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Mander Organs


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Everything posted by bam

  1. Newcastle City Hall apparently has a full length 32' Open Wood. In his monograph on the H&H in All Saints, Maidenhead, Relf Clark comments on transport arrangements for the organs, all quite a logistical exercise.
  2. I was roped into playing for the Whitchurch and Hardwick carol service for the first time this year so played the 'Short Eight' g minor prelude - something fairly bomb proof that worked on the Hardwick one manual. With the luxury of two manuals, Buxtehude 'Puer Natus in Bethlehem' after Midnight Mass (thunder out the last verse of 'O Come', then rock the baby to sleep) and Buxtehude 'In Dulci Jubilo' on Christmas morning. .
  3. I will always be grateful to David for pointing me (via a Forum post) to the Musescore software, which has been invaluable in letting me produce playable versions of 'guitar hymns' and more recently a couple of scores for the village choir.
  4. The 80% / 20% split comes from Ian Bell's articles in some old programmes (June 2004 and October 2006) where he wrote that H&H added 2000 additional pipes. I wonder if his book on he instrument, mentioned in the OR article, will see the light of day?
  5. Perhaps we shouldn't be too hard on Radio 3 describing it as a 'Father Willis' instrument if that is now the line the RAH is taking, however inaccurate it may be. From what has been written, about 80% of the pipes and the case are Father Willis; the sound picture, the console and about 20% of the pipes are Harrison; and the mechanism, one stop and some tonal tweaks are Mander. The programme for the the 2018 organ concert was titled 'Grand Organ Celebration' and describing it as a 'Grand Organ' could hardly be more accurate. I've dug out Ian Bell's article in the November 2004 'Organists' Review' and there's an interesting paragraph which mentions that HWIII was very keen to get the contract.
  6. I've posted this in another thread, but to reiterate, the RAH website makes no mention of the H&H rebuild on its organ page and refers to the "Henry Willis" organ with its 9999 pipes: https://www.royalalberthall.com/about-the-hall/our-history/explore-our-history/building/henry-willis-organ/
  7. Curiously the RAH website carries no mention of the H&H rebuild and also quotes 9999 pipes: https://www.royalalberthall.com/about-the-hall/our-history/explore-our-history/building/henry-willis-organ/
  8. I was recently able to have a quick blast at Derby Cathedral, the first time I've seen let alone played a 'luminous console', and it was very comfortable and well planned. But a number of the lamps had failed and replacements are apparently very difficult to source, so LEDs are surely a sensible update.
  9. In 'Baroque Tricks' (Ch. 6), Ralph Downes recounts that the instrument was refurbished by Fritz Abend (the original voicer) in 1949 - 50 and the Sesquialtera added. The pipes were made by H&H and voiced by Abend. NPOR shows the work as 1950 and presumably the Sesquialtera was later either changed or just re-named to the Tertian. https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N12713
  10. S&B run a very efficient 'reprint to order' service for out of print items. Email them at: https://stainer.co.uk/category/archives/
  11. A friend recently mentioned that he had lessons while a student on the large HWIII in St Mary's, Southampton. Some web surfing at lunchtime turned up this...... https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/4-may/news/uk/southampton-church-will-change-its-spots-to-attract-a-student-congregation
  12. The title is 'The House of Brindley'. Musical Opinion Ltd [and The Organ] Shirley Hawke musicalopinion@btinternet.com Subscriptions / Accounts Tel: +44 (0)1424-855544 Fax: +44 (0)1424-863686
  13. There was quite a nice rebuild in St Peter's, Rugby, now SS Peter and John, and completed with the Choir from the Holy Trinity F&A (https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=F00073). I was recently told that the PVC covered cable installed by KD connecting the console to the pipes is still in good working order, in contrast to the vulcanised cables used by Walker. Apparently two local Walkers (St Matthew and the URC/Presbyterian, neither still extant) suffered badly because the vulcanised insulation broke down and let in the damp, causing short circuits.
  14. In 'An Organ Builder Looks Back', John Budgen tells the story of how H&H released All Saints, Clifton (Bristol) from the contract to build their new organ as the organist wanted a modern tracker instrument. The replacement for the Harrison destroyed in the Blitz was built by Walker in 1967. I guess it didn't make 'The Classical Organ in Britain' because it has EP action to the Pedal. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N03822
  15. I played the old Rugby School Chapel organ (N&B / Walker) a few times when I was at school at Lawrence Sheriff down the road and it was really good - great choruses, wonderful full Swell, lots of quiet accompaniment stuff and the luxury of enclosed and unenclosed Choir sections. All the pipes were in a chamber north of the choir and it was a bit underpowered. Martin Jackson, our music master, used the Tuba as a chorus reed at the annual carol service and it was by no means overpowering with 600+ boys singing strongly. The Great Trumpet didn't make much impact at all. Unfortunately it got thoroughly cooked by the central heating system and was apparently pretty well unplayable by the time it was dismantled. Roderick Elms made a recording in 1985 on Gemini LRS138 of music by Whitlock, which I think was only available on cassette. The Trumpet was rescued by Peter Lock and installed at St Peter's, Rugby, where it is said to work well. I went to the opening recital of the Jones with Martin and was rather disappointed with almost everything except the power, and particularly some of the reeds which really did sound like quacking ducks. There were some odd noises from its innards, reinforcing the opinion that opening recitals shouldn't be booked until an organ has had time to settle down. The new casework, bringing pipework out of the chamber, was a good idea and fits in well. Nicholson have also done work on the Jones at Tewkesbury: http://www.nicholsonorgans.co.uk/portfolio/tewkesbury-abbey-milton-organ/gallery/completed-projects-recent/
  16. 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
  17. It is true: most people can't tell the difference, certainly on a brief encounter. It was brought home to me a few months ago after evensong at Winslow. Their rather nice 3m Bevington finally died quite spectacularly during the first hymn of special service about two years ago when Bishop Steven Croft was preaching and since then they have been using a temporary electronic. A couple who both used to sing with the Bach Choir could not tell it was not the pipe organ. I found the temporary electronic in use at Buckfast quite convincing while played quietly. What really gave it away (as also at Winslow) was the use of the Crescendo pedal as a volume control, which is a most un-pipe organ like effect - but most will not notice. With time, a lot of people continue to not notice, but the more discerning start to find the electronic sound does begin to jar. I was curious at the statement in the blind listening test that a pipe organ will last 100 years. A robustly built, fully mechanical instrument should surely have a much longer working life than that, if it is saved from poor quality interventions and the whims of fashion. There was also no mention of the possibility of obtaining a suitable redundant organ rather than a new electronic.
  18. This is the builder's plate at St Mary and St Giles, Stony Stratford:
  19. One of my favourite modern cases is that of the Nigel Church instrument previously in Hucknall Parish Church, then Sedbergh School and now Ss. Peter and Paul RC Church, Lincoln. What's inside is jolly good as well - a great sound and a crisp touch:
  20. bam


