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Denis O'Connor

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About Denis O'Connor

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    The organs and organists of the Roman Catholic church in England.

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  1. Denis O'Connor

    electric swell engines

    I am looking into getting an electric swell engine as the wind pressure available is not sufficient to work the existing machine. Any words of advice would be appreciated. The instrument in question has a detached console at the east end--the organ itself is in a west gallery..I was informed that the price of a well known American system was in the region of £2,000 before installation costs. Are there British or Continental alternatives at a competitive price?
  2. Denis O'Connor

    Ecce Sacerdos Magnus

    In my distant youth,the popular setting in Roman Catholic churches was that composed by the Abbe Stadler. Quite straightforward and just the right length to accompany the entrance procession of the bishop. The question of length is of liturgical importance since music in church should be tailored so as not to impede the flow of the service. One of the bishops of those far-off days turned round from the altar and gestured for the choir to shut up ;he may have muttered something to that effect but I can't be sure.
  3. Denis O'Connor


    Some years ago I objected to a comical mis-translation by the( then) presenter of The Early Music show.The objection was in the form of a littlle limerick. Shortly afterwards the presenter moved to Classic FM. On Sunday I heard an announcer state that the Albert Hall organ had 4,996 stops. It could well be that my poor hearing was at fault. Did any other member hear the recital broadcast on Sunday last? If the 'howler' was as stated,could any member of the Forum submit a suitable limerick for general consumption? I don't wish harm to the announcer but I was cross because he referred to the organ as a Father Willis. It was once.
  4. Denis O'Connor

    Couperin organ Masses

    What are most probable plainchant bases for these compositions?
  5. Denis O'Connor

    William Thomas Best, J.S.Bach organworks

    There is a sale of Organ Music by the Royal Canadian College of Organists which includes Best/Hull complete Bach organ works. See their website.Good luck!
  6. Denis O'Connor

    Big organs in small cases?

    An organ of my acquaintance,detached console,pipework in distant west gallery, has an inoperative swell engine. As this leaves the shutters open all the time, it is not too bothersome. It does make for a somewhat restricted variety of sound level. The machine in question is electro-pneumatic and probably would not have many stages. In a fit of charitable thinking I was considering making a donation towards improving the situation. Any one got any ideas of a likely cost ? I imagine the console end of things is OK and the fault is possibly in failed magnets or pneumatuc motors.Is there someone dealing in parts or specialising in repairing swell engines? The tuner was not able to help in this instance.Thank you in advance to anybody who could give me some ideas.
  7. Denis O'Connor

    Tuning mixtures

    Are there many tuners who do not silence the rank(s) currently not being tuned with some sort of mop? It would seem an impossible job otherwise, yet I have heard ot it being done.
  8. Denis O'Connor

    Bppks for dispoasal

    Having disposed of the bulk of my book collection, I am faced with the problem of what to do with the not insubstantial remnant.I have about 100 books (mostly well-known titles) and a collection of a number of periodicals. If anyone is interested in filling a gap in their collection,I have a long run (incomplete)of RCO journals dating from 1906 1975,Organ Historical Society convention hand books from 1997-2014(2013 missing), Organ Club journals about 15 in number,Organ Club Handbooks-Silver,Golden and Diamond special numbers,miscellaneousBIOS publications and a long run of the French journal L'Orgue.(about 80) Should anybody be interested,please contact me. NB I nearly forgot the largest shelf filler:I have bound copies of Organists' Review bound in red library style binding from 1974-1995 and from 1996 -2012 in embossed binders. I will make a very modest charge for any item( which will be even more modest the more you want). Collection from Gloucester is welcomed.
  9. Denis O'Connor

    Background noise at recitals

    Recent mid-day organ recitals at Gloucester cathedral have been spoiled for many people by extraneous noises: noisy visitors to the cathedral(sometimes accompanied by a guide giving an audible commentary to his party as they progress around the building). Most recently, I attended a recital which was ruined by the arrival of a rigging crew who were setting up lighting for some filming that was to take place later in the day.All credit to the recitalists who carried on regardless. One queries why the cathedral administrators allow such a state of affairs.I imagine that the Dean has received letters of complaint but nothing has been done. Do other churches suffer this phenomenon? Some board members may have firsthand knowledge of the Gloucester experience. It woud be interesting to hear members' opinions. I do feel great sympathy for the musicians on the cathedral staff. On the one hand they seek to make high class organ music available at these free recitals,whilst having to apologise to recitalists for this state of affairs.
  10. I am always pleased to see organs which are not appreciated in their native setting finding a new home-albeit abroad or in the British Isles. It puzzles me why some diocesan organ advisers seem reluctant to give such instruments a new life and seek to retain them in a building where they are not appreciated (the organs that is),sometimes to rot next to an electronic substitute.
  11. Denis O'Connor


    Can anyone give me a guide to the composition of the 3-manual organ installed in Westminster Cathedral between 1903 and 1907? It was an instrument lent to the cathedral and then returned to the builders Norman&Beard. Was it broken up (recycled) for use in other instruments or did it have a new life in another setting?
  12. Denis O'Connor

    Hand-operated Devices For Moving Swell Shades

    As the swell control topic seems to have been comprehensively covered,may I ask the members for any views on the use of composite substitutes for timber in the construction of windchests? I should imagine that a generation has passed since their use by some builders in this country. Is there any evidence to support their use or has time demonstrated that they are manifestly unreliable? Thank you.
  13. Denis O'Connor

    HW III

    I believe Bruce Buchanan served an apprenticeship to Willis in the 1950's.Perhaps he could add to a very interesting discussion.
  14. Denis O'Connor

    BBC Proms 2015

    Whilst listening to the recent Proms broadcast of the Poulenc Organ Concerto I heard an interesting remark. The announcer stated that the RAH organ boasted 1000 pipes. Has it been rebuilt again on the quiet with a very liberal amount of extension or did I not hear clearly want the man said? Perhaps one should not mention such trifling slips lest the apparent anti-organ departmentof the BBC gets even more vindictive!
  15. Denis O'Connor

    UK 5-manuals?

    Senator Richards wrote a series of articles on mixtures and their history and development for the American Organist journal in1948. If anyone wants to have them they can. In the event of several applicants,the person placing the largest order from my collection of organ books( recently advertised in these august columns) will receive them.