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Contrabombarde

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Everything posted by Contrabombarde

  1. AN organ at a previous church I played at had a modest three manual Bishop from the 1870s. No manual doubles, but it did have a surprisingly effective alternative: a Choir to Great Suboctave coupler in addition to the more usual Choir to Great. It permitted a 16 foot foundation to tenor C on full Great whilst allowing you to play on the choir at normal pitch should you need to for softer verses.
  2. That's certainly an interesting case - hard to make out the pipes but they are there, covered in some sort of laminate material with the intention being that the audience should be able to touch and feel them - at least the facade diapasons. Tuning the fernwerk isn't a job for the feinthearted, it seems to be located inside the giant baffle suspended from the ceiling!
  3. Liverpool (Anglican) cathedral is another example, having a Central division mounted in a gallery below the windows of the easternmost nave bay. It is a modest 16-8-4-2-II/VI specification and I do wonder how effective it is given that the monumental main organ cases are just the other side of the central crossing, though mounted much higher up. Out of interest, what effect does having a nave division have on congregational time-keeping? Should a congregation that is is filling a cathedral all be singing simultaneously (in which case those at the back may well be confused by hearing the nave division a fraction of a second before the main organ, assuming the latter is in the transepts or choir? Or should the action of the nave division ideally be slightly delayed so that those at the back of the cathedral sing slightly behind those at the front? All down to the infuriatingly slow speed of sound!
  4. The organ of Manchester Cathedral was built by Harrison's at about the same time and fulfills some of your criteria, e.g. reverberant cathedral. Yet it was world's apart, seemingly unloved and had recently been removed to allow a more classically inspired Tickell to take its place. Based on experience of his other works I am in no doubt the new organ will be a phenomenal success. But I wonder what was so "wrong" with the Manchester Harrison that it hasn't survived the passage of time, and wonderr, had Downes designed it, if it would have still been present.
  5. In fairness, our church' s young folks had no difficulty reading the music to the Christmas carols, the problem was that I assumed they could just turn up and be familiar with them and hadn't appreciated that as some of them hadn't heard how the carols went before, they weren't confident enough to pick them up straight away. As an aside, I had to take a load of rubbish to the municipal tip yesterday (Lilford Lane in Cotteridge). Quite apart from a rather impressive festive display of anything remotely Christmassy, including lights, Santas (OK, not in the Bible), snowmen (was the midwinter in Bethlehem that bleak?) and the staff wearing red robes and long beards, someone had rigged up some speakers and non-stop traditional arrnagements of Christmas carols were blaring over the waste tip. It was a most impressive sight for sore eyes and ears!
  6. ...any shop playing a traditional Christmas carol. For my sins I've spent several hours over recent days in central Birmingham doing my Christmas shopping and we thought it would be fun to play "I spy (/hear)" and win a point for every Christmas carol we heard being played, whether live or recorded as we mooched around the stores. I didn't consider songs about giving my heart last Christmas or Santa Claus coming to town to be Christmas carols though I only heard each of these once, and am astonished to report that our running carol total to date is therefore - zero. It struck me a few years ago how musically illiterate our children are growing up to be, when I set up a miniature orchestra for our church's talented young string, brass and woodwind players to accompany the Nine Lessons and Carols service. They complained could I give them something easier to play as they didn't know "songs" like O little town of Bethlehem. On reflection, I shouldn't be surprised - if our carol heritage is no longer heard anywhere at Christmas, except perhaps in church on Christmas morning, why should we expect future generations to recognise them? And is it only Birmingham where Christmas is a totally carol free zone, or is this complete absence of festive music noted elsewhere too?
  7. I read somewhere that there is a room full of old cathode-ray TVs in the innards of Sydney Opera House serving as spares for if/when the main screen break down for precisely this reason - whereas with analogue TV systems the picture is instantly displayed on the screen, there is often a processing delay with digital CCTV systems. It can't be beyond the wit of man to overcome - I'd have thought movie or broadcasting studios for instant would want as instant feedback as possible, but there again, I suspect that broadcast-quality cameras and screens bight be beyond the resources of the average cathedral music department. I hope I'm proved wrong! However, what you describe surely doesn't necessitate a completely new system - can't you knock something up that allows remote control of the existing camera, rather than ditch it and buy a slower digital model that has built in movement?
