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Everything posted by headcase

  1. I don't think it's quite fair to describe the HN&B rebuild (before my time) as 'disastrous'. Neither would I describe the 1/2 length 32ft reed as useless, as numerous recordings of the organ bear out. Yes, mistakes were made...the Positive (beautifully voiced by Roland Rawdings) was on direct electric action, which was supremely quick and easily outpaced the sluggish Swell main action. (In later years, Deane organ builders identified that the action valves exhausting the Swell power-motors were too small, choking their response). The rebuild was typical of the work of many large firms at the time, with additions being bolted on and fitted wherever space could be found. The console was amongst the most handsome and comfortable I've known, with the legendary sugar-cube pistons. I recollect that DH could be a rather difficult and abrasive man to deal with. I remember him ticking-off the tuner, finding him seated at the console, whilst I (the 'lad') was in the job doing the actual tuning! Quite the opposite attitude from John Sanders, up the road at Gloucester, who gave me every encouragement in identical circumstances! (and bestowed a bottle of whisky on me at Christmas!). I should write a book....
  2. Had the pleasure of tuning the Tuba Mirabilis at Bath Abbey several times 1979-81, as an apprentice at HN&B. I believe the stop was voiced by Arthur Rundle, a Hill voicer. The shallots had an infill of red sealing wax, which I was told helped to add that brightness and penetrating tone that it had. Hearing the pitch reference (usually the Gt Octave 4ft) against it was a challenge. The long ladder that led up to the Tuba chest was screwed to the Double Open Wood 32'. At the top, one could almost reach out and touch the fan vaulting. To the rear there was a chilling drop, down to the 1/2 length Double Trumpet 32'. Ironically, the Tuba wasn't the stop I feared to tune...it was the upper end of the Pedal Trombone/Tromba 16/8 rank. Impossible to stand away from it and in a confined space it really was quite unpleasant! Still, all meat and drink to a wide-eyed 16 yr old lad.
  3. The orchestration argument could equally be applied to Healy-Willan (imagine I, P & F transcribed for orchestra!), the works of Franck, Duruflé, Vierne etc... The fact of the matter is that the composers conceived the works for organ and that is how they are intended to be heard. We can squabble all we like over which organ is the best vehicle to convey the written notes -- and further discuss who is best qualified to interpret. I can't agree with Vox Humana that there is no quality of British organ music...I can hear howls (Howells) of protest already... H.
  4. Definite misprint! Eb just doesn't work.
  5. The 'extra' bar has never worried me. It may have been a practical issue...to give enough time to hit three ventils, Pos. anches, Ped. anches and GO anches ? Much easier to do with modern piston systems! H.
  6. Quite a lengthy article in CHOIR & ORGAN about her...not an obit. Just coincidence.
  7. It's a hang-over from the era of trigger or kickstick Swell Pedals. H.
  8. Interesting range of music in Olivia Colman's film, The Favourite, based on the life of Queen Anne. So Bach Fantasias rubbed shoulders with extracts from Messiaen's La Nativité, Purcell's Dido & Aeneas and much else (including some monotonous contributions from what I can only assume was a one - handed cellist.) The organ contributions certainly heightened my enjoyment of the film and came as a welcome showcase for the pipe organ in a stylish and inventive way.
  9. Trois Pieces Breve pour orgue, Maurice Lenormand pub. Leduc. Probably 5-6 mins of music but certainly lush and romantic. Lenormand was organist of the Cathedrale of St Vincent de Macon, from 1906 for over 60 years.
  10. I had the absolute pleasure of being on tuning standby for a week of recording with Simon Preston, for his Bach series on DeutchseGramophon. After the first day of reading endless paperbacks, I was warmly invited to be at the console to turn pages, comment on any dubious passages (should there ever be one!), listen and comment on playbacks in the control room, take lunch with the production team, etc. I found him to be an absolute delight, a fount of amusing anecdotes, generous yet humble, above all, a man at the height of his formidable musical ability. His performance of the Dorian Fugue has remained in my memory, with the final pages building to a truly thrilling close. He did confess that the Bach series had put him to the test, as he had never learned all the P's & F's ! I would never have guessed. Belated birthday greetings to one of the giants of the organ world.
