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Nigel, Kropf - agree with all you say, thanks.

 

It is certainly an interesting organ and I wish them well in the endeavour and look forward to the final result.

 

Has anyone any experience of the Luebeck organ?

 

@Kropf: yes, when the British organist arrives at an organ, the first stop he pulls out is Swell to Great, followed by Swell to Pedal... It's a natural, subliminal instinct we have. We then usually press a couple of divisionals (Sw 3, Gt 2) and off we go... with our right foot on the swell pedal, of course.

 

The Great and Pedal Combinations combined stop is left out all the time - this stop is unique in that it doesn't normally cancel when General Cancel is pressed. The British Organist always assumes this stop has been left out and will only notice it's been pushed in after some terrible accident has befallen him with the Great Pistons (although he will normally assume there has been a malfunction in the combination system first before investigating this stop, such is the mindset here). If it has been pushed in, the British Organist is immediately wary a foreign organist may have played the organ - there is no other reason he can comprehend. Things are rather insular here, being an island and all. This is a good warning that he should check the divisional pistons haven't been tampered with. We simply cannot understand how American organists can live without this stop.

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We did. We used Ryan Air and Easy Jet almost exclusively. Bucket Airlines are certainly the only answer as I think you suggest.

N

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thats very brave of you ! I hope you appreciate all the "add ons" which normally brings the cost of a ticket to the same as BA, eg £3 for a can of beer, £2.50 for a small coffee, £3 for a sandwich, baggage and credit card charges, choice of seat etc etc, sorry but its a fallacy that these airlines are really cheap, and wait until you have a complaint and want to speak to someone at the airline.

Colin Richell.

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The Great and Pedal Combinations combined stop is left out all the time - this stop is unique in that it doesn't normally cancel when General Cancel is pressed. The British Organist always assumes this stop has been left out and will only notice it's been pushed in after some terrible accident has befallen him with the Great Pistons (although he will normally assume there has been a malfunction in the combination system first before investigating this stop, such is the mindset here). If it has been pushed in, the British Organist is immediately wary a foreign organist may have played the organ - there is no other reason he can comprehend. Things are rather insular here, being an island and all. This is a good warning that he should check the divisional pistons haven't been tampered with. We simply cannot understand how American organists can live without this stop.

 

 

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

 

 

Ha! Ha!

 

This was the first thing that troubled me about playing my first "modest" American instrument; a mere 300 stops or so.

 

THEN I doscovered that they have double-touch pistons, with the second stage acting on the pedal stops, which coming to think of it, is probably a better idea altogether, for thou canst be playing on another keyboard and prepare in advance, without fear of the 32ft reed and half a dozen Bombardes spoiling things immediately.

 

Of course, for those seriously into advanced controls, a theatre organ has independent tremulants, sforzando controls, sustainers and double-touch cancellers, as well as that curious thing "Suitable Bass," which is more or less the equivalent of the Great & Pedal Combination coupler.

 

I blame it all on electricity myself. Give me tracker and hand registration anyday!

 

MM

 

.

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Thats very brave of you ! I hope you appreciate all the "add ons" which normally brings the cost of a ticket to the same as BA, eg £3 for a can of beer, £2.50 for a small coffee, £3 for a sandwich, baggage and credit card charges, choice of seat etc etc, sorry but its a fallacy that these airlines are really cheap, and wait until you have a complaint and want to speak to someone at the airline.

Colin Richell.

 

 

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

 

 

 

A quick hop across to Paris doesn't need a three course meal and countless cans of beer. It probably takes longer to get from Heathrow from East London on the tube, and they don't have hostesses or a bar on board.

 

Germany is a bit further, but when I trotted around Europe working in Formula One, I don't think I ever bought anything on board if it was a schedulded commercial flight. The private jets were better....AND....they had leather upholstery.

 

MM

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

 

 

Ha! Ha!

 

This was the first thing that troubled me about playing my first "modest" American instrument; a mere 300 stops or so.

