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Colin Harvey

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Everything posted by Colin Harvey

  1. 86cm from the top of the keyboard to the floor; 76cm from the top of the keyboard to the pedals (naturals); 65cm bench height on my organ (1840 Hill)
  2. York Minster organ has been in the care of Harrison & Harrison for several years now. I understand the Minster are awaiting all the necessary permissions to be in place before they make an announcement, hopefully later this year. A lot of work and careful thought has gone into the best course of action for the organ; as many people will be aware there are many strands and considerations for this organ; musical, historical and how the instrument works in the building. There have been a number of experiments on the organ recently, mainly around returning the pressures back to their 1930s
  3. Thanks for the update Martin. I'm sure all of us would be interested to understand the rationale behind re-voicing this organ by Ruffatti. Would you enlighten us please? I played the new Tickell at Keble a year or two ago. I was very struck by the unashamedly romantic - if not orchestral - spirit of the organ. It's as though the style had gone full circle from Compton through GDB to Ken Tickell and here was Tickell building an organ that wasn't a million miles away from his grand-organ builders in John Compton! In particular, the orchestral reeds and strings of this organ impressed me with
  4. Hi Colin, Yes, Anglican church. The DAC made the decision in the absence of the DOA because of a perceived conflict of interest by the Archdeacon and Chairman of the DAC. I'm not sure what the conflict of interest was, except that the DOA occasionally deputises at the church. The funding for the electric was given by the friends of the church organisation, on the proviso it was only for the proposed electronic organ. The faculty also allowed for the removal of the organ, on the proviso it passed to an organ builder or another parish. I had fairly extensive correspondence with the DO
  5. Absolutely. I'd add while the organ is in pieces, it's usually sensible to seize the opportunity to carry out any repairs and maintenance which may be required. By way of an example, the organ I alluded to above (at Owslebury *) cost £600 to buy. The costs of transplanting it into the new church was in the 'teens of thousands. It was in a pretty tired state when we bought it. So the cost included a restoration of releathering the bellows, cleaning and overhaul of all components (including pipe repairs - the front pipes were badly dented) and refinishing the case (it was in quite a s
  6. I followed this organ with growing interest when a friend suggested it for a church in our area. It's always sad to see yet another organ like this, with some provenance and historic interest, on eBay and it raised a few questions about custodianship of historic organs in private hands: Is it possible to ensure good custodianship of such instruments in private hands and protect them from inappropriate alterations and work? Is it possible that, if they need to be sold or changed hands, there's a way of tracking and monitoring historic organs? What about the situation when the owner dies o
  7. The appearance of nave organs over the past 20-30 years is an interesting development in Cathedral and large church organs. I wonder how much of it has been driven by evolving liturgical practices and evolving practices with hymns? I heard a recording of the Old 100th conducted by Edward Elgar and was struck by the tempo of the singing (which was at English Hymnal tempos) and the accent put on (the start of) each note. It was not dissimilar to the iso-rhythmic psalm singing found in the most traditional areas of the Dutch Gereformeerde Gemeente churches. Hymn tempos seemed to have in
  8. Here's the best video I've yet seen of Saint-Sulpice, showing off this organ's many incredible features, like the quadruple rise reservoirs, the barker lever stop actions. Also remarkable for its stunning aural recording and performance, this time of non French music, Mendelssohn's piano prelude and fugue in E minor, another stunning performance by Daniel Roth. https://youtu.be/1V2xhAdtodM
  9. Dear MJFarr - I think you make the point very well. A lot of the success of whether Open Flutes and Open Diapasons go together depends on the voicing and treatment of the pipes. I would suggest it is perhaps unhelpful to try to define hard and fast rules as it imposes entirely arbitrary self-imposed strictures, the value of which I don't really see; although I can see HWIII's attempts are probably borne out of his own experience. Perhaps this has something to say and influence how we should approach and register on his organs? The closest to a 3 manual HWIII instrument with solely Open Di
  10. Just as Stephen Bicknell's brilliant article relates "Your architectural sense of the space you are given should affect the kind of organ that you think would work", surely it would be most effective if the organ case also influences the kind of organ in it too? Not just in size and layout but also stylistically? If the main and chaire case are to be retained from an earlier instrument, would it show the right sensitivities and artistic/musical imagination to raise the idea that "the chair case may be ditched" (sic) so early on in the discussions? I had the pleasure of working with Ste
  11. Very sorry to hear this - my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at Peter Collins Ltd. I met Peter Collins while at Southampton University (the Turner Sims Concert Hall organ was the obvious link) and ended up working for him for part of a summer holiday while at University. He was very good to me. Obviously a great loss to the British Organ Building community; he played a leading role in the organ reform movement in Britain and built some key organs of the movement. I felt he had a great sense of conviction and energy in what he wanted to achieve and his fiery energy com
  12. One of the reasons the Tuba Mirabilis sounds so huge in the nave is because the rest of the organ has been so nullified by the drastically reduced wind pressures. The H&H primary great flues were originally voiced on a pressure of around 7-8 inches, at the time of your visit they would have been barely half that. The silly mixtures don't really get out of the case. From what I understand the high pressure flues weren't revoiced when the pressures were reduced, merely tuned! The enclosed solo tubas were down from 20 inches to about 6. I agree, the Tuba Mirabilis was so ridiculously out of p