  8. The late and very wonderful Canon Ronald Frost, organist emeritus of Srt Ann's Church Manchester was made an Honorary Lay Canon and subsequently Canon Emeritus of Manchester Cathedral in recognition of his service to churchy music, though he was not a cathedral organist.
  9. I once played the combined strings and organ parts on a Johannus electronic organ in Nigeria for a school production of Handel's Messiah. They did it every year, but the school orchestra didn't really have any string players hence the reliance on the organist to basically play whichever lines they didn't have orchestral instruments for!
  10. I have an extensive digital music collection which I play from so can offer some thoughts. I have a 10 inch tablet which I've played from in concerts and organ crawls. Advantages include ability to carry all your music around with you in one device pdf music books can be edited to include just the pieces you play, and they can be joined into a single document. So I would take just the pages I am playing, merge all the pieces together and play the entire recital from a single pdf file, no searching for the start page or changing music books between pieces variety of mechanisms by which page turns can be executed - swiping the screen, mouse click by attendant, thumb or toe piston if linked by some mechanism ability to annotate pdf music files and thus tailor to the performance, e.g. single set of piston marks rather than lots of pencil marks and rubbings outDownsides Downsides main downside is that you have to turn pages twice as often as you would if you use sheet music depending on speed of tablet, page may not "turn" instantaneously may experience issues when turning from portrait to landscape orientated music when using mouse as you have to click in a particular part of the screen to turn occasionally page doesn't turn or you get two turns at once most tablets are 10 inches or less, which is a bit small to read, you really need to be 13 inches screen size to match an A4 paper page valuable and not very thief proof software can crash and hard drive can corrupt make sure battery is fully charged before you start your recital (most tablets will last several hours)! I also take my tablet to recitals to follow music - often I've already got the repertoire on file but if I need to look something up that is not in copyright I can look online during the concert at the usual sites, especially imslp. My own feeling is that the advantages of playing from a digital scan of the music outweigh the disadvantages, but at home I practice on a Hauptwerk instrument that I built which incorporates a 26 inch music desk monitor, mounted behind a Perspex screen with a conventional book holder below. This enables me to play from a digital music file or from paper music if I want to use a music book without scratching the monitor screen. 26 inches and above are big enough monitors to display two pages at a time, whether portrait or landscape orientation, and I have the choice of thumb pistons or toe pistons for forward and reverse. This works so well that when I'm out and about I can find it hard not to kick where I am expecting the page forward toe piston to be and have to remember to swipe my tablet! I would absolutely wholeheartedly endorse having a large monitor in the place of the music desk and a page turn facility - now that computers have been miniturised to fit onto widgets the size of memory sticks, so long as you don't have a mechanical action in the way, you could very easily set up a large monitor in the position of the music desk with a miniture PC attached for £300 or less. Having a practice organ connected to the internet is a hugely valuable teaching aide - I can look up and find new repertoire, and sit at the organ bench and watch and listen to Youtube recordings of pieces as I learn them to pick up different styles of interpretation, check for wrong notes and even observe fingering and toeing. This is as true of a home pipe organ as a digital organ. One further advantage of this approach from the perspective of learning new music is that you can add a blank page to the start of a piece of music. and thus shift all even pages to odd and vice versa. That way, any awkward page turns can be shifted by a page so that they go from the left hand to the right hand page, and you can practice the entire passage either side of the turn without having to be distracted by turning a page. I have posted a number of recordings on Youtube which show my pageturning technique.