  11. This small organ is available for immediate removal. Would suit small church or perhaps a large music room. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=K00924 It is located in South Essex. Stands on a gallery, no back case or treble side panels. PM me for contact details.
  12. Good point, Colin. All the organ humidifiers I have encountered are controlled by a Humidistat, typically set to 55-60%. Chest magnet armatures can be vulnerable to over-enthusiastic humidification. The leather gasket can separate from the metal disc. H.
  13. Just to prove the old adage, 'you can learn something new every day', I visited a very nice 1904 Hunter organ today, to which a humidifier has been fitted. Aside of the usual trunking into the wind system to distribute humidified air into the soundboards, there was a further feed to a 4" diameter metal trunk, about 3-4ft long, with a series of holes along the length of it, projecting humidified air into the air space beneath the soundboards. This struck me as eminently sensible - a bit of space humidification - yet in 39 years in the trade, I've never seen it done before. Any one else ? H.
  14. I think we have narrowed it down by elimination. This would be the last thing which may work...If not it will mean replacing the system. Would be very happy to give it a try. Please message me when you have news...and thanks for taking the trouble to reply. Richard.
  15. Any one out there with a spare CMTS ETS20b Receiver card for a CMTS multiplexer transmission system (c.1987) ? Am in urgent need of a replacement. H.
  16. Undulating ranks are certainly better placed well apart. At Tonbridge School, Marcussen have placed the Solo undulating ranks next to each other but on elevated pipe blocks, in much the same way as a Cornet may be mounted. The Swell Voix Celeste is also stood up high on an elevated block, directly above the slide on which it stands. On another organ where we added a Celeste, the Swell Box had been enlarged to accomodate a 16' reed bass and the Celeste went in there, too. As a result, the Celeste will beat happily and consistently with the Sw Open, Lieblich or Gamba, giving three distinct choices of undulant. Whilst it's true that on some organs, drawing the Celeste alone will automatically bring on the unison string stop as well, this is usually done by a linkage in the stop actions. It doesn't necessarily imply that the two ranks must stand next to each other on the soundboard. I hope that adds a little insight. Anything which gets away from the 'snivelling strings' syndrome has got to be a good thing!
  17. Yea, verily...e'en at Tonbridge School, where I believe English is spoken. The Great Clarion 4ft breaks back, doubling the Trompete 8ft. The Swell Clairon 4ft ascends with flue pipes.
  18. Sorry to see this posted on Peter Collins Ltd webpage. Notice : the organ building firm of Peter Collins Ltd entered a creditor's voluntary liquidation on 20th January 2017 and a meeting of creditors was held on 30th January 2017. All enquiries should be directed to the liquidator at Elwell, Watchorn, Saxton LLP 109 Swan Street Sileby Loughborough Leicestershire LE12 7NN Phone : 01509 815150 Email : leicester@ewslip.co.uk
  19. Just came across this fine looking instrument on the NPOR, by Aubertin. Must be only a few miles from me, yet I knew nothing of it. Anyone else know about it ? http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=M00005
  20. The link requires a login with username and password. Unable to see the article or pictures.
  21. Anyone know what's happening with Bishop & Son Ltd ? From information in the public domain, it appears that Doug Levey of Musicom Systems Ltd is the sole Director and majority shareholder now. Just curious... H.
  22. Sad to hear this news. What a talented man. His case designs will be a lasting testament to his skill. R.
  23. Yes, David, you are quite right. There was a substantial article in The Organ and I think the instrument was probably used as a 'demonstrator' for potential clients. It also had a Willis Infinite Gradation Swell engine, long since disconnected ! Let's not get started on that...!
  24. More Sylvestrinas here ... http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N14189 ...in a ravishing acoustic. Fantastic ! R.
  25. Aha...the enigmatic, or should I say 'anagramtic' Mr Paril. Well done !
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