PipeChat Digest #5009 - Friday, December 17, 2004
RE: Downes and the Royal Festival Hall
  by "alantaylor1" <alantaylor1@members.v21.co.uk>
Finding "But I Would Not Have You To Be Ignorant, Brethren"
  by "Charlie Lester" <crl@137.com>
RE: Women's organ shoes
  by "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com>
RE: Console Accessories
  by "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com>
RE: Downes and the Royal Festival Hall
  by "TheShieling" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz>
RE: Downes and the Royal Festival Hall
  by "John Foss" <harkat@kat.forthnet.gr>

(back) Subject: RE: Downes and the Royal Festival Hall From: "alantaylor1" <alantaylor1@members.v21.co.uk> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 01:21:30 -0000   I am a bit tired but will attempt to address some of your points Colin.   Don't think that I am against the classical organ revival. I adore the = 1960s organ by Walker in St John's Duncan Terrace, Islington. A truly beautiful organ. But you see St John's has an organ. Not a screaming machine like = the one in the RFH. I love the sound of the Oratory organ. Although I hear the design of the action et al is quite dreadful. It seems it is a pig to maintain. Perhaps the Oratory should have employed a real organ = consultant.   The Hope-Jones organ was in Worcester cathedral. If Downes thought that Hope-Jones voiced a good diapason, well....that just about wraps it up for Downes.   I once had access to a vintage, and then untouched, Hope-Jones. It was in = St Georges, Hanover Square, London. This organ was truly dreadful. I think there were two 4ft stops on the organ. One of which was the 4ft Tuba. This wonder of wonders was a four manual machine. The solo manual contained = three straight tubas (16, 8, 4) plus sub and super octave couplers. If Sir = Winston Churchill had known about this organ during the war, I feel sure he could have dispensed with the anti aircraft guns. Full organ on this Hope-Jones would have cleared the skies above London in minutes.   But, whilst I say I really enjoy the Classical voiced organ, I can equally say that I enjoy the romantic voiced organ.   It is simple. I like good musical organs. I like Southwark and the Westminster cathedral organs. But, to my ears the RFH organ is dreadful. Yes, there are a few nice stops on the organ. But, when you add them together you get the sound of Bedlam Hospital in the 1700s. And, who the hell wants or needs a chorus on all four manuals?   Wurlitzer, in my view, made better cinema organs than Comptons. But = Compton turned out some brilliant organs. Southampton Guildhall, St Luke's, = Chelsea, London, St Mary le Boltons, St Brides Fleet Street plus a host of others.   I don't think that some builders left the path of the righteous when they built organs that you have given the good new name of "orchestralisation". They just did something different. The good builders did it well. Others made a hash of it. Do you rember those massed produced organs that Walkers built in the 1950s. Devoid of all interest and musicality?   You mention GDB. Well, I went to an opening of an organ that they had rebuilt. It was a smallish country church. I think it could have been in Kent. It was a small two manual. The words Pip squeak and scream comes to = my mind. After the recital I was approached by the man himself. He asked me what I thought of the organ. I pointed out that this was probably the only time that this organ would be heard in recital mode. And, what the hell = were they going to play the hymns on on Sunday. I suggested the organ lacked = two things. The first being a gallon of petrol, the second a match. My point being it wasn't only the romantic organ builders that screwed up organs.   I am off to my bed.   Cheers,   Alan London     Hello,   It doesn't matter what "name" we apply to organ-building, there will always be people who are extremely capable and those who are not, with a few falling somewhere in the middle.   "Fashion" is quite a different matter!   A "fashionable" organ-builder can often succeed commercially, yet remain an incompetent tonal artist. History is littered with the results.   One could even argue that, as a tonal artist involved in the manufacture of Theatre Organs, Compton wasn't in the same league as Wurlitzer; yet Wurlitzer could never achieve what Compton achieved in church organs. Horses for courses, I suppose.   Thinking in terms of "fashion", I can think of nothing less fashionable than the sounds of Hope-Jones, yet I have been impressed by the few examples of his pipework I have played upon. Henry Willis 4 also has a certain admiration for his voicing abilities, whilst Raplh Downes (I think at Gloucester, or was it Worcester?), always maintained that the best Diapason on the organ was the Hope Jones one.   As John Foss rightly points ut, where would we be now without the classical revival, which ISN'T about chiffs and snarls, but about tonal architecture and musical integrity.   Is that far removed from the Hill/Gauntlett experiments?   Isn't it close to the English heritage of Schmidt, Snetzler or even Dallam?   Sadly, it was the heavily romantic organ-builders who strayed so far away from organ integrity, and into the blind alley of "orchestralisation" (Is that a new word?), who lost sight of what an organ should be.   It was people like Forsyth-Grant, Ralph Downes, Dennis Thurlow....Larry Phelps and many of the American "names," who took the trouble to study history and the work of contemporary continental builders, who brought integrity back into organ design and execution.   Isn't this what Compton also achieved, with the most alien of means?   I just don't understand the hostility towards classical integrity, which has always been at the core of great organ-building, whether the name on the console is Schnitger, Muller, Hill, Willis,T C Lewis, Schulze, Fisk, Aeolian-Skinner or a relative unknown like Taylor of Leicester.   