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6 hours ago, John Morris said:

This extract: "The last six years have given the Downside Community time to reflect with sorrow on failures in the care for children entrusted to them" raises concerns in my mind.  I wonder what, exactly, they are referring to.

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This, presumably.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-53951730

"Monks at Downside Abbey have decided to leave their home.

The abbey, in Somerset, was affiliated with Downside School, which was highlighted in an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

The review found "appalling abuse" was inflicted on pupils and the institution tried to cover it up.

A spokesman said the 12 Benedictine monks had spent six years "reflecting with sorrow on failures in the care for children"."

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4 hours ago, John Robinson said:

This extract: "The last six years have given the Downside Community time to reflect with sorrow on failures in the care for children entrusted to them" raises concerns in my mind.  I wonder what, exactly, they are referring to.

Yes, the church schools get all the publicity of these sordid events and rightly so. However little or nothing is reported about rampant abuse in state schools, where I was abused multiple times in the 50s 60s. in a Bath school. Did anyone want to know about that then? Openly no, but to get it in a little proportion it was the Rector of my church who sorted it out very well in deed with the then Headmaster. Many clergy now doing excellent work still in this sphere. Don't knock them persistently, it reflects hugely on our churches, choirs and yes organists.

I lived in SE Asia for 12 years where abuse of young monks in Buddhist temples is 1000s times worse than that we are unfortunately used to in Europe. Nothing said or dare be said for decades but just slowly changing.

As for the fine Compton at Downside, hardly important in the issue just at the moment, as a few members have indicated.

And no I never really got over the abuse, failing O levels as a result, and leaving school before A levels.

We all must not reflect on this but ALL of us do something before all of of art and churches are lost. Too late to march the streets then.

Apologies for sermon. Now back to our wonderful Forum. In fact still two forums at present.

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22 hours ago, Barry Oakley said:

Simply that news of the monks leaving en-masse from Downside has given rise to speculation about the wonderful Compton in the abbey church.

I suppose we should be asking what will happen to the church itself? Will it become redundant or revert to a fully functioning church within the RC diocese?

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22 hours ago, James Bradley said:

This, presumably.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-53951730

"Monks at Downside Abbey have decided to leave their home.

The abbey, in Somerset, was affiliated with Downside School, which was highlighted in an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

The review found "appalling abuse" was inflicted on pupils and the institution tried to cover it up.

A spokesman said the 12 Benedictine monks had spent six years "reflecting with sorrow on failures in the care for children"."

Oh dear.  I hadn't been aware of that, though of course it isn't the first such accusation levelled at the RC church.

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11 hours ago, contraviolone said:

I suppose we should be asking what will happen to the church itself? Will it become redundant or revert to a fully functioning church within the RC diocese?

Well, I can't see it becoming a carpet warehouse, as has actually happened with some disused churches!
I'm not sure how 'populated' such a large building could become, though, bearing in mind the lack of any areas of large population in the neighbourhood.

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Downside School is very large and caters for catholics and non catholics alike. The abuse cases took place and were investigated thoroughly a number of years ago now, and appropriate action taken. The inspectorate cleared and reclassified the school to a high standard again a few years ago. It produces high quality alumini once again, as well as general education standards. It is unlikely the school will be affected and of course not all monks were teachers at the school, just as not all pupils were connected with the monastic situation.

As indicated above this is not restricted to the RC church, but any church (or non church organisation) with high male authoritarian "management." As I indicated previously having lived in S E Asia for twelve years, it does not take long to discover the huge number of abuse cases in Buddhist temples. Exceeding enormously what we read about in our own countries at present, but that does NOT render it acceptable.

Last year I stayed as a guest in another Benedictine Abbey in UK for over 3 months in special retreat. The way I was received and treated there was nothing more than excellent in all respects, yes including being able to play the two insitu organs.

The Downside Abbey Church is magnificent in very beautiful surroundings plus yes the wonderful Compton restored not too long ago.

