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Mander Organs


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Everything posted by handsoff

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. I too have showed some friends including a pianist and a string player, both of whom have in the past been a little disparaging (only in private to me, and that probably reflects my playing!) about organ-playing techniques, part of Thomas Trotter's Birmingham Town Hall DVD and that by Simon Johnson from St Paul's. They were especially impressed by Simon's narrated version of the Cocker Tuba Tune and said that they honestly didn't realise how much was actually involved in playing a large instrument and what enormous levels of skill and musicianship were clearly involved. They were staggered by the Bonnet Variations and by how one player could possibly perform such an obviously extremely difficult piece and cope with it and at the same time deal with all the registration changes. The Thalben-Ball Variations for pedals on the BTH DVD simply blew them away as did the Overture to Meistersingers where the pianist picked up on the Cymbelstern, asking where on the earth did the Triangle come from. Enough to say that they will disparage no more. It would be good if music colleges had a stock of these DVDs and showed them to all students. Yes, right...
  7. Just brilliant and a great way to deal with my least favourite key signature. One observation; make sure that the orange is nice and firm ...
  8. Oliver Latry, in an article printed in The Times this morning, says that the organ in Notre Dame may well be playable within 3 years. The article is ahead of his Proms appearance next Sunday morning.
  9. Having just joined the 21st century and bought an Amazon Alexa thing for the home (after enjoying the use of one in a holiday cottage) a voice activated console should be a possibility. It would need a faster response time than Alexa but with a closed-circuit system rather than wi-fi/internet it should be possible. "Fred, swell No8, swell to great" etc etc Mind you, some careful filters for error-led profanities and mischievous asistants/choristers/ curates/ spouses and so on might be advisable. </realmoffantasymode> 🦄🦄
  10. There was a standing ovation at the end of Dame Gillian Weir's inaugural recital on the Tickell organ at Worcester Cathedral. I was seated in front of the tomb of King John on an especially hard seat with no back support and was one of the first to leap to my feet...
  11. In 2019 is it really a problem that one cannot listen to a live broadcast? In my house we have 3 devices capable of recording high quaity digital sound plus 2 others, with simple timers, that can record a very decent analogue broadcast all of which can be connected to a sound system to be replayed at a time convenient to all. This does not of course address the simple fact that the BBC Proms authorities regard organ music, and the simply amazing instrument available to them in the Albert Hall, with disdain and being of lesser status than the scratching of strings 🤾‍♂️.🏃‍♂️
  12. What a gloriously moving and engaging service this is. I can't stop watching... I wish that I were there.
  13. Earlier in the week there was an incident in St Patrick's cathedral, New York when a man was arrested in possession of petrol, lighter fuel and lighters.
  14. Oops! It was in the presence of Giscard d'Estaing the mass being in honour of De Gaulle. I should wear my specs for CD case writing.
  15. If, as we all hope, the organ were to be saved I imagine that it would have to removed from the cathedral to allow for the fabric of the building to be properly assessed and repaired. With this in mind it will be many years if not decades before it will be heard again. I have just played the Solstice recording of Pierre Cochereau's improvisation in the minor key on La Marseillaise which he played in 1977 for the funeral mass of Pres. Giscard d'Estaing. It seemed appropriate... Amd what has Radio 3 just played? Go on, guess. [Clue - it's not an improv by PC]
  16. I remember hearing Paul Hale play a recital at Walsall Town Hall on the excellent Nicholson and Lord/Compton/Mander/Hawkins organ. He ended with an arrangement by a theatre organist friend of the Widor V final movement interspersed with "When the Saints Go Marching In" theme largely in the pedal. He ussed the wobulation devices (😊) and I recall thinking at the time that is was a shame that there wasn't one on the pedal organ as the 32' reed in particular would have been fun had there been.
  17. Thank you carrick - my ignorance of the Blackpool Wurlizter scene is shocking! Having never visited the town or known anything about the organs I had wrongly assumed that all 3 venues were part of the same. I am fascinated by the theatre/cinema organ and enjoy the sound; especially when the tremulants are used a bit more sparingly than sometimes seems to be the case but I put that down to my, ummm, blinkered early years! Mrs H and & I have long said that we should like to see the Blackpool illuminations so in the coming Autumn we shall and try to time the visit with a concert.
  18. I recall hearing or reading somewhere that the Blackpool Wurlizter has a significant amount of electronic amplification. Is this correct or an urban myth? Thanks
  19. I have vague memories of seeing, when very young (8 or 9?), a "light-organ" show at the long-gone Bingley Hall in Birmingham during a visit with my parents. I recall that dancing columns of water illuminated by coloured lights were accompanied and controlled by an organ although whether pipe or electronic I don't know. The performance was during some sort of home economics event where housewives were able to buy various new new kitchen implements. I can still in my mind's eye the yellow plastic butter dish my mother bought which had a hollow lid into which warm water could be poured to soften the butter on cold days! I remember that better than the light-organ show...
  20. Sad news indeed. I very much like his anthem, "O Lord the Maker of All Thing" - wonderfully atmospheric and exciting music to both perform and hear. On a lighter note; on the day that the 2012 Olympic Torch was being paraded through Stratford-upon-Avon (1 July 2012) I played "Torches" as a postlude to our morning service. The congregation just didn't get it...
  21. May I say how much I miss pcnd5584's erudite and knowledgeable contributions to this forum...
  22. Stainer: The Crucifixion ...and yes, I really mean it! I am very fond of this work with its drama, word-painting and simply wonderful hymn tunes. A good tenor soloist is clearly needed and I'd allow you to omit the Prelude! I know it's unfashionable to like Stainer at the moment but his time will come again...
  23. I have two carol services at different churches within the Benefice; for the first, a very cheerful and quite light-hearted affair I shall end with a simple arrangement of "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" - short so that it can finish before the kettles boil and catchy enough to make the audience listen. The second service is more traditional and they shall have "In Dulci Jubilo" by Wilbur Held. On Christmas morning I'll play "God Rest Ye Merry" also by Wilbur Held.
  24. If she were ever to come back..!
  25. I've always been a fan of a good last reharmonisation and in most circumstances much prefer one to a descant with a few exceptions such as Andrew Fletcher's "Hark the Herald" and one to Divinum Mysterium we used to do at Warwick. Last verse jobs do seem to have gone out of fashion although I don't go to nearly as many services in cathedrals and other churches with good organists as I once did. When much younger I went to a residential accompaniment course at Addington Palace and learned a huge amount, including the art of last verses, most of which I seem to have lost over the years. In my own small way I always try to vary the harmonies of at least one hymn per service but bearing in mind there are rarely more than 15 in the congregation and the organ is, umm, limited, I have to be circumspect. One funny story from recent years. In our annual carol service not long ago there was a woman in the congregation with a very pronounced and uncontrolled vibrato coupled to a loud voice and apparently equally large ego. She was the sort that would finish a loud carol by say, going to the upper 5th and then the tonic an octave higher to finish. In "O Come all ye Faithful" I had prepared an alternative harmony for the final verse ("Sing Choirs of...." as it was before Christmas) but she took it it upon herself to belt out the Willcocks descant in competition. Even with the limited organ, I won. Enough to say that she didn't hang about for the mince pies... 😈
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