Jump to content
Mander Organs
Sign in to follow this  
Simon Walker

'Historic Organs'

Recommended Posts

I love old organs. In fact I'm positively mad about historic instruments. I can't get enough and love going around the local villages to home and making new discoveries.

 

The historic certificate system is a great idea, and it makes sure we are aware of our organ heritage and will help to encourage a serious amount of thought behind any proposed restoration or modification. I'm glad to see that many people have been working hard to promote this and prevent some of the vandalism which did go on in previous decades.

 

However... has some of this gone too far?

 

The following link goes to the page prepared by the organ adviser of County Durham.

 

http://www.duresme.org.uk/NEorgans/dur_organs.htm

 

It lists organs in the Diocese and comments on their status - historic or not historic. Most of the instruments he has recommended for a BIOS certificate has now got one listed in the NPOR records.

 

"Of approx. 232 pipe organs in 293 churches in

the Durham diocese, this provisional assessment

finds some 62% of the organs notable or worthy, as

follows:

Grade I = 18 organs [8%]

Grade II* = 34 organs [15%]

Grade II = c.85 organs

Cert.of Recognition for pre-1850 cases and/or known

historic pipework = 4 organs"

 

This is great stuff - County Durham has lots of old, largely unmolested instruments. Most are small, as the north has never been that wealthy, but the quality is normally good. However is this really a historic instrument?

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N14963

 

And this - http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N14949

 

And this - http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N14957

 

And if those are included why isn't this rather lovely Binns organ? (which I have played and loved it)

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N04230

 

Indeed it is not the only Binns organ in the survey without a recommendation for a certificate. (Certainly there are similar Binns organs in other parts of the Country with certificates like the one At St. Thomas Great Junction Street, Leith, Edinburgh recently up for sale)

 

Anyhow, the purpose of this post isn't to have a go at the choices of organs made here to be recommended for certificates, but rather to question - what make an instrument historic?

 

I see every reason to list instruments which are remarkable for whatever reason, but when they're just old small instruments, and there are many other better examples by the same builder surviving - why bother? And what if the church in question suddenly has a requirement and resources for a better instrument? Take for instance my first example- I had to play a wedding on this a few years ago and I couldn't help but think what a horrible inadequate little box of whistles it was. The case (or lack thereof) is just ugly and the nave really could do with more than just 5 stops. The chamber would certainly have room for an instrument twice the size, and if the church ever wanted a bigger instrument (unlikely, but you never know...) why should they be forced to keep it?

 

And why should age necessarily come into it? (In the classic car trade they often talk about 'modern classics')

 

Arguable this is one of the finest instruments in County Durham. http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=D03660 . It's been a successful instrument and is the choice 2nd choice asside of Durham Cathedral for organ recitals. But because it's a 1989 rebuild of a previous instrument this is not historic. But surely one day it will be and we should recognize this fact and encourage it to be preserved.

 

On the other hand this instrument http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N14914 is a pitiful specimen. It makes a puny sound which struggles to have any impact even in the small building. I don't remember any one stop on it sounding remarkable, and some of it being unfocused and just woolly sounding. But this one had to be given a 'historic' restoration (when a lot could have been done to otherwise improve it) and I think it got grants for that reason. The only reason it's historic is because it contains Postill pipework, and it's an early Harrison job form the 1870's. None of that makes it musically successful however. Historic it is, quality is isn't. Sowhy should it gain recognition?

 

Anyhow... I'd like to here your thoughts on this. No offence is meant at any time to the good people of BIOS and their historical opinions, I just want to question this issue 'What is historic, and what is worth preserving?'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The downside of BIOS is that there are lots of unqualified but well-meaning individuals clambering around inside organs, disturbing the tuning and leaving a trail of bent pipes behind them.

PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The organ at Nevilles Cross, along with St. Margrets down the road are really nice instruments. And on a couple of "organ crawls with the local association many years ago, we ame across some equally quality small organs, found by Richard Hird, who is/was a BIOS adviser, and co writer of the book on the cathedral organ along with JBL, the director of music.

One of Richards favourite was a small willis that was housed in the chapel of Sherburn Hospital, and later re housed at the church at Brancepeth http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=R01230

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DUPLICATE POST DELETED - SILLY ME....ALL FINGERS AND THUMBS TODAY.