 

THEN I doscovered that they have double-touch pistons, with the second stage acting on the pedal stops, which coming to think of it, is probably a better idea altogether, for thou canst be playing on another keyboard and prepare in advance, without fear of the 32ft reed and half a dozen Bombardes spoiling things immediately.

 

Of course, for those seriously into advanced controls, a theatre organ has independent tremulants, sforzando controls, sustainers and double-touch cancellers, as well as that curious thing "Suitable Bass," which is more or less the equivalent of the Great & Pedal Combination coupler.

 

I blame it all on electricity myself. Give me tracker and hand registration anyday!

 

MM

 

.

 

:blink:

 

Ah, yes! I saw a British console with double touch pistons the other day - I can't remember who built it but that's just my poor memory. Quite a rarity!

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If one is teaching an informed group of students, for me one must never attach to a specific instrument. It has been suggested that we should travel northwards to find scholarship there. Without being facetious this time, these instruments are isolated organs. Even a new console in Doncaster looks decidedly English - and wasn't this done before the end of the 19th century with a new console too? So often when instruments have been imported for one reason or another, they get Anglicised in some way after a generation or so.

From leaving my home in Leicestershire by car, I have been known to reach the centre of Paris via Birmingham airport, faster than driving 99 miles to my capital in England. But these are silly comparisons. If I am teaching abroad with British students I want a handful of instruments that illuminate the repertoire and educate through the students' ears. I am just a tour operator. There is for me a point when theoretical teaching ends and a renaissance for the player happens when confronted with an indigenous instrument. By using Saint-Antoine as a basis of a 17th century French organ (and with extremely inexpensive accommodation and a wholesome 4 course meal with wine for €13.50) there are within reasonable reach (as we found with Academy students) a wonderfully tended Callinet in St Bruno in Voiron - 35 mins from my village (the instrument that the Family Widor disposed of in their church in Lyons when it no longer could be 'modernised' and afterwards brought in a brand new Cavaillé-Coll, for which the Vth Symphony was created for the inauguration) and a small, yet precious cleaned Cavaillé-Coll in Valence. If one is to teach and use every day wisely, it must never turn into an organ crawl. Each instrument must illuminate the literature. Within a decent radius it is possible to encounter a glorious Chateau Chapel in Grignan and a fine early Romantic French instrument as well as a brand new Ahrend in the cathedral of Vaison.

To some degree, one visits Paris not exactly for the carefully preserved instruments of which there are only a handful, but to immerse in the atmosphere and history of the player-composers that held positions there. One needs to travel and visit certain places where one can enjoy the lineage of those instruments. One might mock the opportunities to eat, but it is so simple to equate the results from the French kitchen with the delicacies of French registration. Occasionally students need weird and wonderful analogies to help appreciate some parts of the repertoire. The French language too has some parallels in the old music when playing cadences as the spoken inflections can be heard and seen in the works of the 18th century. Therefore, as lovely a visit to Warrington could be (and yet where I did take the ISOC students on more than one occasion to find a badly presented instrument that hid lamentably amid numerous curtains), - to instil as much originality into the minds of the students one must always go to those very instruments, actions, sounds, acoustics that to a great degree inspired the works that we so fervently cherish today.

Is there an instrument in the UK that can provide the German system of 2 or 3 Free Combinations or a round rolling-pin Rollschweller on a large instrument over-flowing with 8fts? Until the student has a first-hand working knowledge of these things, the works of Reger and Karg-Elert are quite in the dark for much of the time.

I find it still quite strange to comprehend that some of the UK's largest instruments were imported from abroad in the 19th century. How did the purchasers know about the organ builders? Why was so much trust placed in their choice? There must have been a remarkable openness and passion amongst the philanthropists at that time - especially when travel was so different and difficult then.

