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Dear MM,

 

I think that neither M. Lauwers, neither me defines the A. Harrison sound as THE english sound !!!

 

Cavaillé's reeds are not ferocious, they are only ... french !

 

Concerning Shulze and F. Willis, I have been to Doncaster (not to Arlmey...yet !), to Salisbury, to Islington chapel, and to Blenheim Palace.

 

These organs are superb, and are the reflect of their country (even Schulz, who brought a german touch just when it was fashionable), and I like them this way, and try to understand whty people built them like that.

 

Kind regards

 

PF Baron

 

PS : I did not personally experience lightening, and prefer it like that. It seems that you have been a lucky man !

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Schulze organs tend to be very, very chorus dominated, with very average sounding reeds. Henry Willis organs tend to have thin choruses and powerful but superb reeds, whilst Cavaille-Coll organs lack the elegant choruswork of more classical instruments, and get swamped by the ferocity of the reeds. Nevertheless, they're all wonderful organs of their type

(Quote)

 

Dear MM,

 

This is something of an achievement: to judge Schulze, Willis and Cavaillé-Coll

in the same sentence!

 

But who are we save dust?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Guest Roffensis

Dear MM,

 

I do not think I know a single french organ souding like an amplified harmonium !!!!!!

 

And I played some Cavaillés, but never got struck by lightening !!!!

 

I do think there are worse manners to die than playing Cavaillés !

 

Kind regards

 

PF Baron

 

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

 

Well, I have played a Cavaille-Coll or two, and I once came within 7 metres of a lighting strike. I'm not sure which frightened me most!

 

For the sake of detante, I suppose I'd better qualify my outrageous statements.

 

Cavaille-Coll was a wonderful organ-builder of course, and did actually inspire a whole school of organ-composition. I don't think many organ-builders could make the same claim. He definitely WAS a genius, a very able engineer and tonally had a lot to say which was in accord with the age; just as Henry Willis did in the UK.

 

It's very interesting, but if we think of three great organ-building names from three different countries, namely Cavaille-Coll, Henry Willis and Edmund Schulze, they were strong-minded enough to actually dislike what each other created!!

 

I think we would all agree that any of the above three could produce a certain "wow" factor, and for very different reasons, but all suffer, in some way or another, from certain defects.

 

Schulze organs tend to be very, very chorus dominated, with very average sounding reeds. Henry Willis organs tend to have thin choruses and powerful but superb reeds, whilst Cavaille-Coll organs lack the elegant choruswork of more classical instruments, and get swamped by the ferocity of the reeds. Nevertheless, they're all wonderful organs of their type.

 

The ting that annoys me is this adulation of all things Arthur Harrison. If ever a builder produced a standard sound, and made every organ he touched fall into the same category, it was he. In many ways, the Arthur Harrison sound is wonderful, but it is a sound which is restricted far too much to the era in which it was created, and things have changed musically since then.

 

It just annoys me when people claim that the organs of Arthur Harrison are THE definitive type of British instrument, and yet fail to appreciate what has been created since; albeit with some birth-pangs along the way.

 

MM

 

I imagine that the creator of Oxford's Reiger suffered great birth pangs voicing it. But it was worth it :D

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Now another sound sample.

 

Dandrieu played on one of the most beautiful and typical

french classic organ: St-Maximin du Var.

 

http://www.mporgues.com/mporguesMP3/dandrieu.mov

 

THAT is french sound.

You will hear true french Trompettes, Cromorne, the Grand jeu

(Tierces, Cornets, Bombardes, Trompettes and Clairons), and several

"Jeux de tierce" (Bourdon 8', Flûte 4', Nasard 2 2/3', Quarte de Nasard 2'

and Tierce 1 3/5') and Cornets (of course the same on one slide, but

of quite bigger scale than the Jeu de Tierce).

 

If anybody finds something like that in Britain by any british builder

(ancient or modern) he'll get a belgian fries portion. With Ketchup, Andalouse

or even Worcester sauce.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Now another sound sample.

 

Dandrieu played on one of the most beautiful and typical

french classic organ: St-Maximin du Var.

 

http://www.mporgues.com/mporguesMP3/dandrieu.mov

 

THAT is french sound.