 

I MUST REMEMBER - PC DOUBLE CLICK....LAPTOP SINGLE CLICK

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I love old organs. In fact I'm positively mad about historic instruments. I can't get enough and love going around the local villages to home and making new discoveries.

 

The historic certificate system is a great idea, and it makes sure we are aware of our organ heritage and will help to encourage a serious amount of thought behind any proposed restoration or modification. I'm glad to see that many people have been working hard to promote this and prevent some of the vandalism which did go on in previous decades.

 

However... has some of this gone too far?

 

The following link goes to the page prepared by the organ adviser of County Durham.

 

http://www.duresme.org.uk/NEorgans/dur_organs.htm

 

It lists organs in the Diocese and comments on their status - historic or not historic. Most of the instruments he has recommended for a BIOS certificate has now got one listed in the NPOR records.

 

"Of approx. 232 pipe organs in 293 churches in

the Durham diocese, this provisional assessment

finds some 62% of the organs notable or worthy, as

follows:

Grade I = 18 organs [8%]

Grade II* = 34 organs [15%]

Grade II = c.85 organs

Cert.of Recognition for pre-1850 cases and/or known

historic pipework = 4 organs"

 

This is great stuff - County Durham has lots of old, largely unmolested instruments. Most are small, as the north has never been that wealthy, but the quality is normally good. However is this really a historic instrument?

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N14963

 

And this - http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N14949

 

And this - http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N14957

 

And if those are included why isn't this rather lovely Binns organ? (which I have played and loved it)

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N04230

 

Indeed it is not the only Binns organ in the survey without a recommendation for a certificate. (Certainly there are similar Binns organs in other parts of the Country with certificates like the one At St. Thomas Great Junction Street, Leith, Edinburgh recently up for sale)

 

Anyhow, the purpose of this post isn't to have a go at the choices of organs made here to be recommended for certificates, but rather to question - what make an instrument historic?

 

I see every reason to list instruments which are remarkable for whatever reason, but when they're just old small instruments, and there are many other better examples by the same builder surviving - why bother? And what if the church in question suddenly has a requirement and resources for a better instrument? Take for instance my first example- I had to play a wedding on this a few years ago and I couldn't help but think what a horrible inadequate little box of whistles it was. The case (or lack thereof) is just ugly and the nave really could do with more than just 5 stops. The chamber would certainly have room for an instrument twice the size, and if the church ever wanted a bigger instrument (unlikely, but you never know...) why should they be forced to keep it?

 

And why should age necessarily come into it? (In the classic car trade they often talk about 'modern classics')

 

Arguable this is one of the finest instruments in County Durham. http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N04230 . It's been a successful instrument and is the choice 2nd choice asside of Durham Cathedral for organ recitals. But because it's a 1989 rebuild of a previous instrument this is not historic. But surely one day it will be and we should recognize this fact and encourage it to be preserved.

 

On the other hand this instrument http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N14914 is a pitiful specimen. It makes a puny sound which struggles to have any impact even in the small building. I don't remember any one stop on it sounding remarkable, and some of it being unfocused and just woolly sounding. But this one had to be given a 'historic' restoration and I think it got grants for that reason. The only reason it's historic is because it contains Postill pipework, and it's an early Harrison job form the 1870's. None of that makes it musically successful however. Historic it is, quality is isn't. Sowhy should it gain recognition?

 

Anyhow... I'd like to here your thoughts on this. No offence is meant at any time to the good people of BIOS and their historical opinions, I just want to question this issue 'What is historic, and what is worth preserving?'

 

 

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

 

 

In the world at large we have museums; some of them quite specialised, such as Motorcycle museum, (or did that burn down?), and even museums dedicated to the history of industrial machinery etc. They are there to act as a reminder of the past, and to represent a sense of belonging to a long heritage. They are museums because without them, history would be a dry, dusty subject confined to the shelves of libraries.

 

The trouble is, in just about every field of human endeavour, the quality item is the exception rather than the rule, and most thing are no more than adequate.

 

English organ-building was usually adequate, but it was also largely uninspired; at least in the late 19th century when so many instruments were made. I've played any number of instruments in more or less original condition from this period, and there are very few that I like so much that I would want to chain myself to them rather than see them removed or drastically altered. Now in the Netherlands, it is quite different, because the majority of organs, (even in small, country parishes), are rather better than adequate, and some are of world importance. (Yes, there are some awful instruments too; especially from around 1900-1930, when even the Netherlands succombed to the orchestral tendency).

