. I was referring to an item which I saw on YouTube, in which Ken Cowan was playing (form memory and in a public concert) Healey Willan's monumental Introduction, Passacaglia & Fugue, in E-flat minor. Having said this, I actually only liked it for two reasons: firstly, his performance was excellent - both accurate and thoroughly musical. And secondly - he somehow managed to make whatever Wurlitzer he was using sound like (for want of a more precise description) a cathedral organ. That is, apart from one brief moment in the middle, when it sounded exactly what it was - a theatre organ. Whilst barniclecompton may disagree (which is his privilege), I simply did not like the sound at this point - and cannot see any point in pretending that I did.
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 22, 2011, 10:49:16 PM
I give in, talkin to classical organists is like talking to a brick wall. I can see why everyone else has given up trying.
When it comes to the proms, I dont know ANYONE who watches them.
As for classical organ.......most people turn off/walk out/dont bother. Truth. If you dont want to beleive, dont.
As for-- but too many are a grating reminder of a bygone era of holidays consisting of walks along seafronts in driving rain and greasy chips and mushy peas. What I would like to hear more of is the theatre organ being treated as what it is - thats what people enjoy, thats what brings crowds. I dont see any symphonic style organists drawing BIG crowds, especially in the UK. The theatre organ is NOT a symphonic instrument.

Firstly, I am happy to say that many people here do watch the Promenade concerts. In addition, our local professional orchestra also performs its own Last Night of the Proms, which is always a sell-out - and hugely enjoyable.

Again, you appear to be making generalisations. I would not personally wish to be so certain that 'everyone' has given up trying to talk to classical organists.

It does seem that you have a somewhat restricted view of what constitutes fun, with regard to organ concerts and recitals. I can assure you that there are, in this part of the country, plenty of organ recitals in which the audience do not stamp, clap in time to the music, sing along, dance or jump around or otherwise take part physically. At the same time, they do not feel cheated that they have not done so - as far as I am aware, neither do they wish to. Nevertheless, they have had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

I hope that you would be encouraged to learn that, a few miles from here, is one of England's 'greater churches'. In this building, every Thursday lunch-time, an organ recital takes place. I have performed there myself, on a number of occasions. Furthermore, there is a regular and loyal following - I beileve that I am correct in stating that last week's audience numbered in excess of one hundred and eighty. This is, in fact, not unusual. The programmes are chosen carefully, both to avoid duplication withina series and in order that there is a reasonable variety of styles. However, the vast majority of the music is, again for want of a better term 'classical' organ music. For example, my own recitals have featured the final movements from Vierne's first and sixth symphonies, the first movement from the Second Symphony for Organ, various preludes (or toccatas) and fugues, by Bach and also a number of shorter pieces in a variety of styles. After each recital, several members of the audience(s) came up to speak, telling me how much they had enjoyed the concert. I say this for no other reason than to attempt to illustrate that, in this part of the country at any rate, 'serious' organ recitals are both appreciated and enjoyed by comparatively healthy (in terms of numbers) audiences.

In your last paragraph, I believe that you are actually superimposing your own views on what others might enjoy. I am pleased to learn that you have experienced theatre organ concerts (which you have evidently enjoyed) and which have drawn crowds. However, to imply that this is the only type of organ concert which is capable of doing so, is certainly not the case in this part of the world.

Incidentally, I would agree with you on one point - the cinema organ is definitely not a symphonic instrument. However, I would view it as an instrument which is orchestral in stlye.

It was heartening to read of Voix Cynique's story regarding the builder who has discovered a great passion for music which, if one were universally to adopt the type of philosophy you appear to recommend, he would have been denied the opportunity of ever hearing. Yet another example, which does illustrate the point that it can be folly to generalise.

The fact is, as the Reverend Newnham has written, there is good and bad in both - and each has a loyal following.

I think there is a danger that you are allowing yourself to be just as blinkered and intolerant in your views as you accuse those who like 'classsical' organ concerts of being.

