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Peter Clark

Lytham St Cuthberts

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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.

I was under the impression that the state-of-the-art toaster in New York City's Trinity Church, Wall Street cost significantly more than £100K.

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Guest 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

 

 

Yes and the 'Bradford' system in particular does not generate multiple stops. If you draw one register it imitates that. If you draw two it imitates the analysed combination of those tones. It follows that the more stops you draw the weaker the effect. The better versions have more equipment, (modules), so this is less noticeable, but the principle remains the same.

 

The sound sample system is unaffected by this, but the makers then express the tones through relatively few audio channels, so that the tone is all jumbled up.

 

Pipes give off sounds from all around. Loudspeakers are highly directional.

 

These are just a few of the many reasons why these gadgets are less than realistic, though they can be useful in certain circumstances. It is such a pity that they are so rarely adjusted and installed to best advantage. If they were, the defects would be less obvious.

 

 

Barry Williams

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I was under the impression that the state-of-the-art toaster in New York City's Trinity Church, Wall Street cost significantly more than £100K.

Crumbs!

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Crumbs!

 

I can't find the actual cost, but I'm sure I read somewhere that it was as much as a pipe organ would cost... This open letter to the organ community is interesting: http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/welcome/?article&id=891

and, like Lytham (to vaguely stay on topic) it has bell and whistles and other Cinema Organ gadgets, best used by Cameron Carpenter in William's 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' which opens the second half of his 2007 recital here: http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/calendar/...?event_id=40478 He plays the orchestral score complete, possibly giving reason for the extra stops' existence if you look how full the place is...

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I love these replies; silly though they may appear.

 

For a start, it is surely up to the church to decide what they want?

 

The good people of Blackpool are well acquainted with theatre organ; having had three Wurlitzers in the same town; now reduced to two, at the Winter Gardens and the Tower Ballroom.

 

Henry Willis installed one theatre-organ did he not? (I am not thinking of the Sheldonian)

 

Hill was one of the first to install a theatre-style instrument, and others have included H,N & B, Conacher, Compton, Hope-Jones (of course), Fitton& Hayley, Spurden Rutt and doubtless many others.

 

The theatre organ was a child of its time, and at Blackpool, the popularity has been extended beyond the normal shelf-life of novelties, but with black musicians playing Hammonds in church, and rock-bands doing their thing on a regular basis, what gives classical-organists a monopoly interest?

 

If you don't like it, then you stay away.

 

In point of fact, quite a lot of places of worship have theatre organs, especially in America, but there are others in the UK. St.John Vianney, somewhere near London, has a Compton theatre-organ, and without the traps and effects, it is ideal as an accompaniment instrument. Indeed, a theatre-organ is more than capable of accompanying large congregations very adequately.

 

Nowadays, many churches cannot afford pipe-organs, and install electronic simulators. Why does it matter if the simulation is that of the classical organ or a theatre organ, so long as it is effective.

 

Far from being monstrosities, many digital organ are musical instruments in their own right, and some are capable of being judged as such on their own merits.

 

Of course a bad organ is just that.....bad!

 

Does it matter whether it is a bad pipe organ or a bad simulator? They both amount to much the same!

 

MM

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For a start, it is surely up to the church to decide what they want?

 

MM

 

It may be - but there have been examples of churches wishing to install something to be scuppered in their plans (or at least not assisted) by diocesan (or higher) authorities. Sometimes this is just as well judging from some hair brained schemes drawn up by the 'resident team' with money to spend - often on a digital - but at other times perhaps not so. I know of an example of where a small digital was not allowed even though it seemed to be the best option from the church point of view. The diocese insisted on the strict restoraltion of a one manual pipe job of no great artistic merit. In another example a major church establishment was pushed quite hard by 'those at the top' to not do things with their pipe organ that were felt 'unsuitable'. In this case the church 'won' and now have a superb instrument of great integrity.

 

AJJ

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I can't find the actual cost, but I'm sure I read somewhere that it was as much as a pipe organ would cost... This open letter to the organ community is interesting: http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/welcome/?article&id=891

This document contains information upon which doubt has been cast, particularly with regard to costs for new pipe organs or rebuilds and maintenance of the previous organ. My feeling is that Trinity Church, with almost unlimited budget, has done the pipe organ community a terrible disservice. There is also something I can't quite express in connection with the 9/11 attacks that makes me feel uncomfortable.

