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Peter Clark

Lytham St Cuthberts

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Whilst in Blackpool recently (see my posting on Sacred Heart), I failed, because I completely forgot about it, to make an appointment to see the new Copeman Hart in the chutrch of St Cuthbert in Lytham, which I had read about in CMQ a couple of years back:

 

http://www.lythamorgansociety.co.uk/history.htm

 

(BTW notice the awful apostrophe!)

 

Has anybody seen/heard/played it? As I go to Blackpool at least once a year to see my sister and do the avuncular thing, would it then be worth having a look at this instrument? How indeed do people feel about such an instrument?

 

I'd be very interested in views.

 

Peter

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Whilst in Blackpool recently (see my posting on Sacred Heart), I failed, because I completely forgot about it, to make an appointment to see the new Copeman Hart in the chutrch of St Cuthbert in Lytham, which I had read about in CMQ a couple of years back:

 

http://www.lythamorgansociety.co.uk/history.htm

 

(BTW notice the awful apostrophe!)

 

Has anybody seen/heard/played it? As I go to Blackpool at least once a year to see my sister and do the avuncular thing, would it then be worth having a look at this instrument? How indeed do people feel about such an instrument?

 

I'd be very interested in views.

 

Peter

 

Hi

 

Personally, I'd have reservations - it does seem rather "over the top" - but if it suits the current requirements of the church (rather than the organist's fancies) then I'd not object.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Whilst in Blackpool recently (see my posting on Sacred Heart), I failed, because I completely forgot about it, to make an appointment to see the new Copeman Hart in the chutrch of St Cuthbert in Lytham, which I had read about in CMQ a couple of years back:

 

http://www.lythamorgansociety.co.uk/history.htm

 

(BTW notice the awful apostrophe!)

 

Has anybody seen/heard/played it? As I go to Blackpool at least once a year to see my sister and do the avuncular thing, would it then be worth having a look at this instrument? How indeed do people feel about such an instrument?

 

I'd be very interested in views.

 

Peter

 

 

 

The new organ at Lytham is a dual spec classical/theatre model, built by Copeman Hart. The acoustics in the church aren't very good and don't do the organ much good. I spent an hour or two on the instrument a few months ago. The theatre specification is almost a carbon copy of the Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer, complete with quint and tierce couplers! The theatre sound is excellent but although the classical spec looks good on paper, I was disappointed with the sound - nothing like a pipe organ IMHO. Having played several excellent Copeman Hart instruments in the past, I was extremely disappointed with the Lytham sound. I'm not convinced that the speakers were placed in the right places either. Furthermore, I'm not convinced that enough time was spent voicing the instrument. The organist at Lytham is a good friend of mine and he did tell me a few weeks ago that some more work had been done on the voicing side of things in recent months, so it may have improved since I last heard it.

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The Apostrophe is quite the least of their worries I think - I've never read such a lot of bull in my life. Nonsense.

 

David Wyld.

 

Sometimes it may seem better to care for persian cats, maybe. :wacko:

 

Pierre

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The new organ at Lytham is a dual spec classical/theatre model

Why?

 

In a church?

 

Less than 10 miles from the theatre organ it's copying?

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From the website:

"Just how much of a saving is well illustrated at St. Cuthbert's. The theatre organ has about 1000 pipes arranged in 10 extended ranks. The church organ, which has slightly fewer speaking stops, needs 99 ranks and 5430 pipes!"

 

Forgive me for being ignorant, but this is a digital instrument, right? In which case, why talk about ranks and pipes?

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Forgive me for being ignorant, but this is a digital instrument, right? In which case, why talk about ranks and pipes?

 

Ah - because this is how the perpetrators of these monstrosities convince themselves that they are worth anything at all. Similarly, they hide their 'stuff' behind sham pipes so it pretends even more.

 

Not only here though: I was at the monastery at La Verna in Tuscany last week (the retreat of St,. Francis) and in a wonderfully-decorated chapel with works by Luca Della Robbia and spectacularly carved stalls etc., there sits a one-foot-deep 'organ' case with a nicely-arranged 4ft front of tin pipes and two keyboards (colour-reversed). The game is given away by the fact that this thing has almost twenty stops and THREE 'swell' pedals.

 

Question: if the electronic stuff is "every bit as good as" a genuine pipe organ and if the electronic stuff "doesn't sound any different from" a genuine pipe organ, WHY is it dressed up with sham pipes to give the impression of its being a genuine pipe organ?

 

At least the La Verna thing doesn't have 'Theatre' on it!! Thank god for small mercies.

