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AJJ

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I found this during a bit of random 'googling' - what do folks think?

 

A

To me, normally an admirer of all things innovative, the key sentence contained in the document is "Such an organ would be unique in the UK."

 

I would hope those advocating this would ask themselves the question "Why?"

 

I doubt many others would choose to follow this highly dubious route.

 

JC

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This is a project I know a little about, so I will share.

 

Having a Rodgers organ in my own church, I am very pleased with the result - the sound blends very well. Anyone in the vicinity of Nottingham is welcome to come and try it to see if you share my opinion. I know Mark their sales consultant was very excited about the St Peters project, and although unique in the UK it is something they have done before in the Far East - check their website for details.

 

St Peters is right in the heart of Nottingham city, with a good choir and good musical tradition. It does need a good organ. The digital they have at the moment covering the intervening period is quite dreadful, but I have high hopes for this new instrument. The specification is of a similar scale to the instrument I use (albeit I have only a two-manual).

 

I do know that the celebrations for the new organ will be on 20-21 November this year, with a Choral Evensong on Saturday afternoon (Howells Gloucester, Bairstow Blessed City and BWV 542 if my memory serves me correctly) with an opening recital by David Briggs that evening I think, and a Festal Eucharist the following morning. The proof, I guess, will be in the eating!

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I found this during a bit of random 'googling' - what do folks think?

 

A

 

 

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

 

I cannot help but think that the biggest problem at the outset with this organ-project, is having an historically important organ-case, which no-one in their right minds would think of sawing-up and dumping in a skip.

 

The next problem is the nature of the choral tradition, which probably requires a fairly flexible and substantial body of accompanimental sound.

 

The third problem is how to achieve the latter without having bits of pipe-organ scattered around the church or built into a pit as at Wakefield Cathedral, for example.

 

It's not an easy one this, and a combination organ would certainly overcome the problems and go some way towards fulfilling the required musical aims.

 

My next thought is that a Compton extension organ would probably achieve much the same thing using real pipes, but maybe everyone has forgotten how to do it successfully these days.

 

I used to play an extension-organ by Nicholson in the Hull area, and most things could be achieved with it quite musically, even though it had certain limitations and could never be described as a recital instrument.

 

I would personally much prefer pipes, but in this instance, I have a certain empathy with the problems and the chosen solution.

 

 

MM

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I don't know the church or the situation, so can't comment on this particular case except to say that, if a hybrid organ is to be regarded as "state-of-the-art", bags I play for art's funeral.

 

I have played quite a few instruments with odd digital stops, usually in the Pedal department (where I do not find them too offensive), but I have only played one fully hybrid instrument. At the time I thought it really rather successful, but after repeated listening to some CDs that were made at the time I found myself much less sure. The electronics were good - very good - but they are still detectable as electronic and lent an electonic flavour to the whole organ, the pipework notwithstanding. As has been said on this forum several times before, there is no way that speakers move air in the same way that pipes do and therefore the sound from electronic stops cannot sound as "live" as the sound from pipes does. So I find myself wondering: when voicing a hybrid organ, doesn't the builder need to ensure that the electronics and pipes blend? Does the lowest common denominator then come into play? In other words, given that the electronic sounds can never equal the pipes, must the pipework voicing be compromised (even if ever so slightly) in order to achieve the blend? If so, in what ways - and is this process really to be regarded as a compromise, or just normal voicing?

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I do know that the celebrations for the new organ will be on 20-21 November this year, with a Choral Evensong on Saturday afternoon (Howells Gloucester, Bairstow Blessed City and BWV 542 if my memory serves me correctly) with an opening recital by David Briggs that evening I think, and a Festal Eucharist the following morning. The proof, I guess, will be in the eating!

 

Having just checked, the recital with David Briggs is in fact on Sunday 21st at 3pm.

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

 

I cannot help but think that the biggest problem at the outset with this organ-project, is having an historically important organ-case, which no-one in their right minds would think of sawing-up and dumping in a skip.

