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Vox Humana

What Do You Expect For £20k?

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There is much good sense in this, Barry.

 

Incidentally, are there any new photographs of the (completed?) organ at Magdeburg, please?

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"the instrument is tonally unhelpful"

(Quote)

 

Of course, on this point, we shall never agree, dear Pcnd.

 

... we have learnt in Belgium that a "tonally unhelpful" organ exists in our heads only.

Nobody ever designed any organ to be a bad one -save cheap jobs the worms already

ate-.

 

Pierre

 

Pierre, I appreciate that beauty is in the ear, but I am still fairly sure that I could show you a few instruments in this country and even you would be hard-pushed to find something beautiful about them, with regard to the tonal aspect!

 

As Cynic says, you must be more fortunate in Belgium - there are quite definitely organs in this country which are 'tonally unhelpful'. Often, just a few minutes at the claviers will show whether the voicing of an instrument is beautiful - or unpleasant. There are also plenty of cheap (and badly built) instruments around, which barely work and which have neither tonal beauty nor blend. To defend these would be like throwing out a Rembrandt, a Martin or a Van Gogh and supplanting a Hurst, an Emin or a Le Roy Neiman. I understand that it is partly a question of taste - but there are surely limits!

 

For example, which would you rather have on a wall in your lounge?

 

This:

 

http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=h...m%3D1%26hl%3Den

 

or this:

 

http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/tracey_emin.htm

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I may prefer the second, according to *who*

we will add into the picture....

(In a surrealist country like mine, there is no

"good" nor "bad" taste. Would you see what's

in my living-room....Argh) With four languages

and cultures, we soon learn there obtains no

artistic truth.

 

Here is a picture we find very funny, and which

you could find in a belgian room:

 

 

http://www.klaus-dieter-reichardt.de/picst...ell1_110306.jpg

 

Pierre

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I may prefer the second, according to *who*

we will add into the picture....

 

I suspect that you would not want the creator of this piece of 'art' in the bed, Pierre. As they say, body from Baywatch - face from Crimewatch.

 

Here is a picture we find very funny, and which

you could find in a belgian room:

http://www.klaus-dieter-reichardt.de/picst...ell1_110306.jpg

 

Pierre

 

... Please translate! Thank you.

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For example, which would you rather have on a wall in your lounge?

 

This:

 

http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=h...m%3D1%26hl%3Den

 

or this:

 

http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/tracey_emin.htm

Mm, seems a bit like choosing between the electric chair or the gas chamber to me. Don't much fancy either!

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Of course:

 

"Would you mind remove the trash, please ?

 

More seriously, I often encountered that "good"-"bad" taste notion

in big countries with one language: France, England, Germany

and the United states.

For a belgian, this is like a prison in which the people enclose

themselves; there are only tastes, and we would never have

the idea to decide which ones are this or that, since it could

change completely in the next village.

(Btw, I though we had the choice for who's in (the) bed).

 

Pierre

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Mm, seems a bit like choosing between the electric chair or the gas chamber to me. Don't much fancy either!

I totally agree Neil. I'd much rather have Le Roy Neiman any day, and I'm surprised that pcnd, who appears to like vibrant colours in music, doesn't seem to appreciate that Neiman is just painting with the equivalent of a chamade and is similarly of value on occasion. For me the first picture is the artistic equivalent of the organ under discussion in this thread and depresses me unutterably. I shall now go down to my lounge, look at the Neimans and smile!

JC

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I totally agree Neil. I'd much rather have Le Roy Neiman any day, and I'm surprised that pcnd, who appears to like vibrant colours in music, doesn't seem to appreciate that Neiman is just painting with the equivalent of a chamade and is similarly of value on occasion. For me the first picture is the artistic equivalent of the organ under discussion in this thread and depresses me unutterably. I shall now go down to my lounge, look at the Neimans and smile!

JC

 

May I suggest that you take a trip to Tate Britain and behold the actual painting*. As far as I can remember, it is around fifteen to twenty feet long by about twelve feet high. The little picture I linked does it no justice at all. However, I was in school at the time, just before I had to teach again, so I only had a few seconds to find something.

 

I am happy that you like your LeRoy Neiman paintings, John. I am afraid that those which I have seen simply look as if someone has indulged in wall-to-wall vomiting after consuming three servings of curried turtle.

 

 

 

* The Plains of Heaven, by John Martin.

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Of course:

 

"Would you mind remove the trash, please ?

 

Thank you for the translation. I am afraid that I am missing the joke here.

 

(Btw, I though we had the choice for who's in (the) bed).

