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John Robinson

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Posts posted by John Robinson

  1. 5 hours ago, OwenTurner said:

    Can’t be any harm posting this here:

    Dear BIOS Member,

    We thought that you would like to be given early notice of this important new publication by our President, Dr Nicholas Thistlethwaite, and particularly of the special offer being made to early subscribers.


    A new book by Nicholas Thistlethwaite marks the restoration of the Minster’s organ. The book documents the earliest reference to “a pair of organs” in 1236 and describes other instruments right through to the present day. It will be published in Spring 2021 at a retail price of £30. It can be pre-ordered now with a £5 saving by emailing HLFGlass@yorkminster.org. Early subscribers can also have their name inscribed in the book.

    Thanks.  I put my name down for this some days ago.

  2. 8 hours ago, Martin Cooke said:

    It's difficult to imagine that there was anything more to it than a reappraisal with a view to something more worthy. The chocolate and blue was hardly glamorous though the RCO was not the only institution to use brown in its academical dress. I wonder, actually, if the brown colour was originally chosen to fit in with the Russet Brown in London BA, MA and DLitt hoods.

    More recently, and with the introduction of a new range of qualifications, the RCO has introduced hoods for all qualifications, including an updated version of the ARCO. Some of these utilise the old blue shade, but I don't think the brown comes into it at all. There is a very full illustrated explanation of all of this somewhere but I am blowed if I can find it. I think Francis Jackson is credited with pushing the new FRCO hood forward, though I don't know that that is true. As Rowland says in a previous post, it was John Birch who saw through the expansion of the RCO academical dress.

    Thanks.  Very interesting.  Actually, I quite like chocolate and blue!

  3. 9 hours ago, SomeChap said:

    The Braga link is fascinating.  I cross-checked with my DVD of the Howard Goodall programme and confirm it's the same music - unattributed on the programme listing on Howard Goodall's website (which just says "18c Portugese [sic] Battle Music").  It was played by Kimberly Marshall at Abarca de Campos - a small village church whose 1778 Tadeo Ortega organ was restored, I believe, under the advocacy of Francis Chapelet.  It's up on Youtube too if anyone's interested (watch the first ten minutes or so of the episode ... or all of it if you like!):  


    Yes, I love that programme series and have the DVD.

    Not only is Howard Goodall an excellent musician, but also I find some of his quips highly amusingly descriptive.  His brief description of the 'altitudinous' Austrian nobleman, the owner of an historic table organ, as 'six feet going on seven feet' to the background music of similar title from The Sound of Music.


  4. 1 hour ago, S_L said:

    It was good to hear the Albert Hall organ leading the singing of 'Jerusalem' last night rather than the Elgar orchestration usually used.

    And, what seems to have become the norm, to hear the hauntingly beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by Benjamin Britten.

    Yes!  Who needs an orchestra when you have an organ of that size?

    AND, you'd save a lot of money, paying for only one musician rather than 80+ !

  5. 5 hours ago, sbarber49 said:

    The none and teint are described on the College website as "experimental" mutation stops.

    It's not alone, of course, by any means.
    I remember discussing this one from Cologne Cathedral on here a few years ago:
    Aliquot  II-III
    C     1'  8/11'
    f0     8/9'  15/11'  13/13'
    cs3   35/9'  15/11'  13/13'

    I have no idea what it sounds like, but I'd love to hear it (in context of course) just to find out.

  6. Being neither inside the trade nor in possession of very much scientific expertise, I hesitate to reply!
    Nevertheless, your mention of a 'pin hole in the pipe foot' presumably relates to the use or otherwise of 'open toe' voicing.
    This is something that I'd like to know more about.
    What is the point of increasing wind pressure when a closed toe will effectively reduce that pressure?  I can only assume that this is done to make adjustments to voicing easier.
    Also, I'm sure that some lower pressure stops can speak sufficiently loudly without the need for high wind pressures, with the obvious exceptions of such things as tubas of course.

  7. 3 hours ago, ATG said:

    I hope other forum members do not mind me raising this matter again, as I am likely to be getting hearing aids within the next month or two and would like some opinions on a couple of matters.

    The type I will probably get are by Phonak (Paradise model) and apparently have bluetooth capability, both for receiving sounds from a suitable MP3 player or smartphone, and for tweaking the settings via an app.

    Have any other members used Phonak aids in this way? If so, may I ask your experience with them, and also what their bass response is like?

    I thank you in advance for any comments.


    Yes, I have had Phonak aids for about four years now, so not the latest models and I do not have any bluetooth capability or other app for tweaking the settings.  I do, however, receive free consultations every 6 months and the audiologist can make any adjustments necessary.

    As for bass response, I wouln't know really, as my hearing losses are in the higher frequencies.

  8. 8 hours ago, Steve Goodwin said:

    They know. I've said over there that I'd really like to shut the forum down now that we know this one is safe. That is currently still my intention but there is some resistance!


    I confess that I am one who has said that I'd be happy to keep both.
    On the other hand, if all contributors were to bring their discussions here, rather than simply stop posting, I'd be happy to live with 'the original' exclusively.

  9. 22 hours ago, Contrabombarde said:

    My only experience with the Manchester Bridgewater Marcussen was in a stand off between Wayne Marshall and a full orchestra playing the Jongen Symphonie Concertante. I certainly didn't get the impression the organ was struggling to keep its head above water, despite the organ seemingly having a reputation for being on the softer side. I preferred it to the Birmingham Klais sound which is very confident but I find a little brash.

