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Chamber organ for sale


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#1 Choir_Man

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 03:06 PM

A splendid little chamber organ from the Blenheim Palace estate is up for sale on ebay.

 

http://www.ebay.co.u...s-/162252890341

 

I'd buy it myself if space and wife permitted, but sadly not. I hope it finds a good home.



#2 John Robinson

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 09:13 PM

Going by the picture, I thought it might fit in our living room, but having now found the dimensions (270cm height) I'm afraid it won't.

Nevertheless, I'd pay £50 for it!



#3 SL

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 10:18 AM

Going by the picture, I thought it might fit in our living room, but having now found the dimensions (270cm height) I'm afraid it won't.

Nevertheless, I'd pay £50 for it!

 

 

 

Looks like you will have to pay a bit more now - £560 - with 15 bids and still 6 days to go!!


SL (late of Kings College, Cambridge)


#4 SL

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 09:20 AM

£1020 - 27 bids!

 

Someone got a bargain I would say!


SL (late of Kings College, Cambridge)


#5 John Robinson

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 10:58 PM

I'll say!



#6 Colin Harvey

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 12:43 PM

I followed this organ with growing interest when a friend suggested it for a church in our area. 

 

It's always sad to see yet another organ like this, with some provenance and historic interest, on eBay and it raised a few questions about custodianship of historic organs in private hands:

  1. Is it possible to ensure good custodianship of such instruments in private hands and protect them from inappropriate alterations and work?
  2. Is it possible that, if they need to be sold or changed hands, there's a way of tracking and monitoring historic organs? What about the situation when the owner dies or is no longer able/willing to keep the organ? Is there a way the organ's future can be ensured and not left to executors or sales people or buyers who may not understand what they're dealing with? 

On these questions, I felt 

  1. In this organ's case it's clear the organ case had recently had an amount of relatively inappropriate, albeit minor, alterations, like screwing bits of brass on it, repainting some of the pipes (why?!) and panels, and re-purposing one of the panels to make a larger music desk. Certainly it was enough to put me off and any sensible purchaser would want to reverse those alterations.
  2. Is selling an organ like this on eBay really the responsible thing to do? Shouldn't the overriding concern be that the seller goes about ensuring the organ has a safe future? A longer and more thought-through sale may have also gained a better price if it is important to them. Any idiot can end up spending a lot of money bidding for an organ on eBay but it doesn't mean they know what they're letting themselves in for... what about the several thousand £ it'll cost to engage someone suitable to move it? 

 

I know BIOS do a lot of good work in these sorts of cases - I've been involved with them before rescuing an organ from eBay (see below for the results) and I know this sort of situation is unfortunately a very common occurrence for them. Is there more which could be done to help and assist them with this work? The CofE has the faculty process which should stop this sort of thing but we know it is imperfect, while other denominations and organs in private hands have a variety of checks and balances ranging from non-existent to something approaching the faculty process.  

 

I thought the Bates organ was charming. Bates was a good builder as far as I can tell - I occasionally play one, rebuilt by Bryceson and it really is a stunning organ. This organ looks like a Dulciana and 4ft flute (possibly by J.W.Walker, judging by the stop heads?) have supplanted a couple of earlier stops (maybe a Twelfth and Sesquialtera?) but I thought it sounded very good in the YouTube video. I remember seeing score after score of estimates in the Hill archives of the 1840s for organs of similar size to this Bates organ - the specifications end up being very repetitive; such novelties as Dulcianas and 4ft flutes didn't really start to materialise until the late 1840s and even then they were very rare. 

 

Hopefully this organ has found a good home but if it has, it is more by luck than design in this case! 

 

Footnote:

Organ rescued from eBay in 2013: http://www.tomccpari...slebury-organs/ plus see http://npor.org.uk/N....html?RI=V00095.

 

CH



#7 Colin Pykett

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 01:59 PM

... what about the several thousand £ it'll cost to engage someone suitable to move it? 

 

 

This very good point has been responsible for some erstwhile buyers who had won an auction on ebay suddenly losing interest, resulting in the organ having to be re-listed.  Moving anything is unbelievably expensive today.  Only this week I engaged a local firm to demolish and dispose of an old and small garden shed.  The only tool they used was a sledge hammer, the job took about 20 minutes and it cost over £250.  I considered myself lucky to have found anyone to have done it at any price.  So amplify that figure by the several days' work required to carefully dismantle and stow an entire organ in a removal van, transport it, and then re-erect it somewhere else.

 

Those property developers who frequently list organs on ebay could quite easily dispose of them themselves - they are builders when all said and done - but they know full well how much it would cost to do so legally (i.e. to pay proper landfill fees etc).  So they hope some unsuspecting punter will come along and put money in their pocket to do the job for them by bidding for the instrument.

 

CEP



#8 Colin Harvey

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 02:51 PM

Absolutely.