You will hear true french Trompettes, Cromorne, the Grand jeu

(Tierces, Cornets, Bombardes, Trompettes and Clairons), and several

"Jeux de tierce" (Bourdon 8', Flûte 4', Nasard 2 2/3', Quarte de Nasard 2'

and Tierce 1 3/5') and Cornets (of course the same on one slide, but

of quite bigger scale than the Jeu de Tierce).

 

If anybody finds something like that in Britain by any british builder

(ancient or modern) he'll get a belgian fries portion. With Ketchup, Andalouse

or even Worcester sauce.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

Yes! magnificent! but.... you can't play Howells on it :D . You CAN play French effectively on most English organs, as :D we're so versatile!! :P

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Now another sound sample.

 

Dandrieu played on one of the most beautiful and typical

french classic organ: St-Maximin du Var.

 

http://www.mporgues.com/mporguesMP3/dandrieu.mov

 

THAT is french sound.

You will hear true french Trompettes, Cromorne, the Grand jeu

(Tierces, Cornets, Bombardes, Trompettes and Clairons), and several

"Jeux de tierce" (Bourdon 8', Flûte 4', Nasard 2 2/3', Quarte de Nasard 2'

and Tierce 1 3/5') and Cornets (of course the same on one slide, but

of quite bigger scale than the Jeu de Tierce).

 

If anybody finds something like that in Britain by any british builder

(ancient or modern) he'll get a belgian fries portion. With Ketchup, Andalouse

or even Worcester sauce.

 

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

 

Blackburn comes close.......do I get the chips?

 

Hold the Mayo and put the Worcester Sauce somewhere secure.

 

:D

 

MM

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Blackburn???

 

An MP3 please!

 

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

 

I think Pierre will find the reeds to his liking!

 

Turn the speakers up, click on one of the two Blackburn mp3 extracts by David Briggs, and retire to the garden Pierre....you have been warned!

 

http://www.david-briggs.org.uk/rec.php

 

And some pretty pics also:-

 

http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/setchell/blackburn.html

 

I'll just slink away now, and allow Pierre to enjoy a few quiet moments.......

 

:unsure:

 

Regards,

 

MM

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If anyone was on here debating my own church organ, I would be on here stating my case. Perhaps the worst aspect of all this is the relative silence.

 

May I just point out that Adrian Lucas addressed all the similar criticism quite persuasively on orgue-l. I should imagine that he's getting a bit tired of it now.

 

Like many arguments, the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"-line being put forward with sometimes quite hysterical force here has its limits. Like the strictures against rebuilds - hotch-potches is the favoured pejorative - a too rigid enforcement in the past would have robbed us of some of our greatest treasures. And the "only a custodian" effectively means no freedom of action for anybody using an instrument, or even a building, which doesn't actually belong to him.

 

Cheers

Barry

 

I think that the mud-slinging is a little inappropriate, however much opinions may vary. Adrian Lucas is an able and dedicated musician; we may assume that he is acting in good faith. He may be wrong, but he is certainly not crooked.

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a too rigid enforcement in the past would have robbed us of some of our greatest treasures. And the "only a custodian" effectively means no freedom of action for anybody using an instrument, or even a building, which doesn't actually belong to him.

 

(Quote)

 

Well, this seems not true for Britain. You certainly know that if W....were in

Germany, it would be under Denkmalschutz... You coud'nt even

modify the wiring system!

 

Of course Mr Lucas could be tired of all this, no doubt.

Me too. Since 25 years of reckless destructions! After all, I'm far

from being alone liking this thing at W...This said, a majority

aren't englishmen, and this says a lot.

 

We do not see our own, indigenous organs, like the people from aboard.

We'd like to be able to play and dis-play what's fashionable today, in order

to be "competitive" in the "Organ world".

But if "our thing" does not have a Pedal, or this or that, we think we are

trapped with "provincial poor things". We won't dare to show that to Mr

Jones-the-best-player-of-Bach-worldwide...

 

So the only Orgellandschaft that's "in" is the german baroque one, with a hint

of tolerancy towards the italian, spanish and french, plus the french romantic

that begins to be socially acceptable.

