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Mander Organs


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Everything posted by bam

  1. Are there any opinions on whether the RoHS regulations are likely to affect the reliability or longevity of electronic components? There was a lot of speculation that removing lead from solder would make it more brittle and lead to a shorter life, but has this been proven in practice or are we still waiting to find out? There are some interesting examples in Buckinghamshire: Aylesbury Methodist Church: 3 manual Bradford electronic organ, recently completely "rebuilt" recently which involved replacing the electronics but keeping the console and speakers. It can sound nice when played softly but anything loud sounds pretty synthetic. Chesham Parish Church: 3 manual hybrid, with the main Great and Swell choruses from pipes but electronic reeds, upperwork, Choir and most of the Pedal. I hate to say it but it can sound quite good. The drawback was that when it got to about 15 years old it started to cut out intermittently but completely and it took the builders over 3 months to track down the fault. Quainton Church: 2 manual extension organ: the electronics developed a "system fault" in October which means some notes on the Swell don't work. Although it's still under guarantee (it's about 8 years old) the builders have not yet been able to repair it. A fully mechanical action must be the best for a small instrument (the H&H at Hakadal in interesting in this respect) but any large one is a complex machine and surely regardless of what action is used, is bound to need more maintenance and more frequent overhauls.
  2. The Buckinghamshire OA is visiting Saffron Walden next month so I'm looking forward to trying the instrument there. We are also going to Finchingfield where there's another 3 manual Miller.
  3. bam

    Paris Philharmonie

    The publicity over the opening of the Paris Philharmonie made me wonder about the pipework display - it's a large new instrument by Rieger..... http://www.rieger-orgelbau.com/en/details/project/ParisPhil/
  4. The console at Whitchurch is projecting rather than "en fenetre". There is nowhere to easily hide a light, so there is an inoffensive brass one that takes a 221mm striplight. It was fitted with a clear 30W incandescent lamp which gave inadequate light and also a lot of glare from the filament. When it blew a couple of weeks ago, I tried a 60W opal replacement which was hopeless - no glare but even less light. A bit of research turned up an LED replacement on ebay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/290986206495?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&var=590163268509&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT The difference is remarkable - there's now plenty of light on the music even with the church lights off and no glare. Power consumption is 7W and if the advertised lamp life is correct, it will outlast me.
  5. The Bucks OA visited Stratford earlier in the year and we were able to try out the new organ in a rather incomplete state. It then sounded very good and filled the chapel, even without the the great mixture and reed. Mr C had taken the Pedal Cremona back to the works for adjustment as apparently it was (almost) audible in Warwick! The console is very comfortable and easy to manage although I suspect the action needed final regulation as there was a bit of a "semi-detached" feeling. The case has been beautifully restored and as mentioned above is a gem. Well done to everyone involved.
  6. A little-publicised survivor is the Swell Oboe in the new Nicholson at St John's, Boxmoor, near Hemel Hempstead, which is from the old Worcester Cathedral organ and is a very nice stop.
  7. I think the Colston Hall was the last UK Cornet de Violes - amazing how the pendulum of fashion has swung back. James Lancelot gives a demo of the remarkable one at Durham on the new Priory DVD.
  8. bam

