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Mander Organs
David Coram

The Worst Organ In The World

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Guest delvin146
Ahhh - I lived 1 minute from St Andrew's as a small boy - and the thing that got me started on playing the organ was hearing Paul Derrett at St Andrew's for the Guinness Book of Records marathon organ playing record - in fact I was sitting next to him on the bench some of the time, and was there when he finished. I don['t expect him to remember that but it's a small world. Now you know who to blame....

 

I'm glad that organ inspired you. I almost shed a tear when I left in 2003/4 when the action pretty much finally died. Couldn't stand another year of playing the piano for services and seeing the organ just sitting there. It was my baby and I miss it dearly. :lol:

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I'm glad that organ inspired you. I almost shed a tear when I left in 2003/4 when the action pretty much finally died. Couldn't stand another year of playing the piano for services and seeing the organ just sitting there. It was my baby and I miss it dearly.  :lol:

same thing happened at Brownhill - 2 manual Hunter I think, already in atrocious condition when I knew it (early 80s or so) and now as far as I know walled up and replaced by a skiffle combo. Sic transit. How long were you at St Andrew's?

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Guest delvin146
same thing happened at Brownhill - 2 manual Hunter I think, already in atrocious condition when I knew it (early 80s or so) and now as far as I know walled up and replaced by a skiffle combo. Sic transit. How long were you at St Andrew's?

 

I never ventured into Brownhill Baptists. (I tend not to frequent such places). Was at St. Andrews between 1999-2003/4 can't remember which year. I was there for as long as the organ would hold out, but sadly that time came otherwise I'd still be there.

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I never ventured into Brownhill Baptists. (I tend not to frequent such places). Was at St. Andrews between 1999-2003/4 can't remember which year. I was there for as long as the organ would hold out, but sadly that time came otherwise I'd still be there.

 

I also lived in the area for a while, and I know there's a transplanted Hunter/Mander in St John's Bromley Road, opposite Homebase. See http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D04236

 

I don't know anything about this instrument, but I seem to remember that the post was advertised in the last year or two. Were you aware? :lol:

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Guest delvin146
I also lived in the area for a while, and I know there's a transplanted Hunter/Mander in St John's Bromley Road, opposite Homebase. See http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D04236

 

I don't know anything about this instrument, but I seem to remember that the post was advertised in the last year or two. Were you aware? :lol:

 

Was that not the church which was to be closed? I had been made aware quite recently about the post. The only thing is it's rather close to St. Dunstan's which you might have heard of! At the moment I wouldn't want to go within 3 miles of Fr at that place, but I hear he's going to grace another parish with his presence just a little further afield. Perhaps once he's well out of the deanery. :D

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Was that not the church which was to be closed? I had been made aware quite recently about the post. The only thing is it's rather close to St. Dunstan's which you might have heard of! At the moment I wouldn't want to go within 3 miles of Fr at that place, but I hear he's going to grace another parish with his presence just a little further afield. Perhaps once he's well out of the deanery.  :lol:

 

 

Yes, that's the one - still open as far as I know. Don't know about St D's - thankfully! :D

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Yes, that's the one - still open as far as I know. Don't know about St D's - thankfully!  :D

St John Southend Pond - know it well! I think it's a Hunter rebuilt with extras by Martin Cross (1981 or 1982 maybe?) - the case is in what would be the transept I suppose, with a detached console a long way away on the floor opposite. Haven't been there for years - but I do remember the vicar being a bit of a .....card.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Was that not the church which was to be closed? I had been made aware quite recently about the post. The only thing is it's rather close to St. Dunstan's which you might have heard of! At the moment I wouldn't want to go within 3 miles of Fr at that place, but I hear he's going to grace another parish with his presence just a little further afield. Perhaps once he's well out of the deanery.  :D

 

 

The church mentioned here is St.John's, Southend, Catford - a friend of mine, Brian Preston (no relation!) was organist there for many years up until quite recently. Maybe twenty years ago, an electronic was replaced by a redundant three-manual Hunter by Martin Cross of Essex (the adviser was David Sanger). It's a fair instrument, sounding quite powerfully across a large resonant space but IMHO it's not a patch on the Hunter at St.Andrew's Catford which delvin, sjf and I all remember fondly

