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David Coram

The Worst Organ In The World

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Whatever my personal views are on the shortcomings of Mr Tickell's choice of tuning and maintenance contractor, it's a very, very long way from being the worst organ in the street, let alone the world.

 

Just guessing - I suppose the tuner doesn't come from the Malmesbury area, does he/she? My experience of Tickell's work is very strongly positive.

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Well I thought that the old organ in Worcester was positively one of the very least attractive sounding cathedral organs I have ever played, and that's saying something!

 

Stringy Diapasons, honking reeds, bland flutes, thin strings, forced and shrieking upperwork, all far too loud at close quarters and in a very poor position for sounding throughout the building - almost all the worst aspects of English organ building thrown into one instrument (except the console) - and now all of these abominations are being copied by Schoenstein in America. Hurrah ... let's send them some of the real thing ... andgood riddance!

 

But then I don't have to/choose to play an electronic every week.  :D

 

So it would be in my list for the Worst Cathedral Organ in Britain!  :lol:

 

Interesting - I found it to be exactly the opposite - and very exciting.

 

However, as Pierre has said, this late lamented organ has already filled too many pages on this forum.

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As an aside to this - does anyone know who looks after this machine? We spotted what we thought was a rather cheaper looking 'extra' added foot piston when we visited with the local organists and they would not say who had put it there or who tunes etc. I wonder why.

 

AJJ

 

The foot piston operates the 'advance' facility of the sequencer. I do not know who installed it, but I will try to remember to check in August. I will also see if I can find out who maintains it.

 

I really like this instrument. Every time I play it I find new delightful combinations. The action is superb (and I do not particularly favour mechanical action for four-clavier instruments). It certainly managed to cope with everything which I have had to play on it so far. It sounded just right for things like Bainton's And I saw a new Heaven. I even managed to fake a 32p at the end - and not by quinting on the pedals or even playing a tonic ninth.

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As Roffensis has been so bold as to nail his colours to the mast, I must say, that whilst it would be an exageration to call it the worst organ in the world, I thought Sherborne Abbey was pretty foul when I accompanied the RSCM cathedral singers there last November. Trying to play Howells Coll. Reg sympathetically on this awful box of f*rts was no joke.

 

Good luck Worcester!

 

I have not yet played the rebuilt organ at Sherborne - but I will be surprised if it is greatly improved from the former state.

 

I suspect that the transept organ is now even quieter - the Choir (or 'Resonance') Organ has lost a big chorus Trumpet - which used to help project the sound around into the Nave.

 

Whilst the Nave Organ is no doubt useful for accompanying hymns when there is a large congregation, using it to bolster the sound of the main organ will probably have the same effect as that at Chichester - that of making the transept organ sound more remote.

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I think that the organ in St Columba's Church in Pont Street, London, SW3 is a fairly grim instrument !!

 

Indeed, one of those awful post-war Walker dinosaurs. It looks like it sounds - all those massed heavy zinc diapasons - the aural equivalent of being punched in the gut.

 

JS

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Guest Roffensis
Indeed, one of those awful post-war Walker dinosaurs.  It looks like it sounds - all those massed heavy zinc diapasons - the aural equivalent of being punched in the gut.

 

JS

 

Makes a change from being screamed at in the head, as per C.C. Oxford. IMO a rather nasty thing. The old job there was better, and certainly more ideal for the Anglican Liturgy. It's still my least favourite job, even if I do respect it as a sound for certain repertoire. But just that.

 

:blink: R

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Makes a change from being screamed at in the head, as per C.C. Oxford. IMO a rather nasty thing. The old job there was better, and certainly more ideal for the Anglican Liturgy. It's still my least favourite job, even if I do respect it as a sound for certain repertoire. But just that.

 

:blink: R

 

I think that's one of the stupidest things I ever heard. Sorry.

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I have heard many a zinc Diapason sounding extremely well, as well

in England as elsewhere.

Many façade pipes were removed during WWI on the continent, and have been

replaced with zinc ones.

Afterwards, from about say 1960, a big business emerged replacing these

zinc pipes with (high percentage of) tin ones; save for baroque organs

(where indeed zinc is out of place) this is pure waste of money.

 

Pierre

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Same problem on the continent with 90% of the organs that were rebuild between 1945 and 1985....It is not a problem of hearing, rather "X says in his book a Mixture must be made after this and that model".

The number of ranks, their pitch, the place where the breaks occur, ALL was determined

by the consultants, after one book (or whatever other reference) while the builder only had to say:

"YES SIR!"

 

Pierre

 

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

 

This is possibly quite true Pierre, but in England, many organs didn't have any Mixtures at all before 1945!!

 

MM

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

 

This is possibly quite true Pierre, but in England, many organs didn't have any Mixtures at all before 1945!!

 

MM

 

I didn't know that. Every day is a learning day. :blink:

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Makes a change from being screamed at in the head, as per C.C. Oxford. IMO a rather nasty thing. The old job there was better, and certainly more ideal for the Anglican Liturgy. It's still my least favourite job, even if I do respect it as a sound for certain repertoire. But just that.

