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John Pike Mander

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    John Pike Mander

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  1. John Pike Mander

    Blind Listening Experiment

    Dear Friends, Some interesting comments, some of which are beginning to head into forbidden territory. Never mind. What interests me is that, with all respect, I think most comments have missed the point. The aim of the exercise was to establish if an average person could identify which was the pipe organ and which was the electronic. The split between those who identified correctly and those who didn't, was pretty even. Are you surprised? I am certainly not, no more than I would be surprised if a group of average people were asked to identify in a blind wine tasting which was a Waitrose own Claret and which was a Premier Grand Cru Classe. It might have been more interesting and informative if the group had been asked which they thought sounded better. Who knows, the electronic with its 20 stops and 16ft Pedal reed against the 13(!) stop St Giles organ without the 16ft reed might have been preferred. We will never know. The bottom line is that a brief blind listening test like this is pretty pointless. It doesn't tell us which organ is better. It only tells us that the average person can't tell the difference in a short blind hearing, which we probably knew anyway. It is the equivalent of the Sunday Times engaging a Joe Bloggs as its wine correspondent. If our choirs all over the country started demanding large electronic organs for their churches, that would be the time to start being concerned. Another point we can be smug about is that before I posted this, the number of people who had watched the clip had hovered around the mid 70s for days. Having posted it, it has gone to over 230. I think that speaks for the purpose of this discussion board. John
  2. John Pike Mander

    Blind Listening Experiment

    I hope our contributors will forgive me for introducing something which mentions electronic organs, but I think a number of you will be amused (bemused?) by this video clip on YouTube. However, I implore you to limit any comments strictly to this video and not to stray into a larger discussion about the relative merits of pipe versus electronic organs (or the other way around). You will be moderated if you do! John https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_CwUxp7cvA&feature=youtu.be
  3. John Pike Mander


    The true number of pipes is 9,997, not as quoted in a number of places as 9,999. The organ is, of course a Harrison and Harrison as we tried very hard not to change its clearly H&H style. The console retains its original H&H label and there is no mention of Mander Organs on the console whatsoever. We respected the H&H work meticulously. John
  4. John Pike Mander

    Changes at Mander Organs

    For the record, I am 69. JP
  5. John Pike Mander

    Changes at Mander Organs

    In preparation for my retirement, I am pleased to inform you all that Geoff McMahon will be returning to Mander Organs with the intention of assuming the role of Managing Director. As you may be aware, Geoff was previously in charge of the drawing office here, having responsibility for such significant projects as the 72-stop organ for Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, Atlanta, and the refurbishment of the instrument in the Royal Albert Hall. Long-standing Head Voicer, Michael Blighton, is to join him on the Board as Tonal Director. Geoff's first task after re-joining the company, something he has already started, is to train Josh Anderson in the drawing office. Josh joined us from Kenneth Tickell a year ago and has become a valuable addition to our team. He already has some drawing experience. He will also be overseeing the commissioning of our recently acquired CNC machine, which he used when he was with Tickell. Later this year it is planned to transfer the ownership of Mander Organs to an Employee Ownership Trust. The trust will own all of the shares on behalf of employees as a whole, essentially making the staff the owners of the firm. I will not be disappearing over the horizon, never to be seen again, but will remain at Mander Organs as long as Geoff, Michael and anybody else at Mander Organs wishes. Even after that period, I will be available to be called in for any assistance or advise which may be required, which may include interactions with clients, should that be desirable. We all see this as an exciting new chapter in the history of Mander Organs. I will be sad to leave the firm, which I have directed for 35 years, but I think the time is right. I am sure you will find Geoff, supported by Michael and the whole team, as helpful partners in organ building and trust you will join me in wishing them the very best for the future. John
  6. John Pike Mander

    Books about organ

    Another book which might interest you, if you are interested in the instrument itself as well as its music, is Poul-Gerhad Andersen's book "Organ Building and design". It is available from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Organ-Building-Design-P-G-Andersen/dp/0047860030 John
  7. John Pike Mander

    New Organ on the Mander Website

    Why limit it to four? Why limit it to bears? If a client wished it, I am pretty sure we could come up with the goodies.
  8. John Pike Mander

    New Organ on the Mander Website

    We can't, in all honesty, take credit for the appearance of the organ. The case was designed by Craig Hamilton and made by Houghtons of York. But I agree it is elegant and matches the chapel and its furnishings perfectly. John
  9. John Pike Mander

    New Organ on the Mander Website

    There is a new page on our website which describes a small, but slightly unusual organ for a private chapel. You can go to it directly here: https://mander-organs.com/the-chapel-of-christ-the-redeemer-culham/ John
  10. John Pike Mander

    Pipe organ insurance

    That would be for insurance purposes, so they would want to know the replacement value, which has nothing to do with its actual value. I would reckon £18,000 a stop so £630,000 should cover. However, you need to point out that is the value of the organ and doesn't include costs of clearing the the damaged organ away. Add something if there is anything special regarding casework etc. John
  11. John Pike Mander

    Practicing venues

    I have no idea how much St Giles Cripplegate would charge, but it may be worth your while enquiring there. The person to contact is Anne Marsden-Thomas and her email address is <AMT@organschool.com>. There are three organs there which might be available, all very different. John
  12. John Pike Mander

    Pershore Abbey

    Do you mean Pershore Abbey or Buckfast Abbey? If you mean the latter, it is here: https://www.buckfast.org.uk/ruffattiorgan Pershaw Abbey hasn't got its new organ yet. John
  13. John Pike Mander

    (Not) blowing into organ pipes

    To bring this back to serious discussion: There is no harm done when blowing into a flue pipe, although it will take some time to come back into tune. Provided you don't chew the tip, there is no danger of lead poisoning. I have been blowing into pipes to assess quickness for more years than I care to admit to, but the level of lead in my blood remains significantly lower than the safe recommended maximum level for women of child-bearing age or babies. Because all our levels were so very low, we stopped bothering with testing. Reed pipes are different, the damp in the breath is said to encourage the brass tongues to go green with verdigris, although I have never seen evidence of this. If you want to check the speech of a reed, you suck it from the other end, rather than blowing from the tip. Not many voicers do this though. One exception to all this is if you see a white coating on the pipe which may indicate lead salts being present, which are easily absorbed into the body (and can taste sweet, but don't try). The Romans used to boil honey in lead pots for hours to make the honey sweeter by making such lead salts which had the sweetening effect. Another exception is when looking at an organ. Please never take a pipe out and blow it, nor blow any dust out of it. Some poor organ tuner has probably worked hard to tune the pipes and any such action can alter the tuning significantly. Playing the pipe in the normal fashion will tell you all you need to know. John
  14. John Pike Mander

    Pedalboard design

    Mander Organs uses the dowel and sheepskin method. I have seen the other method, but am not sure what the advantages are supposed to be. John
  15. John Pike Mander

    St Mary’s, Stoke Newington

    I remember this organ being installed, but I am afraid I don't know anything about it and we haven't maintained it for many years now. I rather doubt the prepared-for stops ever got installed, but I can't be certain. John