 

I played briefly at St.Andrew's some time last year and expected to be less attracted to it. You know how it is... one can get attached to instruments and subconsciously extend a certain amount of bias in their favour (perhaps like pcnd and the torch he proudly holds for the JWW rebuild at Wimborne Minster!) When I was organist in the 70's I thought it was pretty good - missing a few things, but then most organs are. Anyway, I am still impressed with the quality of tone and workmanship. Strong points are definitely a superb Swell (with an extra top octave of pipes on all stops) and a firm but musical Great chorus. The Choir organ is nothing particularly special but a Dulciana and Unda Maris pair are excellent and suprisingly effective given the lack of enclosure.

 

The action is obviously overdue for a releathering, but most of the problem that delvin mentions seemed to be caused by pneumatic tubing coming loose from the chests (pulling adrift under its own weight). We (churchwarden and I) pushed a few tubes firmly back in and things responded.

 

This is a deserving instrument - hopefully they will try to chase some grant or other. The church is still well-supported with a traditional choir, so this is no white elephant.

 

I heartily concur with the opinion given earlier about the (essentially untouched) Hunter at St.James's Spanish Place. I was taken to see this some years ago by Maurice Merrell of Bishops who had just carried out an overhaul and was thrilled to bits both by the tone and acoustic. Sadly, I was given to understand that both recitals and concerts are firmly discouraged by the clergy.

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I heartily concur with the opinion given earlier about the (essentially untouched) Hunter at St.James's Spanish Place. I was taken to see this some years ago by Maurice Merrell of Bishops who had just carried out an overhaul and was thrilled to bits both by the tone and acoustic. Sadly, I was given to understand that both recitals and concerts are firmly discouraged by the clergy.

 

Yes, a wonderful organ and church. I had lessons there some 25 years ago, just prior to the overhaul, but haven't heard it since then. I gather the choir Tuba 8' was made available at 16' on the pedal (I think this rank had an extra octave at the top and bottom for use with octave and suboctave couplers), a 4' flute was added to the pedal, and I think there were plans for a chamade-type reed. I'd be keen to know if anybody has more recent knowledge of it.

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For what it's worth, I don't think anyone's come close to the masters of the mid-1800's - Walker, Bishop, Gray et al.  I shall have to find out a recording of Romsey.  Of course board members are always welcome to come and see it in the flesh, with a little notice!

Didn't Jeff Williams do one- I think it had Stanford and Mendelssohn on it - it was on sale in the Abbey shop. Thought about buying it but at the time, I was a rather inpecunious student.

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Guest delvin146

This is a deserving instrument - hopefully they will try to chase some grant or other.

 

I seem to remember a trust agreeing to put some money towards the work, I filled in the form and eventually got a positive reply. Certainly when I was there we started an appeal, which wasn't quite as successful as we had hoped then. Quite how much the grant was for I cannot recall now. I was led to believe that the roof above the St Andrews organ had to be done first - logical I suppose. I have not heard recently how this progressed.

 

One of the choir also found a large number of organ pipes for sale at a local reclamation yard or something, we used one as a collection pipe and put it at the rear of the church. It never seemed to be overly full unfortunately. We believed the pipe might have come from St. George's Perry Hill, which of course was demolished.

 

I never knew the organ there, but if this was indeed the case it was a sorry ending for it, literally ending up on the scrap heap.

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Guest delvin146
This first track is largely loud - so you probably will not like it. However, I am unable to post a quieter one until tomorrow, so hopefully this may at least dispel any thoughts of un-musical or unpleasant reeds.

 

http://www.adriantaylor.co.uk/pcnd/3.mp3

 

Here is a quieter track:

 

http://www.adriantaylor.co.uk/pcnd/8.mp3

 

Back home now, so had a chance to listen thanks. I have to say that my opinion hasn't changed. As much as I'd like to say otherwise, personally I think this organ sounds absolutely horrible. I do not feel the job blends at all in the loud piece, again as I remembered I describe it as a brash thin sound with upperwork you could cut your teeth on.

