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AJJ

An interesting scenario

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I came across this local organ history recently and would be interested to know what people thought about the latest developments.

 

- 1890s large three manual rebuild by major national firm of organ dating from 1750s, previously on west gallery now in chancel.

- 1965 rebuilt as two manual and returned to west end with detached electopneumatic console. 'Fractions' added along with mixturework and extended pedal etc. - very typical of the time. Work done by now defunct local firm.

- 1970s and 1980s saw more small scale work done in a similar vein by the same company.

- 2010/11 - complete reconstruction/restortation by a company from Eastern Europe usually know in the UK for its recent tracker instruments. New action, wind system and soundboards repaired, case pipes sorted and largely new console appointments. Pipework reinstalled with repairs and voicing tidied where necessary.

The organ by all accounts works well and sounds good but I am somewhat mystified as to why go all the way to the other side of Europe for a job that could have been done as well (and possibly better) by any of the big UK firms and at least three local one/two man companies who do this sort of work really well with excellent craftsmanship and whose work is all around this area to see and hear.

 

If I were wanting restorative or modernising work done on my house I would not go to a company in another part of the country let alone in another part of Europe. This case is not the same as a new organ or major remodelling/rebuilding where the style/ethos/reputation of a non UK company may be desired and I for one can not fathom the logic behind the decisions.

 

A

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If I were wanting restorative or modernising work done on my house I would not go to a company in another part of the country let alone in another part of Europe. This case is not the same as a new organ or major remodelling/rebuilding where the style/ethos/reputation of a non UK company may be desired and I for one can not fathom the logic behind the decisions.

 

A

 

 

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

 

Mmmmmm!

 

I can understand the gut reaction to suppport our own, but organ-building is a fairly international undertaking. Many so-called British instruments incorporate German mechanical actions, blowers, regulators and pipework; for example.

 

Stinkens pipes, from Holland, are found all over the place, including the organ I play.

 

I'm not upto speed with modern electronic control-systems, but it wouldn't suprise me if some of that wasn't sourced abroad.

 

In fact, it's always been like that from early times......"Father" Schmidt, Snetzler, Schulze, Cavaille-Coll, Walcker etc etc.

 

Our friend "Father Willis" is currently abroad in New Zealand, and our kind hosts have done respected work in America. Is it possible, I wonder, that some of the parts were obtained in the country of destination rather than the assumed country of origin? We don't need an answer because it's none of our business if everything works out well.

 

I've seen some fairly appalling work done by smaller builders in this country, and the same may well be true abroad....I don't know.

 

Like it or loathe it, we live in a newly globalised world, but actually, organ-building was globalised long before most other things.

 

With the current value of the pound, I don''t think we have too much to worry about price for price; especially since Eastern Germany is now simply "Germany," Poland is no longer poverty stricken, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are very much on the rise economically etc etc. I don't know the current situation in Slovenia, and you're certainly not going to find much organ-building in places like Moldova, Turkey or Albania.

 

I'll just go and prepare the foreign vegetables now, and the English strawberries picked by Polish workers in East Yorkshire.

 

Bloody foreigners!

 

MM

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

 

Mmmmmm!

 

I can understand the gut reaction to suppport our own, but organ-building is a fairly international undertaking. Many so-called British instruments incorporate German mechanical actions, blowers, regulators and pipework; for example.

 

Stinkens pipes, from Holland, are found all over the place, including the organ I play.

 

I'm not upto speed with modern electronic control-systems, but it wouldn't suprise me if some of that wasn't sourced abroad.

 

In fact, it's always been like that from early times......"Father" Schmidt, Snetzler, Schulze, Cavaille-Coll, Walcker etc etc.

 

Our friend "Father Willis" is currently abroad in New Zealand, and our kind hosts have done respected work in America. Is it possible, I wonder, that some of the parts were obtained in the country of destination rather than the assumed country of origin? We don't need an answer because it's none of our business if everything works out well.

 

I've seen some fairly appalling work done by smaller builders in this country, and the same may well be true abroad....I don't know.

 

Like it or loathe it, we live in a newly globalised world, but actually, organ-building was globalised long before most other things.

 

With the current value of the pound, I don''t think we have too much to worry about price for price; especially since Eastern Germany is now simply "Germany," Poland is no longer poverty stricken, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are very much on the rise economically etc etc. I don't know the current situation in Slovenia, and you're certainly not going to find much organ-building in places like Moldova, Turkey or Albania.

 

I'll just go and prepare the foreign vegetables now, and the English strawberries picked by Polish workers in East Yorkshire.

 

Bloody foreigners!

 

MM

 

'Agree with much above....... but it's more the nature of job that they've gone abroad for - 'not sure I can see the point - apart from cost. Maybe it is usual in these global times for this sort of situation - I wonder if many UK builders are doing similar things away from the UK - as opposed to major new instruments or or because their specific 'ethos' is desired. etc.

 

A

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

 

Mmmmmm!

 

I can understand ........