 

But to return to our little island, you only have to see how organs were made and by whom, to realise that this was NOT a wonderful legacy to leave behind.

 

I know of organ-builders from the past who started out as joiners and cabinet makers; completely bereft of musical knowledge or any real understanding of things tonal. Often nicely made, the pipes of such instruments would probably have been obtained from trade suppliers such as Courcelle and Alfred Palmer, (Didn't one take over the other? I forget to be honest). The idea of jobbing organ-builders sending in their weekly orders, like they were shopping lists, is anathema in my view.

 

"I'll have two Diapasons, a portion of Gedacts and a bag of small scraps please."

 

The firm I probably knew best was Laycock & Bannister, who built organs like battleships. Apart from the one I play,(absolutely exceptional), as well as one or two of their last instruments, the vast majority were of little musical worth, and even the best were sometimes more remarkable for the inclusion of Cavaille-Coll ranks; installed because they were highly fashionable at the time. (I'm sure Tony Newham will have something to say about this!) Wonderfully made, they often make a magnificent chassis for complete re-builds with new pipes, it has to be said.

 

Then there were firms like Brindley & Foster, who had started off so well under Charles Brindley. After 1885 or so, the company degenerated into mere factory organ manufacture....manufacture being the appropriate word, as they churned out hundreds of instruments which were much the same, using more or less stock components and often identical pipework from one job to the next. Even then, they were among the better organ-builders in terms of the musical end result. Such was the demand for organs, it was quite a serious trade for those who wanted to make a few 'bob'.

 

After all, a slag heap is a slag heap, and only a mining-historian would dream of putting a date on one and preserving it for posterity. Try telling that to the survivors of the Aberfan disaster, when many of the kids in the village died when a slag heap fell on the school.

 

Antiquity for the sake of antiquity is like art for the sake of art IMHO. Surely, isn't it better to retain what is musically valuable, and to alter or discard that which isn't?

 

The problem of music (even organ music), is the fact that it looks backwards and forwards at the same time, and also speaks of the present. Not everyone plays Baroque and nothing but Baroque. Not many people play contemporary and nothing else. We therefore need ancient & modern in order to satisfty artistic demands, but we also need to know and cherish those instruments which remain in original condition, and which represent a particular quality.

 

Of course, the question "what have we lost (?)" is equally countered by the question, "what have we missed out on (?)"

 

There is a classic case in question at Skipton PC in North Yorkshire. I can recall the old Rushworth & Dreaper war-horse, which made great roaring sounds which filled a church with a low roof and a rather poor acoustic. It was good at doing what it did, and of course, it was good for accompaniment. In the 1960's,qlong came a certain Mr Brown, (I forget his first name), who was on the money when it came to the new wave of neo-classical thinking. He advised Laycock & Bannister in the latter days of Frank Bannister, and managed to obtain some old, low pressure pipework from an organ by Wordsworth & Maskell. It all went into Skipton PC, and with a lot of tonal TLC, the finished product was absolutely marvellous.

 

The organ has no pedigree to speak of, but what a fine instrument it is.

 

Surely, it is rather more than "famous names" (Willis, Hill, Walker, Lewis etc)?

 

It is also more than mere antiquity or rarity; important though they may be.

 

I believe it is more a matter of walking into a building and hearing an organ, which makes us think, "What a lovely instrument."

 

At that point, restoration and historic-certificates actually mean something.

 

That's the difference between England and the Netherlands. Over there, I often find myself thinking, "What a fabulous organ," simply because the builder took his time and gave of his best.

 

MM

 

 

PS: I think of the American lady visiting the castle in Edinburgh, who said, "I just love it here, it's so old."

She then unfolded here shooting stick, dug the spike in the oak floor and sat there to enjoy a bit of "antiquity."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"What I say three times is true" (Lewis Carroll)!

 

Paul

 

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

 

 

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King." (Buchan?)

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Folks - let's not loose sight of the point here...

 

Is a 1 manual 5 stop pleasant but unremarkable instrument, not really adequate for music or leading the worship in it's setting, worthy of being recognized as of historic value, purely on the basis of it's age and it's notable builder?

