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Mander Organs


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Everything posted by pcnd5584

  1. No, SL - you are quite correct. It was, quite simply, execrable. The concert in which I played was video recorded, so I know that it was not my faulty memory. (It formerly occupied 'boxes' dispersed behind the choir-stalls. These boxes looked like nothing so much as a set of coal bunkers.) I was most interested to read your account of the service which you attended - it sounds fabulous. I should love to have heard this, particularly the organ improvisations, but also the excellent choir.
  2. ....Or they could have dispensed with one (or both) of the 32ft. reeds, and installed twelve pipes in the 32ft. octave, to extend the Bourdon downwards. Or, they could have retained the previous perfectly serviceable 32ft. Sub Bass, from the Downes?walker instrument.
  3. I have played this instrument (as left by H&H) several times, both for services and a lunch-time concert. I must admit that I rather liked it as it was. I also wonder whether the incumbent organists may come to regret the use of a high gloss finish on the new jamb-plates. The propensity for unwanted reflections from the console lights and background lighting may be both visually distracting and confusing when trying to read the stop-heads.
  4. In fairness, the mechanical action is rather heavy (when coupled) - presumably partly because it has to turn through 45°, after it leaves the console. In addition, the upstairs console now has a considerable number of registers 'missing', which are only playable from the mobile Nave console.
  5. Absolutely, Colin. There appears to be a paucity of manual reed stops, for one thing - and too many octave couplers. The scheme is rather odd in several respects. I appreciate the constraints on both volume and height, but what a pity that the site of the former instrument could not be utilised. This had more height and room available.
  6. I have discs of both Glenn Gould and Sir Andrăs Schiff playing Bach's Forty-Eight Preludes and Fugues on pianos. Whilst I find it difficult to listen to Gould these days (not least because his continuous grunting and groaning are irritating), Schiff's performances are wonderful. (I still have the Promenade Concert which Vox Humana mentioned saved on a HDD.) For my money, I'm very happy to hear them played on a modern piano. I have a very limited tolerance for the sound of a harpsichord. I find it too thin and metallic. It is (clearly) also rather limited in dynamic variation. I suspect also that I am more tolerant of a little rubato here and there. I don't like anything too wayward, but the relentless progress of a metronomic performance palls for me after a short time. True, I haven't heard Preston's Bach recordings, so I cannot say; however, I do like music to breathe.
  7. There are indeed. However, I suspect that most of these work better than many English examples, because of the design and voicing of the individual ranks. And generally because these instruments are often situated in buildings with a more favourable acoustic ambience.
  8. It is indeed mine, AJJ. The Gamba is on the Choir. With a Choir to Great, this can be achieved; a desire to keep to the smallest practicable stop-list was the aim, here. The Swell Fifteenth is in the Mixture. It occurred to me how little I used the Swell Fifteenth on the Minster Organ, when accompanying the choir. In fact, on my 'accompanimental' channel, the Hautbois is set to draw before the Fifteenth. The Pedal upper-work - again, the smallest practical size. Truro is only one stop larger (and that's another 8ft. open metal stop). The Sesquialtera and Cornet: once again space precludes these registers. In any case, it was drawn-up with a Romantic/Victorian bias, so these wouldn't necessarily feature.
  9. My apologies, also - I have only just now seen your reply. This is certainly interesting. Presumably Raymond Sunderland made at least two recordings.
  10. (Spreadsheet copied as .rtf, and posted above.) Having spent twenty-six years accompanying the Minster Choir (in Wimborne), with similar G.O. and Swell flues, I would state that these are insufficient for either variety or in order to avoid aural boredom. If the proposed instrument is not intended to accompany a good choir, with a fairly wide repertoire, then it is probably okay. However, again from experience, a single Chimney Flute won't be enough adequately to support that much upper-work.
  11. Spreadsheet - odd; I'm not sure why. It opens fine for me - but then, the original is saved on my computer, so it might just be reverting to that. Slender foundations - I was thinking particularly of the Choir Organ, which has a fair amount of upper-work, but only a single 8ft. Chimney Flute with which to support it. This was (and is) a serious failing of the Minster organ. I should want at least two other 8ft. ranks on the Choir Organ. In addition, on the Bombarde Organ, it would be helpful to specify the type of flutes available. Are they open, stopped, chimney, harmonic....? The Cornet is complete, so it doesn't require an 8ft. stopped Flute to be drawn at the same time.
  12. It does indeed. And, even listening through average quality speakers, the reverberation appears to be somewhat livelier than that at Saint Paul's Cathedral.