In other words, an organ requires a sense of tonal architecture and proportion.   The thing I fear in all this classical revival, is what happened after the true baroque period. I have NEVER heard modern neo-baroque reed stops which compare favourably to those on the old organs in Europe.   I rue the day when no-one will know how to make and voice a Skinner French Horn, a Willis Tuba or a Harrison Cor Anglais. These are voices which are as important to SOME of the organ repertoire as any Cornet or Trechtregal is in baroque repertoire.   Regards,   Colin Mitchell UK     --- alan taylor1 <alantaylor1@members.v21.co.uk> wrote:   > Sorry Colin, I think it is all tosh. You were > correct in your first opinion.       __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? The all-new My Yahoo! - What will yours do? http://my.yahoo.com   ****************************************************************** "Pipe Up and Be Heard!" 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(back) Subject: Finding "But I Would Not Have You To Be Ignorant, Brethren" From: "Charlie Lester" <crl@137.com> Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2004 17:29:45 -0800   Did you try the J.W.Peterson web site? Specifically, this page:   http://www.johnwpetersonmusic.com/sales.htm   ~ C    
(back) Subject: RE: Women's organ shoes From: "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com> Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2004 21:09:00 -0600   I promised I wouldn't in any way assist this thread to continue, so full of self-loathing as I am that I actually started it. But I can't resist.   Actually, Margo, it's quite easy to secure the shoes. I just slather some of my newly minted and copyrighted possum hide glue inside the shoes. If they are loose, I add a McDonald's double cheeseburger to each shoe - no problems.   Heloise ain't got nothing on me.   Glenda Sutton gksjd85@direcway.com     -----Original Message----- From: pipechat@pipechat.org [mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org] On Behalf Of Margo Dillard Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 9:06 AM To: PipeChat Subject: Re: Women's organ shoes   But, if they have no laces or straps, what will keep them securely on your feet when you go flying about the pedalboard? Could be awkward if the heel flops about... But then I am one of those people with tiny feet - narrow, in particular. If my shoes aren't tied or strapped on, I   walk out of them. Unless they are very narrow, I can't even walk in pumps - can't imagine playing in them.        
(back) Subject: RE: Console Accessories From: "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com> Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2004 21:26:43 -0600   My successor apparently has a huge phobia of bad breath, so she keeps a dozen or more different kinds of breath mints there. In fact, when I started practicing for this recital, she kept calling and harassing me about registrations allegedly changing (she didn't know how to reset the pistons, and I never changed her settings), and at one point accused me of stealing breath mints and paper clips. At that point, I went to the priest and said I didn't have any use for her mints and paper clips, that my husband worked nights and slept days and couldn't take her daily calls waking him up, and that if the good Reverend wanted me to do this gig I needed relief from the nagging. Thankfully, I've not been bothered any more.   Glenda Sutton gksjd85@direcway.com          
(back) Subject: RE: Downes and the Royal Festival Hall From: "TheShieling" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 21:16:45 +1300     >Ross commented on the Sydney Opera House organ. Although it is the = largest tracker in the world, Ron Sharpe didn't (doesn't!) like loud noises, and voiced everything accordingly. But it has been beefed up recently, and = when I heard it at the 25th anniversary concert it came over very well.   Cheers for that. I didn't know it had been gone through and beefed up.   >A superb example of an organ where the builders were left to do what they =   thought best is the III/52 Von Beckerath in the Great Hall of Sydney University.   Oh yesssss, that is a very fine organ indeed.   Ross    
(back) Subject: RE: Downes and the Royal Festival Hall From: "John Foss" <harkat@kat.forthnet.gr> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 10:25:18 +0200   Thank you Colin for your well thought out and eloquently presented post on =   Downes and the Royal Festival Hall. Little else remains to be said. Just = as an addendum, Downes was consultant on the restoraton of the 19th century Bishop organ in St Giles Camberwell, South London, (NPOR is down for servicing at the momment so I can't check the details), which is a three manual tracker instrument. He went to infinite care and trouble over the job, which was typical of his approach. He did not pretend to be an organ builder, but he was a scholar and a practising musician, both as performer =   and teacher, and so I cannot think of anyone better qualified for this = role. With an infinite regard for detail and history he worked to ensure that = the organ was restored to as near its original condition as possible.   To quote Dennis Thurlow from Colin's post "He (Downes) was a great man, who was fortunately recognised in his own time."   and Colin himself "Finally, I would state this. If organ-builders spent half the time = studying the art of pipe scaling and voicing as Downes did, we would all hear much better organs than we do."   I do not think you can get much more professional than that. I regard it = as an honour to have studied with him and known him,   John Foss http://www.organsandorganistsonline.com/