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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

This would suggest to me that you have not experienced good, state-of-the art instruments. The reeds on our Wyvern-Pheonix are absolutely superb, as are the flutes & diapasons. I don't believe anyone would consider the full organ to be "Foggy". Our loudspeakers sit clearly visible and undisguised on large shelves in the north transept. If we happened to have an attractive pipe front from a former instrument I would see no harm in using it, but we don't.

 

Since the organ was installed (in 2006) there have been a number of occasions upon which visitors, including other organists, have come to talk to me at the console, from where the battery of loudspeakers are clearly visible, demanding to know where the pipes are. This custom built 42 stop instrument cost us a little over £25K (details available here) . Only one UK manufacturer charges £50K+ for similar instruments.

 

Personally I would struggle to see any use for an alternative Theatre Organ specification on our instrument at church. It might be fun at home though!

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Guest Barry Williams

It seems appropriate to mention (again) that those advising are obliged to do so (under Section 1 of the Eccelsiastical Jurisdiction Measure) on the basis that the parish church is the centre of worship and mission. The legislation makes no mention of historic organs, electronic instruments or indeed, of historic organ certificates and listed buildings.

 

It is beyond doubt that a well-installed electronic instrument will do a better job in leading the singing than a bad pipe organ. It has been proved so many times. The issue, surely, is getting value for money and, in respect of the pipeless variety, obtaining an instrument that has fewer stops and better sounds. Requests to electronic suppliers/makers to make smaller instruments with more channels and better tone are often met with the reply "Organists prefer more stops." There is a dearth of small (say, up to twenty or so speaking stops) electronic instruments with a standard console that can be used in the smallish church. Most suppliers/makers will only produce such instruments as custom models and at a great price. I was astounded at the improvement on the smallest Allen when the factory-set de-tuning was removed and the instrument properly tuned. (Until recently the factory-set de-tuning could not be altered.) However, this small instrument has only an Oboe as the only reed on the Swell and a non-standard pedalbord, making it slightly unsuitable. I understand that a modification to this may be made soon.

 

Surely the only justification for an electronic instrument that is the same price as a pipe organ can be a saving in space. I have met a few clergy who are of the view that "having an electronic organ gives a more modern impression to young families"! This is where careful guidance from the Diocesan Advisory Committee can help. (Avoiding carpets is another!)

 

Barry Williams

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There are suppliers in the UK who would supply custom instruments with fewer stops and more channels, and at a reasonable price - although such an instrument would clearly cost more per stop than a standardised larger instrument, it could be an enormously better and more musical instrument.

JJK

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Guest Barry Williams

Regrettably the cost of small electronic instruments is so high that such projects are usually financially impractical.

 

I have been involved in several where the money was available and the results have all been seriously disappointing for reasons stated earlier in this thread - and these were cases where there was sufficient funds to do a good job. Nevertheless, the huge improvement from having ample audio channels is still striking.

 

Barry Williams

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Guest Patrick Coleman
I have met a few clergy who are of the view that "having an electronic organ gives a more modern impression to young families"! This is where careful guidance from the Diocesan Advisory Committee can help. (Avoiding carpets is another!)

 

Barry Williams

 

This is of course (to quote the Archbishop of Canterbury) b*ll*cks. Young families and children are fascinated by the workings of the organ, all the more so if the chamber is accessible and they can get their heads blown off by a 16' Trombone! :lol:

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Guest Barry Oakley
I love these replies; silly though they may appear.

 

For a start, it is surely up to the church to decide what they want?

 

The good people of Blackpool are well acquainted with theatre organ; having had three Wurlitzers in the same town; now reduced to two, at the Winter Gardens and the Tower Ballroom.

 

Henry Willis installed one theatre-organ did he not? (I am not thinking of the Sheldonian)

 

Hill was one of the first to install a theatre-style instrument, and others have included H,N & B, Conacher, Compton, Hope-Jones (of course), Fitton& Hayley, Spurden Rutt and doubtless many others.

 

The theatre organ was a child of its time, and at Blackpool, the popularity has been extended beyond the normal shelf-life of novelties, but with black musicians playing Hammonds in church, and rock-bands doing their thing on a regular basis, what gives classical-organists a monopoly interest?

