Kent County Organists’ Association
August 2000 Journal
The articles on this page are in the order published in the paper edition of the Journal
To go to a specific article click on the alphabetical list of contents below
A Father Smith in Australia
A visit to Hythe
A visit to South London
An Organist's Diary
Cliftonville & AGM
Edgar Martin - A short profile
Hoath and Chislett
Letter to the Editor
Obituary David Mascall
Obituary Geoffrey Milgate
Organ Recitals - Holy Trinity Church, Folkestone
Organ Recitals - King Charles The Martyr, Tunbridge Wells
Organist and Director of Music vacancies
Review of recent Meetings
Speldhurst and Rusthall
The RSCM Canterbury Area
Review of recent Meetings
A visit to South London
AT 7.15 ON THE MORNING of January 22nd the rain was lashing d0own and the wind blowing briskly — not a good omen for the Kent Organists' visit to South London. However, by the time we left Wrotham at 9.30 the weather was improving and, apart from a heavy shower of hail while we were at the Royal Naval College, we kept dry, if not always warm.
Our first visit was to St. Mary, Rotherhithe, an interesting 18th century church in the middle of what was once a riverside village; it still has something of that feel about it.
St. Mary. Rotherhithe
The organ of 1764 is by Byfield. The classical case with gilded pipes and trophies of instruments is superb, but its true glory is in its beautiful tone. A Stanley Voluntary in C and Boyce's Voluntary in D — played by Michael Cooke and Andrew Cesana respectively — showed us its typically English Diapasons, with their sweet unforced tone and the brilliance of the mutations.
St. Mary, Rotherhithe - the organ
St. Mary, Rotherhithe - organ console
We were encouraged on our journey by suggestions of alcoholic refreshment but none appeared and although we noticed a large cake carefully wrapped in foil on the top of the grand piano, we were not the recipients! The Vicar regaled us with many stories, including a description of how he had shot two half-starved pigeons in the church who refused to leave. One, unfortunately, collapsed on top of the organ and the removal of the maggoty corpse from the pipes caused more expense!
After this, we went down river to the splendours of the Royal Naval College Chapel at Greenwich with its Samuel Green organ, which has recently been controversially restored by David Wells. We were welcomed by Nicholas Johnson, the organist, who gave a fine performance of the Bruhns' Prelude and Fugue in E minor. My own feeling is that despite its beautiful tone, the organ sounds a little bland and unexciting in the chapel; yet from the organ loft the sound is quite different and when Colin Jilks opened the door into the organ chamber we heard the full power of the reeds.
Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich - the organ
Another glorious mahogany case which made those of us with Victorian pipe racks envious! One unusual feature is the new East End console with electric action — unlike the tracker West End console — with a Festal Trumpet which must be invaluable for rousing the congregation! We had time for lunch at the Royal Naval College and for a look at the Painted Hall and the Crown Jewels. We left without seeing Princess Anne who was due to arrive at 3.30.
Then on to St. Giles, Camberwell, with its Bishop organ of 1844, built to a specification of S. S. Wesley. I had long wanted to hear this organ, especially as the late Donald Cox, who used to play at Boxley, had told me that Wesley's suggested registration for "Blessed be the God and Father" 'works perfectly on it. It had certainly never worked on any organ on which I'd tried it.
St. Giles, Camberwell - the organ console
Unfortunately for us, the spire was being rebuilt and the organ, in consequence, was swathed in plastic sheeting. Andrew Cesana played the Choral Song but it was hard to enjoy the organ because the Swell was painfully out of tune. It was interesting to be in what was obviously a multiracial church — a change from mid-Kent.
Our final visit was to Southwark Cathedral. We were all sad that there was no Choral Evensong but we enjoyed listening to a rehearsal of "Carmina Burana" while we waited for Peter Wright, the cathedral organist, who gave us a most informative talk on the history of the organ.
Southwark Cathedral - the organ
Built by Lewis in 1897 it was restored by Henry Willis III in 1951 who increased the wind pressures and changed the lay-out of the instrument. Apparently this was not a success, and in 1991 Harrison's restored it to its original plan. Peter Wright then gave a superb performance of Bach's Great G major Prelude, he followed this with an improvisation which showed us the main features of the organ. This was a revelation; the Pleno was a superb sound, the reeds snarled and the Voix Humaine was quite extraordinary. This was for me the highlight of the day and a real refreshment of the musical spirit.
It was an excellent trip. We were most grateful to Andrew Cesana for arranging it and for his enlightening comment, and to our unflappable driver whose negotiation of the narrow gate at the entrance of the Royal Naval College, with literally inches to spare, brought him a spontaneous round of applause.
Speldhurst and Rusthall
SPELDHURST is the archetypal English village situated a few miles South West of Tonbridge. It is a village one finds more by happy chance, rather than by design, lying as it does at the junction of several country lanes, which possibly accounted for a few late arrivals. We were rewarded with an attractive warm sandstone church with a brick laid path and lych-gate.
The church was built in 1870 and dedicated the following year. It was a church of two halves: one comprising nave, chancel and choir; the other housing a separate smaller nave and — in what would be the chancel — the organ divided either side of the East window.
Speldhurst - the organ console
The organ was by Henry Willis, a two-manual and pedal instrument of 1923. Alas, for us, the organ blower had broken down and we were unable to hear the instrument, very frustrating especially for Dr. Ashfield who — no doubt wishing to recapture something of past experiences — had come to hear the organ which was his first appointment in 1930. Dr. Ashfield stayed until 1932 enjoying the organ's 'Willis' tonality and the fine Pre-Raphaelite stained glass by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris which graces the church.
We did, however, enjoy a sympathetic and detailed talk by Mr. Tony Streeter who has been a chorister at Speldhurst for some sixty years. We heard of the three churches, which had stood on the site during the past one thousand years and he revealed some of their many secrets, one being when mains water arrived at the church — 1909, also the wide variety of services still used, including Matins.
The country lanes were renegotiated to find our next church, St Paul's Rusthall, again built of warm sandstone, but perhaps lacking the intimacy of Speldhurst. Tea awaited us in the adjoining Norman Mantle Lodge where the Rusthall ladies had surpassed themselves. Evensong followed, sung in church by their choir of some six children, fifteen ladies, and six men led by Organist and Choirmaster Mr. David Smith. The introit was Lord for thy tender mercies sake - Hilton, Canticles by Noble in B Minor and Smith responses. The choir were obviously accustomed to their Vicar who persisted in singing the responses a semitone flat — undaunted, the choir maintained their pitch throughout. The anthem was by Redford - Rejoice in the Lord always. Regretfully the organ voluntary, although quite splendid, was unknown to the writer.