 

In a way, the van de H in the RAM on paper would seem to fit the bill. It provides a French Symphonic essay which would suit the size of hall and the architecture and much of the orchestral music of which it can so easily be a part. It looks quite a simple design - both in case and in disposition. In the past I have found that 20 dazzling registers with each oozing great character are to my mind far superior to 40 indifferent ones when building an organ. Numerous stops does not a good organ make - not all the time. (Take the Grove Organ in Tewkesbury, for instance). However, I cannot comment upon the way this was constructed as I have never played it. The latest creation seems on paper to be much larger in construction and in stops, but shows no regard to the room and its architecture. (Am I correct in thinking that Van de H sub-contracted others to make their pipes? If so, whose fault is it that some seem to be collapsing?) The other organ does show a finer affinity with the room to a greater degree. The proposed organ is rather brutal to my eyes and displays a vast amount of casing beneath the pipe level. This is an instrument that must link into the other features of the building. An organ is always seen as a piece of furniture whether it is being played or not and to be frank, I shiver at the incongruity of it. But of course, this is a mock-up. I hope to be proved wrong. But the colour and grace of the design leaves me utterly cold at the moment and is some decades out of date - even to be modern. All other comments concerning the musical design I do privately, of course. These thoughts are from what is so far posted upon the Web.

Best wishes,

N

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:blink:

 

Ah, yes! I saw a British console with double touch pistons the other day - I can't remember who built it but that's just my poor memory. Quite a rarity!

Possibly Compton? Having grown up with the system, I appreciate the benefits - and have suffered the pitfalls, when pressing just too hard in a moment of panic. Double touch cancelling on stop keys is similarly useful but dangerous - when adding the Mixture and ending up with that alone. You only do it once!

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I find it still quite strange to comprehend that some of the UK's largest instruments were imported from abroad in the 19th century. How did the purchasers know about the organ builders? Why was so much trust placed in their choice? There must have been a remarkable openness and passion amongst the philanthropists at that time - especially when travel was so different and difficult then.

 

 

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

 

 

An excellent and thoughtful post from Nigel, and he is absolutely right of course. However, do I detect a slight hole in his knowledge of the 19th century?

 

If your name was Jeremiah Rogers of Doncaster, you had already travelled extensively throughout Europe, and the work of Schulze at Bremen, was but a boat journey away. This was one of the things which interested me when I studied the history of Schulze in Engl;and, (and that of Brindley in Germany).

 

Lo and behold! What did I discover?

 

I discovered, (among other things), that the first German railway engines and carriages were made in Doncaster, and the British rail-men helped with the laying of the Leipzig to Dresden (?) line.....I think that being Germany's first railway. At a time when England was far ahead in the race towards idustrialisation, Germany had just a few hundreds miles of railway, but Britain had perhaps 4,000 miles of track. The greatness of Germany's industry not only started later, it equalled and sometimes exceeded anything British in only a very short time; spurred on of course, by a certain military dimension and an arms race led by Britain in an aggressively expansionist state of mind. My understanding is that the various parts travelled from Doncaster to Hull, and then on to Bremen by ship.

 

Within the textile trade, there were extraordinary links and regular shipping services to Europe; especially to France and the Low Countries. and of course, some of those had existed from medieval times; from the east coast ports such as Howden, Kingston-upon-Hull, Boston and Great Yarmouth etc etc. (Hence the wealth of these old ports, with their magnificent churches).

 

If Nigel casts his mind back, he may recall that when looking for (presumably) the old Schulze organ from the Great Exhibition, (ex-Northampton TH), my first question was, "What were the rail links like between Northampton and Lichfield?"

 

So travel wasn't very difficult, except for the vagaries of the weather, and what may take a day to-day, could be achieved in perhaps three days, and in considerable comfort. (Some of us still prefer crossing the channel by ferry rather than in an aeroplane.....it's just much more civilised and relaxed).

 

MM

 

PS: As an afterthought, I remembered the further critical point of a certain skilled organist, Prince Albert, who personally invited Schulze to England for the 1851 exhibition. Like his friend Mendelssohn, he was acutely aware of the strict limitations of the English organs and organists of the day.

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

However, do I detect a slight hole in his knowledge of the 19th century?

 

/quote]

Always holed and rarely holy. Shot through, most of the time if truth be known!

