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Thread: One more 7 manual organ to be built...

  1. #16
    Captain of Water Music pcnd5584's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikam View Post
    I don't disagree with anything you've said, but on behalf of small churches and even smaller, shrinking congregations, both of which would fit into a small corner of Wimborne Minster, I feel compelled to point out that not everyone has either your expertise or your extensive knowledge of pipe organs. Additionally, many churches are most certainly not in affluent areas such as Dorset, are not buildings of historic worth and, following on from that, many organists are unpaid and don't even have travelling expenses. Unfortunately that is the real world, much as we might wish it to be otherwise.

    For the record, the Minster Church at Wimborne would itself fit into Romsey Abbey* at least twice over. In addition, we are not a wealthy church. Our large and beautiful Walker organ is in need of a major restoration in the bear future. At present, we simply do not have the money.

    With regard to expertise - no, I realise that; this is partly why we have Diocesan Organ Advisors appointed for each and every diocese in the country. They are able to offer free advice to churches, both large and small. They will in addition (and as far as I know, at no cost to the churches concerned), attend site meetings, recommend builders and also give advice with regard to fund-raising.

    With regard to small congregations and the fact that they often cannot afford to restore an ailing pipe organ, so they resort to an electronic substitute. This is not always either the most economical nor the best route. There is at least one local organ builder in this area, who has worked on a number of small instruments - to good effect and at a most reasonable cost. This has resulted in a number of instruments being saved from the scrap-heap and given a new lease of life - often for a good few decades.

    In addition, there have been a few instances in this area of churches installing electronic substitutes which were unnecessarily large and complex and which themselves required expensive remedial work within a few years.




    * Another parish church (within thirty miles of Wimborne) which is of cathedral proportions.
    Last edited by pcnd5584; Mar-31-2014 at 00:19.
    Pierre Cochereau rocked, man.

  2. #17
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    And then there's Hauptwerk for those who can't afford the market leader Marshall & Ogletree or overpriced Allen. Even though I despise, detest, and loathe the organ theory of Phelps who pushed Orgelbewegung down everyone's throat, I begin to wonder if his commentary about "tracker based instruments for musicians and electronics for everyone else" is gaining ground? Great pipe instruments don't have to necessarily be tracker or electric or whatever action out there. Oh, I almost forgot...Cameron Carpenter's Opus Eight "toaster" costs in the neighborhood of $300,000...A bargain when compared to Allen's TO-5Q for more than $500,000! And I'm not trying to compare the resources of M&O Opus Eight and Allen's TO-5Q. M&O's Opus Eight is lightyears ahead of TO-5Q.
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  3. #18
    Captain of Water Music pcnd5584's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corno Dolce View Post
    ... Even though I despise, detest, and loathe the organ theory of Phelps who pushed Orgelbewegung down everyone's throat, I begin to wonder if his commentary about "tracker based instruments for musicians and electronics for everyone else" is gaining ground? Great pipe instruments don't have to necessarily be tracker or electric or whatever action out there. ...
    It is interesting to note that G. Donald Harrison, for one, was not particularly enamoured of Lawrence Phelps' philosophy on organ building. I can only think of one instrument in the UK which he built, that at Hexham Abbey§. It is a two-clavier instrument with French stop names and it replaced a much larger instrument (five divisions, spread over four claviers, and Pedals, with a 32ft. flue on the Pedal Organ.) I have no idea how 'French' it sounds, since I have never been to Hexham; however, on paper, the scheme appears to be somewhat restricted - partly due to the limitations of two claviers and mechanical action.

    I note your comments regarding mechanical action with interest. I have never been persuaded by proponents of mechanical action that this is the only acceptable form of transmission in order to achieve a musical effect and a variety of articulation - particularly when applied to larger instruments.