......, I don''t think we have too much to worry about price for price; especially since Eastern Germany is now simply "Germany," Poland is no longer poverty stricken, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are very much on the rise economically etc etc. I don't know the current situation in Slovenia, and you're certainly not going to find much organ-building in places like Moldova, Turkey or Albania.

 

I'll just go and prepare the foreign vegetables now, and the English strawberries picked by Polish workers in East Yorkshire.

 

Bloody foreigners!

 

MM

 

Too much time in the vegetable patch?!...

 

You've forgotten about Skrabl. Skrable has been mentioned previously on the Message Board.

 

Installations are, for example, in Lyme Regis alsohere. I don't remember if any Message Boarders have reported on any recitals on Skrable organs.

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Too much time in the vegetable patch?!...

 

You've forgotten about Skrabl. Skrable has been mentioned previously on the Message Board.

 

Installations are, for example, in Lyme Regis alsohere. I don't remember if any Message Boarders have reported on any recitals on Skrable organs.

Škrabl is the firm obliquely referred to at the top of this thread. From the looks of their recently revamped main website, it appears that they are also stealing a march on Laukhuff and other suppliers (here). Price was the deciding factor in their recent Bristol job, I understand.

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Price was the deciding factor in their recent Bristol job, I understand.

 

Thanks for this - I had a hunch someone might know more. Also interesting that places are thinking about such firms to do what in the past would possibly have been done by those closer to home.

 

A

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An idea of price can perhaps be gained here. Would be interested to know how much mark-up the EMS have put on these, if any.

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Too much time in the vegetable patch?!...

 

You've forgotten about Skrabl. Skrable has been mentioned previously on the Message Board.

 

Installations are, for example, in Lyme Regis alsohere. I don't remember if any Message Boarders have reported on any recitals on Skrable organs.

 

 

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

 

 

Among vegetables, I would be a Savoy Cabbage.

 

Actually, I must have missed something, because I'd never heard of Skrabl organs until this post. (See below)

 

I suppose the two burning questions are whether their organs sound all right, and whether they fall down soon after being built.

 

Price may be a deciding factor, but quality would presumably be the principal aim for a new instrument. I'm just a wee bit puzzled about the Hudderfield connection, which sounds a remarkably parochial address for a Slovenian organ-builder.

 

Do I sniff a murky world of agents, sub-contractors, business partners or associates?

 

MM

 

PS:

 

I really AM a vegetable. Of course I've heard of Skrabl organs. There's a new one in Huddersfield, only 20 miles away from me, but I have yet to hear it.

 

http://www.dioceseofleedsmusic.org.uk/orga...uddersfield.php

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Do I sniff a murky world of agents, sub-contractors, business partners or associates?

Murky? Normal business practice, whether you make widgets or power stations.

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If I were wanting restorative or modernising work done ........

 

 

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

 

 

If you need new gnashers, you can get them done in Poland for a fraction of the price. :wub:

 

 

MM

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Murky? Normal business practice, whether you make widgets or power stations.

 

 

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

 

Well, it's only murky if you don't know about it. I had a Rover 600 which was a Honda Accord with a few changes of detail, and because I knew that, I was extremely pleased.

 

That's not quite the same as the local main-dealer sending your nice new car to Bashitt & Bodgeit Ltd., for its first service.

 

Transparency......that's the word.

 

MM

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I've seen and played a 2 manual house organ by Skrabl, that looked similar to those being advertised in the Early Music Shop, though I know it wasn't acquired that way. I was extemely impressed by the quality of the action and it made a beautiful sound as well.

 

I've also had a look at the Lyme Regis organ. Again, the mechanics were first rate: absolutely stunning. It was perhaps less convincing tonally, I felt there was too much organ for the building, which had then been quietened down to make it work. It all sounded a bit restrained, and possibly a little confused in conception. Of course, this might not all be the fault of the builder.

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

...Eastern Germany is now simply "Germany,"

In theory, yes. In practice there are still very noticeable differences: having visited the firm whom I represent in the former East several times, I get the impression that labour costs are probably still lower than in the West, and there is a glut of derelict factory spaces which would probably go for a song (I must emphasise that I'm guessing - I don't have concrete evidence, but that is certainly the strong impression one gets).

 

I don't know the current situation in Slovenia...

The current situation would seem to be that organ-building is flourishing.

Škrabl has already been mentioned above. They claim to have one of the largest organ-building workshops in Europe.

And I have previously referred to Tomaš Močnik, also Slovenian, who seems to be doing excellent work, including a recent job in Sweden.

 

Maybe there's a connection between Polish plumbers and Slovenian organ-builders: reliable, good-quality workmanship at very reasonable prices.

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Skrabl looks interesting - not much chance of encountering one here in Newfoundland, but I believe they've put one in the RC church at Frinton (as in "Harwich for the continent, Frinton for the incontinent") so I may try to get to see it next time I'm home.