 

Similarly, is modest 2 manual organ similar to many others around worthy of this for the same reason of age and a notable builder?

 

But why is Durham Cathedral's organ not worthy of one? This instrument was a Willis master piece, and since has become a Harrison show piece too. There is so much remarkable stuff in it, remarkable case pipes, layout for its time, fabulous Willis swell, one of the best examples of a Harrison Solo, complete with a full string chorus which is very rare. It also has a slightly out of place looking 1970's positive - but who cares - everything about this instrument is lovely, and it deserves to be recognised as one of the best in the country. Why does it's lack of originality stop it from being eligible for at least a certificate of recognition from BIOS?

 

What in your view makes an instrument worth the recognition of being historic?

 

I would certainly prefer to see worthy instruments protected regardless of pedigree and age. I would like to think that unremarkable old instruments are not given an undue amount of recognition - after all we have loads of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The organ at Nevilles Cross, along with St. Margrets down the road are really nice instruments. And on a couple of "organ crawls with the local association many years ago, we ame across some equally quality small organs, found by Richard Hird, who is/was a BIOS adviser, and co writer of the book on the cathedral organ along with JBL, the director of music.

One of Richards favourite was a small willis that was housed in the chapel of Sherburn Hospital, and later re housed at the church at Brancepeth http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=R01230

Peter

 

Hello Peter,

 

I don't doubt for one moment that the Neville's Cross organ is a nice instrument - but does it really deserve a Historic Certificate purely on the basis of age/originality? After all there are lots of small Harrison instruments around, and many have more versatile specs than that one... (a rather confused swell organ in my opinion).

 

I worry that the honour of gaining a historic certificate will wear off if too many are issued to unremarkable instruments, and its value will therefore be degraded in the minds of the public and church authorities.

 

The organ at Brancepeth church is lovely, and I've played it lots. Obviously this IS remarkable and thoroughly deserves its historic status, as indeed do a good number of others in the county - but surely this has got a bit out of hand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
============================

 

 

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King." (Buchan?)

 

MM

 

Erasmus, In fact.

 

"In regione caecorum rex est luscus"

 

JS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Erasmus, In fact.

 

"In regione caecorum rex est luscus"

 

JS

 

 

---------------------------

 

Thanks for that. I was probably thinking of "Gulliver's Travels," where the people were very small rather than blind, but then I remembered that this was written by Jonathan Swift. Buchan wrote "The 39 steps" of course; one of my favourite films as it goes.

 

Wasn't erasmus the one who built that nice bridge I've walked across a few times in Rotterdam?

 

My history is a bit flakey. :blink:

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cathedral at Durham, as I have said a few times, both here and on Facebook, is imho, the probably the best one, but am a tad biased, as I have heard it, and recorded it many times over the years,,,,, and lived overlooking the great building. The french horn is as they say "to die for"

 

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would certainly class the Nevilles Cross instrument as 'Historic' - perhaps unfashionable to some but unmolested, built to the highest standards and no doubt (like all AH organs) voiced to the building.

 

As an undergraduate at Durham I was allowed to practice on the old organ at St Oswalds. It sounded far bigger than it was, a feature of many of AH's small instruments. It was later given a cut-price rebuild as a 3 manual and finally destroyed by fire (perhaps mercifully) not long afterwards.

 

I suspect that in not too many years, the finest quality instruments of the period 1900 - 1940 will become as treasured as those of the Victorian era are now.

 

It's sad that one of Harrisons' most celebrated small organs, at St Sepulchre's in London (used in the Songs of Praise organ special a few years ago), is apparently now out of use with no organ appeal on the church website. NPOR notes that an electronic is in use. I hope they go for a straight restoration although with the presence of the Harris case I guess there may be pressure for another eighteenth century copy to be bult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Cynic
snip

 

It's sad that one of Harrisons' most celebrated small organs, at St Sepulchre's in London (used in the Songs of Praise organ special a few years ago), is apparently now out of use with no organ appeal on the church website. NPOR notes that an electronic is in use. I hope they go for a straight restoration although with the presence of the Harris case I guess there may be pressure for another eighteenth century copy to be built.

 

 

I wholeheartedly agree with this. I have played a few times at St.Sepulchre's and I gave a (pretty standard) recital on it some fifteen or so years ago now. It is a superb organ of its type, designed IIRC by Sir Sidney Nicholson. I originally typed the word 'little' in the previous sentence and have taken it out. It is a small specification, but the tone and effectiveness of the instrument were well up to the needs of the building for all that.