    Many years ago, Francis Jackson, one-time Organist of York Minster, was quoted as saying that if an organ was too large to be controlled by mechanical action, then it was too large. This, at a time when he had custody over a large four-clavier instrument, which was just shy of one hundred stops (99), and which included three full-length 32ft. Pedal stops. Oh, yes - and was controlled by electro-pneumatic action, with a comprehensive Solid-State combination system, with two consoles, one of which was mobile....

    Some years ago, we had occasion to call for three well-known organ building firms to tender for the restoration of our own Minster organ. The head of one firm (perhaps thinking that he could impress me) said 'Of course, it would be fairly simple to convert this instrument back to mechanical action.' His facial expression, when I looked at him unsmiling and simply said 'Why?', was priceless. He then decided that perhaps I was unaware of the (perceived) advantages of tracker action, and so he continued 'Oh well, then you can alter the speed at which a note speaks....' * At this point I told him that I disagreed and went on to explain that I had heard this kind of argument before, and that it was usually followed by a 'demonstration', where someone would press a key down slowly (with perhaps a Stopped Diapason drawn), and look at me in triumph as, first a windy hiss was heard, followed by a transient 'ghost' of the note, then the actual note itself, now speaking on full wind.

    My reply to such nonsense is to ask 'Please explain to me how that would be of any use in Bach's Prelude and Fugue, in G major (BWV 541), for example'. It is far too fast to mess around with opening pallets slowly. In fact, I cannot think of anything in the known repertoire which is marked to be played slowly enough for this to be of any practical use.

    I think that what I am trying to say is that, unless and organ is comparatively small (say, around twenty stops, spread over two claviers and pedals), there is likely to be little advantage in having mechanical action. Any perceived ability to 'control' the speech of the pipe is, for pretty much the entire repertoire, at best largely theoretical - and, at worst, illusory.

    For the record, I do, from time to time, have to play certain larger instruments which have mechanical action. For example, Bath Abbey, Klais IV/P/62; Chichester Cathedral, Mander IV/P/55; Christ Church Cathedral (Oxford), Rieger Orgelbau IV/P/43; Portsmouth Cathedral, Nicholson & Co., III/P/51† and Sherborne Abbey, Tickell, III/P/40.‡ In each case, and if it is present, I switch off the electric coupling (largely because it is virtually impossible to achieve the simultaneous speech of each division when the inter-clavier couplers are engaged). However, in no case have I ever felt that these instruments allowed me to articulate any differently than when playing on a good electro-pneumatic action. In fact, in the case of Bath Abbey, I discovered that I was able to play repeated chords faster than the action could (particularly on the fourth clavier), which was both annoying and tedious. (I was playing a transcription of an improvisation by Pierre Cochereau at the time.)

    In addition, there is in this area a large four-clavier instrument which was re-commissioned and rebuilt in 1999, and which possessed two consoles and two actions. The attached console (upstairs in the organ gallery) was played by mechanical action and downstairs on the floor of the Nave, there was a mobile console, which utilised electro-pneumatic action. I and several colleagues were present at the inaugural recital (which was given by a world-famous player), and who played the first half on the mechanical action console and the second half on the electro-pneumatic console. If anything, his articulation was clearer and more focused when he was using the Nave console - which was exactly the opposite of what one might expect from the reasoning of those who favour mechanical action.




    § He was engaged to build a new organ for Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford in the late 1970s. However, he became insolvent shortly after dismantling commenced and, as far as I know, his firm was dissolved forthwith. In fact, Rieger Orgelbau (Austria) stepped into the breach and built the new instrument.

    * In fact, G. Donald Harrison (and later, Stephen Bicknell) both pointed-out that in mechanical action the pallet does not (and cannot) exactly mirror the movement of the key.

    † The new West Great section, which is played by electric action (with key contacts on the G.O. clavier), has been omitted from this total.

    ‡ The Nave Organ, which is again played by electric action and key contacts, has been omitted from this total.
    Last edited by pcnd5584; Apr-09-2014 at 23:02.
    Pierre Cochereau rocked, man.