  11. The next in the monthly organ recital series at St James Pensnett, Dudley will be this coming Sunday 18th September at 3pm during which Dr David Pitches will be commemorating the centenary of the death of Max Reger, Edward Thorne and Hamish MacCunn. Free admission with retiring collection. JS Bach (1685-1750), arranged Max Reger: Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903 Max Reger (1873 - 1916: Toccata in D minor, opus 59 Max Reger: Chorale Prelude “Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir” opus 67 no 3 Max Reger: Variations and Fugue on “Heil unserm König, Heil!” or “Heil dir im Siegerkranz” Edward H Thorne (1834-1916) Allegro Maestoso from Twelve Pieces for Organ Hamish MacCunn (1868-1916) (trans Jeremy Cull) Land of the Mountain and the Flood
  12. I thought I'd kickstart this having just come across what must be the most bizarre two manual specification I've ever seen, designed by no less than the great W Gauntlett and built in 1844-6 by Hill. A two manual (both 54 note C-f) organ with 25 stops on the Great including a 32 foot flue! No longer in existence, but I can find no record of its destruction. It was at St Olave's Southwark which became redundant in the early 20th century. Pedal Contra Bourdon 32 Principal Contra Bass 16 Bass Trombone 16 Great Sub Bourdon 32 Tc Tenoroon 16 Tc Bourdon 16 Unison Open 8 Unison Treble Closed 8 Unison Bass Closed 8 Viol di Gamba 8 Tc Salicional 8 Tc Clarabella 8 Quint 6 Octave 4 Wald Flute 4 Tc Decima 3 1/3 Duo Decima 3 Super Octave 2 Octave Decima 2 Tc Sesquialtera III Mixture II Furniture III Doublette II Glockenspiel II Posaune 8 Clarion 4 Octave Clarion 2 Cromhorne 8 Tc Corno Flute 8 Tc Swell Tenoroon 16 Unison Open 8 Unison Closed 8 Octave 8 ? Suabe Flute 4 Super Octave 2 Flageolet 2 Octave Fifteenth 1 Cornopean 8 Hautbois 8
  13. Resurrecting this thread as I haven't seen any other mention thus far of the new six manual console proposed at St Peter's Malmo by Klais. However, it's not a single organ - it's to control three organs in various parts of the church and is the brainwave of Carl Adam Landström: http://www.orgelbau-klais.com/m.php?sid=286
  14. Thanks Colin, interesting points. The building is comparable in volume to the largest cathedrals in the world, and I'm not aware of any cathedral organ anywhere in the world that's even half the size and on anywhere nearly as much wind pressure as Atlantic City. With a seating capacity of 20,000 you need a pretty powerful set of lungs to fill the hall but do you really need such high wind pressures? The history of the organ is well documented, and though designed in the 1920s, its designer Emerson Richards was well aware of the tonal designs of baroque organs and sought to introduce these into Atlantic City. It would be a stretch to say that the Boardwalk organ is an early example of the Organ Reform movement but Emerson was nothing if not far sighted. His preferred builders either declined to tender at all or tendered such a high cost (fearing that to be associated with such a behemoth would be detrimental to their reputation) that the bid fell to a lesser regarded firm. He even tried without success to invite Willis III to bid, but apparently had regular correspondence with Willis during its construction, and at least one of Willis' workers helped on the Boardwalk organ (as indeed did builders from many firms - the contract was placed just before the Wall Street Crash and many organ builders were only too glad to have some work subcontracted to them), You mentioned electronic amplification. As an aside, the organ is distributed around the building with two main cases at the front either side of the stage, but several more cases speaking through grilles in the side walls and ceiling. As each is under expression, with the appropriate registration and careful use of expresion pedals it is possible to "move" sound around the building just as though you were panning sound through stereo speakers from side to side with quite amazing effects. On the temperature issue, how much wind goes up the pipe and how much exits the mouth? If the air being blown into flue pipes is much hotter than the surrounding atmosphere but it exits the mouth, wouldn't the temperature of the air in the resonating body of the pipe be the determinant of pitch, and wouldn't that be much closer to room temperature? If wind pressure is so high that the wind is hot to touch, either it can't affect tuning as much or it would need some sort of refrigeration to cool it down before arriving in the windchests. Remember that several ranks (not just the famous tuba) are on 100 inches!