 

I suppose this information is correct, that the organ really isn't used now? I only ask because the director of music, Andrew Earis is a committed pipe organ guy and a splendid player. What happens for a broadcast is not necessarily a true reflection of what usually happens!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wholeheartedly agree with this. I have played a few times at St.Sepulchre's and I gave a (pretty standard) recital on it some fifteen or so years ago now. It is a superb organ of its type, designed IIRC by Sir Sidney Nicholson. I originally typed the word 'little' in the previous sentence and have taken it out. It is a small specification, but the tone and effectiveness of the instrument were well up to the needs of the building for all that.

 

I suppose this information is correct, that the organ really isn't used now? I only ask because the director of music, Andrew Earis is a committed pipe organ guy and a splendid player. What happens for a broadcast is not necessarily a true reflection of what usually happens!

 

That really is an interesting instrument... the smallest spec I've ever seen to include a 32' !!! And what a glorious case!

 

Does anyone know why this instrument came to be so much smaller than its predecessors bye Gray and Davison and Walker's?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would certainly class the Nevilles Cross instrument as 'Historic' - perhaps unfashionable to some but unmolested, built to the highest standards and no doubt (like all AH organs) voiced to the building.

 

As an undergraduate at Durham I was allowed to practice on the old organ at St Oswalds. It sounded far bigger than it was, a feature of many of AH's small instruments. It was later given a cut-price rebuild as a 3 manual and finally destroyed by fire (perhaps mercifully) not long afterwards.

And remember the fire, A very close family friend was Dof M there, and remember when the artics rolled up, and helped Peter Collins off load the new one. And there was one elderly american lady who saw the organ case and said it looked as good as new (which it was) and was prob years old

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good afternoon,

 

We have a small H & H (16 . 8884 . 8848) of 1931 vintage. It is in good nick overall, regularly tuned, needs a clean and probably a reed re-voice, but is unlikely to get either of these unless we get permission to print our own money.

 

Beyond that, it is wholly unremarkable, you might even say 'bog standard' = there's certainly no shortage of these around this area, some better, some worse. We are all quite attached to it and don't really mind that it is virtually inaudible on the few occasions when the church is full. And I only curse the chancel carpet a couple of times per service now, instead of repeatedly throughout the services as I did when I first took the bench here.

 

So - a couple of months ago the vicar hands me a bit of paper which turns out to be a Grade 11 certificate from B.I.O.S., on account apparently of it being a 'good organ by the builder'. And, that it is now listed in the Institute's register of historic organs - blimey! it's only 14 years older than me!! Now, I have no doubt c.p., that it will live out another century or so, and in the course of that existence may well become recognisable as 'historic', but really, wouldn't our instrument have to be something properly extra-special to attract such a label now ? Anyway, I was a bit busy at the time - hunting through the music cupboard for the middle pages of "Hymn to the Fallen", and the certificate got set aside somewhere or other and hadn't been seen until a couple of weeks ago when it turned up in the box we throw the candle stubs into.

 

One way and another I gave no further thought to the thing until this thread started up. I thought I had better look into it and see what it was all about. Went to the B.I.O.S. site and had a little read. Came up with the following on the 'Application for Registration' pdf form

 

"The application must contain the written agreement of at least one of the

following: Church Incumbent, Minister, Churchwardens, Property

Steward:"

So I set out to discover who our nominator was. (I didn't read the thing thoroughly enough, did I ?)

 

Well, the Vicar said "nothing to do with me".

The Wardens had no idea what I was talking about.

The Treasurer asked how much money we would get?

We had long discussion over what a Property Steward is in our case, coming to the the conclusion that as organist, I am the 'property steward' for the organ - proposed by one warden, seconded by the other and carried unanimously by the three of them. I then approached just about every member of our church, and apart from the few who thought BIOS was something to do with computers, drew another blank.

 

Turns out that it was the diocesan organs adviser who had nominated our instrument. Well, I knew I hadn't spoken to him about it, so I did the rounds again and, found nobody (myself included) who would know the DOA if he swam throught their rhubarb and custard. Presumably therefore, he did it off his own bat.

