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Mander Organs

Paul Isom

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  1. Sad news indeed. I met Jean Guillou in Dijon Cathedral about 18 months ago and was introduced to him by a friend who is one of the organists of the cathedral. He was playing for the memorial concert for the trumpeter Maurice Andre. He was highly amused at the prospect of taking part in a performance of the Grand March from Aida which was to be played by two organs and 100 trumpets (and percussion)! While not everyone would agreed with some of his interpretations, his playing was really electrifying. I have a number of his arrangements including his extraordinary one of the Hornpipe from Handel's Water Music which is well worth playing. Even at a great age (85/86 when I met him), he cut dashing and elegant figure. He spoke fluent English (and I suspect many other languages too) and it was a real honour to meet one of my heroes - and no, I wasn't disappointed. RIP
  2. I am slightly troubled by this demonstration in that there is not a fair comparison between the two really quite different organs. The excellent Mander has no 16' reeds, the digital does, so perhaps it might have been better to try and compare them more closely by using similar combinations. Simply playing the same pieces does not make it a balanced demonstration. I agree with ajsphead regarding a congregation noticing the difference between a digital organ and pipe. I also used my single rank Walker (now sold) with a sole 8' Flute to accompany mass for a few months at church following the demise of an electronic instrument before a replacement (pipe) organ was installed from a redundant church in Winchester. The result was a revelation to the congregation and priest who were spurred into action in funding the replacement instrument. While it is interesting to see such a comparison, I cannot take the result seriously on the basis of this particular demonstration. Congregations should work together with their diocesan organ advisor whatever their views on digital instruments not base their decisions on market research.. If in doubt consult, consult, consult.
  3. And another one: http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N14770 A lovely organ, beautifully restored by Martin Cross and Rick Sheppard. It's got quite a bit of history having passed through the hands of some distinguished builders.
  4. Here is another really attractive organ in my diocese at St Mary's Church, Fawkham. The organ was built by Bishops in 1925 and restored recently by the same companywith the addition of a Fifteenth 2 to the Great. This is an unusual organ as it was a new mechanical action organ. The voicing is really quite lovely, verging on the refined style of voicing favoured by Harrison organs built around the same period. I've attended one recital and given another at this church and again, the organ is remarkable versatile for such an outwardly unpromising stoplist. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N14770 I think that the manual compass also extends 61 notes which is really quite generous for a small village church organ.
  5. A 32' Sub Bourdon was a common feature of organs by Percy Daniel. It usually went down to bottom G, with the ;last seven notes quinted. Examples included Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire ..........................and of course St Katherine, Knockholt where the 32' is on the case front.
  6. I well remember the visit of the Ulster Organists to Bickley as Rodney Bambrick gave me possibly one of the finest reviews I have ever had in my life, and it still has pride of place on my website. The Bickley organ was voiced by Mark Lively, and I think aided by Paul Fulcher as well. It has a distinctly French slant - and in fact the late Andy Pennells asked me if I wanted the stop names engraved in French, and I said no for fear of upsetting the diocesan organs advisor! I wish I had said yes................................ It has a big job to do to fill the enormous space and is a remarkably satisfying instrument to play. I left Bickley and ended up playing in the local village church where my wife and I lived (Brasted). This is another Walker, and is more generously proportioned, with a superb Violone, strings open to the bottom. It is very very loud, and I understand that the Pedal Bassoon 16' is at the rear of the Great chest. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D05982 The previous organ was a rebuild of a Nicholson by Cedric Arnold , WIlliamson and Hyatt and was remarkably similar to their lovely job in Walsingham. Sadly this organ went up in smoke when the church burned down. Cedric Arnold also provided the small instrument for our beautiful school chapel. The organ was tiny but had some real quality sounds and was used a lot for weddings. In think that the bulk of the pipework was by Bedwell. The school was taken over and sadly the chapel was re-purposed as a six form common room and the organ has found a new home in France thanks to Martin Renshaw. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=K00132
  7. And other couple on my patch - the first is a 1930s Percy Daniel in a tiny village church in Knockholt. There are all sorts of surprises here, including a 32' Bourdon which goes down to FFFF and forms part of the facade. There is also a hidden 16' Octave for the Oboe which comes into play when the Swell suboctave coupler is drawn. I've known this organ in two incarnations, the most recent work replaced a mild Flageolet with a brighter Fifteenth. I have to say that I almost preferred the mild Flageolet 2, but no doubt the Fifteenth has it's uses. It's a superb organ and is a quality village organ. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N14807 There are another couple of gems in my diocese by Lewis, including a lovely job at St Giles'' church, Shipbourne. It was restored recently by Bishops who did a simply wonderful job. It was only a few weeks after the restoration had been completed when vandals attempted to break into the vestry and the route they chose was through the organ. The immaculate work was completely destroyed and had to be re-done. It is a lovely organ, although it still has it's rather heavy key action. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N14861 There is another Lewis at Keston which has been recently restored by Martin Cross. This organ has a more unusual design but hangs together really quite well. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D02834 St Luke's Church, Bromley Common also has a fine Lewis, although the building is now used by an evangelical church, and I understand that some services are also held for the original congregation. Both church and organ are in good order, and the organ has fine choruses and reeds and a spectacular Pedal Violon with real drive. Finally a real gem of an organ in a superb acoustic by Harrison and Harrison in St Philip's church, Cosham, The stoplist seems to promise little at first sight, but the quality of the voicing coupled with the wonderful acoustics makes for a wonderful playing experience. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N01010
  8. Here's one from my neck of the woods at Seal Chart; http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N14859 This organ is really lovely and is just like playing a small Cavaille Coll. Don't be put off by the strange stop names (the correct ones are in the main spec, so ignore Horn Diapason etc!). Even the stool is a complete copy of some of Cavaille Coll's more florid offerings. The organ needs a big acoustic for it to really work, but even in the simply terrible acoustics at Seal Chart the quality really shines through. I've been doing some detective work as it appears that there was a very similar organ by Bishops installed in the house next door to the church. It was moved to a church in Buckinghamshire (or close by) by Peter Collins. I can't find it, so there is a conundrum for all you organ detectives out there.
  9. Paul Isom

