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Mander Organs

D Quentin Bellamy

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About D Quentin Bellamy

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  • Birthday 23/03/1962

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    Old Colwyn, North Wales

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  1. A great pipe organ trashed... Richard Hills at the Wolverhampton Compton
  2. I was so sorry to read this news, and after having had a chat with his successor, Ian Tracey, I have some further information to share about Noel. NOEL RAWSTHORNE (1929-2019) Noel Rawsthorne passed away peacefully in the early hours of Monday 28th January, aged 89 years. He was Organist of Liverpool Cathedral for twenty-five years from 1955-1980, thereafter being succeeded by his pupil and Assistant, Ian Tracey, the current post-holder, and being given the honorific title of Organist Emeritus. After study at the Royal Manchester College of Music (now The Royal Northern College of Music), he won scholarships to study with both Germani & Dupré. From 1980-1984 he was City Organist & Artistic Director at St. George's Hall, Liverpool, and travelled widely as a recitalist in U.K. Europe and USSR. In recognition of his many achievements, he was awarded a D.Mus from the University of Liverpool in 1994. Chrissie & Chris Rawsthorne and Liz, his wife, have requested a very private cremation, followed by a great service of thanksgiving and celebration at the Cathedral on Sunday 3rd March at 3.00pm, to which all are invited. Noel's ashes will then be interred under the North side of the organ, alongside those of Goss-Custard, his teacher and predecessor, during Evensong on Saturday 19th October, preceding the 93rd Anniversary Recital. ==== On a personal note, I'd like to express my sincere condolences to Ian on this loss of one his great mentors. I have always enjoyed to hear Ian regaling his recital audiences with tales of Noel's adventures, and I know that he will be hugely missed.
  3. I have all of the DVDs and also the Regent DVDS and I'm looking forward to receiving the new Westminster Abbey recording in the next few days or so. I've just about given up buying organ CDs because I have so many of them that I'll never get to listen to them all unless I have organ CDs playing 24/7/365! But I simply can't resist the DVDs because they provide much more that is of interest to me. What organ would I like to see recorded? Richard Hills at the Guildhall, Southampton would be BRILLIANT! Perhaps Westminster Cathedral? And yes some of the recent rebuilds would be great. Many years ago Simon Preston did a couple of TV programmes including one on the Royal Festival Hall organ (now that would be an interesting one to record a DVD on), but I have never been able to find a trace of it subsequently. Does anyone remember anything about his TV programmes?
  4. Very much enjoyed the "last verse" arrangements. Did big last verses go "out of fashion"? It seems that some organists do them and others don't. Are they considered vulgar? (bearing in mind that good taste is the enemy of great art). The Abbey organ certainly seemed to make its presence felt....
  5. This from the Piporg-L archive of Tuesday 6 May 1997: Tom in Feenix wrote: >>I have been told the word Chrysoglott is taken from old Greek and means silver tongue. --Actually, Gold! Likewise, Chrysostom means Gold Mouth. Greek word for silver is Argurion, like Latin Argentum. --Jonathan the pedantic Chicago
  6. And then one day, the organist of 40+ years standing gets decrepit and old, and no longer able to play and jealously guard the instrument. Perhaps he or she dies. Then.... who is going to play the organ for that church? I frankly think it's disgusting that organists think that they (and their pupils) have sole rights to the console. After all, who paid for the organ in the first place?
  7. The Colwyn Bay Conacher is still at St Paul's. It was rebuilt in the very early 1960s by John H Cowin of Liverpool. Even in those days it was a cheap rebuild and the fact that it is still playing is nothing short of a miracle. To be sure, in it's present state it's not very good. The Cowin console is now more or less completely worn out and I believe that there is to be some electrical work carried out very shortly (I think by David Wells) and that a new console will be provided. It has the lovely stencilled pipework - alas that the choir stalls obscure the lower part of the chancel organ pipe display. There is also a west-facing rack of very narrow scale pipes. I think that in its time (ie before the rebuild) it was a pretty decent Conacher. St Paul's is a HUGE church with a massive tower and was designed by the Chester architect John Douglas in the 1880s - the tower came in 1910, indicating to me that there must have been an enormous amount of money floating around at that time. Other Conachers locally include Llanelian Church, Bryn y Maen Church, Rhos on Sea United Reformed Church (a later pneumatic job), the now-closed Nant y Glyn Methodist Church (another Cowin rebuild), and the now-closed Engedi Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel. There's also a transplanted Conacher (pictured below) installed by George Sixsmith & Co in the late 1980s/early 90s which replaced an earlier Aeolian organ in St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Colwyn Bay. My organ teacher once told me that the harp is not the national instrument of Wales: the Conacher pipe organ is.
  8. I must say that I do think that the Conacher case designs and particularly their pipe stencilling can be very pretty. Having said that I have two in churches in my care and both are plain and not particularly pretty (IMHO). The organ in the Church of St John the Baptist, Old Colwyn dates from about 1904 (and I wonder if it came from somewhere else or was originally designed for the church). It was originally a two manual tracker and then at some time later a pneumatic choir of six stops was installed. The stops are set on jambs at 90 degrees to the keyboards and the whole thing is INCREDIBLY difficult to play. The action is in need of constant adjustment, although the tuning is rock steady generally speaking. It was cleaned about four years ago. But I can't help feeling that for 1904 it was incredibly old-fashioned even then. Soundwise it's quite pleasing although there are some pretty powerful reed stops at 8' and 4' pitch which need careful use, and I also think that it's fairly light in the pedal department. The stop jamb has a blank space presumably for a pedal reed which never came. There are also other blanks on the jambs. Certainly the pneumatic coupling from swell to choir doesn't work well with the very heavy mechanical action thwarting it. I was vicar of a church where we replaced with a digital organ, an Abbott & Smith which had been butchered and just about destroyed by a notorious firm from Stoke on Trent. This time I think it would be a huge pity to lose this rather grand Edwardian pipe organ, and a significant electrical rebuild would preserve and enhance what we have. Alas however, congregations are small and the organ simply is not a priority as there is no budget.
  9. It's very interesting to read about the Porsche style console and even more interesting to read about Holy Trinity, Hull's Compton. But why has this thread drifted from its title - York Minster?
  10. I have noticed that the word "fine" is invariably used to describe organs (and occasionally organists). What would the organ world do if the word "fine" had never been invented? However would we describe organs in such a nightmare world?
  11. Not YouTube - but how I wish I could be there! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01fp4bb Posted 28 August Actually the more one listens to Richard Hills' Prom Concert played on the Willis/Harrison/Mander organ of the Royal Albert Hall, the more marvellous it becomes. I really do hope a CD becomes possible. (Better still a DVD!) http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2013/august-26/14684 - at least for a few days....
  12. Are there actually bad organs or is it more rather bad rebuilds? The organ in my church was an Abbot & Smith and I reckon that when it was put in (in 1907) it would have been perfectly good and more than adequate. But then in 1985 it was utterly ruined in an incredibly bad rebuild. Eventually the organ was replaced by a digital organ which is very much appreciated by the congregation and they are really proud of it. I was extremely sad to see a pipe organ go, but the original instrument was more or less destroyed in the 1980s - I certainly hold that particular builder responsible for the ultimate loss of the organ. Sometimes folks just seem unable to leave things alone. What's that wonderful saying I learned in the USA [?] - If it ain't broke don't fix it! The same builder destroyed the organ (I think it may have been Hill) at Hawarden Parish Church, where there is now an Allen system 600, First Hawarden, then Prestatyn (I wonder where else) . . . Quite a track record!
  13. I DO wonder if this comment is worthy of this site.
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