 

The next problem is the nature of the choral tradition, which probably requires a fairly flexible and substantial body of accompanimental sound.

 

The third problem is how to achieve the latter without having bits of pipe-organ scattered around the church or built into a pit as at Wakefield Cathedral, for example.

 

It's not an easy one this, and a combination organ would certainly overcome the problems and go some way towards fulfilling the required musical aims.

 

My next thought is that a Compton extension organ would probably achieve much the same thing using real pipes, but maybe everyone has forgotten how to do it successfully these days.

 

I used to play an extension-organ by Nicholson in the Hull area, and most things could be achieved with it quite musically, even though it had certain limitations and could never be described as a recital instrument.

 

I would personally much prefer pipes, but in this instance, I have a certain empathy with the problems and the chosen solution.

 

 

MM

 

I'm glad the notion of extension organs is on the mind of others. Unfortunately, along with electronics, they are still rather a dirty word in some quarters, and after some experiences, with good reason. I actually think that they are now deemed second best to electronics, and not a real consideration. I do genuinely wonder if we have collectively missed the boat, and that properly designed and constructed extension organs are a new way forward - note that I am being very specific here to weed out ill thought through rubbish, but I would ask a simple question to organists and pipe organ builders alike. What would you rather have seeing as X is preventing you from having a traditionally constructed pipe organ. An electronic instrument, maybe III and 50 or an extension organ with maybe 20 ranks so that we learn from some of the failings of the past with about the same disposition. You get colour, power, space saving and cost saving, and it's still a proper pipe organ. As a footnote, when are we going to start building polyphone and cube 32' basses instead of just resorting to electronics every time we can't fit in or afford a full complete pipe 32'. I honestly think it's time for a wake up call. By not exploring this possibility, our organ builders are missing out on work, I suspect because they don't want reputations to be tarnished by building that sort of thing. It's not difficult to study the organs of Compton and Christie to work out a way to do it. It's not to say that's the only way to do it, but then, that's where we can take the art form forward.

 

AJS

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I have only played one fully hybrid instrument.

The one in our friend's church in New Hampshire?

 

When are we going to start building polyphone and cube 32' basses?

AJS

We've got one. I'm not convinced that it works.

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Guest Patrick Coleman

I served my curacy in the Roman Catholic parish of Saint Brigid, Cardiff, where in a glass and concrete building we had a three-rank unenclosed extension organ built by our hosts in the late 1960s. (NPOR N11918) The (cruciform) church could hold upwards of 400 people. The organ is a a standard combination of diapason, flute and string. Its quality and voicing allowed a satisfying palette of sounds, and it was able to hold its own against a full congregation, using the acoustic of course.

 

The behemoths I work with now are wonderful and inspiring, but the Saint Brigid's organ did everything it said on the tin, and it did the job musically and without excessive cost.

 

There are plenty of examples of successful small and large extension organs. The crux of the matter is whether churches and other buildings want small and good, or to go down the electronic route and have large (often excessively large) and not quite as good as might be.

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"Such an organ would be unique in the UK."

 

Attending a service in St Mary Boltons in West London a few years back, it quickly dawned on me that what I was hearing wasn't what I was expecting. My suspicions were confirmed later by church people - it's a mixture of pipes and electronics that served the purpose perfectly well but wasn't quite the "right" sound.

 

I don't know if it was http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N17245 or not. The date seems a bit unlikely, but the spec seems, from memory, about right. Perhaps others will know.

 

Ian

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Attending a service in St Mary Boltons in West London a few years back, it quickly dawned on me that what I was hearing wasn't what I was expecting. My suspicions were confirmed later by church people - it's a mixture of pipes and electronics that served the purpose perfectly well but wasn't quite the "right" sound.

 

I don't know if it was http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N17245 or not. The date seems a bit unlikely, but the spec seems, from memory, about right. Perhaps others will know.

 

Ian

 

I think this is all pipe.

 

A

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I found this during a bit of random 'googling' - what do folks think?

