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RCO Day: Discover York Minster


Alistair Timmis

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Taken from the RCO website:

 

"

Discover York Minster

26th June 2010 10:30am, York

 

The latest in the College's much-appreciated series of Discovery Events takes us to York Minster, one of northern Europe's greatest Gothic Cathedrals.

 

The programme includes an interview discussion between RCO Director of Academic Development Andrew McCrea and the Minster's much-loved former Organist Dr Francis Jackson CBE, a Vice President of the RCO who is still composing and performing as vigorously as ever in his 90s.

 

The day begins with a demonstration of the Minster's famous organ by current Organist John Scott Whiteley. After lunch York music historian Dr David Griffiths introduces us to the Camidge family who successively held the post of Organist at the Minster for over 100 years from the mid-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries. We end with a guided tour of the building and attendance at choir practice and choral evensong. For those who can arrive early there will be the chance to play the Minster organ from 09:00hrs.Refreshments on arrival together with lunch and afternoon tea will be included in the cost of the day.

"

 

 

Will anyone on the board be attending? The 09:00 hour-or-so opportunity to have a go on the organ is not to be missed for many, I'm sure. The music at Evensong looks good, with organ voluntary as Franck Choral 1.

 

Best Wishes.

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Sounds like a day not to be missed, provided you are a member.

 

Didn't know the RCO organised things like this; it's the sort of thing I was wondering about elsethread when I asked what were the advantages of shelling out the fee other than risking failing their exams.

 

Have a great day if you are going. :D

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These days the RCO does a lot of things like this - all aimed at getting young people interested, with hands-on experience - from an early age. This Board features a lot of unkind criticism of the RCO but it does now have full time staff specifically there to provide outreach of this kind. It may operate from a PO Box in SE London but that cuts overheads and means more money for this kind of thing. It is a good many years ago now that the RCO stopped being (or being seen as) merely an examining body.

 

Malcolm

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These days the RCO does a lot of things like this - all aimed at getting young people interested, with hands-on experience - from an early age. This Board features a lot of unkind criticism of the RCO but it does now have full time staff specifically there to provide outreach of this kind.

Indeed it does, and this is why I have been irritated by the constant ill-informed carping about the organisation which has featured here all too often. The type of event described above is nothing new as far as the RCO is concerned, and it would be good for once if people did find out what it is doing now in the twenty-first century, rather than clinging to a yesteryear image of rose damask and Kensington Gore. Their website is only a mouse-click away.

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Indeed it does, and this is why I have been irritated by the constant ill-informed carping about the organisation which has featured here all too often. The type of event described above is nothing new as far as the RCO is concerned, and it would be good for once if people did find out what it is doing now in the twenty-first century, rather than clinging to a yesteryear image of rose damask and Kensington Gore. Their website is only a mouse-click away.

 

At the time, I am not sure that it was ill-informed. The original thread was begun two or three years ago, I believe. Personally, I was at the time well aware of the type of events which the RCO were organising. Apart form helping to subsidise their youth training programme through my subscription, the only other thing I received for my money was a copy of their newsletter. At that time the great majority of events were aimed solely at young organists. Before some of you rush to respond, no, of course I think that this is a necessary and good thing. I teach and try to encourage pupils of all ages to become involved with the organ. However, as far I was able to discern, the RCO was providing little or nothing for those of us who were already working professionally. I have no image of 'rose damask' - and little recollection of Kensington Gore. I have never taken those particular diplomas and I only visited its former illustrious home twice - once to represent my college in an improvisation evening, run by Arthur Wills.

 

My comment regarding the suitcase, a P.O. Box and Surrey Docks, was not a throwaway - it was intended (but clearly failed) to highlight the apparent mis-management of funds. This is something which may be a little more difficult to refute. The RCO were given an attractive financial enducement to relinquish their occupation of Kensington Gore before the expiry of the lease; there was also, as far as I can remember, a public appeal for funds, in order that the move to Birmingham could take place - and that a new extension to the former raliway accommodation could be built. In addition, there was at least one advertisement in a national periodical, in which the phrase "We have commissioned Goll to build a new organ for the RCO" (or a similar form of wording) appeared. Then, quite shortly afterwards, the move fell through, the new organ was (presumably) cancelled - and many of us were left wondering exactly what had been happening.

