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Noel Mander


Guest Geoff McMahon
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Guest Geoff McMahon

Noel Mander, founder of Mander Organs and my father, would have been 100 years old today.

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Looking back, it is remarkable how many things we now take for granted that were pioneered by Noel Mander. Three that come to mind are.....

 

- the sensitive but pragmatic approach to restoring old material, making sure that its re-use did not let down the final result

 

- that modern, well-engineered tracker action is now the preferred choice for new organs of moderate size

 

- the realisation that mechanical parts have a finite life and if worn out must be replaced. The mechanical reliability of the St Paul's Cathedral organ in the most trying climatic conditions is a great testament to his clear thinking in this area.

 

His influence has changed a huge amount, for the better, and his legacy will be with us for many years to come.

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"Modern, well engineered tracker action is now the preferred choice for new organs of modest size."

 

Boxmoor? :)

 

Perhaps we dug our own grave on this one, because so many mechanical actions made between 1950 and now (not by Mander's), have been so extraordinarily bad.

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I guess "preferred" does not mean "automatic". I don't know the reasons for the choice of action at Boxmoor but it would be a shame if the doings at Berkhamstead, just up the road, influenced the decision.

 

Incidentally, it is good to see the old Jesus College instrument find a very appreciative new home at Truro School.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-13544316

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Incidentally, it is good to see the old Jesus College instrument find a very appreciative new home at Truro School.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...rnwall-13544316

“The organ produces sound by driving pressurized air through pipes selected by the keyboard”

 

That’s the shortest definition yet, and a good one, in my opinion. All three constituents of the instrument in one sentence. The only point which is a little blurry is “at the keyboard” -- “console” or “playdesk” would have been more precise, but then, those terms are technical vocabulary already, as opposed to “keyboard”.

 

So, this notwithstanding: Wow.

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"Incidentally, it is good to see the old Jesus College instrument find a very appreciative new home at Truro School"

 

 

 

With new action.

 

Presumably the original action had been worn out by a succession of organ scholars....

 

Was it replaced with a new mechanical action?

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Presumably the original action had been worn out by a succession of organ scholars....

 

Was it replaced with a new mechanical action?

Yes - see p 29ff of OrganBuilding Vol 11. David Wood (who did the work) reports: "the action wasn't the lightest and the aluminium chassis and rollerboards rattled more than was acceptable" - "we have saved an important organ" - "there were examples of good work done [in the 1970s] and this is surely one of them".

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Hi

 

I played the Jesus college organ briefly about 12 years ago, on a Cambridge Organists' Assoc visit. the aluminium action hadn't stood the test of time too well, and was pretty noisy then - everything else was still working well. I suppose that's the potential penalty for trying something that uses new materials for the application. I didn't notice the action being particularly heavy at that stage though. I'm a little sorry that the college didn't just have the action replaced - but they obviously had their reasons.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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