 

A

Well I think it's simply appalling! And yes, I know that organs take up space, never have enough of what you want, or too much of what you don't, need to fit changing requirements, or have been badly made and need fixing, and are so very expensive. When I took on my current position the organ had recently been fully restored - but for various reasons the fund raising had come to a complete standstill . . . and no-one told me about the approx 200,000 pounds still owing and the increasing interest that was not being paid until I innocently asked about the appeal one day. (All paid now!). It's a 1920s organ of 38 stops, only one two foot stop and two low pitched mixtures both with a 17th. But I don't crave for solutions to my specific tonal palette by planning to remedy its "faults" with digital additions, the increasing popularity of which I believe shows an alarming path. A combination organ is a compromise - neither one thing nor the other. Surely the integrity of an instument lies in what it has, its limitations, and what we do with the available resources? What other group of musicians other than organists do this to the very instrument they love and want others to love?

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This is a project I know a little about, so I will share.

 

Having a Rodgers organ in my own church, I am very pleased with the result - the sound blends very well. Anyone in the vicinity of Nottingham is welcome to come and try it to see if you share my opinion. I know Mark their sales consultant was very excited about the St Peters project, and although unique in the UK it is something they have done before in the Far East - check their website for details.

 

St Peters is right in the heart of Nottingham city, with a good choir and good musical tradition. It does need a good organ. The digital they have at the moment covering the intervening period is quite dreadful, but I have high hopes for this new instrument. The specification is of a similar scale to the instrument I use (albeit I have only a two-manual).

 

Personally, I have no objection to a digital organ if that is what fits the available budget and some products sound remarkably good. I just think the retention of a few pipe ranks on the basis of "heritage" is pretty pointless given the additional complexity in tuning the digital to match. I sincerely hope it is successful, but it would not have been my preferred option.

 

Having grown up with a Compton, I believe a great deal can be achieved with a relatively small number of extension units and that might have been more appropriate for this building and its musical heritage. It would also probably have been a better investment over a 40 - 50 year term.

 

Much has been written about the shortcomings of extension organs, but when properly designed there are few real conflicts and a surprising amount of flexibility.

JC

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When are we going to start building polyphone and cube 32' basses?

 

We've got one. I'm not convinced that it works.

Interesting comment, DHM. Can you say more about why you think it is unsuccessful? I would have thought the volume of the box was comparable to a speaker cabinet, so while it might not realistically match sixteen feet of timber, it should be at least as good as an electronic bass.

JC

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Interesting comment, DHM. Can you say more about why you think it is unsuccessful? I would have thought the volume of the box was comparable to a speaker cabinet, so while it might not realistically match sixteen feet of timber, it should be at least as good as an electronic bass.

JC

John,

It's only used for the lowest 7 notes of a 32' Bourdon. My comment was merely a personal opinion - I don't happen to like the sound it makes. I'll leave others who are better qualified than I to agree or disagree as to whether it works. I work with another system which IMHO would provide a more (aurally) satisfying solution, but I'll refrain from further comment on that, lest I be censured. B)

DHM.

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Personally, I have no objection to a digital organ if that is what fits the available budget and some products sound remarkably good. I just think the retention of a few pipe ranks on the basis of "heritage" is pretty pointless given the additional complexity in tuning the digital to match. I sincerely hope it is successful, but it would not have been my preferred option.

 

Having grown up with a Compton, I believe a great deal can be achieved with a relatively small number of extension units and that might have been more appropriate for this building and its musical heritage. It would also probably have been a better investment over a 40 - 50 year term.

 

Much has been written about the shortcomings of extension organs, but when properly designed there are few real conflicts and a surprising amount of flexibility.

JC

 

 

Normally the word "extention organ" sends a shudder down my spine about on a par to hearing about an electronic organ being fitted in place of a pipe. Yes, I own a practice electronic myself, yes I'm sure there are some very fine electronic organs in churches, but I've just never had the chance to meet one myself. (Well, almost: I found the cavaille-coll styled Johannus in Yardley pretty convincing, the Phoenix in Edgbasotn just sounded, er, electronic. Given the acoustics in the former church were dry and in the latter a huge reverberent space, it should have been the other way round. And others I've spoken to have had distain for the Johannus, so we can't all be happy...)