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I'm afraid, as Cantoris has said, abuse happens in all institutions whether they be RC or otherwise and in the public and private sector. The difference seems to be to me, and this is not a sectarian remark, that the Church of England washes its dirty washing in public whereas the RC church tries to hide it away! I speak as a Roman Catholic! And members of our profession are not immune from carrying out this abuse as has been evidenced by the number of organists, both Cathedral and otherwise, who have been convicted of serious crimes against children in the past few years. What is even more worrying is the way that the perpetrators of these crimes are welcomed back into the fold as if nothing had happened! Abusers remain dangerous - even after they have served prison sentences!  The Downside abuse happened a long time again and the school has, since, put in stringent procedures to deal with the protection of children. All of us who have or have had contact with young people need or needed to be aware of our own safety. We were all advised, for instance, never to be alone in a room with a female student without there being a door with a window in it!

As for the Abbey church - I don't know the buildings but perhaps, when the brethren eventually do leave, it will become the school chapel!

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6 hours ago, S_L said:

I'm afraid, as Cantoris has said, abuse happens in all institutions whether they be RC or otherwise and in the public and private sector. The difference seems to be to me, and this is not a sectarian remark, that the Church of England washes its dirty washing in public whereas the RC church tries to hide it away! I speak as a Roman Catholic! And members of our profession are not immune from carrying out this abuse as has been evidenced by the number of organists, both Cathedral and otherwise, who have been convicted of serious crimes against children in the past few years. What is even more worrying is the way that the perpetrators of these crimes are welcomed back into the fold as if nothing had happened! Abusers remain dangerous - even after they have served prison sentences!  The Downside abuse happened a long time again and the school has, since, put in stringent procedures to deal with the protection of children. All of us who have or have had contact with young people need or needed to be aware of our own safety. We were all advised, for instance, never to be alone in a room with a female student without there being a door with a window in it!

As for the Abbey church - I don't know the buildings but perhaps, when the brethren eventually do leave, it will become the school chapel!

It would certainly be a very large and impressive school chapel!

Looking at the organ details on NPOR, the stop list does look impressive, being a very good example of the Compton expertise of borrowings and extensions. A modest 38 ranks becomes an instrument of 142 ranks! Interestingly NPOR does not indicate where the borrowings etc are derived. Of course quite a few borrowings/extensions are obvious by deduction, nonetheless I am very surprised the derivations are not annotated?

https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N05561

Would be interested to hear from members who have played this instrument. There are several recordings on youtube and I must say the tuba alone is impressive!

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As a Bath Abbey chorister I went with a small group to Downside in the 60s I would think. I did play the Compton, but young as I was cannot remember much about it apart from all was working at that time, and it sounded magnificent in the Abbey Church.

I believe the great Dom Gregory Murray was still organist at that time. Many of us will remember his many interludes composed for the liturgy. Published by R and D I think.

Peter Matthews (also from Bath) took over from G.M. as organist as far as I can reflect, and also taught at the school. He was appointed Organist Emeritus on his retirement.

I was given to understand that other work carried out in 2009 was the "re illumination" of the Compton press button stop controls. Console is a wonderful looking beast right opposite the enclosed pipework. Definately a place to visit. Lovely area.

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10 hours ago, S_L said:

I'm afraid, as Cantoris has said, abuse happens in all institutions whether they be RC or otherwise and in the public and private sector. The difference seems to be to me, and this is not a sectarian remark, that the Church of England washes its dirty washing in public whereas the RC church tries to hide it away! I speak as a Roman Catholic! And members of our profession are not immune from carrying out this abuse as has been evidenced by the number of organists, both Cathedral and otherwise, who have been convicted of serious crimes against children in the past few years. What is even more worrying is the way that the perpetrators of these crimes are welcomed back into the fold as if nothing had happened! Abusers remain dangerous - even after they have served prison sentences!  The Downside abuse happened a long time again and the school has, since, put in stringent procedures to deal with the protection of children. All of us who have or have had contact with young people need or needed to be aware of our own safety. We were all advised, for instance, never to be alone in a room with a female student without there being a door with a window in it!

As for the Abbey church - I don't know the buildings but perhaps, when the brethren eventually do leave, it will become the school chapel!

I had an organ teacher who was convicted of such things but never tried anything on me. I won't mention his name but he was also a member of this forum and, as far as I know, is no longer: I haven't heard anything of him for a long time and have no wish to.

My sympathies are always with those who suffer abuse.

