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David Coram

The Worst Organ In The World

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Guest delvin146
I’ve never heard it (either recording or in the flesh) but surely it cant be that bad?

 

:P

 

I'm sorry, but it's a very rough brash and honky sound, I remember it having the most foul Krumhorn (or is that crumhorne ?)

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The mention of Derby Cathedral is far too restrictive and should be broadened to 'Anything by Compton'.

 

St Bride's Fleet St and St Luke's Chelsea are two scars on the face of the London organ scene !!

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I'm sorry, but it's a very rough brash and honky sound, I remember it having the most foul Krumhorn (or is that crumhorne ?)

 

Cromorne, if I recall correctly. Perhaps there should be a poll along the lines of Ch Ch Rieger - is it a cr*** of sh***? Although I don't think I have the courage or knowhow to set it up myself.

 

My opinion is that it is a first-class instrument for much of the solo literature and is more than adequate for most of the rest. As an accompaniment to the anglican choral repertoire it places constraints on the player but that is not a bad thing per se. From a design point of view it is a shame that the Cornet is on the Great rather than the Bombarde, and independent mutations (even using principal-scaled stops) would be more flexible than the Sesquialtera on the choir. I would agree with the previously expressed opinion that the action is lovely and wrong notes glaringly apparent.

 

I remember the old organ as an RSCM cathedral course chorister c.1973 and from a couple of plays in 1977. It wasn't such a brilliant specimen of the romantic cathedral organ - there was a wooliness which went some way to compensating for the lack of a cathedral acoustic but playing, say, Bach and Leighton was at best unrewarding.

 

My experience of the Rieger includes wasting too much time listening to the voicer at work, hearing the opening recitals and playing for a few services.

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I'm sorry, but it's a very rough brash and honky sound, I remember it having the most foul Krumhorn (or is that crumhorne ?)

 

Without looking, I'd guess it's probably Cromorne being a French-based instrument.

 

The same (brash, rough) could be said of any instrument in such a hostile acoustic - a very extreme example would be Wimborne Minster, which is terrifying and foul to the uninitiated but you soon come to realise it's the building that's at fault and the organ is actually doing very well indeed. As per usual, it comes down to registering with the ears, not the eyes, and understanding that when Howells puts "Sw to Oboe" that you have to use your intelligence and ingenuity.

 

I sense Mr Farr will now write a very long post. Hope so. Christchurch is a fabulous musical instrument.

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One big crock of sh**e!

Hmmm. Nothing like a reasoned assessment, is there! The stop you disliked so much is a Cromorne...I'm saying no more on the subject. I know the instrument very well indeed and I am still certain it's a fine thing. Sound clips (from a couple of my CDs I'm afraid) for those who haven't heard it may be found at http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000025...lance&n=229816;

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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....

 

:P

 

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

 

 

Well, there was this one at St.Wilfrid's,Lidget Green, Bradford, West Yorkshire.

 

 

Pedal

 

Harmonic Bass 32

Open Diapason 16

Bourdon 16

Principal 8

Bass Flute 8

 

Choir

 

Lieblich Gedact 8

Gamba 8

Lieblich Flute 4

Piccolo 2

Clarinet 8

Tromba 8 Great

Tremulant

 

 

Great

 

Open Diuapason (Large) 8

Open Diapason 8

Hohl Flute 8

Dulciana 8

Principal 4

Harmonic Flute 4

Tromba 8

 

 

Swell (Enclosed)

 

Bourdon 16

Open Diapason 8

Rohr Flute 8

Viol d'Orchestra 8

Voix Celeste 8

Gemshorn 4

Horn 8

Oboe 8

 

Tremulant

 

 

Oddly enough, in the hugely resonant Temple Moore designed church, it was an absolutely beautiful sounding instrument and possibly still is, since being modified a little.

 

As Pierre suggests, the harmonic development was built in, and the effect was actually rather better and brighter than the stop-list suggests; but definitely no mixtures!

 

MM

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The mention of Derby Cathedral is far too restrictive and should be broadened to 'Anything by Compton'.

 

St Bride's Fleet St and St Luke's Chelsea are two scars on the face of the London organ scene !!

 

 

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

 

I defy anyone to build an extension organ as good as St.Bride's to-day.

 

Generally speaking, "the London organ scene" is not too good if the big venues are eliminated.

