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DaveHarries

RFH Organ

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Such stories (true, or otherwise) are not meant to be debunked until after midday, surely ?

 

Since Rauschwerk is a sort of mixture, the pull-out drawer should only be used to hold cocktails, mild-and-bitter, shandy, etc.(?).

 

Confusingly, it’s included in the Pedal section of the spec. (http://www.ratzeburgerdom.de/3501_grosse_rieger_disp.htm); perhaps it is assumed that one has already fallen off the organ stool.

 

 

Ha!

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It is now midday.

 

A ‘double bluff’ could be a geographical feature . . .

 

I love the idea of a Choir to Pub stop. But, it doesn’t show on npor and the organ seems never to have had more than two manuals. (Have the shutters closed on the pub ?)

 

It wouldn’t be good to have such a stop on the Solo: the solitary imbibing of alcoholic beverages could indicate something serious.

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... I love the idea of Choir to Pub stop. But, it doesn’t show on npor and the organ seems never to have more than two manuals. (Have the shutters closed on the pub ?)

 

It wouldn’t be good to have such a stop on the Solo: the solitary imbibing of alcoholic beverages could indicate something serious.

 

 

Firstly: Gah. You are correct. I shall ask Tony to add this.

 

Secondly: Oh. I often drink alone in the evening. Now I am worried. (Generally only wine, though. Does this make it more acceptable?)

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Ratzeburg - I recall many years ago actually being offered a drink from the Rauschwerk drawer, it was well stocked if memory serves correctly. The organist was also a member of the local fire brigade and there was an emergency light to call him if required. Priest and congregation were left high and dry if it was activated during a service.

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'Refreshments' in the organ loft are nothing new!

 

I also remember being told that Pierre Cochereau always kept a bottle of Scotch whisky in the organ loft at Notre Dame - I do believe his favourite brand was Bells, but memory may be playing tricks here.

My God! The French may know what they are at when it comes to food, but this shows a distressing lack of taste when it comes to whisky.

 

I speak as former organist of the northernmost Cathedral in the British Isles, within sniffing distance of the northernmost distillery (Highland Park - the manager sang in the the choir).

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There can be problems though with that 'Choir to Pub' coupler - especially if used before big occasions such as Midnight Eucharist on Christmas Eve. It can be positively lethal, and if not cancelled in time, can lead to all sorts of problems.......

 

 

You weren't, by any chance, in St Mary's, Warwick for that service in about 1977 were you? :ph34r:

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In which case, I look forward to hearing it live. Can anyone tell me when the next solo recital is, please? Or when the lunch-time recitals commence; the on-line website is less than helpful in its layout and search facility.

Despite the publication of details of the 2014/15 International Organ Series in recent Pull Out All The Stops literature, programmes and flyers, the website is curiously at fault as you rightly say. Booking is already open for the individual concerts of the series if you look up their dates: 29 September - Jennifer Bate; 18 October - Cameron Carpenter; 10 December - Martin Baker; 2 February 2015 - Ann-Elise Smoot; 27 April - Thomas Trotter.

 

As mentioned in post 13 above, the free lunchtime recital series begins in September, and "details are available from April 2014". Apparently, "our free organ recital series... features Organ Curator William McVicker, our Festival Organ Scholar Weston Jennings and up-and-coming organists from London colleges."

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Despite the publication of details of the 2014/15 International Organ Series in recent Pull Out All The Stops literature, programmes and flyers, the website is curiously at fault as you rightly say. Booking is already open for the individual concerts of the series if you look up their dates: 29 September - Jennifer Bate; 18 October - Cameron Carpenter; 10 December - Martin Baker; 2 February 2015 - Ann-Elise Smoot; 27 April - Thomas Trotter.

 

As mentioned in post 13 above, the free lunchtime recital series begins in September, and "details are available from April 2014". Apparently, "our free organ recital series... features Organ Curator William McVicker, our Festival Organ Scholar Weston Jennings and up-and-coming organists from London colleges."

I hope that doesn't mean that some of the recitalists at this prestigious venue aren't getting paid a proper fee. I'd be very pleased to find my suspicions to be ill-founded but that sort of thing is happening more and more.

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Going back to organ music and reverberation time, it's possible to do some quick experiments simply by sitting at the computer. For example, by importing some of the recent fairly "dry" iPlayer recordings of the RFH organ into an audio editing package such as WaveLab, one can try applying different amounts of reverb. (WaveLab is a professional product and rather expensive, but it might be possible to do the same with a free one such as Audacity. I don't know because, possessing WaveLab, I haven't tried).

 

I have mastered and added a smidgeon of additional reverb to several hundred almost "dry" organ recordings in this way over the years, and have found that 2.0 to 2.5 seconds reverb time is pretty optimum - to my ears and for my tastes of course. This confirms what others have said above.

 

I have only heard the iPlayer recordings of the revamped hall and instrument so far, but it still sounds a bit too "dry" to me. However, I would be the first to admit that one should not judge an instrument until one has had the opportunity to hear it live in the building it occupies.

 

One should bear in mind that reverb time usually defines the time for a sound to decay by 60 dB (a factor of one thousand in sound pressure level - SPL), though there are alternative definitions in use. However the ear can follow the decay of sounds of moderate to high SPL to far lower levels than this, so the quoted figures do not usually indicate the significantly longer time for which a decaying sound is actually audible.

