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Everything posted by chrisb

  1. Nothing to do with organs, but after four replays I was still chuckling over this. Got a bit worried for the conductor about halfway through, thought he was going to do himself an injury. Chris Baker - Durham UK
  2. The way things are going out here in 'the sticks' , it will soon be a Remnant of Organists.
  3. I am staggered that nobody has yet mentioned the organ scene in Disney's "Rescuers" You won't want to see it , so don't go here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpP8bNxVdyU Chris Baker - Durham UK
  4. You lot might as well pack in this thread, 'cos I've got you all beat - I get first prize - no arguments - some forty years ago I inherited a full set of ......... wait for it......... CLOISTER ALBUMS. They remained unopened and pristine for all of those forty years, until three weeks ago. I was asked for the 'Dresden Amen' at a couple of hours notice for a funeral service. On the point of giving voice to my regrets that I was unable to provide it for them, not having the music available, nor any idea where it might be found in playable form ...... 'click', 'click','click' went the aged old neurons - "I wonder if ...?" Yep, there it was, in the red-cover volume of the set. Nice big handfuls of sweet slushy stuff. Went down a treat. So, do I win ? Chris Baker - Durham UK
  5. I believe the term being sought here is 'fraudulent conversion'. Barry will, I am sure, know whether or not it applies here. A 'grey' area, I suspect. Chris Baker - Durham UK
  6. At an R.C. church near here some years ago, I was asked to play 'Lady in Red' for the bride's entry. Dead on time, the bride and her flotilla of followers formed up into line of battle and set off down the aisle.......... the whole lot, including bride, dressed over-all in shimmering emerald GREEN. The bride had not told of her music choice, so guess who got blamed for playing innapropriate music. AND, she wanted Q.o.S during the registry. I got a few comments about this as well, but managed to sow a seed or two of confusion, by saying that I had actually played the second sinfonia from 'Solomon' , and that it was "remarkably similar, don't you think?" Onward and ermm... one way or another Chris Baker - Durham UK
  7. Have you all got a problem spelling 'LIVERPOOL ANGLICAN' or something..?
  8. Clarion Doublette says :- "That spec, and many similar, (16 8884 8848) could be greatly improved if the dulciana on the Great was replaced with a 2' fifteenth. It would give the instrument a proper chorus on the great and bridge the gap between the flue work and that enormous Cornopean on the swell! With no oboe to accompany and two small 8fts on the swell - the dulciana surely won't get used a great deal." I know that there are many of the smaller instruments where this tonal modification has been carried out and, when first I encountered our instrument I did harbour thoughts along those lines. However, before giving voice to my thoughts, I decided that all in all, the organ should stand as it is. Firstly, the way our services work, the quieter registrations are used more than the heavier ones. Second, with the Dulciana gone, there would be no accompaniment stop on the Great for the quiet Swell. Third, the Dulciana coupled to Pedal makes an acceptable, gentle 'Violoncello' effect, getting a lot of use during Communion. Finally though, I feel that there are none of my stops I am prepared to do without. If there were to be a Fifteenth, it would have to be added to the existing spec., not substituted for something we already have. With modern technology, the tonal mod you suggest could easily be added as off-note pipes with electronic control, and the organ could be readily restored to original state if required. However, we are in a diocese with a very conservative Advisory machine which I haven't the energy/will to take on. Nor indeed have we the funds. Thanks for your reply CD, Chris B
  9. Good afternoon, 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, some better, some worse. We are all quite attached to it and don't really mind that it is virtually inaudible on the few occasions when the church is full. And I only curse the chancel carpet a couple of times per service now, instead of repeatedly throughout the services as I did when I first took the bench here. So - a couple of months ago the vicar hands me a bit of paper which turns out to be a Grade 11 certificate from B.I.O.S., on account apparently of it being a 'good organ by the builder'. And, that it is now listed in the Institute's register of historic organs - blimey! it's only 14 years older than me!! Now, I have no doubt c.p., that it will live out another century or so, and in the course of that existence may well become recognisable as 'historic', but really, wouldn't our instrument have to be something properly extra-special to attract such a label now ? Anyway, I was a bit busy at the time - hunting through the music cupboard