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swalmsley

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Everything posted by swalmsley

  1. Are there any other known instances of a movable mechanical-action console? And how have they done it? (Clearly, the fact that it is movable in one dimension only is going to be relevant)
  2. "Within capability" might not be the only factor, though. Availability of staff, timescales, and economies of scale are likely to play a part? For example, for nearly every organ builder today that has the capability of making their own pipework, they sometimes do, and they sometimes buy it in from the supply houses, but to their specifications. Provided the required quality can be met, why wouldn't it make sense to "sub it out"? Another example: most of the pipework for the Liverpool Met - which is now being restored as a grade one example of Walker's 1960s work - came from a supply house. Even CC is known to have used them extensively!
  3. The case has both metal 32' stops in it. Trivia time: It has been thought that this (2 x 32' on casefront display) makes it unique in the world, but there is at least one other. https://www.danmillermusic.com/calvary-organ.html And - of course - at least one other with two cases, each with a different metal 32' on display. (If one was willing to stretch the definition of 32' on casefront display to include both open and stopped woods, then there was actually one case with three. It no longer exists)
  4. Possibly of relevance; there was a separate company Mander Organs (Tuning) Ltd created in 2002, which has since been renamed. https://wintleorgans.com/about-us/ It seems likely that they had the big London organs at some point, but if they still do there is little suggestion on the website.
  5. Gloucester is apparently facing a "reconstruction", according to the "current projects" page of a well-known organ adviser.
  6. On the louder side of the Pedal - When I read the spec - especially the introduction of what will apparently be a powerful new diapason chorus and reeds, prominently placed, to say nothing of the availability of some loud new solo reeds to be "coupled down" for a mega-tutti - my first thought was whether the Pedal would be able to balance it. It seems I've not the only mind this thought has crossed, since a new Open Wood no.1 on higher pressure will be added, and the existing "big" pedal reeds replaced with new, on the second highest wp in the organ. Given, as DB notes, the rather moderate output of the existing metal rank, it seems that much of the bass weight in the full chorus will come from these three new stops. So I wonder, still, whether it will be enough. The "Royal Peculiar" effect, where the balance is OK until the triforium Bombarde gets going, is not an attractive one to my ears at least. I suppose it's all in the voicing and egress into the acoustic.
  7. Wot no Positive!? How will we ever have authentic Bach performances! 🙂 Keeping everybody happy is impossible and always will be. What matters is integrity within the scheme, and the courage of its own convictions. That's what'll stand the test of time.
  8. Willis's twitter account, which can be viewed without signing up, shows that the Farnborough work is well in hand. https://twitter.com/WillisOrgans The nature of the Liverpool Cathedral involvement is also revealed - the restoration of the Tuba Magna including its return to the original wind pressure, no less! I expect the end result will be very much true to HW3's intentions, and pretty spectacular, to say the least. ( Can't have the gloriously restored York Mirabilis hogging all the limelight.... )
  9. I rather suspect "colossal" refers to the acoustic volume of the proposed 32' stop, as opposed to its height. So given that they're apparently referring to a reed, it can be mitred - as many are - and not actually require any more height than a 16'. The new "big" reed at York is an example - so as not to protrude from the top of the screen, whereas the full length of its much older brother is now clearly visible in its new placement in the aisle.
