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David Drinkell

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About David Drinkell

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 10/12/1955

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    Male
  • Location
    Fredericton Cathedral, New Brunswick
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    Choral and organ music, food, wine and restaurants, architecture (especially old churches and Charles Rennie Macintosh), the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway....

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  1. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    A Quiz. If you get one of them, you will probably be able to find them all. Be warned - one is a bit of a cheat! Answers tomorrow.....
  2. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    The Frampton organ looks as though the front pipes were decorated when it was built, but at Bromley they were painted when Bishops' restored the organ in the sixties - hence my surmise about the Shenton connection. Frampton looks to be a particularly fine example of stencilling.
  3. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    I guess that in many respects I'm guilty as charged, having expanded the "English" bit to include other parts of the British Isles, posting organs that are not by English builders, flagrantly ignoring suggestions to avoid newer instruments, etc. "Beautiful", I suppose, is a subjective term and what may appear beautiful to me may not be so to others. What this thread has highlighted, I think, is that there are a lot more good-looking instruments in Britain than we might have thought. There are a lot of boring pipe-racks in Europe and North America, too. Again being subjective, I don't care for the "stainless steel" style that seems to be popular in Europe, or the number of modern cases with whole rows of pipes arranged so that their tops make a horizontal line, or that big blue Fisk in Japan (Rikkyo Gakuin) which looks to me like a cross between something pressed out of plastic sheet and a half-sucked boiled sweet. But who am I to judge, especially from mere photographs? On the other hand, Grenzing's cases at Brussels Cathedral look fabulous to me.... "Organ" as applied to electronic instruments: a tricky question. I always used to use the term "electrone" but that's archaic and really applies only to Comptons (which were decent enough specimens in their day). A friend of mine over here, a well-known recitalist, is an agent for a well-known make (no names, no pack drill, either of the agent or the firm) and refers to them as "appliances", and a lot of people use the term "toasters', both of which are hardly polite. In North America, folk tend to say "pipe organ" when referring to the real thing. I suppose that if one thinks of the name as denoting the function of the instrument, then "organ" is as good as we will get. More pictures, beautiful or not according to taste, but in any case showing imagination and a little bit out of the ordinary. Andrew Hayden, writing in "Choir and Organ" (May/June 2015) describes the collaboration between the East Anglian-based artist Jack Shenton and John Budgen of Bishop & Son (Ipswich). This resulted in about a dozen instruments in which colour added interest to existing case-work. Andrew highlights Thorpe Morieux and East Bergholt, as well as an original Shenton case design at Rattlesden which unfortunately never received its intended colour scheme. I knew the instruments but I didn't know about Jack Shenton until I read the article. I can't find a picture of Rattlesden online, but the church is worth a visit in any case. Thorpe Morieux is in the same benefice and is not far away. The organ is an original J.C. Bishop of 1840 which came to roost here in 1968 after various peregrinations. It is the first thing you see as you enter the church, being on the north wall opposite the south door, and it looks extremely well. The picture is from Simon Knott's Suffolk Churches site, but there is another on NPOR. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D00320 At East Bergholt, right in the middle of "Constable Country", the church is one of Suffolk's best (which is saying a great deal), but lacks a tower. Round the back is a unique bell-cage containing the world's heaviest ring of five (tenor 25cwt), which are rung in the English fashion but without ropes and wheels. You push the bell over and catch it as it comes up. Highly dangerous, really, but when I was a teenage bell-ringer, you could get a ring on them if the ringing-captain was in the right mood. I don't know if I'd dare to risk it now, but I did then. The 1897 Bishop organ in the church came from a Presbyterian church in Gravesend in 1966, replacing a Hammond, and has since been slightly enlarged. Shenton designed a scheme of colouring for the two cases, which is certainly effective: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=A00281 One might not want to do this sort of thing everywhere, but it seems to work here. After reading Andrew's piece, I wondered if the 1867 Walker organ at Great Bromley in Essex had received Jack Shenton's attention also. it has an absolutely plain and typical pipe-rack front, but the pipes are painted alternately blue and gold. Again, one wouldn't want to see this everywhere but I think it's effective in this case. The organ itself is a very fine little job, giving a lot more than its five stops would suggest, although it's a pity that it lacks a Pedal bourdon. The church is a probably the finest in this part of Essex. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N01721 Referring to the Escomb organ which Damian illustrates a couple of items before this, I played this one about five years ago and it is indeed a beautiful little job, perfectly suited to the Saxon church where it resides.
  4. David Drinkell

    Blind Listening Experiment

    On a "respectable" (for want of a better word) electronic, the general crescendo pedal would work in the same way as on a pipe organ - after all, such instruments are designed to imitate pipe organs in every respect. In other words, it would add stops one by one. Where the general crescendo is, in my opinion, unsatisfactory, is that it starts with the softest stops and adds others gradually, but without taking off those stops which may be superfluous at a given level of volume. For example, if you have Great to Fifteenth and make a crescendo via the general crescendo pedal, you will get all the unison flutes, strings, etc, which are on the earlier stages, thus cloying the texture and wasting wind. Some modern instruments may have a means of programming the general crescendo, but most don't. For that reason, I very rarely use the device - I reckon I can count on the fingers of one hand the pieces where I find it useful. The effect is probably better on North American romantic organs (Skinners, for example) where there are more ways to build up and reduce than is usually the case on British instruments, but I still don't like to be bound by what has been set up on the pedal, and I think that they have had an adverse effect on many organists over here, making them lazy in registration.
  5. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    In connection with the current Blind Listening thread, this is the rather good case of the Bevington at Winslow: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N09648
  6. David Drinkell