 

What makes therefore for a "good" experience with what otherwise might seem like a very unhappy instrument? I can think of a couple of extention orgtans I really rahter liked, one in Huddersfield Uni by Woods - the difference between that and most very small two manual practice organs was that this one had a third rank of reeds and so a lot of unexpected extra colour.

 

The other interestingly is Geoffrey Holroyde's organ in the basement of his home in Warwick - a very carefully chosen and IMHO very effective "multum in parvo". It also benefits from rather lovely (yet electric action) keyboards. Maybe part of the reason I enjoyed the Yardley organ more than I thought I would was the unusual console with terraced and curved stopjambs.

 

So what would "do it" for you if you had limited money and decided to install a unit pipe organ rather than an electronic? Maybe twenty years ago there seemed to be a general distaste for all things Compton and all things extention - perhaps that has changed. What would you have done differently at Nottingham, assuming a budget sufficient for only a few ranks of pipes and a brief for an organ large enough to fill the church with as much repertiore versatility as possible - and a first rate builder prepared to risk their reputation by not building an all-mechanical multi rank non-extended action organ but rather a unit organ :-)?

 

(Thinks mischievously of the mini-scandle amongst my friends when Walkers, used to building only new entirely mechanical action organs, fitted a polyphone into the organ at Lancing College...)

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How would this do.

 

I'm guessing at 23 ranks, and I have abridged the original to tidy it up a bit and remove some duplication at the octave on the same division. Some of you may recognise it, but it no longer exists. Remember there are no octave or sub octave couplers on the original, and don't judge a Compton Mixture by normal standards and consider it completely enclosed, so you can have the whole thing roaring away inside a closed Swell box. There are clearly bits and bobs you could do to improve it, but I don't reckon this is a bad starting point

 

Pedal Key action Stop action Compass-low C Compass-high g1 Keys 32

1 Sub Bass 32

2 Open Diapason 16

3 Principal 16

4 Bourdon 16

5 Salicional 16

6 Octave 8

7 Flute 8

8 Salicional 8

9 Octave Flute 4

10 Fourniture IV 12.15.19.22

11 Harmonics IV 5.8.10.14

12 Posaune 16

13 Trombone 16

14 Posaune 8

Choir Key action Stop action Compass-low C Compass-high c4 Keys 61

15 Contra Dulciana 16

16 Bourdon 16

17 Principal 8

18 Stopped Diapason 8

19 Hohl Flute 8

20 Salicional 8

21 Vox Angelica 8

22 Octave 4

23 Flute 4

24 Dulcet 4

25 Vox Angelica 4

26 Twelfth 2 2/3

27 Fifteenth 2

28 Flautina 2

29 Tierce 1 3/5

30 Acuta III 15.19.22

31 Double Clarinet 16

32 Clarinet 8

Sustainer

Tremulant

Great Key action Stop action Compass-low C Compass-high c4 Keys 61

33 Principal 16

34 Double Salicional 16

35 First Diapason 8

36 Second Diapason 8

37 Flauto Traverso 8

38 Dulciana 8

39 Quint 5 1/3

40 Principal 4

41 Stopped Flute 4

42 Salicet 4

43 Twelfth 2 2/3

44 Super Octave 2

45 Fifteenth 2

46 Furniture II-IV 19.22

47 Cymbale IV-VII

48 Posaune 8

49 Octave Posaune 4

Swell Key action Stop action Compass-low C Compass-high c4 Keys 61

50 Bourdon 16

51 Diapason 8

52 Gedeckt 8

53 Viola da Gamba 8

54 Voix Celeste 8

55 Stopped Flute 4

56 Viola 4

57 Flageolet 2

58 Mixture III 15.19.22

59 Trombone 16

60 Trumpet 8

61 Hautboy 8

62 Clarion 4

Sustainer

Tremulant

Bombarde Key action Stop action Compass-low C Compass-high c4 Keys 61

63 Diapason 8

64 Plein Jeu VI-VIII 5.8.12.15.19.22

65 Contra Posaune 16

66 Tromba 8

67 Posaune 8

68 Clarion 4

 

AJS

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How would this do.