ON MEETING. Americans hug, the French hug and kiss — on both cheeks — but, thankfully, we British content ourselves with a polite, arm's length 'hello' with perhaps an accompanying comment on the weather. As members were gathering on 11th March at Rochester Cathedral, this form of greeting was not inappropriate — especially the comment on the weather — as Spring had certainly sprung and it was a splendidly warm sunny afternoon. Entering by the Cathedral's West door, standing amongst the Normanesque splendour, we could hear the choir rehearsing, and although heard many times before, it was still an inspiringly haunting sound.
Rochester Cathedral - the south section of the organ
From our seats in the choir, we heard Evensong open with Rutter's God be in my Head, wafting mysteriously to us from the Nave. With the choir installed in their pews. we enjoyed the 'Heath First Service' Canticles and Byrd Responses. One small choirboy, poor chap, seemed to be suffering from an attack of early hay fever. With watering eyes, he gallantly struggled to contain his desperate desire to sneeze, painfully pinching his nose several times. He succeeded, joining enthusiastically in the anthem Expectans Expectavi by Wood. This splendid Evensong concluded with the organ voluntary Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist by J.S. Bach BWV 671.
Tea, prepared and served in the crypt, was sumptuous indeed in spite of Mary Ashfield having to dash off to casualty to have a leg wound dressed. Unfortunately, Dr. Ashfield was also in hospital recovering from a stroke. He was reported as being "cheerfully up and about", but much to his frustration and our disappointment, the hospital would not release him to be with us. Sitting in the Nave, we were fortunate to hear his string Quintet and also Mozart's Quintet in G minor, played quite beautifully by Debra Coote and Helen Balaam (Violins), Kathy Reed and David Carroll (Violas) with Nick Coote ('Cello).
As we stepped out into the dusk and the gas lit cobbles of the Cathedral precinct we reflected on the variety and sumptuous quality of music we had enjoyed. This had undoubtedly been a most rewarding and enjoyable visit to Rochester.
A visit to Hythe
WHEN CONSIDERING the future programme, our committee endeavour to take into account not only the content of any proposed meeting and its interest and appeal to members and their families and friends, but also the geographical location of the venues around the county and the time of year. This is just the start, as they also fit the local meetings around a minimum of two coach trips per season and arrange the President's Dinner or Buffet Supper, (a fixed feast — literally!) in September. If that were not enough to test the enthusiasm and energy of any committee, they must also have an eye on the period of time which has passed since the last visit of the KCOA to the proposed venue.
Such was the case when a visit to Hythe Parish Church was mooted. "We only went there a few years ago", was the immediate committee response. On checking, 'a few years ago' it turned out to be the 20th May 1989! A visit to this beautiful church, and to hear again the Arthur Harrison organ was indeed overdue:
Reading the report of the 1989 meeting, it was found that the organist Dr Berkeley Hill had given an excellent talk entitled "The History of Music in the Parish Church" and also demonstrated the organ under the title "The Romantic Organ". The report ended with Dr Hill advising that the organ was in need of repair, and that an appeal fund had been launched.
St. Leonard's, Hythe - the organ console
During our visit on 8th April this year, Dr Berkeley Hill, who has now been organist and choirmaster at Hythe for twenty eight years, explained that the successful organ appeal had enabled work to be carried out by Browne in 1991. The organ is now, in effect, two instruments playable from one mobile console; the three-manual 'romantic' Harrison in a large case at the West end of the Nave (1936) and a second two manual more classically voiced organ by Browne in the Chancel triforium. The Nave organ, though a fine instrument, could not easily accompany the choir in the Chancel, a beautiful 13th century stone vaulted structure, some nine steps above the Nave. This difficulty has now been overcome by the installation of the new Chancel division.
After giving us a brief history of the organs of Hythe Parish Church, Dr Berkeley Hill demonstrated the instrument with a programme of music designed to display the merits of Nave and Chancel divisions. This he achieved most effectively, notwithstanding the mysterious loss of some of his prepared music just prior to our arrival.
After a good tea we were treated to a lovely concert, beautifully performed by The Shepway Singers under the direction of Dr Berkeley Hill, and accompanied by Tim Parsons. The blend, balance and dynamic control of the singers was excellent, and the acoustic of the Chancel added a 'bloom' to a lovely sound. This was especially so in the unaccompanied Mass O Quam Gloriosum by Victoria. In Howells setting in G of the Evening Canticles, the new Chancel organ amply demonstrated its accompanimental capabilities. To end, this excellent and versatile choir sang Tea for two and Over the Rainbow in close harmony. This was an enchanting end to a stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable meeting.
SATURDAY 6th MAY dawned bright and clear for our coach outing to Southwell. The coach left Charing at 8.30 a.m. and Wrotham at 9.00 a.m. with thirty members on board, a rather smaller party than usual, but with everyone looking forward to an interesting and stimulating day.
After two brief service station stops and a very smooth journey we arrived outside Southwell Minster in beautiful sunshine at 12.40^ p.m. The Minster, famous for its carved foliage decoration in the Chapter House, is in a very tranquil setting and Southwell itself is delightful with its beautiful Georgian houses and a mixture of useful and interesting shops without any multiple stores or high rise office blocks. Paul Hale, the Rector Chori, met us at 1.30 p.m. outside his house, adjacent to the East End of the Minster, and greeted us warmly — especially the lady members of the Tudor Consort which he used to conduct! An extra item on the afternoon's programme was the showing of a film on the life of the Minster today. This took place in the lecture theatre of the new Visitor's Centre. Music played a large part in the film and it told of the Minster's place in the local community and its worship. This was followed by Paul's talk "Painted Pipes make Merrier Music"', illustrated with photographic slides. Paul explained how this originated in 1988 when at three weeks notice he had to assemble material for a lecture to organ builders in Potsdam. It was fascinating and showed Paul's wide knowledge of the organ, and in particular, cases and decorated pipes. The slides ranged from, the spectacular 32ft fronts of Birmingham Town Hall and Eton College Chapel, to many of local interest such as Horsmonden and Wickhambreaux.
We then moved into the Quire of the Minster for Paul's demonstration of the new Nicholson organ. After a brief description of the instrument, and the rationale behind its design, Paul played:-
and Fugue in E minor.
Bach Chorale Prelude on Liebster Jesu wir sind hier
Dandrieu Variations on 0 Fill et Filiae
Willan Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue
This fine organ is extremely versatile, producing a Germanic sounding chorus for the Bruhns, a lovely sesquialtera for the Bach, blazing reeds and mutations for the Dandrieu and a full romantic English sound for the Willan. Which brought this brilliant demonstration to a stunning conclusion.