  4. #19
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hello pcnd,

    I am absolutely floored that Hexham Abbey threw out the 4-manual and had a 2-manual put in...Sounds like someone wasn't thinking

    Btw, what is your impression of the Romsey Abbey instrument? Such a grand space must have a decent instrument, or? Praytell.............


    Cheers,

    CD
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  5. #20
    Captain of Water Music pcnd5584's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corno Dolce View Post
    Hello pcnd,

    I am absolutely floored that Hexham Abbey threw out the 4-manual and had a 2-manual put in...Sounds like someone wasn't thinking

    Btw, what is your impression of the Romsey Abbey instrument? Such a grand space must have a decent instrument, or? Praytell.............


    Cheers,

    CD
    Good morning Corno Dolce,

    Romsey Abbey: this is indeed a beautiful and imposing building.

    On paper, the organ might look to be inadequate or antiquated. However, in reality it is actually a very beautiful sound. I have given a few recitals on this instrument (and played for some services, including the wedding of the then Assistant Organist). In fact, the Nave section really helps to project the sound of the instrument. The main organ itself, with three exceptions, is superb; there is a kind of velvety warmth about the sound, but yet with ample brightness. True, there is no undulating stop, However, once one gets to know the instrument, there are certain 'tricks' one can perform, in order to give various illusions. In addition, the lack of a Swell double reed is not felt as much as it might appear. .I would certainly not advocate converting the Hautboy into a quiet double reed. When this is done, it rarely works, since the scaling is wrong and the stop is generally too quiet to have any real use. In addition, the loss of a unison-pitch Hautboy is great; if voiced well, this is such a useful colourant. It can also be a very useful solo stop.

    The three stops to which I alluded earlier, are the G.O. reeds and the Choir Tuba. The latter stop was added by Mander Organs in 1982 and it is quite unpleasant. It does not blend and is not really much use as a solo stop - this is not really a 'Tuba' organ. I would remove it without a moment's hesitation. The G.O. reeds were probably similar to ours here (by the same builder and of a similar vintage); unfortunately they were revoiced at some point in the 1970s and now seem to have a slightly odd timbre.

    The only other thing which needs sorting out is the full length Pedal Double Open Diapason (of wood). I have been up to the triforium and stood next to these massive pipes (several of the lowest notes lie horizontally). However, some notes either leak or are off-speech, and so this stop is not as effective as it might be.


    Again, the console might seem old-fashioned and with a paucity of playing-aids, yet in reality it is very comfortable - and having the former mechanical composition pedals converted to general pistons (working an electric stop action), is both convenient and quite adequate. In both recitals, I played a wide variety of music, including some French symphonic movements (the Allegro Risoluto [first movement] from the Premère Symphonie pour Orgue and the Final from the Sixième Symphonie pour Orgue - the latter including three pages of semiquaver pedal scales in B major), and at no point did I wish that I were playing somewhere else....

    I hope that this helps you to understand this wonderful instrument better. If you are ever visiting this area, I would urge you to visit the abbey and, if possible, to hear the organ; I doubt that you would be disappointed.
    Last edited by pcnd5584; Apr-12-2014 at 09:50.
    Pierre Cochereau rocked, man.

  6. #21
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    WOW! Thanx so very much for enlightening me as to the Romsey Abbey instrument. I confess to looking at the NPOR in re to the instrument and was surprised as to the "palette of colors" which the instrument possesses. Yes, I reckoned that the Tuba might be overkill in the scheme of the resources. Sad to hear about the Double Open in the pedal being somewhat anemic. Yes, I will try to visit Romsey on my next trip to Britain.

    Btw, I noticed a youtube upload where Ian Tracey does a "playthrough" of some of the resources of the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral "Wonder Machine". It is being released on Priory Records, if my memory serves me. What a luxurious sound those (5) eight-foot Diapasons deliver. What other instrument can compare with it? Yes, the grand space of the Cathedral is definitely the most important "stop" of the Willis organ.


    Cheers,

    CD
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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