 

David Wyld

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Guest Lee Blick
Question: if the electronic stuff is "every bit as good as" a genuine pipe organ and if the electronic stuff "doesn't sound any different from" a genuine pipe organ, WHY is it dressed up with sham pipes to give the impression of its being a genuine pipe organ?

 

Unfortunately, there are also a lot of poor pipe organs with the audacity of having a pipe front supposedly to hide the crap from within....

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Guest Barry Williams
Ah - because this is how the perpetrators of these monstrosities convince themselves that they are worth anything at all. Similarly, they hide their 'stuff' behind sham pipes so it pretends even more.

 

Not only here though: I was at the monastery at La Verna in Tuscany last week (the retreat of St,. Francis) and in a wonderfully-decorated chapel with works by Luca Della Robbia and spectacularly carved stalls etc., there sits a one-foot-deep 'organ' case with a nicely-arranged 4ft front of tin pipes and two keyboards (colour-reversed). The game is given away by the fact that this thing has almost twenty stops and THREE 'swell' pedals.

 

Question: if the electronic stuff is "every bit as good as" a genuine pipe organ and if the electronic stuff "doesn't sound any different from" a genuine pipe organ, WHY is it dressed up with sham pipes to give the impression of its being a genuine pipe organ?

 

At least the La Verna thing doesn't have 'Theatre' on it!! Thank god for small mercies.

 

David Wyld

 

 

I agree totally. There are certain circumstances where a synthetic instrument may be desirable for pastoral reasons, but only rarely can a case be made for dressing it up as though it were a pipe organ.

 

What appalls me is that some suppliers of synthetic instruments are still using seriously out-dated technology, such as the single cycle 'Bradford' system. Even the inventors of this gravely flawed method of tone production have long since moved on to a newer version of that system.

 

Notwithstanding the inherent defects of electronics, they are hardly ever installed to a satisfactory standard. The salesmen/installers lack the training of pipe organ voicers, frequently having had no formal training whatsoever. Many are just organists or organ enthusiasts who have never ever worked for years with a pipe organ voicer to learn the basics of tonal work. The instruments are often grossly out of tune. Regulation bears little or no resemblance to the principles of pipe organ tonal finishing. The bearings (i.e. the internal relationship of the octave) are commonly way out of tune and to an extent that would never be tolerated on a pipe organ. The 'Bradford' system noramlly has a built-in defect termed 'randomisation'. This produces a vile de-tuning, said to reproduce the chorus effect of a pipe organ. It does nothing of the sort, of course. That misunderstanding arises from a fundamental misapprehension about pipe tone.

 

All in all the electronic 'organ' industry fails to deliver value. The imported instruments are often far cheaper when purchased directly from abroad, as has been pointed out elsewhere on this discsssion board.

 

Barry Williams

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Guest Lee Blick

Personally, I don't have a problem with electronic/digital organs. I have one at home and a fair number of organists do. There is no doubt the prescence of electronic/digital organs has enabled the continuence of traditional music in many of these particularly smaller local parish churches where they were ill-served by Victorian/Edwardian pipe organs which may have been fine to perform orchestral transcription but hopeless for the demands of the modern liturgy.

Nothing will ever match the sound and majesty of a pipe organ, but unfortunately in these cash strapped times for British churches of traditional worship, parishes have had to seek alternatives and one of those is the electronic/digital organ. I would far more see that as an alternative rather than a 'geeetar' band to replace traditional church music.

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HUM!!!

 

Though I freely admit toasters have their place at home, no doubt,

I would be inclined to think any Victorian/Edwardian pipe organs

is 10,000 times preferable for any church, however small.....

(Ah, those neo-baroque ideas!!!)

 

Pierre

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The Apostrophe is quite the least of their worries I think - I've never read such a lot of bull in my life. Nonsense.

 

David Wyld.

 

Hear, hear! :wacko:

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Guest Lee Blick
I would be inclined to think any Victorian/Edwardian pipe organs

is 10,000 times preferable for any church, however small.....

 

Sorry Pierre, but as an organist who has had to play these blessed instruments to accompany the liturgy over the course of 20 years, I have found many of them with meagre resources i.e. not much of anything over 4' and some frankly of poor quality. Personally I think it is wrong to maintain the mantra that "Pipes is good, electronic is bad" when many of the pipe organs in the smaller parishes are not properly maintained and resourced. The result is that they are left to rot, or thrown out in favour of a digital organ or music groups. In the end organists vote with their feet and they don't want to fill those posts and it effects the worship at the church.