Southwell Minster - the organ
After a very welcome and enjoyable tea, served in the new Refectory, we returned to the Quire for Evensong. The music was:-
Now the green blade riseth
Office hymn The day draws on with golden light (NEH zoo)
Psalms 32, 33, 34 Barnby in E flat, Soaper in A flat, Martin in A flat, S Wesley in A flat
Canticles Whitlock in D
Anthem Ye choirs of new Jerusalem - Stanford
Voluntary Saraband for the morning of Easter - Howells
The choir of sixteen boys and six men sang the service beautifully, tone and balance being outstanding. The Assistant Organist, Philip Rushford, who played the accompaniments admirably, showed that the organ could provide plenty of colour and power without obliterating the choir.
Paul Hale and the choir of Southwell Minster
At 7.00 p.m. with music ringing in our ears, we left Southwell still bathed in sunshine, after exchanging farewells with Paul and the Dean, the Very Reverend David Leaning. Our thanks go to Paul Hale for arranging such a memorable afternoon and to all those at the Minster who made it possible.
Hoath and Chislett
HOATH AND CHISLETT Parish Churches, although only a few miles South of Herne Bay, lay deep in Kentish country-side. Hoath church has ancient origins, but has been 'Victorianised' to some degree. This small country church was none the less agreeable for it and housed, in its chancel, a charming one-manual and pedal organ by T. C. Lewis 1874. The pedalboard, having no independent stop, was permanently coupled to the manual. The fine spotted metal front pipes comprised the bass of the 8ft Diapason, with the other stops of 8ft Leiblich Gedackt, 8ft Salicional and 4ft Octave completing its specification. Michael Cooke had graciously agreed to demonstrate both Hoath and Chislett's organs for us but, owing to an over-running wedding, he was a little delayed. Fortunately Malcolm Hall, who maintains the organ, kindly leapt onto the stool and showed us what a charming and sweet sounding organ this was, although with the arrival of Michael the organ was indeed put fully through its paces.
Chislett's Parish Church is, in fact, Norman and although the building has been divided in two by the use of large curtains — the chancel remains unaltered but the nave now doubles as a parish hall — its charm remains. The one-manual and pedal 'Bevington' sported a 16ft pedal stop with seven stops on the manual. Here again Michael Cooke displayed the organ's full capabilities. A sumptuous tea was kindly provided by our secretary Jackie Howard —with help from mother, Janet Tollerfield and Margaret Bourner — following which, we enjoyed a talk on Church music from the clergy's perspective, given by the Rev. Noelle Hall
Cliftonville & AGM
OUR SEASON concluded — or does it begin?— with our AGM at Holy Trinity Church Cliftonville, where our officers and two new committee members were elected and Treasurer's and Secretary's reports given, followed by a year's resume by the President. We enjoyed a good tea and then an inspiring organ recital by Reg Adams, who played Guilmant and a musically exciting improvisation on an original four-bar theme contained within a sealed envelope.
by Colin Jilks
AS AN ORGAN BUILDER, I am often approached by a variety of associations to give talks on organs. Although these may be music associations, music lovers in the true sense, they are invariably devoid of organists, making these occasions something of a challenge. With an audience of organists one can at least refer to an organ's component parts and retain some degree of rapport, but an assembly of 'music lovers' is very different. Obviously, owing to size and construction, one cannot transport an organ to demonstrate and the mere mention of a 'Sesquialtera' or an 'Open Diapason' can cause utter bemusement. One is speaking, therefore, not only in the abstract but with all technical vocabulary rendered hopelessly redundant.
Visual aids are an asset, as Vicars find with their sermons these days. I endeavour to take along an odd pipe or two, some felt and, especially, leather to help illustrate some of the different aspects of organ construction. A couple of skins of sheepskin leather can work wonders, especially with the ladies. If they can be encouraged to feel the quality and the texture of the leather, their gleefully response is often, "It would make a lovely pair of gloves, wouldn't it?" Sheepskin leather has remarkable qualities and no self-respecting organ can manage without it; be it mechanical, electrical or pneumatic in its transmission, leather is essential to make things work. Sheepskin, once processed, is supplied in many thicknesses. The thinnest is called 'split-skin' because it is literally split, or peeled, into layers to produce the desired thickness and quality required for different applications.
An organ's main double rise bellows, if measuring some 8ft x 4ft, requires sheepskin leather of good thickness and strength to withstand the rigours of several hundredweight of bellows weights pressing down on the bellows. Small internal primary action motors need leather of delicate suppleness, if a prompt action with good repetition is required, using the right material for the job in hand is the secret. Some sheepskin is processed and tanned (and is brown in colour) to be extremely pliable and is used especially on internal valve purses. Thick leather glued together with layers of felt is used as facing for soundboard pallets, 'bedding in' to produce an airtight seal as the note is released. Without these materials organs would be unworkable.
The great advantage of these natural materials is their longevity. Earlier this year our small team were restoring an unpretentious two-manual and pedal Henry Speechly organ at an Enfield, Middlesex, church. It dated from 1875 and, apart from some attention to the pedalboard and Bourdon chest in the 1970s it remained unaltered. Its consisted of spotted metal and wooden pipes: two reed stops and four flue stops on the Swell, with six flue stops on the Great. Interestingly, the 2ft stop on the Great was an English Harmonic Piccolo rather than the later, more customary, Fifteenth; also all the pipework was cone tuned from tenor 'C' up.
Apart from the pedals, the instrument had not received any attention for at least fifty to sixty years, cleaning was imperative and the leather buttons and bushings of the tracker action needed complete renewal. The condition of the bellows also had to be considered, this was suspect owing simply to age. It was still clothed in its original 1875 'Speechi/ leather, and had been working quietly and efficiently for some one hundred and twenty five years. At first sight it appeared sound. With the organ's casework fully removed for access, the wind was switched on; we watched as this 6ft x 4ft double rise bellows gracefully rose.
We were five organ builders, grouped closely around in readiness to provide the required dismantling muscle power, but what a fine bellows! — We looked on in amazement, with craftsmen's sighs of satisfaction, like philatelists admiring a rare, unlicked 19th century stamp — "gosh, what a bellows, you don't see bellows like that very often these days". The leather, although perhaps a straw colour instead of cream, was apparently perfect. But, at 125 years of age, the strength of the leather was gone; a thumbnail could easily scrape it away. It was time to return this bellows to the workshop to carefully wash off this stately old leather and re-leather with fine new sheepskin.
The amazingly long life of leather, and indeed pipe organs themselves, is not always fully appreciated by church committees when a major restoration is required. A pipe organ will give good service for many generations, a fact that should be stressed should an 'electronic' alternative be suggested. I have a number of Norman & Beard organs in my care, built using exhaust pneumatic actions dating from the 1904-1912 period, which are still working well on their original internal leathers. Strange but true, leather used inside an action chest or soundboard seems to have a much-extended life in its protected environment. The 'Hill' charge pneumatic under actions, with their external power motors, have not faired quite so well. Although, happily, a fine example of a 1915 3-manual Hill at St. John's Blackheath, in South London, was fully re-leathered and restored to its original condition only some fifteen years ago; it will, I trust, continue to give good service for many future generations.