  15. Thanks for the update. A year ago I had the privilege of hearing, and touring the innards of both this leviathon and its not-quite sister instrument at Macy's in Philadelphia, the Wanamaker organ. I was surprised by just how different both organs were tonally given that they each had prety much the kitchen sink thrown at them during development. Whilst the Wanamaker is famed for its delicious, lush strings in abundance, the Boardwalk organ has well developed choruses galore and if anything is the more "classical" or at least the more eclectic of the two. Admittedly the Boardwalk organ was about as out of tune as is possible for an organ to be, and was ciphering during the lunchtime concert, but it was clear that beneath the hugeness lay a quite special design. It was interesting to see so many organ enthusiasts attend what is a weekly tour of the organ chambers and recital. Quite why was it felt necessary to have so many stops and such colossal wind pressures - the building is colossal but has less than have the cubic metres of Liverpool Cathedral for instance. One thing that struck me as I'd never felt it before, was that the wind was under such huge pressure (the Great diapason choruses are on 30 inches wind!) that when I placed my hand on a trunk it was very warm to touch. Wouldn't that have a detrimental effect on tuning?
  16. A couple of local organist associations have arranged visits to my house organ, and other visitors are always welcome by arrangement. Whilst the mechanism of sound generation of my organ is well out of scope for this forum(*), the sheet music and practice techniques I use certainly are not. When I practice at home I regularly download new scores to learn from imslp and annotate them (yes, you can annotate pdf files). For organ concerts or organ crawls I just stick my tablet into the computer that controls my practice organ's music desk and upload the annotated scores to the tablet. And having a screen and a net-enabled home practice organ means I can look for and listen to recordings on Youtube and elsewhere of pieces that I'm learning to get different ideas for interpretation. I even wondered about having tablets for the singers at my church too - email music to the choir ahead of the practice, no books or sheets to fall over in the service - but there is enough in copyright church music to make that a bit more restrictive. I can see no obvious reason why pipe organs, especially a home practice organ, couldn't be built with an LCD screen in place of the music desk large enough to display two open pdf pages and a small computer; perhaps some of our organ building members might comment. Obviously you'd still need a ledge to mount paper books when you weren't using the screen, and a sheet of protective perspex or glass in front of the screen. That would overcome what for me are the biggest shortcomings of displaying music on a tablet - only one page at a time, small screen (how many tablets are larger than 10 inches?) and requires a hand touch gesture to turn every single page. (*) Although my practice organ uses Hauptwerk, to hide the speakers it does have a facade rank of Nicholson and Lord 4 foot diapasons that came from from a redundant pipe organ. I don't suppose however that qualifies it for being considered a hybrid!
  17. Here is a photograph of my home practice organ: Whilst I appreciate that posting photos of non-pipe organs is frowned upon here, I hope I may be permitted to demonstrate this console because there is no reason why this arrangement couldn't be adopted by organbuilders in a pipe organ. It simply requires a 26 inch or bigger monitor and preferably a non reflective transparent protective sheet of something in front to prevent scratching the monitor screen on the rare occasion that you might put a paper copy up. A 26 inch monitor is big enough to display either landscape or portrait orientation music with two leaves open such that each page is about the size of an A4 sheet. In my case I have a forward and reverse piston above the Solo manual and a forward and reverse toe piston to turn pages. Initial selection of the music is with a mouse and Windows File Explorer, and the music opens in Foxit Reader (mainly because you can choose to open a pdf file to open full screen by default, whereas with Acrobat Reader you have to do a few mouse clicks to get to full screen). I have a huge library (over 2GB) of scanned organ music pdfs from imslp, the University of Rochester music library and other out-of-copyright sources that are freely downloadable, along with a small number of my more recent scores that I scanned myself but which are in copyright so cannot be shared. A huge attration of having a home practice organ "net enabled" is that I can be watching Youtube clips or listening to Organlive and hear something that's lovely but unfamiliar; the chances are I can find a copy of the score and I'll download it and within minutes I can be learning exciting new repertoire. That was never possible for me until I began realising the possibilities of having a digital music display on my home practice organ. Comments have already been made about the pros and cons of tablets, which have a much smaller screen and require turns after every page rather than every two pages, so I will add one more invaluable practice technique that I have developed thanks to this page display technique. Often tricky bits in the music seem to occur around page turns, and practising them can be exacerbated by having to make the turn. It's very simple to add a blank first page to the score so that every page turn moves on by one page, and thus what previously was the move from left to right now becomes the turn, and what was the turn is now followed over to the right hand page of a pair. Thus you can practice with the whole section displayed and no turn to worry about until you are satisfied that you've mastered the notes. As for cost, well, you can buy a complete Windows PC with 32GB solid state hard drive on a device the size of a memory stick that you plug into a monitor and it would be way more powerful than needed if its sole purpose was to download pdf files and display them. That plus a decent 26 inch plus monitor shouldn't cost more than £200-£300, plus mouse and some means of mounting it to the music stand since it would be rather heavy to just expect it to stay there.