for the middle pages of "Hymn to the Fallen", and the certificate got set aside somewhere or other and hadn't been seen until a couple of weeks ago when it turned up in the box we throw the candle stubs into. One way and another I gave no further thought to the thing until this thread started up. I thought I had better look into it and see what it was all about. Went to the B.I.O.S. site and had a little read. Came up with the following on the 'Application for Registration' pdf form "The application must contain the written agreement of at least one of the following: Church Incumbent, Minister, Churchwardens, Property Steward:" So I set out to discover who our nominator was. (I didn't read the thing thoroughly enough, did I ?) Well, the Vicar said "nothing to do with me". The Wardens had no idea what I was talking about. The Treasurer asked how much money we would get? We had long discussion over what a Property Steward is in our case, coming to the the conclusion that as organist, I am the 'property steward' for the organ - proposed by one warden, seconded by the other and carried unanimously by the three of them. I then approached just about every member of our church, and apart from the few who thought BIOS was something to do with computers, drew another blank. Turns out that it was the diocesan organs adviser who had nominated our instrument. Well, I knew I hadn't spoken to him about it, so I did the rounds again and, found nobody (myself included) who would know the DOA if he swam throught their rhubarb and custard. Presumably therefore, he did it off his own bat. I expect that probably there are advantages to this 'Registration', but also am aware through others on this list that there may be disadvantages too - particularly as some areas of church music undergo changes and developments. There are plenty of examples around where churches have subscribed to (usually) more modern worship forms, where the organ gives way to other means of making a 'joyful noise'. We may not like it but it is happening all the time. And it is not the function of anyone outside of our church, nor any preservation movement, to attempt to influence how worship is or is not conducted within our church. I would hope always to be able to make a case for continued use and care of our organ, but the instrument cannot of itself dictate a pattern/style of worship by its presence. Looking into the future, would anyone doubt that we will have more and more pipe organs going down the redundancy route - either through church closure, worship style or lack of funds. Wherever this might happen, there would hopefully be proper consultation around all the possible options, between all the concerned parties, (including the DOA), and a conclusion reached that respects the views of all involved, even though some may be disappointed. I hope I am wrong in thinking that a certificate such as this might be waved about, in an attempt to introduce an element of 'force majeur' into such a consultation. All that being said, I will beat off with a s****y stick anyone who tries to remove our pipe organ - for any reason! Chris B ps.. failing to identify my church or diocese is intentional.
  10. About a year ago I broke the little toe on my left foot - a fairly innocuous little injury I thought at the time. Little did I know. This otherwise unremarkable orthopaedic event had a positively gianormous side effect. The aforesaid damaged digit developed an attraction to the side of the Bb key on the pedal board that was nothing less than a percussively realised homing instinct. Flat-key pieces were not too bad, but anything in a sharp signature proceeded to a series of agonised yelps from yours truly. In the end, I played nothing but 17th C English stuff for about a month. But the hymns - oh dear! ..... the hymns ..... the modern ones were alright (ish) but how do you stop your feet trampling the sticks in 'Westminster Abbey" and the like? And the first wedding after the injury - Processional - "Trumpet b***dy Voluntary". 'voluntary' my a***, purgatory, more like. Chris Baker - The Incompetent Organist - Durham UK
  11. I sent this to COIN recently. Some found it amusing. Most didn't comment. On Sunday we had our normal sung Eucharist, but with a Baptism. Our usual congregation of twenty or so was augmented by about forty adults and a few children plus the candidate herself of course, who seemed to be about three months old. People began arriving twenty minutes before the service and there was much greeting and introducing in the carpark and at the church door. It was obvious that some in the baptismal party had come a considerable distance - hugs and more, handshakes - you get the picture.. I played the opening voluntary, nothing of consequence given the prevailing noise level, just the 'Weinachtsmann' variations. Finished that, some people still milling around a bit but all looking to start settling down; improvised on the first hymn tune for a couple of minutes, finally got the 'nod' from the