 

That's the conformist point of view we hold on our own heritage; but the strangers

do see something else: the sheer originality, the strong charachter of these

less- well known organs!

 

Have a look at another poor provincial thing: the baroque flemish organ.

Up untill 1860, these organs had short compasses and no independant Pedal save

1 to 3 stops in the bigger ones. Fétis said the flemish builders were stupid donkeys.

Today we protect them like treasures, do you know why? Because the germans told

us how precious they were.

 

If W... had been a german organ, it would be copied everywhere today, simply because the germans are prouder of their heritage; it would have been recorded

on countless CDs, marketed worldwide in beautiful displays in every classic-music

records shops....Etc.

 

Why is it that Donald Hunt's recordings were only findable in Britain, deep deep

hidden in the last box of some records shops? (I DO know, I spent days in London

doing just that: fetching them!).

 

So now we are in that rather strange situation: the ones that want to get rid

of something splendid they have, while the others would preserve it, but cannot do nothing but see the worst happen.

 

We need an european Denkmalschutz legislation -which would mean british

consultants could annoy us in Belgium as well, no problem!-

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Speaking as an ignoramus from another continent, isn't Redcliffe Cuthbert Harrison?

 

Just asking.

 

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

 

I almost had a heart-attack Barry!

 

However, you do have a bit of a point, due to the fact that part of the organ was destroyed by fire and had to be replaced. Furthermore, under Cuthbert Harrison (and also Mark Venning), tonal modifications have been made.

 

The full potted-history can be seen on the following URL:-

 

http://www.stmaryredcliffe.co.uk/Organ.htm

 

In character, it remains definitely an Arthur Harrison instrument, and it is wonderful.

 

Regards,

 

MM

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...... and it is wonderful.

 

 

 

Oh, I know that, I've played it......... the Cuthbert Harrison information came from the estimable vicar, Tony Whatmough; I simply took it at face value!

 

Reply to Pierre: you're right, In Germany you couldn't even change the wiring, and that's really stupid. There seems very little point inspending lots of money on restoring instruments to conditions in which they never worked properly in the first place, but it goes on all the time here. I certainly wouldn't want to wish that on the English.

 

It is not really pride in their heritage which drives the Germans to their manic conservationism, but guilty conscience. Probably no nation was in a position to destroy so many good instruments in the period 1960 up until easily 1985 as the Germans were. Now that they've realised that, they have come up with a whole rack of unproductive guidelines for "Denkmalschutz" in which, I want to stress, THE CRITERIUM OF QUALITY HAS NO PLACE WHATSOEVER. There are of course no really objective grounds for a judgement of tonal quality; every time we hear a stop which we regard as utterly ugly, we must remember that at least one person - the voicer - must have liked it like that. Still, an unwillingness to judge quality must lead to a stalemate for the art of organ building; almost no new churches are being built, so if new organs are to be constructed, old one will have to make way for them.

 

Turning briefly to Worcester again: I played this organ once very briefly. I do not have to live with it, so I am less well qualified to judge it than those who do. I must say that I rather liked it. I too wonder whether scrapping it is the only answer, but it seems clear that the cathedral does need a nave organ, because they have been using one for decades now! Initially it was the rolling "modular" organ of which this list spoke a while back, later that perfectly ghastly "Bradford Computing Organ". One option might have been a new triforium Great/Pedal linked to the existing divisions in the Quire, and a new west? organ - perhaps a Cologne-type soultion might be preferable, although of course the cathedral is not nearly so wide.

 

Just some random thoughts.

 

Waiting for those trucks, Pierre - actually relocating the organ to (Eastern?) Europe might well be an answer. Plenty of huge Basilicas in Poland who'd find it a god-send - and plenty of organ builders there who can keep anything going with a tube of glue and some cotton-wool.

 

Cheers

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Reply to Pierre: you're right, In Germany you couldn't even change the wiring, and that's really stupid. There seems very little point inspending lots of money on restoring instruments to conditions in which they never worked properly in the first place, but it goes on all the time here. I certainly wouldn't want to wish that on the English.

 

(Quote)

I know several german organ builders who say exactly that.

But there are exceptions: when an organ needing restoration was

built by....Their family!

So what?