  13. I think that the Pedal and Swell organs are too small in proportion. In addition, the foundation work is somewhat slender. My preference is for at least one chorus reed on the G.O. The problem with a separate Bombarde Organ is, while it may increase flexibility on the one hand, on the other it necessitates adding a coupler every time that the reeds are required on the G.O. In French symphonic music, this would quickly become wearisome. I note that this scheme is intended for a large parish church; I think that it may be a little small for that - depending on what it will be expected to do. If the musical duties involve choral accompaniment of roughly 'cathedral-type' repertoire, I should wish for a greater spread of 8ft. tone. And a somewhat larger Swell Organ, with a chorus mixture and a conventional reed chorus. I did once design a small cathedral organ, which I tried to ensure that not only was there a good variety of foundation tone, but that there was adequate chorus-work, and that it would work convincingly as a tonal entity: Small cathedral organ 9-04-10 (2).xls
  14. I believe that a previous poster recommended removing the Dulciana in favour of a 4ft. flute of some description (a Harmonic Flute might be a good idea). I would certainly favour that over losing either the Stopped Diapason or the Claribel Flute. I must admit that I have never found a Dulciana to be the slightest use on any organ. I realise that this is a fairly small instrument, and there would be no very quiet register (assuming that the Dulciana is such a rank); however, to be able to swap between two different 8ft. flutes can be very useful. Years ago, a local organ builder rebuilt a smallish two-clavier instrument in a small parish church a few miles from where I sit at the moment. Among other things, he removed the Stopped Diapason on the G.O., in order to put in a Fifteenth. This left a Dulciana and a robust Open Diapason as the only 8ft. registers. Playing this instrument is now rather frustrating. The Dulciana is colourless and far too small to be of any accompanimental use. And the loss of the Stopped Diapason is most keenly felt.
  15. I have a copy of this recording. The playing is stunning - as is the instrument.This is my absolute favourite Reger Fugue. I have played it myself a number of times, either for recitals or as the voluntary after a carol service. The last two pages are really effective, and the final system, with the full harmonisation of the final line of the chorale is absolutely breathtaking.
  16. The ARCM diploma has been retired....? That's a shame. The hood is quite nice, really.
  17. That's a shame - sorry to read this; but thank you for letting us know, Vox.
  18. Apparently, HWIII wasn't entirely enamoured of his own work in this instance, either. However, this was more because of the dreadful acoustic ambiance of this hall, which is utterly 'dead', and devoid of any resonance, or even 'bloom' whatsoever.
  19. I believe that the identity behind 'Deadsheepstew' was the late David Coram, who was certainly greatly interested in various types of unequal temperament tuning. (I have no idea why the passage which I quoted has appeared twice. Neither am I able to remove the duplicate.)
  20. I think that in my case, it would be best to avoid such a device. During my twenty-six years as Minster Organist in Wimborne, I believe that the church had to be re-consecrated on at least three occasions, following an intemperate outburst from myself....
  21. I wonder what fate will befall the HWIII instrument in this church? I note that this is an HTB plant: one thing I do know, is that at their 'home' church of Holy Trinity, Brompton, not only is the large pipe organ regularly maintained, but I understand that it has had recent work, in addition to regular maintenance. This does at least sound as if the instrument is still in regular use there.
  22. This latter point is good to read. I have had the privilege, on a number of occasions, of being in the tribune at Nötre-Dame de Paris for the three Sunday morning Masses. On two occasions, Léfébvre was on duty. His playing on both days was nothing short of stunning. All of the music was improvised, most effectively, in a variety of styles, and enhanced the liturgy in a most moving manner.
  23. This is an interesting point. Sumner made no secret of his admiration of the work of Willis, but I do find that hs un-stinting praise, and almost entire lack of any criticism, even of a constructive nature, to be bordering on sycophancy - and it is certainly un-helpful to anyone wishing to acquire a balanced view of the work of Willis - particularly that of HWIII.
  24. For the record - apparently, as originally built, FHW didn't put a builder's name-plate on his instrument in the Royal Albert Hall, either.* The same point was made at the time of Harrisons' drastic transformation in 1933. (At least, that was when the rebuild was finally completed.) And, yes - tonally, according to well-known (and in several cases, highly influential) commentators at the time of Harrisons' rebuild, the organ, as it emerged, was un-recognisable. There are one or two illuminating articles in back-issues of The Organ (perhaps the most notable being by Gilbert Benham), which shed some light on the controversy prevalent at the time. However, it is in the Letters to the Editor section where it is possible to glean much interesting information - and to gain some idea of how high feelings ran with regard to the Harrison rebuild, in the musical establishment of that day. * Presumably he felt that his work was well-known enough not to require a name-plate.
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