  10. That's a question to which there can be no black-and-white answer, as it is all a question of degree of sympathy and respect for what's there and of the particular situation For example, did the Royal Albert Hall organ become a Mander, despite the fact that nearly all the mechanism and soundboards were new in 2004? In purely organbuilding terms (i.e. excluding tonal aspects) it is a Mander. However, because we mostly notice the case and console, and the tonal aspects, it is regarded as a H&H, or even, if you're the BBC, a Father Willis! Did the hugely successful Father Willis transplant - with additions - to Leiden, stop being a Father Willis? Nobody who has heard it will be in any doubt! Will the painstakingly reconstructed organ of Manchester Town Hall be more or less Cavaille-Coll than the instrument which was removed last year? Next door to St. John's, one of the most famous organs of all was recently replaced with what's essentially a new instrument, but with all the old pipework and console. Also worth bearing in mind that many of the most revered historical organs (Haarlem, Groningen, Alkmaar, St Jacobi Hamburg, etc) are actually 20th-century reconstructions, to a greater or lesser degree, of material lost either to the 19th-century romantic trends or to the second world war. So, in my opinion, a relocation of the Brighton organ will inevitably involve changes to fit the space available and to speak effectively into the chapel, possibly additions to suit the proposed usage, and reversal of the HN&B changes. However, if done sensitively, perhaps drawing on the numerous examples elsewhere, it's entirely possible for the result to sound almost as if there always was a Father Willis in that building. Also in my opinion, the principal firms have all shown in their recent work that they're very accomplished at dealing sensitively with historic material.
  11. It's quite clear, from the streams, that the auto level control on the (otherwise excellent) sound feed is working very hard indeed to compress the dynamics when the new 32' is drawn. Which is a very good sign! Apparently an in-person visit, or at least a gain-set-for-peak transmission, will be needed.
  12. Still available on YouTube as a replay. And no fade-out - Sarabande for the Morning of Easter all the way to its peroration!
  13. Based on today's Festal Eucharist, admittedly only via YouTube, I have to say the rebuild sounds to be a triumphant success! The distinctive sound of that organ is still very much in evidence, but there is just more of everything, especially as the choruses build! Congratulations to all involved on a clever plan very well executed!
  14. "A little short of breath at times" is a rather kind interpretation of that recording, I feel! For fans of SGH, quite a lot of the aforementioned Fugue State DVD/CD set is based around it; with a reasonable part of the documentary as well as the expected stop tour and performances. Even for that alone it would be worth the outlay, but there is much more to enjoy. I've never heard the organ sounding so good, either in person or on recordings, as it does on that set. One can only imagine the splendour that a sensitive and full restoration could produce.
  15. I'll indulge myself a little more on one of the above points. I think on these super-league ACC instruments the chamades and the Bombarde 32' are different sides of the same coin, with each being a balancing factor to the other. I once sat through a recital at Rouen where the player - who shall be nameless - did not seem to grasp this, and regularly used the 8' + 4' chamades as chorus reeds without the 32' in action. The effect was almost painful. They are indeed fabulous reeds but for long periods, in chorus, the overwhelming mass of treble harmonic energy is draining for the listener. When he was generous enough to also draw the 32' - usually for the final chord - everything snapped back into perfect focus and balance, and suddenly the effect was "I could drink this perfection all day" rather than "when is this going to stop?!"
  16. Similarly, the 10 2/3 flue quint at Toulouse is remarkably effective, giving a perfect grounding to mf fonds. With louder combinations, underneath the pedal 16' reed, the overall weight and effect of the pedal is very satisfying in balance to the manuals, with much more of a 32' reed effect than many lesser instruments having reeds of that pitch. It's just of course that here there's the real thing held in reserve for shattering, but still very musical, effect, and to provide a bass counterweight to the chamades. Testament of course to the skill of the man and his voicers.
  17. SGH has already been included in GEO, in 1990. Perhaps it was at its worst at this time; certainly sounds it, spluttering and wheezing its way through Dupre no.1 and a Cochereau transcription at the hands and feet of David Briggs. The evidence on the new Fugue State set suggests that it's in much better shape now. There's a couple of Hyperion discs which offer plenty of Dupre st St Paul's, including the P&Fs, and they're amply good. They're also, tragically, not repeatable, given who was sitting at the console. There's a couple of Motette discs, one of transcriptions, of Winfried Boenig throwing the Cologne organs around which I think are largely benchmark in terms of playing and recording quality. There is lots of simultaneous use of everything, to massive effect. However for me the Cologne point is somewhat moot as that type of overall effect is far exceeded at Ingolstadt, already in GEO but not the best recording quality. I have doubts as to whether the Edmundson as played by Andrew Lucas at St Paul's or the Willan as played by FJ at York will ever be beaten, either in terms of playing or recording quality. For me, the glaring absences in GEO are Holbrook and the Groningen Martinikerk. In the flesh both are staggering, but in very different ways. However, Groningen is very well served by another Fugue State set, amongst other recordings. On the Lied Symphony, it seems a pity - given how superbly he plays it - that IT hasn't recorded the whole thing; just movements 3 and 5 on the Priory DVD. On that recording the conclusion of the toccata suffers from a badly-timed recording level reduction, presumably to create some headroom for the final tutti.