  18. I remember being asked once after my school commisioned a new organ, how much better the new organ was since it was so much bigger than the one it replaced. The small 2 manual and pedal organ on wheels replaced a large 3 manual whose fixed but detached console was the only visible part of the instrument, the rest being hidden behind grills behind the hall stage.
  19. I recently discovered that my hifi amp is able to play internet radio. Unfortunately none of the organ radio stations that it receives (Organlive, Orgelradio and Organ Experience) will play for more than a few minutes before they stop and restart, or even get stuck in a "loop" playing the same few bars over again. Can anyone suggest why this happens with these stations, when other classical music stations that my amp is able to receive seem to play flawlessly? It does make listening to music rather unenjoyable. For what it matters the amp is plugged into my home network using an ethernet cable rather than wireless connection.
  20. Reprieve for the organ? But it was last rebuilt 30 years ago! I thought an Oxbridge chapel organ was considered geriatric if its age in years exceeded its pedal compass in notes. Sadly I've never had the chance to savour the current Mander which I can only imagine from playing others like it is a very fine instrument indeed. But it's only two manuals, which I suppose might to some people seem a bit of a let down considering it replaces a three manual organ which itself replaced a four manual instrument. I hope the college authorities recognise a fine organ when they see one.
  21. Still seems to be going strong....just the web address has evidently changed. You can listen via a browser at http://radioplayer.npo.nl/radio4/?channel=39 or http://icecast.omroep.nl/radio4-orgelradio-bb-mp3 I play the icecast stream through VLC and the Windows bar at the top updates with each piece showing the performer, organ, organbuilder and title of piece (annoyingly it omits the composer making it hard to track down things that I hear and want to learn! Maybe someone knows a weblink that shows the complete playlists.) On the subject of Organlive, they now have three or four different spinoffs - the main one, a baroque station, a themed station and in December, 24-7 Christmas organ music. The trouble is, there is so much lovely organ music being streamed these days that I'm finding I never listen to other instruments any more!
  22. I carry a tablet with all my music round with me and have given a few recitals now. Page turns are annoying as they only show one page at a time, though I now use a mouse (blu-tacked to the side of the music stand) with the cursor fixed on a part of the screen that clicking advances the page, and that makes it easy enough for a page turner. The first time I used a pageturner he clicked on the wrong part of the screen at one point and closed the music file (thank goodness for memory!) My house organ (running Hauptwerk) has a 26 inch music desk monitor which can display two pages of A4 at life size, and I control it with forward and backpage pistons. I have downloaded probably several hundred out-of-copyright composers' scores from IMSLP and have vastly expanded my repertoire in the process.
  23. Derby Cathedral springs to mind, as does Carlisle (OK I know it's technically in the crossing under the central tower, but the nave is shorter than most apses and is more of an antechapel from what I remember when I played there some years back). I can't think of any others in the UK other than those listed above though.
  24. It's listed on NPOR with photos at http://npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N05657 as being a late Sweetland two manual organ, transplanted to this church around half a century ago. I can't decide which is more ugly, the detached electric action console or the facade of bright green (yes, bright green!) painted diapason pipes. I hope it sounds better than it looks!
  25. And for the record...... The Walker extension organ had 14 bids and sold for just over £1500. The Speechly failed to attract a single bid.
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