 

Shortly after this, I became, quite simply, fed-up with parting with a substantial sum of money (compared to perceived 'return'), and for the RCO to organise something in the south of England for members who were not 1) still at school or 2) thinking of sitting an examination in order to obtain one of the RCO's diplomas.

 

With the best will in the world, I have neither the time, or the spare cash to justify a round trip of several hundred miles during a school term, in order to hear the organ of York Minster.

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At the time, I am not sure that it was ill-informed. The original thread was begun two or three years ago, I believe. Personally, I was at the time well aware of the type of events which the RCO were organising. Apart form helping to subsidise their youth training programme through my subscription, the only other thing I received for my money was a copy of their newsletter. At that time the great majority of events were aimed solely at young organists. Before some of you rush to respond, no, of course I think that this is a necessary and good thing. I teach and try to encourage pupils of all ages to become involved with the organ. However, as far I was able to discern, the RCO was providing little or nothing for those of us who were already working professionally. I have no image of 'rose damask' - and little recollection of Kensington Gore. I have never taken those particular diplomas and I only visited its former illustrious home twice - once to represent my college in an improvisation evening, run by Arthur Wills.

 

My comment regarding the suitcase, a P.O. Box and Surrey Docks, was not a throwaway - it was intended (but clearly failed) to highlight the apparent mis-management of funds. This is something which may be a little more difficult to refute. The RCO were given an attractive financial enducement to relinquish their occupation of Kensington Gore before the expiry of the lease; there was also, as far as I can remember, a public appeal for funds, in order that the move to Birmingham could take place - and that a new extension to the former raliway accommodation could be built. In addition, there was at least one advertisement in a national periodical, in which the phrase "We have commissioned Goll to build a new organ for the RCO" (or a similar form of wording) appeared. Then, quite shortly afterwards, the move fell through, the new organ was (presumably) cancelled - and many of us were left wondering exactly what had been happening.

 

Shortly after this, I became, quite simply, fed-up with parting with a substantial sum of money (compared to perceived 'return'), and for the RCO to organise something in the south of England for members who were not 1) still at school or 2) thinking of sitting an examination in order to obtain one of the RCO's diplomas.

 

With the best will in the world, I have neither the time, or the spare cash to justify a round trip of several hundred miles during a school term, in order to hear the organ of York Minster.

 

 

=================================

 

 

After last time, I'm not getting imvolved............... :lol:

 

 

I would just nip any possible rumours in the bud, in that I did once live iin Shad Thames, had a suitcase and worked for a bank. (My PO Box number still exists).

 

Just for the record, I have never had any connection with the RCO.

 

 

MM

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=================================

 

 

After last time, I'm not getting imvolved............... :lol:

 

 

I would just nip any possible rumours in the bud, in that I did once live iin Shad Thames, had a suitcase and worked for a bank. (My PO Box number still exists).

 

Just for the record, I have never had any connection with the RCO.

 

 

MM

 

 

You lived in Shad Thames? Egads!

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You lived in Shad Thames? Egads!

 

 

============================

 

 

Good Lord, thanks for that!

 

I could scarcely believe the prices, even in the middle band I enjoyed, because the prices have just about doubled in just 13 years!! :)

 

I'm sure there's a lesson there about the economy.

 

Flying slightly off-topic, I lived in Eagle Wharf just off Shad Thames, and overlooked what was once the stable-area for the dray-horses and shires of the original Courage Brewery, known as the Old Brew House, (now home to a magnificent penthouse type of development, once owned by an interntional pop-star). As time went on, I did quite a lot of work for Courage Breweries (among others), and got to know some of the Courage family personally. The Courage organisation was then a part of the Imperial Group, (Wills Tobacco etc), and when I went to live along Shad Thames, the only thing I knew was the fact that the old brewhouse was the original 18th century brewery.