 

However, my musings were how a corporation would be swayed in purchasing, such as Manchester, something from Paris. The Warrington instrument was for domestic use and like the purchaser of a car, you spend your money as you like. The rather larger instruments found in Sheffield and Manchester must have created some debate. Has anyone delved into archives? Sheffield wasn't for a town hall but surely there must be an organization with papers somewhere relating to the installation if not the purchase. But perhaps WW2 has destroyed much evidence of all this. There is nearing completion a new 3 manual organ for a private residence in this country and thus the money is private and the result extraordinary. But I doubt that it will cause anything like the stir that 19th century imports caused. For all our opportunities to travel, play and hear, we still create instruments that are rooted in decades before. Departments that are not complete choruses but musically like a larder with the odd jar of this and that on the shelves. I constantly bemoan the situation that followed the building of the H & H of Coventry Cathedral. This was a landmark in so many ways and one that provides proper choruses on 4 manual departments. Large quasi-Romantic instruments that still get built with an enclosed Solo department and an unenclosed reed seem so strange to me. As a solo in Baroque French music, they only needed something starting at Middle C. How often is the bottom octaves of enclosed clarinets used on a IV manual? Certainly I can still think that Ten C is quite enough for playing music. What music is there for greater compasses for those sort of stops? Surely a grand expense to have full compass when often the pedal department is almost always requiring a manual coupler for the lack of a properly conceived chorus. I still look at a pedal disposition before seeing the manuals. I fear because of the larger pipes being used, money is an over-riding feature and so more gets spent on higher-sounding ranks on the manuals. Space can't always be the main consideration or concern when providing a pedal division unless it is installing one with an old case. Sometimes because of space, an English Swell division also causes problems when moulding swell and pedal into an 18th (or earlier) manuals-only case or position.

 

I shall always remember the call from a cathedral organist desperately backing a wonderful new conception from the mind of builder but unfortunately the Chapter had entered into a contract with a neighbouring Cathedral organist as consultant. This person refused to even hear a recording of some work of the chosen builder and if the name was included in a short list, he would resign his position as the neighbouring place was not accepting his advice. There was a serious error of judgement and the final result is testament to that - and what a waste of money. Perhaps we should kindly debate the pros and cons of what is the job of an organ consultant. Thankfully some of our remarkable instruments from the past 60 years in the UK have come from the prodding and enthusing of certain players - not the builders. But one would have hoped that the builders who did this work would have learned much and gleaned much from the minds of these tonal evangelists. But no they didn't.

The great iconic instruments that came to these shores in the 19th century were to me the product of the organ builders' mind and creativity I like to think. The Solo IV horizontal reeds in Sheffield no doubt greatly influenced the organ now in the Sacré Coeur - the 16ft looking most certainly like a weapon of Mass destruction as it is pointing downwards to the High Altar from the very top of the case. But almost before a generation had gone, actions and consoles were changed. Perhaps that in Warrington held out slightly longer. But Cavaillé-Coll pipe speech is so entirely married to his different actions. Change how the instrument is activated and you have destroyed an intrinsic facet of it. Then re-voicing takes place to cope with the demands of a new action but these places will still thrust the organ at you as an 'almost untouched' so-and-so.

For me, nothing is more exciting than to open a church or chapel door and let an organ creator loose and then see what they come up with as a solution for the client.

 

My feeling is that today we have instruments that do not jolt the senses. There are few mavericks in the world who make sensational developments to inspire a player. There are only a handful who can excite my visual senses too. This specification on this thread that we are encouraged to read and digest (as well as the picture), is as if created by committee - not by a single mind or it is a scheme embracing as many 'wants' from different quarters? To me, Mr Kuhn should have spent a couple of days enjoying the building and hearing all manner of music in it. I hope he did and was allowed, but a part of me rather tends to think otherwise.

 

Sorry to be so long, but I am passionate about creativity and some of the instruments I have played have inspired me to endless heights, but sadly only three organs by UK builders have ever done this for me.

Nigel

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Possibly Compton? Having grown up with the system, I appreciate the benefits - and have suffered the pitfalls, when pressing just too hard in a moment of panic. Double touch cancelling on stop keys is similarly useful but dangerous - when adding the Mixture and ending up with that alone. You only do it once!

Possibly HNB? I regularly played a 1967 example with double-touch (square) pistons, and found them quite handy.

