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Mander Organs

OwenTurner

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Everything posted by OwenTurner

  1. There was a copy on the shelves of Preston town library in the late 80s! I think someone had written in fingerings in blue biro though, but that have been Murrill's Crown Imperial. Looks like they still have it, despite the music library room now being a computer room and most of the shelves in the whole place being replaced by coffee tables and potted (I almost put "pot"; I don't things have degraded quite to that extent.... yet) plants. See here: https://capitadiscovery.co.uk/lancashire/items/16582?resultsUri=https%3A%2F%2Fcapitadiscovery.co.uk%2Flancashire%2Fitems%3Fquery%3Dwilliam%2Bwalton%2Borb How you'd get at it I don't know. Other good town library stocks would no doubt have it, nearer to you.
  2. The death has been announced of Jack Longstaff aged 98. https://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/announcements/deaths/deaths/18368735.THOMAS_JACK_LONGSTAFF/ There is also an an article in The Times. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/jack-longstaff-98-inspiring-blackburn-music-head-0d9btdljd I believe he was a Turpin prize winner at FRCO and held appointments at Leeds Parish, Bowden, Stand, Preston Parish Churches and Blackburn St James and more. I knew him as a school pupil and remember him as an intellectual who knew his subject to a depth none of the other teachers did of theirs. He had a great influence in his geographical area and took those with talent to incredible levels. For those not up to his standards the experience was different and based on fear of an often violent temper. I was myself borderline on being good enough material for him; in fact I was refused the option of taking music at A level, though the harmony drilled into me allowed me to pass that component of an OU diploma 20 years later, skipping all the teaching and going straight to exam. The conscripted school choir of about 200 voices gave annual oratorio performances with a stunning massed treble line. Despite remembering him as a figure of fear, I gained a lot from knowing him as I’m sure others did.
  3. Thanks to Stanley for the reality check. I suppose my objectivity to the quality of this organ might be a result of knowing it whilst young. However compared with other big parish church instruments I’ve known, I’d still put it as top quartile. Probably it depends what our benchmarks are. If I were to compare it with say Dunblane Cath, Preston Parish or Swansea Parish, all of which I’ve known, it’s better than the last two.
  4. I'm quite shocked to see that this church is under threat, if not promise, of closure. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/1186640/exclusive-cradle-of-reformation-st-andrews-church-to-be-sold-off-as-surplus-to-requirements/ Its organ is a very fine, well mannered Harrison with obvious influence from St Albans Abbey, and a killer floating reed division. It was rebuilt at a cost of about 135k, rather than the 50k mentioned in the article not too long ago (NPOR says 2008). I believe that some of it was originally voiced by WC Jones. https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=A00533 I can't imagine that Church of England or Church of Wales would treat a town main parish church, without building defects, in such a way.
  5. Coincidentally I stumbled into this picture this evening https://collections.st-andrews.ac.uk/photographs/item/york-minster---the-stone-screen/610492/viewer#?#viewer&c=&m=&s=&cv=&manifest=https%3A%2F%2Fcollections.st-andrews.ac.uk%2F610492%2Fmanifest&xywh=-901%2C-195%2C8786%2C3895 which shows west end chamades quite clearly. I would presume this photo to be from the late 19th century. There are a few other interesting old organ photos in this collection. https://collections.st-andrews.ac.uk/search/?query=organ&collection=uofsa-web-sc-photo&profile=_default&form=grid&start_rank=101&num_ranks=50
  6. https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N09017 A nice little Collins at Lancaster Univ has perspex vertical ones, the whole thing enclosed. Mr Google won’t find me a picture.
  7. yes indeed, thanks to P DeVile for digging this out!
  8. With the mention of accordian you remind me of something I heard on Radio 3 in what must have been a few weeks before Christmas in 1988 or 1989 which was an accordian (or it could have been some other squeeze-box) player playing the sortie 'vent de la spirit' from Messiaen Pentecote. It was amazing. I've tried to find it as a recording a few times since but unsuccessfully. Does anyone recognise it from this description and who was playing, etc? Now I'm thinking, I remember Messiaen himself playing one of the big Bach P&Fs, perhaps G 541 but my memory isn't secure, on the radio a year or two earlier than that. This was fairly straight until near the end when a chord was held much much longer than written and notes were slowly added, the timbre morphed and he added a sort of cadenza in his style, reverting back to the Bach and taking it to conclusion. Does anyone know of Messiaen playing Bach recordings?