priest, and we started the service. First hymn - sixty plus people, each standing within a foot or two of three or four others, pushing exhaled breath out of their mouths under pressure, complete with particle expelling sibilants and the occasional coughs and splutters which are a feature of all church services everywhere. Introduction, confession, absolution, readings, everyone sitting there reloading their bronchial weaponry for the Gradual. Not having contributed to the hymn choice process, I was a bit surprised to be playing "Lord of the Dance", which I have always thought was a bit sinister for joyful occasions. Still, they all knew it and belted it out, together with whatever particles were loaded into their respiratory armament. Then, horror of horrors!, the priest advances upon the infant, signs her forehead with an unsterilised digit, before inviting the whole of the immediate baptismal group to do the same. Not long after this, in the spirit presumably of ensuring an even and thorough spread, the whole congregation is instructed to stand, about turn, face the rear (where situated, is the font), to watch the priest cradle the poor unsuspecting infant, mouths just inches apart, and breathe into her face whilst tipping water (brought to church in a plastic bottle, and one can only ponder the opportunities there must have been to include a list of pathogenetic nasties in that little process), over her forehead. This poor little scrap of humanity, having now been converted into a seething hotbed of infection, is handed back into the bosom of her family, presumably to complete the process of wiping out every trace of them. At which point we descend into farce. The Peace. Having by now spent forty minutes jostling around, breathing over each other, greeting each other, 'passing the parcel' with baby Erin,[for it was she], and generally behaving like ordinary sentient humanity, we now witness the ludicrous aspect of sixty otherwise intelligent persons obeying the advice of our Archbishops,forwarded by the churchwarden, standing back from each other and waving. The priest and I shook hands firmly - deciding that on balance, this suicidal action of ours was the lesser fatuousness when compared to what was going on in the nave. We also entertained the hope that the aliens could return and take us back to our own universe, hopefully before the end of the service and returning home to find we were married to a Hewlett Packard printer cartridge, or some such. I have no idea what went on during the distribution, having decided to bury myself into my duties at the console. I did notice that as I came to the end of "Man, Bewail Thy Grievous Sin" for the second time, there still seemed to be a whole bunch yet to go through. So I played it again, transposing tenor for treble, and then again with the alto line in the pedal - sounded ridiculous - won't do it again. Now, I am not possessed of a theological intellect, or any other variety of intellect come to that, so I rely heavily upon gut feeling, instinct, primitive logic, subjective common-sense and so forth. It seems to me that whilst the two elements, the bread and the wine are inextricably linked, inseperable,in symbiotic relationship, it is the passing of the cup which most symbolises the sharing aspect of the Eucharist, with the bread pointing more to the physical presence of Christ. ( I am sorry if that comes across as theological nonsense, but it is how it sits with me, so I am stuck with it). If the cup is withheld for any reason, then in my primitive, doubtless erroneous reasoning, the communion is incomplete. I am aware that greater minds have determined otherwise, but they have not attracted me. Returning to the the service on Sunday: Given all that went before, are we really to accept that passing the cup, albeit with perhaps a little more attention to hygene between one communicant and the next, presents more than a theoretically greater risk, compared to the amount of ordinary interaction which preceeded presence at the communion rail ? At the risk of opprobrium being heaped upon this ignorant head, I feel that withholding the chalice has an air of hysteria about it. And of course, to catch an infection from another, that other has to actually have it in the first place. Will I actually post this? Dunno yet. Keep it clean, Chris Baker - The Incompetent Organist - Durham UK
  12. Oops, sorry, didn't realise how many there were still to be translated. Chris B
  13. Hi, is this what you are looking for? [ http://www.bach-cantatas.com/IndexTexts-Ch...Title.htm#Title ] Chris Baker - Durham UK