Maybe Germany is at one extreme, Britain at the other. An european

Denkmalschutz system should be somewhere between the two.

Scrapping W... should not be possible, but, on the other hand, when a Mr Mander says "sometimes you need to have the courage to start anew", he knows

of course what he says!

 

The question is to have a definition of what is a "bad" organ.

This definition should be agreed upon by the organ builders

from all parts of Europe, I mean the "leading" ones, that is,

the builders that demonstrated they can restore historic organs

from differing styles and periods.

 

The worst situation is whenever-wherever an organist may decide

alone. Sometimes it will work, when he/she gets an organ he/she

likes and understand, or if/she is a poet that will "feel" what whatever

organ is about; but 9 times out of 10 the result is a catastrophe.

The organist looks after "Repertoire", while any charachterfull, interesting

organ is by definition restricted in that respect.

So any "organist-designed" organ must be an "would be all purpose"

one, it's logical! save that it does not work.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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The question is to have a definition of what is a "bad" organ.

This definition should be agreed upon by the organ builders

from all parts of Europe, I mean the "leading" ones, that is,

the builders that demonstrated they can restore historic organs

from differing styles and periods.

 

(snip)

 

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

 

This is taking us away from Worcester, which is certainly a good thing. I think you'd have a hard time arguing convincingly that any English cathedral organ represented any one style really convincingly, unless it's the accompanimental Anglican one of the late nineteenth / early twentieth centuries. There is almost no solo music for this type of instrument, certainly not that was meant to be "really listened to" - that is, playrd primarily in recital and not as a "voluntary". Yet these instruments - the better ones at any rate - are really astonishingly versatile and can give a good account of a large amount of repertoire. I do think that that is what most organists, if they are honest, really want. At a consultants' conference early this year a distinguished professor from Düsseldorf remarked on the St. Sulpice organ, which he has played often since he is a life-long friend of Daniel Roth, that although the organ was of course superb in every sense, he "wouldn't want to have it". That caused some gasps, but many of us understood what he meant... it included playing ease.

 

I can't really agree that

 

The worst situation is whenever-wherever an organist may decide

alone.....; but 9 times out of 10 the result is a catastrophe.

The organist looks after "Repertoire", while any charachterfull, interesting

organ is by definition restricted in that respect.

So any "organist-designed" organ must be an "would be all purpose"

one, it's logical! save that it does not work.

 

because in fact most organist's do not have the courage to design a scheme which will be met with opprobrium. Eclectic organs are simply not "in" at the moment. Most new instruments are either french symphonic, maybe German romantic (coming back into fashion) or some more or less easily identifiable form of baroque or even earlier instrument. Why? We do not live in the gothic era, we live in the 21st century. The mania for recreating old instruments is a symptom of a chronic lack of courage on the part of all involved, or possibly (which may be worse) a failure of creativity. Elsewhere on this board I recently took a swipe at the Mafia of the organ world, which was understood to mean the critics but which in fact meant more the acknowledged gurus most particularly in the early music world. They are admirable men and women, but they often have more influence than they should have.

 

The art of organ building developed because great organ builders had 1. free reign - who would have dared to tell Scherer or Schnitger or CC or Sauer what sort of organ he should build, or to suggest he should build in a style other than his own? 2. vision and 3. a healthy disregard for music earlier than that which was being written at the time he was building his instruments. Organists have always had to get along somehow, and that is just fine. Nobody gets upset when a cellist plays Bach on a modern cello, and nobody expects a harpsichordist to bring 4 instruments if he plays music from different countries and different centuries in a single recital, but when an organist plays an eclectic recital, eyebrows are raised and the comment is heard, "Well, of course you can't really play that on this organ"........

 

English cathedral instruments are by definition "all-purpose". That's what makes them special, and it works very well. What Adrian Lucas seems to be wanting is something LESS all-purpose.

 

Cheers

Barry

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Thanks for these very interesting comments!

 

I'd like to go back on this:

 

any one style really convincingly, unless it's the accompanimental Anglican one of the late nineteenth / early twentieth centuries

(Quote)

 

-Isn't that understatment?

 

-Was Bach's music something else as liturgical tool in its time?

