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Andrew Moyes

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  1. Philip - the Great reeds will be on 6" pressure which by coincidence is about the limit for conventional lever magnets. Andrew Moyes Nicholson & Co
  2. Philip is correct, all the reeds must transfer together as they will be on a three-stop slider soundboard. This is the same as on the Great reeds at Llandaff and indeed on many of the old Harrison organs that have Great Reeds on Choir. I wouldn't say making a three-stop slider soundboard with main and slider actions is cheap organ building as it costs more than three direct action chests. This is the old debate of slider soundboards versus direct unit actions. Andrew Moyes Nicholson & Co
  3. Happy to answer that one. The Acoustic Bass (actually named Contra Bourdon on the stop knob) replaces the Quint 10.2/3ft which was derived from the Bourdon. The staff at the cathedral felt a softer quint would be more useful for psalm accompaniment etc. The new stop is derived from the 16ft Bourdon down to note 13 then is the Bourdon 16ft quinted with the softer Choir Echo Bourdon in the bottom octave. It was an electrical modification only, so the cost was minimal. The organ is now completed and will be used for the first time when the choir returns from holiday. For anyone interested, the inaugural recital of the completed instrument is by Robert Quinney on Friday 8th November in the evening. The programme will, I am told, include the Elgar Sonata in G. Andrew Moyes Nicholson & Co
  4. It depends entirely on who designs and makes them – you can’t generalise. Walker were certainly not alone in having problems in the pioneering days, just as the early neo-classical tracker organs here were not good. I would say those by mainstream firms who use them nowadays though will be totally dependable. Reservoirs with wind controls, schwimmers and compensators are all ‘closed loop’ control systems. They all therefore have a natural propensity to be unstable and resonate at a certain frequency. At one extreme, there are double rise reservoirs that use weights rather than springs, because the pressurising force must be constant. The large masses involved mean they have a low natural resonant frequency, often around 5-6 Hz which is well within the range of speed at which it is possible to play repeated notes. Such reservoirs can easily be ‘excited’ by playing at just the ‘right’ speed. The resonant frequency of small single rise sprung reservoirs is higher because the masses are lower. That of schwimmers and compensators is higher still, typically around 30 Hz, because the parts are small and light. When they go unstable, they vibrate. This is faster than you can play repeated notes which can be used to advantage. It means that an oil-filled damper can be fitted to calm the device at its resonant frequency but will have little effect at lower frequencies where you want the device to respond freely to your playing demands. Firms often hold strong opinions on modern winding, perhaps depending on whether their past experience has been good or bad. For what it’s worth, mine is that schwimmers are more predictable than reservoirs in the way they perform and are easier to stabilise when needed. Ours produced in the last decade or two have been 100% reliable. I am sure the same can be said for Messrs Klais, Rieger, Tickell etc who regularly use modern winding. Whether there is a droop in pressure mainly depends on the design of the springs used; simple coil springs are unsuitable. By using pantograph springs, we can deliberately set them to give a slight rise in pressure as demand increases to compensate for the pressure drop in soundboard bars. There is a musical argument for this too. Wind instruments are blown harder when louder.
  5. We routinely remake the 1960s Walker units, which by the way are known in the trade as 'compensators'. They are a free standing version of a schwimmer. The early Walker units do have their problems and there have been a number of important design improvements over the years in the valve, linkage, diaphragm, springs and damping. The latest units are very reliable and give a good steady wind supply. There is no need to go to the expense of replacing them by bellows. Andrew Moyes Nicholson & Co
  6. Those thumb pistons and stop keys date from the time when Arthur Henry Whinfield (1862-1917) owned and ran Nicholson (1903-1915). They were a Whinfield patent. Identical pistons and stop keys can be found on the Nicholson/Whinfield organ in All Saints, Wyche, Malvern. It is a most peculiar organ with a stop list of only Gt 2, Sw 4, Ch 1, Ped 2 yet there are 12 couplers and the tubular action is fiendishly complex. There was a strong family connection between the Whinfields and Elgar. Serenade for Strings was dedicated to Arthur's father, Edward Wrey Whinfield. Andrew Moyes Nicholson & Co.
  7. Since Paul Derrett (‘Cynic’) was allowed back on the Mander discussion group, he has resumed his attacks on Nicholson & Co. Although Nicholson may not have been mentioned by name, they are thinly veiled so the firm can easily be identified. For example, he brought our Malvern Priory rebuild into the thread on Shrewsbury Abbey. Everything he said about the Malvern Priory organ was factually incorrect. I quote: - In fact every chest and soundboard at Malvern is the original from 1927 and has been fully restored. There is not a single new chest in the organ. The same applies to the wind system which retains the original components; bellows have been releathered and even the concussions and tremulants are the originals. Nicholson is not at all averse to retaining good quality material. We have recently carried out historical restorations at St Mary’s Tottenham, Rye Parish Church and St Andrew’s Catford - the latter two being pneumatic restorations. The vestry underneath has not been enlarged. The Tuba is where it always has been; sharing a chest with the French Horn inside the Solo box. The Tuba has been enclosed in the Solo box since R&D rebuilt the organ in 1927. Nicholson resisted the temptation to relocate the Tuba on a new chest outside the box as Cynic advocates because this was a conservative rebuild. Cynic then started a new thread to continue his assertions. Cynic therefore unknowingly agrees with everything that Nicholson did at Malvern Priory. This was to electrify the extremely complex and unmaintainable primary action (retaining the original secondary pneumatics), move the deeply buried Swell organ to a position with the other manual divisions where it can be heard, and otherwise retain as much of the original material as possible. On the thread regarding modern bellows type, Cynic says I guess this is a further reference to Nicholson. If so, may I point out that Nicholson works in both styles according to our customers’ preferences and the majority of our work is actually with traditional wind systems. We certainly do not advocate modern wind systems in all organs. Apart from the historical restorations and Malvern Priory organs already mentioned, the two most recent organs to leave the factory - for St Michael’s, Cornhill and St Barnabas, Ealing (G&D/Hill organ ex-St Jude’s, Southsea) - have both retained traditional wind systems despite needing modification to use smaller bellows. In the case of Cornhill, the traditional wind system had to be compacted to accommodate a new blower inside the organ. The old blower on the roof had been the cause of endless rainwater leakage that rotted the chamber roof. In the case of Ealing, the Hill organ is being transplanted from a rectangular chamber to a shallow case across the west gallery and the very large bellows could not be accommodated. Colin Harvey has made reference to a paper I wrote in the IBO Organ Building magazine on calculating the size of reservoirs. I wish to point out that this is for traditional reservoirs, not wind regulators as seemed to be suggested in Colin’s post and Cynic’s following comment. It is true that in new, as opposed to historically informed, organs Guy Russell’s and my preference is for a modern wind system, where we are in the very good company of Messrs Klais, Rieger, Tickell and others who have done likewise. The latest example is at Llandaff Cathedral and I leave members to judge the result for themselves. Cynic is perfectly entitled to voice his opinions and preferences but spreading false information and mis-representing others does a disservice to members. It must surely be unacceptable on this or any forum. Andrew Moyes Managing Director Nicholson & Co. Malvern
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