  14. Only rarely do I post into this realm of the more learned and talented - but having perused within this thread, I found myself wondering :- is it entirely wise for a member of this great and goodly place to enquire of unmusical stops, and then to sign off as 'Vox Humana'. ? Not really fair of me I suppose, I did find one not so long ago that was extremely useful - as a component of the 'honk-note' punctuation in Hornpipe Humoresque..... then again, musicality wasn't really a consideration, though it seemed to me marginally more musical than the concerted foot-stamps from the audience. Oh yes, while I'm here, might I put in a motion for the defence, in favour of the poor old Dulciana. Some of you are are uncommonly rude about the only thing I've got on my Great that doesn't hurt after a good Saturday night. Those of us with the smaller organs (oh no...) are often grateful for something quiet to pop down on to the pedals, while fiddling about with whatever's stringy on the Swell. If you ever heard my Sub Bass, you too would be entertaining thoughts of a Destroyer saluting the flag as it enters Pompey. So 'shimmer 'n throb ain't available, might as well try for a little Dulciana/violon solo off the floor... Then again, there's dulcianas and dulcianas isn't it? I can think of one not too far away from me that sounds a dead ringer for our paper shredder at home. Unmusical - well there's always the Fundaton 256' I suppose. I left the details of this on the web some years ago - might still be around, maybe. Cheers, Chris Baker - Durham UK
  15. Nick Bennett -" And it's yet another sign that the organ's profile is on the rise at the BBC." I wonder which is cheaper to broadcast: an orchestra of a hundred or so players, or a single organist with a hundred or so stops? Not that I'm complaining mind you ... My wife says that I'm a cynic. I say that I'm an organist. "That's what I said" she replies. Chris Baker Durham UK
  16. My copy arrived Christmas Eve (thanks Jenny). Wife grabbed it to wrap as present to go under the tree. I came downstairs at 4.00am for a drink of water. Spotted newly wrapped book under tree. Unwrapped book, started reading, was discovered by wife at 6.30am, attempting to re-wrap book. Accused by wife of inserting decimal point to my age of 63 years Accused by wife of unreasonable behaviour, for not allowing her to open presents until after church. Hope you all had a blessed Christmas Chris Baker
  17. Paul and Claviorque, thank you for your replies. It is good, even for a brief moment, to be getting wiser as well as older. Chris
  18. Get ready folks, here comes the stupid question of the year! By what reasoning does increasing temperature cause pipes to 'sharpen' in pitch? Logic says that increased temperature causes the pipe to expand, and, in my primitive brain, bigger pipes equal lower notes - flattening. And people talk of the organ going flat when it's cold when my poor assaulted reasoning says the pipes are getting smaller and sharper..... Or, is it more to do with the way sound waves behave in changing temperatures, rather than any consideration of the pipes themselves? My churches allow me two tunings a year, and I call for these mid-autumn and around Easter time, which in the buildings' unheated state, means that both tunings are carried out at more or less the mean temperature of the year. Seems to work OK but is probably nonsense. My tuner agrees, though that may be to do with having a couple of churches outside of the Christmas rush. I'm already wishing I hadn't got into this Chris Baker
  19. This point has been made on many previous occasions. Undoubtably it is true, but tends also to resemble sky-bound pies. One of 'my' churches with its ten-stop, 1880 Forster & Andrews incorporating a novel approach to reliability, enjoys a regular weekly congregation of about twelve souls. What do you think might be a suitable level of fee to attract one of the competent players you mention ? This is not a personal dig at you Barry, but the point you make does not advance the situation for the great number of churches which are in our position. Reluctants, or in my own case, incompetents, are in practical financial terms, the only available source of organists which can be drawn upon. I realise of course that the population of this forum operates at a much higher level than I could ever aspire towards, and I fully concur that professional musicians should be properly remunerated. For myself, I have contacted the PCC treasurer and demanded a ten-fold increase in my salary. Not only did he agree immediately, but offered to backdate it ten years. We are going out for a drink to seal the deal. He will have to pay of course because, curiously, I seem to be no better off. :angry: heigh ho Chris
  20. My eyesight seems to have suddenly deteriorated - I think you are inviting me to come and take the Dulciana from your instrument and pop it into mine. A very generous gesture indeed and I'll be round there directly with newspapers and bubblewrap . It looks as if your F&A was planted about five years after mine (npor N12175). I don't understand why H & H supported the tonal modification, or more to the point why the DOA agreed it. When you look at the rest of the spec., the last thing it needed was more 'on top'. AND it's got no strings. Fortunately the OpenD on the swell is a bit narrow and rattly, so with the sub coupler I can get a semblance of atmospheric disturbance effect. But it's mostly in my head. I just can't understand why I enjoy playing it so much. Onwards and ........one way or another regards, Chris Baker