  13. The Tuba Mirabilis is not in perfect condition at York Minster. Just to clarify, it isn't exactly horizontal; the boots and shallots are vertical, on top of the soundboard in conventional fashion. The treble pipes are heavily hooded to project over the parapet of the screen and the basses are mitred at 90 degrees at no great distance from the boot. The extreme bass pipes double back into the organ before being mitred 180 degrees to speak west over the screen parapet. A little more than the tuning scrolls have been disturbed on this stop! The stop was re-tongued, either in the 1950s Walker
  14. Many thanks Richard - look forward to seeing EHR! The new Ancient & Modern, published in March 2013, ought to be mentioned as an addendum to this topic. Our church adopted it and I found it to be an excellent hymn book for a middle-of-the-road Anglican church. It is an evolution from Common Praise. So called "Worship Songs" have a reasonable representation, with a generally sensible selection and there are many new words and texts set to more familiar traditional tunes which stimulated our thoughtful congregation. At the other end of the spectrum to the worship songs, feast days and th
  15. Bringing the topic back to its original subject, the Wanamaker organ has brass strips below the keyboards for operating the swell shutters. Wanamaker Organ Console Photo
  16. Yes, I agree - I thought the BBCSO and Stephen Farr played brilliantly. The Leifs Organ Concerto is a brutal and terrifying piece. I found the opening arresting (even if a health warning is advised) and the similarly tough passacaglia developed effectively towards a fitting climax. After that, I felt the coda continued for about 6 minutes after the music had finished. It lost all momentum for me, where the thrashing around on the timpani followed by the orchestra and organ playing in glacial alternatum developed the musical picture no further. The final cadence was effected more by sheer brute
  17. Generally agree with David Drinkell. What's possible will very much depend on the available space on the soundboards. The return of an Hautboy/Oboe would be very sensible on the Swell (if there's space). Reed stops tend to be expensive but definitely worth it. You might be able to source a vintage Hill rank which might sit better if it's still pretty much a Hill Swell organ. Agree about the Great mixture - if there's space. Again, if the Great is Hill, it would make sense to add a Hill style stop - a replica or a very close copy. I hope the days of sticking a modern IV rank mixture to
  18. To reply to Dave the Pipe: the words "glass houses" and "casting stones" spring to mind! I too have been involved in keeping a Swell double reed on a Pedal Organ and also introducing a Pedal Bourdon as a manual double... as I think you're trying to make out, there are no hard and fast rules and every instance needs careful thought on its own considerations and merits.
  19. Some interesting points raised. I agreed very much with a lot of David Drinkell's observations in #39. A critical part of the effectiveness of pedal upper work depends on the design and layout of the organ. If the upperwork is buried somewhere under the swell box and behind a couple of reservoirs, it's not going to be of much use, no matter what you or the organbuilder does with it. Therefore, the available site and design of the organ is going to influence the tonal design of the pedal organ so it's understandable pedal upperwork is not going to be desirable or achievable on some organs.
  20. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere the organ in Carisbrooke Castle is by Nicolaaus Manderscheidt. Paul Hoffhaimer was an organist and composer who lived between 1459-1537. The 4ft Pedal Dulcetina (sorry, not 2ft) is at St Laurence, Alton. The original Henry Speechly organ must have been pretty good (Speechly was the foreman of Henry Willis and his works shows a lot of Willis influence) but it was got at by Woods in the 1960s, who (under the instruction of the organist at the time, Cyril Diplock) added a lot of extra stops. If one sticks to the original Speechly stops, it's a pretty OK organ
  21. I typically only find pointless stops on poorly thought-out organs or poor-quality rebuilds/additions... I've just come back from playing an organ where the mixtures (both later additions) are completely useless and pointless. (but also I very naughtily used the swell sub octave coupler to create a particular effect... I can be quite degenerate sometimes...) But I think a 2ft Dulcetina on the Pedal Organ takes some beating... and yes, I know an example...
  22. I notice on this thread and another (New Organ in New RC Cathedral in the USA) there's some misapprehension of the point of a 5 1/3 Quint - especially amongst our British correspondents. Part of the source of misunderstanding may be that virtually all organs in the UK are based on 8ft choruses. Despite a few foreign organs (the excellent 1980s Flentrop in Dunblane Cathedral springs to mind) and some British experiments (typically in the 1840s and 1960-70s) the British standard on chorus building has always been on 8ft lines. There may be a 16ft sub-unison tacked on the bottom but predomina
  23. What is a "Cor de Chamois"? Is it The Voice of the Mountain Goat? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/chamois Or is it The Voice of a Porous Piece of Leather? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/chamois_leather And there will be a celeste of it as well! Of Course... An ethereal, heavenly mountain goat, or an ethereal, heavenly, shimmering piece of leather? The whole specification is such a mad confluence of nomenclature it's difficult to detect what's going on, or what the objective of it all is. But I'm sure the resulting organ will be Very Loud. Answers on a postcard please...
  24. At the risk of re-opening this hoary old can of worms, I'm reading "The Life and Works of Ernest M Skinner" by Dorothy J Holden - a good read. Skinner is a very interesting figure. Ernest Skinner visited the UK in 1898, where he met Hope-Jones, hoping to visit the new organ Hope Jones had put in Worcester Cathedral, which people had been raving about in the USA - in fact, this was one of the main purposes behind his visit. This is what he wrote about Hope Jones: "Hope Jones walked in on me one day while I was having lunch, after which we went up to my room and I showed him some of my p
  25. I recently saw a very small (c.1840s?) Hill with a 27 note straight flat pedalboard which hinged up underneath the keyboard. Quite ingenious. It also had a collapsible bench. It looked like a small home/practice instrument, which could be folded up into something about the same size as a cottage upright piano when not in use. It made me wonder about Victorian house organs in general and if there were other examples of Victorian "home practice instruments" around or whether they are a fairly modern phenomenon. If they are about, they may be worthy of further investigation, especiall
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