    RFH Organ

    Bravo indeed. I got to both John Scott's and Thomas Trotter's concerts and think the organ sounds (and looks) miles better than before. The acoustic is not perfect but it's much improved, the reeds sound far better and you can really hear the pedal 32' now. The choruses are clear, but I have never been convinced that they really are that much clearer than a "traditional" British chorus and they are anything but when the reeds are added. I've never heard the Colston Hall instrument, completed a couple of years after the RFH using normal H&H scales and voicing techniques, but would be very interested to hear a "compare and contrast" of the choruses from a musician who knows both organs. Apparently the Colston Hall acoustics are superior.
  9. It's not unusual for inter-war organs to have an extra octave of treble pipes on selected stops for use with the Octave Coupler and Unison Off giving a full compass 8' stop from the 16'. St Margaret's in Durham has a variation, in that the 16' Contra Oboe does have an extra octave of treble pipes but instead of a Unison Off, there's an "Octaves Alone" which gives the same effect, and a piston for "Oboe 8" which draws the Contra Oboe and Octaves Alone. You don't often run out of notes when playing an octave up, but when you do, you do!
  10. Porritt used them - he previously worked for F&A and also used their sloping stop jambs: http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N00873
  11. I guess "preferred" does not mean "automatic". I don't know the reasons for the choice of action at Boxmoor but it would be a shame if the doings at Berkhamstead, just up the road, influenced the decision. Incidentally, it is good to see the old Jesus College instrument find a very appreciative new home at Truro School. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-13544316
  12. Looking back, it is remarkable how many things we now take for granted that were pioneered by Noel Mander. Three that come to mind are..... - the sensitive but pragmatic approach to restoring old material, making sure that its re-use did not let down the final result - that modern, well-engineered tracker action is now the preferred choice for new organs of moderate size - the realisation that mechanical parts have a finite life and if worn out must be replaced. The mechanical reliability of the St Paul's Cathedral organ in the most trying climatic conditions is a great testament to his clear thinking in this area. His influence has changed a huge amount, for the better, and his legacy will be with us for many years to come.
  13. If you can find a copy, "Just a Box of Whistles", the memoirs of Brian Hirst, a Conacher pipe maker, is a good read.
  14. Is there any news on the fate of the previous instrument?
  15. My copy of this set arrived last week and I have just started to explore. All credit to those who did the original recordings and the re-mastering - it really is a magnificent effort. I wonder if anyone has any memories of the instruments that have gone for ever: Gloucester, Worcester (pre-72), Llandaff and St Giles? The last must be one of the shortest-lived Willis instruments and was presumably completed under very difficult circumstances in 1940. I'm intrigued by some wistful hankering for the Worcester instrument and surprised by the 1967 additions listed on the specification, which are about as far from the Classical Revival as one could imagine.
  16. Carlo Curley is giving a recital there on 16 July - an excuse to go along and find out?
  17. Absolutely, and you can't get much further south-west. Fine Great chorus and a splendid Cornopean.
  18. The ex-RSCM H&H is here: http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=R01719
  19. 26 stops at £400K = just over £15K / stop: http://www.edingtonfestival.org/organ.cfm
  20. Try Priory PRCD 818, Organ Music For Passiontide - a well judged performance and recording at All Saints', Margaret Street, London.
  21. Quote: "We have a small H & H (16 . 8884 . 8848) of 1931 vintage. It is in good nick overall, regularly tuned, needs a clean and probably a reed re-voice, but is unlikely to get either of these unless we get permission to print our own money. Beyond that, it is wholly unremarkable, you might even say 'bog standard' = there's certainly no shortage of these around this area" Without wishing to paraphrase Monty Python, you don't know how lucky you are! Small Harrisons may be commonplace in the North East but elsewhere they are not. What are commonplace are instruments that do not come close, tonally or in build quality. The point about the old St Oswald's organ was "there goes another one", rebuilt and then finally lost before anyone noticed. St Sepulchre's has a Grade 2 BIOS certificate (it appears unchanged since the H&H work) and if that helps preserve it, all the better. It was built after the old instrument had become completely unserviceable and funds were limited in the Great Depression. "Organs of the City of London" records that the planned west end organ never happened. Size should not come into the 'Historic' equation - St George's Hall historic and Adlington Hall not? But of course I have to agree about Durham Cathedral - perhaps (said warily - there are lots of opinions out there!) the finest romantic Europe in Europe and historic, therefore, by definition, even though evolutionary rather than original?
  22. I would certainly class the Nevilles Cross instrument as 'Historic' - perhaps unfashionable to some but unmolested, built to the highest standards and no doubt (like all AH organs) voiced to the building. As an undergraduate at Durham I was allowed to practice on the old organ at St Oswalds. It sounded far bigger than it was, a feature of many of AH's small instruments. It was later given a cut-price rebuild as a 3 manual and finally destroyed by fire (perhaps mercifully) not long afterwards. I suspect that in not too many years, the finest quality instruments of the period 1900 - 1940 will become as treasured as those of the Victorian era are now. It's sad that one of Harrisons' most celebrated small organs, at St Sepulchre's in London (used in the Songs of Praise organ special a few years ago), is apparently now out of use with no organ appeal on the church website. NPOR notes that an electronic is in use. I hope they go for a straight restoration although with the presence of the Harris case I guess there may be pressure for another eighteenth century copy to be bult.
  23. Nathan Laube played his entire recital from memory at All Souls Langham Place last month. It was very impressive. He included his own transcription of the Fledermaus overture, the Bach C minor Passacaglia and finished with Reubke's Sonata on the 94th Psalm. He used the 4 manual H&H console in full view at the front of the church - no visible nerves at all! There were perhaps 60 people there and one of the best performances I've heard for a while.
  24. Here's the reference..... http://www.harrison-organs.co.uk/world.html Trust history will not repeat itself! It's very good to see some significant instruments heading overseas, perhaps now helped by the weaker pound?
  25. Huskisson Stubington contributed an article titled "St Michael's College Tenbury and its Organ" to The Rotunda of March 1931. The earlier Harrison (Rochdale) instrument is mentioned and is also mentioned in Elvin's Harrison Story. HS mentions that the Willis originally had a horizontal reed as Ousley was 'captivated by the Spanish custom of placing reeds as front pipes en chamade' but this feature was altered later in his life, and that the last major work including a new action was carried out by Henry Willis III in 1916.
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