For the record, as I write this, I am listening to a superb double CD of Oscar Peterson, performing in his inimitable style - for the most part with either a trio or a small band. In my car, currently I have CDs featuring Nickelback, Bob Dylan and Dire Straits. On my iPod Nano I have (amongst a whole host of the most catholic choices one could imagine) Linkin Park, Eminem (sorry, Tony....), Fall Out Boy, Cochereau and some Donald Fagen* (remember Steely Dan?). I am also proud to say that I do not wear slippers, I do not own a cardigan with tortoiseshell buttons - and I do not smoke a briar pipe....



* All of which are given an airing (to my great enjoyment) on a regular basis.


Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 22, 2011, 10:52:06 PM

... If it is to be a TV Documentary, the man in the street will see Church/Classical organ and turn off immediately, but if you see a man in a white suit popping up out of the floor, I think it's more likely he will leave the TV on, even if for a split second to laugh at it! :-)

In fact, this was apparently not the case with either The King of Instruments (featuring Gillian Weir) or Howard Goodall's Organ Works.

Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: comptonplus on July 22, 2011, 11:20:45 PM
Howard Goodalls Organ Works covered ALL aspects, from the first organs to modern day, including theatre organs (he went to Blackpool Tower and also included information on Hope Jones). It did not conentrate on one person, one organ, one type of music, it covered the lot, and a very good set of programmes it was too!!
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: comptonplus on July 22, 2011, 11:26:23 PM
Also, how do you know people didn't switch off their sets anymore than I know they did?? Just a thought. Maybe you have access to information I don't?

Talking to people, the Howard Goodall series seems to have stuck out in people's minds, also a This England programme and Behold the Mighty Wurlitzer which were aired in the 70's.
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 22, 2011, 11:30:33 PM
Howard Goodalls Organ Works covered ALL aspects, from the first organs to modern day, including theatre organs (he went to Blackpool Tower and also included information on Hope Jones). It did not conentrate on one person, one organ, one type of music, it covered the lot, and a very good set of programmes it was too!!

For the record, I did not claim that it did concentrate on one person, organ or type of music. My point was that it also included a fair amount of time featuring 'classical' organs.
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 22, 2011, 11:33:22 PM
Also, how do you know people didn't switch off their sets anymore than I know they did?? Just a thought. Maybe you have access to information I don't?

I simply read a number of reviews (and Letters to the Editor features) in certain well-known periodicals at the time. In addition, I also talked to many friends (not all of whom were particularly musical) about the programme.

For the record, viewing statistics are (or certainly were) available for many types of programmes, if one were to search for them.
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar on July 22, 2011, 11:40:06 PM
Hi!

It's great to see such a spirited and lively debate! Interestingly however, the situation in France is particularly different and possibly it depends upon how exciting the instrument is on which concerts are performed. During August recitals at Albi the cathedral is so packed that they have to turn people away at the door. St Maximin recitals are pretty full as also are those at L'Escarene on the salt route up to Italy behind Nice.

And all this with classical music even if it does include Charles-Alexandre Fessy (1804-1856) requiring the tremulant on the 1791 instrument and making it sound like a Wurlitzer . . .

It may be that those who consider that only Wurlitzers draw the crowds might usefully take a peek at what's happening on the Continent, which is very different. To some extent it depends on the charisma of the organist and how well the instrument can aspire to the title of King and to what extent each instrument has a personal following - such as Myrrha Principano at Entrevaux.

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 22, 2011, 11:48:09 PM
Hi!

It's great to see such a spirited and lively debate! Interestingly however, the situation in France is particularly different and possibly it depends upon how exciting the instrument is on which concerts are performed. During August recitals at Albi the cathedral is so packed that they have to turn people away at the door. St Maximin recitals are pretty full as also are those at L'Escarene on the salt route up to Italy behind Nice.

And all this with classical music even if it does include Charles-Alexandre Fessy (1804-1856) requiring the tremulant on the 1791 instrument and making it sound like a Wurlitzer . . .

It may be that those who consider that only Wurlitzers draw the crowds might usefully take a peek at what's happening on the Continent, which is very different. To some extent it depends on the charisma of the organist and how well the instrument can aspire to the title of King.

Best wishes

David P

Best wishes

David P

Thank you for this, David.