 

CEP

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I must admit, if I were to choose a 'blend', it would be The Grouse. But as I say, I'm relying on memory on this.

 

I do recall though that a trick was placed on PC, where the bottle was hidden at one particular service. He wasn't very happy about it, and failed to see the funny side when the culprit owned up!

I would agree with you. Grouse is mostly Highland Park, too.

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Returning to the matter of reverberation time, didn't the RFH once have an installed electronic reverberation system, or am I imagining that?

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Yes it did.

 

 

This was indeed the case.

 

I note (from further research) that in fact G. Donald Harrison had warned Downes, in personal letters, of the inadvisability of using imported stops - particularly reeds. In addition, he also cautioned him explicitly with regard to the likely effect of the instrument in the projected* acoustic ambiance of the completed hall.§

 

In addition, it appears that Rochesson was in fact only to be the 'middle-man' of the contract. In reality, he purchased his pipe-work (already voiced) from Masure Frères, of Paris. They, in turn were supplied tongues and shallots by Bertounèche (of Héry, Yonne). Furthermore, Rochesson then offered his voicing skills† at a somewhat high cost.

 

Apparently, in the words of Henry Willis III: 'At the beginning of January [1949], the L.C.C. [as it then was] sent around to certain selected firms a list of 78 stops with Rochesson's (high) prices. This was taken as a clear suggestion that the 78 (out of 100) should be obtained from Rochesson. The matter was reported to the Federation of Master Organ Builders, who sent a letter signed jointly by the National Union of Musical Instrument Makers - the Trade Union - protesting against the suggested importation of stops from France that could be produced at least as well, if not better, in this country to the detriment of the skill and labour of our men.'‡

 

In the event, it later transpired that the intention was for Rochesson to supply twenty-one speaking stops (which were indicated in blue pencil on the first provisional specification).

 

 

 

 

 

* This was initially stated as '2.2 seconds when empty.'

 

§ pp. 276-7 (reeds) and pp. 326-7 (acoustics), The American Classic Organ: a History in Letters. Charles Callahan. The Organ Historical Society, Richmond, Va. (1990).

 

† Exactly how good a voicer he was is open to debate. There is some documentary evidence to suggest that his work was not, by any means, of first-rate quality.

 

‡ pp. 282-3; Ibidem.

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It would be interesting know the extent to which the reeds were 'revoiced' (if at all) with the re-installation of the organ? They certainly sound better now compared to pre-2005.

Find a friend who's a BIOS member and ask to see the recent BIOS Journal, or buy it here.

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Find a friend who's a BIOS member and ask to see the recent BIOS Journal, or by it here.

 

Wolsey - thank you for the link. However, I am experiencing some difficulty in purchasing this journal. For one thing, the postage (inland) does not show up on the total when I try to go to PayPal. In addition, I am unable apparently to select any other means of payment, since I simply get re-directed to PayPal - or the page on the link above. For that matter, I have also been unsuccessful in logging-on to my PayPal account; and, yes - I have typed both my e-mail address and my password correctly. Furthermore, every time I attempt to go to 'Checkout' (or to pay via PayPal), I note that the total items have increased to two - at no point did I select this.

 

Has anyone else here experienced any similar problems - or have I missed something obvious? (Or is the BIOS site having temporary software problems?)

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The branch of Foyles underneath the RFH had a pile of the BIOS Journals for sale when I was up there for the Latry recital. I got my copy then.

 

A

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Has anyone else here experienced any similar problems - or have I missed something obvious? (Or is the BIOS site having temporary software problems?)

I've tried several times on different days and have had the same problem.. :(

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How much of a "Downes instrument" is this going to remain, I wonder? It has been in pieces for the last year (chez a local builder, I believe) and there isn't any imminent sign of it being put back. It will be reinstated once the abbey have decided what to do with it and where to put it (the west gallery is one option, apparently - the toaster speakers were up there last time I played there). I am told that there are differing opinions about what should be done, but at least one of these involves substantial alterations to the instrument. I am not at all sure that there is any commitment to keep the organ "as is".

In the last two or three years the abbey has undergone an extensive cleaning, first outside and then inside - and I have to say that it all looks magnificent. As the scaffolding moved up the nave the organ was taken down to protect it from dust and dirt. I did hear rumours that there was a wish to reduce the number of stops to make the pipework less cramped and then, later, another rumour that perhaps it might be transferred to the west gallery in order to lead the congregation better - which will be disastrous when it comes to accompanying choral concerts. All I know for sure is what a steward told me when I asked about what was happening, viz. that "an organist from Durham Cathedral" had been down to look at the building and advise. I thought this a little odd and wondered whether it was actually someone from Harrison and Harrison.

Incidentally, did you know that the abbey now has a DoM, an organist (in addition to Fr Sebastian) and an adult choir? I hear that the choir is very good.

 

Apologies once again as it's probably not worth starting a new thread for the Buckfast Abbey organ (yet), but the latest rumour, from another occasional member of the Buckfast choir, is that the Downes instrument is to be completely discarded. Again, don't quote me on it, as I have not spoken to anyone in authority there. I have no information on what is planned instead - indeed, I am not sure that anything has yet been decided. Watch that space.

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