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Mander Organs


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About adlg

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  1. Please gentlemen, I am not trying to be rude or insensitive; but should one consider any of these specification are to be taken seriously? Do I just not get the joke? I cannot imagine anyone over here proposing anything close to these (USA). Forget Bach, I can't imaging trying to play Mendelsohn or Brahms on such an instruments.
  2. adlg

    An Organ That Never Was

    If I remember correctly, this is the one that has the totally lackluster performance of the DuPre Cortege. It was also a sonic disappointment through a very good set up (Maggie IVs, prototype Sunfire subwoofers, Threshold amps, Krell CD player). The recording did not begin to give a true sense of this instrument. Restoration is now underway (Keats-Geisler, I think--odd choice to me). Unfortunately, the instrument had been subjected to malignant neglect even before the fire/water damage, etc. Last time I played (early 80s), it was a mess. All told, including the building's structural damage, 4-5M$ to complete. Hope they can come up with the money, this is one of the Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner blends that truly lives up to its reputation.
  3. (Please pardon the untimely reply.) The American liking for lots of celestes well in evidence here, I see. I don't mind that personally. >>I couldn't agree more. This instrument warrants two, no more. I find celestes are like descants, effective in inverse proportion to their use. I could have been worse though: Remember the Wanamaker has 90 (sic!) ranks of celestes in the string division alone. Can't remember off hand what the grand total is for that thing. Not sure I feel comfortable with virtually all of the Pedal being borrowed. (Or is it, Midmer-Losh-like, really the other way around?) I'd happily have sacrified some manual stops for more independence here. >>Again, I agree; but space more than money dictated how the specification would be achieved (and not the other way around, as it should be. Let me clarify that: Frist decide what the space needs and can acoustically support, then keep digging into your pockets until you come up with enough loot to do the job properly). But actually, they've done a rather decent job balancing things out. None of that unit organ all tops and bottoms nonsense. Nonetheless, the pedal division is the most serious compromise—given that you accept the overall specification as musically valid (I do not). At least 5-6 more ranks are needed. Even 2-3 fully augmented ranks would go a long way in correcting an obvious weakness. In addition, there is a definite need for a Quint 5-1/3' and possibly a independent 10-2/3'. One other complaint I have is the great. It really needs a Fourniture IV (2-2/3'); and a Cymbale III (1/3'); and probably, again, a 5-1/3', if it's going to live up the specification to which it aspires. I don't know your experience, but I think a manual full-gamut 32' is near the ultimate in ostentatious nonsense. I've only played three instruments that had manual 32' sets, and I could not think of a single valid musical use for any of them. Plus, you need a monstrous acoustic to support one. St. John the Devine, NYC (if it's ever finished), and the National Cathedral are the only two Episcopal churches that come to mind that have the volume to possibly support one; and, to the best of my recollection, neither has one. I'm sure St. John's doesn't (at least in its present iteration), I've played it twice; and I'm sure I wouldn't have forgotten that. Incidentally, I really do hope they can come up with the 4-5M$ needed for a full rebuild. It's one of the Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner blends that really lives up to its reputation I guess what really frosts me the most about this big collection of penny whistles we now have is that we had a chance to do-the-right-thing after that catasctrophic fire and we blew it. Since we are of English derivation, I, and others, felt we should give very serious consideration to an English builder. After my experince with the St. Iggy's in NYC, I was completely sold on Mander. That instrument is a marvel, and I generally don't like froggy organs (I've earned the right to use the perjorative, I was married to one for 29 years and still feel I deserve the Croix de Guerre). I generally don't pass around such high praise either; here it is warranted. But. Oh, is that instrument intimidating. It seems to have "No fools will be tolerated" painted all over it; but once you start to play it, just seems to come alive and want you to do well (I wasn't the only one that evening that remarked on the strange feeling it gave you). Best mechanical action I've ever played. I've played a couple of big van der Heuvels, which I thought were the best large trackers I'd every wandered across, but the Mander is definitely better. I really regret the Jesuits have it and we don't. I cannot imagine Schantz will last a century, it's just too pretentious to be taken seriously; and I think over time it will prove to be an embarassment. It still seems people cannot resist the temptation to make ~65 ranks look like 90-100. Tell me: why the Clarinet and Orchestral Oboe on the Choir instead of the Solo? I know Ernest Skinner did this sort of thing and there must be a reason. I've got an idea why, but I'd be interested to hear from an American >>First, the real question is why is there a clarinet? In my opinion a nearly worthless stop. Even Virgil Fox said—and I was there when he said it—he could count the number of good clarinets he'd