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  2. S_L

    List of beautiful English Organs

    Well - they are all in the City of London - lots of, what looks like Wren! 1) All Hallows London Wall 2) St. Martin's Ludgate Hill 3) St. Mary, Woolnoth 4) St. Stephen's Walbrook 5) St Mary at Hill 6) ? 7) St. Mary le Bow
  3. Yesterday
  4. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    A Quiz. If you get one of them, you will probably be able to find them all. Be warned - one is a bit of a cheat! Answers tomorrow.....
  5. trottimus

    P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    As a former Southampton music student, and one of the Collins team to install the Turner Simms organ, I'm delighted to learn that a new home has been found for this bold instrument. It is a very fitting location given the late Professor Peter Evans' love and scholarship for Britten's music. Sad that Piet Kee is no longer with us to repeat his opening programme from 1978.
  6. Last week
  7. handsoff

    Blind Listening Experiment

    I played a new organ with fully electric action in Witheridge, North Devon, a couple of years ago. This had four different settings available for the general crescendo pedal and they all were set to do exactly what most GCPs don't in that the superfluous quieter ranks were taken off as the louder stops came on. In this case it was clearly up to the player to choose the sound required in each of the settings. The level of playing aids was almost overwhelming to me; used to playing instruments with none! I do appreciate that older organs don't have the flexibility that a new state-of-the-art electric action can provide. Here is a rather blurred picture that Mrs H took on a very basic digital camera as i was playing. The GC pedal is the the right-hand (foot!) of the two. This is the specification although the GCP isn't shown in the leaflet from which it was taken.
  8. Zimbelstern

    Blind Listening Experiment

    We always have to remember that the pipe organ is very much a niche market within a niche market (classical music). Even many church goers who regularly hear the organ played have never seen it close up, have no idea how it works or know that organists play with their feet. Members of the clergy are not necessarily interested in organs and organ music - why should they be? Pipe organs have suffered over the centuries from being smashed up by religious fanatics, atheists (French Revolution), anarchists (Spanish Civil War), or their activity has been restricted when the theology of church music changed (Tra Le Sollicitudini) and alternatim masses were banned. The Orthodox Church does not allow musical instruments at all. Perhaps the best way to view pipe organ building (if you want to remain positive) is like the bespoke, handmade shoe or suit industries. You can always get them but they’ll cost you many hundreds or thousands of pounds. They’ll always be a demand, but only a limited one. I am constantly surprised at just how many new organs are still commissioned and installed in churches and elsewhere, here and abroad. Somehow, in spite of the sheer incompetence of many churches in managing and investing their funds, huge sums are stll found for new organs or to rebuild existing ones. Probably the greatest threat to pipe organs is fashion. The argument about pipe organs lasting 100 years is almost beside the point, since many new today will probably fail to impress in 30 years time and be subject to all kinds of alteration. It is impossible to predict where churches and organs will be in 100 years time - if the world hasn’t been blown to smithereens! The latest sampling techniques make it possible to have a range of highly realistic recordings of organs installed in your computer and play them back in your home. This is great for practising, (or even making your own digital recordings), but we should never forget that these are samples of real pipe organs and would not be possible without them. The human brain needs constant stimulation and change, and these factors, together with fashion, will ensure that digital organs will never replace good, well maintained pipe organs. On the contrary, the availability of relatively cheap digital organs for practice has at last made it possible for new students to learn and practise the organ in their own homes. Nothing, but nothing in the world of music however, can compare with the experience of playing, say Widor or Vierne, on great Cavaillé Coll organs in Paris as I did on an organ course earlier this summer. Can anyone really imagine that a digital organ could be built that could ever come anywhere near the glorious sound of the organ in Saint Sulpice?
  9. S_L

    Blind Listening Experiment

    Actually I agree with that! I don't want to get into a 'pipe v electronic' debate but it could very well be that, buying an electronic, shows that the church cares very much about its programme of music. Every circumstance is different and a blanket judgement isn't particularly helpful! Well, that's what I think anyway!!
  10. Peter Allison