 

-By the way, what is a style?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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I'd like to go back on this:

 

any one style really convincingly, unless it's the accompanimental Anglican one of the late nineteenth / early twentieth centuries

(Quote)

 

-Isn't that understatment?

 

I don't think so. One of the recurrent themes of the Worcester discussion has been what a marvellous instrument it is for accompanying the choir. It seems fairly evident that the accompanimental use of an instrument sets different priorities from solo use, particularly when a great deal of the repertoire requires an almost orchestral breadth of sonority; also that the use of the organ to accompany a choir also requires somrthing different from its use in leading congregational singing.

-Was Bach's music something else as liturgical tool in its time?

 

Yes. We don't really know for what purpose the big choral-based pieces were written, but the Preludes and Fugues are not liturgical music - even if they were played before or after services, which we do not know and for which there is no evidence, they were certainly not played during them. Nothing which occurs before the salutation or after the dismissal is liturgical! This does not of course apply to small early pieces like the Arnstadt chorales.

-By the way, what is a style?

That is a mischievous question! Although the boundaries of all styles are fluid, it is self-evident that the styles themselves do exist! How narrowly one wants to define them is a difficult question; but when one says "German romantic", everyone knows what it means, even though there is a big difference between Sauer and Walcker or Steinmeyer and Voigt. When the difference becomes too big (e.g. say Sauer and Ladegast) you'd have to start wondering whether you perhaps need a new label!

 

 

Cheers

B

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What I mean is this: Bach did not awake one morning thinking "Now I'm going

to build a new style".

This is something that emerges in the course of time. What he actually did

was everyday work.

Same with organs. The builders worked on a day-to-day basis, according to

the priorities of their time.

The german baroque organs were intended to serve the liturgical needs,

exactly like everywhere else.....For example in 19th century's Britain.

 

It happens now there are tradition with, or without, singing. In France for

instance the organ never had to accompany the singers. Hence a different

evolution.

 

Is it surprising many of the best 19th-century british church music is choral music?

No. Is it surprising the best W...'s recordings, the ones like linked to above, are choral pieces? Not at all. We all agree upon that.

Now why would this music be less worthwile than solo organ?. After all, there

are the Bach's Cantates...

 

If you do here what I sometimes do, that is, gather some organists with a fair Hi-Fi and have them listening some records, you soon note this: any british organ that happens to be in the pile is immediately recognized as such. Like the german romantic organ, it is of course very diverse. A Willis isn't an H&H, but both are

british "from outside the church".

So there is a strong british style.

 

Now take Herbert Howells. Here is a composer who did compose solo organ music

intended for accompanimental organs. And it works, little or big fish he may be.

(It's by far too early to decide!).

 

That's in very short why I believe the british romantic (the baroque we know very very little about) organ is under rated, and, even worse, under rated by the people

who are responsible of their preservation.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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That's in very short why I believe the british romantic (the baroque we know very very little about) organ is under rated, and, even worse, under rated by the people

who are responsible of their preservation.

 

 

 

Well, we agree about that! Interest in British organs is awakening on the continent, that's for sure, for whatever reason. You may know that a company in Wuppertal makes a good living by buying up scrapped organs from England and relocating them to Germany or elsewhere on the continent (www.ladach.de).

 

I believe that these instruments do a better job than any others of playing Reger AND Franck......... that might be because I spent a lot of my most formative years at the console of a large and largely untouched Hill.

 

Not quite sure if Bach cantatas really come into this equation, but we can leave that!

 

Cheers

B

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What I mean is this: Bach did not awake one morning thinking "Now I'm going

to build a new style".

This is something that emerges in the course of time. What he actually did

was everyday work.

 

 

Now take Herbert Howells. Here is a composer who did compose solo organ music

intended for accompanimental organs. And it works, little or big fish he may be.

(It's by far too early to decide!).

 

That's in very short why I believe the british romantic (the baroque we know very very little about) organ is under rated, and, even worse, under rated by the people

who are responsible of their preservation.

 

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

 

Bach never created a new style; he mereley elevated an old one to new and dizzy heights. Hence, he was regarded as "old Bach" in his last years.

 

Of one thing we may be sure; Bach had a fascination with almost the whole of contemporary European music during his life, and THAT'S what separates him from mere parochialism.