It is indeed good to hear of such things.

A colleague informs me that this happy situation is replicated in parts of Poland and certain Eastern European § countries (in which he regularly takes holidays). In Poland, in particualr, he has attended many organ recitals - which often seem to begin quite late in the evenings - in which there has been standing room only*. The music featured was, without exception, 'classical' organ music. (Incidentally, if someone can suggest an inoffensive, non-controversial but succinct alternative term, you can have one of my CDs free - including the postage to anywhere on mainland UK. First acceptable answer only. I cannot afford to give loads of  the things away....) To return to the saga of the Polish organ recitals. My colleague also said that he was often one of the oldest people in attendance (no, he is not particularly old). Apparently, there was a large proportion of teenagers and people who appeared to be in their early to middle twenties.



* He was referring specifically to cathedrals and other large churches, here.

§ This term is both context-dependent and somewhat volatile. For the purpose of this post, I regard Poland as belonging to Central Southern Europe.
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 22, 2011, 11:57:22 PM
PCND, I'm listening to that Cowan recording of the Willan as I write. It's difficult to form any impressions, as the 240p Youtube compressed audio has killed whatever reverb the room may have and likely the upper harmonics of the organ, so it all sounds a bit thick and flat, like a recording from a long time ago (coincidentally, it reminds me of Whitlock's recordings of the Parkstone Compton). However, it certainly proves the point that these are capable concert instruments and I would hope that more people play theatre organs 'straight', as it would, I suspect, win the theatre organ more fans from within the sometimes snobbish world of the 'classical' organ, as well as from the wider classical music world.

I take your point about the sound quality. This is, unfortunatley, often the case with YouTube clips. However, I am listening on a Logitech system with a bass bin and separate tweeters and, whilst I would not pretend that this set-up constitutes high fidelity reproduction, it does enhance it somewhat.


If I'm honest, the cinema organ sounds I'm hearing are scarcely any worse than the Father Willis at Ewell with its Vox Humana and tremulant! I think Cowan could have laid off the tinkly percussion, but that's just personal taste. What I'd like to know is where Hope-Jones learned to voice - apparently his Tubas are very much like those of Fr Willis.

Hmmm.... the 'tinkly percussion'. I think that this was the part to which I objected.... also on grounds of taste. *

With regard to Hope-Jones and voicing: it is possible that he sub-contracted much of this to trade (but nevertheless highly skilled) voicers, such as W.C. Jones. This I would need to check.

Some of his Tuba stops may have sounded similar in timbre to those by FHW. However, I am fairly certain that, had it come to fruition, his plan to place a Tuba voiced on 2500mm (or 100" w.g., if you prefer) above the Canons' Stalls at Worcester Cathedral would more closely have resembled the Last Trump.

Thank goodness that one never materialised....



* Perhaps somewhat ironically, I believe that Willan specified this registration in the score at this point.
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar on July 23, 2011, 12:13:35 AM
§ This term is both context-dependent and somewhat volatile. For the purpose of this post, I regard Poland as belonging to Central Southern Europe.[/font]

Um. Yes! Poland Southern? Perhaps south of Hamburg . . .

:-)
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: comptonplus on July 23, 2011, 12:24:02 AM
Other countries in Europe seem more willing to embrace other types of music than we do here in the UK! If it doesn't blast your brains out for the vast majority of youngsters and some well into theit 40's and 50's, forget it!

Back to the Howard Goodall bit, I was still at School when that was on and I remember mentioning it to quite a few friends who to the mick, I wonder if they would watch it now, however?

Indeed - times do change. Look at Helen Mirren....
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 23, 2011, 12:47:26 AM
As for what to call 'classical' music when it's not just classical, I think this is a problem we've been wrestling with for centuries! Um... intellectual? Oh, and note to moderators - DON'T NICK MY IDEA! IT'S MINE AND SO'S THAT CD IF I WIN!  ;D

Hmmm.... Not sure about that one - but it is a fair first try.


Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 23, 2011, 12:53:19 AM
§ This term is both context-dependent and somewhat volatile. For the purpose of this post, I regard Poland as belonging to Central Southern Europe.[/font]

Um. Yes! Poland Southern? Perhaps south of Hamburg . . .