 

As for quiet piece, well ok, it's not a vile sound, but not the kind of sound I could warm to at all, I find it very undistinguished. The reeds are as I remember, rough sounding. IMHO the registers sound at least musical but really nothing outstanding when compared to the other older English examples we have in this country many of which are so much nicer - Worcester par example or just about any other organ to be fair. Let's just say I wouldn't want that thing put in my church. Thanks for trying, but sorry you just can't change my mind. It's the kind of sound that makes me want to cover my ears and run for cover. It doesn't seem to have any middle/foundation tone, all top and bottom.

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It doesn't seem to have any middle/foundation tone, all top and bottom.

 

This is of course partly to do with its unfortunate positioning and the unfortunate building. I thought that "track 8" was the perfect tour de force of the quieter stuff - that Great Viola is gorgeous. The tuning in the Mendelssohn probably belies some wind problems but there's no disputing the fineness of the choruses, IMHO. Even the chamades work well, much more stable and less barky than many. I could play all day on Gt 842 principals or the Pos flutes 8 and 4 - lovely. Of course there are things to criticise but you could plonk anything in that building, whether Snetzler or Harrison or Compton or Drake or Mander, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find anything that could be made to work better.

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Yes, not a bad organ by any means - apart from that disgustingly flatulent Orchestral Trumpet (sorry, M'sieur!) - but it really does sound like it's fighting a lost cause in that acoustic. I might sound better live, of course.

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Guest delvin146
This is of course partly to do with its unfortunate positioning and the unfortunate building.  I thought that "track 8" was the perfect tour de force of the quieter stuff - that Great Viola is gorgeous.  The tuning in the Mendelssohn probably belies some wind problems but there's no disputing the fineness of the choruses, IMHO.  Even the chamades work well, much more stable and less barky than many.  I could play all day on Gt 842 principals or the Pos flutes 8 and 4 - lovely.  Of course there are things to criticise but you could plonk anything in that building, whether Snetzler or Harrison or Compton or Drake or Mander, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find anything that could be made to work better.

 

You are probably right about the building and acoustics, and of course this is a recording and not the real thing.

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This first track is largely loud - so you probably will not like it. However, I am unable to post a quieter one until tomorrow, so hopefully this may at least dispel any thoughts of un-musical or unpleasant reeds.

 

http://www.adriantaylor.co.uk/pcnd/3.mp3

 

Here is a quieter track:

 

http://www.adriantaylor.co.uk/pcnd/8.mp3

 

The notes are all wrong of course, and it's a fairly naff minidisc recording, but I'd be interested to hear delvin's opinion of this instrument:

 

http://www.archive.org/download/bach_trio_...rio6extract.mp3

http://www.archive.org/download/trio_3_ext...rio3extract.mp3

http://www.archive.org/download/schubler_c...ler2extract.mp3

http://www.archive.org/download/schubler_c...ler3extract.mp3

http://www.archive.org/download/gigout_sch...goutextract.mp3

http://www.archive.org/download/extract_fr...rne6extract.mp3

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Very good pcnd, I enjoyed listening to these extracts. I think it's courageous of you to make these recordings available knowing how hyper-critical some of the contributors can be! The acoustic might not be very helpful in some ways, but it does bring clarity to the Mendelssohn which, in my experience, can easily become too thick. With such an unforgiving acoustic you certainly have to be accurate and this is a first class performance. Personally, I find the chamade a bit strong, especially in the second ff section, but it's impossible to judge on one mp3 extract. I'm not familiar with Widor's second, but this movement sounds quite delightful.

 

JC

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Guest delvin146

 

Well I don't know what this organ is obviously. I'd be very surprised if it were an English organ. German perhaps? I like it. Reeds still have a coarse quality but they fit in context. The sound is alive and refined without being overbearing and to my ears it sounds sweeter in tone and altogether much more subtle. I'm still a die-hard old English git, but I could certainly live with that sound. It doesn't seem to be "in your face". Now I'm sure you'll tell me it's Oxford or something!

