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Mander Organs

David Coram

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Everything posted by David Coram

  1. This surely must be to do with the sales-driven nature of the digital organ market. Most pipe organ builders I know can see several (in some cases, ten) years ahead and know what work they will be doing. A web presence is a useful way of showing your work, but nobody’s going to be filling their shopping cart or booking a home demonstration as they would with a digital provider.
  2. (With reference to the moving console:) It would first have to fly over a solid screen and a high altar, then down I think three sets of steps with more ecclesiastical furniture in the way. Your friends are obviously more talented than I. Unfortunately funds didn't even stretch to replacing the chest magnets, which have had their day; for some years there has been make do and mend and borrowing magnet caps from elsewhere (particularly the trebles of the strings) in order to keep more important stuff playing. Everything from the key contacts, pistons and stop solenoids up to the magnets has been replaced, and the console has had a Rolls Royce job done on it and shines like new. At least the magnets are relatively cheap and can be done a rank at a time in phases. In short, ignore the comment on the Youtube vid which says the organ is going to be scrapped; it's not.
  3. The console is such a mammoth solid construction, and there are so many steps, that there really isn't any possibility of making it mobile. It's bizarre that the console is so solid because most of the rest of the instrument is made of hardboard and Tabopan. Yes, the Harmonics is all derived from the one rank, with the exception I think of the largest unison. That's the way it was, and usually is I understand - a massively wide scaled stopped flute of Tibia-like quality with no harmonic development of its own. As for 'sleeping on the job' I can't claim to be as dedicated as Thurlow, but I did take my excellent VW van with me (www.winniebus.co.uk)
  4. Most of the Mixtures aren't derived on that instrument - there are 2 independent ranks on each manual division, and as already observed the Pedal Harmonics has its own rank. We were slightly naughty, and added some extra ranks to the Harmonics. According to the old ladder switches, it contained only quints and a Tierce. Because the new system is software based, we were able to add a Septieme and None to it as well, and my goodness it thunders with the best of them now. The trumpeter is the nearest person to the congro, and is right beneath the organ pipes and very much closer to the choir than may at first be supposed. The biggest problem with holding things together in there is the ridiculous position of the console - right up against the East wall underneath the window, behind a screen. It's an unimaginably difficult position from which to lead the congregation. During the rebuilding they were using an Allen located just in front of the front row of seats, and it made things very much easier.
  5. Yes, I've no idea what the last verse of O Come was meant to sound like. Astonished they didn't have someone conducting in the nave. It's a weeny organ, that. The display pipes facing West are double over-length - it's the 8' Stopped Flute rank which appears only in the Pedal Harmonics. The expression boxes face north. Immediately behind the grille high up behind Decani is the Tuba, Diaphone and Polyphone. Bizarre budget layout. I can't believe how good it sounds despite all that.
  6. Ooh! Where's that? This time last year, I was re-wiring the organ and putting the restored console back in... assuming it's the RC Compton.
  7. David Coram