:-)

Gah - I should, of course, have typed 'Northern' - as opposed to 'Southern'. It is probably even mostly north of the Watfod Gap Services....

My excuse is that it is late and I am tired. Even worse, I cannot find where I put the half-finished bag of toffee popcorn from last night. Consequently, you see before you the postings of a distressed and hungry individual.

Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: comptonplus on July 23, 2011, 02:15:41 AM
Other countries in Europe seem more willing to embrace other types of music than we do here in the UK! If it doesn't blast your brains out for the vast majority of youngsters and some well into theit 40's and 50's, forget it!

Back to the Howard Goodall bit, I was still at School when that was on and I remember mentioning it to quite a few friends who to the mick, I wonder if they would watch it now, however?

Indeed - times do change. Look at Helen Mirren....

Not sure I like how admin seem to be able to add into my posts making it liik at first glance that I typed it, I refer to the Helen Mirren bit!
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane on July 23, 2011, 02:27:08 AM
At the opening of the HNB/Schantz at Melbourne Town Hall by Thomas Heywood, the hall was packed to its 2200ish capacity, with a further 650-odd having to be turned away. That's how popular it was. An awful lot of people I know listen to and watch the Proms - one of them is a proper Saf Lunnun-spoken builder, shaven-headed, five feet wide by seven feet tall and with an accent you could cut through stone with, but nevertheless he watched the entirety of the 1st Night on the television - when a completely ornery builder is raving about Janacek's Glagolitic Mass, you know you're getting somewhere. He has now vowed one way or another to catch every Prom in the season, on the TV, radio and listening back on the iPlayer and is talking about buying tickets for a few next year, bringing his son and wife, even his mates and colleagues (who, as it is, are given regular updates on his meteoric progress on the piano and are often made to listen to him playing in exchange for beers and curries). Just goes to show that dumbing down to appeal to the masses can often backfire.

This is so heartening, and great to see people do respond when dumbing down is avoided!  The thing I see time and again, with children and adults, is that they appreciate good music and reject poor music, in whatever style or genre.

Jonathan
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane on July 23, 2011, 02:31:15 AM

... If it is to be a TV Documentary, the man in the street will see Church/Classical organ and turn off immediately, but if you see a man in a white suit popping up out of the floor, I think it's more likely he will leave the TV on, even if for a split second to laugh at it! :-)

In fact, this was apparently not the case with either The King of Instruments (featuring Gillian Weir) or Howard Goodall's Organ Works.


There must be some popularity for such programmes, as Priory have now released The King of Instruments on DVD.  Sadly the Howard Goodall Organ Works series do not look like being released in a similar manner, I asked the production company a few years ago, but they said no.  However, if lots of people ask, they may change their mind.

Organ Works was excellent, not only for its content (I particularly liked the Spanish episode), but also for its presenter, Howard engages everyone, whatever age, and convinces them they like whatever he is talking about!

Jonathan
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 23, 2011, 08:27:18 AM
Other countries in Europe seem more willing to embrace other types of music than we do here in the UK! If it doesn't blast your brains out for the vast majority of youngsters and some well into theit 40's and 50's, forget it!

Back to the Howard Goodall bit, I was still at School when that was on and I remember mentioning it to quite a few friends who to the mick, I wonder if they would watch it now, however?

Indeed - times do change. Look at Helen Mirren....


Not sure I like how admin seem to be able to add into my posts making it liik at first glance that I typed it, I refer to the Helen Mirren bit!

My apologies - this was an error, which I have corrected. At least it was written in a different type-face....

This board appears to function slightly differently to the others on which I write - in terms of cutting and pasting.
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: revtonynewnham on July 23, 2011, 09:50:06 AM

What I'd like to know is where Hope-Jones learned to voice - apparently his Tubas are very much like those of Fr Willis.

Hi

H-J was based on the Wirral - Willis' had a factory in Liverpool, so it's not beyond the realms of possibility that he learnt from a voiced at Willis (or persuaded one to come and work for him).  Just supposition, obviously.