 

If you don't like it, then you stay away.

 

In point of fact, quite a lot of places of worship have theatre organs, especially in America, but there are others in the UK. St.John Vianney, somewhere near London, has a Compton theatre-organ, and without the traps and effects, it is ideal as an accompaniment instrument. Indeed, a theatre-organ is more than capable of accompanying large congregations very adequately.

 

Nowadays, many churches cannot afford pipe-organs, and install electronic simulators. Why does it matter if the simulation is that of the classical organ or a theatre organ, so long as it is effective.

 

Far from being monstrosities, many digital organ are musical instruments in their own right, and some are capable of being judged as such on their own merits.

 

Of course a bad organ is just that.....bad!

 

Does it matter whether it is a bad pipe organ or a bad simulator? They both amount to much the same!

 

MM

 

You encapsulate much of my own point of view, MM. Whilst the output from a pipe organ is much to be preferred, in the words of one of my close friends, a one-time eminent organist, he said that he would rather play a good digital organ anytime than a lousy pipe organ.

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Guest Barry Williams
This is of course (to quote the Archbishop of Canterbury) b*ll*cks. Young families and children are fascinated by the workings of the organ, all the more so if the chamber is accessible and they can get their heads blown off by a 16' Trombone! :lol:

 

Yes, they love the organ. David Wells showed me a nice trick. When I was giving the opening recital on a rebuilt instrument I asked different children to turn pages for each piece. (Two per item, so they nearly all got a go.) David brought a box of small organ pipes with him and the children all had a souvenir to take home. It made the occasion a family event and the youngsters felt that they owned the organ as part of their heritage. You cannot do that with a synthetic instrument.

 

Barry Williams

 

PS I shall quote the apposite legal/theological terminology from His Grace at DAC meetings!

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Yes, they love the organ. David Wells showed me a nice trick. When I was giving the opening recital on a rebuilt instrument I asked different children to turn pages for each piece. (Two per item, so they nearly all got a go.) David brought a box of small organ pipes with him and the children all had a souvenir to take home. It made the occasion a family event and the youngsters felt that they owned the organ as part of their heritage. You cannot do that with a synthetic instrument.

 

Barry Williams

 

PS I shall quote the apposite legal/theological terminology from His Grace at DAC meetings!

 

Agreed Barry. My partner Jane is the Brown Owl in this parish and one night she brought along about twenty of her brownies who were all allowed (under supervision of course) to have a "feel" of the instrument and since it was two of the brownies' birthdays I played "Happy Birthday" - on the pedal trombone! - which they all sang lustily (if not entirely accurately). Another "organ evening" is planned and I am looking at the idea of a "fun organ day" for the many children in the parish. As the Jesuits are reputed to say, "give me a child at the age of seven....."

 

Peter

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Agreed Barry. My partner Jane is the Brown Owl in this parish and one night she brought along about twenty of her brownies who were all allowed (under supervision of course) to have a "feel" of the instrument and since it was two of the brownies' birthdays I played "Happy Birthday" - on the pedal trombone! - which they all sang lustily (if not entirely accurately). Another "organ evening" is planned and I am looking at the idea of a "fun organ day" for the many children in the parish. As the Jesuits are reputed to say, "give me a child at the age of seven....."

 

Peter

 

My 7 & 8 year olds would go for this - especially the take away pipes bit and the page turning. (They do have a digital in their front room already so I suppose they are rather spoilt in that department).

 

AJJ

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Guest Lee Blick
I love these replies; silly though they may appear.

 

For a start, it is surely up to the church to decide what they want?

 

The good people of Blackpool are well acquainted with theatre organ; having had three Wurlitzers in the same town; now reduced to two, at the Winter Gardens and the Tower Ballroom.

 

Henry Willis installed one theatre-organ did he not? (I am not thinking of the Sheldonian)

 

Hill was one of the first to install a theatre-style instrument, and others have included H,N & B, Conacher, Compton, Hope-Jones (of course), Fitton& Hayley, Spurden Rutt and doubtless many others.

 

The theatre organ was a child of its time, and at Blackpool, the popularity has been extended beyond the normal shelf-life of novelties, but with black musicians playing Hammonds in church, and rock-bands doing their thing on a regular basis, what gives classical-organists a monopoly interest?