 

I'm guessing at 23 ranks, and I have abridged the original to tidy it up a bit and remove some duplication at the octave on the same division. Some of you may recognise it, but it no longer exists. Remember there are no octave or sub octave couplers on the original, and don't judge a Compton Mixture by normal standards and consider it completely enclosed, so you can have the whole thing roaring away inside a closed Swell box. There are clearly bits and bobs you could do to improve it, but I don't reckon this is a bad starting point

 

Pedal Key action Stop action Compass-low C Compass-high g1 Keys 32

1 Sub Bass 32

2 Open Diapason 16

3 Principal 16

4 Bourdon 16

5 Salicional 16

6 Octave 8

7 Flute 8

8 Salicional 8

9 Octave Flute 4

10 Fourniture IV 12.15.19.22

11 Harmonics IV 5.8.10.14

12 Posaune 16

13 Trombone 16

14 Posaune 8

Choir Key action Stop action Compass-low C Compass-high c4 Keys 61

15 Contra Dulciana 16

16 Bourdon 16

17 Principal 8

18 Stopped Diapason 8

19 Hohl Flute 8

20 Salicional 8

21 Vox Angelica 8

22 Octave 4

23 Flute 4

24 Dulcet 4

25 Vox Angelica 4

26 Twelfth 2 2/3

27 Fifteenth 2

28 Flautina 2

29 Tierce 1 3/5

30 Acuta III 15.19.22

31 Double Clarinet 16

32 Clarinet 8

Sustainer

Tremulant

Great Key action Stop action Compass-low C Compass-high c4 Keys 61

33 Principal 16

34 Double Salicional 16

35 First Diapason 8

36 Second Diapason 8

37 Flauto Traverso 8

38 Dulciana 8

39 Quint 5 1/3

40 Principal 4

41 Stopped Flute 4

42 Salicet 4

43 Twelfth 2 2/3

44 Super Octave 2

45 Fifteenth 2

46 Furniture II-IV 19.22

47 Cymbale IV-VII

48 Posaune 8

49 Octave Posaune 4

Swell Key action Stop action Compass-low C Compass-high c4 Keys 61

50 Bourdon 16

51 Diapason 8

52 Gedeckt 8

53 Viola da Gamba 8

54 Voix Celeste 8

55 Stopped Flute 4

56 Viola 4

57 Flageolet 2

58 Mixture III 15.19.22

59 Trombone 16

60 Trumpet 8

61 Hautboy 8

62 Clarion 4

Sustainer

Tremulant

Bombarde Key action Stop action Compass-low C Compass-high c4 Keys 61

63 Diapason 8

64 Plein Jeu VI-VIII 5.8.12.15.19.22

65 Contra Posaune 16

66 Tromba 8

67 Posaune 8

68 Clarion 4

 

AJS

 

Hi

 

If you're going to use NPOR info, perhaps you'd at least credit the source. Thanks.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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(Thinks mischievously of the mini-scandle amongst my friends when Walkers, used to building only new entirely mechanical action organs, fitted a polyphone into the organ at Lancing College...)

 

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

 

 

Walker's built a few extension organs, and I recall accompanying the Durufle "Requiem" on one at a hospital chapel near Northallerton. Not a bad sound actually, but a bit short of variety for such a work.

 

MM

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Hi

 

If you're going to use NPOR info, perhaps you'd at least credit the source. Thanks.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Hi Tony

 

It started from NPOR but it's modified sufficiently so as to make the original unrecognisable, although I'm please to think that what I altered looks so convincing in context. To quote that original therefore would have been misleading. Otherwise, I accept your point.

 

AJS

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I found this during a bit of random 'googling' - what do folks think?

 

A

 

 

I find I sympathise with St Peters, with some reservations. It's clear that St Peter's has many of the issues which are common in UK churches with their organs.

