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Posts posted by JWAnderson

  1. On 23/04/2020 at 06:42, Andrew Butler said:

    As a former member of the cathedral congregation, and having played this organ, this seems a sensible scheme - particularly the Clarion Mixture.  Clifford Harker used to play RH up an octave with a big congregation.  However, I am surprised at the same nomenclature for two Clarinets...?  I am also struggling with the logic of an Acoustic Bourdon at 32' AND a separate Quint stop from the Bourdon.....?

    I can think of at least one Cathedral organ with both a Choir and a Solo 'Corno di Bassetto', both of different character however.

    It seems like a useful idea to have the Bourdon available at 32ft pitch as a softer alternative to the 32ft Open Wood, especially further up the compass where an Open Wood would tend to be too big to use underneath Swell strings, for example.  The Walker at Sacred Heart Wimbledon has this feature and it is very useful.

  2. Firstly something which can be best described as 'sequencer abuse': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUXXXrZsHdk


    I am reminded of a moment at a masterclass given in Wellington by Olivier Latry, when a young organist was rushing through the sequencer at quite a fast pace to a particular point in his piece, to which Olivier replied "You will never play at Notre-Dame!!"


    Never mind what it's doing to the electrics, but more importantly what is it going to do to soundboards (if they are sliders)...

  3. Why are so many organists obsessed with Tubas?




    Well I can't say that I'm completely obsessed with them, but the Tuba at Christchurch being the first I've been able to play really caught my attention and it sounds great from the nave of the church.


    Have to find some Tuba tunes to really try it out for next week though.



  4. Hi everyone!


    After spending an hour holding keys and being slightly deafened while the Tuba was being tuned today at Christchurch Cathedral (NZ), this made me ask the question which Tuba in any organ members of this forum would think would be loudest.


    This Tuba Mirabilis is the loudest in New Zealand, being voiced on 19 inch wind and I have to say it sounds absolutely fantastic, and to top it off there is even a Fanfare Trumpet sticking 'en chamade' out of the transept case! This aside though I suspect compared to some Tubas I have heard of from the UK, it may only come in on the list about 30th.


    So here's a start:

    0. Atlantic City Convention Hall - Grand Ophicleide 16/8' 100" (I'm a bit hesitant to add this one as I do not know if it can be classed as a Tuba or just a loud noise)

    1. Liverpool Cathedral - Tuba Magna 8' 50"



    30. Christchurch Cathedral, NZ - Tuba Mirabilis 8' 19"




    PS. I should also add just to annoy someone, there's even a Dulciana complete with Vox Angelica which can only just be heard from the console with box open...

  5. I learned this evening that it is possible to purchase an 'expander box' containing a library of a hundred stops, any sixteen of which can be used at any one time. If this is fitted to a standard console, with keys, pedal board and stops, it makes an inexpensive practice instrument. The total cost of the hardware, assuming a second-hand console was used, could be less than £3,500.


    I hope to see one of these set up shortly. If it is satisfactory I will post details, as this may be a suitable and affordable solution to the problem of home organ practice.


    Barry Williams


    Rodgers Instruments make the MX-200, which has around 100 organ stops and about 7 or 8 hundred orchestral sounds.

    I don't think this would be any good if this was what you were thinking of.

    My church has one of these on the Rodgers, which is fine for using with other stops on the organ but probably not by itself.



  6. This would suggest to me that you have not experienced good, state-of-the art instruments. The reeds on our Wyvern-Pheonix are absolutely superb, as are the flutes & diapasons. I don't believe anyone would consider the full organ to be "Foggy". Our loudspeakers sit clearly visible and undisguised on large shelves in the north transept. If we happened to have an attractive pipe front from a former instrument I would see no harm in using it, but we don't.


    Since the organ was installed (in 2006) there have been a number of occasions upon which visitors, including other organists, have come to talk to me at the console, from where the battery of loudspeakers are clearly visible, demanding to know where the pipes are. This custom built 42 stop instrument cost us a little over £25K (details available here) . Only one UK manufacturer charges £50K+ for similar instruments.


    Personally I would struggle to see any use for an alternative Theatre Organ specification on our instrument at church. It might be fun at home though!


    I am sure that your organ would have better reeds, diapasons & flutes than mine since my church's Rodgers is probably over 15 years old now.

    The speakers are installed where the old pipe organ was behind a screen at the front of the church, but if this has an impact on the sound, I don't know.


    I would definately like the church to get a customised organ once the Rodgers dies, but that could be quite a while away at the moment.



  7. Question: if the electronic stuff is "every bit as good as" a genuine pipe organ and if the electronic stuff "doesn't sound any different from" a genuine pipe organ, WHY is it dressed up with sham pipes to give the impression of its being a genuine pipe organ?


    Thats the problem, they will never be as good as a genuine pipe organ. The only good stops on some electronic organs are the flutes, but the reeds are absolute rubbish.

    All the electronics I've played are all right organs, but try playing something in full organ, the tone all goes 'foggy' and it sounds terrible.



  8. Many years ago I recall that someone from HNB moved one of these things and put an electric blower on to relieve the organist of having to supply the wind for him/herself. He never could get the Melodic Bass to work properly and came to the conclusion that it required turbulence in the wind supply in order to operate OK. In several I have seen the mechanical bits just keep going but the pneumatics have usually given up years ago. Can't say I like the sounds but they seem good workhorses and surley the next things up from American Organs or Harmoniums.


    When you say 'the organist having to supply the wind for him/herself' do you mean using the pedals like on Harmoniums? All the Positive organs in New Zealand that I know of have the hand pump, but of course this would be inconvenient if no one was available to operate it. Most of the ones SIOC have restored have had electric blowers added, but still retain the hand pump. The pneumatics are a real nusence on the melodic stops, since they have to be either cleaned or replaced every 20 or so years. But if I added a pedalboard I would possibly have to keep the pneumatics since the Bourdon pipes are divided six either side of the organ.

    One problem with the Positive organs is that they are quite a nusence to tune e.g. removing the swell box back panel etc.



  9. I had to play Widor's Toccata on one of those Positive Organ Company thingies. There was nothing 'positive' about it. If they supply the Bourdon pipes, they may as well supply the pedalboard.


    I agree about that. I am thinking about restoring a redundant one for home use, but a pedal board is one thing I definately would install. The only thing is I would have to supply extra 18 Bourdon pipes as they only use 12 for the Melodic Bass. Sounds like quite a bit of work but would probably be worth it.



  10. Pedal to Great (or automatic bass) gadgets can be supplied by pipe organ builders. I've seen some.

    This technology is not expensive either.


    A lot of builders install those. The South Island Organ Company in New Zealand which I work for, did use Muldersoft Transmission systems and they had the ability to use Auto-Pedal / Ped to Gt etc.

    If anyone here knows of the Positive Organ Company, London, their one-manual organs had the 'Melodic Bass' which was a pneumatic system so you would get the impression of playing the pedals aswell. Their specifications were normally around Open 8, Flute Bass 8, Flute Treble 8, Viol 8, Dulcet Bass & Treble 4.

    They normally included Melodic Diap 8 or Viol 8 which were also pneumatic and the rest of the manual action was mechanical.



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