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AJJ

Beaminster

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I discovered this (click on 'Beaminster') - my local Organists' Association is visiting later this year. I had not heard of these builders though the Renatus firm seem to be 'fronting' them over here. has anyone had experience of their work?

 

AJJ

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I discovered this (click on 'Beaminster') - my local Organists' Association is visiting later this year. I had not heard of these builders though the Renatus firm seem to be 'fronting' them over here. has anyone had experience of their work?

 

AJJ

 

No, but with 200 instruments in 17 years they certainly seem to be turning them out at quite a rate!

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I have a colleague who visited this organ recently and told me that the organ has:

 

"mixtures that are too low, no development

of foundations into the treble, action not great, sizzling principals, no

swell chorus, pointless coupling manual, voicing not finished properly. It was

commissioned simply because it was cheap: 140,000

for 25 stops, half of which were old pipework."

 

He doesn't mince his words as you can see. B) Can anyone confirm/contradict? The idea of the UK importing cheap organs from behind the former iron curtain is, on the face of it, absurd. But maybe someone can leap to the defence of Mr Skrabl? His website says

 

"The uniqueness of the Skrabl sound requires some explanation. On very many occasions, clients, organ technicians and organ advisers have been amazed by the extraordinarily different and magical sounds which have been created by Anton Skrabl in his recent organs. One adviser recently described them as 'Flutes to die for with an amazing translucence and Principals which seem alive and a refreshing change from anything I have so far encountered'."

 

So, who is right?

 

Greetings

 

Bazuin

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Yes, I have both seen and played this organ.

 

On the positive side, I would say that the build quality is excellent, both in terms of materials and craftsmanship. It is an instrument built to last. I would also rate this company's organs outside the UK pretty highly, and due to labour costs, plus the fact that you are not importing from a Euro country, they could be argued to represent good value at the moment.

 

But on the negative side, its a sad and all too common model of what can go wrong when an expert consultant is not engaged, and a poor ambassador for this firm. The builder seems to have responded to a hotch potch of demands from local architects, church committees, and well meaning enthusiasts. In my opinion, its looks and sounds like an unfortunate reconciliation or irreconcilables. Pity – this is a good builder.

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Yes, I have both seen and played this organ.

 

On the positive side, I would say that the build quality is excellent, both in terms of materials and craftsmanship. It is an instrument built to last. I would also rate this company's organs outside the UK pretty highly, and due to labour costs, plus the fact that you are not importing from a Euro country, they could be argued to represent good value at the moment.

 

But on the negative side, its a sad and all too common model of what can go wrong when an expert consultant is not engaged, and a poor ambassador for this firm. The builder seems to have responded to a hotch potch of demands from local architects, church committees, and well meaning enthusiasts. In my opinion, its looks and sounds like an unfortunate reconciliation or irreconcilables. Pity – this is a good builder.

 

Hi

 

The new Beaminster organ is now on NPOR, but I do have a question. Is the Swell Bourdon at 16ft (which would be logical) or at 8ft, as on the stop list on the builder's web site. It looks like a typo - there's also a Lieblich Gedact at 8ft on the Swell.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Good afternoon

 

I saw, inspected and played the Skrabl organ at Beaminster a couple of weeks ago, and would like to respond to the comments below, and others that appear on this forum.

 

Firstly, I consider that the builder has done an outstanding job of voicing in this instrument, and achieving a warm, colourful and vibrant ensemble in what is a woefully dry acoustic.

 

In that respect, the upperwork has a wonderful, shimmering brightness without any steely "glare". That is maintained when it is heard in the choruses, in which the 8' and 4' principlas provide well proportioned foundation. Personally, I found the Full Swell sound more effective than it had any right to be, without any trumpet type stop, but with the two fine oboe-type stops (at 8'and 16').

 

A particular feature, which I see has been noted elsewhere, is the beauty of the flute stops. The 8' Bordun is is a fine and useful stop, and quite different in timbre to its companion flute stop.

 

I had not, in truth, played an organ with a dedicated coupling manual before. However, having had a little familiarisation, I believe that it is very useful for maximising the resources of this 2-manual instrument. One can use it to play on the Great and Swell together, and still have them separately via their respective manuals. For starters, that is very useful for accompanying Anglican church music - still, let us not forget, the prime function of this organ.