    Blind Listening Experiment

    other supermarket branded wines are also available 😉
  11. Steve Goodwin

    Blind Listening Experiment

    I really don't think that's true. As has been discussed above, there is much, much more to the choice than just 'caring about music'.
  12. SomeChap

    Blind Listening Experiment

    The point made about long-term aural dissatisfaction with digitals (as opposed to the short demonstration in the video) is interesting. If it were a significant factor then we might expect there to be a long-term trend of lots of electronics being replaced with pipe organs about twenty years after their installation (sufficient time for everyone to be fed up with the flat 'plastic', mushy sound, and for the people whose decision it was to install the digital to have moved on). Is this observable on more than an anecdotal level? The lecture in the video takes a purely economic perspective in discussing pipe vs electronic; this fails to take into account of the knock-on effects of installing an electronic - most significantly that many organists would rather not play them and so won't apply for the organist's job at that church when a vacancy arises. Thus the music programme of the church is endangered in the long term; the electronic implies (to some highly relevant people at least) that the church doesn't really care about music very much. (The video doesn't seem to contain the whole lecture so maybe other points were originally addressed but edited out?)
  13. John Furse

    Blind Listening Experiment

    It is not for nothing that the woodwind were omitted from Poulenc's Organ Concerto. Modern orchestral instruments almost always sound ‘off’ in such a context: rarely sounding ‘comfortable’ in combination with both their earlier (‘authentic’) incarnations and/or an organ. Flutes would probably ‘blend in’ the most successfully.
  14. Colin Pykett

    Blind Listening Experiment

    Some discussion above mentions the 'aim' of the video. I think the problem here is that there wasn't one - by its own admission in the opening credit it consists merely of someone famous playing two instruments, and then it concludes with a lecture on 'economics' by someone rich. Er - so what? Where is the 'aim' in that? Therefore I think we may be crediting it with more meaning and importance than it deserves and therefore wasting our time. I shouldn't be surprised if at least some parties involved in making the thing are having a good laugh at our expense and wondering why we haven't got anything better to do. So maybe the whole thread ought to be deleted now that we've got it out of our systems? That's not my decision, though this is after all a pipes-only forum and one reason why at least some of us are members. Those with the inclination can sound off about electronics some place else. However, since the thread hasn't been deleted, it does lead onto another matter. The whole issue of pipes versus electronics is not really whether one is better than the other because in many respects it's a question scarcely worth the asking - the answer is obvious and the differences can be demonstrated to doubters objectively. What matters more is whether the cheaper digital option is good enough, and therefore by implication, more cost-effective. It is obvious that many purchasers think that digitals are good enough. As with John's wine analogy, it is why those who can't afford the Premier Grand Cru nevertheless get quite a lot of satisfaction from Waitrose own brand. If I were a pipe organ builder, I think it is this aspect which would cause me the most concern. CEP
  15. Damian Beasley-Suffolk

    Blind Listening Experiment

    Re-reading my last post, I realise I may well have strayed into moderation territory. If so, so be it, and apologies!
  16. Damian Beasley-Suffolk

