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Empty Cases And Fake Organs!


OmegaConsort
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I took my kids to see Wicked at The Apollo in Victoria last week. Above the auditorium there is a very impressive facade of organ pipes, but on closer inspection, I noticed they had no mouths. I assume this is just a fake organ facade (NPOR doesn't bring anything up)?

This got me thinking; I wonder how many fake facades there are (including empty cases) dotted around. The only two that come to mind are:

1. Durham Cathedral - old case at the West End

2. St Mary's Warwick - one of the chancel cases is completely empty - I think..

 

Best wishes

 

Richard

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Central Church, Torquay. When the most recent toaster was installed (to replace a large 4 decker 1970s Makin) they decided to install a row of pipes on a wall! And this display is the ugliest thing you could ever imagine. Why on earth they bothered I don't know.

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Central Church, Torquay. When the most recent toaster was installed (to replace a large 4 decker 1970s Makin) they decided to install a row of pipes on a wall! And this display is the ugliest thing you could ever imagine. Why on earth they bothered I don't know.

 

The organ in question is a older style Wyvern which as you say replaced a very ropey old Makin. It is about to be upgraded to a Wyvern Phoenix instrument. Installation is due at about the end of the month. I don't know if there is any improvement to be made to the facade though.

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The organ in question is a older style Wyvern which as you say replaced a very ropey old Makin. It is about to be upgraded to a Wyvern Phoenix instrument. Installation is due at about the end of the month. I don't know if there is any improvement to be made to the facade though.

 

Thanks for those details. It'll be interesting to hear the new upgrade.

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Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford?

Good point - cases containing digital organ speakers - I guess that would add a lot more to the list...not just digitals but hybrids too (are the speakers for the digital ranks at Southwell Minster in the case or outside?). Mind you - I don't think this type of situation could be considered an "empty" case (apart from empty of soul perhaps B)

There is also the Wren Chapel at the Royal Hospital Chelsea which has digital ranks - but I think the speakers for those are outside the case...

Richard

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LANCASTER PRIORY - Excellent Hill casework (did contain superb Harrison prior to 1981) is now a screen for 27 year old Compton Makin speakers. I'm told this is about to be ditched for a decent pipe organ. (Full circle comes to mind!!)

 

ST IVES CHURCH (Cambs) - Very fine Comper casework on screen now empty, but did contain Gern organ.

 

 

St ANNES, SOUTHOWRAM, Halifax. - Still has the Isaac Abbott (1884) case which masks speakers for a b....y Bradford electrone. Not a good case, but did contain an extremely fine instrument ditched around 1989.

 

RobH

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St-Sauveur Cathedral, Aix-en-Provence: north and south side cases, only one side contains pipes.

 

Ooohh - another comes to mind - there is an empty, and beautiful Comper (I think) case in St Mary's Wellingborough in Northamptonshire.....

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The Southwell Quire organ electronics are mostly buried inside the pulpitum.

 

For an empty case, I'm sure I read somewhere that one of the twin cases in the Basilica in Santiago de Compostela is completely empty, but I just can't find where now (I even ditched google and resorted to flicking through actual books!). If I'm right, there's even a battery of fake chamades poking half way across the nave!

 

Can anyone put me out of my misery?

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... For an empty case, I'm sure I read somewhere that one of the twin cases in the Basilica in Santiago de Compostela is completely empty, but I just can't find where now (I even ditched google and resorted to flicking through actual books!). If I'm right, there's even a battery of fake chamades poking half way across the nave!

 

Can anyone put me out of my misery?

 

I am fairly certain that this is not correct. I played for a Mass there last year and from the number of ranks available at the console (all of which worked) the instrument is of quite a reasonable size. However the cases are comparatively shallow in depth, so I would imagine that both are full. In addition, there are several ranks of chamades available (all of which I used). They do not sound like extensions, but separate ranks. Strangely, they were somewhat less fiery than I had expected; they also sounded quite civilised - a little like the big 'Hill' reeds at Sydney Town Hall.

 

I think that the organist of the basilica informed me of the interior layout; however, since I cannot speak Spanish, we conversed in French and I cannot presently recall exactly what he said.

