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Buckfast Abbey

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But which, Barry? 64' stops, music desks on 5+manual instruments, the Atlantic City organ, Ruffatti?

 

I thought the topic was Buckfast Abbey and not five-manual instruments or Atlantic City organ or 64ft stops.

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Now then(!) - in an attempt to steer it back on track here, rather obtusely but at least with the words 'Buckfast' and 'Abbey' in mind, I will now own up to having tried a few sips of the Coatbridge Table Wine (aka' commotion lotion') this very day, nay morning , I stumbled over a half-bottle in my daughter's room (stumbled before I found it since you ask). Amidst the plaintive pleas of 'oh, it's a birthday present' I did manage a crafty swig and I have to say it was quite nice stuff. I kind of felt as though it was pasting me with one hand and then waking me up with the other due to its enormous caffeine content. I would imagine that it is a very lucrative earner - she's gone and hidden it since then. Grrr

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Given Ruffati's track record I wouldn't be surprised if when the specification comes out there will be a 64 foot stop.

 

At least one.

 

Come to think of it, provided there's an open 32 flue they could have a resultant 64 foot for the cost of an extra drawstop.

 

Now, how many manuals did the OP say it was gonig to have? Any more than four and we need to discuss music desks.

 

Don't you just love the way we meander in and out of topic?

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Absolutely, Contrabombarde, and there a distinct possibility that the new Ruffatti console at Buckfast Abbey will be built with a “prepared-for” ethernet connection to Atlantic City.

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The resultant 64' at Liverpool is effective, as one might expect in a building of that size. If memory serves me, I don't think Ruffatti's 6m at Monreale in Sicily has a proper 32' flue, which is surprising although it isn't actually a really huge instrument, the six manuals being more to do with various bits to control rather than a whole lot of registers to share out.

 

'Tis said that the big Tuba at York can be heard a mile down the street if the west doors are open. One of my lay-clerks - a Texan and thus enthusiastic about big noises ("I love it when you put the pedal to the metal!") - reported hearing our organ from the harbour, several hundred yards down the hill, one night. Hope-Jones would have been proud. He didn't include a diaphone in this instrument but the Canadian government used them for fog-horns, as I am reminded when the one at Fort Amherst goes off during Divine Service.

 

Pre-Ethernet, but there's a recording of RVW's "Job, a masque for dancing" where the organ was relayed in by Post Office telephone line.

 

I have no experience of the Buckfast instrument, but by repute it had (like all Downes's designs) a great deal of character that was unique to it. Maybe it will be a shame that it is replaced by a big American-style job. There are enough of them around already, fine as some of them may be.

 

Can one get a doctorate in going off at tangents? I might put in for one....

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One of the losses here is yet another of Walker’s larger ‘elephant tusk’ consoles, they are getting fewer and fewer and that is a shame. Apart from their individual design I’ve always found them really comfortable and easy to use, an ergonomic triumph. Doncaster was a very fine example, built low-profile and with few pistons compared to modern consoles. That wasn’t a problem as it was so easy to flick registers on and off, almost faster than a piston, once one had worked out the double-touch function. Like the Compton ‘lighthouses’ they represented some real innovation and they looked rather impressive too.

I remember the 5 manual console by Walker at Tewkesbury Abbey in the loft over the cantoris choir stalls with the 2 manual console. The 2 manual did all the work, but the 5 manual was functioning, controlling the Milton and Apse sections. It was also independent so that it and the 2 manual console could be used together for teaching purposes and for both players to use different registers I believe.My abiding memory of being in that loft as an 11 year old boy was the 5 manual console covered with sections of card cut out in curves and taped over the stops of the Grove organ and the "prepared for" stops of the intended scheme. Even as young as I was then, I found sitting at the Walker consoles very comfortable, and the 5th manual wasn't undually out of reach.I have to admit I'm a draw stop man, but the 'elephant tusk' Walker consoles were easy to use. They may have looked like a Wurlitzer in widow's weeds but they made registration easier than a battery of pistons at times! One sweep of a finger could give an amazing crescendo! LOL

Does anyone know what happened to the two consoles as my memory now is like the weather - getting murkier by the day :unsure:

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Paul Derrett has the five manual console, pictured on his website, and he eventually intends to hook it up with his house organ, there is some info about moving it which sounded fun!

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Further to that, does anyone know what ever happened to the Doncaster console? I've a vague idea that it was specially built to Magnus Black's requirements so he could see over the top to the choir, it worked perfectly and the 'wurlitzer sweep' was a good wheeze. Paul's Tewksbury console does look a bit tatty but I'm sure he'll get that looking trim and proper, I imagine that the 'tusks' are getting as rare as the ivory these days. There does seem to be a fair number of 'tusk' consoles left but very few bigguns..

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According to the late Reg Lane, when Hill, Norman & Beard rebuilt the Walker (rebuild of a Father Willis) at Lion Walk United Reformed Church, Colchester in 1986, they acquired the last of Walkers' stock of stop-keys for use in the new three-manual console. When installed in the new building, the organ gained an enclosed choir Organ and also had all the reeds duplicated in all the departments. There are thus a lot more stops than it had in the old church.

 

I don't have a preference for the Walker type over any other stop-key, although I know several people who do (if pushed, I would probably favour Willis tilting tablets, which have the most positive motion IMHO). I wonder if the Walker design was influenced by Rothwell's as a result of their collaboration at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. I think that when Rothwells' ceased trading, it was generally expected that Walkers' would take them over, but in the end it was Rushworths' who did so (hence the Rushworth at St. Mary-le-Bow, recently replaced by Ken Tickell - Rothwells' were supposed to build it and Rushworths' inherited the contract).

 

I guess there will be another big Walker stop-key console up for grabs now that Buckfast are replacing theirs. The Doncaster one was much admired. Roger Fisher, for example, reckoned that it had enough historic significance to be retained along with Schulze's tonal scheme. I suppose there were good reasons why it was replaced rather than renovated, but I never heard what they were.

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The 2 manual console from Tewkesbury was used by Organ Tuning Services in their rebuild of the organ in St Edburgha Yardley Birmingham.

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Six divisions ? One would almost have to be some kind of fanfare/bombarde division, then.

 

Since it's to be four in the quire and two in the west gallery, my (possibly unimaginative) guess would be:

 

Quire: Great, Swell, Choir, Solo (or Echo)

Gallery: Great, Swell

 

But I'll be surprised if there isn't a chamade or two.

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Several photos of the rather splendid old Doncaster five manual console in its new home can be found here:

http://www.paulderrett.co.uk/my_house_organ.html

 

I can only see the former Tewkesbury console which I well remember from several visits to Paul's East Yorkshire barn. The other console he had there, and I guess it's still hooked up to the organ he has so far assembled, is the former console from Cheltenham Ladies College. It's unfortunate that Paul is no longer able to contribute to these pages otherwise I'm sure he would enlighten us.

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Yes, I must admit, I found the absence of a 32’ flue more than a little surprising- considering the beast will have 78 stops/100 ranks.

 

But, then, how many organs in the UK have antiphonal 32’ reeds ? I can’t think of any. (I await speedy correction.)

 

That part of Devon will be truly blessed with a range of some marvellous instruments.

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