 

The first common issue is that it's clear their organ has lost its way through numerous rebuilds and even if it were restored properly it would still continue to be a poor instrument. Although their present organ is evidently unworthy of restoration, it is clear there are elements of the organ that deserve to be retained and the church has a duty of custodianship so that these features may be enjoyed by future generations. I would have liked to have read more about the Snetzler organ in the report and how came in to being at St Peters as I think this lends extra interest and weight to the project.

 

Reading between the lines, I believe they are trying to say the current chamber is too small or inappropriate to host an organ of the size they think is necessary for the building and they cannot find an acceptable alternative location for the organ. Again, all three of these issues are very common in the UK.

 

So I can see the logic of their solution, although they have omitted to mention some important disbenefits with their proposal:

 

1. Electronic simulation organs are temporary solutions, with a life of about 20 years before major work is required. The best arguments for an electronic organ acknowledge that they are ephemeral solutions and the long-term strategy is for a pipe organ.

 

2. A hybrid organ will require the same renewal schedules as a simulation organ. What will happen to the pipe elements of these instruments when they are renewed? And what will people think of a Spitz Principal in 20 years time? Such a stop is already 30 years out of date! Will the pipework of such an instrument be of that high quality that it'll deserve retention?

 

3. People above have already outlined the technical and musical problems of merging pipes and speakers – the difference in the way the sound propagates, tuning and that the sounds don't really blend. Next to real pipes (whatever their provenance), the shortcomings of electronic simulations are painfully obvious, even to the uninitiated. This only grows as the speakers age, the amplifiers lose their grip and the sounds become more and more "electronic". So the musicians may find themselves relying more and more on the real pipe parts of the instrument.

 

4. The maintenance of the organ will require the same maintenance schedule as a pipe organ, plus the same service agreement with the electronic supplier – so it's not going to be the cheapest organ to maintain.

 

5. I'm sure a hybrid organ can cope with a Sunday morning accompanying hymns and anthems but I don't see how it will fulfill the church's further aspirations. This proposed instrument does not have enough musical integrity to make itself a persuasive musical instrument in its own right. Concert halls spend a lot of money on the finest concert grand pianos for piano concerts and recitals and they don't use top-end clavinovas. I think that when the initial interest and excitement dies down, I'm not sure this organ will support a long-term recital series.

 

6. The specification of the proposed organ is extremely odd. 52 stops and no Great Reeds? Is this a G.Donald Harrison influence? What is a 4' Rohr Schamei doing on a Pedal Organ in 2010? The pairing of a Claribella (sic) and a Koppel Flute on the Great Organ? No Tierce on a Choir Organ that has all the other fractions? Is a Krummhorn on the Choir Organ really typical of the English Parish Church Organ they wish to emulate? Or that useful for choral accompaniment? I could go on… my point is that this specification is truly eclectic but lacks any sense of musical integrity or purpose behind it. Musically, it has the same lack of direction of the organ it replaces.

 

So I wish them well – they have a difficult situation but I wish I was less ambivalent about their proposed solution. I would have preferred to see a proposal that uses the best features of the old organ more sensitively and to better advantage to create a musical instrument with a clear sense of purpose and direction. Only by doing that would St Peters have a chance of providing themselves with an organ that can fully realise the profile they intend for it.

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6. The specification of the proposed organ is extremely odd. 52 stops and no Great Reeds? Is this a G.Donald Harrison influence? What is a 4' Rohr Schamei doing on a Pedal Organ in 2010? The pairing of a Claribella (sic) and a Koppel Flute on the Great Organ? No Tierce on a Choir Organ that has all the other fractions? Is a Krummhorn on the Choir Organ really typical of the English Parish Church Organ they wish to emulate? Or that useful for choral accompaniment? I could go on… my point is that this specification is truly eclectic but lacks any sense of musical integrity or purpose behind it. Musically, it has the same lack of direction of the organ it replaces.