 

I did manage to take several photographs of the instrument, including a few from the organ loft. Whilst some are a little dark (it was the first time that I had used that particular camera), a reasonable number are fairly clear. If you would like to have any copies, you are welcome to contact me via PM.

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I took my kids to see Wicked at The Apollo in Victoria last week. Above the auditorium there is a very impressive facade of organ pipes, but on closer inspection, I noticed they had no mouths. I assume this is just a fake organ facade (NPOR doesn't bring anything up)?

 

Yes - this rather avent garde frontage originally covered the swell shutters of a 3 manual 16 rank Compton which was disconnected in the 50s and removed in the 60s. The console is now at Ossett Town Hall. The organ was a bit of a disaster because of the plasterwork 'canopy' which projects out in front of that pipe frontage, meaning that there was no direct route for the sound to reach the organist. People in the balcony heard it pefectly, the organist and front stalls patrons heard it faintly, and as far as those in the rear stalls were concerned, it might as well not have been there! Compton installed some high-power amplifers to try to get the sound around the building a bit, but what had been a specially designed and well specified instrument never lived up to its potential. It was designed by Reginald Foort and included an interesting crescendo indicator like a clock dial, which was quite unique in British theatre organs, and is still in use at Ossett.

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I took my kids to see Wicked at The Apollo in Victoria last week. Above the auditorium there is a very impressive facade of organ pipes, but on closer inspection, I noticed they had no mouths. I assume this is just a fake organ facade (NPOR doesn't bring anything up)?

This got me thinking; I wonder how many fake facades there are (including empty cases) dotted around. The only two that come to mind are:

1. Durham Cathedral - old case at the West End

2. St Mary's Warwick - one of the chancel cases is completely empty - I think..

 

Best wishes

 

Richard

St John, Buxton, South case is empty.

 

R.

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Thanks for the info/correction pcnd. I went there years and years ago when I was a kid, but it so happened to be St James's day (!) and there was no way I was getting near the organ. Did see the botafumeiro though!

 

cheers, SC

 

(ps. Posting this from google's brand new web-browser, Chrome. Very very slick indeed!)

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(ps. Posting this from google's brand new web-browser, Chrome. Very very slick indeed!)

 

Yup, it appears to be miles ahead of IE8 in terms of speed, doesn't it! I wondered whether IE8's (and IE7's) incompatibility issues with Google where a ploy against Google by Microsoft and think that, if they were, Google is now going to come out on top!

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1. Durham Cathedral - old case at the West End

 

I was chatting to someone the other day connected with Durham who said there are plans to do something with the ancient case at the West End of the Cathedral....he knew no more than that, but it got me thinking.........

 

A) a four manual digital behind the case work

B) a two manual pipe organ behind the casework

C) something connected with, and playable from the main organ in the choir.....

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Ooohh - another comes to mind - there is an empty, and beautiful Comper (I think) case in St Mary's Wellingborough in Northamptonshire.....

 

 

This is correct. In fact there are two Comper cases, the larger one which faces into the nave (just short of a wonderful screen) contains a medium-sized two-manual Hill which has just been refurbished and slightly enlarged by Kenneth Tickell & Co. The case which faces north into a small chapel is indeed just a screen and a delightful one it is. A very simple design, beautifully executed - a work of art in fact.

 

if we start listing facades which conceal toasters, may I propose one extremely ugly one? If so, I would like to nominate St.Mary's Witney (Oxfordshire) where a fair-sized Walker enlarged by Martin of Oxford was ditched in favour of a Bradford Computing organ. [i rescued some of the remaining Walker pipework some years ago].

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1. Durham Cathedral - old case at the West End

 

I was chatting to someone the other day connected with Durham who said there are plans to do something with the ancient case at the West End of the Cathedral....he knew no more than that, but it got me thinking.........

 

A) a four manual digital behind the case work

B) a two manual pipe organ behind the casework

C) something connected with, and playable from the main organ in the choir.....

A long time ago (late 60's) there was a plan to rebuild the screen (as happened at Chichester) and place part of the organ on it, clothed by the old case. Thats why the 1970 rebuild moved the Choir organ, with new Postive, to the first bay (Plus two pedal ranks I think) with a separate blower.

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