encountered on one hand and have several fingers left over. He almost always added a nazard when he had one to add (often he did the same thing with the typical “organ” oboe). A clarinet and no cormorne/krummhorn? Surely one or the other should have come first, and there is not even a preparation for one. I guess the Choir Rohrschalmei is supposed to deputize. About orchestral anythings, the less said the better. One exception, I've always like Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner French horns. Go figure. But to answer your question directly, my best answer is space. The solo box is shoehorned in on top of the choir on the choir north wall. The building's architecture is weird, but that's another story. I don't think there is any sinister cabal here. Another thing: Although it isn't too apparent at first glance, note form the spec that these are essentially 8' divisions, very odd since there is a 32' on the great you'd expect the swell would have a big 16' open flue. Another dead give away that trade offs are being made to the space available. I'm not even sure the full 16' octave of the Violone is enclosed. I am curious, however, as to your thinking on the rather odd disposition. In my opinion, Skinner did a lot of strange things; and I never could puzzle out the logic behind what he did. Perhaps there was none. Have you devined something I have not? In closing, thank you for your comments.
  4. I can assure you, I am not S. Bournias, whoever he may be. Take it he must have rocked the boat a bit. adlg
  5. Although I have heard of no buyer for L and T, I cannot imaging the Wanamaker organ would be much of a selling point. More to the point, I've heard the building itself is far past its prime, to the point where restoration would never be cost effecient. I suppose eventually the organ will be broken up. (Can you imaging building a venue for today? But then, I've never been its biggest fan--even though I did play it once back in the 60s. I was underwhelmed. Perhaps its' because of its strong association with Virgil Fox--a man for whom I held personal animus. More likely, it's because the Harvard Flentrop was my ideal back then, and I still enjoy the instrument for what it is.) As things unfold, perhaps you could start a "Save the Wanamaker" campaigne? But seriously, if you hear any more keep us posted? At least I would find it interesting. As ever, David.
  6. Gentlepersons: I happened across this board quite by accident, and can think of no better place to pose my question than here. To wit, we have a new cathedral organ; and I would really like to know what CoE organists think of if. Would anything like this have ever come to pass in a provincial Anglican cathedral in GB today? Even in modern history? Now that it has been installed and properly regulated, I will have to say that parts of it are really quite good. Judiciously registered, the Great, Choir, and Pedal are perfectly up to handling Bach, et al.; and it can adequately handle the French stuff; most of the Romantic German excresence that passes for organ music, etc. (exception: Brahms); and the usual English bits. It is just that there is so much muchness there (forgive me, Gertrude Stein). I must admit here that I have little use personally for organs of more than 60 ranks or so, anything bigger is just playing the game of mine's-bigger-than-yours—especially in so small an acoustic space. I find parts of the specification appalling. I mean, glockenspiel? Harp? Chimes? Two voxes (an unkind rumor has it they wanted five—sharp, flat, vox-in-a-box, etc., or was that p-ppppp)? Really? In an Episcopal cathedral? Have both E. M. Skinner and Virgil Fox come back from the grave in full drag? I cannot decide whether the goal was ultimate-retro or decadent New Age. In addition, at least two more 32' sets, plus numerous additions to the principal choruses were lusted after, and about a half dozen other things—funds were not the issue here. Mind you, this is a modestly sized cathedral by English or East Coast, USA standards; and the builder must grudgingly be given his due for cramming so much into so little space. The builder, Schantz, has a excellent reputation for quality of workmanship, but I cannot image the long-term maintenance of this instrument will be easy. We of the very-high-church-but-not-quite-anglocatholic ilk, timorously suggested we could perhaps wait a little and consider an English builder (visions of St. Iggy's, NYC danced through our heads). Based solely on that experience with their instruments, I naturally thought Mander should be very high on the list. Alas, our humble prayers failed even to reach the ears of the cloven-hoofed, though none of use ever really thought there was a chance: The powers-that-be had already made their decision, and I will have to give them credit for one thing: They got the job done promptly, less than two years and there it was! Unheard of! How much did it take to grease the the production wheels I wonder? And still they ponder why so many of us refer to the place as Roosevelt St. Methodist. Ah well, what can you expect from someone who has never forgiven them for giving the BoCP the old heave ho—though I heartily endorse nearly ever thing else that has come to pass in the last 30 years; and if the Archbishop of Canterbury wants this Anglican to apologize offending the English sensibility for recognizing all as being Christ's children, he'll be told quite firmly to stick it in his ear. Enough. If the link below does not work, just Google “Shantz Organs, USA” and go to “What's New.” It's number two on the list. http://www.schantzorgan.com/w-new/Listing.cfm?Selection=81
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