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D Quentin Bellamy

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Posts posted by D Quentin Bellamy

  1. That the job is being done in phases is most likely Hobson's choice! I don't think that organ comes high on the spending priority list of Liverpool City Council, and from what I gather, it has been very hard work to get any money to spend on it.


    I note with interest the choice of Nicholson. Are we to assume that its maintenance has passed into new hands?



  2. Having been the founder the organists association in the Chester and North East Wales area I have greatly enjoyed this thread, particularly with reference to the Chester organ which is certainly everything other posters to this site say it is. I gather that the incumbant organist would greatly like to see it rebuilt in the not too distant future. Having played it on a couple of occasions, it is pretty thrilling and the 32 reed positioned to the rear of the case is the musical equivalent of a pneumatic drill. All great fun nevertheless!


    Since the theme of this thread is The Worst Organ in the World, I was wondering whether or not to nominate the organ in Prestatyn Parish Church for the award of worst organ. On reading the message by Lee Blick, I take courage and nominate the organ by Leonard Reeves as being the worst organ I have ever encountered in my life!


    It was a fairly respectable moderate sized two manual by Abbott and Smith of Leeds which was greatly enlarged with a "new" three manual console, which is the most hideous thing you have ever seen. For a new console (I am sure a "rebuild" of a Compton console - though why on earth they had to interfere with the console at all, I will never know!) It has flat front keys for the positive manual which to my eye looks very odd on a modern console. Further it has a bunch of thumb pistons, all of which are un-marked as to what they are for. The whole thing looks dreadful.


    But consoles essentially are not what makes the noise, and just across the chancel is where a bonfire needs be lit - perhaps with the console as kindling. When the organ was enlarged to its present 40 stops, no increase was made to the wind trunk, so there is the most enormous wobble. This occurs on flutes and reeds alike across the organ.


    As a curious aside, the Vicar at the time that this organic abortion occurred was famous for his Guinness Record book attempts, and at the time of the opening recital, the church hall contained a swimming pool with the largest jelly ever made. To wander into the church hall was something of a surreal experience to see bunches of fridges with their doors open attempting to set the jelly. (The things we do for Jesus!) I guess that just as the jelly wobbled so doth the wind wobble in Prestatyn.


    The so-called positive organ is a selection of second hand pipework of all varieties and due to the wobbly wind is almost impossible to tune. The bellows have been screwed down to solve a windleak problem - and right now all the old pneumatic drawstop machines are bursting, and the sound boards knackered. Even the organ tuner who now maintains this hideous monstrosity says that there is nothing that can be done to improve it! Oh and in a spec of 40 voices there are but two reeds - a trumpet unit on the great and a cornopeon on the swell ... (vox humana, clarinet, oboe strings and celestes???? What are they????)


    Essentially the organ is in such a state that I can only see replacement as a reasonable possibility. With a diocesan quota of £65,000 to pay and a rapidly reducing congregation, it is certain that the next organ will not have pipes - if there is ever a next organ.


    Do you suppose that BIOS has a certificate for the world's worst heap of junk? B)



    I was organist at a church in Chingford (Barry Rose was organist here apparently) and it had an organ installed by Leonard Reeve, an organ builder from the Leicester area?


    It was squashed into a tiny tower, very drafty with no insulation, so you can imagine, it never kept in tune.  The Swell soundboard was starting to split and was emitting strange noises.  It had a horrid scratchy viol d'orchetre on the Swell, which sounded even more horrid coupled to the Voix Celestes.  The Pedal organ had a Bourdon at 16, 8, 4 pitches and then a 4ft Rohr Schalmei which I can only describe sounded like 'baby farts'.  The tremulant didn't extend as far to this stop either.  The console was a rehashed Compton tab version, originally not designed to accomodate thumb pistons, but there they were, too close to the black keys. Not so good when the combination suddenly changes mid-flow.  What else was bad about it, oh yes... the detached console was placed right in the middle of the congregational seating, so you can imagine what is like to concentrate at the final voluntary.  The organ has been replaced by a digital organ since.

  3. The following are available on Ebay:


    Ebay number 8373766316

    The Electric Organ by Reginald Whitworth (third edition 1948): An historical introduction and a comprehensive description of modern usage of electricity in organ building. The book contains one hundred and thirty four figures and a large number of specifications of organs electrically operated ("including many of the most important organs now erected")


    Ebay Number 7383793557

    The Harrison Story by Lawrence Elvin. This is, of course the history of the famous Durham firm of pipe organ builders (Harrison & Harrison of Durham). This book, a first edition, was, when printed in 1973 an edition limited to 1000 copies.


    Ebay Number 6591524255.


    Copy #420 of 1,000 of Bedos. "Buy it now" for $385.00.



    Ebay Number 7383789511

    The Edition De-luxe of Audsley's monumental The Art of Organ Building which was limited to 250 copies. These signed copies are printed on vellum. The two volumes are the size of the large old family Bibles - so they are heavy. They could be mailed, but I guess they would be very expensive to post. The condition of this set is fair - they may need some restoration. There are many excellent plates.


    The set in question are number 25/250 and they are signed by the great man himself.

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