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Everything posted by bam

  1. This is the builder's plate at St Mary and St Giles, Stony Stratford:
  2. 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:
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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"?
  9. A trick I find useful for practicing hymns is some silent practice. It really makes you think what your fingers and feet are doing. I guess most practice was silent until the advent of electric blowing. Thanks to Richard F for the Sontagsorgel recommendation.
  10. Complain to musicroom.com - their words! It's certainly a misuse of 'song'. The Amazon description of Vol 1 is also rather odd: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cloister-Album-Voluntaries-Organ-Faber/dp/0571528724/ref=pd_sim_14_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=JKCCYZVYHKQTGHB0R0A9 as it claims there are 22 pieces - in fact, there are 71. The titles they list are from the original Book 1 and don't include Books 2 and 3. They do list the contents correctly for Volume 2: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cloister-Album-Voluntaries-Organ-Keyboard/dp/0571534724/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=C9E7DTE6HFW6PNAXXNRY
  11. Originally published in 6 volumes and now republished in 2, these are a very useful (if not very scholarly!) collection of voluntaries for manuals: https://www.musicroom.com/product-detail/product32477/variant32477/the-cloister-album-of-voluntaries-volume-one-books-1-3/ https://www.musicroom.com/product-detail/product32478/variant32478/the-cloister-album-of-voluntaries-volume-two/ Many of the bass lines can be pedalled when you gain confidence.
  12. Porritt left a spare slide on the Swell at Whitchurch in 1880. It may have been intended for a 4' flute or similar. It was filled by Robin Rance in 1990 with a 2 rank mixture (19, 22 breaking to 12,15 at c37). It took 110 years but the mixture 'makes' the instrument. The overhaul was done on the advice of Charles Padgham (author of 'The Well Tempered Organ') who lived in Church Headland Lane, and saved it from being binned and replaced by an electronic. His former house organ with its glued paper bass pipes remains in use at Dunton.
  13. Something reminded me of an article and after some rummaging I found it: JBIOS 18, by James Berrow. An account of the Whinfields (with an 'h' !) and the organ at The Wyche - this is the Malvern instrument noted above by David.
  14. Very interesting re the Winfield connection - I had heard of him but not realised I had played one of his instruments. I wonder what the Hewins spec was? Everyone found the pistons very intriguing, once we had realised what they were. The first player came back from the console and confidently stated that there were no pistons!
  15. The Bucks OA visited this one a few years ago: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D01532 The action to the manuals was rather slow and the pedals slightly slower than the manuals. The pistons rose vertically from the back of the manuals so were pressed down to activate. The octave couplers were essential to get any brightness - I've a feeling there was a Swell Octave to Great, not mentioned on NPOR. Quite a contrast to the Parish Church and the Guild Chapel!
  16. It's now in Abergavenny Priory - I played it last year and it is a remarkable little instrument with real 'presence' in the building, in a very helpful acoustic. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=V00348
  17. I understood that the conversion of Malvern to EP was because no builders would take the commercial risk of restoring the pneumatics - it was so congested inside that if anything went wrong, it would all have to come apart again to fix. An example locally is the tonally rather nice but internally very congested Binns in Great Missenden parish church. The pneumatics were restored in 2006 but problems started soon afterwards, apparently revolving around failures and leaks in the action tubing. It was converted to EP a couple of years ago. It's in a north east chancel case and there is a small window in the otherwise solid west wall of the chamber, previously blocked by wooden pedal pipes. In 2006 they were Haskelled and the window opened up - the difference in the amount of sound reaching the nave was remarkable. Robin Jennings' article in the current issue of 'Organ Building' on his new organ at Wolvercote is most interesting. By 'restricting the cost of the action' (i.e., going for a completely mechanical action) they were able to increase the spec by a couple of stops and hopefully increase its longevity. I would certainly be very happy to trade pistons on a 16 stop 2 manual for long term reliability, especially with adjustable composition pedals, with a bonus of extra stops and the pleasure of a modern mechanical action.
  18. Friday, 22 September, 7.15 for 7.45pm at St John the Evangelist, Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire HP22 4JZ: Timothy Byram-Wigfield plays a programme to include Handel, Bach, Guilmant, Saint-Saens, Elgar, Walton and Vierne on the 1880 Porritt and will talk about his experiences at St George's Chapel, Windsor and elsewhere. Tickets £12 on the door or £10 in advance from Parrott's Farm Shop, Beechmoor Farm (HP22 4LG).
  19. Buckingham Parish Church on Saturday 24 June at 7.30pm: Milton Keynes Chorale presents a Durufle Feast, including the Requiem, Quatre Motets, Organ Suite Op. 5 and Solo Items. Conductor: Victoria Ely, Organist Douglas Tang, Mezzo Soprano Hannah Poulson, Baritone Ben Tomlin. Tickets £15 Adults, £5 under 18s and students.
  20. I played S, JS for the first time earlier this year - not one of my favourites but even the oldies (I.e., older than me!) in the congregation seem to like it, What did surprise me was the way it's laid out in the alleged 'Organ Edition' of the new A&M with a page turn between the verse and refrain. I reset it with Musescore and it fits very nicely on one side of A4.
  21. The Swell Lieblich Bourdon (TC) on our Porritt is a very good stop. It adds just the right amount of depth to full organ, it's a lovely flute played an octave up and can also be used an octave up with the Vox Angelica either as a soft solo (very useful if the Oboe is out of tune!) or soft chorus. Perhaps it looks odd on paper but it works really well.
  22. An article that could have been included in the BIOS Journal on the RFH organ was a look at the tender proposals. Reading between the lines in 'Baroque Tricks', they were from Harrison, Willis and Walker. Another interesting one would be a compare and contrast (musical and technical) between the RFH and Colston Hall instruments, from someone who knows both.
  23. It's on the H&H website today under Projects and Plans -> Forthcoming. There are photos of the restored ex-Manchester console on the Selby website: http://www.selbyabbeyorganappeal.org.uk/restoration.html
  24. This is an interesting example, which sounds a lot better in the church than at the console: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N09233
  25. I understand It's the organ formerly in Hucknall Parish Church and then Sedburgh School - apparently the church is highly delighted with the result.
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