 

Slowly but surely, an interesting story unfolded connected to organs. Firstly, I discovered that John Courage had enjoyed a very close relationship with Marcel Dupre, and he stayed with the family when in London. Next, I discovered that Courgae virtually owned and financed Lewis & Co, organ-builders. I then discovered that Courage more or less paid for the organ of Westminster Cathedral. Then I read about the history of the Lewis organ at Southwark Cathedral, only to discover that it was stored in the square below my apartment window, in the Courage stables, and then carted off to the cathedral by the dray shire-horses.

 

Not only that, just down the road is Tooley Street, where one of Gauntlett's "German" system instruments resided, and which had such an impact on the development of the English Organ.

 

With so much Schulze influence around, I felt quite at home there. :lol:

 

MM

 

PS: We had finished with the York Minster thing hadn't we?

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Getting back on track, I remember going to the lunch in celebration of the centenary of the RCO getting its Royal Charter. This as held at Whitbread's place in Chiswell Street round the back of the Barbican and very nice it was too.

 

Malcolm

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Getting back on track, I remember going to the lunch in celebration of the centenary of the RCO getting its Royal Charter. This as held at Whitbread's place in Chiswell Street round the back of the Barbican and very nice it was too.

 

Malcolm

 

 

==================================

 

 

I'm surprised that there appears to be such a symbiosis between organists and beer.

 

Should we blame the clergy for driving organists to drink? :lol:

 

MM

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By some coincidence, I yesterday spent a few hours in York, largely at the premises of Principal Pipe Organs talking about the progress of the new organ for the Guild Chapel, Stratford-upon-Avon. After a very pleasant couple of hours in the company of Mr Coffin I made the pilgrimage to the Minster, without any hope of hearing the organ. That was fulfilled, then...

 

I did, though, have a good look around and noticed that the 32' Open Diapason pipes on the south side looked almost as if they had been constructed by welding together a stack of dustbins and then painting them in a sort of limestone colour to fit in with the fabric of the Minster. I've seen a few similar ranks over the years but have never seen one constructed in a similar way. Does anyone know the history of them? Is this a normal method of making 32' pipes but in most cases the welds being filed down to make the job look better?

 

While there I bought a discounted Priory CD of organ lollipops recorded by JSW a few years ago. I listened to it earlier today and thought that the organ sounded quite different to other times that I'd heard it, either live or recorded. It was a lot brighter with the Big T being much less prominent than one might expect. On reading the admittedly sparse sleeve notes it turned out that the recording was made with the main (or only?) microphone placed (suspended) over the case. I rather liked the sound - has anyone else here heard the disc and have a comment?

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By some coincidence, I yesterday spent a few hours in York, largely at the premises of Principal Pipe Organs talking about the progress of the new organ for the Guild Chapel, Stratford-upon-Avon. After a very pleasant couple of hours in the company of Mr Coffin I made the pilgrimage to the Minster, without any hope of hearing the organ. That was fulfilled, then...

 

I did, though, have a good look around and noticed that the 32' Open Diapason pipes on the south side looked almost as if they had been constructed by welding together a stack of dustbins and then painting them in a sort of limestone colour to fit in with the fabric of the Minster. I've seen a few similar ranks over the years but have never seen one constructed in a similar way. Does anyone know the history of them? Is this a normal method of making 32' pipes but in most cases the welds being filed down to make the job look better?

 

While there I bought a discounted Priory CD of organ lollipops recorded by JSW a few years ago. I listened to it earlier today and thought that the organ sounded quite different to other times that I'd heard it, either live or recorded. It was a lot brighter with the Big T being much less prominent than one might expect. On reading the admittedly sparse sleeve notes it turned out that the recording was made with the main (or only?) microphone placed (suspended) over the case. I rather liked the sound - has anyone else here heard the disc and have a comment?

