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Christopher Brown

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  1. I'm surprised there isn't something in the faculty about protecting the organ and indeed other furnishings. Maybe complain to the Archdeacon - they are supposed to take some responsibility for this kind of thing.
  2. What's it for? If it's really moveable I can't imagine the sound system will cut much ice. Or is a 4 manual digital Liverpool's idea of a continuo organ?
  3. I think you need to name names and location if you want any worthwhile help. If you are just relaying facts nobody can really complain. It sounds like an unsatisfactory situation, but whether organ builder, heating or customer request is to blame we can't really judge without more info.
  4. The truth is the church doesn't have a leg to stand on, after the unseemly rush to declare itself unessential when this all kicked off. Through all of this the focus has been petty managerialism and pointless virtue signalling, never a thought to Christian witness. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised when the captain of the ship is a Woke Oil Barron who couldn't lead water out of a colander. It's depressing enough for an agnostic like me to see the church ritually disembowel itself, pity the true believers - getting choirs going again is going to be the least of our problems.
  5. Perhaps it's a little cheeky to use this forum to critique our host at a delicate time. We are not owed any explanation, though of course we will be interested to see what direction is taken. It's pretty common in the commercial world to take over a well known name as part of an attempt to enter a new or expanded market. There's no reason organ building should be exempt from this. From what has been said, it is not only the name that has been acquired but the IP rights as well. Presumably that includes drawings and design specs from previous work. If certain key employees are also in common, it's not impossible that the new owners could to an extent pick up where the old left off. Perhaps that's the plan. We will have to wait and see!
  6. I think you're broadly correct. It's a question of degree - York will never be optimal from every listening position but it can be satisfactory given careful design and appropriate handling by the organist. The additional problems at Southwell mean a single organ is pretty much doomed to fail, hence the constant changes over the years and eventual bowing to the inevitable!
  7. Part of the problem at Southwell compared with some others mentioned is the acoustic asymmetry of the building. Apart from the crossing you have a long dry nave on one side and a more intimate and reverberant chancel on the other. If you did manage to voice an organ on the screen to have impact in the nave it would then be intolerably harsh in the choir. Lincoln, York etc still have the issue of the organ being off centre, but because the buildings themselves are relatively symmetrical the organist and organ builder between them can overcome the difficulties well enough for a single organ to be viable
  8. Interesting to hear the 'safeguarding' bomb dropped in. I doubt that was accidental, though one could put very different interpretations upon it. Other than that it sounds a pretty classic case of people simply not wanting to go to church (as presently constituted). Probably for quite a while the music has been bringing in people who wouldn't otherwise be there, but now even that drug is not working. So they want to reformulate the same drug but in a stronger dosage, in the hope that it gets the gravy train moving again and puts off for a while having to address the more fundamental issues which have nothing to do with music. Cynical? Me...?
  9. I agree. It is especially enlightening when the pistons are not adjustable, in which case one can often identify the date of the last rebuild (or the age of the incumbent organist), based only on the piston settings. The settings at Halifax, for example, still (for now) betray the neuroticisms of the 60s and 70s. 'Full' on the Great and Swell pistons gives all the swell plus octave, but not the Great No.1 Open (never mind the trombas!). This registration sounds fine in itself; but as well as giving an unsolicited haircut to anyone stationed in the north aisle, it tends to undermine the smooth build-up of power which is so characteristic of the instrument as originally conceived. Unsurprisingly, all these attempts to achieve 'clarity' do not seduce us into believing we are listening to a Schnitger or Silbermann; but holding back all the 'filling' until the last moment has rather the effect of a late and injudicious application of flour to a sauce that has been made too thin. Most seasoned accompanists/recitalists here do a lot of hand registration!
  10. Oh come off it! He's only one person and he can say what he likes - unless you think there is a serious possibility of crazed Top-Gear viewers going and buying firearms just because Jezza says so I worry much more about those (of all political persuasions) who speak smooth words about power to the people, whilst having their own snouts firmly in the trough whenever they think they can get away with it. Do you know how much trade union bosses are paid?
  11. Sounds like it's been nicked off the Flying Scotsman...
  12. Now we are getting warm... Trying to graft a so called independent pedal onto a romantic or quasi romantic instrument is rarely a complete success. To me, a proper 'independent pedal' implies far more than merely the inclusion of a metal 16' and a mixture. A true independent pedal should have a balancing combination for every likely combination on the manuals without coupling, otherwise it is a constraint rather than an asset. This isn't too difficult with a classical tonal design, but it becomes more problematic with schemes that build up horizontally as well as vertically. It's effectiveness also depends on the voicing and disposition of the organ. I suspect one reason for the lack of pedal choruses on English organs is that our instruments are often cramped, speak in several directions or are divided around the building - and it's no use having a wonderful pedal chorus that is 40 feet away from anything else and balances completely differently depending where you are stood. From experience with cathedral organs that have had chorus work added to the pedal, I have to say that I have never been entirely conviced. Yes, they allow you to play uncoupled if you are determined to do so; but they still sound nothing like Buxtehude's organ, so what's the point? The concept of an independent pedal is fairly alien to English romantic instruments and the repertoire they are optimised for. Just because the Germans have something and it sounds good, doesn't mean we have to have it too.
  13. As it happens, I have just printed off a copy of 'Solar Flare' which I will have a look at tonight.
  14. Wonderful indeed, and only a fool would design an instrument in that style and neglect to provide a suitable pedal division. But would we put one of those organs into an English Cathedral where it will be used mostly for accompaniment? None of the specs suggested so far look that way. What is important in one type of instrument may not be in another. The concept of a fully independent pedal is essential in some schemes, desirable in many, and virtually incompatible with others.
  15. But you still haven't said what you mean by a proper pedal division. I'm not being obtuse (I could guess, but guessing is not scholarship!), I would really like to know what would be essential on a modest sized instrument, in your view. Is this "an extensive pedal division"? (Interesting article by the way) http://www.albany.edu/piporg-l/FS/sr.html In my view the essentials are 2 or 3 16's an 8' and a 16' reed. Anything else depends on the style of instrument and what you want from it.
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