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timothyguntrip

Royal Naval Chapel, Greenwich

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I'm due to play for a wedding at the Royal Naval Chapel in Greenwich at the end of April - I've had a look on NPOR and it looks like a fine instrument indeed. Since I am unable to get there until the week preceding the wedding (I currently live overseas), I'd be most interested in hearing any opinions and information concerning this instrument that any other contributors are able to provide. I also gather that it has two consoles (?), so any information on this would be gratefully received also.

 

Many thanks!

 

VA

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It is a fine organ, in a magnificent building.

 

You will certainly enjoy playing it.

 

I gave a couple of Sunday afternoon recitals there a few years ago, and my recollection is of a beautifully voiced, graceful instrument in a grateful acoustic.

 

The voicing of the instrument is beautiful rather than powerful. At the console the sound is intimate, and you can feel that you are not making much of an impact, but the sound blooms remarkably in the building and fills it very well.

 

I seem to recall an 18th century English style of voicing, and the organ plays baroque and early music better than the romantic warhorses, but it is so musical that you can make a good job of most things on it.

 

The action is also, as I recall, very precise, and this coupled with the close nature of the sound means that it is not an organ you can relax on. It feels like playing harpsichord - careful articulation is called for and you need to be on your toes.

 

There is a trompeta real added into the scheme, which is not as vulgar as it might sound, but it is rather out of place.

 

I seem to recall there are plenty of general pistons as well, so managing the organ is not a problem.

 

Hope that helps,

 

Kind regards,

Mark B

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Many thanks to you both for your replies.

 

The information concerning the action is particularly important since the Widor is programmed for the recessional, having previously struggled with this on very heavy actions (especially when everything is coupled together).

 

I look forward to playing this instrument!

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The Widor will sound fine.

 

It will not be heavy work in itself, but the action will leave you nowhere to hide. Make sure you are on top form !

 

Best,

M

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I played this instrument (from the detached console) a few years ago for a capacity congregation (including HRH The Princess Royal) at a carol service for the Missions to Seafarers.

 

Given the size of the congregation, my recollection is less pleasant. The organ was quite inadequate for the task and only the addition of the Festal Trumpet (it is not named Trompeta Real) allowed it to give any sense of lead.

 

This said, you are probably more likely to enjoy it if you are playing for a wedding - unless, of course, there is likely to be a capacity congregation at this service, too.

 

To be honest, I fould it to be a little bland tonally. True, nothing sticks out (apart from the solo reed). It is, as MAB has implied, a gently voiced instrument - a characteristic of Green's work. It is also something of a 'Dulciana organ' - yet without any undulating rank. Personally, I really missed a Céleste and would gladly have had the 4ft. Dulciana on the Swell moved up an octave and tuned sharp (or even flat).

 

The only clavier 16ft. is a slender Basson on the Swell Organ - not even a Bourdon on the G.O. * Consequently, the organ lacks gravitas. The Pedal Organ is similarly lacking in tonal weight. Given its pedigree, I would not expect it to be able to emulate a vintage H&H; however, I did find this disconcerting.

 

The acoustic is reasonably good, but I would not go as far as to say that French symphonic music would sound well on this organ; as far as I am concerned, it really is not this type of instrument. In addition, since the detached console has apparently now been removed (and the attached console has mechanical action), there are no longer any sub octave couplers (there were formerly two). This can only increase the lack of gravitas.

 

 

 

* There was formerly a Bourdon on the Swell Organ, which was later revoiced as a Quintatön.

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The second console, which should never have been installed, but was done so when the then consultant insisted that it should be, has now been removed again.

 

John

 

This is interesting. Could you tell me when this was done, please?

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The second console, which should never have been installed, but was done so when the then consultant insisted that it should be, has now been removed again.

 

John

 

 

Oh dear dear dear. John, you know that this isn't the case at all: the then INCUMBENT isisted that he remote console be installed and that there was no getting around that if the work was going to be done at all.

 

I was also delighted when the electric stuff was uninstalled, which had been carried out in such a manner as to be completely removable without trace - and I DID insist on that.

 

For those of you not 'in the know', I was the Commercial Manager for the contract, acting for Taylor Woodrow.

 

DW

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Oh dear dear dear. John, you know that this isn't the case at all: the then INCUMBENT isisted that he remote console be installed and that there was no getting around that if the work was going to be done at all.

 

I was also delighted when the electric stuff was uninstalled, which had been carried out in such a manner as to be completely removable without trace - and I DID insist on that.

 

For those of you not 'in the know', I was the Commercial Manager for the contract, acting for Taylor Woodrow.

 

DW

 

 

This seems to be a very interesting organ. According to NPOR there is a lot of Green pipework but I would be interested in the state of the organ before it was (by the looks of things) rebuilt (again) in 1996. Who tendered for it then? And what's with this second console? However I do have a good account via a CD played by Nicholas Johnson.

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Oh dear dear dear. John, you know that this isn't the case at all: the then INCUMBENT isisted that he remote console be installed and that there was no getting around that if the work was going to be done at all.

 

I was also delighted when the electric stuff was uninstalled, which had been carried out in such a manner as to be completely removable without trace - and I DID insist on that.

 

For those of you not 'in the know', I was the Commercial Manager for the contract, acting for Taylor Woodrow.

 

DW

 

Incumbents can be a menace in such matters. I recall talking to the vicar of a nearby church just south of the river with an equally historic reconstructed instrument on the west gallery. He was bemoaning the fact that he did not get his wish for a detached console on the chancel steps. "I no longer have eye-contact with my organist", he said, to which I replied that it was rather more important that his organist had contact with his organ. Fortunately in this case the consultant's advice prevailed.

 

JS

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I'm due to play for a wedding at the Royal Naval Chapel in Greenwich at the end of April - I've had a look on NPOR and it looks like a fine instrument indeed. Since I am unable to get there until the week preceding the wedding (I currently live overseas), I'd be most interested in hearing any opinions and information concerning this instrument that any other contributors are able to provide. I also gather that it has two consoles (?), so any information on this would be gratefully received also.

 

Many thanks!

 

VA

 

I've found for you an interesting recording from the International Congress of Organists 1957, in which the (Green) organ is put through its paces, stop by stop, by the then organist W. John Dyer, who also speaks about it at great length. Link expires in seven days.

 

https://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?acti...3dWNGR0ZFQlE9PQ

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.... the then INCUMBENT isisted that he remote console be installed and that there was no getting around that if the work was going to be done at all.

DW

I saw and played this organ shortly after the second console was added. I distinctly remember David Wyld, who was good enough to arrange this, telling me that the second console was added against his advice, at the insistence of the authorities, who wanted to create a more "intimate" feel to services focussed on the chancel. Naturally, I spent most of the time at the upstairs console...

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