 

To the best of my knowledge the 32' Open Diapason pipes were made in 1829 (some of the oldest pipes in the organ). I'm no engineer, but perhaps in those days it was not possible to produce plate metal above a certain size. Incidentally, does anyone know what metal these pipes are made of?

 

I have a copy of the CD you refer to, and agree that the Tuba Mirabilis is most definitely toned down for the reasons you mention. Strangely, though, the new Bombarde - which faces East - seems much more prominent on the CD. Personally, whilst the resulting sounds are interesting in comparison, I much prefer the 'conventional' microphone positions: after all, the organ was presumably voiced to sound best to the East and West, rather than up the central tower!

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I also have this CD - it's an unusual and interesting take on the instrument. Personally, I don't like the sound, BUT found it very interesting to learn where all the 'crispness' is going when you're in the nave and it sounds like its playing 10 miles away (straight up the tower)!!!

 

The current organ at York is really designed to face East, and if it wasn't for the Tuba Mirabilis, would be a bit of a flop for big nave services. What would work miracles would be a big glass or perspex screen to be put across the base of the tower itself, at nave roof height, which would direct more of the sound westwards. But I can't see it, really! For the quire though, its superb. The Bombarde en Chamade is a fun and very well used stop, by JSW at least. It points, logically with the name, horizontally towards the high alter on the north side of the screen (behind the curtain). It is really interesting to hear from the nave, as the acoustic in effect means you hear it '2nd hand' after its travelled to the east window and back down, past the organ case, and it goes on forever after lifting off. Amazing to hear, actually.

 

T

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To the best of my knowledge the 32' Open Diapason pipes were made in 1829 (some of the oldest pipes in the organ). I'm no engineer, but perhaps in those days it was not possible to produce plate metal above a certain size. Incidentally, does anyone know what metal these pipes are made of?

 

I have a copy of the CD you refer to, and agree that the Tuba Mirabilis is most definitely toned down for the reasons you mention. Strangely, though, the new Bombarde - which faces East - seems much more prominent on the CD. Personally, whilst the resulting sounds are interesting in comparison, I much prefer the 'conventional' microphone positions: after all, the organ was presumably voiced to sound best to the East and West, rather than up the central tower!

 

This is not an instrument that I know intimately, so am willing to be corrected but I think it very surprising to find a metal 32' stop from 1829. If it is, it can only be made from a lead tin alloy of whatever proportions. I think it's far more likely to be from Hill 1862 whereupon it will be most likely Zinc, and a fairly early example of it's use in this context. The earliness of the date would also point towards the size of sheet available and the method of construction.

 

AJS

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This is not an instrument that I know intimately, so am willing to be corrected but I think it very surprising to find a metal 32' stop from 1829. If it is, it can only be made from a lead tin alloy of whatever proportions. I think it's far more likely to be from Hill 1862 whereupon it will be most likely Zinc, and a fairly early example of it's use in this context. The earliness of the date would also point towards the size of sheet available and the method of construction.

 

The two 32 feet flue stops at York are both Elliot & Hill work from 1833/34. The fire was 1829, and the new organ and case (the present one) completed just a few years later. Quoting from Thistlethwaite The Making of the Victorian Organ, "Hill resorted to zinc (being both cheaper and more stable than he usual compound of tin and lead) but found that it, too, had its problems. It needed to be heated before it could be manipulated, and there was then the question of howto manipulate it. To over come these difficulties, he 'conceived the plan of bending into shape the sections of the cylinders designed to form the tubes by means of triple rollers. These were so placed that the sheet of metal passing between two of them was caught by a third, the axis of which was depressed at will, so that it was forced out of the horizontal and curved so accurately that no farther manipulation was needed.' By this means, short cylinders were manufactured (each about 3' long) which were then joined together to form the pipe bodies of the 32' register. The mouths were formed of plain metal. Hill's machine was widely used in the manufacture of iron tubes and boilers."