The 'Enfield' Speechly is now back in good working order again, with organists and congregation thrilled at the result. One organist has known the instrument since 1947 and has never heard it sound so clear; the accumulation of dust and dirt in the pipework veiled its sound unmercifully. The Great Piccolo, often thought too weak to top the Great, now sings with a bell-like quality, adding sufficient 2ft tone but without shouting. Of course, it is fascinating to hear what Henry Speechly intended. Often decisions on tonal design and alterations are made without being fully aware of what is really there — in this case, a little 'gem'.
Letter to the Editor
SIR — When I was an Apprentice, Compton's often invited Organ clubs to visit the factory. These visits always took place on a Saturday afternoon, when various personnel would be invited to act as 'Guides' for our Guests.
Our Guests would be split into small groups, to be taken round the factory by one of the several Guides, who would show them the Pipe Shop, the Console Shop, the Voicing Shop, the Wood Mill, the Wood Store, the Woodworking Shop (Wind Chests, Building Frames, Swell Shutters, etc.), the Engineering area, (Mouldings, Relays, Solenoids, Couplers, Stop Actions, etc.), the Electronic area, (347’s and 348’s) and the Wiring Shop, where the vast lengths of multi-strand cable always seemed to cause no end of confusion.
Each visit would last about two hours, and if we had something playable at the time, even if only one of the electronic instruments, they would enjoy a short recital with their 'tea and biccies', before they climbed back) into their Coach.
Sometimes I was asked to act as one of the 'Guides' and I was often fascinated by the comments of some of our Guests. Sooner or later, someone always said "I don't want a Cinema Organ in my Church"— having just seen a horseshoe Console — or "Look, they still mark their Reed Stops in Red".
But one gentleman rendered me almost speechless, when, during a tour of the Pipe Shop. he first asked "Where do you buy your pipes?" immediately followed by "Why do you have to make the pipes so big?" Then someone else asked "Are those electronic things really any better than a proper organ?"
Unfortunately, very few people seemed to understand why we needed to use Relays at all, much less why we needed to use those funny 'swinging bar' things, which made explanation rather difficult. But, in effect, we rarely had any question to which we could not find some sort of answer, although the mental effort required probably improved our own knowledge.
Surprisingly, no one ever asked where we made our Blowers or Keys, which
was just as well, because we 'bought them in' from the Trade. (Just after the War, during a time of acute material shortages, we did attempt to mould our own Keys, without great success.)
But all this came to a halt in the mid-1950s when 'a party from West London' really did 'let the side down'.
At the time I was still doing my National Service, so I only heard the full story sometime later, when I happened to ask why we no longer seemed to have so many visitors.
At Compton's, your bench was your personal workspace and no one would touch anything on it without your permission, so each Craftsman, could (and did) leave his tools on his bench at the end of the day, knowing that they would still be there in the morning.
But on this occasion such simple confidence turned out to be unfortunate. Apparently our 'Guests' seemed to be under the impression that anything not actually nailed down was a free sample and when they left so did numerous small tools (and several small pipes).
Although the loss of the small pipes was annoying the loss of the small tools was far more serious. Individual craftsmen had produced many of these tools for a specific purpose and without them they were helpless, Compton's had to provide both the time and the materials to replace them.
I understand that when Jimmy Taylor (The Boss) heard about it, although normally a mild mannered man, he became absolutely incandescent! He had invited a multitude of Organ Clubs to visit the factory, ever since the early 1930s, and this was the very first time that anything like this had happened.
So, to make absolutely certain that this sort of thing could never happen again, his instructions were very clear. "From this day on, NO Organ Club will ever visit this factory again". And they never did!
Members are reminded that the 2000/2001 annual subscription is now due. £12.00 but with a reduction to £11.00 if paid before September 30th.
Subscriptions should be sent to the Treasurer.
Holy Trinity Church
Organ recitals are given
Wednesday Evening at 7.30 p.m.
12th July –Anne Marsden
19th July -John Blaskett
26th July - Martin Ellis
2nd August - Keith Moxon
9th August -John Hurd
16th August - Tim Parsons
23rd August - David Gibbs
30th August - Robert Crowley
6th September - David Gammie
13th September - Thomas Bell
20th September - David Flood
27th September – Alexander Dichmont
Obituary - David Mascall
IT IS WITH REGRET we record the death of our member David Mascall who died on 4th May 2000. David was held in great affection by our many members and his profile featured in our July 1999 Journal.
David's funeral service was held on 19th May at Charing Church where he had been organist for thirty-nine years. The church was, as expected, completely full with several KCOA members present and the service was a most fitting tribute. David had chosen the music and the service concluded with Elegy by George Thalben-Ball. Peter Moorse played the organ with the address given by the Vicar of Charing.
David played his last service at Charing on Palm Sunday, which was followed by a reception in ‘The Barn' at which tributes and speeches were made; David was able
to make a witty reply. He also played for a grandson's wedding on Easter Saturday, although not at Charing. David recently received a letter from the Archbishop of
Canterbury thanking him for his many years' service as Charing's organist. Dorothy was able to read it to him before he died, naturally he was thrilled.
‘An Organist’s Diary'
by Andrew Cesana
WELL, as 2000 is well and truly upon us, I must thank those of you who came to the Southwark and South London meeting for your support. Forty-six was a good number and I am sure an outing by coach proved an encouragement, as London can get very cold in winter.
I am afraid that I begin this article with the sad news of the closure of Cathedral Classical in Newcastle. Colin Brownlee and his team were responsible for the two recordings available for sale of (the Greenwich Royal Naval College, Choir and Organ. However, a gradual decline in sales, health and personal problems contributed to the decision to close. I always admired the wealth of knowledge that Colin Brownlee and his team had, and in promoting less familiar, but still fine, labels which were well worth hearing. A number of CD's that were officially distributed by Cathedral Classical were highly recommended by Organists Review, which makes their departure even sadder. Perhaps someone else will assume the mantle eventually. However, Allegro Music of Birmingham are starting to distribute some CD's and eventually plan to expand. Cathedral Classical and Colin Brownlee certainly deserve praise for what they did and we shall certainly miss them.
In February, I attended the BIOS Conference at Reading University and Reading Town Hall. It was an excellent day, as was the first lecture by Joan Jefferys about Abraham Jordan and some London organ builders. Did you know that he may be linked to the Jordans of Maidstone who produced Genever? Stephen Bicknell then followed with a fascinating paper on his researches into the 'Willis' family and the testimonials of Tessie Willis. She was the daughter of Vincent Willis, who tried to introduce more radical measures into the art of organ building, not entirely without some opposition of Father Henry Willis himself.