    Blind Listening Experiment

    @ Martin Cooke, re high end electronic organs. You are, of course, correct. There is an element of "You pays your money and you takes your choice" with many things, and certainly once you get to 4 manual electronic instruments a high degree of customisation, high quality and adaptability are expected. It is also true that many electronic instruments do have great flexibility in voicing, even the small ones, and that installers really do need to know what they are doing in order to get each installation right. There are a couple of such installers in the UK who, I think quite rightly, take great care and professional pride in doing just that. The overlap, and increasing difficulty to distinguish with pipe organs is probably considerable here. But like you I have also heard good electronics (a big acoustic helps) and poor pipe organs - and I recently heard a large electronic, not long installed, which sounds remarkably flat, in the sense of being 2-dimensional and, as more stops are added, indistinct. But that's just me - and that church's pipe organ doesn't work, so can't be switched on for the inevitably revealing comparison. Going back to the purpose of the post, which is whether average, interested and normally musical people can distinguish pipe and electronic, the real problem is the opportunity for objective comparison. Often, such tests are quite short, in my limited experience. This is why I made the point about finding a stop on an organ that you can play for hours. I am fortunate in having a small Dutch neo-baroque-ish pipe organ at home, and can compare it with a very new, also Dutch, electronic organ (no names, not fair) for as long as I wish. With the electronic, I can select more or less the same stops as the pipe organ and compare them directly. Initially, it's actually very good. But for some reason this does wane over a relatively short time. I really don't know why - I can guess that, as brains are adapted to seek out patterns, the lack of random variation, or the presence of predictable, periodic variation, in synthesised or long-loop electronic organs might betray them, perhaps the poor spatial definition of the individual notes at close quarters. But my living room is not the ideal listening space. At the press of a button, I can now go from a Dutch organ to a French romantic one, with a specification sampled from a Cavaillé-Coll organ in France somewhere, but which is sufficiently close to the genuine Cavaillé-Coll in the Waalse Kerk (French Protestant Church) here in The Hague. Spec here https://www.haagsorgelkontakt.nl/waalse-kerk/, a superb organ. Whilst my electronic sounds great with headphones on and the reverberation knob turned all the way up to 11, there's no mistaking it for the real thing here, and certainly not if the interested listener could hear them together, and could spend time with them. Of course, features like the number of audio channels matter - a "simple" spatial effect of stereo is not enough, I feel. But some manufacturers have gone as far as to produce loudspeaker arrangements with many speakers speaking into resonant tubes, which then goes quite a way to simulating the three-dimensional vibrations of pipes, rather than just a big echo chamber. Then, of course, things get expensive even for electronic organs, and you may well approach the cost of the real thing. This principle might have some application for hybrid organs. A friend of mine is a flautist, and always finds playing his flute while standing next to my house organ funny, because he can feel and hear sympathetic resonances from different pipes in the organ and he says he finds himself adapting his tuning to the response from the otherwise silent pipes. I wonder whether hybrid organs might sound better than they really are because of this effect, even if this is just a compromise to get loud and/or big stops into a specification. It could even save some temporarily out of action organs, if electronic installations retained them rather than chucking out the pipes for more speakers to be dumped onto the soundboards. Given this, my very limited personal experience, I think that the average interested person, given a fair opportunity and time, would be able to tell the difference and fairly appreciate that difference. What they then do with that deeper insight, and awareness that the choice need not be just pipe v electronic, is of course subject to other considerations.
  17. Damian Beasley-Suffolk

    List of beautiful English Organs

    If you don't mind, I have replied to this on the Blind Listening Thread.
  18. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    The Frampton organ looks as though the front pipes were decorated when it was built, but at Bromley they were painted when Bishops' restored the organ in the sixties - hence my surmise about the Shenton connection. Frampton looks to be a particularly fine example of stencilling.
  19. Philip J Wells

