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Mander Organs


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Posts posted by innate

  1. Following the mention on the Organ Design thread of the organ in the Disney Hall, Los Angeles, I found this remarkable video from 2012 of a 16-year-old organist. I hoper’s fulfilling this early promise. The organ sounds great too.


  2. Wahl organbuilders, a small firm in the USA, make home/practice organs.



    It is possible to purchase slim books of detailed photographs (alas, no technical drawings) which give a lot of insight into the design of these small, compact instruments. I note that the latest iteration of their two-stop instrument has both II-I and I-II couplers (a feature that Bernard Aubertin also provides (albeit in larger instruments)).

    I’m dreaming … 

  3. 47 minutes ago, Niccolo Morandi said:

    My problem is that although I have drawn quite a few pipe organs in the past I have never drawn an organ that is to scale. Or a plan detailing where the pipes and components would be placed inside an organ case.

    There are many detailed technical drawings available (sometimes at a price) of old string instruments; lutes, viols, Italian violins. Also, similarly, of harpsichords. I’d love to see something similar for old organs. I understand that detailed technical drawings of instruments by our hosts or other modern builders constitute commercially sensitive intellectual property so wouldn’t expect to be able to see those, but it would be great to see how the old master builders managed to fit their pipes and action into sometimes quite small spaces,

  4. 2 hours ago, S_L said:

    Some might criticise the tempi of the Prelude - personally I thought it to be superbly played.

    I’m loving everything about it; sound, articulation, tempo. Reminds me a little of Simon Preston.

  5. On 24/04/2020 at 09:40, Niccolo Morandi said:

    There is one organ I stumbled across that I kind the design of which is a small 8 rank organ that I'm curious as to what some of you think of compared to the Skrabl organ. https://pipeorgandatabase.org/organ/10179

    I suspect this would probably be due to the fact that in a more romantic leaning organ you would need 8' principle and string stops which wouldn't be as easy to fit into a tight space compared to something like a stopped 8' flute.

    That has always seemed a lovely instrument to me. If you look carefully, there’s quite a lot of borrowing at the bottom end and it still has quite a large footprint. I bet it sounds gorgeous though; as gorgeous as it looks.

  6. Not exactly on topic but I recently tuned our harpsichord with the aid of a Digital tuning app on my iPhone. The pitch of a harpsichord string seems to fluctuate as it is plucked and the sound fades. The relevance, I suppose, to the OP is that when we listen to harpsichord music we (or I) are not aware of this effect.

  7. A house pipe organ is my dream. As the years pass the dream becomes less likely to be realised. I played the Peter Collins organ at Addington Palace quite a lot in the mid-late 1970s and many years later spent a day with Theo Saunders and his Collins house organ. I’d definitely prefer a small, mechanical action 2 man and pedal pipe organ at home to the most extravagant simulation either at home or in a church.

    At this time of lock-down who here would not relish the chance to play for a couple of hours a day on an instrument by our hosts or any number of similarly classy pipe organ builders from the UK, continental Europe or North America?

  8. Useful tip about the Fitzjohn editions, Tony. Thanks.

    Tallis to Wesley sounds like the Oratorios that my Dad used to refer to as Railway Announcements. Olivet to Calvary, calling at Gethsemene, Herod’s Palace … and all stations to … you get the idea.

  9. I don’t find the “facsimiles” of the Stanley voluntaries tedious; I like imagining I’m back in the 18th century! I wish they hadn’t reengraved the C-clef parts though. Buxtehude—I’m really glad I don’t have to learn German organ tablature in order to play his music 🙂

    In terms of favourites: whichever I’m playing at the time. I like the Stanley one in F with the horn parts a lot.

  10. Christ Church, Oxford differs from the other Oxbridge choral foundations by being a full-blown cathedral as well as a college chapel but they have had Assistant Organists working side by side with organ scholars certainly since the mid 1970s with Nick Cleobury being Assistant Organist at Christ Church whilst still, I think, being organ scholar at Worcester College and Cathy Ennis after (or whilst) being organ scholar at St Hugh’s.


  11. 9 minutes ago, David Surtees said:

    But that only applies to the staff, whether performing or front of house. There are (to my knowledge) no similar protections for the paying public. 