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Well I don't know what this organ is obviously. I'd be very surprised if it were an English organ. German perhaps? I like it. Reeds still have a coarse quality but they fit in context. The sound is alive and refined without being overbearing and to my ears it sounds sweeter in tone and altogether much more subtle. I'm still a die-hard old English git, but I could certainly live with that sound. It doesn't seem to be "in your face". Now I'm sure you'll tell me it's Oxford or something!

 

1858 Walker actually, with no subsequent tonal alteration (except for a few minor additions in 1888 such as a Pedal 32 and a tremulant), at Romsey Abbey. On one track - trio 6 - the left hand is taken by the 4' Flute on the 1999 Walker nave organ, some 50 feet away, the other hand on the Choir 4' flute. This is quite inaudible from the console and only possible to do because of the noise of the barker levers providing a percussive landmark. Otherwise only the main organ is used.

 

Did wonder what you might make of it, seeing as the choruswork hails from much the same generation as Wimborne (pcnd may correct me but I believe the Gt chorus there stands largely unaltered?)

 

Sorry about the notes, these are just extracts of practice recordings made from halfway back the nave (which exist to make me SLOW THINGS DOWN)... Be as critical as you like...

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Guest delvin146
1858 Walker actually, with no subsequent tonal alteration (except for a few minor additions in 1888 such as a Pedal 32 and a tremulant), at Romsey Abbey.

 

Sorry about the notes, just extracts of practice recordings made from halfway back the nave (which exist to make me SLOW THINGS DOWN)...  Be as critical as you like...

 

I'm surprised it's English from the recording, but there's nothing much I can say bad about it from the recording. Ok so I thought it sounded German, but I liked it. Then I find it was actually English :D

 

Right off to bed!

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Lovely organ, David - and if you can just reel off pieces like that you don't need to be so deprecating about your playing either!

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Well I don't know what this organ is obviously. I'd be very surprised if it were an English organ. German perhaps? I like it. Reeds still have a coarse quality but they fit in context. The sound is alive and refined without being overbearing and to my ears it sounds sweeter in tone and altogether much more subtle. I'm still a die-hard old English git, but I could certainly live with that sound. It doesn't seem to be "in your face". Now I'm sure you'll tell me it's Oxford or something!

 

Now I can see the problem, Delvin.

 

At first, I was concerned when, after listening to the tracks of the Wimborne organ, you still described the sound (particularly the reeds) as 'brash and coarse'. However, since you then failed to identify David Coram's tracks as an English organ (and Romsey is one of the most 'English' of sounds which I could imagine - again with musical reeds), the problem is obvious.

 

You have been listening to nasty close-toned harmonically-dead H&H trombi for too long - they should carry a government health warning.

 

:P

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Guest delvin146
Now I can see the problem, Delvin.

 

At first, I was concerned when, after listening to the tracks of the Wimborne organ, you still described the sound (particularly the reeds) as 'brash and coarse'. However, since you then failed to identify David Coram's tracks as an English organ (and Romsey is one of the most 'English' of sounds which I could imagine - again with musical reeds), the problem is obvious.

 

You have been listening to nasty close-toned harmonically-dead H&H trombi for too long - they should carry a government health warning.

 

:o

 

:P well yes, I do like anything currently out of fashion, so you are not wrong there! The Romsey organ certainly sounded old, but the reeds lacked a certain roundness and fatness. The organ produces a nice sound nonetheless, on that recording I don't think it sounds typically English, but given its date perhaps that sets it in context a little more. It sounds a nice job to me.

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I listened to the tracks last night. I liked the sound of the Romsey organ but not the Wimborne. I don’t know if the Wimborne recording was closely miked or the acoustic of the building is dead, but it just didn’t sound ALIVE. :P

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Lovely organ, David - and if you can just reel off pieces like that you don't need to be so deprecating about your playing either!

 

Yeah, he's sickening - just sits down and rattles off all these things from memory. Don't you hate talented people?

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