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Mander Organs


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About handsoff

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    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!
  1. I have just returned from a holiday in North Devon and had a look at the Vowles organ in the parish church at South Molton. The instrument, http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N07915, is a 3 manual tracker with very attractively painted display pipes but appears to be in a desperately poor state of repair. There is a "Note for Visiting Organists" on the music desk which says, inter alia, that the choir organ is not to be used as it is beyond hope, the organ may lose all wind without notice at any time and that several pedal notes do not work and organists may need to transpose hymns if they wish to use the pedals after exploring which notes work. The church is currently in the throes of major roofing work which may explain why no money is available for the organ. I wonder if any forum members have played the organ in the past and have a memory of how it sounded? There are [hopefully] 2 pictures of the organ below. We were staying in the nearby North Molton and I contacted the church before going and was made most welcome by the vicar and churchwarden who showed me where the key was kept and said to please play whenever I wished. Mrs H. may have regretted their generosity! The organ http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N12353 here is a Walker and although the blower is a little noisy it makes some lovely sounds. There has clearly been some work since the latest report to the NPOR (whom I shall notify shortly along with photos) and the missing stops on the Swell organ have been added. Do other forum members contact churches via ACNY before a holiday - I always do so...
  2. I wonder if any members of the Birmingham OA are on here still? Paul Carr and Contrebordun were members and may know or be able to find out more details. I think that an organ in such a location would be a splendid idea; Sunday afternoon recitals could be quite a draw - a comfortable environment with no hard pews and a pot of tea with cakes. The cost of restoration to full working order would be a drop in the ocean for the developers although the ongoing problem of tuning and maintenance in a warm hotel might be daunting.
  3. Recitals

    Saturday October 7th at 5pm. The 3rd Anniversary Recital marking the installation of the PPO organ in the Guild Chapel, Stratford-upon-Avon is being given by Roy Massey, Organist Emeritus, Hereford Cathedral. I don't know the programme at the moment but can imagine that it will be very, very good! Note the early start time - very welcome to me at least as 7pm or later on a Saturday just doesn't work...
  4. Unusual audience member

    I'm not so sure. The pose being struck by the cat in the photograph looks worryingly similar to one that visits our garden and.... well, you know.
  5. This subject was mentioned on BBC R3 Breakfast this morning with some gentle(ish) sarcasm about the church's alleged actions from the presenter.
  6. Bats in the Bourdon

    It's good to have MM's input and humour on the forum once more... welcome back. That's a great clip of the 12 Days - one stop I noticed on the left hand stop jamb looks fun - Pedal Tutti to Swell.
  7. Bats in the Bourdon

    I mentioned it to the churchwarden and he was aware of the responsibilities required with the visitors. There are a few more pipes outside the case that could be used as roosts but I don't think it's much of a problem. The organ is little used and the pedals, being short-compass and offset by around 4 keys (bottom C being about where F would normally be) even less so. I wish that I'd used innate's line - and probably will. Oscar Wilde and Whistler spring to mind!
  8. Bats in the Bourdon

    I played for a wedding yesterday in a church where the organ is not used regularly. Whist practising on the previous day I noticed that 3 notes of the short compass pedal Bourdon didn't speak and on opening the tuning notes book to ask for it to be fixed (the organ is tuned annually) saw the pipes had been silenced because bats are roosting in them...
  9. Music That We'd Rather Not Play

    By some coincidence the hymn list at St.P's for this Sunday has Lord, Jesus Christ, you have come to us, scheduled. I don't find this at all offensive and actually quite like the harmonies. I must conclude that something within me finds S,JS to be junk. It's all subjective. What has caught me whilst playing the hymns over at home is that the big orange book has many hymns in lower keys than those to which I'm accustomed. After heaven knows how many years of playing "Richmond" in G Major it took an effort of will over muscle memory to play it in F. Fingers crossed, figuratively at least...
  10. Messy Church

    Our benefice has held a Messy Church since just before Christmas 2016. The intention is to draw children from a large new housing development and has, by any measure been successful. I'm not involved as they have their own musicians but here is a link to the benefice's site; Messy Church being a little way down. http://www.southwarksbenefice.org.uk
  11. Music That We'd Rather Not Play

    That's a good point, thank you innate. I judged the response from the churchwarden and choir to reflect most views but may have been wrong. There are 2 distinct congregations at St. P's. The 09.30 service, for which I play, is the traditional communion service with by and large the older villagers who have been attending that service for years. The 11.00 service is a more evangelical event with a music group consisting of piano, flute and guitar and sometimes drums. They have their own quite separate attendees not just from the village but from the surrounding area too and although sometimes using the same hymn book, along with Mission Praise and various other odds and ends, sing those which are, to my mind, more worship songs than what I regard as hymns. I should have thought that S, J S fitted more easily into their services. I will though happily admit to being a bit of a fossil in my musical tastes... Tony, I did speak to the incumbent organist, who picks the hymns and who is also a friend, earlier in the week to ask her opinion. She told me that I should feel free to alter anything I wanted and that S, J S probably wasn't the best choice for the 09.30 - on a previous occasion the congregation didn't sing it all leaving the choir to perform almost as an anthem. I choose the hymns for my own church and always use a lectionary as well as the "Hymns suggested for Sundays" index to ensure their relevance to the service. Stainer's Crucifixion? A real Marmite of the musical world. I'm a fan!
  12. To set some background, I am currently deputising at a small parish church in a village near my usual church because the the organist is incapacitated for several weeks. The service times are fortunately fine to allow for travel between the two. The hymns have been picked for the next 3 months and I was given a list at the beginning of last week for the coming period. I have never played "Shine, Jesus Shine" and vowed many years ago that I wouldn't unless under great duress, say if required for a funeral, so was less than chuffed to find that it was scheduled for the end of yesterday morning's service. The hymn book used is that huge orange tome, "Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New" which I was "amused" to see has hymns about elephants and smelly feet. Hmmm. Anyway, I decided to try to avoid S, J S and so picked a more traditional alternative, turned up a few minutes early and spoke to the churchwarden. His relief to my suggestion was palpable and he almost ran to the numbers box to change the boards. The choir were also delighted as, as one of them said, "It's just embarrassing to sing". They said that as I'm currently their organist I should feel free to change anything I wish except the mass setting as everyone likes and knows it. My wife said that I was wrong to change the hymn as it showed arrogance and elitism on my part but I feel that it was justified as the choir and congregation were pleased to not sing it. Had they asked to play it rather than make a change I would, of course, had acceded.
  13. Youtube

    Speaking as one who detests anything to do with football I watched the clip with some reservation but found it quite inspiring. The Scottish tune came as a bit of a surprise and made me wonder how it came to be used by a football club but both the playing and the instrument were excellent. I must seek out some more conventional recordings of the organ.
  14. Easter highlight

    I heard it too - a very fine arrangement of the song. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08m93mg ...should find it. Another sort of tweet follows the service - the yellow wagtail on the BBC "Tweet of the Day" programme!
  15. The French Horn on the right-hand Echo Organ in Symphony Hall, Birmingham is sublime.