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Christopher Brown

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  1. 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
  2. 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!
  3. 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 b
  4. 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
  5. 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 smo
  6. 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?
  7. Sounds like it's been nicked off the Flying Scotsman...
  8. 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 effe
  9. As it happens, I have just printed off a copy of 'Solar Flare' which I will have a look at tonight.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. I didn't say that knowledge is a bad thing - only that it does not always prove beneficial. Having said that, the world is indeed littered with examples of a little knowledge being a bad thing, and the organ world has not been spared that. As you say, it's all about what you do with it. But many follies have been perpetrated in all good faith, on the basis of 'scholarship' which has not stood the test of time. Musicians have more need of ears than scholarship, and a surplus of the latter cannot make up for a deficit in the former. There are organs (and organists) which are well resear
  13. Define 'proper'... I don't believe scholarship - modern or otherwise - is always beneficial.
  14. I believe it was once the favoured term with English builders, but was swiftly abandoned due to sniggering amongst the lay clerks. Funny how the 'English Choral Tradition' dictates in unexpected ways...
  15. We are in the slightly artificial situation of having limited stop list, but unlimited funds and space. Enclosing the pedal means we can voice these ranks (flues as well as reeds) fairly powerfully and use the box to give a quieter bass when needed, rather than adding to the stop list. We can also do nice things with the 32's when accompanying or playing certain styles of music. I always think it is useful to have a 2nd enclosed manual division, and assuming adequate space and good design there is no reason why this should have any downside. Here, the postive foundations would be used for
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