 

:blink: R

In defence of Ch Ch - I played, or stood underneath it, pretty much every day for 6 years and I don't ever remember being screamed at.....it's an admirable bit of voicing - the building gives no help at all, and at Christmas or other big occasions, with 1000 people in the building, there was almost a negative acoustic. It still sounded beautifully blended and could do a more convincing job of Howells than the old organ could do of Stravinsky or Leighton - it was also quite colourful enough for psalms, but you had to know it well to make them work. Of course it needed using carefully - not compulsory to use the Positif Cymbale every bar - some people hated it because you couldn't just push pistons but had to prepare registration schemes carefully. You also had to play right notes all the time! But a really tremendous organ - still one of my favourites. Anyway, no point arguing about taste in tonal finishing. My personal worst? Derby Cathedral, by some distance.

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Guest delvin146
CHRISTCHURCH OXFORD............................  :blink: 

 

Aunt Mabel1

 

 

I came across some recordings of my great aunt Mabel playing in the 1970's at the pinicle of her career. I thought the organ sounds remarkably like Christchurch Oxford.

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In defence of Ch Ch - I played, or stood underneath it, pretty much every day for 6 years and I don't ever remember being screamed at.....it's an admirable bit of voicing - the building gives no help at all, and at Christmas or other big occasions, with 1000 people in the building, there was almost a negative acoustic. It still sounded beautifully blended and could do a more convincing job of Howells than the old organ could do of Stravinsky or Leighton - it was also quite colourful enough for psalms, but you had to know it well to make them work.  Of course it needed using carefully - not compulsory to use the Positif Cymbale every bar -  some people hated it because you couldn't just push pistons but had to prepare registration schemes carefully. You also had to play right notes all the time! But a really tremendous organ - still one of my favourites.  Anyway, no point arguing about taste in tonal finishing. My personal worst? Derby Cathedral, by some distance.

 

I agree totally, Stephen! (Concerning Christ Church). Derby Cathedral - I have not played it, but I have not heard anyone rhapsodise over it.

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

 

This is possibly quite true Pierre, but in England, many organs didn't have any Mixtures at all before 1945!!

 

MM

 

Excuse me?

 

The only instrument which comes to mind is.... Worcester; even there Arthur Harrison added nine ranks to the GO in 1925.

 

I would be interested to know of which instruments you are thinking, MM....

 

:blink:

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Guest Roffensis
Aunt Mabel1

 

Aunt Mabel

 

I came across some recordings of my great aunt Mabel playing in the 1970's at the pinicle of her career. I thought the organ sounds remarkably like Christchurch Oxford.

 

 

The Bach/Gounod certainly does sound like it, the second clip sounds far too full to be it.

 

R

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"This is possibly quite true Pierre, but in England, many organs didn't have any Mixtures at all before 1945!!"

 

(Quote)

 

Yes, and?

 

Many little organs had nothing above 4', and were scaled and voiced

accordingly; if we get the occasion, I know of some builders that

will make such organs again with me.

All the harmonic develppment that is needed lies within the foundation

stops themselves.

An this was NOT a reason to put neo-baroque non-blending screaming

machines above them. Today we remove these stops.

 

Pierre

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Guest Roffensis

Spiking organs was very much a 70s trend, together with the wrecking of choir organs. These days the fashion is fast becoming to out whole jobs dare I say. Many a parish organ was built with no mixture, but for congregational singing I personally would never use them anyway unless a very full church, when the higher partials are more soaked up. I also think there are some precious little gems out there with very little upperwork if any, that should be left as such. Musicality and balance the crowning issues, and it is a fool who rides in and tonally alters a balanced job without painstakingly looking at all the pitfalls, and there can often be many.

R

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Excuse me?

 

The only instrument which comes to mind is.... Worcester; even there Arthur Harrison added nine ranks to the GO in 1925.

 

I would be interested to know of which instruments you are thinking, MM....

As Pierre says, there are literally hundreds. Here is just one where size is obviously not the reason for the absence of Mixtures: http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=A00478

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Makes a change from being screamed at in the head, as per C.C. Oxford. IMO a rather nasty thing. The old job there was better, and certainly more ideal for the Anglican Liturgy.

I agree the old one was excellent for the liturgy, and I really liked the (enclosed) tuba - which the end of Walton's The Twelve was written for. I'm not at all sure it deserved to be thrown out; but I do prefer the present one as a musical instrument.

 

Paul

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Aunt Mabel1

 

Aunt Mabel

 

I came across some recordings of my great aunt Mabel playing in the 1970's at the pinicle of her career. I thought the organ sounds remarkably like Christchurch Oxford.

I'm sure everyone who is pronouncing on the defects Ch Ch organ has experienced hearing it in the building.......just checking.....

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As Pierre says, there are literally hundreds. Here is just one where size is obviously not the reason for their absence: http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=A00478

 

I can tell you from personal experience (played for a couple of family funerals there) that it's a delightful instrument for accompanying. At Buckfastleigh there were a couple of little Heles (one burnt down, one bulldozed to make a new parish centre/worship space) that were similarly lacking on paper but did a fine job in the flesh.

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Guest delvin146
I'm sure everyone who is pronouncing on the defects Ch Ch organ has experienced hearing it in the building.......just checking.....

 

I can better that, I've played it :P

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Guest Roffensis
I'm sure everyone who is pronouncing on the defects Ch Ch organ has experienced hearing it in the building.......just checking.....

 

 

Yes I for one have heard both the old organ, and the present, several times.

Regards,

R

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