    List of beautiful English Organs

    The Great Bromley Walker organ of 1867 pictured above with pipes alternately blue and gold is not the only one they produced around this time. Near me in Frampton on Severn, Gloucestershire there is a Walker of 1866 with the same basic colouring but enhanced with stencilling over the top. Maybe this was a Walker design option (or maybe Great Bromley was repainted?) http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N05709
  20. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    I guess that in many respects I'm guilty as charged, having expanded the "English" bit to include other parts of the British Isles, posting organs that are not by English builders, flagrantly ignoring suggestions to avoid newer instruments, etc. "Beautiful", I suppose, is a subjective term and what may appear beautiful to me may not be so to others. What this thread has highlighted, I think, is that there are a lot more good-looking instruments in Britain than we might have thought. There are a lot of boring pipe-racks in Europe and North America, too. Again being subjective, I don't care for the "stainless steel" style that seems to be popular in Europe, or the number of modern cases with whole rows of pipes arranged so that their tops make a horizontal line, or that big blue Fisk in Japan (Rikkyo Gakuin) which looks to me like a cross between something pressed out of plastic sheet and a half-sucked boiled sweet. But who am I to judge, especially from mere photographs? On the other hand, Grenzing's cases at Brussels Cathedral look fabulous to me.... "Organ" as applied to electronic instruments: a tricky question. I always used to use the term "electrone" but that's archaic and really applies only to Comptons (which were decent enough specimens in their day). A friend of mine over here, a well-known recitalist, is an agent for a well-known make (no names, no pack drill, either of the agent or the firm) and refers to them as "appliances", and a lot of people use the term "toasters', both of which are hardly polite. In North America, folk tend to say "pipe organ" when referring to the real thing. I suppose that if one thinks of the name as denoting the function of the instrument, then "organ" is as good as we will get. More pictures, beautiful or not according to taste, but in any case showing imagination and a little bit out of the ordinary. Andrew Hayden, writing in "Choir and Organ" (May/June 2015) describes the collaboration between the East Anglian-based artist Jack Shenton and John Budgen of Bishop & Son (Ipswich). This resulted in about a dozen instruments in which colour added interest to existing case-work. Andrew highlights Thorpe Morieux and East Bergholt, as well as an original Shenton case design at Rattlesden which unfortunately never received its intended colour scheme. I knew the instruments but I didn't know about Jack Shenton until I read the article. I can't find a picture of Rattlesden online, but the church is worth a visit in any case. Thorpe Morieux is in the same benefice and is not far away. The organ is an original J.C. Bishop of 1840 which came to roost here in 1968 after various peregrinations. It is the first thing you see as you enter the church, being on the north wall opposite the south door, and it looks extremely well. The picture is from Simon Knott's Suffolk Churches site, but there is another on NPOR. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D00320 At East Bergholt, right in the middle of "Constable Country", the church is one of Suffolk's best (which is saying a great deal), but lacks a tower. Round the back is a unique bell-cage containing the world's heaviest ring of five (tenor 25cwt), which are rung in the English fashion but without ropes and wheels. You push the bell over and catch it as it comes up. Highly dangerous, really, but when I was a teenage bell-ringer, you could get a ring on them if the ringing-captain was in the right mood. I don't know if I'd dare to risk it now, but I did then. The 1897 Bishop organ in the church came from a Presbyterian church in Gravesend in 1966, replacing a Hammond, and has since been slightly enlarged. Shenton designed a scheme of colouring for the two cases, which is certainly effective: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=A00281 One might not want to do this sort of thing everywhere, but it seems to work here. After reading Andrew's piece, I wondered if the 1867 Walker organ at Great Bromley in Essex had received Jack Shenton's attention also. it has an absolutely plain and typical pipe-rack front, but the pipes are painted alternately blue and gold. Again, one wouldn't want to see this everywhere but I think it's effective in this case. The organ itself is a very fine little job, giving a lot more than its five stops would suggest, although it's a pity that it lacks a Pedal bourdon. The church is a probably the finest in this part of Essex. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N01721 Referring to the Escomb organ which Damian illustrates a couple of items before this, I played this one about five years ago and it is indeed a beautiful little job, perfectly suited to the Saxon church where it resides.
  21. Martin Cooke

    List of beautiful English Organs

    Not so in my experience with high end modern digital organs. There were any number of beautiful (sampled) sounds on the large 4-manual digital instrument I played regularly before retirement, and the same is true of the three manual home instrument I have now which uses synthesised sound. I don't think some folk realise how much tonal polishing some digital builders put into their installations. I do know what you mean though about small pipe organs. There is a one manual Hill near me which delightful tonal quality, and I could happily play on it all day. I would be slightly more inclined to do so if it were tuned and maintained properly and if a modern pedalboard could replace the twelve pull downs it has and the instrument be fitted with a 30/32 note pedal 16ft. Conversely, I once took one of this country's leading church musicians to play a large (50-stop or so) three manual pipe organ by a major builder of the day - (no names, no pack drill). He played it very thoroughly for about 90 minutes listening carefully to every register and combination. At the end, he declared that there was just one stop on the entire organ that he could live with - a 16 foot wooden stop on the Great.
  22. Damian Beasley-Suffolk