  18. There is an opus list somewhere; the large 32' organs are noted particularly. Perhaps it is in Douglass; I'll see if I can find it later. From memory, leaving Orleans aside there were only 6 completely new reeds and 3 rebuilds of existing: St Denis St Sulpice (pre-existing) ND de P (pre-existing) Nancy (pre-existing) Trocadero/Chaillot/Lyon Toulouse Rouen Sheffield Biarritz/Sacre Coeur
  19. I would respectfully disagree with the notion that HW has "better sound" than the (free) GrandOrgue. I've tried both, with the same sample sets, and to my ears there is no difference. They are each, after all, little more than massively parallel audio file players. The perceived SQ is much more a function of the sample set chosen, and some of the best sounding - and also the associated free demos - work with either player.
  20. IMO, the later wooden 32' extension to the CC Bombarde 16' is no great loss. I think it sat at the sides of the main case, which space is now to be opened up in the return to the original layout. 32' reeds on CC organs were pretty rare beasts, especially on mid-sized instruments such as MTH, so from a "faithful restoration" point of view it's hard to argue. On the other hand, a CC chorus underpinned by a CC-style 32' is perhaps one of the most spectacular sounds achieved in organbuilding, and one which vanished from this country when the Sheffield organ burnt. There are a mere two possible opportunities to resurrect it, of which this would have seemed by far the more promising. So ultimately I feel that a "faithful but with the addition of a spectacular copy, which purists are free to avoid using" approach would have been best.
  21. I think that's being a little harsh. I interpret the spec as being that of the foundation of a straight concert organ on a very grand scale, with liberal use of extension in the (many) secondary divisions, for solo, imitative, cinematic, and special effects. In this it is quite different from a normal "theatre" style instrument. Notwithstanding this, it is also fair to say that extension is used rather more heavily in the pedal divisions than is normally the case for a concert organ.
  22. Having been fortunate to see inside it, I feel it cannot be described as anything other than a great - even monumental - feat of organbuilding. The grand excesses of the tonal scheme will not be to the personal taste of everyone, but I find they make a lot of sense within the context, which is - to say the least - unusual. Dare I even suggest it, but to my ears the 64' makes a definite musical contribution to several of the tracks of the 1998 CD.
  23. The spec is visible under the "Adopt a Pipe" page. https://www.svatovitskevarhany.com/en/pipe-adoption
  24. I have heard that claim before, from multiple sources. It irritates me because it is, by whatever measure is chosen, plainly wrong. http://die-orgelsite.de/ The number of three manual organs, in Europe, which have a greater number of ranks, stretches well into double figures. There even exists one three manual organ which, by the same measure, is over 40% larger.
  25. However, the 1.4m capital figure is stated as including an endowment. Depending on whether they're planning to fund just organ maintenance or also other costs with the endowment income, and whether it's planned to be a perpetuity or a progressive withdrawal of principal, the endowment could be the greater portion of the capital. So the restoration costs, allowing for the size differential of 50 stops vs 37 stops, could be comparable with Bedford. On a related point, I found it amusing to use the effects of compound inflation to adjust the original cost of Bedford - as stated in the NPOR entry - into today's money. It came out at rather less than I expected at a little under 200k. Of course this is a gross simplification and does not account for the variation of the cost of hand craftsmanship and organ materials relative to general prices over that time period, compound inflation being of course a measure of a varying basket of consumer goods unrelated to organbuilding. But it is still an interesting benchmark.
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