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  • London's finest

    Just back from an amazing recital in Westminster Cathedral by Yves Castagnet from Notre Dame, Paris. What an immensely satisfying instrument to listen to! We are so lucky in London to have such vastly different organs in our three main Cathedrals, each one an absolute monument to English romantic organ building at its finest.

  • #2
    Hohl Flute Have you been to Durham Cathedral?
    Organs I play regularly:
    -Estey Opus 3103, II/8 (1938)
    -Schantz Opus 2145/2224, IV/86 (1998-2002)

    For a list of other organs I've played, see my bio.

    Comment


    • myorgan
      myorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      @St Josaphat,

      The thread is titled: London's Finest. I'm not sure how Durham fits in.

      Michael

  • #3
    myorgan I see that Hohl Flute is interested in English romantic organs, and that the organ at Durham Cathedral is quite similar to the organ of Southwark Cathedral, which IS in London.
    Organs I play regularly:
    -Estey Opus 3103, II/8 (1938)
    -Schantz Opus 2145/2224, IV/86 (1998-2002)

    For a list of other organs I've played, see my bio.

    Comment


    • myorgan
      myorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      Why not just make the direct connection to Southwark Cathedral vs. going through Durham? Somehow I missed the connection.

      Michael

  • #4
    Thanks for posting about the Westminster organ. Yes, London is extremely fortunate to have so many wonderful instruments to experience.

    I'll testify that Southwark has a fine organ indeed! Though this cathedral is much smaller than the better-known cathedrals in London, it is actually our preferred place to be for Sunday morning Choral Eucharist when we vacation in England. Partly because it is smaller and thus more intimate, more like a real "family" church or true parish church.

    But also because the organ is just absolutely perfect for the space, and the space is perfect for the organ! Not a vast acoustic cavern like St. Paul's, where the organ is glorious but a little hard to sing with. At Southwark, there is just enough sustain time to beautify the tone without smearing the rhythm of a hymn. I haven't heard a recital there, just Sunday services. But it certainly does the job for a service.

    Before I became familiar with the great organs of England, I had the idea that English organs were tubby and uninteresting. (Why would anyone want five unison diapasons?) But I was so wrong. I have yet to hear one that didn't take my breath away.
    John
    ----------
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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    • #5
      Southwark is a T.C. Lewis and therefore not a typical English cathedral organ - brighter reeds than some. It's also quite difficult for co-ordination as some of it is "round the corner". Westminster Cathedral organ is not typical either but is fantastic (though sadly I've never played it). St Paul's organ, which I know well, is a moderate-sized Father Willis, only the additions in the dome make it a large organ. Westminster Abbey is more like the "traditional" English cathedral organ - Harrison and Harrison like Durham).

      I used to play for a choir which made regular cathedral visits in choir holiday times and, just having made a quick count, see that I have played for services in 38 of them. They are very different - Hill, Father Willis, Lewis, Harrison, Walker etc. I agree, though, that the traditional Harrison can seem "tubby and uninteresting" down the nave. My local cathedral has a Hill organ, rebuilt by Hill, Norman and Beard and then Harrisons. Very exciting in the choir, but it loses a lot of focus from the back of the cathedral. Coventry, from the 1960s, is, in my view, fantastic - eclectic and exciting. As it's a modern building the organ reaches all parts easily. (Easy to overwhelm a choir, though.)

      Comment


      • #6
        I can see how the sound could be less interesting down the nave. My feeling that English organs were tubby had only come from hearing a few recordings long ago, but hearing them in person changed my mind instantly. When we attend a cathedral service we try to sit as close as possible to the choir and organ, in the larger churches anyway. At Southwark the space is compact enough that the music is quite good from anywhere.

        How awesome that you've actually played in 38 different cathedrals! I used to think that in my lifetime I'd like to visit all of the Anglican cathedrals in England, but after five vacations there I've only seen about a dozen of them. Might be able to take in a few more, in time.

        We have so enjoyed the organ at York, and it seemed very odd to be there last year with the organ gone, leaves such a literal hole in the place! I trust that when Harrison & Harrison are done with it we will find it even more wonderful, if we're able to make another visit. York has become our "home base" in the north, as London is our home base in the south, on our visits to the UK.
        John
        ----------
        *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

        Comment

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