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handsoff

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About handsoff

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  • Gender
    Male
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    Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Interests
    Playing the organ, listening to organ music both live and recorded, railways, photography, walking, swimming, cooking and eating, driving (1969 Morris Minor amongst others) and keeping my wife in the manner to which she has become accustomed. That means that I took very early retirement and she still works!

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  1. Thank you for the replies. The church in question with the music group has the same 4 or 5 players who, since the regular organist retired, play for all Sunday services where music is required and also for carols and harvest extras. It is a very pretty building in a classic black & white village setting so is popular for weddings and as the village has quite a large population of older inhabitants there are quite a few funerals for all of which I play unless recorded or no music is the preference. There hasn't been a single occasion for which the music group has been requested; the organ apparently being regarded as more traditional and, as one family told me when discussing music, "the right thing to have". On one occasion a deceased person had been an enthusiastic member of the more evangelical style of service held there and accompanied by the group for years but had stipulated that he wanted the hymns and voluntaries played on the organ. I had wondered if this situation was the norm and am really interested to hear that it may, albeit on a small sample, be in a minority. Perhaps the setting in a pretty location is a factor. It certainly isn't due to any perceived competence on the part of the organist!
  2. I currently play the organ for 3 out of 4 churches in our benefice, one of them regularly and the other two on as-required basis, largely for weddings and funerals plus harvest, general (5th Sunday if there is one) benefice and carol services in one of the two. The other of the two has a music group for the Sunday morning services, consisting of, as far as I know, piano/electronic keyboard, guitars and flute. I have never heard of the music group being asked to play for a wedding or funeral and if for whatever reason the organ is not desired recorded music is usually played. On rare occasions, especially for weddings, the family has asked musicians of their acquaintance, not the regular music group, to accompany the service rather than have the organ played. I should be interested to hear if any members have known a church music group play for weddings and funerals as part of their general duties rather than by special request or is it more likely that a local organist be asked to come along as a one-off? Just wondering...
  3. In the 1980s the company for which I worked bought some IBM desktop PCs for "selected" staff and arranged for us to have some training in the IBM Basic programming language. As part of the the work-based applications which sent a "beep" if an input error was made I discovered that my PC had a very simple sound card and speaker. As a bit of fun I wrote a simple program which played frequencies ranging from x to y where each was set from an input menu. Mainly with the aim of annoying people I set it to gradually descend from 30 khz to 15khz and see whom from the year's intake of actuarial students I mentored picked up the sound and roughly where in the selected range. The results from just watching their reactions were actually quite interesting and during a couple of lunch breaks it was possible to talk to the youngsters, aged 21 - 23, and correlate very roughly their sensitivity to high frequencies with their student lifestyles while at university. It became obvious that 1 or 2 of them who had frequented what I probably referred to as pop concerts and nightclubs did have quite badly attenuated hearing in the higher ranges and I inferred that the two were not unconnected.
  4. The very informal carol service at church A - the first 3 phrases of that Toccata in D minor which then morphed into "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas". It went down a treat! The more traditional carol service at church B - "Nowell! Nowell! Christus Natus Est", by Andrew Fletcher. Christmas Morning at church B - "A Roundelay for Christmas Day", Stanley Vann.
  5. I quite agree. I love mechanical watches and have several, of both pocket and wrist varieties with an especial fondness for those of the latter with automatic winding movements although the winder boxes take up too much space (apparently!). No Patek Philippe yet but I'm working on it... 🙏
  6. I bet I'm the only one who will be pretending to be an organist!🙄 I've just recovered the feeling in my hands and feet after a practice session and have found that the Open Diapason + Larigot with the box closed sounds good - there's no point in me trying to imitate a brass instrument and feel that the plaintive sound of the above combination will be appropriate. I shall play Thaxted for a short voluntary after the service and shall use, for the second playover, the OD alone in the closed box and draw the Larigot (twice, pause and twice again) on the final chord (having repeated the final phrase so as to end on Middle C) to echo the sound in Dupré's Cortege. It souded effective to me, at least, earlier today.
  7. I have previously and shall again use a C Major version on my single manual reedless organ on Sunday. In my opinion the key isn't of much importance on such an occasion; the music itself trumping all else and fact that it is being played being paramount. I know nothing of brass instruments' tuning anyway!
  8. Vox and AJJ. You both are quite correct. The couple's statement to me came over as quite defensive rather than outright arrogant as they know that my own tastes for liturgy, not reflected in the all services for which I play, cease somewhere around Cranmer. The "you'd hate it" phrase, whilst perfectly true did smack of an attitude that they were more in touch with today's church than I, an old-fashioned stick-kicker. I do though have sympathy with the over-cautious language used by some folk when talking to or about less advantaged people. It's a bit like the way well-meaning enquiries about the health of one we know to be very ill are all too often accompanied with a head leant to one side and a felicitous smile whereas the sufferer may prefer a straightforward question such as "How's the chemo(therapy) making you feel?"