 

If you don't like it, then you stay away.

 

In point of fact, quite a lot of places of worship have theatre organs, especially in America, but there are others in the UK. St.John Vianney, somewhere near London, has a Compton theatre-organ, and without the traps and effects, it is ideal as an accompaniment instrument. Indeed, a theatre-organ is more than capable of accompanying large congregations very adequately.

 

Nowadays, many churches cannot afford pipe-organs, and install electronic simulators. Why does it matter if the simulation is that of the classical organ or a theatre organ, so long as it is effective.

 

Far from being monstrosities, many digital organ are musical instruments in their own right, and some are capable of being judged as such on their own merits.

 

Of course a bad organ is just that.....bad!

 

Does it matter whether it is a bad pipe organ or a bad simulator? They both amount to much the same!

 

MM

 

Excellent post.

 

A performance of Introduction, Passacaglia & Fugue by Ken Cowan on a Wurlizer Organ.

 

Interesting interpretation. The tremulants are not to everyone's taste but it is a Wurlitzer!

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My 7 & 8 year olds would go for this - especially the take away pipes bit and the page turning. (They do have a digital in their front room already so I suppose they are rather spoilt in that department).

 

AJJ

 

Somebody's going to propose doing a Virgil Fox "Heavy Organ" soon!

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As the Jesuits are reputed to say, "give me a child at the age of seven....."

 

 

========================

 

 

 

 

I find that at the age of 7, most children are far too heavy to push around the plate with a knife and fork, even if they have been carefuly spit-roast over a low-fire for many hours.

 

Sucking pigs and 3 year-olds are the gourmet choice.

 

MM

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Somebody's going to propose doing a Virgil Fox "Heavy Organ" soon!

 

 

=============================

 

 

Well they'd better start working on their technique.

 

"Don't just shuffle those feet honey.....dance with them!"

 

:lol:

 

MM

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Somebody's going to propose doing a Virgil Fox "Heavy Organ" soon!

...... and don't forget the Pablo Lights! -essential if your concentration should wonder........ :lol:

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It may be - but there have been examples of churches wishing to install something to be scuppered in their plans (or at least not assisted) by diocesan (or higher) authorities. Sometimes this is just as well judging from some hair brained schemes drawn up by the 'resident team' with money to spend - often on a digital - but at other times perhaps not so. I know of an example of where a small digital was not allowed even though it seemed to be the best option from the church point of view. The diocese insisted on the strict restoraltion of a one manual pipe job of no great artistic merit. In another example a major church establishment was pushed quite hard by 'those at the top' to not do things with their pipe organ that were felt 'unsuitable'. In this case the church 'won' and now have a superb instrument of great integrity.

 

AJJ

I remember back in the 1970's St. Nicolas, in the market place, durham had a major upheaval, both spiritualy and furniture wise, the outcome was (and others may no better) that to have their 3 manual Copeman Hart, they Had to have a "pipe organ" as well. They got around this buy having a one manual instument of maybe 2 stops and had it hidden away. My father was at the time organist at another local (6 miles away) church which also had a small Copeman Hart, and the official party from St. Nicks came to give it the once over etc.

regards

Peter

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I remember back in the 1970's St. Nicolas, in the market place, durham had a major upheaval, both spiritualy and furniture wise, the outcome was (and others may no better) that to have their 3 manual Copeman Hart, they Had to have a "pipe organ" as well. They got around this buy having a one manual instument of maybe 2 stops and had it hidden away. My father was at the time organist at another local (6 miles away) church which also had a small Copeman Hart, and the official party from St. Nicks came to give it the once over etc.

regards

Peter

 

Off topic but I seem also to remember that an incumbent there at round about this time went on to hold a quite important position in the C 0f E after first being our local diocesan bishop down here!

 

AJJ

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Off topic but I seem also to remember that an incumbent there at round about this time went on to hold a quite important position in the C 0f E after first being our local diocesan bishop down here!

 

AJJ

 

I cannot remember AJ, I was at the time going through the "born again" process and was into the local free church, you know the kind, 400 hundred people, a large and excellent music group and all fully commited. I used to like going to the cathedral evensongs, it was a better class of music do'nt you know :lol:

regards

peter

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