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Sorry to be so long, but I am passionate about creativity and some of the instruments I have played have inspired me to endless heights, but sadly only three organs by UK builders have ever done this for me.

Hear hear. Who remembers the instruments that can be used for most schools of composition without shining in any? Surely the memorable ones are those that have a total and uncompromising musical integrity, and which fire the creative juices as Nigel says. Even at my relatively lowly level of achievement, I always want an instrument which draws the music out of my fingers and feet and responds with a sound that sends a shiver down my spine, not one that makes me fight it for every uninspiring note. With the cost of instruments so high (although I certainly don't begrudge craftsmen a professional wage) and the relative lack of deep-pocketed benefactors, how many consultants have the courage to find and recommend uncompromisingly-musical instruments as a once-in-a-lifetime investment? What if they don't 'do' Howells?*

 

(*Insert name of composer as required.)

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When the British organist arrives at an organ, the first stop he pulls out is Swell to Great, followed by Swell to Pedal... It's a natural, subliminal instinct we have. We then usually press a couple of divisionals (Sw 3, Gt 2) and off we go... with our right foot on the swell pedal, of course.

 

The Great and Pedal Combinations combined stop is left out all the time - this stop is unique in that it doesn't normally cancel when General Cancel is pressed. The British Organist always assumes this stop has been left out and will only notice it's been pushed in after some terrible accident has befallen him with the Great Pistons (although he will normally assume there has been a malfunction in the combination system first before investigating this stop, such is the mindset here). If it has been pushed in, the British Organist is immediately wary a foreign organist may have played the organ - there is no other reason he can comprehend. Things are rather insular here, being an island and all. This is a good warning that he should check the divisional pistons haven't been tampered with. We simply cannot understand how American organists can live without this stop.

 

:blink::lol: :lol: :lol:

 

When you think about it, the habit of always drawing Swell to Great was probably caught from the French via Father Willis. A Cavaille-Coll is one great big crescendo machine, and British organs from the mid-nineteenth century worked the same way. I feel that a lot of bad registration, and less than optimum sounds, may be put down to ignoring this basic rule. Writers like Sumner and Clutton (a long time ago now!) used to wax eloquent about using single stops and leaving off the couplers, but I think they disregarded how such tonal schemes were conceived to work. There was, and is, a lot of over-registration and thoughtless registration, but the other extreme resulted in what Gordon Reynolds called 'dehydrated Schnitger'.

 

In many cases, and particularly in North America, the octave couplers are also part of the tonal scheme.

 

If one accepts this, it follows that an insistence on tracker action is going to act against realising the full potential of the instrument. Ideally, these jobs need to observe the rules of good layout as much as a tracker instrument, and the action needs to be the best that can be made. Bad location and cheap electrics are the bane of organs.

 

North American organs rarely have Gt & Ped combs. The only one I can think of here is the Casavant at the Basilica, which has a couple of buttons in the Great key-cheek to couple or uncouple Great and Pedal combinations. But they do have separate adjustable thumb pistons for the Pedal stops. It's a very elegant system when you get used to it, but it means that the inter-departmental reversibles get pushed to the right of the department pistons, where they are practically useless.

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Can anyone here comment on what is to become of the old RAM organ? Is it to be moved, dismantled, sold, possibly restored as necessary? Is the old instrument satisfactory from a tonal point of view? Being a free standing instrument it is surely more likely to find a new home than a chamber built instrument. Just wondered if anyone can fill us in - the Aubertin instrument does have an interesting spec.

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

 

 

 

A quick hop across to Paris doesn't need a three course meal and countless cans of beer. It probably takes longer to get from Heathrow from East London on the tube, and they don't have hostesses or a bar on board.

 

Germany is a bit further, but when I trotted around Europe working in Formula One, I don't think I ever bought anything on board if it was a schedulded commercial flight. The private jets were better....AND....they had leather upholstery.

 

MM

 

 

I am sure that BA Flights to Paris include a snack and a hot drink, this was certainly the case on a Glasgow flight, and was much appreciated for a basically boring flight.