After lunch, Reading Town Hall was the focus for the remainder of the day and an opportunity to see the newly restored 'Father Willis' organ, which had remained dormant for a number of years. After a demonstration of the organ by Harry Bramma, further papers followed on the organ's restoration by Mark Venning, Managing Director of Harrisons, who had restored the instrument. Also there were papers on The Context of Repertoire and The Future by Dr. Christopher Kent with Perspectives of Henry Willis by lan Bell.
Reading Town Hall - the organ
After tea, the closing recital was given by Geoffrey Morgan, Assistant Organist of Guildford Cathedral, whose recital reflected the art of Town Hall organ recital programmes, starting with the Concert Overture in C minor by Alfred Hollins. Then he continued with S.S. Wesley’s Andante in G and Mozart's Fantasia in F minor K608. Also, there was Parry's Chorale Prelude Rockingham and the first performance of Relf Clark's Passacaglia, a piece lasting only two minutes yet demonstrating the effects of crescendo and decrescendo very effectively, finishing lastly with Dubois's thrilling Fiat Lux. It was a perfect end to a perfect day, but more was to come. There was an opportunity provided for members to play the instrument, and also at St. Mary's Minster Church, where there is a fine Willis 111 of 1927. The organist there H. Gordon Hands now in his early eighties, was one of the leading lights in the campaign to save Reading Town Hall and the Willis organ back in the early 1980s when Reading Borough Council thought fit to close the Hall for financial reasons. The Berkshire Organists' Association fought an admirable and successful campaign and, as a result, the Town Hall is proving a more popular venue than the Hexagon Theatre where the Rothmans Grand Prix Snooker tournaments used to be held!
In March, Olivier Latry (Notre Dame de Paris) and David Sanger gave the opening recitals at Reading Town Hall. The one big problem at the moment is the 'difficult' heating which wreaks havoc with the instrument, causing cyphers as well as other problems. Certainly, Reading Borough Council will have to address this issue more seriously if the money spent is not going to be wasted. Hopefully, the organ case will be restored at some stage in the future.
On the same day as the KCOA March meeting at Rochester Cathedral, an opportunity to question Stephen Bicknell about Organ Building, as part of a forum, took place at the Bromley and Croydon Organists' Association meeting which was held at Bromley Parish Church. However, the meeting began with a thrilling recital by Carl Jackson, Organist and Director of Music at the Chapel Royal, Hampton
Court Palace, which included music for Lent by J. S. Bach, Howells, Demessieux and, to conclude with, Jehan Alain's thrilling Litanies.
More came the following week with my attendance at the March meeting of the East Surrey Organists' Association. Two churches were featured. Firstly, St. Mary's Church, Southampton City Centre, which was rebuilt after the War and which contains a fine Henry Willis organ of 1956, much modelled on the tonal design of Liverpool Cathedral's Willis.
St. Mary's Church, Southampton - the organ console
Martin Hall, formerly Director of Music at St. Edmund's College, Canterbury and now Organist at St. Mary's, as well as President of the Winchester and District Association, demonstrated the Willis instrument in a programme of British Music ranging from Parry to William Mathias. An opportunity was provided for members to play the organ after the demonstration.
The next venue was none other than Romsey Abbey, the burial place of Lord Mountbatten. Timothy Rogerson, the Assistant Organist there, and new Secretary of the Winchester Association, gave a very fine display of the historic J. W. Walker organ of 1867 with additions, most recent of them being the new Nave division, which was used to great effect. After those present had the opportunity of playing such a noble instrument, I asked Timothy Rogerson as to whether the Kent Association could perhaps visit in 2002 or later. "Well, we can discuss this next year" was his promising reply. I am sure our members would like to visit there?
Other recitals I have attended during this period included Neil Cockburn at Bromley Parish Church, David Dunnett (Norwich Cathedral) at St. George's Parish Church, Beckenham, Peter Wright (Southwark Cathedral) at All Saints Parish Church, Orpington, and David Liddle (Plaistow Parish Church) at St. Mary's, College Road, Bromley. One other interesting visit was the one I attended on Saturday 2oth May at Hendon Parish Church on the new Peter Collins organ by Ludger Lohmann (Stuttgart Cathedral) which has a very striking case designed by Nicholas Plumley. This case featured on the last front cover of Organists Review.
I also attended, in May, the I.A.O. 'London Organ Day' at Southwark Cathedral, which featured lectures by Peter Wright on registration, Simon Lindley on S.S. Wesley and Bairstow and Malcolm Riley on Percy Whitlock. The music of Whitlock and Stanford were specially featured in the Masterclass given by Kevin Bowyer.
Two City Churches were additionally featured. Firstly, St, Magnus the Martyr, Lower Thames Street, where a recital was given by Jonathan Rennert who gave a cryptic clue as to the first piece, where mountains are seen in the distance during Lent. The piece in question was Harold Greenhill's Allegro Marziale. The last recital of the day was given at St. Stephen's, Walbrook, with a themed recital by Gillian Ward Russell, President of the Chelmsford and District Association and well known recitalist.
St. Stephen, Walbrook - the organ
This is the church where the Rector, Rev. Chad Varah, who gave a very amusing talk before the recital, founded the Samaritans.
I feel very privileged to be the next President Elect, succeeding Colin Jilks as President in July 2001. I understand that I will be one of the youngest ever Presidents, certainly the youngest in recent years. However. I feel that I should not overlook a tribute to one of our past Presidents David Mascall, whose passing on 4th May came with great sadness to all those members who knew him.
I shall never forget David for his kindness and the encouragement he gave, not only to me, but to all those in the Association. He asked me at our Meeting this March when I was going to study for my Doctorate! Well, it’s never too late as those of us who knew David can certainly testify and I will certainly work as hard as I can, for future studies. It was good to have seen David and Dorothy on the two coach outings during the past year, to Bruges and then Southwark and South London. I also remember, when he was the President, the amusing speech he gave at the Annual Dinner in 1981 at the 'Chimney Boy' in Faversham, the year I joined the Association.
There is one thing that I shall always regret never asking David, and that was about his years at Conduit Street Baptist Church, Plumstead. In 1933, a new station officer was appointed at Plumstead Fire Station, which is still situated in Lakedale Road. His name was William Charles Cesana and was my grandfather. He remained at Plumstead until his death in 1953. David will be missed very much by all of us who knew him and our sympathy goes to Dorothy and his family.
In August I shall be attending the BIOS Conference in North Wales, which includes visits to the Cathedrals of Bangor, Chester and St. Asaph, which I will report on in the next Organist’s Diary. Also on Saturday 9th September, the North Hampshire Organists' Association will be visiting St. Nicholas Church, Strood, at 1.30pm as well as Rochester Cathedral for Evensong, and I am sure that those of you who arc in the area will be very welcome to come.
by Vicky Shepherd.
