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Mander Organs

John Robinson

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Everything posted by John Robinson

  1. I agree about the Cologne Cathedral organ, with which I have had a long-term interest, and it does produce an excellent sound. On that matter, there is a broadcast on Facebook tomorrow and weekly thereafter at 1845. Excellent close-ups of the player in action, of course! https://www.domradio.de/web-tv/orgelfeierstunde-drittes-konzert I watch these on Facebook using Amazon Firestick on our TV with good quality sound, though it should be possible to do it on a computer. Incidentally, it states 2000, but that is 1900 our time of course! EDIT: My apologies. I have just 'tuned in' to watch this evening's recital and find that it actually starts bang on 1900 (our time).
  2. Indeed. I'm pleased to hear that many found the presence, even the existence! of an organist fascinating. That is one of the reasons I mentioned it. I shouldn't be surprised to hear that some are not even aware of an organist, believing that the organ is a machine which plays itself, just like their HiFi at home! I always found the story of the famous organist W. T. Best amusing when, awaiting his prompt to play a town hall organ, the mayor announced to the audience that "The organ will now play", remained in his seat and when a questioning look from the mayor was forthcoming said, "Damn the organ, let it play!" I personally believe that the organist should be visible to the congregation (assuming s/he is willing!), just as everyone else on the 'stage' is. It might even result in the general public in this country taking more interest in the organ especially as, if the organ had as much public following here as in, say, Germany and the Netherlands, we might find that fewer organs in churches are being scrapped!
  3. A couple of interesting things occur to me here, not knowing anything about the Hexham instrument. Perhaps someone can help. Is it possible that the 'back' (the chancel side) of the organ is mainly covered up for a very good reason? That the organ, being so close to the choir stalls, might be too powerful here unless attenuated by the use of these boards, yet unobstructed at the nave side where a more powerful sound is needed. (Or perhaps the chancel and choir stalls are never actually used.) My other question, completely unrelated to this particular organ though brought to mind by the picture, concerns the common practice of providing a curtain to 'hide' the organist from view. Is this done for the organist's benefit, if s/he is a 'reserved' sort of person, or to avoid the congregation being aware of his/her presence as a distraction from the religious side of things? Hopefully, the curtain can be slid to one side if a recital is taking place!
  4. Very sad news, not only for the organ world as a whole, but also... I used to fancy her.😍
  5. Haha! I'll suggest that to 'Marge'! Fortunately, she has very good hearing so I don't find I have to repeat myself at all. On the other hand, she does... quite a lot. In fairness to her, though, she doesn't often become too angry with me!
  6. Yes indeed. That makes a lot of sense.
  7. An interesting point. Actually, I find that my hearing aids help generally in attempting to correct my loss of high frequency perception and in many situations I am quite happy with things. However, when listening to Priory DVD demonstrations of various organs and specific stops, especially 2' and higher, above a certain point on the keyboard the sound completely disappears. I am sure that is due not to an inferior sound system, which mine is not, but due entirely to my ears. I'm sure a point must arise where, however good the hearing aids, a sound cannot be amplified when the ear is completely unable to perceive that frequency level. Conversely, when watching the television news, using the same sound system, I am quite repelled by the sharpness and power of some ladies' voices, especially American ones for some reason. However, I too find a distinct benefit to my hearing loss. As my father before me often did, I can justifiably claim that I hadn't heard something which I actually heard but didn't want to hear!
  8. It is indeed an impressive organ, though I'm surprised that it doesn't have a single 32' stop.
  9. Absolutely no apologies needed! I found your explanations both interesting and enlightening and I agree with them entirely. I might add that I respect and enjoy the benefit of your far greater knowledge of the subject. I have heard for myself that organs with relatively low wind pressure can be at least as 'loud' as the high-pressure ones which held sway in this country in the early 20th century. There are far more important factors in play: location within the building, the building itself, the use of strong mixtures, etc, etc. My personal preference has always been for a brighter sound, especially since my hearing has begun to deteriorate!