  9. I recently bumped into a couple whom I know slightly and they asked me if I was still playing the organ. I told them that I was and asked which church they attended, knowing that they had been regulars at a local establishment for years. "The Revival Church at the college", I was told, "You know, the happy-clappies. You'd hate it; bangs, twangs and whistles!" I asked if they objected to the phrase even though they had used it themselves, "No, of course not, that's what we are. It's the snowflakes who butt in and object on our behalf even though we don't know them, like those sighted people who say blind people should be called visually impaired even though the blind person calls themself "blind"".
  10. Well yes, but... I know of several small (and possibly some larger...) organs where entirely reversible and non-damaging minor alterations have been carried out as, I'm sure, do many members. Some of these have even been done by quite large tuning companies, dare I say, under the heading of maintenance... I do take the point though that that is the correct route. As an off-topic addendum, the church which keeps the hotch-potch organ dry has a roof covered entirely with lead. A small patch over the nave developed a leak and the then rector when asked about going through all the correct channels to have some work done said something along the lines of, "Oh don't! It'll take months, can't Bert (not his real name, words voiced by an actor) from the village do it for the price of a pint or five?" He did. Pragmatism is still alive in the C of E!
  11. Thank you all very much for your replies which really are fascinating and have sown the germs of some ideas which may not be entirely theoretical. I do like the Dulciana; it's not a bad example of the breed and is useful either on its own or with the Stopped Diapason for use just as Colin Pykett suggested. I should be happier to lose the Claribel Flute and do like the idea of transposing the pipes and temporarily losing the top octave with a view to replacing them later should the experiment work. There is a warehouse full of pipes somewhere in this town... The pedalboard was a problem for me when first I played the organ after some decades of having my feet on auto-pilot suddenly going in the wrong places through Bottom C being where Bottom F should be found. It finally clicked and all is well now, by and large. I clearly have to pick and choose the music but there is plenty around either for manuals only or with simple pedal parts not going too far north. Hymns are fine with perhaps a bit more looking down than my old teacher would have liked! There is simply nowhere to put more Bourdon pipes. The organ does make a fine sound and is one that I much enjoy playing but do feel that the addition of a 4' Flute would be a great boon. When next it's tuned I shall make sure I am there and have a quiet chat along the lines mentioned. The church has little money but I'd be happy to pay if it's not too much. The other organ I play more regularly is in the next village and is nowhere near as pleasant. It was apparently cobbled together from odd bits and pieces and has little homogeneity. The OD and Principal sort of blend and the same goes for the SD and 4' Flute. The Piccolo does just about work as itself with the Flutes and as a Fifteenth with the Diapasons. As has been discussed here before the Larigot is a waste of space. Before Trevor Tipple retired I talked to him at some length about it and when his tuner came measurements were taken with a view to it becoming a 12th. Sadly, it wouldn't work through limited space. The pedalboard was originally, I think, limited compass and shoved to the right but in 1993, according to a memorial plaque, was restored and given electric action. The kick-stick swell pedal was replaced with a balanced device but it is so far to the right that it is most uncomfortable to use so the very efficient box tends to either open or closed - crescendo effects lead to leg cramps! The wind supply is inadequate and long chords on full organ do fade away. It goes without saying that if any forum member is ever in the area and would like a play on the organs do let me know. There are 2 others in the benefice. 1) A nice 2 manual Hewins/Nicholsons which I play for weddings and funerals, found here and and a very decent Holditch I occasionally play when the village organists aren't available.
  12. I'll start by saying that my question is purely theoretical and there is no prospect of what I am asking about actually happening so we don't need to worry about the morality of a change or obtaining a faculty. It's just for my own interest. One of the organs I play regularly is this. It has a really good strong and bright principal chorus which especially with the Fifteenth drawn is excellent for leading a congregation. What I feel the organ is missing is a 4' flute tone to give a little more brightness to quieter music. The 4' Principal + Claribel Flute or Stopped Diapason is OK but the Principal is a bit overpowering. There is no room in the standalone case for more pipes and my question is whether an Octave coupler would, and I repeat in theory only, be possible and would it be expensive? There would be space at the treble end for a drawstop to activate such a coupler. The action is light and positive and the whole organ is well maintained. Thank you
  13. I am very sad to hear this news. I didn't know David but did have a couple of very kind PMs from him via this forum offering advice on music choice for an organist of limited skills. His depth of knowledge about organs of all types was both staggering and hugely interesting and I shall miss his contributions enormously.
  14. Members may be interested to hear David Briggs playing the organ in Llandaff Cathedral via Radio 3 on Wednesday at 7.30pm. The programme is Saint-Saens, Bach, Widor and Dupré then an interval followed by an improvised symphony based on three Welsh themes.
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