    Blind Listening Experiment

    The crescendo pedal effect is an interesting point. Over here, most organs have them and some organists seem to use them as a matter of course rather than registering by hand. By extension of this practice, I've noticed that the same players tend to draw more stops than I would think advisable (all the 8' flues, for example) rather than being selective. A further point, especially with Allen organs, is that the rather smooth and silky sound would seem to be conceived with the dead acoustic of many cushioned and carpeted North American churches in mind. With regard to the Winslow instrument, its electrification in the sixties might in retrospect seem to have been unfortunate. Looking it up, I see that it has a nice case, which I have added to the Beautiful English Organs thread.
  7. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    Quite right, too! It looks gorgeous, and (like the Petersham job), the scheme looks to be able to facilitate all sorts of music.
  8. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    Here's one I would very much like to visit - Petersham, Surrey, by the Swiss builder St. Martin. A handsome case which stylistically appears to be very fitting for its surroundings, shoe-horned into place rather like a number of jobs I encountered on visits to Norway. The scheme is very clever indeed. Some might argue that the cost of a third manual and a second swell-box might be better spent on extra speaking stops, but a little thought reveals the tremendous potential available. On paper, there's not much that it won't do. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=P00563 The same firm built the organ at Girton College, Cambridge. Spread over four manuals, it displays a similar versatility. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=R00476
  9. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    Two beautiful new organs in England, although not by English builders. The chamber organ in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, by Taylor & Boody of Staunton, Virginia. Their choral services include a weekly Vespers in Latin (including the lessons), for which this organ is specifically planned. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=K01237 And the Aubertin in King's Hall, University of Newcastle.
  10. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    Forgive my rabbiting on - it's a public holiday in Canada and I can't summon up the energy to do anything useful.... Having mentioned Cockayne Hatley, not far away, Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire, has a very decent little Hill organ in an Italianate case. The pub across the road is (or was) excellent for lunch, too. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D00788
  11. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    An oddity met with occasionally is an interesting organ case with no organ. At Rushbrooke Church, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, a nineteenth century squire, Colonel Rushbrooke, recycled panels from Rushbrooke Hall (an amazing Tudor mansion, demolished without permission in 1961) and elsewhere to create an interior like a college chapel, complete with organ case at the west end. He also carved a set of King Henry VIII arms, which are placed over the chancel arch and have fooled a number of writers into thinking they are genuine (and therefore unique). There has never been a pipe organ, and the church is served by a reed organ. If you're in the area, the Rushbrooke Arms on the Bury road is a good place for lunch. At Cockayne Hatley, Bedfordshire, the local squire was also the incumbent - the Revd. Sir Henry Cockayne Cust. He acquired a set of richly carved choir stalls from a church in Belgium and also an elaborate organ case which is in the west gallery. It once contained a barrel organ but is now empty. St. Conan's Kirk, on the shore of Loch Awe in Argyllshire, was built by Walter Campbell, a rich self-taught architect, at the turn of the last century, and is a stunning fantasy kirk incorporating all sorts of styles. There is an organ case in the west gallery and, weirdest of all, a couple of smaller cases in front of it, suspended form the ceiling like chandeliers. Again, no organ. I don't know of anything else quite like it - it needs to be seen to be believed. Finally, St. Lawrence, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, had an 18th century makeover including an organ case at the west end. It contained an organ at one time, but this was disposed of and a Rushworth & Dreaper "Apollo" reed organ served the church for many years. I have a feeling that a proper organ has since been built in the old case, but I don't know if this is true. There are lots of pictures of the church on the web, but I couldn't find one showing the organ case - a pity, because it's a fine piece of work.
  12. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    Are you inferring that I have a big nose? LOL. Wissington (pronounced and sometimes spelt Wiston), Suffolk is a little Norman church on the Essex border. Although it retains many ancient features, including wall paintings, it had an early Victorian make-over, with neo-Norman furnishings and a Gray barrel-organ with its front pipes contained within a neo-Norman arch with dog-tooth ornament. The barrel-organ is still used, but Roger Pulham built a finger organ in 1970. Both can be seen in the picture: Barrel Organ: Open Diapason, Dulciana, Principal, Fifteenth Finger Organ: Open Diapason, Stopped Diapason, Principal, Fifteenth
  13. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    I think most people see the grinning monkey here, and at All Hallows, Twickenham and St. Clement's, Eastcheap.
  14. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    I knew of your "parenthood" and I'm glad you've written. It's entirely possible that if I saw the organ in the flesh, as it were, I would change my opinion, especially about the pipe-shades, but I haven't played anywhere in Barnet since Harry Coles (of Southwark, blessed memory and convoluted correspondence) was organist on that rather nice little Walker Positive at St. Mark's. I was on an Organ Club visit in the early seventies, just after Peter Collins had installed his new organ at St. John's Presbyterian Church (as it then was). They were looking for an organist at the time and I think our member Jim Inglis took it on. We also (I think) heard you at the Parish Church, visited a newly rebuilt HN&B at St. James and the Father Willis at St. John the Evangelist. Thinking of wide cases, Wells-Kennedy at St. Michael's RC Church, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanaugh, produced a very fine instrument and Chris Gordon-Wells designed a most effective case in traditional style. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D08045
  15. David Drinkell

    List of beautiful English Organs

    There is an old Suffolk rhyme: "Shotley Church without a steeple, Drunken parson, wicked people." The church presents an interesting view, moored like an old ship on its little rise, tower capped off at nave roof level. Inside, there is a very fine hammer-beam roof and a most unusual chancel in classical style from the time of King George II. The organ was supplied by Godball of Ipswich - he kept a music shop on the Cornhill and supplied organs, but did not build them. NPOR attributes it to Flight, or Flight and Robson, which I didn't know. It has a good, but scruffy case. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D05613
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