I expect that probably there are advantages to this 'Registration', but also am aware through others on this list that there may be disadvantages too - particularly as some areas of church music undergo changes and developments. There are plenty of examples around where churches have subscribed to (usually) more modern worship forms, where the organ gives way to other means of making a 'joyful noise'. We may not like it but it is happening all the time. And it is not the function of anyone outside of our church, nor any preservation movement, to attempt to influence how worship is or is not conducted within our church. I would hope always to be able to make a case for continued use and care of our organ, but the instrument cannot of itself dictate a pattern/style of worship by its presence.

 

Looking into the future, would anyone doubt that we will have more and more pipe organs going down the redundancy route - either through church closure, worship style or lack of funds. Wherever this might happen, there would hopefully be proper consultation around all the possible options, between all the concerned parties, (including the DOA), and a conclusion reached that respects the views of all involved, even though some may be disappointed. I hope I am wrong in thinking that a certificate such as this might be waved about, in an attempt to introduce an element of 'force majeur' into such a consultation.

 

All that being said, I will beat off with a s****y stick anyone who tries to remove our pipe organ - for any reason!

 

Chris B

 

ps.. failing to identify my church or diocese is intentional.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that Chris B...

 

Are you talking about St. A***********? (Post edited to preserve anonymity of church) (which I have played and liked as it happens... and I did try and send you a personal message about it. let me know if you didn't get it)

 

Anyhow... That spec, and many similar, (16 8884 8848) could be greatly improved if the dulciana on the Great was replaced with a 2' fifteenth. It would give the instrument a proper chorus on the great and bridge the gap between the flue work and that enormous Cornopean on the swell! With no oboe to accompany and two small 8fts on the swell - the dulciana surely won't get used a great deal.

 

My worry is this - should you ever want to make a sensible spec change/modification, something to really improve the instrument, properly thought through and everything, the BIOS certificate will just get in the way. The BIOS people will send you on a guilt trip for wanting to alter a 'historic instrument'. I don't think this is justified - do you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
....... I thought I had better look into it and see what it was all about. Went to the B.I.O.S. site and had a little read. Came up with the following on the 'Application for Registration' pdf form

"The application must contain the written agreement of at least one of the

following: Church Incumbent, Minister, Churchwardens, Property

Steward:"

So I set out to discover who our nominator was. ......................Turns out that it was the diocesan organs adviser who had nominated our instrument.

 

I think it used to be the case that anyone could nominate an instrument for a HOC but certainly from around Oct 2009 a nomination form was introduced as the scheme became more popular. I assume you certificate pre-dates Oct 2009.

PJW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clarion Doublette says :-

 

"That spec, and many similar, (16 8884 8848) could be greatly improved if the dulciana on the Great was replaced with a 2' fifteenth. It would give the instrument a proper chorus on the great and bridge the gap between the flue work and that enormous Cornopean on the swell! With no oboe to accompany and two small 8fts on the swell - the dulciana surely won't get used a great deal."

 

I know that there are many of the smaller instruments where this tonal modification has been carried out and, when first I encountered our instrument I did harbour thoughts along those lines. However, before giving voice to my thoughts, I decided that all in all, the organ should stand as it is. Firstly, the way our services work, the quieter registrations are used more than the heavier ones. Second, with the Dulciana gone, there would be no accompaniment stop on the Great for the quiet Swell. Third, the Dulciana coupled to Pedal makes an acceptable, gentle 'Violoncello' effect, getting a lot of use during Communion. Finally though, I feel that there are none of my stops I am prepared to do without. If there were to be a Fifteenth, it would have to be added to the existing spec., not substituted for something we already have.

 

With modern technology, the tonal mod you suggest could easily be added as off-note pipes with electronic control, and the organ could be readily restored to original state if required. However, we are in a diocese with a very conservative Advisory machine which I haven't the energy/will to take on. Nor indeed have we the funds.

 

Thanks for your reply CD,

 

Chris B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ps.. failing to identify my church or diocese is intentional.

 

Dear Mr Clarion Doublette - when someone writes this, there is almost always a good reason for doing so and directly second-guessing the church and diocese is apt to create difficult situations for people.

 

My worry is this - should you ever want to make a sensible spec change/modification, something to really improve the instrument, properly thought through and everything, the BIOS certificate will just get in the way. The BIOS people will send you on a guilt trip for wanting to alter a 'historic instrument'. I don't think this is justified - do you?