 

The best organs are definitely "Ooooop North"

 

:P

 

MM

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Guest delvin146
Hmmm. Nothing like a reasoned assessment, is there! The stop you disliked so much is a Cromorne...I'm saying no more on the subject. I know the instrument very well indeed and I am still certain it's a fine thing. Sound clips (from a couple of my CDs I'm afraid) for those who haven't heard it may be found at http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000025...lance&n=229816;

 

Thanks, I suppose it's not a reasoned assessment, more of an overall impression. I don' think the individual registers make a nice sound, or the overall tutti. Unfortunately if it were a choice between putting Oxford or Worcester on the bonfire I don't think I'd have too much trouble chosing which one. Matter of teaste I suppose.

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Guest Lee Blick

Aunt Mable - Ave Maria

 

What a registration. Mixtures accompanied by a reed! :P

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

 

I defy anyone to build an extension organ as good as St.Bride's to-day.

 

Generally speaking, "the London organ scene" is not too good if the big venues are eliminated.

 

The best organs are definitely "Ooooop North"

 

:P

 

MM

 

I do not know St. Bride's - but I did once play for an Evensong at St. Luke's, Chelsea (for Pierre: Howells - Coll. Reg.) and I though that it was a very good instrument. I tried hard to make it sound like an extension organ - but could not fault it.

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

Well, there was this one at St.Wilfrid's,Lidget Green, Bradford, West Yorkshire.

 

As Pierre suggests, the harmonic development was built in, and the effect was actually rather better and brighter than the stop-list suggests; but definitely no mixtures!

 

MM

 

Indeed MM - I managed to 'imagine' the word 'cathedral' in your post comcerning British organs/mixtures/pre-1945. God knows how.

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Without looking, I'd guess it's probably Cromorne being a French-based instrument.

 

The same (brash, rough) could be said of any instrument in such a hostile acoustic - a very extreme example would be Wimborne Minster, which is terrifying and foul to the uninitiated but you soon come to realise it's the building that's at fault and the organ is actually doing very well indeed.  As per usual, it comes down to registering with the ears, not the eyes, and understanding that when Howells puts "Sw to Oboe" that you have to use your intelligence and ingenuity.

 

I sense Mr Farr will now write a very long post.  Hope so.  Christchurch is a fabulous musical instrument.

 

 

Hmm.... he is not the only one.

 

Now your PM of a short while ago makes sense.

 

Grrr.

 

:P

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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 can only assume that you are joking - the Christ Church instrument is superbly musical, with an unique personality - whereas the organ (if, indeed, it is an organ) which features in your sound files is hideous....

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I absolutely agree about Wimborne: the first organ I ever played. Horrible. Put me off its type for life...

 

The ChCh organ certainly seems to rouse the passions in those that hear it. I much prefer the Klais at Smith Square, but that building has an acoustic.

 

I don't know Derby Cathedral but St Brides is great, Downside even better. (The old GTB recordings on the BBC Compton come over pretty well too.)

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The same (brash, rough) could be said of any instrument in such a hostile acoustic - a very extreme example would be Wimborne Minster, which is terrifying and foul to the uninitiated but you soon come to realise it's the building that's at fault and the organ is actually doing very well indeed.  As per usual, it comes down to registering with the ears, not the eyes, and understanding that when Howells puts "Sw to Oboe" that you have to use your intelligence and ingenuity.

 

I absolutely agree about Wimborne: the first organ I ever played; put me off its type for life...

 

 

The clearly you have completely mis-understood the ethos behind this instrument and others like it. It is actually a superbly musical instrument in which just about every stop blends well with every other stop. The only rank which could be considered 'brash' is the Orchestral Trumpet - even this, used intelligently, can be tremendously exciting.

 

It was voiced by Denys Thurlow - who at the time was acknowledged to be the one of the best voicers in the country.

 

I could probably supply some sound samples (if someone can explain how to transfer CD to computer to this board). I am fairly certain that you would find it hard to believe that it was the Wimborne organ and that you would like the sound of it....

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

 

I defy anyone to build an extension organ as good as St.Bride's to-day.

 

Generally speaking, "the London organ scene" is not too good if the big venues are eliminated.