 

It is all very well to sit there and display your credentials as a historian but when it comes down to the nitty gritty of providing music in liturgy for local church worship, organists want instruments with the resources to be able to do that. And if the pipe organ isn't up to it and the church cannot afford to augment it or buy a new one, you cannot blame them for seeking an electronic alternative. Of course there are chapels where there is no space at all for a pipe organ, so a harmonium or an electronic organ is the reality.

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I personally would rather play a semi decent toaster than a knackered, out of tune Victorian pipe organ. One must weigh up the pros and cons of both, but at the end of the day, rebuilding or repairing these heaps of scrap keeps organ builders in work. I'm not convinced, however, that spending around £100k an all singing and dancing toaster is the solution either, when a perfectly reasonable digital instrument could have been purchased for half of the cost.

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But to come back to at least part of the topic: why did they put a Theatre Organ in it?

 

And should we want to - could we all - in theory - have one? Meaning rather - can a church just install something like this with no 'checks' or 'faculties' from diocesan authorities etc? (Or maybe there were these in place!!) :wacko:

 

AJJ

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Guest Lee Blick
And should we want to - could we all - in theory - have one? Meaning rather - can a church just install something like this with no 'checks' or 'faculties' from diocesan authorities etc? (Or maybe there were these in place!!) :wacko:

 

AJJ

 

Perhaps the organist is a theatre organist, or has noted theatre organists connected with the church. Maybe the theatre organ side is going to be used for concerts as part a mission by the church to bring new people into it.

 

The way that the instrument is being presented on the website might not be presented very well but there could be a very worthy and imaginative reason and story behind the installation.

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Lee, here is an example:

 

http://olivier.schmitt.org.free.fr/moyeuvre_temple

 

Though limited, this Link organ is a gem.

The "mixture" is 2 2/3'-2'-1 3/5', Dolce pipes.

 

You do not need anything above 4' to make a good organ,

we have Van Bever and Schyven organs (10-12 stops) without

any 2' or 2 2/3' in many village churches.

And the organists would throw any toaster out at once.....To put

it mildly.

Now I agree there are poor jobs, of course. But this has nothing

to do with the "above 4' or not" question.

 

Pierre

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That's rather the point though, isn't it? Presumably the theatre stuff had a cost to it, which was - presumably - met from donated funds? Even if there is a plan to get people into the church by showing them silent movies with theatre organ accompaniment, I'm not sure how cost effective a way of saving souls that would be... But if it was simply that the titulaire happened to be a theatre organ buff, well, is that a good use of church funds?

 

Accepting the massive ignorance from which I write these vague generalisations - I'm hugely intruigued by the whole thing and am still curious to know why it was done.

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Guest Lee Blick
Now I agree there are poor jobs, of course. But this has nothing

to do with the "above 4' or not" question

 

Sorry, but I beg to differ but I am only going on my experiences in the UK. Perhaps it is different from where you are.

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Question: if the electronic stuff is "every bit as good as" a genuine pipe organ and if the electronic stuff "doesn't sound any different from" a genuine pipe organ, WHY is it dressed up with sham pipes to give the impression of its being a genuine pipe organ?

 

Thats the problem, they will never be as good as a genuine pipe organ. The only good stops on some electronic organs are the flutes, but the reeds are absolute rubbish.

All the electronics I've played are all right organs, but try playing something in full organ, the tone all goes 'foggy' and it sounds terrible.

 

JA

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......I'm not convinced, however, that spending around £100k an all singing and dancing toaster is the solution either, when a perfectly reasonable digital instrument could have been purchased for half of the cost.

 

This isn't how much it cost, is it? :lol:

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Guest Barry Williams

Half that cost is £50,000 which is extremely excessive for even the very finest pipeless instrument. I have not been able to notice any improvement in quality with any increase in price and, generally, additional stops do not improve the tone on synthetic instruments.

 

Barry Williams

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Half that cost is £50,000 which is extremely excessive for even the very finest pipeless instrument. I have not been able to notice any improvement in quality with any increase in price and, generally, additional stops do not improve the tone on synthetic instruments.

 

Barry Williams

 

....And this, because they will always lack the "breath" of a pipe organ,

whose pipes are in relationship with the others, and their surroundings.

You can imitate one stop, no problem. But whenever you draw two stops,

however perfectly imitated, they won't blend like the real things.

This is why any genuine 16-8-8-8-8-4 "canticle bin" from 1905 will

always beat any 100 stops toaster.

 

Pierre

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