 

If we MUST discuss Herbert Howells music (which is probably better than listening to it!), then it soon becomes apparent that his style, such as it was, derived from the extreme chromaticism and shifting key-centres of Delius and late German romanticism. (Edmund Rubbra complained about this, in suggesting that the problem of English music was that "composers change key too much.")

 

The orchestral equivalent, apart from Delius, was Vaughan-Williams, who at least had the sense to re-discover folk-music and Thomas Tallis on which to hang his harmonies. Interestingly, in "Master Tallis' testament", Howells created the one work which stands head and shoulders above the rest, possibly because he finally discovered a melody which actually started and ended in the same key.

 

As for the "British romantic organ," my worry is not that it is under-valued, but that it is over-valued; especially when it concerns an area of extreme organ-building covering a period of a mere 40 years (1900-1940 or so). It's interesting that the glaring parochialism of this period co-incides with "fortress Britain," and with the best will in the world, that era is now dead and buried, in spite of renderings of "Land of Hope and Glory" at the Proms by those who don't even know what Blake was writing about with "Jerusalem!"

 

If we are prepared to wallow in the sentiments of an age long dead, don't we deserve to perish with it?

 

THAT'S the thing about Bach.....he mentally (and physically) travelled outside his parish boundary, whereas Herbert Howells and his generation did not.

 

MM

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If we MUST discuss Herbert Howells music (which is probably better than listening to it!

 

(Quote)

 

Well, this must be a matter of taste...

 

 

the extreme chromaticism and shifting key-centres of Delius and late German romanticism

 

(Quote)

 

Of course, there were many external influences.

 

about Bach.....he mentally (and physically) travelled outside his parish boundary, whereas Herbert Howells and his generation did not.

(Quote)

 

???

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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To return to the Diaphones, no one is going to seriously suggest fog horns on a pedal organ, and Worcester has perfectly fine 32 foot stops, which is exactly why they were disconnected. Diaphones are not needed, what on earth would we use them for!? and why!!!???

 

foghorns: Well, maybe not quite. The diaphone seems to be 'invented' as an organstop, then just a little later also in use as a foghorn. Isn't that nice: an organstop that travels outside?

Anyway I'm very curious what it sounds like, and if Worcester can't keep it: let's bring it to the mainland! Maybe the Dom in Cologne can use it, I've heard rumours that there are plans for a chamadedivision above main entrance at 1000mm windpressure....

 

http://www.terrypepper.com/lights/closeups...ne/diaphone.htm

 

:) an article on the diaphone titled 'Seeing the light' .... ;)

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foghorns: Well, maybe not quite. The diaphone seems to be 'invented' as an organstop, then just a little later also in use as a foghorn. Isn't that nice: an organstop that travels outside?

Anyway I'm very curious what it sounds like, and if Worcester can't keep it: let's bring it to the mainland! Maybe the Dom in Cologne can use it, I've heard rumours that there are plans for a chamadedivision above main entrance at 1000mm windpressure....

 

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

 

I think the time has come for a supply of anoraks and tee-shirts:-

 

http://www.cafepress.com/diaphone

 

Before anyone considers carting the Worcester Diaphones off to Cologne, when they rightfully belong in the Hope Jones Museum in Manchester, they might like to consider the problems of size and weight before hanging them off a wall:-

 

http://elliottrl.tripod.com/cc/diaphone.html

 

Perhaps the late John Compton should have the final word:-

 

"It may frankly be admitted that the best diaphone to be found in any Hope-Jones organ is more or less irregular and faulty in tone, and can seldom be used with really good effect except in combination with other stops."

 

For those who wish to read the full article by John Compton, I would recommend the following:-

 

http://atos.stirlingprop.com/kbase/diaophonenotes.htm

 

And for those few (?) dedicated types who wish to organise a day-trip or an international conference, the organ of Hull City Hall has a 32ft Diaphone by Compton....a suitable reminder of the now defunct deep-sea-fishing industry in that city.

 

For the housebound or elderly, I would recommend a good set of loudspeakers and a finger shoved into an input socket of the amplifier, with the volume well wound up.....you'll get some idea of how they sound.

 

MM

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