 

The organ will offer the option to choose alternative voices - see the ones in brackets. My Rodgers has this and it is quite a useful facility. This means you could select (via the computer) to have an 8' Tromba on the Gt (or use the solo reed on the Gt), swap the Krummhorn for a Clarinet and so on. However, not having a Tierce to go with the Nazard (which would surely be more useful on the Choir) or an 8' Reed on the Gt does seem puzzling.

 

One other bonus of the alternative voices is changing styles - for example, if you change all the Swell reeds to their alternatives then you'll get a much more French sound which can be really effective.

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The organ will offer the option to choose alternative voices - see the ones in brackets. My Rodgers has this and it is quite a useful facility. This means you could select (via the computer) to have an 8' Tromba on the Gt (or use the solo reed on the Gt), swap the Krummhorn for a Clarinet and so on. However, not having a Tierce to go with the Nazard (which would surely be more useful on the Choir) or an 8' Reed on the Gt does seem puzzling.

 

One other bonus of the alternative voices is changing styles - for example, if you change all the Swell reeds to their alternatives then you'll get a much more French sound which can be really effective.

Yes, I noticed the alternative stop facility. I noticed there are also alternatives for the real pipe stops as well and I presume these alternatives are electric.

 

I know one of the contributors does work installing electronic simulation organs and showed me how he selects samples of stops and adjusts them to work so the electronic works and sounds properly. On the other hand, I think there's a danger of giving these tools to somebody who doesn't know what they're doing - the results could "interesting" to say the least!

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I've been having a think about what sort of organ I would build in St. Peters and NPOR and the excellent page on church website (http://www.stpetersnottingham.org/music/organ.htm) provides a lot of information and photos.

 

NPOR gives the specification of the original 1812 organ here: http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=C00952 and its subsequent ... development...

I note the organ is by Lincoln and aspertions are cast whether the case is in fact by Snetzler. I rather suspect the Keraulaphon on the pre-1863 specification is a later addition.

 

Layout

 

The Great Organ would be in the "Snetzler" case, facing west in the North Transept, all of it forward of the arch, for which it may be necessary to deepen the case (I suspect this case has already been hacked about and probably only the frontage survives). Speaking west, finally fully released into the main body of the church, with a full chorus from 16' to mixture (the large quint mixture could reach into the 16 foot series in the treble), it would be the principal division to accompany the congregation - the 16' tone would support the men's voices as they sing down an octave. The Great case would not have a back, allowing the divisions behind it to speak through the Great Organ into the main body of the church, but we would need to accept the Great Organ would be the dominant force.

 

Immediately behind the Great case, in the chamber, would be the small pedal soundboard at slightly lower level. This would still allow the Pedal Trumpet 8 and Principal 8 to get the space they need to give the pedal line some definition. More pedal upperwork could be specified if there is space and the appetite for it. The larger pedal ranks would be along the north wall of the chamber but not tucked in behind the swell box. From there they should be able to get round the corner into the building, as benefits long wavelength notes, but without blocking the Swell Organ.

 

The Swell Organ would be behind/east of the small pedal chest at a higher level, speaking west over the tops of the small Pedal and Great organs as much as possible to get the sound out. This would to enable it to speak out behind the Great Organ in the traditional British manner and colour the Great Organ for variety of tone accompanying the hymns and assist in the build up in the traditional manner. I have kept the Swell organ as small as possible so the box can be as compact as possible without crowding the planting to encourage good projection. In addition, the acoustics of the organ chamber will need to be made as good as possible to get the sound out - such things as a soft wood ceiling and soft porous plaster might need careful redecoration or covering.

 

Although the Swell Organ would point west, the swell box would also have shutters facing north, into the chancel through the North chancel arch. In front of it, in and in front of the arch, the Choir Organ would occupy a new case, speaking south into the chancel to accompany the choir. The Choir Organ would have plenty of foundation and 4' tone to accompany the choir without overwelming it and acts as a miniature Great Organ, with the Swell Organ behind it.

 

There would be passage boards between the Great Organ and Small Pedal Organ soundboards, in front of the swell box and down the south side of the swell box to get access to the Choir Organ.

