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    •  I agree with GrossGeigen's summary.  During my 14 years in Northern Ireland I played at least 40 Conachers, some of which I mentioned in my post on this thread a few years ago. The earlier ones are good, respectable tracker instruments, well built and voiced.  A comparison might be made with the organs of Henry Jones, many of which may still be found on country churches (at least, in East Anglia, where I grew up), although some of the smaller, later Jones jobs are let down by gormless stop-lists (flutes, dulcianas and a big diapason).  When one gets to the size where the Great runs to a Fifteenth, the comparison is more apt, and Conachers of these dimensions usually compare favourably with organs of similar size by such as Binns or Lewis.  They tend (in my experience) to be better and more imaginative than those of Abbott & Smith, Wadsworth or Forster & Andrews.  Often, an organ has to be over a certain size before it gets interesting.  Binns could be deathly dull around 11 speaking stops (e.g. Stromness Church, Orkney http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N18251), but excellent at 17 (e.g. Trim Cathedral, Co. Meath. Great: Open, Gedact, Dolce, Octave, Flautino, Trumpet. Swell: Geigen Principal, Rohr Flute, Vox Angelica, Principal, Mixture 15.19.22, Cornopean, Oboe. Pedal Contra Bass, Bourdon, Flute. Couplers include Swell Octave and Sub and Swell to Great 16.8.4). Nine stops worth of Lewis, as at Woolverstone, Suffolk (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D05628) does not add up to a lot of fun, although better than the same amount of Lewis at Dundrum, Co. Down (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D01459 - almost an octopod). A Father Willis "Model" (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D00537) or the same sort of thing by Arthur Harrison (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N05347) is a lot more versatile from our point of view, and some of the little Norman & Beard jobs to be found all over East Anglia (each one an individual) can be much more interesting than the stop-list would suggest. On a larger scale,  one could feel that a more inspired selection of stops could have been provided for the number of slides, such as one finds at Holy Trinity, Windsor (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D00991). Quite a fine organ, but some other builders might have been more imaginative.  On the other hand, Conachers' were recommended for the job by Sir Walter Parratt (a Huddersfield man), and he may have had a say in the stop-list.  First Ballymacarrett Presbyterian, Belfast has nothing above 4' pitch, but is quite impressive in a "toujours rosbif" sort of way (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06928). Long-established firms often changed hands in the course of time, and it appears that Conachers' was no exception.  Leonard Bartram was their Irish manager at one time and later was in charge of the whole show (I don't know if he actually owned the firm as well).  Some fine jobs were turned out during his time - quite up-to-date technologically with stop-key consoles, cancellors, adjustable pistons, extended reed units.  It seems almost unkind to mention a real shocker - Cregagh Road Presbyterian, Belfast (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D01431).  It lurks behind a false "east" wall, complete with back-lit stained glass window, and the console is in the "west" gallery.  No time-lag, but the sound simply doesn't get into the church.  David McElderry of Wells-Kennedy, who maintained it, said that it was a decent enough organ inside the chamber, but it sounds unbelievably gormless in the church.  Simon Preston opened it and is reputed to have said it was the worst organ he had ever played, although his opinion might have been coloured by his leaving his organ shoes by the console while he went out for a bite to eat, returning to find that the care-taker had found them, thought they belonged to a tramp and binned them.  So said the Old Boys in Belfast, anyway.... These late Conachers could be a bit heavier in the diapasons, thicker in the chorus reeds and sometimes rather more acidic in the strings than was by then fashionable, but they were pretty good all the same. St. Columba's, Knock, Belfast is a nice example of a large two-manual (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D01412) and I mentioned Belmont Presbyterian as an outstanding effort for its time, with a big Positive division and generally (not quite entirely) enlightened scheme. The firm was taken over by Willis, and later John Sinclair Willis acquired it from Henry 4 and ran it under the original name, from the old factory in Huddersfield.  I would be interested to know if this is still the case. To conclude, I usually felt happy enough if I was going to play a Conacher, and there were some to which I would definitely look forward.  As forumites will know, there are a lot of organs, even the generality of products by certain builders, about which one cannot say that.
    • There were two firms in Huddersfield, stemming from Peter's initial foray in 1854 (initially with another partner), however brother James duly became a partner. This partnership was dissolved about 1879/1880, with a court case "Conacher v Conacher" well-covered in Musical Opinion & Trade Review at that time. James set up on his own, and in 1881 dismantled an 1860's Father Willis in Newport's Albert Hall and re-erected in the newly-completed Huddersfield Town Hall - and therein may lie the basis of the split, as Peter Conacher was by this time a Town Councillor and could not tender for the Town Hall project (which would undoubtedly been a worthy project to have bagged). Herbert (son of James) worked with his Father before forming a partnership in the Birmingham area with P H Sheffield, sometime just before WWI I believe. In terms of the "average-to-bad" epitaph, I simply don't recognise this in the number of Victorian instruments which I have encountered and worked on (by both brothers) constructed as they are with uniformly excellent materials, and most of them working with admirable efficiency in circumstances where the custodianship has been frugal. I accept that certain tonal characteristics of these instruments may not appeal to all.....
    • There was a move, largely successful, by the Cathedral Organists Association some years ago, to bring organists' salaries into line with those paid to residentiary canons.  I don't know if the same principle still applies.  Of course, the two posts are not completely comparable, as clergy tend to have a lot of perks and expenses which organists don't, whereas organists may make a nice little extra sum from concerts and pupils. One cathedral, while raising the organist's salary to that of a residentiary canon, stopped paying him fees for weddings and funerals. However, the assistant did get paid for such of these services as he accompanied, so he ended up doing all of them....
    • Ten out of ten for flagging up the Elbphilharmonie! I think they've done an amazing job of blending the organ in with the building's architecture.  You get to see both consoles as well! You can get up, close and personal with the Bridgewater Hall Marcussen as well, though sadly the console is shut up.  You can also get fairly close to the Hill in Sydney Town Hall, and the Elton John organ at the RAM Otherwise I can only find organs which are easily accessible from the floor of the building they stand in, like the RC shrine in Walsingham If we're allowed to include 3rd-party panoramas from other street-view users (as opposed to real street-view captures then I can give you a nice view of the two organs at Douai Abbey, and the Woodstock at Fotheringhay,. the Letourneau at Pembroke college Oxford  and the Kenneth Jones at Great St Mary's in Cambridge. Across the north see you can get a good look at the Koororgel in the Bovenkerk in Kampen