Colin Richell

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Thanks for a fascinating link to the Kuhn website - this does look like an intriguing design if they can pull it off. It might seem a bit of a risk having an unconventional tonal design in an organ that has very restricted opportunities for practice (is the middle manual a Brustwerk or a Bombarde?), but then history gives us plenty of unconventional instruments, the Girton St-Martin instrument in Cambridge strikes me as one. And to address an earlier question in this lengthy thread - according to Kuhn British organbuilders were included when considering who to commission the work from.

 

Re-reading the post by DHM some time ago I think his subtle "dig" might have been missed by some, though intentionally or otherwise I don't know. It's certainly possible for not very much money to visit the fine organs of continental Europe, though it does involve a certain amount of travel time and ensuring the organ can be heard, even better, played, when you get there. My appreciation for Cavaille-Caen, Schnitger, Marcussen and others has advanced since I built my own home practice organ that allows me to switch, in under a minute, from playing a Cavaillé-Coll to a Marcussen via a Father Willis. It would be a travesty for a professional concert room like that at the RAM to consider installing a digital organ, but personal experience of having moved from owning a conventional "toaster" electronic that I replaced with a self-built virtual organ is that the latter has helped expand my repertoire enormously. I have a much better understanding of how period music sounds and should be played on the instruments, pitch and temperaments for which it was composed, and this would only otherwise be possible through a lot of travelling and hope that I'd be given an organ key at the other end. It would be interesting to hear whether any of our more learned teachers on this forum have used such systems for teaching or practice.

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At least it hasn't been designed with the need to be able to accompany Rumble in J flat canticle settings as its raison d'etre. Tastes in organ design have moved on since the many diapasoned scheme for the Sheldonian. Personally,I wait with interest to hear the new instrument. Never judge a book by its cover...

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I cannot believe that the ROYAL Academy of Music is considering purchasing a new organ from abroad.

Are you telling me that there is not one English organ builder who could not have provided a suitable instrument for the Academy ?

I think it is disgraceful that we cannot support our own manufacturing industry, and I hope that at least the English companies were asked to quote for the new instrument.

The same thing has happened with the car industry which is now controlled from abroad.

Is anyone else indignant about the RAM policy of not supporting the UK companies ?

Colin Richell.

Hi Colin. I somewhat agree with you. It's a shame our country isn't producing goods anymore (apart from Renishaw plc), but I've come acros a lot of potential customers who have been annoyed by the arrogance of some of the uk builders. After all there have been at least three uk builders who have won contracts overseas in the past year or so. I'm sure uk builders had an opportunity to tender, but organists in the uk aren't stupid and if they decide to go abroad then organ builders in the uk might like to spend their efforts into finding out what thy can do to improve their output, rather than moaning about it and achieving nothing. . There have been some great outcomes in recent installations recently from worldwide organ builders installed in the uk that in fact we as a nation ought to wake up to and support.

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At least it hasn't been designed with the need to be able to accompany Rumble in J flat canticle settings as its raison d'etre. Tastes in organ design have moved on since the many diapasoned scheme for the Sheldonian. Personally,I wait with interest to hear the new instrument. Never judge a book by its cover...

 

As an aside - the Sheldonian scheme (which was a conglomeration of the ideals of Sir Hugh Allen, William H. Harris and Henry Willis III, I believe), was one of the weirdest organs around. Personally I think that I should have preferred this instrument in its previous incarnation.

 

With regard to the RAM, I have mixed feelings about this. I have no doubt that a number of British firms could have built a superb instrument, which would have enriched the music-making of this conservatoire. However, I suspect that none of us here would be so gauche as to react in a negative manner when British firms themselves export pipe organs to other countries. Whilst it is clearly advantageous to have a healthy import-export market, nevertheless there have been a number of occasions when British organ builders have felt handicapped by perceived unfair (even 'sharp') tendering practices. In one instance, the only known advertisement which invited firms to tender for a new pipe organ (which was for a location in the UK), was in a particular European trade directory. The publication concerned would have made a telephone directory appear svelte. It was also published and updated frequently. Finding the notification in such circumstances would have been commensurate with spotting the proverbial needle in the haystack.