 

The Great organ is based on the 1812 specification and the nature of the organ would be what if a first rate Victorian builder like Hill had rebuilt the Lincoln organ in about 1860 into a comprehensive 3 manual town church organ:

 

Great Organ

 

1. Double Diapason 16 (stopped bass, maybe an open treble - maybe not unlike an Aubertin Portunal)

2. Open Diapason 8

3. Stopped Diapason 8

4. Principal 4

5. Flute 4

6. Twelfth 3

7. Fifteenth 2

8. Sesquialtera III (17.19.22, 12.15.17)

9. Mixture IV (19.22.26.29)

10. Trumpet 8

11. Clarion 4

 

Swell Organ

 

12. Bourdon 16

13. Open Diapason 8

14. Stopped Diapason 8 (CB for Gambe)

15. Gambe 8 Tc

16. Voix Celestes 8 Tc

17. Principal 4

18. Mixture IV (15.19.22.26)

19. Fagotto 16

20. Cornopean 8

21. Oboe 8

 

Choir Organ

 

22. Open Diapason 8 (in case prospect, maybe to tenor G if space precludes a full bass)

23. Keraulophon 8 (maybe to tenor C if space is limited)

24. Gedeckt 8 (common bass)

25. Gemshorn 4

26. Suabe Flute 4

27. Piccolo 2

28. Clarinet 8

 

Pedal Organ

 

29. Grand Open Diapason 16

30. Violone 16

31. Bourdon (s) 16

32. Quint 12

33. Principal (s) 8

34. Trombone 16

35. Trumpet (s) 8

 

Pedal pipes marked (s) are on the small Pedal Organ soundboard.

 

Swell to Great

Swell to Choir

Choir to Great

Swell to Pedal

Great to Pedal

Choir to Pedal

 

Registration aids as appropriate - if it is EP action, I would suggest 1-6 Divisionals and generals with stepper, with unlimited memory; if the action is to be fully mechanical I would suggest 1-4 composition pedals to the Great and Swell organs, with a reverser for Great to Pedal and Pedal Trombone.

 

I wondered if it was worth putting the Clarinet on to the Great Organ in this case. As the Great Organ would not have a role accompanying the Choir, it could be better used for the typical solo voices for choral accompaniment.

 

If a high-pressure party horn is deemed vital, it could be put either above or in front of the small pedal organ, if there is space, playable from the Choir Organ keys. I do not think a Great Reeds on Choir transfer or making the Great Reeds available on the Choir Organ for solo purposes would be appropriate on this organ.

 

I would suggest this scheme could do all the proposed organ can do, for about 2/3 of the stops. It would be very fine for Baroque music as well as Romantic and modern music - there is the potential to perform much of the French Classical school. Although one really needs the real thing to do it authentically (and many modern eclectic instruments fall short), this organ should be able to muster a Plein Jeu avec Pedale de Trompette, Grand Plein Jeu and Petit Plein Jeu, Grand Jeu, dialogue sur le Cromorne et Cornet (using the Great Sesquialtera - not authentic but it should work), Basse et Dessus de Trompette, etc. Bach chorales and choral partitas shouldn't be an issue either - the 4' pedal reed can be achieved using the Great Clarion and there should be a good chorus for the Preludes and Fugues. The French Romantic and German Romantic schools shouldn't be out of the question and it should be a natural at the English schools of music. With the large, west-facing Great Organ, it would be well-placed to accompany the congregation and the north-facing Choir Organ should be able to dispatch its choral accompanimental duties with aplomb. In addition, it would be a pesuasive and flexible recital instrument.

 

My main concern with this organ would be what to do with the action - with 2 divisions facing west and another facing south, there could be some difficult action runs for at least one of the divisions and such is the distance in the organ that the actions might end up heavy and spongey if the action is mechanical. A pneumatic or electro-pneumatic action might be a more pragmatic choice.

 

The only other fly in the onitment is that such an organ would cost in the region £600,000-£700,000...

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