    Spurden Rutt

    I had the pleasure of playing a rather nice Spurden Rutt at St Bartholomew's Church, Otford this morning. It's the first time I have really spent a lot of time on a S/R instrument, and it was a really lovely instrument. I suspect this instrument may appeal to varied tastes, rather like Marmite, but to me it was a really good accompaniment instrument. On occasions I felt the voicing was a little too refined in places, lacking edge, but on the whole it did the job very well. I have a little experience of other S/R organs - one two manual (extension) at West Byfleet which was in two separate swell boxes. The West Byfleet organ had a little more devil in the reeds as well and sounded like a vintage Harrison. I remember their little organ at Croydon Crematorium and was also blown away by the quality, even in such a small organ. I'm interested in their history and what others have to say about the S/R organs. I get the impression that they may have used a well known reed voicer on occasions for some of their reeds as there is a similarity between their reeds and another illustrious company................ There must be a book in this!
  10. Printed off and turned into a booklet already - many thanks for the pointer. I wonder how many pieces like this have quickly slipped through the net without members of the forum noticing. Time to do a little searching.......!
  11. I wonder if anyone is able to help me find a copy of the Introduction and Fugue by Ernest Bullock. It appears that the copyright was handed back to the composer in the 1950s and OUP no longer keep an archive copy to make reprints. Paul
  12. I had an email from Cramer today stating that they do offer an archive reprint service. Their details are on the www and I shall be getting a new copy of the Bullock myself! Does anyone know who published Bullock’s Introduction and Fugue (recorded by Francis Jackson on CD).
  13. It's published by Cramer, no doubt out of print. My copy is falling apart, so I'll contact Cramer and see if they do archive reprints and report back. There is a great deal of interesting music published by Cramer that is worth resurrecting - perhaps they could be persuaded…….
  14. The church that this Harrison is currently in (unless it's been removed for safe keeping....) is a whopper of cathedral proportions. The organ has t/p action, and I know that a home has been sought for this organ for some years. The church was declared redundant as there were problems with the structure - what the problems were, I simply don't know. The organist for some years was Anthony Bogdan (a former work colleague) who jealously protected the instrument, and I know wants a home to be found for this magnificent instrument. He is a fount of knowledge on the instrument. The organ has had some piecemeal work done on it over the years by David Wells, mainly as a result of vandals stealing the valuable materials from the roof. Let's hope that this is the correct guess.......................!
  15. The only redundant Harrison organ I can think of is that in St Thomas, Bedford near Leigh in Lancashire. It's a 1922 H & H and a superb instrument and deserves a good home. From memory it has generous stoplist complete with 32 Open Wood. I believe it was opened by Dupre. I played it quite a few times when a good friend was organist there. My money is on this one and if I'm right, it's a real stunner!
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