 

The best organs are definitely "Ooooop North"

 

:P

 

MM

 

Yes, you are quite right - because discounting six large organs - St Paul's, Westminster Abbey and Cathedral, Southwark Anglican, RAH, RFH there aren't any really significant organs inside Greater London ... except perhaps (and the list isn't exhaustive)

 

Historic (say pre 1880)

St Giles Camberwell

St Vedast Foster Lane

St James Clerkenwell

Greenwich Naval College

St Anne Limehouse

St Mary Rotherhithe

Christ Church Spitalfields (soon)

Buckingham Palace

 

H&H

The Temple Church

All Souls Langham Place

All Saints Margaret St

All SS Tooting Graveney

 

Hill

St Mary-at-Hill

St Mary Abbots Kensington

St Peter Cornhill

St John Hyde Park Crescent

 

Mander

St Matthew Westminster

St Giles Cripplegate

St Andrew Holborn

 

Lewis

St Mary Bourne St

+ another in south London - I can't quite remember where at the moment!

 

Walker

St Martin-in-the-Fields

St John the Evangelist Islington

Italian Church Hatton Garden

Sacred Heart Wimbledon

London Oratory

 

recent British-Irish

St Mary Paddington Green

St Mary Woodford

St Peter Eaton Square

St Margaret Lothbury

Ealing Abbey

The Grosvenor Chapel, Mayfair

 

Modern imported (Europe/north America)

St John's Smith Square

St Lawrence Jewry

The Little Oratory

Marylebone PC

RAM concert hall

The Tower of London

QEH

 

Willis

St Dominic's Priory Hampstead

The Union Chapel

The Ally Pally

St Augustine Kilburn

Jesuit Church Farm Street

 

Compton

St Bride's Fleet St

St Luke Chelsea

St Mary Magdalene Paddington

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Yes, you are quite right - because discounting six large organs - St Paul's, Westminster Abbey and Cathedral, Southwark Anglican, RAH, RFH there aren't any really significant organs inside Greater London ...

 

Ohh, are we going to get into the old north/south divide argument? :P:P

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Ohh, are we going to get into the old north/south divide argument?  :P  :P

 

 

I hope not. It's certainly very easy to think there are no organs worth playing/listening to in London outside those 6 places - but when you stop and think about it, it's just not true!

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Guest delvin146
The clearly you have completely mis-understood the ethos behind this instrument and others like it. It is actually a superbly musical instrument in which just about every stop blends well with every other stop. The only rank which could be considered 'brash' is the Orchestral Trumpet - even this, used intelligently, can be tremendously exciting.

 

It was voiced by Denys Thurlow - who at the time was acknowledged to be the one of the best voicers in the country.

 

I could probably supply some sound samples (if someone can explain how to transfer CD to computer to this board). I am fairly certain that you would find it hard to believe that it was the Wimborne organ and that you would like the sound of it....

 

I really don't mean to be rude about this organ, but I can honestly say that of all the cathedral organs I've ever played in this country, this has to be the worst by far. Granted it was many years ago when I played it, but I still remember sitting there thinking I'd be quite happy if I never heard this organ again. Perhaps the relatively small acoustic did not help much to take the edge of it.

 

Dennis Thurlow can of course have his off-days, and just because it's Dennis Thurlow it doesn't mean to say that every organ he voiced would be a work of art. Same could be said of the RAH, which I believe had a lot of revoicing done to the diapason chorus, or the tuba at Liverpool anglican which I believe had the tongues welded to the shallots! Whether it was any improvement was anyone's guess, but it would seem to indicate that even the great FW had his off days.

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Guest delvin146
Aunt Mable - Ave Maria

 

What a registration.  Mixtures accompanied by a reed!  :P

 

Ah, she was quite forward thinking for them days! It's not all tradition tradition tradition, especially not in the art of registration. :P

 

I think it sounds beautiful, we should be open to new ideas before we all go crusty.

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The clearly you have completely mis-understood the ethos behind this instrument and others like it. It is actually a superbly musical instrument in which just about every stop blends well with every other stop. The only rank which could be considered 'brash' is the Orchestral Trumpet - even this, used intelligently, can be tremendously exciting.

 

It was voiced by Denys Thurlow - who at the time was acknowledged to be the one of the best voicers in the country.

 

I could probably supply some sound samples (if someone can explain how to transfer CD to computer to this board). I am fairly certain that you would find it hard to believe that it was the Wimborne organ and that you would like the sound of it....

 

Your best bet is to get an mp3 ripper, something like http://www.audiograbber.com-us.net/ (I've never tried it, not being a Windows man - this was just the first thing that google threw up).

 

Rip the tracks you want to mp3, then e-mail them to me, I'll stick 'em on my website so you can link to them.

 

Oh, and Wimborne. I agree with you. As I've said on this board before, it's an instrument that I'd love to hear/play in a bit more of an acoustic, but noone can realistically argue that it's not an instrument of quality with superlative voicing.

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