    Having mentioned that it has been accused of being underpowered, when I attended a performance of the choir of King's College, Cambridge, the organ sounded perfectly good and well balanced to me.

    Am I right in thinking that the bottom few of the 32' Principal are Haskelled?  I think I heard that some years ago.

  10. 17 hours ago, Niccolo Morandi said:

    That's unfortunate to hear about a concert being a bit under powered. This is not an organ I have ever heard in person but I'm wondering if this due to the halls acoustics or just the design of the organ. 


    Interestingly, the Bridgewater Hall organ in Manchester has also been accused of being underpowered.
    As I understand it, the organ was planned and built before the hall had been completed, and when the interior of the hall had finally been finished, they found that whilst the acoustics were very good generally, the organ should have been planned and voiced to be louder.
    If that was the actual case, perhaps it would have been better to leave the installation of the organ until the hall was properly completed and its acoustics assessed by the builder (Marcussen).

  11. 8 hours ago, Damian Beasley-Suffolk said:

    I recently read about "Choir pits", at Whalley Abbey, Lancashire. Apparently these are the only remaining examples in Britain. These pits are placed below a choir, to provide some reverberation and enhance the effect of the choir's sound. I had never heard of this before, it sounds like it is a very old idea.

    I know of this idea being used more recently for organs in dead spaces to bring a bit of life to the sound. Birmingham Symphony Hall, for example, has large concrete chambers behind or to the sides of the organ to do this. Klais say that they put a number of ranks of the organ in them!

    Is this used anywhere else, for organs as well as choirs? I've heard of a couple of "Fernwerk" divisions, e.g. the Walcker organ in the Martinikerk in Doesburg, the Netherlands  https://martinikerkdoesburg.nl/walcker-orgel/ where an echo division is placed at the end of a 21m long tunnel for the distance effect, and a couple of tunnels directing sound around awkward shaped churches, but never this.


    I'm sure I remember something similar being found in a ruined abbey in Yorkshire.  I can't remember much more, or which abbey, but I do remember mention of large pottery jars being sited underneath the stalls.

  12. It's a shame that so many of our churches are either closing down or throwing out their organs in favour of 'worship groups' (what I suggest might turn out to be a passing phase).

    At least this, and certainly some other, unwanted organs are going somewhere where they will be appreciated.

    I also find it encouraging that Germany seems interested in acquiring traditional English organ sounds.  After all, we have been importing theirs for some time now.

    My ideal organ venue - never likely to happen, of course - would contain several organs from different European countries for interest and comparison: German, Dutch, French, Italian, Iberian.  (Well, I can dream!)

  13. 12 hours ago, Tony Newnham said:

    The missing derivations on NPOR are because no-one has told us what they are!!!




    Yes, of course.  No criticism intended!

    I suppose I could have a guess as to what the 38 ranks might be, but I suppose the only people who might know for certain are the builders.  Now defunct, of course.
    It would be interesting to have a root around in there, though, to try to work it out.

  14. 7 hours ago, contraviolone said:

    It would certainly be a very large and impressive school chapel!

    Looking at the organ details on NPOR, the stop list does look impressive, being a very good example of the Compton expertise of borrowings and extensions. A modest 38 ranks becomes an instrument of 142 ranks! Interestingly NPOR does not indicate where the borrowings etc are derived. Of course quite a few borrowings/extensions are obvious by deduction, nonetheless I am very surprised the derivations are not annotated?


    Would be interested to hear from members who have played this instrument. There are several recordings on youtube and I must say the tuba alone is impressive!

    Yes, I noticed that too.  

    Personally, although Compton and others did that routinely and, admittedly, the end results may be good, I'd much prefer far fewer extensions as this gives a very exaggerated appearance of size.

    Perhaps someone in the know might edit the entry and add the usual letters after each (I suspect most) of the listed stops to show their derivation.

    I'm assuming that there are sufficient letters in the alphabet!  Seriously, though, if there are 38 ranks it would be necessary to include some double-letters too.

  15. 11 hours ago, contraviolone said:

    I suppose we should be asking what will happen to the church itself? Will it become redundant or revert to a fully functioning church within the RC diocese?

    Well, I can't see it becoming a carpet warehouse, as has actually happened with some disused churches!
    I'm not sure how 'populated' such a large building could become, though, bearing in mind the lack of any areas of large population in the neighbourhood.

  16. 22 hours ago, James Bradley said:

    This, presumably.



    "Monks at Downside Abbey have decided to leave their home.

    The abbey, in Somerset, was affiliated with Downside School, which was highlighted in an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

    The review found "appalling abuse" was inflicted on pupils and the institution tried to cover it up.

    A spokesman said the 12 Benedictine monks had spent six years "reflecting with sorrow on failures in the care for children"."

    Oh dear.  I hadn't been aware of that, though of course it isn't the first such accusation levelled at the RC church.

  17. 21 hours ago, John Pike Mander said:

    I sincerely hope the website and forum can be preserved!


    I'm sure we all echo that.  Wow!  What a turn up for the books!

    I hope I'm not expecting too much but perhaps to follow this good news wouldn't it be great if, after this covid thing is long gone, there is a possibility that Mander Organs might be resurrected?

  18. I joined the new forum, and I am grateful that someone has stepped in to continue the good work of this, the Mander forum, should it cease to exist.
    I shall also be pleased to continue to visit this forum for as long as it continues and thank those generous people responsible for its upkeep over all these years.

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