Posted 23 November 2016 - 07:02 PM
Thanks for the update Martin. I'm sure all of us would be interested to understand the rationale behind re-voicing this organ by Ruffatti. Would you enlighten us please?
I played the new Tickell at Keble a year or two ago. I was very struck by the unashamedly romantic - if not orchestral - spirit of the organ. It's as though the style had gone full circle from Compton through GDB to Ken Tickell and here was Tickell building an organ that wasn't a million miles away from his grand-organ builders in John Compton! In particular, the orchestral reeds and strings of this organ impressed me with their colour and finish. Keble is a far cry from his early classically inspired organs such as Oakham. The organ feels very assured in its orchestral style, as though the organ builders didn't feel ashamed of making a 4 manual English cathedral style instrument and have gone for it. There's a definite confidence and assurance of hand in it.
In this context, the Choir Organ makes perfect sense. There is no attempt to build a secondary principal chorus on the choir - the mutations are not really what this division is about, rather soft foundation stops and the (excellent) orchestral reeds, all under expression.
The impression of playing this organ, with electric coupling throughout, feels much more like an electric action organ than a mechanical action organ. Indeed, you can't but help feel the feel of an electric action was the objective when building this (only nominally) mechanical action organ In this context, it does not feel inappropriate. How long will it be until mechanical action is eschewed entirely in these styles of organs for EP or direct electric?
It is impressive how much organ Tickell managed to squeeze into a comparatively small space; this could not have been possible without modern design tools and modern approaches to winding and action design.
Indeed, if I were to mention a weak spot on this organ, it would be the choruses. Tickell seemed to follow the quest for a chorus which had exactly the same tonality at every point of the compass with a fairly scientific approach. This has resulted in very neutral choruses which are inert to any sense of musical growth or expression when playing a musical phrase. We all know every other instrument changes across its register - human voice, strings, brass, woodwind - so why should the organ attempt to sound the same? This organ's choruses feel musically numb, especially if you prefer the treble ascendancy of choruses by builders such as Cavaille-Coll or Hill.