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Mander Organs

bam

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Everything posted by bam

  1. Crediton PC gained a 32 bottom octave in the (fairly) recent restoration. Before the restoration, the smoothest Harrison I've ever heard, by some way!
  2. I found this recently: http://www.theberkhamstedorgan.org.uk/plannedwork.php which sounds a bit alarming. I haven't heard of any modern Mander, Harrison or Walker mechanical actions wearing out prematurely. Leighton Buzzard PC sounds excellent with a silent action, as does St Martin in the Fields.
  3. Not long before it was dismantled, Richard Marlow made a spectacular recording of the old Harrison on the 'Organ Music from Cambridge' series. It included among other things Whitlock's Fanfare and a marvellously atmospheric performance of Franck's B Minor Chorale. It was on Grosvenor GRS1007 - well worth buying if you see a copy.
  4. Going back to the original topic, the magnificent H&H in Newcastle City Hall was still just about playable when I heard last. Does anyone have up-to-date information? Another very successful restoration is the Caird Hall, Dundee, with a splended CD of Vaughan Williams to prove it from Priory.
  5. bam

    Royal Holloway College

    I remember reading an interview (possibly in Choir and Organ?) in the last two or three years with the retiring and long serving Organist from Royal Holloway but annoyingly now can't find it. He was responsible for the H&H instrument and described it as being, in his opinion, second only to Coventry Cathedral. He also said it was the last significant instrument voiced by Kenneth James (the H&H head voicer) before he died. Does anyone know details of the firm 'Kenneth James and Son'? I have seen occasional references to it, such as the vilified direct electric action they installed at All Saints, Margaret Street, but this seems to be completely at odds with his reputation as a voicer.
  6. "What do you do when faced with an historic instrument that is difficult to play because it has a seriously non-standard console?" Check out the letters page of the current "Organists' Review", where the antiquarians were fought off and a vintage F&A was allowed to keep its later RCO pedalboard and balanced swell pedal. Hurrah!
  7. In "The Harrison Story", Laurence Elvin recorded that Lewis had some connection with Harrisons after he left his own firm, but knew few other details. This was the period when H&H rebuilt the Lewis instruments in Ripon and Newcastle Cathedrals - I wonder if there was some personal influence?
  8. bam

    Noisy Underactions

    I guess action noise is pretty well inevitable on an instrument of this age, last overhauled in 1968. The noisiest action I have ever heard is the combination action at Marlow Parish Church, where it sounds as though a barn door is slammed with every piston push! Much more annoying is the way the Beeb still clips the crescendos quite audibly - they have always done it (not just in organ concerts) and I can only assume it is a bad habit that dates from the earliest days of recording. On a more positive note, they actually broadcast an ORGAN RECITAL!! Is this a much looked-for change of policy? David Goode's playing was clean and accurate, miles removed from some of the 'big names' I have heard fluffing recently. The organ sounded splendid in a well chosen and varied Easter programme. Well done to all involved. (As an aside, the best two live performances I have heard for ages were both at the excellent 'Organ Workshop' in the Albert Hall shortly after the completion of the restoration - Clive Driskell Smith played the Allegro from Widor VI magnificently and Martin Baker gave an improvisation which knocked the spots off David Briggs' ramblings at the inaugural concert).
  9. The old Hill was advertised on ebay two or three years ago with a starting price of £30K - it attracted no bids. NPOR records that it was removed in 2004 and replaced with an electronic.
  10. bam

    Barbican Hall

    Thanks for clarifying that, John - the stage always did seem a bit small. The drawing of the casework that Forsythe-Grant published suggested that it would run all the way along the back of the stage, presumably like the RFH but much shallower. If there isn't really room for even this, then getting something worthwhile in would presumably be pretty well impossible.
  11. In 1987 (nearly 20 years ago!) Maurice Forsyth-Grant's book '21 Years of Organ-Building' was published by Positif Press. In the chapter on 'Ones That Got Away' he mentioned the discussions held in the late seventies about the installation of an organ in the Barbican Hall and bemoaned the continued lack of action. In 2005 this appears to be a non-topic. Is there no need for an organ here? Do the Hall management not want the responsibility and expense of a concert organ? Or has the whole idea just been forgotten? If the rumours about the Ally Pally instrument's future are true, could the Barbican be it's new home? A 98 stop Willis is clearly going to take up more space than a 35 stop GD&B and would need a new (non-Victorian!) case, but if removed from the Palace at least the instrument would stay in London and probably be much better used and appreciated.
  12. I was searching the web for any additional info and found this..... http://www.allypallyorgan.org.uk/index.php There are clearly two sides to the story! The new 'unofficial' website uses the format of the old 'official' website. The new 'official' website appears to be brand new.
  13. I have followed the Ally Pally story down the years since EMI released their LP in 1970, with its stirring sleeve notes by the late Felix Aprahamian. I think Willis 4 stated when the first stage of the rebuild was done that the structure was intended to be temporary, and a 'taster' of what a fully restored instrument could be like, but can't remember where I read this. An article on the work by the Willis firm on the organs of Wylde Green church in Birmingham appeared in 'Organ Building' (the IBO house publication) a couple of years ago, and mentions the removal of the two choir stops from AP for use in that instrument. The article said that the two stops belonged to the instrument which was installed at Wylde Green. See http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/borgass/organs/002.htm for details of this one. Presumably the parts of the instrument not yet erected are still owned by the Willis firm following their purchase by Willis 4 in 1969. Does this complicate the process of putting out future work to tender? I'm a bit surprised that there is nothing about the AP organ on the Willis website, as it seems to be one their prestige contracts.
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