 

To my ears, there is also a good balance between the Great and Swell divisions, so this is also a good instrument for the classical organ repetoire, including music where an antiphonal effect is desirable.

 

To sum up, I am convinced that the builder Skrabl was selected, not for cheapness, but on the grounds of quality and value for money. I have never been an unquestioning enthusiast for the work of continental builders, but found the Beaminster organ a pleasure both to the ear and the eye - including the superb workmanship apparent from the case - to the action t- o the console. It does credit to its builder and those, most certainly including the organ consultants, who were involved in its vision, procurement and installation.

 

With best regards.

 

RBee16

 

 

 

quote name='bazuin' date='May 21 2008, 10:08 PM' post='37298']

I have a colleague who visited this organ recently and told me that the organ has:

 

"mixtures that are too low, no development

of foundations into the treble, action not great, sizzling principals, no

swell chorus, pointless coupling manual, voicing not finished properly. It was

commissioned simply because it was cheap: 140,000

for 25 stops, half of which were old pipework."

 

He doesn't mince his words as you can see. ;) Can anyone confirm/contradict? The idea of the UK importing cheap organs from behind the former iron curtain is, on the face of it, absurd. But maybe someone can leap to the defence of Mr Skrabl? His website says

 

"The uniqueness of the Skrabl sound requires some explanation. On very many occasions, clients, organ technicians and organ advisers have been amazed by the extraordinarily different and magical sounds which have been created by Anton Skrabl in his recent organs. One adviser recently described them as 'Flutes to die for with an amazing translucence and Principals which seem alive and a refreshing change from anything I have so far encountered'."

 

So, who is right?

 

Greetings

 

Bazuin

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Good afternoon

 

I saw, inspected and played the Skrabl organ at Beaminster a couple of weeks ago, and would like to respond to the comments below, and others that appear on this forum.

 

Firstly, I consider that the builder has done an outstanding job of voicing in this instrument, and achieving a warm, colourful and vibrant ensemble in what is a woefully dry acoustic.

 

In that respect, the upperwork has a wonderful, shimmering brightness without any steely "glare". That is maintained when it is heard in the choruses, in which the 8' and 4' principlas provide well proportioned foundation. Personally, I found the Full Swell sound more effective than it had any right to be, without any trumpet type stop, but with the two fine oboe-type stops (at 8'and 16').

 

A particular feature, which I see has been noted elsewhere, is the beauty of the flute stops. The 8' Bordun is is a fine and useful stop, and quite different in timbre to its companion flute stop.

 

I had not, in truth, played an organ with a dedicated coupling manual before. However, having had a little familiarisation, I believe that it is very useful for maximising the resources of this 2-manual instrument. One can use it to play on the Great and Swell together, and still have them separately via their respective manuals. For starters, that is very useful for accompanying Anglican church music - still, let us not forget, the prime function of this organ.

 

To my ears, there is also a good balance beteen the Great and Swell divisions, so this is also a good instrument for the classical organ repetoire, including music where an antiphonal effect is desirable.

 

To sum up, I am convinced that the builder Skrabl was selected, not for cheapness, but on the grounds of quality and value for money. I have never been an unquestioning enthusiast for the work of continental builders, but found the Beaminster organ a pleasure both to the ear and the eye - including the superb workmanship apparent from the case - to the action t- o the console. It does credit to its builder and those, most certainly including the organ consultants, who were involved in its vision, procurement and installation.

 

With best regards.

 

RBee16

 

I accompanied Bristol Cathedral Choir for Evensong and a short recital as part of the Beaminster Festival yesterday.

 

The definite plus of the organ is the number of 8ft stops for accompaniment - the Swell Bourdon is 8', making the Bassoon 16' the only manual double (one could make a case for combining the Great Quint and Tierce into a Sesquialtera and having a Bourdon 16' but that's to digress). The 4ft stops blend in well too - maybe the Swell Oboe could be a little less, well, continental (!) but it's certainly the best of the reeds. There are 'Cathedral' effects obtainable - I liked the restfulness of the Swell strings, particularly when adding a DIY octave coupler in the psalm and Darke in F Nunc. The Pedal Bourdon quints quite well too.

 

The flutes have been noted as good, but the commentator who noted 'no development of foundation into the treble' is right as heard from the console - the octave between middle C and the next C up is noticeably louder than the higher treble region. However, having not had the chance to hear the organ from anywhere else, I will reserve final judgement on this.