 

However, until the new RAM organ is completed and has settled in, it is probably not worth speculating as to whether it is a good instrument or not. In any case, as has been pointed-out, it is unlikely to be called-upon to accompany Anglican choral music, so its design and voicing can be somewhat more flexible. Whilst I have not yet played the new organ which Orgelbau Kuhn built for Jesus College Chapel, Cambridge, a good friend and colleague has done so - daily for some months. He found it to be a very musical and versatile instrument. This said, I am rather sad that the previous organ (a two-clavier instrument, built by J.L. van den Heuvel, in the style of Cavaiilé-Coll) was discarded. Clearly, if a world-famous alumnus wishes to donate a new instrument, the governing body of the RAM could hardly turn down the offer. Personally, I would have kept the van den Heuvel organ and put the new organ in Marylebone Parish Church. And discarded the Rieger. *

 

On a related matter: has anyone yet heard the almost-completed instrument in Llandaff Cathedral? I understand that the prepared-for ranks of the Pedal and Solo organs have now been installed and that final voicing, balancing and finishing are in progress. However, there is one slightly odd point: according to the latest stop-list (as given on the cathedral's website), the Pedal Organ has mysteriously acquired a 32ft. Acoustic Bass. Apart from the fact that this stop appears not to be listed in any other version of the stop-list, I wonder why it was thought necessary to include an effect which is generally considered inferior to either a full-length 32ft. flue (which this organ possesses) or a stopped 32ft. (Or, for that matter, an open stop with a Haskelled bass.)

 

 

 

* Yes - I have played it (on a number of occasions). I dislike it intensely - in fact, in about equal proportion to my admiration for the instrument in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. I cannot explain precisely why, but - notwithstanding the fact that just about everyone else in the organ world collectively despises this organ - I really like it; yet I have no time for the instrument in Marylebone Parish Church.

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...On a related matter: has anyone yet heard the almost-completed instrument in Llandaff Cathedral? I understand that the prepared-for ranks of the Pedal and Solo organs have now been installed and that final voicing, balancing and finishing are in progress. However, there is one slightly odd point: according to the latest stop-list (as given on the cathedral's website), the Pedal Organ has mysteriously acquired a 32ft. Acoustic Bass. Apart from the fact that this stop appears not to be listed in any other version of the stop-list, I wonder why it was thought necessary to include an effect which is generally considered inferior to either a full-length 32ft. flue (which this organ possesses) or a stopped 32ft. (Or, for that matter, an open stop with a Haskelled bass.)

 

 

 

Happy to answer that one. The Acoustic Bass (actually named Contra Bourdon on the stop knob) replaces the Quint 10.2/3ft which was derived from the Bourdon. The staff at the cathedral felt a softer quint would be more useful for psalm accompaniment etc. The new stop is derived from the 16ft Bourdon down to note 13 then is the Bourdon 16ft quinted with the softer Choir Echo Bourdon in the bottom octave. It was an electrical modification only, so the cost was minimal.

 

The organ is now completed and will be used for the first time when the choir returns from holiday. For anyone interested, the inaugural recital of the completed instrument is by Robert Quinney on Friday 8th November in the evening. The programme will, I am told, include the Elgar Sonata in G.

 

Andrew Moyes

Nicholson & Co

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Happy to answer that one. The Acoustic Bass (actually named Contra Bourdon on the stop knob) replaces the Quint 10.2/3ft which was derived from the Bourdon. The staff at the cathedral felt a softer quint would be more useful for psalm accompaniment etc. The new stop is derived from the 16ft Bourdon down to note 13 then is the Bourdon 16ft quinted with the softer Choir Echo Bourdon in the bottom octave. It was an electrical modification only, so the cost was minimal.