IT HAS BEEN another active few months! During the Winter, and Spring, I made the most of practising when the Church heating was on and a short session early afternoon when not. The hymns are 'coming on' and so is the 'Toccata', but not there yet! Instead of playing my easy version of Albinoni's Adagio, I am working on the Giazotto one. I made myself write in the feet and the fingerings and play it section by section.
When I took my Choir to Rochester Cathedral to sing Stainer's Crucifixion on April 9th we used a local Minibus. This proved to be less of an ordeal for me as I was not driving. We met at a central point and on return saw each youngster to their own front door. As my youngsters were out of sight at the front — away from my beady-eye — one of our youngsters let himself down. Another choir mentioned it to me, "I wouldn't expect that behaviour from one of yours, Vicky!" "You have to nurse what you are given" I replied, "and God has sure challenged me with this chorister!" I am sure this will be familiar to those of you who have children in your choir. Our choir fund paid for this trip, as part of the youngsters training, as they do not get paid except for a small amount for weddings. Fees go towards training, treats and buying music and we have built up a repertoire of good music in good condition.
I took two youngsters when Faversham Choral invited us to sing The Crucifixion at Christ Church, Herne Bay. It was a different and good experience. Sixty of us in a lovely resonant Victorian Nave. There had been three-hundred at Rochester in their resonant Romanesque Nave.
My Church had several different Services over Easter and it was a delight to prepare the Music. The Mothers Union have held Evensong every Wednesday afternoon during Lent and enjoy lyrical and reflective music before and after the Service. On Maundy Thursday we sang the lovely hymn, An Upper Room did My Lord prepare. On Good Friday we had an hour's devotional service with reflective organ solos between the readings and prayers. We had a superb wedding on Easter Saturday. I played "as a treat" for the 8 o'clock brigade on Easter Sunday and then the wonderful Easter hymns and voluntaries for 11.00am. It was a busy and wonderful Season to show how the organ can enhance the spiritual life of our Church. Also finding arrangements or arranging the music and hymns for our lovely two manual Bevington organ — and my skills!
Colin Jilks has looked after our organ for eight years and it is in good condition. I have been responsible for it over twenty years and I am keen to hand it on to the next generation in excellent order. It is tuned twice a year and has needed the odd emergency repair and Tremulant put in order. There are extra tunings for Concerts and Flower Festivals. Colin always responds quickly on the odd occasions when something goes wrong, like when the treble A key 'drooped' on the Great, which has tracker action; a vital note for Mendelssohn's Wedding March that coming
Saturday! Did you know that David Flood is The Diocesan Organ Adviser? I have asked him to come and see that I have kept the Organ on good order.
He is also coming to look at the Faversham Almshouses Organ which Martin Renshaw has looked after since 1979. The Trustees are looking at adding the pipes for a second manual, which has been there as a dummy keyboard with the mechanisms for a Swell manual since it was built in 1869. This gem was installed in 1869-70 by Father Willis himself I am told and, apart from the Reed stop, is all genuine Father Willis. The organ was given in memory of Jane Elizabeth Giraud (1810-1868) by her brother Dr. Herbert John Giraud (1817 to 1888) who came to be Deputy Inspector General of H.M. Bombay Army. Both were born in Faversham and came from a distinguished local family of Huguenot descent. Jane Elizabeth has left some delightful water-colours of flowers which we sell at The Faversham Society Heritage Centre as notelets.
Two years ago I was made a Trustee, following in the footsteps of five-hundred years of Faversham's worthies — quite a responsibility! The Trustees are keen to explore the enhancement of the organ when the repairs to the Chapel are complete. The Chapel is acoustically superb for small concerts and can comfortably seat a congregation of seventy with the Choir in the Chancel space. The West window is, in my opinion, one of Thomas Willement's gems. He restored Davington Priory where Bob Geldof now lives. He was also the artistic designer to George IV and responsible for the revival of Stained Glass in the early 18oos. It was Thomas Willement who designed the shields in the Great Hall of Windsor Castle. Perhaps you saw the advert for a Chaplain and the write-up about our Almshouses in the July Outlook.
Ospringe is having a Church-Open / Harvest-decorated week-end on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th October and I am keen to have live organ music during the two days, so if any of you e would like to play, please let me know.
Our KCOA Buffet Supper is again in Faversham on Saturday, 16th September. The Caterer is new, Paul Brown, an ex-pupil of ours and good. I have bought the wine from Amboise in the Loire Valley, very fruity. There will also be our local Brogdale Apple Juice. Rodney Foord, Coleta and Jerry Spillett and young Joanne are helping prepare. Sadly we will miss Geoff Milgate who died on 30th June. See you at The Buffet Supper! More information from Vicky Shepherd on my E Mailvickysudall@hotmail.com (Tel: 01795 538906)
King Charles The Martyr
Early Evening Organ
''Living English Organ Composers"
Simon Preston - 7th
Francis Jackson - 14th October
Philip Moore - 21st October
Jeremy Filsell - 28th October
Jeremy Filsell plays music
of Wills which
he is recording earlier in the week at
Tonbridge School Chapel
Tel: 01892 654191
Organist and Director of Music vacancies
St. Mary's Church
Organist and Director of
small choir, 2-manual pipe organ.
Please contact 01795 472874
St. Martin & St. Paul
Organist and Director of
Remuneration, RSCM rates.
Please contact 01227 462686
A ‘Father Smith’ in Australia
by Dudley Bastion.
VISITING ENGLAND and engaged in teaching and musical studies back in 1968 1972, I had in mind the possibility of locating an organ to install in our Church of St. Mary-in-the-valley, Kelmscott, Western Australia. Fortuitously, the Vicar of Eccles Parish Church, a Kent church soon to be de-commissioned and re-opened as a youth centre, contacted me.
They had a pipe organ, about which they knew very little, but needed to be removed from the church fairly quickly before the youth' took over. A visit was soon arranged and at first sight I was struck by the handsome old-world appearance of the organ. It was of two manuals and pedals and played quite nicely. After a quick inspection I decided this was the organ for Kelmscott.
The price of £125.00 was undoubtedly reasonable, and over a period of two weekends I dismantled and returned it to my flat at Footscray. Hasty as we were, the local "youth' had a social evening before our final trip to remove the remains of the organ, resulting in some damage but the Vicar kindly made a refund to cover the repairs.
After some months lying around on shelves and under tables, packing cases were made up for the organ to be shipped out to Australia on a container vessel. Some staunch friends from the Organ Society, and the Kelmscott congregation, arranged collection at Fremantle.