 

Pierre

 

No - sorry. All blonde Eastern Bloc (lesbian) tennis players are booked out.... However, I believe that Montserrat Caballé is free next Wednesday afternoon.

 

<_<

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"as if someone has indulged in wall-to-wall vomiting after consuming three servings of curried turtle."

(Quote)

 

Excellent ! very belgian !

 

Pierre

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"as if someone has indulged in wall-to-wall vomiting after consuming three servings of curried turtle."

(Quote)

 

Excellent ! very belgian !

 

Pierre

 

Lmao....

 

:P

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Thank you for the translation. I am afraid that I am missing the joke here.

No - sorry. All blonde Eastern Bloc (lesbian) tennis players are booked out.... However, I believe that Montserrat Caballé is free next Wednesday afternoon.

 

:P

 

....But there are some belgian tenniswomen as well...

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May I suggest that you take a trip to Tate Britain and behold the actual painting*. As far as I can remember, it is around fifteen to twenty feet long by about twelve feet high. The little picture I linked does it no justice at all. However, I was in school at the time, just before I had to teach again, so I only had a few seconds to find something.

 

I am happy that you like your LeRoy Neiman paintings, John. I am afraid that those which I have seen simply look as if someone has indulged in wall-to-wall vomiting after consuming three servings of curried turtle.

* The Plains of Heaven, by John Martin.

Actually, not paintings but ceramics, so on a small scale, nevertheless a splash of cheerful colour in a fairly minimalist decor. At Tate Britain I would much prefer Turner, especially his paintings from his time in the Alps. My heart, though, would go for Dufy, just as it does for Vierne.

JC

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Actually, not paintings but ceramics, so on a small scale, nevertheless a splash of cheerful colour in a fairly minimalist decor. At Tate Britain I would much prefer Turner, especially his paintings from his time in the Alps. My heart, though, would go for Dufy, just as it does for Vierne.

JC

 

I agree with your choices of Turner and Dufy; in fact, Turner was my first choice for my original post. I am not sure why I changed it.

 

Whilst I do like cheerful colour, I also like order, although this does not necessarily need to be synonymous with clarity.

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....But there are some belgian tenniswomen as well...

 

 

Mmmm - but what do they look like, Pierre? :P

 

(And do they wear those really short skirts....?)

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It is amazing how quickly and completely the original thread can get lost!!

 

FF

 

Perhaps there are some who are prepared to pay £20K for Belgian tennis players on condition they wear shorts. Who knows. Personally I'd want at least three for the money for a minimum of two weekends.

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Indeed, Frank. I did think of complaining, but I kept getting this mental vision of a parliament full of grubby pots and kettles!

 

Anyway, the general consensus seems to be that £20,000 would not go very far. I still think the reeds ought to have been properly regulated though.

 

I admire Pierre's unerring ability to judge how good an organ is simply from a paper specification, but I have to admit that I think he might drool over the one that is the subject of this thread. For all that it sounds vile, I have a very strong impression that everything about the tone of the organ is intentional. The Swell stops do sound very coarse (except for the 8' Rohr Flute which is actually very nice); but when they are coupled to the fat Great stops you can actually fool yourself that the effect bears a slight resemblance to orchestral strings. I am sure that is not accidental. Yet in the final analysis I very much doubt that any discriminating British organist would think the result artistic. It is all very well producing an organ that sounds like an orchestra, but what is the point? This is not a recital instrument and why would a church want its hymns and other service music accompanied by an orchestra in preference to a decent organ?

 

I think it is significant that when the PCC was pondering the rebuild, they sought the advice of one of our most ardent Hele Huggers and even he was initially uncertain whether the organ was worth keeping.

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Perhaps there are some who are prepared to pay £20K for Belgian tennis players on condition they wear shorts. Who knows. Personally I'd want at least three for the money for a minimum of two weekends.

That still sound quite expensive. We have plenty of girls down here who are cheaper than that. In fact, I understand they're really cheap. (Not that I have any hands-on experience, you understand.)

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I suspect this went awry because Nigel Allcoat said pretty much all there was to be said on the matter. I would have thought 20k would have gone rather a long way, actually. Look at the raw material costs involved:

 

Fifteenth - if new pipes were necessary, I would be surprised to find this cost going much over 5 or 6 hundred pounds, and would have expected a secondhand rank to be readily available (or even 'conversion' of the Salicional). Using the old one as a model, a rackboard should take no more than a few pence of timber and a couple of hours to make.

 

Dulciana - presumably secondhand pipework? I cannot imagine the cost of new pipes being justifiable against the possibility of revoicing the Salicional or obtaining secondhand, in which case the cost would be negligible. Dulcianas are usually the first thing to go in schemes where 'the organ needs brightening up a bit'.