 

I'm afraid 'wonderful, shimmering brightness' really isn't a description I could apply to the choruses - which were heard thoroughly in BWV 552 Fugue (Great, then Swell, then both for the last section). The balance is good, but I thought they were quite dull and not particularly cohesive. The Swell Bassoon is a bit of a growler - I found myself taking it off sooner than I would normally lose Full Swell and adding it later than I normally would. The Great Trumpet is big and seems to be trying to be fiery but mostly ends up just shouting. The Pedal Posaune could do with some regulation - most notes are good but some have a nasty snarl to them, unfortunately one of them was bottom E flat at the end of the Fugue!

 

I didn't like the coupling manual - for one thing, it isn't, it's the Swell duplicated, and you have to pull out a II-I coupler to have both manuals on it! I would make it so both manuals are automatically on the coupling manual and swap the II-I for a Swell-Great so there is the option of playing it as a normal 2-manual. Also, if you're playing on the Great and Swell coupled, you need to access both sets of thumb pistons easily and the arrangement there means you can't. Though the pistons look like they've been put there because that's what English organs have but with no thought given as to how to reach them when playing - the thumb pistons are tiny (but still catchable by accident as I did in both hymns!) and the toe piston layout is really uncomfortable - and is apparently an improvement on what it was at first!

 

Sorry not to be as generally enthusiastic as RBee16, though there are some good things.

 

Paul Walton

(Assistant Organist, Bristol Cathedral)

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I am more than interested to see St.Mary's Beaminister now has an instrument from Slovenia - I was confirmed in that church many years ago. Having local conections, I spent the first sixteen years fof my life in Bridport, some seven miles away, I would be interested to know who were the consultants and how much it cost.

 

FF

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I am more than interested to see St.Mary's Beaminister now has an instrument from Slovenia - I was confirmed in that church many years ago. Having local conections, I spent the first sixteen years fof my life in Bridport, some seven miles away, I would be interested to know who were the consultants and how much it cost.

 

FF

 

 

Have a look at this and a number of questions may be answered - click on The New Organ and also the Discussion Forum - a familiar name there from here also!

 

http://www.lymeregisorganappeal.com/

 

Quite a few interesting 'advisory types' listed - two I know from experience to be emminently sensible re organ matters - one other even has a Skrable organ at home - click on Op. 185 Blackburn on the link below:

 

http://www.skrabl.com/en/opus_tab.asp#

 

I wonder whether organs can go in 'clusters' - it seems interesting that one relatively untried company (here in the UK at least - I know little about the Slovenian organ scene) can be building two new major instruments in the same relative geographical area. It reminds me of twenty or so years ago when a clutch of RC churches all got smallish tracker jobs from an obscure-ish German builder under the guidance of a particular UK advisor. Then there were a few more from an Italian company - one in particular in a large Midlands church which I found particularly foul!

 

 

AJJ

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Have a look at this and a number of questions may be answered - click on The New Organ and also the Discussion Forum - a familiar name there from here also!

 

http://www.lymeregisorganappeal.com/

 

Quite a few interesting 'advisory types' listed - two I know from experience to be emminently sensible re organ matters - one other even has a Skrable organ at home - click on Op. 185 Blackburn on the link below:

 

http://www.skrabl.com/en/opus_tab.asp#

 

I wonder whether organs can go in 'clusters' - it seems interesting that one relatively untried company (here in the UK at least - I know little about the Slovenian organ scene) can be building two new major instruments in the same relative geographical area. It reminds me of twenty or so years ago when a clutch of RC churches all got smallish tracker jobs from an obscure-ish German builder under the guidance of a particular UK advisor. Then there were a few more from an Italian company - one in particular in a large Midlands church which I found particularly foul!

AJJ

 

Can't comment on the organ, but the appeal appears to be well organized, particularly the 'web' side of things, with some interesting ideas. I shall look more closely at that for a couple of appeals which may be coming up here soon. (Only one concerns an organ, but thankfully there shouldn't be any English v. Continental controversy with that one; simply which English organ builder to use.)

 

Following up the comments in the forum, and their associated replies, makes for some interesting reading.