The internal works were filthy with very thick layers of (coal?) dust. Many screws were rusted and jammed tight. It was obvious that the original organ was of high quality, although the Swell and Pedal departments had been added at a later date. Under the Swell windchest was a piece of leather, which formed part of the works, with the date 1813 penned in ink. The newer sections were not of the same quality as the original organ. The timber was cheaper and showed some deterioration.
With the newer parts having gone in some time after 1813 and the appearance of the casework, which was Baroque rather than Classical, I felt the high quality original might be one hundred and fifty to two hundred years old. It looked almost identical to some photographs I had of 18th century organs by the famous English organ builders Bernard Smith and John Snetzler and the carving was more sumptuous than any I had seen.
The original section of the organ had used mahogany in the soundboards, which had proved more durable then later additions. I was curious about a 'double-slider' system discovered in the dismantling. I subsequently wrote to John Norman who suggested it was called a 'shifting movement' an early form of combination action common in organs of the 1750-1800 period. The original organ case is of oak as are the rank of wooden pipes inside the organ. A modern electric blower had replaced the original hand pump.
Mainly volunteers carried out re-erection in Kelmscott church with some help from some organ builders. Regretfully, after some attempts to get the Pedals and Swell working it was decided to remove these parts. I was not involved in this nor the organ's move from one end of the church to the other and was sorry that large sections were taken away with some parts lying idle in a suburban garage.
However, imagine my amazement to find the organ listed on page 145 of Dr. Sumner's book The Organ — 1975 edition — as being an organ by Bernard Smith who was famous in London 1681-1708. I read this in the 198os, but with the author deceased I have not been able to discover anything further. It also got an entry in Dr. Rowntree's book on Father Smith, on page 186, where it is revealed that - "one Dudley Bastian acquired and sent a Bernard Smith organ out to a place in Australia called Kelmscott". Of course, 'heritage' was not greatly considered in 1969 although it has become a big subject since, it was just a very nice little organ looking for a new owner or face being broken up.
The pipe shades were the most elaborately carved ones I had seen. Old English carving is impressive and more three-dimensional than found on Australian colonial organs. The Eccles carving looked to be very old and was of soft-wood, riddled with woodworm holes and fading paint. Both shades were so fragile that they crumbled during dismantling of the case.
The friends who re-erected the instrument in 1971 jokingly complained about the thick black resident dust — actually it was fairly well cleaned before shipping! I remember having had bath water that was actually black, back in my Footscray flat after an afternoon's dismantling at Eccles in 1969.
A campaign is currently underway by the Organ Society to have this organ registered as a heritage item, but the present Western Australia's heritage Act only recognises 'buildings' of significance. I have been lobbying the State Government for several years to have the Act changed to accommodate items of heritage, not just buildings. A spokesman for the Heritage Minister has said a new Heritage Act is now tabled in Parliament, so hopefully the future of our Father Smith organ will be secure.
We are grateful to our member Liz Shepherd who provided much of the material for this article.
Obituary Geoffrey Milgate
Geoff Milgate thoroughly enjoyed our meeting at Hoath and Chislet on 17th June but, sadly, we must report that Geoff died on 30th June. He was aged 88. Happily, there was a short article in our January 1999 Journal outlining his long and stalwart service as organist of Sheldwich Parish Church for sixty-three years. Although he was appointed as organist in 1935, he had already been accompanying the choir since 1930. He will be greatly missed, especially by KCOA members. His funeral was held on 12th July at Sheldwich Parish Church.
The RSCM Canterbury Area
A SCHOLARSHIP of £200 per annum is available for a Young organist. It is tenable from 1st September 2000, for a year with the possibility of extending it.
The Scholar will have the opportunity to practise on a variety of organs including the Cathedral organ in consultation with the Cathedral Organist.
The Scholar with suitable ability will be invited to play at RSCM events.
Interested applicants are encouraged to apply for more details and an application form from the RSCM Canterbury Area Secretary. Malcolm Simmons, Halfway House, Boughton Road, Sandway, Lenham, Maidstone, Kent. MEi4 2HU
E Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Michael Cooke
AS A CHILD, I had never seen a triangle, the only recollection my ever having of one was when we were on a bus and my Mother asked the conductor for one. She gave him a three-penny piece, receiving a halfpenny back. A few minutes later the conductor bawled out a "Triangle", and we all alighted. It was not until I attended Nursery School that I was formally introduced to one. I had never played one in my life and didn't even know how to begin. I had not yet learned to read music so we all had to play everything by rote. Not until I graduated to Primary School did my interest in the triangle really start, joining the school Percussion Band in the second year. Secondary School laid more emphasis upon singing than anything else, so my triangle playing suffered somewhat, through my having to gear myself up for G.C.E's etc. and my having an instrument upon which to practise. It was during this time that I learned to draw one. I think the Maths Master was trying to outdo the Art Master because it was in his lessons that we did this. At this time, my father decided I ought to have proper lessons, so he sent me to a teacher in London who coached me for all the Associated Board Grades up to and including Grade VIII.
By then I had learned to read music and playing the triangle became much easier and more exciting because I was able to play works by a great many composers, both ancient and modem. I was entered for, and won, many local Music Festivals and was finally accepted to study at the Royal College of Trianglists in London, although the College was not situated on any direct bus or Underground route, thus necessitating a forty minute walk in each direction every day. I eventually passed the diploma of Fellow of the London Academy of Trianglists, followed a year later by the Fellow of' the English Ensemble of Trianglists, eventually making my debut at Wigmore Hall with a performance of Gnagflow Seudama-Trazom's Triangle Concerto in C Sharp Major, with its extremely difficult cadenza in the first movement, for which I won great acclaim. Unfortunately I was unable to make any decent sort of living playing the instrument so I had to lay it aside, taking ordinary office employment.
Now that I am retired, although I am director of the All Saints' Vox Humana Band, also playing one in the Whitstable V.H.B., I have much more time for practise (also my own instrument), so hope, soon, to take up the beater once more.
Edgar Martin a short profile
THE CINEMA, prior to the 1914/18 Great War, had a certain simplicity by today's standards. Much was based on slapstick comedy — such as Mack Sennett's Keystone Cops— which was to greatly influence Charlie Chaplin, who transformed it, creating his own unique style. Considering the innocence of such work it is difficult to imagine anything but approval, but in what was still an Edwardian England, Edgar Martin's mother strongly disapproved of her husband's occupation — a Cinema Manger! Perhaps, at the time, it conveyed something of the 'Dance Hall'?
However, the war was to leave few lives untouched and when young Edgar was born, on the 16th March 1917, at Northumberland Heath, near Erith Kent, his father was (more respectably) employed at the Vickers engineering works, Erith, helping to producing weapons for the war effort.
Although Edgar's mother was an enthusiastic amateur singer, the Martin household did not possess a piano. But when Edgar was eight years old, his parents did purchase an American reed organ (foot blown) from a friend and Edgar had piano lessons from a Miss Vaughan for about a year, practising at home on the organ. These where the only formal music lessons Edgar had.