 

Because the York work happened shortly before that of Birmingham Town Hall (1834, also zinc), York can claim to have the first 32' stops made in the UK. Thistlethwaite goes on to note that after the zinc basses made for York and Birmingham, Hill went on to use it regularly throughout his career.

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Thank you for the responses.

 

It would have been a shame if the joins on the 32' pipes had been smoothed off as we should have lost a fascinating glimpse into the technology of the early nineteenth century and how the available skills and machinery were used for a quite different purpose to that originally intended.

 

I wonder how many visitors to the South Transept actually notice those pipes? When I was there about 90% of people just wandered about randomly pointing their mobile phone cameras into the middle distance without appearing to take in any of the splendour around them.

 

I've just listened again to a few tracks on the CD and the microphone placement really shows JSW's technique to the best advantage. With every note audible even in the fast passages the tiniest slip would have stood out like a sore thumb or 2, 3, 4, 5...

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To over come these difficulties, he 'conceived the plan of bending into shape the sections of the cylinders designed to form the tubes by means of triple rollers. These were so placed that the sheet of metal passing between two of them was caught by a third, the axis of which was depressed at will, so that it was forced out of the horizontal and curved so accurately that no farther manipulation was needed.' By this means, short cylinders were manufactured (each about 3' long) which were then joined together to form the pipe bodies of the 32' register.

 

 

========================

 

 

How utterly fascinating I find this, because in my early years, when I hadn't a clue what to do, I worked in engineering and actually made the grade of class-skilled fitter. (Where did all that go, I wonder?)

 

This was achieved at a road/rail tank making works, and of course, to roll steel of that size requires a very large rolling machine about, say, the size of a small locomotive. The cast steel plate, for cryogenic tanks holding liquified gas, (about 4" thick), is loaded onto the machine, which then starts to roll the steel back and forth slowly; each roll a tiny amount more compressive than the one before. It took about 2 days to roll such enormously heavy pieces into a complete cylinder, after which they were automatically welded together by electric-arc with automatic wire-feed. The cold roll process makes metal stronger and more rigid; a bit like hammering lead when Arp Schnitger was around.

 

Inbcredibly, the process is exactly the same as Hill's machine, but of course, on a much bigger and more powerful scale and using a much more difficult material.

 

What always fascinates me, is just how close to the cutting edge of technology organ-builders have been over the centuries, and long before digital telephone exchanges, organ-builders were trying out various things. Wasn't it Hill, Norman & Beard Ltd., who pioneered the digital memory player mechanism, which usefully allowed the organist to get to the pub first after Evensong?

 

The next puzzle, is how they welded the Zinc together without it falling apart.....any ideas anyone?

 

After all, this wasn't zinc-plated steel sheet, but pure zinc, and long before inert gas and electric arcs were used.

 

The other interesting thing which came to minbd, were the rival 32ft pipes elsewhere. Am I wrong in thinking that the 32ft front at St.George's Hall, Liverpool, is copper witb black decoration?

 

The other remarkable 32ft front was that made of cast-iron at Leeds Town Hall.

 

Finally, did a British organ-buiilder EVER make a tin 32ft front for domestic use?

 

That is perhaps the most striking thing about the Bavo-orgel, but at least we have the satisfaction of knowing that the tin was mined and smelted in Cornwall, and hasn't crumbled since.

 

 

 

MM

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I also have this CD - it's an unusual and interesting take on the instrument. Personally, I don't like the sound, BUT found it very interesting to learn where all the 'crispness' is going when you're in the nave and it sounds like its playing 10 miles away (straight up the tower)!!!

 

The current organ at York is really designed to face East, and if it wasn't for the Tuba Mirabilis, would be a bit of a flop for big nave services. What would work miracles would be a big glass or perspex screen to be put across the base of the tower itself, at nave roof height, which would direct more of the sound westwards. But I can't see it, really! For the quire though, its superb. The Bombarde en Chamade is a fun and very well used stop, by JSW at least. It points, logically with the name, horizontally towards the high alter on the north side of the screen (behind the curtain). It is really interesting to hear from the nave, as the acoustic in effect means you hear it '2nd hand' after its travelled to the east window and back down, past the organ case, and it goes on forever after lifting off. Amazing to hear, actually.