    List of beautiful English Organs

    Considering the current threads on beautiful organs, and pipe v electronic blind hearing tests together, I noted that many effective organs don't need to be large. One often hears of players with relatively small pipe organs which have a particular stop, usually a quiet diapason, principle, or flute, which they say are so lovely that they can happily play for hours with that one stop. I am pretty sure that this is not the case with typical electronic instruments, having tried it. The point is that simple but well-made instruments are often more than adequate, they provide the sense of quality, craft, and life in an instrument that others often can't, and in that musical sense can be considered beautiful. One example I know well demonstrates this. The Saxon Church, Escomb, County Durham: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N04218 A Nigel Church organ, for this very tiny, very very old church reputed to be about the oldest in England, and built, using re-cycled stones from the Binchester Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall, on the site of an even older church/worship/mass site. A simple but elegant case, interesting pipe display, with a beautiful tone it sounds just right in this ancient but active building. My father in law has played here for longer than anyone can remember, my wife played here frequently, and occasionally, if I get the opportunity, so do I.
  23. Damian Beasley-Suffolk

    List of beautiful English Organs

    Playing on NPOR today, I came across this organ in the church of St Cosmas and St Damian in Sherrington, Wiltshire: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=K00639 There are some better pictures of this instrument on the church's website at https://upperwylyevalleyteam.com/our-churches/st-cosmas-st-damian-sherrington/ Although the front pipes are actually wooden dummies, the whole case is lovely, even more so in its location at the back of the church. I imagine somehow that the sound of the organ is exactly what one would hope and expect to hear. Ss. Cosmas and Damian is a rare dedication in Britain, despite the noble and instantly attractive name. I can find 5 Anglican churches (one redundant) and one Greek Orthodox. I've met a good few Da/emia/e/ons in my time, all of them fine fellows as one would expect, but only one Cosmos - actually Cosmo. Although I noticed some Bach CDs in his study a couple of times, I never got around to finding out his musical involvement or forming a combo.
  24. AJJ

    List of beautiful English Organs

    Agree! A
  25. bam

    List of beautiful English Organs

    I hesitate to say it's beautiful, but it's certainly a beautifully made piece of furniture, with intricate fretwork: the former Apsley House Willis now in Whitchurch Methodist church: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D02223
  26. Bruce Buchanan

    List of beautiful English Organs

    After 11 pages on this subject I rather fear I now need to see definitions of: 'Beautiful' 'English', and, referring to the Blind Listening thread, 'Organ'
  27. Earlier
  28. David Drinkell

    Blind Listening Experiment

    On a "respectable" (for want of a better word) electronic, the general crescendo pedal would work in the same way as on a pipe organ - after all, such instruments are designed to imitate pipe organs in every respect. In other words, it would add stops one by one. Where the general crescendo is, in my opinion, unsatisfactory, is that it starts with the softest stops and adds others gradually, but without taking off those stops which may be superfluous at a given level of volume. For example, if you have Great to Fifteenth and make a crescendo via the general crescendo pedal, you will get all the unison flutes, strings, etc, which are on the earlier stages, thus cloying the texture and wasting wind. Some modern instruments may have a means of programming the general crescendo, but most don't. For that reason, I very rarely use the device - I reckon I can count on the fingers of one hand the pieces where I find it useful. The effect is probably better on North American romantic organs (Skinners, for example) where there are more ways to build up and reduce than is usually the case on British instruments, but I still don't like to be bound by what has been set up on the pedal, and I think that they have had an adverse effect on many organists over here, making them lazy in registration.
  29. David Surtees

    Blind Listening Experiment

    This is very true. The best electronic organs should be indistinguishable from a recording of a pipe organ. There are various reasons why this is not quite true in practice, but some electronics do come very close. With YouTube videos, you have the added factor of compression to take into account, which makes it harder still to distinguish. It is a very different matter to compare the two in the flesh, as it were, and I have yet to come across an electronic that convinced me after prolonged listening.
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