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Anybody Heard Marlborough College Yet?


sprondel
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I was in touch recently with somebody who went. I heard it was fairly OK but there was a persistent cipher which rather marred SP's performance. I think it was a brave time of year to have an inaugural recital for an organ that was installed last summer: it will only just be settling in and the temperature and humidity will be all over the place...

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
I was in touch recently with somebody who went. I heard it was fairly OK but there was a persistent cipher which rather marred SP's performance. I think it was a brave time of year to have an inaugural recital for an organ that was installed last summer: it will only just be settling in and the temperature and humidity will be all over the place...

 

Always a heart-in-mouth occasion. However, the chapel should have got the temperature and humidity under control long before the organ was installed and necessary devices installed and monitored over some months. It makes for an excellent exercise for the more scientific members of the music department to monitor this and to realize the paramount importance of maintaining both at respectable levels for most instruments - not least for the pianists who dwell in over centrally heated homes.

 

Sometimes there is an undue haste to get a spotlight inaugural concert and sometimes this is a dreadful date looming over the heads of the builders. I always try to suggest that dates for such things only are considered after the builder has done all that is necessary to install the instrument. If it is in a chapel/church and therefore used for liturgical use, the only date to provisionally book is one for a Dedication I suggest. Nice to get the angels on your side!

 

Then over the next 18 months or so, an instrument will settle and live in its new surroundings.

 

But of course, when you have lashed out on 1/2 a £million (and more), the backers and bursars want to hear their money and with interest! I remember with great affection opening a new organ in Poland in 1985 - although I never knew it to be such an auspicious occasion when being engaged. A very corpulent priest talked through the programme with me beforehand and asked if the first piece was loud. "Moderately", I replied. He pointed to the second item "Is this loud?" I said it wasn't. He looked rather agitated. I asked if he wanted a loud programme. "Of course" he boomed. "This is the first time the organ will be heard. We have spent over 10 years raising the money." Slapping his considerable girth he added "If it is soft, the Parish will point fingers and will want to know where I spent their money".

 

All the best,

Nigel

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I went to hear it and was very impressed. For the recital I was sitting at the front of the chapel with my back to the organ and about 10 feet from it. I found it a very impressive instrument and Simon Preston put it through its paces quite thoroughly. The nearest thing I heard to a cipher was a note on a reed stop which came on at the beginning of a movement and was quickly silenced. This happened a couple of times. During the service of dedication and blessing of the organ , the instrument was heard to fine effect in the voluntaries played beforehand and in the accompaniments and final voluntary. I would certainly like to attend the open day on 24th February but am booked in for the BIOS day conference.

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Sometimes there is an undue haste to get a spotlight inaugural concert and sometimes this is a dreadful date looming over the heads of the builders. I always try to suggest that dates for such things only are considered after the builder has done all that is necessary to install the instrument.
Since one presumably cannot be sure how long this might take, wouldn't it make for booking difficulties if you are looking to secure one of the big names to do the honours?
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Guest Andrew Butler

I attended the re-opening recital at All Saints, Maidstone in about 1980. The recital was to have been followed bya Reception. The Reception had to be held first to allow the work to be finished!

 

More recently, David Flood had to call Peter Collins out of the audience mid-recital at St George's, Benenden re-opening recital, to correct a fault.

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I attended the re-opening recital at All Saints, Maidstone in about 1980. The recital was to have been followed bya Reception. The Reception had to be held first to allow the work to be finished!

More recently, David Flood had to call Peter Collins out of the audience mid-recital at St George's, Benenden re-opening recital, to correct a fault.

And then, there was the service on Reformation Day in the Dresden Frauenkirche, with a cluster of soft cyphers occuring; it sounded a bit as if someone was vacuuming the hall. The organ had been dedicated the day before. And then, doors had been opened, closed and opened again, the heating was on maximum, and outside it was nicely cold and dry. The air in the church, at the time of the service, was extremely dry, and so the Swell trackers shrunk.