 

T

 

========================

 

 

I'll repeat what I said some time ago about York Minster.

 

The Transepts and Crossing, without the tower space, are almost exactly the same in size as St.Laurens, Alkmaar.

 

In only one of those places does the sound of the organ fill the building!!!!! :lol:

 

MM

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The current organ at York is really designed to face East, and if it wasn't for the Tuba Mirabilis, would be a bit of a flop for big nave services. What would work miracles would be a big glass or perspex screen to be put across the base of the tower itself, at nave roof height, which would direct more of the sound westwards. But I can't see it, really! For the quire though, its superb. The Bombarde en Chamade is a fun and very well used stop, by JSW at least. It points, logically with the name, horizontally towards the high alter on the north side of the screen (behind the curtain). It is really interesting to hear from the nave, as the acoustic in effect means you hear it '2nd hand' after its travelled to the east window and back down, past the organ case, and it goes on forever after lifting off. Amazing to hear, actually.

 

T

 

I've been doing a little bit of research on this organ, which leads me to think that the "Bombarde en Chamade" is in fact NOT en Chamade at all but a conventional, hooded, trumpet placed facing into Quite on the north side of the screen case immediately behind the curtain. I'm also led to think this stop takes up a single slide on a 2 stop 1916 Harrison & Harrison soundboard which was originally home to the 12'' (later 15'') high pressure Great Reeds and supplanted in 1993 for a 4 stop soundboard for the Great reeds on 7'' pressure.

 

I think I am right to say that the Great and Swell sounboards still run East-West, with the Swell box on the north side of the case, Great Organ to the south - so I guess some would conclude the principal divisions of this organ speak south!

 

Yes, the metal rolling equipment used by Hill in 1833 is really quite remarkable - and of course, the invention has been used ever since to curve metal for funnels, boilers, etc - one wonders what the Victorians would have done without it!

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At the time, I am not sure that it was ill-informed....

 

My comment regarding the suitcase, a P.O. Box and Surrey Docks, was not a throwaway - it was intended (but clearly failed) to highlight the apparent mis-management of funds. This is something which may be a little more difficult to refute. The RCO were given an attractive financial enducement to relinquish their occupation of Kensington Gore before the expiry of the lease; there was also, as far as I can remember, a public appeal for funds, in order that the move to Birmingham could take place - and that a new extension to the former raliway accommodation could be built....

 

Shortly after this, I became, quite simply, fed-up with parting with a substantial sum of money (compared to perceived 'return'), and for the RCO to organise something in the south of England for members who were not 1) still at school or 2) thinking of sitting an examination in order to obtain one of the RCO's diplomas.

I hope you don't mind me picking up these points as I'm not sure it is fair or accurate to say that the RCO have mis-managed their funds.

 

At the time they pulled out of the Curzon Street project, they citied the reasons that the project would put them under too much financial pressure in the future if they were to continue and that in the interests of the future of the organisation, the prudent thing was to stop the project and come up with alternative office space arrangements.

 

Those of us who have experience of business will know that one of the hardest things to do is to stop a project if it looks like it is going to overburden the organisation financially - for starters, it can be difficult to spot in not-for-profit organisation and it is exetremely difficult to stop a project an organisation believes is central to its core mission and future, notwithstanding how the U-turn will look externally. I admire the RCO because I know how difficult that decision must have been and they did something very brave.

 

What is wrong with using alternative working arrangements, like home working, to conduct their business? Such working arrangements are becoming more and more accepted in the working world these days - the cost benefits are clear and modern technology has a huge impact - and the RCO is ahead of the curve on this.