    I hope the BBC isn't hiring its announcers from the local Job Centre! But to be fair, it could just have been a momentary slip, like the (possibly) apocryphal story of the Third Programme announcer who said "the next piece is called The Bum of the Flightle Bee". It happens to all of us.
  21. bam


    Nicholas Kynaston's 'Great Organ Music' LP was one which originally got me hooked on the organ. It was re-released on CD in 1995 - I was going to write 'a few years ago' but checked the CD insert..... The programmes the RAH produced for the series of recitals in the years after the restoration were accurate and informative. The Sunday Organ Prom was repeated yesterday afternoon on Radio 3 from 2 - 3pm and by chance I was listening - yes, it's a Father Willis with 9,999 stops! I enjoyed the performance a lot.
  22. bam


    After the RAH Organ Day on 15 May, I received a message from the RAH asking for feedback. Amongst other things, I replied that there were quite a few 'howlers' in the programme, not least that the emphasis on the organ being a Father Willis was simply wrong - that the case and about 2/3 of the pipes are Willis, about 1/3 of the pipes and the console are H&H, the tonal picture is H&H with Mander tweaks and one stop, and mechanically it's a Mander. Perhaps this is just considered too difficult for the general public and that inaccurate generalisations are necessary? (2/3 and 1/3 are generalisations.....). It can sound fantastic - Clive Driskell-Smith's performance of the Allegro from Widor VI at the post-restoration seminar sticks in my mind. On 15 May, I thought Olivier Latry was superb, but although there was huge technical skill showed in the rest of the evening, I just didn't enjoy it very much.
  23. bam

    Pipe Organ-free Zone

    I've read Colin's article and see little to argue with. We use an ex-HN&B tuner who set up after HN&B were shut down. He has recently taken IBO accreditation and does an excellent job. It's not a near-term problem, but who will follow him? Whether anyone will need to, given the shrinking and ageing congregation is a different matter. Perhaps the biggest problem is summarised in Colin's intro: "digital organs will never sound as good as pipe organs into the forseeable future". I'm sure most of us agree, but (1) a lot of very good players locally have accepted that a digital solution is good enough and fits the (inevitably tight) budget and (2) most listeners - who pay the bills in the end - can't tell the difference. Another question Colin has touched on in his articles is a pipe organ's reliability and longevity. One of the big supposed practical advantages of the pipe organ compared to the digital is its reliability and longevity. It's one thing for a large and well funded institution to take on a complex EP action instrument which will need a major overhaul every +/- 50 years and perhaps replacement electronics more often. It's another thing for a minor parish or country church, where those of us with bomb-proof Victorian tracker instruments must count ourselves increasingly lucky. There have been too many examples locally where expensive works have been short lived. St Peter's, Berkhamsted have been brave enough to put details on their website but others have been brushed under the carpet as embarrassments: https://www.stpetersberkhamsted.org.uk/music/organ/ The word does get around and for all the successful projects, it only takes a few failures for pipe organs in general to get a reputation as money pits. The Bucks OA visited Wolvercote and St Peter's. Bedford earlier this year. I wasn't able to go to Wolvercote but those that did were most impressed. We had a good turnout to visit Bedford and the new instrument is magnificent. They are wonderful examples of what can be done where there is the will.
  24. bam

    Pipe Organ-free Zone

    The pipe organ in St Mary's, Aylesbury is still in place but has been unused for many years since a lightning strike fried the action (so I am told) and it was thought not worth spending any more on it. I never heard it but it looks badly positioned as well as bizarre. I think the 'long term project' for a new pipe organ is little more than an aspiration at present and won't have been helped by some falling masonry last year. They use a 3 manual Viscount. Two youngsters, both taught by the music master at the grammar school, played at the Oxford Music Festival organ class last year, held in Merton College Chapel. It was the first time either of them had played a pipe organ. They were both very good (much better than me!). I wasn't sure about the Walker Positif in Holy Trinity so emailed the church and they replied " Our pipe organ was removed about 20 years ago, it had woodworm and was scrapped I think." I've passed on the message to NPOR so the record can be updated.
  25. What I'm pretty sure is the last serviceable pipe organ in Aylesbury and its suburbs is listed on the IBO site as available, subject to faculty: https://www.ibo.co.uk/resources/pre-owned/detail.php?refNo=563 I wonder if Aylesbury will become the first English county town to become a "Pipe Organ-free Zone"?
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