Another DVD recording at Selby Abbey
On the 27th and 28th of September 2016 the crew met up again at Selby Abbey to produce another DVD, this time for our Regent Classic custom organs.
2 years earlier we had made 2 DVD’s featuring the standard Viscount Regent 356 instrument but now we had a 3 manual custom drawstop in the Abbey for the summer concert series and so took advantage of this to film later in the year.
A great friend and sensational concert organist Joseph Nolan came over from Perth Australia to play for us. Joseph is rightly known for his masterful recordings of all the ten Widor Organ Symphonies on many of the finest Cavaille–Coll organs of France. Look out for those on the Signum Label.
Filming and Audio recording
This time we were filming after the Abbey closed and later in the year so lighting as well as the usual extensive camera and sound equipment was needed. We also were more ambitious with the camera equipment bringing in a camera that could take shots continuously from floor level all the way to well above the musicians head. To add a further element of drama and interest to the filming we were given permission to fly a drone in the Abbey. This had to be done independent of the audio recording as the drone makes quite a noise when flying about. You can watch a short clip from the video at the bottom of this blog post.
As ever the filming was masterminded by cousin Andrew and co-owner of Air Television who provided the crew temporarily stood down from the normal day job of filming Helicopter Heroes. We invited Ken Blair to manage the audio production as he had been the engineer on the very first CD Joseph made in Ripon Cathedral in 2004 so there was a bit of the ‘Friend Reunited’ about this production. Max Elliot joined us to do the page turning. A final credit must go to Andrew’s wife Sally from whom we borrowed the make up.
We had a plan and unusually for us more or less stuck to it. We would carry out 2 takes of each section allowing us to edit out any passing cars or police sirens that always seem to go past during the quiet bits. The target was to get the complete audio in the can by the end of day one and after a start shortly before 5.00pm that was achieved by about 10.30pm.
A bit of fun as well!
Day 2 was much easier requiring Joseph at the console while the drone flew about getting shots that would be cut into the film at appropriate points so we were finished by about 8.00pm on that day. By now the pipe organ restoration had been completed so we also had the fun of playing that for a few minutes when suitable gaps in the schedule allowed.
A brilliant musician and a great custom organ
The programme was chosen to show off our musicians virtuosity as much as the organ. Bach’s Sei Gegrusset variations begin the DVD with the massively complicated Sonata on the 94th psalm following on.
A favourite of mine is the arrangement of Danse Macabre by Lemare. This transcription works very well in its organ reincarnation and the conclusion of the piece is just a masterly final diminuendo.
Another piece that verges on the bonkers is the scherzo form Vierne’s 6 Symhony that is said to depict the Notre Dame gargoyles dancing in frenzy on the Cathedral roof. It is quite easy to imagine that as this frenetic dancing piece moves along at a great pace.
Our DVD concludes with a complete performance of Widors 5th Symhony and so we end the disc with the famous Toccata but set in the context of the complete work.
If you view the DVD you will by the end understand why Joseph has been awarded the Medal of Chevalier des Artes for services to French music. Below you will find a little taster video with Saint-Saens Danse Macabre.
Finally watch a short video with some drone footage from Selby Abbey below.
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Regent Classic Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.
Dennis E. Ferrara says
Stunning reproduction at the Abbey; exciting instrument, really! What other recordings are available?