  21. Barry and Brian, thank you for your replies. Overall I am fairly untroubled by matters financial relating to my church work. I have always maintained a good relationship with Her Majesty's lucre-looters, and my latest return scooted through fairly sweetly. I am interested though that my parish might be required to regard me as employed from a legal point of view, albeit without the inconvenience of financial consideration. I intend however to waste no sleeping time over it. I will though send off directly for a copy of your book Barry. ( and it had better be a good read - otherwise there's a wobble on my organ bench that needs wedging ) Thanks again, Chris Baker
  22. It seems right and proper that professional musicians, such as the many who reside in this list, should have recourse to the law when their livlihood is under threat, or subject to unfairness. One imagines that such recourse woud in any case be a 'last resort' thing. My particular concern however, is for the matters which attend this issue from Her Majesty's requirement for seemingly endless amounts of revenue, from those least able to afford it. Existing as I do at the lowest strata of our common fascination with with matters organistic, I suspect that 'there may be problems ahead' for me, and that large number like me. On Sundays, I toddle along to my church at 9am, a voluntary, a bit of improv on the first hymn, five hymns, a bit of wallpaper during Communion, and some fun with the last hymn tune to close. I pack up my bits, and scurry off to our other church for 10.45am and do it over again. I am not a very good organist, certainly not qualified, but can find my way around the instrument, albeit with a pedal technique that has novelty value if nothing else. At my level, I place myself in the same 'category' as the wardens, the sidespersons, verger and flower arrangers etc., etc.. Whilst embarrassed at what I do for music, I love what I do for the church. I accept no payment for ordinary liturgical work at the organ nor do I claim expenses. I do this because I am able to do so both financially and within my life style. I accept without reservation that most church musicians, even (especially?) down at my end of the game, do require the income appropriate to their work, or at least, the amount that the parish sees fit to offer. And I do not suggest for one second that organists should as a matter of course serve voluntarily. A lot of us do serve voluntarily though, and therein lies what may be a problem. For non- liturgical stuff, weddings, funerals and so forth, I accept the offered fees. These fees are (and have been for many years), declared within my tax return as a self- employed carpenter. 'Does the panel think' that I am now to be classed as employed by the parish for its liturgical music requirements, even though I only have expenses with no income ? Can anyone hazard a definition of the legal/official source of funeral and wedding fees? Does the fact that they are gathered from marriage couples, funeral families, or funeral directors by the parish, and then handed on to me mean that I am to be regarded as employed in that regard? Did Bach get it right - taking a tranche of his income in firewood and fish? And will the ghost of the clot who took the Dulciana off my Forster and Andrews, to replace it with a screeching Mixture, please stand up where I can see you and stamp you back into the ground. With thanks to you all for being one of the most fascinating places on the net, I return now to comfortable obscurity. Chris Baker
  23. Blimey! never thought to hear of that one again. I had to do this on a harmonium in St. Helen's Mission church, on the Isle of Wight when I was a spotty youth.....that makes it about 45 years ago. It was in A & M standard and the I.o.W. connection in the name is not lost on me. I recall that the choir were quite unable to get it sorted, so it was dropped and we did 'Never Weather-beaten Sail' instead. I've just had a look at it, stuck it on the desk, played it through, and it just took me three goes to get it right. Tricky little devil , well it is at my level of competence! Chris
  24. 10-65 - Bagpiper hired by wedding party. 10-65a - Operations reminder -Rules of engagement. Collateral damage to pipes whilst shooting piper is manslaughter. Collateral fatal wounding of piper whilst shooting the pipes is 'accidental death' - so be sure to get it right.
  25. Excuse me for butting in......... Are you aware also of the Werner Icking Archive? http://icking-music-archive.org/ByComposer/J.S.Bach.php About two thirds down the page on this link is the full set of Orgelbuchlein, free to print-off, comes as .PDF If you haven't been here before, it is a massive archive. Once you start poking around in it, you'll be there for ever!
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