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane on July 23, 2011, 10:19:41 AM
.... I recall PCND saying that he'd heard superb Vierne on a cinema organ and I have to say I'd much rather listen to Vierne or orchestral symphonies in transcription - anyone brave enough to take on the Havergal Brian Gothic?  ;D - than 'Oh I do like the be beside the sea-side' and the rest of the sentimental twaddle that seems to be the stock-in-trade of too many theatre organists. For God's sake we want something with some weight and profundity to dig into intellectually, not just to appeal on a totally superficial level!

Not quite. I was referring to an item which I saw on YouTube, in which Ken Cowan was playing (form memory and in a public concert) Healey Willan's monumental Introduction, Passacaglia & Fugue, in E-flat minor. Having said this, I actually only liked it for two reasons: firstly, his performance was excellent - both accurate and thoroughly musical. And secondly - he somehow managed to make whatever Wurlitzer he was using sound like (for want of a more precise description) a cathedral organ. That is, apart from one brief moment in the middle, when it sounded exactly what it was - a theatre organ. Whilst barniclecompton may disagree (which is his privilege), I simply did not like the sound at this point - and cannot see any point in pretending that I did.

The point about the Wurlitzer sounding like a cathedral organ is very interesting.  I used to play, from time to time, a Compton organ in a church in Surrey.  The organ was built for a cinema, but right at the end of the programme of installing cinema organs, and consequently was never installed.  This church bought it, and installed it pretty much as was built, even with the horseshoe console with coloured stop tabs.  The only alteration was the removal of the heavy tremulants.  The resultant sound was amazing, and very cathedral like, in a building which was relatively small with a pretty nondescript acoustic.

Jonathan
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: KB7DQH on July 23, 2011, 10:32:34 AM
Diane Bish here in the USA has been presenting the "decadent music of our forebears" for a quarter century on her weekly television program "The Joy of Music"... See www.thejoyofmusic.org (http://www.thejoyofmusic.org) for more information ;)

The current choice of "decadent music of our forbears" coursing through the home audio reproduction equipment is a rather poorly produced Deutch-Grammaphon CD of the Faure'
Requiem ;D ;)  My parents and friends of theirs participated in a local presentation of same well over a quarter century ago.   Its amazing how a piece of music can stick in the brain cells for so long a period of time and when heard again one is able to recall so much of that period...  What's upsetting about this recording is the microphone placement favors the orchestra and choir but
only occasionally does the organ make its presence known...   :(  I guess being in the choir loft during all the rehearsals (near the pipework) tends to color my perception of how "I" think
the piece should be presented.  In the same way that my first exposure to Victimae Paschali Loudes (transcription from a Tournemiere improvisation by Maurice Durufle', performed by J. Melvin Butler on the Flentrop organ at St. Mark's Cathedral, Seattle)  will always be the "measuring stick" for which I  evaluate other presentations of the same piece.  (A stunning example of "playing the room"... as well as the organ ;) 

If one is "seeking people enthusiastic about pipe organs"-- this forum is certainly a good place to start ;)

Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: KB7DQH on July 23, 2011, 10:52:47 AM
 :o "Cinema organs" installed in Churches ???

Yes indeed!  One of the featured instruments in the 2010 ATOS convention in Seattle was a Rogers electronic "theater" organ, installed-- in a college chapel!

I discovered this "anomaly" in my earlier research on the Organ Historical Society website...

Not surprising, as cinemas no longer needed these instruments and with the depression economy shortly after sound was introduced to film, a church looking for a pipe organ could rehouse a redundant cinema organ and many did.  Generally this type of instrument was favored by more "contemporary" style worship traditions ;D

Another case which I discovered was a Kimball which was purchased by the Seattle School district and installed at Queen Anne High school.  After that building became redundant the organ was "restored" by a local organ firm, and the instrument, complete with :o a new, 3 manual drawknob console :o  and is currently installed at Franklin High school.   And to thicken the plot a bit, the cinema from which this organ was originally installed once again  has a cinema organ installed in its chambers!  What goes around comes around...

Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: diapason on July 23, 2011, 11:44:38 AM
The oldest playable Wurlitzer in  England is installed in a Congregational Church in Beer, Devon.  It is used regularly for services and is being restored by a group of enthusiasts who arrange regular concerts.

Nigel
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: revtonynewnham on July 23, 2011, 02:33:33 PM
Hi

A quick search on NPOR for Compton's in Surrey returns 17 current or past installations - although to be fair, several of these are in what is now Greater London (a quirk of the County definitions on NPOR being based on "historic county") - but that doesn't include many cinema organs (yet!) - and I suspect may well omit a number of small organs, especially the Miniatura range.

The Wurlitzer now in Beer is only a few months older than that now in Thomas Peacocke school in Rye - an organ that I used to play at least annually when we were in the area.

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: revtonynewnham on July 23, 2011, 02:41:17 PM
Hi

Many You Tube posts are spoled not so much by the audio compression that You tube apply, but by the over-enthusiastic automatic level control on most consumer camcorders which tends to even out any dynamic variation (and not helped by the relatively poor nature of the microphones).

That's once reason why my last couple of you tube posts are stills over a recording initially made on Minidisc - and I'm planning to try running both camera and decent audio straight into the laptop for the next recordings that I'm hoping to find time to sort out soon.

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Jonathan Lane on July 23, 2011, 05:05:14 PM
I know of one in a United Reformed church in Ipswich too. Jonathan, which church in Surrey was that with the Compton? I know of two large ones, one in Albury PC and one in Richmond-upon-Thames RC, but there may be others.
St Peter's Hersham, http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N13838

Ignore the Brindley and Foster reference, I think it is misleading.  My understanding from local sources was that the Compton was installed straight from the factory.

Jonathan
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: revtonynewnham on July 23, 2011, 07:34:37 PM
I know of one in a United Reformed church in Ipswich too. Jonathan, which church in Surrey was that with the Compton? I know of two large ones, one in Albury PC and one in Richmond-upon-Thames RC, but there may be others.
St Peter's Hersham, http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N13838

Ignore the Brindley and Foster reference, I think it is misleading.  My understanding from local sources was that the Compton was installed straight from the factory.

Jonathan

Hi

If you look further down the page on NPOR you'll see that the B&F is well documented (and hence not really misleading!) - but I agree, it could be an earlier organ, or COmpton's could have re-used the pipework, as they did elsewhere.  You'd have to delve into the records (if they still exist) to find out.

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: revtonynewnham on July 23, 2011, 07:36:49 PM
Hmm... Compton was trained by B&F... is it possible that there's a nucleus of B&F pipework in it? Would one be able to tell the difference?

Hi

I don't know where your info came from, but according to DBOB, John Compton was apprenticed to Halmshaw in 1893.

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Sixty by Sixty on July 31, 2011, 03:34:46 AM
I'm enthusiastic about Pipe Organs.  Playing them has become the love of my life.  I didn't set out to be an organist.  I had a rather circuitous route to becoming one and now it has changed my life.  I started taking pipe organ lessons prior to having a pipe organ installed at our church and during the installation process I practiced at other churches for 3 weeks.  It was such a cool experience to play in different churches and different organs, that I decided to embark on a pipe organ project where I'm playing 60 pipe organs before I turn 60. 

I call it Sixty by Sixty a musical journey.  I have played 32 so far as part of my project and have met many wonderful and encouraging organists, visited many beautiful churches and played some lovely instruments.  I played all the pipe organs in Battle Creek, Michigan, as a sub-goal, and some of those instruments were not so great and sadly in serious need of repair.  So the second half of my project I'm hoping to play special instruments and continue to grow as a musician and in my knowledge of organs and organ music. 

Check out my blog at http://sixtybysixty.tumblr.com

Ellen
Sixty by Sixty
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: revtonynewnham on July 31, 2011, 09:07:52 AM
Keep it up Ellen.  It does become rather addictive.

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar on July 31, 2011, 12:30:23 PM
Dear Ellen

I had noticed your project and was very admiring.

It's interesting the way in which organs all being different require one to embark on pilgrimmages . . .

