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Royal Albert Hall Organ Rebuild


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Royal Albert Hall Organ . I learn from friends of mine in that there is rumours going about as to the reliability of the under actions of this Organ recently renovated. I am told that the magnets are not doing their job efficiently and all 32 soundboards will have to be changed over at some considerable expense. If this is so why was this problem not looked into before applying the latest technology to this instrument ?

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Guest Roffensis
Royal Albert Hall Organ . I learn from friends of mine in that there is rumours going about as to the reliability of the under actions of this Organ recently renovated.  I am told that the magnets are not doing their job efficiently and all 32 soundboards will have to be changed over at some considerable expense.  If this is so why was this problem not looked into before applying the latest technology to this instrument ?

 

The only "rumour" I heard was sourced from a very high profile organist, that the organ could not be turned on with people in the hall as there were notes stuck on while it "came on", ditto switching off. I had also heard that the actions were at fault, but that it had been sorted out. I personally think it is probably just a rumour but it would be good to have a response from the builders themselves and have such unhelpful rumours squashed, particularly given the high profile of both builder and organ.

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Guest Geoff McMahon

As usual, there is a combination of fact and fiction. Here are the facts...

 

SSOS developed a new compound magnet which we were assured would be ready for use in the RAH organ. In the event, it was not as ready as we had hoped it would be and had not been completely tested before delievery. The magnets were provided and problems did arise. SSOS has acknowledged its responsibility in the matter without the slightest quibble and a rolling process of the replacement of all the compound magnets is being done. All the high pressure magnets have been replaced already and the low pressure ones (which do not display faults, but are being replaced anyway) will be replaced by the end of the year.

 

The "underactions" do not need replacing and all the work is being done without any cost or charge to the RAH. The replacement compound magnets are excellent and so far not one has shewn any sign of a fault. Indeed, even those which are and have been replaced could be adjusted to work satisfactorily. However, both we and SSOS felt it would be safer and wiser to replace them. Whilst the replacement is unfortunate for us all, it is being done without any interruption to the use of the organ at all and as I said above, without cost to the RAH. We can all make mistakes and I would like it known that SSOS has been as cooperative and pro-active as anyone could wish for. The final result will be fine, indeed other than the temporary necessity not to draw stops till the wind was fully up and to ensure stops were off before the blower was switched off, nobody would have known about any problems at all.

 

John Pike Mander

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