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Contrabombarde

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  1. James Mcinnie gives the opening recital of the newly restored and completed Hill at Shrewsbury Abbey tomorrow Fri 15 October at 630pm. I say complete as it has taken 110 years to add pipes to the many "prepared for" drawstops but it is a beautiful instrument to play and hear. Details of a weekend of events and the new specification can be found at https://www.shrewsburyabbey.com/
  2. What in the world is a "Bombarde (one pipe only, common to lowest 12 keys of pedal board, 15 inches wind) 32 foot" stop?
  3. Mobile phone cameras offer fantastic video quality now. Unfortunately the sound lags behind, and especially so for an instrument such as the organ which has wide dynamic variation between pp and ff. Most phones try to boost sound level (including ambient, blower noise etc) in quiet bits and cut back suddenly when it goes loud. I've taken to recording my performances with an external USB microphone and computer, or when recording on my home Hauptwerk organ, I use the built in sound recorder. In video editor software I import both phone video and audio, and "proper" audio track, set the editor to view the waveforms on both audio tracks and shift the latter left or right until they are superimposed (actually it may be better if the sound is very slightly delayed or right shifted by a fraction of a second as video processing is much more complex than audio processing so if perfectly synched, you may find the sounds sounding very slightly before the corresponding note has been played which looks silly in close up). I then mute the audio track that the phone made. That of course has the further benefit of muting any extraneous comments I make when I hit a wrong note, and making my keyboards sound less clackety than they are in reality!
  4. Must say I'd never heard of Braunstein (correct spelling) and imslp does not list him. It appears he died aged 26 fighting in the First World War. The following link provides a little information about this monster organ, compass CC (or should that be written CCC?) to e(4?). Considering his apparent lack of recognition now, I wonder how he managed to afford a four manual organ of this scale (and a house to go with it!)
  5. I was once asked to play this for the bridal entrance by a couple who liked it so much they wanted me to play the whole piece and just keep going until the end knowing they would be at the altar by the time the natural "shortened" stopping point had been reached. As it was in a cathedral the walk down the aisle was already quite long enough. Somewhat nerve-racking, given that I rarely play the whole piece, and the middle bit is probably rather harder than the cheating shorter version!
  6. The full article is behind a pay wall but appears to be about a freely available article he wrote recently for another publication, the National Churches' Trust annual report. Link here. what organ is he photographed sitting at the console of? The legend says Holy Tribity Clapham but that is a 3 manual, this is a large 4 decker.
  7. Does action have something to do with it? I can't imagine a large mechanical action organ such as Birmingham Symphony Hall having a radical rebuild such as has happened to Leeds Town Hall (down from 5 to 3 manuals, and now going up to 4). Is there something about future proofing in the design of a mechanical organ that electric action organs have more scope for moving things around and adding ranks to cubby holes until the thing becomes unwieldy and someone decides to go back to the drawing board of the original builder or some other point in time (and then continue in a giant circle perhaps)?
  8. Fascinating I grew up near there and had no idea such a grotty dump of a building housed a Wurlitzer. The theatre, long on a risk list, seems to have recently gained a new lease of life, sans orgue. l found photos of the Beeb's Wurlitzer here.
  9. I suspect the reason the organ in Guildford Cathedral sounded like a magnificent Harrison and Harrison is because it was a magnificent Harrison and Harrison, of 1900 vintage and transplanted to Guildford Cathedral by Rushworth and Dreapers.....
  10. I do wonder how many keys on the typical organ have never once been played except when being tuned - with a mechanical pedal coupler they would at least be played more often as I expect pretty much all pedal notes will get used, but manual notes? I thought some baroque organs didn't have a bottom C#. Can anyone think of any music which requires a manual bottom C#? Or a top B for instance?
  11. Presumably any blind organists who have committed to learn JSB's entire works?
  12. So if the Mander is leaving Cambridge where is it going and in turn, what will it become?
  13. Latest estimate for Atlantic City Hall is 33,116 compared to a mere 28,750 pipes at Wanamaker, the scale of difference being the size of a large cathedral organ. However only around half of Atlantic City is working compared to around 95% of the Wanamaker organ though the current restoration is intended to restore it to complete working order. Having heard both in the flesh - and walked around the innards of both - I felt the Atlantic City organ was just too brash and overblown (though it has to be to be heard in such a huge enclosure) though its tonal design was impressively thorough. The Wanamaker organ is a thing of beauty despite the much smaller space it speaks into since most of the store was given over to office space and most of the galleries were glassed over. Interestingly the two organs were originally in competition with one another but the team that curates the Wanamaker is responsible for restoring Atlantic City Hall's organ.
  14. And now if you aren't fortunate enough to be having your jab in the splendour of Salisbury Cathedral you can buy the official vaccination music CD and still allow their sublime Willis to accompany your "Fauci ouchie" (as my American friends call it!) wherever you are. All profits go to NHS charities. More on the story here.
  15. Pretty sure the Thalben ball variations does. Dupre Cortege et litanie requires top G for the arpeggios near the end (i have no idea what you do on a 30 note setup). Jeremy Cull's fine transcription of Hamish MacCunn's Land of the mountain and the flood uses top F# and G but can be worked around.
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