 

I'd add while the organ is in pieces, it's usually sensible to seize the opportunity to carry out any repairs and maintenance which may be required.

 

By way of an example, the organ I alluded to above (at Owslebury *) cost £600 to buy. 

The costs of transplanting it into the new church was in the 'teens of thousands.

It was in a pretty tired state when we bought it. So the cost included a restoration of releathering the bellows, cleaning and overhaul of all components (including pipe repairs - the front pipes were badly dented) and refinishing the case (it was in quite a state and the best thing was to strip it back and refinish it in its original finish of button polish). Nothing done to the soundboard except an inspection to confirm it was still sound and had many more years in it before it would require work.

Even if we hadn't done this, the costs of moving the organ would have been many multiples of the purchase cost. 

 

Still, it's a lot cheaper and longer-lived than an electronic installation, and a heck of a lot nicer to play and listen to, but that's a topic for discussion for another day.

 

By way of an example, there's a church quite close to here which is spending £40-50K on a Hauptwerk based installation (complete with 4 manual console for a church which seats 250...). The pipe organ could be brought into a relatively good state of repair for about half that. The pipe organ may be the work of a not-particularly-distinguished local builder, and rebuilt in the 1950s (detached console, EP action and an unfathomably stupid layout, all that sort of thing), but it sounds well in the church and the issues of delay could easily be resolved by re-siting the console where they intend to put the 4 manual Hauptwerk console. It's completely bonkers. 

 

* Owslebury is roughly pronouced "Oz-el-bury" in case you're wondering.



#9 Colin Pykett

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 06:52 PM


By way of an example, there's a church quite close to here which is spending £40-50K on a Hauptwerk based installation (complete with 4 manual console for a church which seats 250...). The pipe organ could be brought into a relatively good state of repair for about half that. The pipe organ may be the work of a not-particularly-distinguished local builder, and rebuilt in the 1950s (detached console, EP action and an unfathomably stupid layout, all that sort of thing), but it sounds well in the church and the issues of delay could easily be resolved by re-siting the console where they intend to put the 4 manual Hauptwerk console. It's completely bonkers. 

 

 

 

I'm wary of entering a discussion about an organ I do not know, but from what you say I agree it does sound rather monstrous.  Is it an Anglican church, and if so, how was a Faculty obtained, and what did the DOA think about it?  Incidentally, your description also comprehensively demolishes the perception (put about and encouraged by some of those who promote them) that virtual pipe organs are cheap.  But let's not go there ...

 

CEP



#10 Tony Newnham

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 08:38 AM

Hi

 

The IBO run a redundant organ listing on their website, which is perhaps the ideal central listing for such instruments - but when we were looking to dispose of the c.1820 chamber organ from Heaton Baptist when the church closed, we had no enquiries from there at all - and that was for a historic instrument that had been fully restored by a major UK firm less than 10 years previously.  The Methodist Church also have a listing scheme, and the Heaton organ was listed there and drew a few enquiries, but only 2 from the UK - both from organ builders who were concerned that it was not just destroyed.  In the end it went to Australia- to a training scheme for young potential church musicians.

 

Incidentally, it took an organ builder just 1/2 day to dismantle and pack the organ (5 stops).  It's the restoration & reinstallation that takes the time.

 

As to electronic substitutes, I don't think church authorities always consider the potential life-span of the instrument - and Hauptwerk and other similar systems running on ordinary computers are a real worry - we all know how long a typical computer lasts!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony



#11 Colin Harvey

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 02:36 PM

 

I'm wary of entering a discussion about an organ I do not know, but from what you say I agree it does sound rather monstrous.  Is it an Anglican church, and if so, how was a Faculty obtained, and what did the DOA think about it?  Incidentally, your description also comprehensively demolishes the perception (put about and encouraged by some of those who promote them) that virtual pipe organs are cheap.  But let's not go there ...

 

CEP

 

Hi Colin,

 

Yes, Anglican church. The DAC made the decision in the absence of the DOA because of a perceived conflict of interest by the Archdeacon and Chairman of the DAC. I'm not sure what the conflict of interest was, except that the DOA occasionally deputises at the church. 

The funding for the electric was given by the friends of the church organisation, on the proviso it was only for the proposed electronic organ. The faculty also allowed for the removal of the organ, on the proviso it passed to an organ builder or another parish. 

 

I had fairly extensive correspondence with the DOA and organ tuner on the subject, as well as a little bit with the incumbent at the church. 

 

I could write a lot more - I know a lot of the people involved and there is a long history of schemes for the organ at the church, none of which have materialised. The church has a good link with the nearby university for choral music but they had struggled with the organ for a long time. There are very real and practical problems of ensemble and balance between choir and organ as it currently stands but these could have been resolved. 

 

For now, I will refrain from saying any more for now except pondering whether a large whistle needs to be blown at some point. 






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