    Roger Yates

    Oh, boo - I didn't get to see it!
  8. As this topic seemed to generate quite a few "watchers" I thought it might be worth pointing out that it ends about an hour from now at just after 2310.
  9. Haven't I always said it?! Excellent machine, sadly neglected.
  10. Quite a few have 3 phase blowers and lighting.
  11. Hope this breaches no rules. If anyone wants a fairly new unit, there's a good one listed for sale here.
  12. Recommend you get hold of Edward Goater who has a presence on the internet. Also known to Gloucester audiences as a former lay clerk before going solo.
  13. Opus 71, "The Forsaken Brownie"???? After everything he's just said about Britten?
  14. Isn't it an amazing site. I've had a very enjoyable half-hour.
  15. I completely agree, especially over War Requiem. I find the Wilfred Owen settings lightweight in the extreme considering the overwhelming pain of those poems. And I just don't understand the popularity of 'the' Jubilate. It's exceptionally awkward and fussily written. Rejoice in the Lamb I do have a lot of time for - I find it strangely moving, and couldn't begin to tell you why. It has mostly to do with the choral writing in the Hallelujah though - and the chord which is reached under the word 'poetry' in the tenor solo, where Robert Tear does a massive pause (not in the score) on the high F#. Other under-rated works are the Festival Te Deum with the repeated E major chords and the brimstone middle section, which does make terrific use of the instrument. And the New Year Carol is just glorious. And there's no better National Anthem arrangement, you've got to admit...
  16. No flaming intended except that I felt an uncontrollable urge to respond to some particularly condescending, ill-informed and pompous claptrap. I've had a look on Google, and can't find anyone else from architectural and acoustic wonks to orchestral players and concert reviewers who have anything particularly nasty to say about the way sound behaves in the hall, apart from the odd derisory remark that it's no good for rock and roll but just set up for classical. Even if my other post gets deleted (and perhaps I should do it, and save Rachel the trouble), it's fair to say that the hall was built for musical performance, and the organ should have been built for the hall. However, contracts were awarded and design work began on the organ in 1992, over a year before the foundations were dug out. Physical construction of the organ in the factory began some twenty one months - almost two whole years - before the hall was even completed. In my view, there's the problem. My belief is that you simply don't put anything on paper - even so much as a stoplist on a fag packet - until the site and the room and the furnishings are in place and can be experienced. When you can get a feel for the building with its actual carpets and winter coats - and other moveable forces such as pianos and orchestras have begun to find out about unexpected dead spots - then you begin to think about scaling, floorplan and grid layout. You do some test notes. Then you begin, having given artistic instinct (which is the hallmark of any fine organ) a reasonable chance to prevail.
  17. The more I think of this, the more I realise just how little sense it makes, and I add a few points below in what may very well be my last posting here in order to try and highlight what a load of utter nonsense you are talking. In my opinion.
  18. Never mind all that. Ian's right. The organ was bespoke to the hall, was supposed to be a concert organ, and it's inadequate. If it had been scaled and voiced and winded properly for the building, then there wouldn't be a problem. If the hall wasn't ready, then more fool the builders for agreeing to press ahead without knowing the surroundings they'd be working in. The organs of York Minster and Salisbury Cathedral and numerous others were never intended to completely fill the nave in that way, as most services were in the Quire with maybe a bit of overspill.
  19. Simply because all the instruments are already there, most kids with any musical input at all are familiar with Wolf and Carnival, and that makes it an excellent means of interesting them in the organ. Not the only way, but in my view an excellent way. Piano I don't understand however.
  20. Yes, it's good that the organ's on air, but what a shame that the BBC will fill up its annual allocation of 2.5 hours of organ broadcasting with something about which virtually every organist listening will complain. This could be used to justify hacking it back even further in the future. (Of course, now the message boards have been axed, the complaints won't get through - except through here.)
  21. David Coram

    Roger Yates

    The action was finished off by Drake and set up exactly as Yates would have liked it, even though his (and my) preference is for a little bit more resistance than that - an over-light action is just as harmful as an over-heavy one. Bearing in mind it's the original pallets and original soundboards, this serves as a useful example to those who tell me I'm talking rubbish when I state that most tracker instruments don't need to be as heavy as they are. Most - well, many - British organ builders appear to be woefully inept at getting the simple adjustment of pallet springs (and coupler set-off) right. On that note, I have recently seen again the 1974 Drake now at Bristol University, which has been got at by a local builder. Also Bridgetown (Totnes) has been ministrated to by a gentlemen who is neither too loud nor too soft. In both cases the pallet springs have been messed with and the soundboards extensively bled, thus spoiling the two best-engineered instruments you're likely to have encountered.) On the hidden Flute control - there was a good reason for this which I half-forget; as well as not wanting to spoil the console (there isn't space for another stop without pushing everything closer together) I have a feeling it was also something which Yates wanted to include but the church didn't, so he did it anyway. I could be getting my stories muddled up. Drake has done the same for a Tremulant on one of the London organs which he felt it really needed even though the church or the organist disagreed.
  22. There is a little village just north of Salisbury called West Lavington, wherein resides a 2m Bishop and Starr of c. 1860, which has a Great Clarabella of simply remarkable quality. Rather like a pear drop, it's uniformly smooth and sweet but there is just a mere hint of the best sort of acidity. Incidentally, the same instrument also has the most charming 4' Flute I have ever encountered.
  23. The show can do no wrong in my book - tomorrow night's features my Peter and the Wolf - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b014gk1n Next week I go up to do an interview, and that will go out (with a bit more music, hopefully from Carnival of the Animals) on either of the two Tuesdays which follow. Who says an 1850's Walker can't stand alongside Wurlitzers on the Light Programme. Cheers!
  24. Why on earth would you have an 8' C of an Open Diapason and not have it available on the manuals?
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