 

Bass Flute - presumably incorporating electrification of the Bourdon, the extra 12 notes would be the sort of thing most people would have lying around somewhere. Chest, magnets and transmission ought to physically cost no more than a thousand to produce.

 

Let's assume a materials cost of no more than 2k allowing for a few sheets of fine sheepskin (if pneumatic) and a respectable profit margin on parts supplied.

 

Which just leaves labour costs of, say, 18k. This allows a charge of £300 per day for two workers for a month, slightly longer if one 'trained' person and assistant. The business of stripping down, cleaning, overhauling and reassembling a small free-standing organ ought to be well covered in that time, including time for going over the regulation of pipes on a voicing machine after the dust is blown off, assuming this WAS a straightforward overhaul with alterations and not the rectification of some serious soundboard maladies or anything like that.

 

Assuming all that to be more or less reasonable, if not exactly precise, the only consideration is whether £300 a day is a fair charge to make for labour and the overheads of a business. It's the exact figure I was using ten years ago in a glazing contractor's estimating department.

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That still sound quite expensive. We have plenty of girls down here who are cheaper than that. In fact, I understand they're really cheap. (Not that I have any hands-on experience, you understand.)

 

Oh, sorry - I had thought that I had advised you to steer clear of Boutport Street....

:unsure:

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Guest spottedmetal
Nothing is gained by the assumption that the impression that an organ sounds terrible is in fact a reflection of personal prejudice.... it may be, but it may equally not be.

Hi!

 

This was demonstrated this afternoon at a memorial service in a non-conformist church in the south Croydon suburbs. In the Nave the organ sounded "sat upon" - not enough upperwork and muffled. The service ended up with the inevitable Widor 5/5 whereupon the organ sounded no better and the organist was clearly very competant.

 

The instrument was stuffed up in two organ chambers on either side and that might conceivably have been the problem - but I thought that I learned the reality of someone referring to "Bryant and May" being the appropriate people to rebuild an organ (elsewhere). After the wake I went and inspected inspected the console - at least 3 maker's plates of high repute on a horseshoe three decker with stop-tabs.

 

In disbelief that it could be really as bad as it had sounded, set full organ, played the Boellman and it sounded superb . . . then with the super and sub octave couplers on Choir and whichever other manual . . . and it sounded better.

 

Difference between full and empty church? Visiting organist not finding manual couplers? Difference in sound between console and nave? No idea, but very weird discrepancy.

 

Best wishes

 

David P

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On 14/11/2007 at 00:14, Vox Humana said:

Picture this. A small parish church has a two-manual organ, built in 1876, enlarged by someone else in 1891 and restored by someone unknown in 1960-1:

 

Gt: 8 8 8 4 4 Sw-to-Gt

Sw: 8 8 8 8 4 16 8 Octave, Suboctave

Ped: Bourdon, Echo Bourdon, Gt-to-Ped, Sw-to-Ped

 

Hope Jones would have been proud of it, given the dedication with which it has been assured that none of the stops blends. The Violin Diapason can cut diamonds; the Cornopean can saw down forests. But at least you can swamp a lot of this raucousness simply by drawing the enormous Gt Open.

 

Only about 75% of the keys now work. The pipes are choked with dirt and many are off-speech, there are wind leaks, etc, etc. Hardly surprising, given that no major work has been done for over 40 years.

 

It is touch and go whether the organ is worth saving. Eventually the church opts to retain it at a cost of £20,000. This price includes three tonal modifications: (1) the Great Salicional becomes a Dulciana; (2) a Fifteenth is added to the Great and (3) the Pedal Bourdon is extended to an 8ft Flute.

 

The restoration was completed two years ago. The other day I had occasion to play the instrument and noted some uneven speech in the trebles of both the reeds. Also the action, which I think must be tubular pneumatic, felt inordinately heavy on both manuals; I have played tracker instruments that are lighter.

 

My first instinct was to cry “bodge!”, but that might be unfair. I know nothing of the economics of organ building and this got me wondering. What would a really thorough restoration of an organ this size cost? (It is free-standing at the east end of the north aisle and there appears to be no space/access issues that would bump the cost up.) Given that the PCC nearly decided to ditch the organ for an electronic, the quote for its restoration might very well have been a matter of what could be achieved for a price acceptable to the church.

 

With an organ this size, what would you expect £20,000 to cover?

For 20,000k? Quite a lot and quality if you search around a little bit.

LADACH instruments, pipe organs and accessories:  www.pipeorgans.eu

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