Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

The future on the march?


ples
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was intrigued to see this:

 

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie...e=STRK:MEWAX:IT

 

It's the first time I have seen a more or less complete church pipe organ put up on Ebay but the most interesting part is the fact that they intend to retain the facade of the old pipe organ but are actually replacing it as an instrument with a digital organ. I wonder if they'll be placing the speakers of the new digital organ inside the casework of the old pipe organ?

 

I can't help wondering if this isn't something which is going to be seen more and more - months of design, planning and building for a new pipe organ, followed by a lifetime of tuning and interim repairs and services all costing time and (lots of) money. By comparison a digital organ would take next to no time to spec up and install, would require very little ongoing maintenance and come at a fraction of price. It's not hard to see the attraction to a financially stretched church....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Organs come up on eBay from time to time, so sadly this is not surprising.

 

Digital organs have a rather poor reliability record compared with pipe organs, in my experience.

 

This forum is run by a pipe organ builder, and so you will find that discussing this subject, other than in passing, is generally not welcome here

 

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A good quality Abbott & Smith - get rid of the squeaky bits and you've a good solid instrument there. The pipework alone is worth saving. Who knows why places do this? It's endemic, sometimes justified and sometimes not. Best steer clear of the politics unless you know for certain. Nonetheless a basically well built decent organ, so long as it hasn't been mucked around. Got to be worth houseroom somewhere.

 

AJS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It should be remembered that the incumbent of this parish (an occasional contributor to this board) is a Music graduate and an accomplished organist. If this instrument is to replaced, then it is safe to assume that there are musical as well as economic reasons for doing so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Who is the DOA for the diocese of St Asaph?

 

I'd be interested to know what's wrong with this organ. A replacement Wyvern is going to cost about the same as a routine overhaul of this organ... but will only last about 20 years before it needs replacing itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't want to get too involved in this discussion except to say that what was probably a perfectly acceptable organ was rebuilt in 1985 by a firm which is happily no longer in existence. Quotations for the rebuild were received from three builders - two quoted in the regions of £60-70k and the third came in at a magnificent £16500, including "new" console ("new" meaning "new to the church"), positive division, etc. Bearing in mind that the job was done just a little over 25 years ago, and when I arrived here 7 years ago it was in a state of near collapse, you may understand that sometimes the cheapest quote isn't necessarily the best. In fact, twelve months after the job was completed the main reservoir sprung a major leak and the answer was to simply screw the top part (where the leak was) of the double-rise bellows down to the lower section. To give that firm the benefit of the doubt you could say that the church got what it paid for. Having said that, the same firm rebuilt another organ in a well-known church in our diocese which was very soon replaced by a large Allen organ.

 

Three very respected organ builders have looked at the Prestatyn organ with a view to sorting it out for us. Two declined to quote on the job, and the third (who I like and respect very much) advised that we nurse it along until we are able to afford to build a spectacular pipe organ in the west end of the church. With every respect, that ain't gonna happen. The Abbott and Smith pipework seems very good to me. I was having a play on it this morning and if only the 1985 rebuild had not happened it would have been absolutely fine. But to this, a lot of other second hand pipework has been added - from various sources; pipes just planted in the soundboards with no regulation or attention to voicing, and the result is that nothing really blends. Added to that the whole winding system is completely hopeless and there is a wind wobble that would make a Wurlitzer tremulant envious! It looks good on paper, but.....

 

Why keep the casework? Because the congregation want it to remain. A number of the pipes are dummies in any case. I guess that the casework in place is a better option than a big hole where the organ was!

 

We have made our decision. Our Parish Share is a hefty £62,500 and what funds we do have in the kitty will not go to spending a vast fortune on this organ. In this case it simply isn't worth it.

 

As a courtesy to our very kind hosts who have their guidelines, I have not discussed the matter on this forum. However I have seen a number of church pipe organs on eBay in the past. I have also noticed a significant number of organs broken up into ranks of pipes for sale - one sees them advertised nearly all the time. Rather than advertising ranks of pipes, our plan A is to see if there is anyone (i.e. a person who enjoys a challenge) who would like to have the instrument as a whole. If not, then we will look at a suitable plan B. The asking price is not all that astronomical and the 1985 trumpet unit must be worth a few hundred pounds in itself. From what I can see (at the time of writing) the ad is the source of some interest; it has been viewed 670 times and seventy persons are watching.

 

The final thing is to thank Paul Morley for describing me as an accomplished organist! How kind - if only it were true! May the Lord forgive me for enjoying his remark so much! I only play for my own pleasure these days so as to protect the general public from the unholy row... :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't want to get too involved in this discussion except to say that what was probably a perfectly acceptable organ was rebuilt in 1985 by a firm which is happily no longer in existence.

 

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

 

 

This is an Abbott & Smith organ of a certain vintage, and probably not their best one, unless you like heavy, romantic tones. Tonally, A & S were magnificent generally, whatever style they built in, and I would regard the work of Isaac Abbott as being one of the ten best builders of the Victorian era.

 

I can well understand the frustration of a good organ in a parlous state, but why get rid of it?

 

If the organ remains in place, then there is always the possibility of it being rebuilt at some time; perhaps when the electronic s on its last legs in about twenty years.

 

It's so easy to simply get rid of something, merely because it doesn't function very well. Sometimes the best preservation of all is to do nothing. It is this willingness to discard an instrument as bothersome rubbish, and thus feed the demand for inferior substitutes which will ultimately kill the remaining pipe-organ industry.

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that we should be careful using the longevity argument when discussing pipe v digital. As I type, I am listening to Bruckner IV recorded on a twenty year old CD, through an amplifier and speakers which date from 1984 (21st birthday present from my parents). The sound is PDG. Yesterday, I played for a funeral on an Allen dating from 1992. It sounds (at least to my ears) nether better nor worse than it did 19 years ago, and has had only two components replaced over this period.

 

There are compelling musical (and in many cases, sound economic) arguments for establishments which require an organ having a real one rather than a substitute. I tend to think, however, that there is a risk of undermining these arguments by making criticisms of pipeless instruments that might be considered a bit dubious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There'd be some mileage in just rebuilding it as the original two manual (without the later non-matching third manual division) either there or in a new home. I'm seriously considering making a bid especially as it's an A&S. Issac Abbott was certainly a good voicer and he also had a young James Binns working with him from 1873-1880.

 

Regarding electronic installations I'm getting rather worried about the number of installations of the same model by a certain American manufacturer in churches near me. The usual format seems to be to plonk the speakers on the pipe organ swell box, leave the cabling draped anywhere inside the organ (including on the great pipework) and not bothering to fasten the cable anywhere between the two instruments. I wonder if the loose cable is an attempt to make them classify as non-installations so the DAC isn't contacted?

 

John R

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Geoff McMahon

This thread has been closed because further discussion of specifics will make life difficult for people who don't deserve to have life made difficult for them on the Mander forum.

 

Moderator, Mander Organs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...