As a young teenager he played for a Sunday school, again on a reed organ. However, during his late 'teens' the Martins did purchase a piano and Edgar's musical education was greatly extended by a friend's father, Albert Hope, with whom he played piano duets of Haydn Symphony arrangements. Albert Hope, who was organist of St Nicholas Church Plumstead and later of St Augustine's Church Slade Green, subsequently introduced Edgar to the intricacies of the pipe organ.
Edgar, an only child, excelled at school studying at The Erith County School from where he gained a Kent Teachers' Training Scholarship to study at Kings College London. While there, he was fortunate to sing in the University Choral Society under Dr. Thornton Lofthouse. Edgar graduated in Physics and finished his teacher training just as war broke out in 1939. Not being able to find employment as a teacher at the time, he joined the Meteorological Office as an observer and was posted to the Shetlands.
During the winter of 1942/43 he was 'called up' into the RAF being immediately commissioned as a Fit. Lieut. As he boarded the boat to travel down to Edinburgh to collect his uniform, Edgar confesses he knew little of what this involved, although his 'Met' office skills were undoubtedly needed in the Mediterranean where he spent the remainder of the war. Apparently a number of 'Met office' staff were similarly commissioned, Edgar maintains they were only made RAF officers so they would do as they were told.
Returning to England in 1946 Edgar took a teaching post at The King Henry VIII School Coventry. Sadly, his father died suddenly in 1947 and with concern for his mother, with whom he had a close relationship, he returned to Kent. Fortunately, Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School required a physics teacher. As well as his appointment as the physics teacher, Edgar also took on the responsibility for singing lessons; he started a recorder group and ran, the choir when the music master left. There was no orchestra, so Edgar started one with mainly violinists, but regrettably no 'cellists. Obtaining an instruction book, he taught himself the 'cello's rudiments, as there were three boys eager to play but could not afford lessons. He taught them in the lunch hours and at least one of them, to Edgar's knowledge, still enjoys playing the cello grateful for his attention and encouragement.
After some ten years of part time music teaching, growth of the school made it necessary for Edgar to concentrate on his main subject, physics, and hand over the music to a professional musician who raised its profile in the curriculum.
Edgar's organ playing was not ignored. After the war he was appointed organist of St. Martin's Church Barnhurst, (near Bexleyheath), under John Saxby. a very experienced choirmaster. Edgar learnt much under his guidance and when he retired Edgar took over as choirmaster as well as organist. The organ was a two manual and pedal 'Stevens' reed organ, which was later replaced by a one manual and pedal 'Walker' pipe organ, bought from a Gillingham church that was going electronic. The beautiful sound of the Walker pipework more than compensated for the loss of a second manual.
Following the death of his mother in 1963, Edgar married Vera, a friend whom he had met at a Kent Fellowship of Music summer school, and they settled at near by North Cray. Edgar remained organist at Barnhurst until 1970 when he and his wife joined the choir of St. James Church, North Cray. After a year, the organist set off for Australia, so Edgar stepped into his shoes and has remained there for nearly thirty years. St James is a small church with an equally small organ, a two-manual and pedal 'Bevington', Edgar enjoying the challenge of what can be done with just four stops on the Great and three on the Swell.
Although Edgar retired when he was sixty, he continued to teach part time. In retirement he and Vera sing in the Dartford Choral Society. He also works for the National Trust as a guide at Knole Park, Sevenoaks, learning a lot of history in the process.
Edgar has been a member of our Association for over fifty years, joining us in 1948. He answered an advertisement in The Erith Observer placed by the, then, Secretary, Freddie Rolls. Although it is still a matter of debate whether the Association was founded in 1947 rather than 1948, in reality Edgar is one of our founder members. Interestingly, the annual subscription at the time was 10/- with a reduction to 7/6d for junior members.
Edgar has been indeed generous in his service to the Association over the years. He has served as our President twice and has given the Association a fascinating talk on 'The Physics of Music', on more than one occasion, sharing with us his professional expertise. Edgar's gentlemanly and unassuming manner veils an intriguing multifaceted. yet genial character. Inheriting his father's enquiring technical enthusiasm and his mother's artistic intellect, mixed with his own personal charm and consideration, he is indubitably a gentleman par excellence. We are greatly indebted to him for his interest and loyalty to our Association over so many years.
Front Cover by Gary Tollerfield
MEMBERS like me, who have magpie tendencies and cannot throw away any magazine, will find that the cover of this Journal is, at first glance, a repeat. Back in November 1991 — can it be that long ago? — when our Newsletter was photocopied, complete with front cover photograph, a picture of the organ case at Southwell Minster fronted the Reviews section. The case was described as W D Caroe/Hill Norman & Beard (1933).
The two cover pictures are indeed very similar, as the present organ built by Nicholson in 1996 is installed in the W D Caroe case referred to above, but stated in Paul Hale's book The Organs of Southwell Minster, as constructed in 1934.
Back in 1991, I said; "the case is a mixture of the oriental, the classical and the gothic. The oriental is displayed in the grille and the reverse mouldings to the spandrel, the classical in the three tower concept, the semi-circular arches with 'keystones' in the flats and the cupid cherubs carved into the tower support brackets. The gothic manifests itself in the engrailed pipe shades to the towers. Designed in a period when a row of pipes would so often have sufficed, this case is impressive and imposing, but how much more pleasing is the design of a case when the mouths of the pipes move in contra motion to the length of the pipe forming a 'V, and not as here in the same direction, thus forming an inverted 'V. For me the upper flats sit a little artificially, as though an afterthought, but what a pity that the centre pipe of each flat is full length, right to the top of the case. How much more effective if all the pipes in the top flats had been separate and in scale with the opening."
Well, now look at the cover picture this time. Whilst the case remains architecturally the same, Paul Hale and Nicholson's have indeed now inserted pipework with the mouths forming 'Vs' in contra motion to the pipe shades, and have provided separate pipes in scale with the opening to the top flats. The bottom flats between the towers now each contain seven narrower scaled pipes to advantage. (Previously there were five). A fine case now looks the more impressive, and as we now know from our visit, the organ has an impressive sound to match.
This is one occasion when my ramblings on organ case design have been put to the test.
Mrs Sylvia Gawn
Mrs Maureen Norman
Mrs Jean Wallis
Mr David Hughes
Mrs Lucie Prior
Dr Berkeley Hill
cover photograph Gary Tollerfield
"THE KENT COUNTY ORGANISTS' ASSOCIATION welcomes new members with an
interest in the organ and its music. Also those who enjoy visiting churches
with an appreciation of architecture and heritage. Membership of the Association
is not based on the ability to play; we welcome equally those who enjoy
listening, as well as those who enjoy playing".