 

Comments above indicate that they are well-made and finished. In this respect, they will be a welcome change from so many of the imported jobs that appeared (often in RC churches) from the seventies onwards. Stephen Bicknell drew attention to these in his book, but basically the rule seemed to be tracker action and not by a British builder. I played one last year in Essex - pretty to look at and listen to, but just not sturdy enough in its construction, mechanism or pipes. I can think of other examples - basically, as one experienced organ builder said to me, they were much inferior to a decent Henry Jones in terms of construction and inferior in voicing. I suppose they may have been an improvement on cheap extension organs which were previously in vogue in the same sort of places, but I guess that it all boils down to quality of construction, no matter what type of instrument is chosen.

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...having visited the firm whom I represent in the former East several times, I get the impression that labour costs are probably still lower than in the West...

According to today's Times, referring to the Dresden area of Saxony:

"The staff work five days more a year - while expecting 30 per cent less money - than the national norm."

Q.E.D.

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According to today's Times, referring to the Dresden area of Saxony:

"The staff work five days more a year - while expecting 30 per cent less money - than the national norm."

Q.E.D.

 

 

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

 

I don't want to get too embroiled in this, because I'm fairly ignorant of the specifics. However, if the "national norm" is 20% higher in Germany than it is in the UK, AND the value of the pound against the Euro has fallen by 17% or so, doesn't that bring it back to a degree of parity, labour cost for labour cost, even allowing for the 30% reduction in the wages bill in the East of Germany.

 

Hang on......30% of 120% is 80%, plus 17% for the fall in the piund against the Euro.....that's 97%, but doesn't allow for reduced overheads in terms of property and local taxes compared to English real-estate prices.....

 

The maths is a bit involved, I'm afraid, but a 5% difference feels about right, which with an organ costing £250,000, should work out at about a £12,500 saving, less the additional cost of transport....tum te tum te tum.....£10,000 net, less any necessary journeys and accomodation by management, staff etc...........and of course, wages probably account for only 60% of the overall price of everything is made in-house.

 

It's peanuts!

 

Now Slovenia may be a bit different, but I don't know much about the place organ-wise or wage-wise.

 

MM

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Living in the "East of Germany" (obviously it's the North), I can confirm that there is difference in wages (and often officially regulated), but also in the cost of daily life. You simply need more money to survive in the city of Munich, than you would need even in Berlin, not to talk about Dresden, Magdeburg, Rostock.

 

Slovenia can more and more be compared to that "Eastern Germany", regarding possibilities of craftmanship and payment. They are really going strong there, and are powered by a sort of national spirit (which I do not consider unhealthy, in their way.)

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Living in the "East of Germany" (obviously it's the North), I can confirm that there is difference in wages (and often officially regulated), but also in the cost of daily life. You simply need more money to survive in the city of Munich, than you would need even in Berlin, not to talk about Dresden, Magdeburg, Rostock.

 

Slovenia can more and more be compared to that "Eastern Germany", regarding possibilities of craftmanship and payment. They are really going strong there, and are powered by a sort of national spirit (which I do not consider unhealthy, in their way.)

 

 

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

 

So the way to go is for English (or German) organ-builders to have a London (or Munich) contact address, set up a workshop in Vietnam, buy the mechnical bits from China (having given them the drawings 48 hours previously), and drag everything over by ship and assemble it, using casual labour from Romania.

 

I'm not sure whether this is exporting jobs or importing poverty, and language/qualty problems would all probably backfire on the contractor, but it makes perfect economic sense......doesn't it?

 

On the other hand, I think this is how national economies spiral out of control and go into reverse. It's what happens when money is seen only as a commodity.....but don't get me started on THAT!

 

MM

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

 

So the way to go is for English (or German) organ-builders to have a London (or Munich) contact address, set up a workshop in Vietnam, buy the mechnical bits from China (having given them the drawings 48 hours previously), and drag everything over by ship and assemble it, using casual labour from Romania.

 

MM

 

I know of someone doing this - albeit in another area of 'construction' - only the casual labour is from Essex!

 

A

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I know of someone doing this - albeit in another area of 'construction' - only the casual labour is from Essex!

 

A

 

 

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

 

Why am I not surprised?

 

The trouble is, it's all a one way ticket at the moment, but that may well change in due course.

 

MM

 

PS: I've read about Essex casuals.

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I know of someone doing this - albeit in another area of 'construction' - only the casual labour is from Essex!

 

A

 

 

So there you are - us Essex Men get around a bit, you know! :P

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So there you are - us Essex Men get around a bit, you know! :P

 

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

 

 

And I thought it was just the girls......

 

My knowledge is distinctly limited, I'm afraid.

 

MM

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

 

 

If you need new gnashers, you can get them done in Poland for a fraction of the price. :P

 

 

MM

 

 

....But would one still be able to speak in English, once they were 'installed' - or would it be in Polish, only?

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....But would one still be able to speak in English, once they were 'installed' - or would it be in Polish, only?

 

I think you meant to say that your English would be highly polished after insertion.

N

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