 

Your 'real improvement' may be someone else's 'wanton destruction'. There are too many instances where people have turned up, hacked the top two-thirds off a Dulciana rank and called it Fifteenth, or added totally inappropriate fractions and upperwork. Frequently, the people who do these things are not as talented as the original builder. In rare examples, they are (Roger Yates for instance).

 

I would tend to trust that a builder of Harrison status knew perfectly well what a Fifteenth was, but chose not to include one; and therefore the rest of the pipework wasn't voiced to accept blending with higher partials, and the choices made in winding and soundboard design would be ideal for wind-hungry 8' stops and Harmonic Flutes but would make life very hard for a 2' sufficiently delicate to work with fundamental-heavy stuff.

 

I can't say that I agree with every BIOS certificate ever issued, but it seems to me that the protection of good organs from the whims of organists, organ builders and diocesan organ advisors (who are usually just as human as everyone else involved) is a sensible priority to have. It also seems extremely right and proper that someone outside the church (e.g. a DOA) should be able to instigate that process to protect instruments from the whims of clergy who are often hell bent on throwing them away. It may frequently be a useful certificate to wave in insurance claims, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dear Mr Clarion Doublette - when someone writes this, there is almost always a good reason for doing so and directly second-guessing the church and diocese is apt to create difficult situations for people.

 

 

 

Your 'real improvement' may be someone else's 'wanton destruction'. There are too many instances where people have turned up, hacked the top two-thirds off a Dulciana rank and called it Fifteenth, or added totally inappropriate fractions and upperwork. Frequently, the people who do these things are not as talented as the original builder. In rare examples, they are (Roger Yates for instance).

 

I would tend to trust that a builder of Harrison status knew perfectly well what a Fifteenth was, but chose not to include one; and therefore the rest of the pipework wasn't voiced to accept blending with higher partials, and the choices made in winding and soundboard design would be ideal for wind-hungry 8' stops and Harmonic Flutes but would make life very hard for a 2' sufficiently delicate to work with fundamental-heavy stuff.

 

I can't say that I agree with every BIOS certificate ever issued, but it seems to me that the protection of good organs from the whims of organists, organ builders and diocesan organ advisors (who are usually just as human as everyone else involved) is a sensible priority to have. It also seems extremely right and proper that someone outside the church (e.g. a DOA) should be able to instigate that process to protect instruments from the whims of clergy who are often hell bent on throwing them away. It may frequently be a useful certificate to wave in insurance claims, too.

 

Thanks for that Hecklephone!

 

1. Oops - my fault for not reading to the end of the post. The truth is, I worked out which instrument it was from a post on an earlier thread I was just reading. I shall edit and amend as necessary.

 

2. I totally agree. I was just giving an example of what someone might want to do, and as Altopedal has said - this kind of modification has been successfully implemented in some places. Not so long ago I saw a Larigot 1 1/3 which had started life as a viole d'orchestra. Needless to say it wasn't very successful! My point is that a sensible and well thought out, good quality modification carried out by professionals normally produce good results! Obviously one consults others on these things to make sure the decision is a good idea. In the case described, it would in my opinion make a big difference in the effectiveness of the instrument, however if the dulciana is found to be of use to the needs of the services there - let it be!

 

3. Please would you explain in more detail your comment about winding and sound board design? I`d be interested to know more. I`d be interested to know why this is, as many instruments of that period have gentle fifteenths and twelfths all on the same sound board and winding. I accept your comment about the voicing. That`s when the skills and experience of the organ builder advising on any potential modification comes in to good use - if best left alone they should say!

 

4. Indeed - I take your points here. I just worry that if too many of these certificates are handed out it will devalue the whole point of them. For example - in an insurance claim, if the company finds out that there are over 200 (yes that`s right - over 60% of instruments) listed instruments in the county - they`re not going to take much notice of the merits of the scheme. Neither are clergy and other authorities if they want to throw an instrument out if this system is over used.

 

Thanks again for your comments - this is very interesting stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it used to be the case that anyone could nominate an instrument for a HOC but certainly from around Oct 2009 a nomination form was introduced as the scheme became more popular. I assume you certificate pre-dates Oct 2009.

PJW

 

Having looked it up - the certificate is dated 2010. So this can`t be the case. I wonder what is going on here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...