  10. Still pristine and unadulterated white despite my present location, I assure you! Yes, of course, I'm sure that stone roofs carry the sound of an organ better than wooden roofs which, I'm sure, must absorb much of the higher harmonics.
  11. What an excellent post! I am almost certain that the majority of the sound from a flue pipe comes from the mouth (though I stand to be corrected!), I'd be very interested to hear responses from more knowledgeable members to the several other questions. I do hope you receive a comprehensive list of answers!
  12. Or simply leaving the console untouched by human hand for 3 days?
  13. We visited a cathedral 'darn sarf' last year and were pleased to see that they didn't demand anything. Instead, they politely asked if anyone would like to contribute and suggested a suitable amount. From what I could see, everyone coughed up without question. Even I paid up perfectly willingly despite being, like you Tony, a 'tight-fisted Yorkshireman'! (Sorry.) Needless to say, I thought it far more friendly to do things that way than demand a set admission fee and I wonder whether the overall income might be higher when asking politely. 'Demanding' certainly rubs up many people the wrong way, myself included.
  14. Good heavens! It looks a bit like that Disney thing in America.
  15. Very interesting. Thank you.
  16. Haha! I can't remember to whom Ian Tracey was alluding, but probably the same man.
  17. Thank you. Whilst I agree that the York organ needed some changes to make it more powerful and able to project down the nave, I do like the idea of a wide tonal palette in an organ. Perhaps that is of secondary importance in the accompaniment of services, although I'm sure it must be useful in psalms, for example, and certainly in organ recitals. Of the losses of mutations from the York organ, I feel that the Cornet is perhaps the one I'd most like to keep. The Sesquialtera perhaps less so, and its replacement by the Harmonics might compensate to an extent depending on the sound of the latter stop. The Larigot is probably the least important and the use of the Nazard with the 16' on the Choir might possibly produce a similar solo voice, although the Larigot being such a small stop might have found space somewhere in the instrument! I suppose I must sound like Ian Tracey's 'knackered cart horse' - always wanting another stop.
  18. I completely agree that we should have confidence in our own organ pedigree, but does that mean that we can't still take in some ideas from other national organ styles? I have heard the 1993 York Minster organ, both on recordings and live, and I feel that it still sounded completely 'English', at least to my ears! As I have mentioned earlier in this thread, I welcome the changes presently being made by Harrisons and am sure that there will be noticeable improvements, especially with regard to power and projection. However, I'd still have liked it to retain some of the voices being lost. The Cornet, for example, would surely not be out of character as cornets have been a feature of English organs for centuries.
  19. My advice would be simply to examine some existing scale plans to gauge typical space requirements for different stops. Of course, organ builders are expert at knowing how to squeeze things into limited spaces, but if you err on the side of generosity of space I think you'd be on safe ground!
  20. Although I have absolutely no qualifications or practical experience in organ design, it is one of my favourite 'hobbies' to design organs. Diagrammatically, I use an old, but still very workable installation of TurboCAD for detailed and accurately to scale projects, and also Photoshop Elements for less accurate attempts but with the advantage of modifying already published plans. I don't go so far as to include every single pipe and such things as electrical cabling, etc., but the basic layout of display pipes, wind chests, building frames and case work are more or less within my capabilities. Of course, written stop lists and the like are relatively easy!
  21. More likely 'worship groups'! Though not necessarily on the gallery.
  22. If the worst should happen and this church (along with others) is forced to close, perhaps the least we can hope for is for the organ to be bought by another church or organisation (quite likely abroad!) and consequently saved.
  23. Sadly, I agree. I have been to many organ recitals where I feel sad at the apparent lack of public interest, going by the size of the audience. I may have mentioned before that I attended a recital in Cologne Cathedral several years ago when the place was literally packed, many having brought along camping chairs to sit in the aisles as the pews were full. And, if I recall, that was a recital mainly of Messaien!
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