 

Andrew Moyes

Nicholson & Co

That seems very sensible. Acoustic basses can be very effective, whereas a Quint 10 2/3 all the way through the pedal compass is generally not so successful - the effect falls apart the higher you go. (There is one hell of an acoustic bass at St. Patrick's, Newtownards Road, Belfast - http://npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=D01426 - a very big open wood quinted on itself all the way up, as well as playing at 32' pitch down to C13. Totally OTT for anything that be put on top, even though there is a huge 16-8-4 trumpet rank of tuba power in a west facing arch, presumably to give an otherwise normal 2 manual organ the clout to kick along very hearty hymn singing by the men who built the 'Titanic'). Although acoustically incorrect, playing a fourth below from B down to F and a fifth above for the lowest five notes can give a better effect than simple quinting in the whole octave. St. Magnus Cathedral has such an effect - I don't know whether that was original Willis III or Willis IV at the rebuild.

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I cannot believe that the ROYAL Academy of Music is considering purchasing a new organ from abroad.

Are you telling me that there is not one English organ builder who could not have provided a suitable instrument for the Academy ?

I think it is disgraceful that we cannot support our own manufacturing industry, and I hope that at least the English companies were asked to quote for the new instrument.

The same thing has happened with the car industry which is now controlled from abroad.

Is anyone else indignant about the RAM policy of not supporting the UK companies ?

Colin Richell.

 

Under the current EU tendering regulations for public bodies, it would be illegal to restrict the process to UK companies. See here, for example, for more information.

 

http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/purchasing/guides/eu_guide.pdf

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Thanks for that link, passion_chorale. A search for OJEC produces the following:

 

 

The Official Journal of the European Union is the gazette of record for the European Union. It has been published in 22 official languages (23 when Irish is required) of the member states, every working day since the Treaty of Nice entered into force on 1 February 2003. The OJEU superseded the earlier Official Journal of the European Community (OJEC) with the establishment of the European Union.


The term 'Journal' is misleading, as production of the hard copy version ceased in 1997, and can now be accessed online via Tenders Direct

 

which would seem to indicate that the recollection of a huge tome of tenders is at least 15 years out of date.

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Happy to answer that one. The Acoustic Bass (actually named Contra Bourdon on the stop knob) replaces the Quint 10.2/3ft which was derived from the Bourdon. The staff at the cathedral felt a softer quint would be more useful for psalm accompaniment etc. The new stop is derived from the 16ft Bourdon down to note 13 then is the Bourdon 16ft quinted with the softer Choir Echo Bourdon in the bottom octave. It was an electrical modification only, so the cost was minimal.

 

The organ is now completed and will be used for the first time when the choir returns from holiday. For anyone interested, the inaugural recital of the completed instrument is by Robert Quinney on Friday 8th November in the evening. The programme will, I am told, include the Elgar Sonata in G.

 

Andrew Moyes

Nicholson & Co

 

Thank you for this, Andrew.

 

As David states, this seems to be a good idea. There are some Bourdon ranks which do lend themselves to this type of effect - notwithstanding my previous comments regarding acoustic basses (which Gilbert Benham also decried). In fact, I suspect that our own Bourdon stop at the Minster would probably be quite effective if so treated. Unfortunately, the coupling and Pedal extensions are electro-mechanical - still with the ladder switches, which date from 1965 - so we dare not touch the wiring, for fear of messing up the whole unit.

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The new organ at the RAM is now fully installed. The first recital was given this last Monday by both students from the RAM and distinguished recitalists, such as Susan Landale and Clive Driskill-Smith.

 

It sounds very fine indeed and whilst clearly inspired as a symphonic instrument it handled the classical repertoire extremely convincingly.

 

From the computer generated image that had been published I had had reservations about how it would look in the Edwardian Duke's Hall. However, it fits in perfectly, largely helped by exquisite proportions, the use of light maple wood for the case and what coloured decoration there is being derived from that used elsewhere in the Hall.

 

Two organist at the reception following the recital, who had both been inside the instrument, said that the workmanship was of the very highest standard and the instrument beautifully finished.

 

Although during the concert the instrument was used with a solo trumpet and also a brass band it would be interesting to see how it stands up to battling with or against a full orchestra. I also wonder whether the lack of a 32ft flue might then become apparent.

 

As wil be seen from the RAM website there are a number of opportunities to hear it between now and December.

 

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