  9. It is all to do with familiarity I believe. She remembers all too clearly what she learnt on when young, and having accepted that as “right” feels that anything else is “wrong”. My point is that I am confident that she is an extreme case but there must (or could) be a bit of this in everyone (or some people). I remember another situation where discussions with other first year members of a university chapel choir encountering the tonal palette of a chiffy mutation rich tracker organ for the first time, as their accompaniment, felt quite strongly that it was wrong due to not sounding like a Harrison or Walker or whatever they grew up hearing. I remember a deputation asking for less use of the tierce! I’m going off topic with timbre but, as my first contribution to this thread, I believe that key familiarity affects those with perfect pitch.
  10. Not at all. She sings in equal temperament and plays the cello in equal temperament too! In fact it was commented on in her grade 8 cello mark sheet I am told. I tuned the home piano in recent weeks and I've not laid the equal temperament scale quite perfectly and that isn't going down too well despite it being having been horribly out previously and is so nearly right.
  11. Also you need to factor in perfect pitch and familiarity. My wife has perfect pitch and cannot cope with attending a parish church near us where the originally Hill organ is a bit sharp to normal A 440. She also cannot stand me playing hymns in keys other than those she first knew. Tuning my spinet a bit flat makes the tone less brittle but she can only stand that if I go a full semi-tone and even then when I play pieces she hasn't known at other pitches (which is luckily rarely contentious as she lives in the Liszt world of pianism).
  12. Hmm, disconnecting pitch from frequency is a bit courageous. Did the chapter on the Earth being flat include anything to do with reverberation effects when you get to the edge of the world and there's nothing for sound to bounce off? I feel this book is confusing brilliance with pitch, where brilliance is upper partials. In the case of a swell shutting the impact on the higher pitches is inevitably greater than the lower so you will lose some power at the upper, but the pitch of a note is surely the same. Perhaps we need to consider "Shrodinger's Swell Box" as a theorical physics challenge; though the cat would probably create too much destruction to the pipes and action. I've just ordered a second hand copy of the book of ebay.
  13. I remember a time when a very sensitive large tracker instrument I knew was due its first rebuild and, having not played or heard it for a number of years before, I could detect a flattening on key release on the Great (inevitably most used and worn) particularly on wider flues which I would presume to need more wind. My theory is that the pallets were slightly suffocating the pipes as opposed to shutting them dead and caused an audible drop in wind pressure while still slightly speaking. The observation went away after rebuild, which had no tonal or action modifications. I think a lot more musical and scientific attention is given at the pluck than the release. I presume we've all been fascinated by the effects of shuttting off the wind while holding a big chord? If some pipes are inherently slower to cease, and those are the bigger ones, and we know the higher frequencies drop out acoustically first over distance, that would leave the big boomers as the last sound standing. Too much conjecture in there for one logic jump of course.
  14. I think a Butts is a medieval archery field. In St Andrews there is a “Butts Wynd” which is all the more amusing before you realise wynd should be pronounced “wined”.
  15. 2009 newspaper article "A FUNDRAISING drive to pay for the restoration of one of the finest pipe organs in the UK will be launched tomorrow." https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/funds-drive-restore-unique-coats-2611428 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxhorn for more on Saxhorn. Note the conical bore which would put it into the mellower brass instruments, the brighter ones having cylindrical bores (compare a cornet (single rank, not a quintet of parallel players [joke]) with a trumpet). There must be someone in this forum who has played it? I've also stumbled on this: "Con Spirito! CD £11.00 Recorded in Autumn 2015, Matt Edwards plays the historic four manual Hill pipe organ of Thomas Coats Memorial" here: http://www.mattedwards.org.uk/, so it must have been in decent playing condition very recently.
  16. It has always sounded good in recordings, eg Priory PRCD805 - Victorian Organ Sonatas - Vol 2, with a good coverage on Youtube too which is more recent.