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I see the appeal website lists a choir organ for the 3rd manual - maybe this explains the coupler manual if funds never quite reached the target and they decided to trim the specification? It also lists the Swell Bourdon at 16' pitch. The choir manual spec looks like something from the late 60s or 70s - when did we last see a Rohrschalmey on these shores?

 

Metallgedackt 8

Prestant 4

Traversflote 4

Sesquialtera 2 2/3 + 1 3/5

Larigot 1 1/3

Rohrschalmey 8

Tremulant

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I see the appeal website lists a choir organ for the 3rd manual - maybe this explains the coupler manual if funds never quite reached the target and they decided to trim the specification? It also lists the Swell Bourdon at 16' pitch. The choir manual spec looks like something from the late 60s or 70s - when did we last see a Rohrschalmey on these shores?

 

Metallgedackt 8

Prestant 4

Traversflote 4

Sesquialtera 2 2/3 + 1 3/5

Larigot 1 1/3

Rohrschalmey 8

Tremulant

 

Colin - are you possibly confusing Beaminster and Lyme Regis? 'Interesting about the Choir - though specs. can be deceptive - there is one on here who has a newish Choir division with the following stoplist :

Holz gedackt 8', Flote 4', Superoctave 2', Zimbel III, Cromorne 8' and Zimbelstern

who might not agree!

 

 

AJJ

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Colin - are you possibly confusing Beaminster and Lyme Regis?

 

Ahh, yes! You're right. Many thanks for point this out - this makes a lot more sense. The Lyme scheme still looks like they're fund raising and doing very well! Good luck to them!

 

'Interesting about the Choir - though specs. can be deceptive - there is one on here who has a newish Choir division with the following stoplist :

Holz gedackt 8', Flote 4', Superoctave 2', Zimbel III, Cromorne 8' and Zimbelstern

who might not agree!

I still stand by my comments. The spec you quote has fluework consonant with a German Brustwerk division. The only foreign influence is the Cromorne which, from its nomenclature, indicates it is french (and is the only thing that gives the game away that it's modern). The only issue I'd have with this is that many French treatises on registration indicate a Cromorne should be drawn with a 4' Prestant, which is sadly missing on this division. Maybe an 8' regal or vox humana would have been more appropriate here - drawing it with the 8' flute would help cover any blemishes with tuning and regulation and help bolster the tone - this is common practice on the continent. However, I hope that this organ doesn't have any Open or Stopped Diapasons anywhere!!

 

The Skrabl choir division doesn't have the attempt at historic style of the choir division you cite - the Rohrschalmey is an invention of the neo-baroque period, sesquialtera and larigots don't belong together, there is no 2' rank (the gap in the cornet indicating either the neo-baroque influences of the scheme or a rather more fundamental misunderstanding), while citing the material of the pipes in Metallgedackt was common in the 60s and 70s.

 

http://www.organstops.org/r/Rohrschalmei.html

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Ahh, yes! You're right. Many thanks for point this out - this makes a lot more sense. The Lyme scheme still looks like they're fund raising and doing very well! Good luck to them!

 

 

I still stand by my comments. The spec you quote has fluework consonant with a German Brustwerk division. The only foreign influence is the Cromorne which, from its nomenclature, indicates it is french (and is the only thing that gives the game away that it's modern). The only issue I'd have with this is that many French treatises on registration indicate a Cromorne should be drawn with a 4' Prestant, which is sadly missing on this division. Maybe an 8' regal or vox humana would have been more appropriate here - drawing it with the 8' flute would help cover any blemishes with tuning and regulation and help bolster the tone - this is common practice on the continent. However, I hope that this organ doesn't have any Open or Stopped Diapasons anywhere!!

 

The Skrabl choir division doesn't have the attempt at historic style of the choir division you cite - the Rohrschalmey is an invention of the neo-baroque period, sesquialtera and larigots don't belong together, there is no 2' rank (the gap in the cornet indicating either the neo-baroque influences of the scheme or a rather more fundamental misunderstanding), while citing the material of the pipes in Metallgedackt was common in the 60s and 70s.

 

http://www.organstops.org/r/Rohrschalmei.html

 

'Tend to agree with much of the above - it was only that I was rather reserving judgement till I had heard the effect. Perhaps Peter C. could enlarge upon to this if he is around - it was his organ that I was quoting from.

 

AJJ

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