    Sure, but the staff includes the Director of the show and other so-called “creatives” who will try to sit in every area of the auditorium during preview performances so will need to be protected.

  12. 4 hours ago, Colin Pykett said:

    However it does raise the issue of whether sound levels at public events are as well controlled as they are in the workplace.  Even if the legislation is in place, and I'm not sure that it is, how well is it adhered to?  It is just not acceptable that in a nominally 'advanced' society and in this day and age that we should even have to question whether event promoters are allowed to play fast and loose with our hearing, and particularly that of our children.  No wonder so many of us on this forum need hearing aids.

    Theatres and concert halls are workplaces so are subject to workplace legislation.

  13. I only played for one Christmas service this year, a Lessons and Carols service at a church where I’ve played just a handful of times over the last 10 years.

    Bach Pastorella BWV 590 before the service and Bach Pièce d’Orgue BWV 572 afterwards.

    I won’t identify the church. I’m told that half the organ was destroyed by wartime bombing. What is left is: Great: 16 8 8 8 4 4 2 III Clarinet, Choir: 8 8 4 4 2 II Tromba, Pedal 16, 16, 8. There is no swell box, the Great couples to the Choir, in addition to Great to Pedal and Choir to Pedal there’s a Choir 8va to Pedal.

    A above Middle C and E a tenth above Middle C don’t sound on the Choir but do work on the Gt when coupled through. D two octaves above Middle C doesn’t work on the Great.

  14. 1 hour ago, Colin Pykett said:

     What I was saying was simply that ET emerged quite early as a well known and fully understood tuning system with definite practical advantages, which either predated the unequal systems or continued to stand alongside them (depending on which temperament you are considering), rather than standing vaguely in the shadows until the 19th century which seems to be the position of many who write on this matter.

    That is certainly a point worth making; thank you, Colin. But do we know if any non-fretted instruments used ET before the mid-C19? Did ET have a name in the C16, C17 and C18? If Bach was aware of it (he wrote for the lute and the viol) do we gather from his title “Das wohltemperierte Klavier” that he had rejected ET for Klavier music?

  15. Thank you for the responses. pwhodges:  I feel for your son’s early experience at Winchester, but how fortunate to have learnt on the Rieger. I was there when it was being installed and voiced.

    Tony; the nearest there is to a regular choir has no official place to sing but in the Gallery near the West End is very good from an acoustic point of view. So I imagine that would continue.

    The biggest problem I foresee with an integrated console would be communication with clergy immediately before or during services. Maybe there’s a technological solution to this already in use in some churches.

    What about using the organ in concerts? The delay will be apparent to the conductor, orchestra and choir at the east end wherever the organist is, but if the console is near the performers at least s/he can make the adjustment. At a West End console the delay would be effectively doubled unless some kind of headphone system is provided. What happens at St John’s, Smith Square (a similar building in scale)?

    My wife played in the orchestra for a recording of the Poulenc Concerto (I think) in Tonbridge School shortly after the Marcussen had been installed with Dame Gillian Weir—there were significant problems synchronising the organ and orchestra.




  16. This is a rather wide-ranging question which might have benefitted from splitting into a few separate topics but let’s see how it goes.

    Given the choice, in a working largish parish church with an active liturgical and concert life and the pipes of a new organ contained in a historic case high up at the West end, between electric action and a detached console at the altar (concert platform) end at ground level and an attached console with mechanical action in or next to the case, what would your preference be and why?

    If your answer is “both” how likely is it that one console will, in practice, be used almost exclusively and the other lie gathering dust.

    Are there any effective reversed consoles with mechanical action on organs with a chair division?

    Are there limits of size (number of stops, manuals) that make a terraced console too large to see over? I seem to remember the organ in the West gallery at St Aloysius, Oxford being rather good from a visibility point of view.

    Does having a “side” console make for serious problems with mechanical action? 

    In the old days organs were nearly always in the West Gallery (or on the crossing in a Cathedral) and the organist often obscured by the chair case. Liturgy was, I suppose, much more predictable then. In churches where organists are expected to respond to a glance or a subtle hand signal from the clergy or the Master of Ceremonies do modern closed-circuit video systems work as well as being physically close to the action?

    My preference is for mechanical action.

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