 

Miraculously, this couldn't be heard on the organ loft, because the Swell is at the top and back of the organ. The organist would just have had to push in all Swell stops, but he didn't know what was happening. Neither did the builder who was attending the service from the loft.

 

Thanks, anyway, for your reports so far.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Since one presumably cannot be sure how long this might take, wouldn't it make for booking difficulties if you are looking to secure one of the big names to do the honours?

 

I get your meaning - but of course such a plan of campaign does not preclude anybody from making engagement overtures to the player of your choice at any time you like - even at a designing stage. It should be a little like ascertaining witness, advocates and judge's/magistrates' availability in court; then having a pre-trial review with both sides (builder and purchaser) to finalize a date using the availability of the performer. A little flexibility in this matter I think is often rather prudent. (No 'big name' as you suggest wants to have a crappy concert on an instrument that is not working as it should. It surely does nothing for their nerves nor serves the builder and music so well, either.) But, on the other hand, a concert date sometimes is an excellent kick up the backside* to a dilatory builder!

 

All the best,

Nigel

 

* Not an assault - just friendly, artistic encouragement!

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I attended the re-opening recital at All Saints, Maidstone in about 1980. The recital was to have been followed bya Reception. The Reception had to be held first to allow the work to be finished!

 

More recently, David Flood had to call Peter Collins out of the audience mid-recital at St George's, Benenden re-opening recital, to correct a fault.

 

 

I've had that situation - exactly!

 

In my case, Peter Collins had to lie inside the organ, resting on a passageboard for the entire duration of the recital in order to ensure that middle G on the Great came off properly the moment I had finished with it! Not a good advert for his work, I thought.

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I went to hear it and was very impressed. For the recital I was sitting at the front of the chapel with my back to the organ and about 10 feet from it. I found it a very impressive instrument and Simon Preston put it through its paces quite thoroughly. The nearest thing I heard to a cipher was a note on a reed stop which came on at the beginning of a movement and was quickly silenced. This happened a couple of times. During the service of dedication and blessing of the organ , the instrument was heard to fine effect in the voluntaries played beforehand and in the accompaniments and final voluntary. I would certainly like to attend the open day on 24th February but am booked in for the BIOS day conference.

 

Thank you for your comments. I am the organist of Marlborough College and played for the service. It is true that there was a cipher and I greatly regret that we were unable to do anything between service and recital about this. This particular problem decided to manifest itself for the first time immediately before I started the voluntaries for the service. Not having sufficient time to deal with the problem, I removed the offending stop (the Pedal Fagott) from all pistons, and carried on. Not having used this stop for the service, the problem seemed to go away and I was unable to get the problem to repeat itself between service and recital, so we could do nothing before Simon Preston started his recital. Inevitably, the problem reappeared during his first piece, but I am pleased to say that Simon quickly identified and corrected the problem himself and dealt with it with minimal fuss. I hope the problem did not spoil the enjoyment of the recital for those present but I am glad that he carried on regardless rather than stopping and causing general embarrassment.

 

We remain delighted with the instrument, which is a real pleasure to play - but I would say that of course! It has certainly revived my interest in going to do some practice! I am now greatly looking forward to welcoming members of this board to Marlborough on 24 February so that they can make up their own minds.

 

Ian Crabbe

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A single note on a single stop? How can this happen on a slider chest? Is this on an electric off-set?

 

B

 

A very good question. The action is tracker to this stop and it is definitely on a slider chest. It is alongside the Contra Bombarde and Bombarde, but these were clearly not affected.

 

Ian Crabbe

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While we're on to the subject of the visit next Sat (24th) from 2pm - I have around 4 coming to Romsey at any time from 10 onwards, and all going according to plan we'll go off for something to eat at about 12 and then head over to Marlborough. I have 2 spaces left in my car if anyone fancies extending the jaunt. I understand there may be the possibility of looking at a new Harrison locally at the end of the day...

 

So, anyone who fancies coming up via another couple of instruments is welcome to PM me for arrangements.

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