  17. See here for an interesting talk about the creation of Blackburn Walker.
  18. If you remove the words I've put in brackets then this is a very common cause of business failure or winding up, and has been particularly common in UK manufacturing companies, such that they are an ever diminishing number. A company with a product that used to be popular and sell well which becomes less desirable due to fashion, price or competition will too frequently not spot the need to change their course until too late. In my 30 year career in business finance and business systems it is something I've seen time again, but those in a position to make change are too busy in the day to day to spot it, or are too emotionally involved to make the bold decisions necessary and at the right time to remain vital.
  19. Probably you all know, but I remember getting very confused when studying acoustics at university; attenuation is a measure of sound energy loss, so higher attenuation means more loss at a given distance. I thought of it the opposite way for quite a while. Hopefully I've got it right now!
  20. I live 40 mins away. Presuming you are the Mr Farr I last heard in Westminster Cath a year or so and player on one of my favourite CDs (of Nicholson organs), I would jump at the opportunity ordinarily but for it being school holidays round here, and I have unchallengeable parental responsibilities, so I regretfully decline. I would recommend you approach St Mary's Music School or Edinburgh Organists' Society, both of which are very active, for suggestions.
  21. My first experience of trying to play a decent sized organ was Blackburn. It confused and put me off such that I started lessons 4 years later than when I could have. Granted that this was a lock in with school peers, not a formal situation, but I wish someone had told me how untypical the delay, wash, echo and reverb really were! Attached console and immediate action so tracker or possibly electric for me any day. Detached or pneumatics no thanks. Recording equipment or an occasional someone else to play registrations back are a compromise I happily accept.
  22. I learnt clarinet as a boy from about 1978 to 1982 from a chap called Horatio Waywell (1907 - 1983) who was an organ builder and I believe one of the last employees of Henry Ainscough of Preston. I wasn't that interested in the organ back then so had no conversations about it, sadly. Mr Waywell was very active in Preston as a woodwind teacher, orchesta conductor and choral society director. He also mended all manner of instruments; mainly woodwind, for the local music shops. Most clarinet lessons started or ended with a chat to me and parents with him showing what he was repairing. He also made occasional instruments as sometimes required in odd pieces of Wagner or Berlioz (I think), usually out of a number of old bits from a massive collection of instrument parts he kept. I think he followed technical drawings for those, but I've no idea where he would have sourced those.
  23. Picking up Colin's point, I wonder if it is reasonable to compare an organ stop with an orchestral instrument. I suspect not. An orchestra instrument reasonably expects to be able to stand alone and have a solo repertoire. It also expects and gets an expert performane. Imagine if we asked every organ stop we are able to pull to go through the ABRSM grades independently. I suspect there would be a number which wouldn't do so well. Tubular pneumatic Dulciana grade 7 or Celeste grade 6 would bore in preparation and tierce grade 5 would be a bit weird. I'm not sure I'd be much interested in learning the solo repertoire of a 32' flue - it'd be a bit repetitive on the dominant to tonic progression. Consider an organ as a whole and you have a chance. However saying this, I'd be quite keen to find one and learn Ondes Martenot or Theramin, knowing they'd only ever have special effect opportunities.
  24. On John's point "university colleges - hold back on the strong upper work so as not to deafen the younger ones"... I think that this has to be balanced against the musical maturity and restraint of the player. Personally, I was way too loud and quickly up the choruses to screaming mixture (and also sometimes trying to emulate some of the recorded Hurford mutation registrations, eg 8 + larigot with not much in between) in my late teens in university days, and I hear that as fairly common in younger players when out of earshot of teacher! My similar aged student audience, if interested at all, was similarly keen on loud and sonic thrill too. An idealistic, through ridiculous, extrapolation of this dialogue is that the expected audience, organ consultant, voicer and player all need to be similar ages!
  25. Picking up on John Robinson's (‎20‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 08:42) point: "Perhaps they might look at a typical organ recital audience and think, "Yes, we should go for the 60+ option"! (I'm only half-joking.)" I wonder whether the customary glance down the nave once a service has started, to decide how hard to thump the hymns, should include a rough age scan as well as just quantity to give consideration of using brighter choruses for play throughs. Also giving the incumbent (+20 yr older than me) 8+4, or an 8 with strong partials, for a chanting note might be fairer than a box muffled 8, or even to ask the chap's opinion on a few options.
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