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Wierd Organ In North-west London


Guest Lee Blick
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Guest Lee Blick

About fifteen years ago I had to play for a wedding at a church I have forgotten the name of.

 

The thing I remember about the organ it had little stop tabs in between the manuals with some other wierd contraptions. The organist who showed me the organ (she wasn't playing for the service cos she couldn't play WIdors Toccata) was playing in her bare feet.

 

I have three questions:

 

1) Does anyone know that the name of this church? Is this organ still there?

 

2) Are there other organs with a similar design or other strange designs (apart from stevebournias)

 

3) Do you play the organ pedals bore footed, or is that a very bad habit?

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It sounds like an instrument (or console at least) by Rothwell - if you log onto the NPOR and put him into the builder search you might come up with what you want. I think there is one in the Harrow area which has not long been restored to near original working order.

 

AJJ

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About fifteen years ago I had to play for a wedding at a church I have forgotten the name of.

 

The thing I remember about the organ it had little stop tabs in between the manuals with some other wierd contraptions.  The organist who showed me the organ (she wasn't playing for the service cos she couldn't play WIdors Toccata) was playing in her bare feet.

 

I have three questions:

 

1) Does anyone know that the name of this church?  Is this organ still there?

 

2)  Are there other organs with a similar design or other strange designs (apart from stevebournias)

 

3)  Do you play the organ pedals bore footed, or is that a very bad habit?

 

 

The NPOR lists almost fifty instruments with which Rothwell was connected. Ths is, of course, of little help to you, Lee - except that I have just noticed the subtitle to your post heading. Only about five of them are in the correct geographical location, so this is slightly better. The strongest contenders, fulfilling you criterior, are: N14562 and N08524. You could also try N15850.

 

With reference to your last question, I am not personally keen on my pupils playing the organ in bare feet - particularly in the summer....

 

However, I have heard worse.

 

When I was about sixteen, I took part in a televised school music quiz, recorded in Plymouth, as far as I can remember. Whilst rehearsing, the Director informed us that they had recently recorded a programme featuring a lady pianist, who was wearing a diaphanous and translucent dress. Apparently the Floor Manager had to ask her to remove her underwear, since it was showing up on camera. That, at any rate, was his excuse.

 

Tsk, tsk, some people!

 

Before you ask - no, the lady pianist was not also an organist with a hyphenated surname.

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Guest Lee Blick

Talking of removal of lingerie to improve performance, when I was 15, the curate at my church once told me he never wore anything under his vestments in the summer. I wasn't sure WHY he told me, I could hazzard a guess.... :huh::huh:

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I remember now, St John the Baptist, Stanmore.  Thanx.

 

OK!

 

There is, in that case, an anomaly.

 

If you remember that the console had the standard Rothwell pattern of stop control (i.e., stop-keys between the claviers) - where on earth are the pistons placed? The NPOR details list five pistons (0 - 4) for each division.

 

Weird!

 

:huh:

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Talking of removal of lingerie to improve performance, when I was 15, the curate at my church once told me he never wore anything under his vestments in the summer.  I wasn't sure WHY he told me, I could hazzard a guess....  :huh:  :huh:

 

BLEAH!!

 

Indeed, as (no doubt) could many other readers.

 

Did he have an old mac? Or a permanent slitty-eyed grin?

 

Sounds like our old P.E. teacher....

 

:huh::huh:

 

Incidentally - did you really mean that last 'Smiley'?

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Guest Lee Blick
If you remember that the console had the standard Rothwell pattern of stop control (i.e., stop-keys between the claviers) - where on earth are the pistons placed? The NPOR details list five pistons (0 - 4) for each division.

 

I have a feeling they may have been located to the left or right of the stop tabs under each manual, but I can't really recall. I remember thinking that it was handy to change stops one at a time without stopping to play. The organ itself was in very bad condition and the organist said she wanted to replace it. I am rather glad the present instrument has been restored. Whether the Rothwell console is still there, I have no idea.

 

Another wierd organ I played was in Ruislip or Northwood. I was applying for an organist post. It was in a fairly modern church and it had a Willis organ but the console had obviously been constructed by a 'well meaning' amateur. It was like being in front of the console on the Starship Enterprise. Instead of drawstops or stoptabs. There were like push buttons not disimillar to the type on the Yamaha Electrone home electronic organs. It was horrible. Not easy to see and most disconcerting.

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It sounds similar to the Matthew Copley instrument in the Church of St. Mary Magdalen, Oxford.

 

Apart from the fact that most of the case consists of toughened glass - (at least, I hope that it is toughened) - the console is a weird affair, with sloping panels either side of the claviers, with inset push buttons. Oh - and the console and most of the cases are painted in a yukky dull green.

 

I had a look at it last summer. Apart from looking tacky, it also looked tatty - the paint was wearing off parts of the console and the bench.

 

There is an advertisement in OR (August 2003: p. 235) for this organ, which is almost as weird as the instrument itself. There is a badly-cropped photograph of a pair of hands (up to about half of the forearms) with the caption "Organist Peter Parshall at the Console". I have never met the gentleman, so I have no idea why he should be so reticent about appearing in print. Perhaps copy space was at an absolute premium....

 

Does anyone know if the sound is as strange as the visual aspect? (The organ, that is - not Peter Parshall's hands.)

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Talking of removal of lingerie to improve performance, when I was 15, the curate at my church once told me he never wore anything under his vestments in the summer.  I wasn't sure WHY he told me, I could hazzard a guess....  :huh:  :huh:

 

 

It sounds horribly familiar to the (true) story concerning a certain English cathedral organist. (Name not given - even by PM!)

 

He was taking a choral course for children somewhere in the U.S. On the morning in question, he was conducting an open workshop for girls' voices. Many of the girls' parents were present.

 

At one point, after a somewhat insipid rendition of some piece or other, he said excitedly: "No, no, girls - I want you to blow me against the west wall!"

 

There was much frosty silence from the parents (particularly the fathers).... although a few titters could be heard rippling through the girls....

 

Oh, for God's sake....

 

:huh:

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Guest Lee Blick

When I first started training choirs as a teenager, I used to use a rather old fashioned phrase to describe something as "nearly there" as "It's coming." I daren't use it intoday's PC world, for fear is being labelled as a pervert. :huh:

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Many years ago, while I was still at school, a friend of mine was asked to play a wedding at St. John's church, Harrow. This had a Rothwell organ with stop tabs betwen the manuals. I think it was a two manual, but it's 40 yrs ago now, I could be wrong. I do recall it as being a very bright sounding instrument - almost shrill in fact. I didn't actually play it, unfortunately - the Vicar wouldn't let me. These tabs were connected to the main array of tabs above the upper manual - operating one worked the other. My friend commented that you have to careful changing manuals, but found it to be a quite useful arrangement as I recall. Pistons, I think, were under the lower manual and above the pedal board in the usual way, but in one sequence. The manual pistons were the odd numbers, the pedal ones the even numbers. Different!

Years later, while working for HNB, we dismantled a Rothwell instrument, and I recall one of my colleagues describing the console being built to a very high standard, with the refinement and quality of, in his words, a watch. Apparently the tabs were joined by threads, but I didn't actually see the console innards, so I'm not sure how it all worked.

 

Regards to all

 

John

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