 

I'm not aware of any evidence that the RCO have mis-managed their funds. The danger of saying - or even implying - that they have, in public (like on an Internet forum), without any real evidence to back it up, is that it is technically an act of defamation...

 

Of course, the choice of whether to be a member of the RCO is a purely personal choice - whether you feel you want to support its mission or whether you feel you get good value and services for your membership subscription. Some people will look at it from the more self-centred "what do I get for my money" perspective, while others will view it from the more altruistic reason that they want to support the organisation in its mission and aims, whether or not they get much back from it for themselves.

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So what happened to all the money from the appeal - and the attractive financial enducement they received to vacate Kensington Gore early?

 

In any case - I did write 'apparent'. I think that you are confusing 'mis-managed' with 'mis-appropriated' - which I did not write.

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I hope you don't mind me picking up these points as I'm not sure it is fair or accurate to say that the RCO have mis-managed their funds.

 

At the time they pulled out of the Curzon Street project, they citied the reasons that the project would put them under too much financial pressure in the future if they were to continue and that in the interests of the future of the organisation, the prudent thing was to stop the project and come up with alternative office space arrangements.

 

Those of us who have experience of business will know that one of the hardest things to do is to stop a project if it looks like it is going to overburden the organisation financially - for starters, it can be difficult to spot in not-for-profit organisation and it is exetremely difficult to stop a project an organisation believes is central to its core mission and future, notwithstanding how the U-turn will look externally. I admire the RCO because I know how difficult that decision must have been and they did something very brave.

In fact, I also run my own business - and have a number of friends who do likewise. Surely a cost analysis was sought from a professional (this would be prudent, given the nature and size of the project), before going ahead with the scheme?

 

What is wrong with using alternative working arrangements, like home working, to conduct their business? Such working arrangements are becoming more and more accepted in the working world these days - the cost benefits are clear and modern technology has a huge impact - and the RCO is ahead of the curve on this.

 

With an organisation such as the RCO, this would involve the regular hiring of a number of alternative venues - aside from the financial outlay, the logistical problems are greatly magnified - not least because of the introduction of more 'variables', and the increased propensity for problems to occur. Are you sure that it is cheaper regularly to hire a mumber of venues in different locations several times a year?

 

I'm not aware of any evidence that the RCO have mis-managed their funds. The danger of saying - or even implying - that they have, in public (like on an Internet forum), without any real evidence to back it up, is that it is technically an act of defamation...

See previous post.

 

Of course, the choice of whether to be a member of the RCO is a purely personal choice - whether you feel you want to support its mission or whether you feel you get good value and services for your membership subscription. Some people will look at it from the more self-centred "what do I get for my money" perspective, while others will view it from the more altruistic reason that they want to support the organisation in its mission and aims, whether or not they get much back from it for themselves.

 

This is unfair, Colin. You clearly have no idea how hard I work for my pupils - and how dedicated I am to giving absolutely of my best at all times. I work between sixty and seventy hours a week (not all of it remunerated). I always try to give my pupils 'over the odds' - and not just in terms of a little extra time here and there. I frequently put myself out for them, at my own expense - in both money and time. Personally, I feel that I am already doing my bit to encourage pupils of every age to become inspired by a musical instrument - not just young players, incidentally.

 

Since I perceived that I was also doing the same thing via the RCO subscription, I felt that it would be nice to get something in return, under the circumstances.

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I hope you don't mind me picking up these points as I'm not sure it is fair or accurate to say that the RCO have mis-managed their funds.

 

At the time they pulled out of the Curzon Street project, they citied the reasons that the project would put them under too much financial pressure in the future if they were to continue and that in the interests of the future of the organisation, the prudent thing was to stop the project and come up with alternative office space arrangements.

 

Those of us who have experience of business will know that one of the hardest things to do is to stop a project if it looks like it is going to overburden the organisation financially - for starters, it can be difficult to spot in not-for-profit organisation and it is exetremely difficult to stop a project an organisation believes is central to its core mission and future, notwithstanding how the U-turn will look externally. I admire the RCO because I know how difficult that decision must have been and they did something very brave.