One organ that should be visited it St Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. In a pure Palladian church it is sited on the altar reredos with the monastery chamber behind, so putting the instrument probably at the Golden Section proportion of the building and the silver sound penetrates in all directions in a perfect acoustic.

Two more, mentioned before, are Albi and St Maximin - but one does need a handle on the appropriate repertoire to do justice to the instruments. The Giorgio Questa CDs are very interesting in this regard. I thought the registrations very dull at first until I noticed accompanying pitches of very high ranks.

Another interesting instrument looks to be at Bordighera
http://www.alessandrogiacobazzi.org/event_eng.html
http://www.musica-classica.it/forum/index.php?showtopic=11342
http://www.alessandrogiacobazzi.org/txtIncorsoDopera/Sceda%20tecnica%20Organo%20Bordighera.htm

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: KB7DQH on July 31, 2011, 01:36:59 PM
This may be a pilgrimage worth making given the subject under discussion...

http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,826.0.html (http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,826.0.html)

Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: KB7DQH on September 02, 2011, 01:07:44 AM
For someone considering a documentary of some sort on the future of the pipe organ, the following event

http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,878.msg4216/topicseen.html#msg4216 (http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,878.msg4216/topicseen.html#msg4216)

would certainly be "worth more than the price of admission" ;)

Even if you could only get to the concerts 8) 8) 8) 8) 8)

Eric
KB7DQH

Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: KB7DQH on June 13, 2012, 01:41:15 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkuVZ1n1IpE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkuVZ1n1IpE) This is a local Television news clip, reporting on the newly-installed Casavant pipe organ in a new concert hall... The enthusiasm expressed by the reporter is infectious ;) 8)  and in the background audio one can get a "taste" of the instrument...

The only other Youtube clip of this instrument was produced by the Kauffmann Center, and could be found in the "suggestions" column from the previous clip.  This was a brief "test" of the instrument with volunteers sitting directly in front of the case in the "choir" seating area, around 200 enthusiastic individuals ;)

Currently the Kennedy Center is getting a New Casavant instrument installed in their concert hall also ;)

Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: darkroom000 on June 16, 2012, 02:53:23 AM
The photos and information of the secretaire organ are available again here: https://sites.google.com/site/secretaireorgan/home
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: David Pinnegar on June 16, 2012, 10:58:22 AM
The photos and information of the secretaire organ are available again here: https://sites.google.com/site/secretaireorgan/home

Interesting to see the photos of that organ and the simple 8842 specification clearly on a divided manual. But the page is quite hilarious in reference to a 1795 HammerKlavier:
Quote
Original strings, may need tuning. (Last tuned shortly before World War II.)

!!!

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: darkroom000 on June 17, 2012, 01:26:05 AM
Take a look. You have to scrool through the Bach photos to get to the Secretaire organ.


https://picasaweb.google.com/organphotos/101D510002#

https://picasaweb.google.com/organphotos/101D5100#

https://picasaweb.google.com/organphotos/BachSurveys#

https://picasaweb.google.com/organphotos/BachPhotos1980S#

https://picasaweb.google.com/organphotos/Bach6Shots#
Title: Re: Documentary researcher seeking people enthusiastic about Pipe Organs
Post by: Bruise in the Muttastery on July 09, 2014, 10:24:50 PM
It would be great fun to help the researcher by sharing my enthusiasm for the organ.

My first encounter was as a small child and I was fascinated by the sound as well as the facade of gold coloured pipes high up in the gallery over the pulpit.   I was finally allowed to go to the gallery to watch the organist play the postlude and was fascinated by the large drawknobs (1927 Pilcher) and watching the organist play the pedals (he wore white bucks!).

Later the organist-choirmaster in another church bribed me to good behaviour in children's choir by allowing me to sit in the chamber while she practiced IF I would behave.  I think this was likely the only successful method of getting good behaviour from me as a child.  ;-) 

My love for the organ was fueled by its appearance within and without.  Interestingly, the console has never really engaged my love for the instrument, although I appreciate a beautiful console and recognize their necessity.   Pipes are what drew me in!

I look forward to the researcher's questions as well as his findings and summation.

Bruise in the Muttastery