 

What is wrong with using alternative working arrangements, like home working, to conduct their business? Such working arrangements are becoming more and more accepted in the working world these days - the cost benefits are clear and modern technology has a huge impact - and the RCO is ahead of the curve on this.

 

I'm not aware of any evidence that the RCO have mis-managed their funds. The danger of saying - or even implying - that they have, in public (like on an Internet forum), without any real evidence to back it up, is that it is technically an act of defamation...

 

Of course, the choice of whether to be a member of the RCO is a purely personal choice - whether you feel you want to support its mission or whether you feel you get good value and services for your membership subscription. Some people will look at it from the more self-centred "what do I get for my money" perspective, while others will view it from the more altruistic reason that they want to support the organisation in its mission and aims, whether or not they get much back from it for themselves.

 

 

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I have read various things, but it is water under the bridge from my point of view.

 

To misquote my solicitor, "They are where they are."

 

However, I think it is important to make a fine distinction between those who manage the interests of the college as a working entity, and those who are trustees of the college.

 

The latter, in such arrangements, should be in a position to not just advise, but to act pro-actively in the management and shaping of ongoing strategy.

 

I've said all along, that the RCO would be better placed and would enjoy a higher profile, were it attached to one of the colleges or universities, if only because organ-playing is simply a marginal activity in the musical world these days.

 

All the college really needs is a library, a syllabus, access to a good hall with a good organ, toilets, a sink, a kettle and a bit of know how. The rest is all peripheral administration and media management, which can be done even in Surrey Quays.

 

I'd opt for Huddersfield myself, but that wouldn't appeal to many I suppose.

 

MM

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I also have this CD - it's an unusual and interesting take on the instrument. Personally, I don't like the sound, BUT found it very interesting to learn where all the 'crispness' is going when you're in the nave and it sounds like its playing 10 miles away (straight up the tower)!!!

 

The current organ at York is really designed to face East, and if it wasn't for the Tuba Mirabilis, would be a bit of a flop for big nave services. What would work miracles would be a big glass or perspex screen to be put across the base of the tower itself, at nave roof height, which would direct more of the sound westwards. But I can't see it, really! For the quire though, its superb. The Bombarde en Chamade is a fun and very well used stop, by JSW at least. It points, logically with the name, horizontally towards the high alter on the north side of the screen (behind the curtain). It is really interesting to hear from the nave, as the acoustic in effect means you hear it '2nd hand' after its travelled to the east window and back down, past the organ case, and it goes on forever after lifting off. Amazing to hear, actually.

 

T

 

I think it has been generally agreed that the only solution to this problem would be to build a nave division. Hill added one, of course (though I don't think that was playable with the main organ - it was an entirely separate instrument) but, for some reason, it was sold off to a church in Manchester I believe. I think the people at York would very much like a nave division (Robert Sharpe would know, of course), but money is in short supply at the moment!

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Thank you for the responses.

 

It would have been a shame if the joins on the 32' pipes had been smoothed off as we should have lost a fascinating glimpse into the technology of the early nineteenth century and how the available skills and machinery were used for a quite different purpose to that originally intended.

 

I wonder how many visitors to the South Transept actually notice those pipes? When I was there about 90% of people just wandered about randomly pointing their mobile phone cameras into the middle distance without appearing to take in any of the splendour around them.

 

I've just listened again to a few tracks on the CD and the microphone placement really shows JSW's technique to the best advantage. With every note audible even in the fast passages the tiniest slip would have stood out like a sore thumb or 2, 3, 4, 5...

 

I don't know how they can possibly miss them! In the north aisle are the 32' Open Woods, which are even bigger - wider, at least, if not as long. Perhaps not quite as big as those at Liverpool but, then, you can't actually see them. I always find it very impressive to stand right next to them and would probably find it even more so if they were being played at the time. Then again, due to the vagaries of acoustics, I may probably not even hear them that close!

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