Dave

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3 hours ago, Cantoris said:

As a Bath Abbey chorister I went with a small group to Downside in the 60s I would think. I did play the Compton, but young as I was cannot remember much about it apart from all was working at that time, and it sounded magnificent in the Abbey Church.

I believe the great Dom Gregory Murray was still organist at that time. Many of us will remember his many interludes composed for the liturgy. Published by R and D I think.

Peter Matthews (also from Bath) took over from G.M. as organist as far as I can reflect, and also taught at the school. He was appointed Organist Emeritus on his retirement.

I was given to understand that other work carried out in 2009 was the "re illumination" of the Compton press button stop controls. Console is a wonderful looking beast right opposite the enclosed pipework. Definately a place to visit. Lovely area.

Yes there is a youtube video showing the work being done to the Compton illuminating press buttons:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q9vpEW0vsE

The Hull Minster organ of course has the same Compton illuminations. I'm sure visiting organists must find these consoles both novel and perhaps a bit of fun?

 

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7 hours ago, contraviolone said:

It would certainly be a very large and impressive school chapel!

Looking at the organ details on NPOR, the stop list does look impressive, being a very good example of the Compton expertise of borrowings and extensions. A modest 38 ranks becomes an instrument of 142 ranks! Interestingly NPOR does not indicate where the borrowings etc are derived. Of course quite a few borrowings/extensions are obvious by deduction, nonetheless I am very surprised the derivations are not annotated?

https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N05561

Would be interested to hear from members who have played this instrument. There are several recordings on youtube and I must say the tuba alone is impressive!

Yes, I noticed that too.  

Personally, although Compton and others did that routinely and, admittedly, the end results may be good, I'd much prefer far fewer extensions as this gives a very exaggerated appearance of size.

Perhaps someone in the know might edit the entry and add the usual letters after each (I suspect most) of the listed stops to show their derivation.

I'm assuming that there are sufficient letters in the alphabet!  Seriously, though, if there are 38 ranks it would be necessary to include some double-letters too.

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The missing derivations on NPOR are because no-one has told us what they are!!!

As to there being more letters than ranks of the alphabet, as an NPOR editor I have dealt with both SOuthampton Guildhall & the Dome, Brighton organs, where there's a similar problem.  I solved it by numbering the chambers, so derivations became A1, etc.  The "Further Information" section contains a rank listing (and even some detail on the mixture derivations).  The Dome, Brighton has more straight ranks, and I managed with letters - but I did reach Y! (Missing I & O for obvious reasons).

Every Blessing

Tony

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The announcement doesn't say anything about timing and the monks still have to find a new home. So I don't think there's any danger of them simply walking out this week and leaving an abandoned schurch.

Althoughwe have heard nothing yet, I would imagine that the Abbey and the nearby church of St Benedict will come under the jurisdiction of the Clifton diocese. I don't think that the organ will be in any immediate danger so long as the abey doesn't lose its congregation when the monks leave.

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3 hours ago, Choir Man said:

The announcement doesn't say anything about timing and the monks still have to find a new home. So I don't think there's any danger of them simply walking out this week and leaving an abandoned schurch.

Actually, the announcement refers to the importance of taking some time to find a new place and formulate a plan for the move.  It specifically mentions undertaking local consultation “whilst securing the future care of Downside’s Abbey Church, Library and Archives”.  

Clearly there is no risk of the Abbey Church being left abandoned.  The likelihood, surely, is that the organ will remain. It’s now a case of “watch this space”.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Tony Newnham said:

The missing derivations on NPOR are because no-one has told us what they are!!!

 

 

 

Yes, of course.  No criticism intended!

I suppose I could have a guess as to what the 38 ranks might be, but I suppose the only people who might know for certain are the builders.  Now defunct, of course.
It would be interesting to have a root around in there, though, to try to work it out.

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4 hours ago, John Robinson said:

Yes, of course.  No criticism intended!

I suppose I could have a guess as to what the 38 ranks might be, but I suppose the only people who might know for certain are the builders.  Now defunct, of course.
It would be interesting to have a root around in there, though, to try to work it out.

From memory I think it may have been Trevor Tipple from Worcester, who took care of the Downside Compton?? Trevor now retired of course but he may well know the extended ranks of pipes there. He was awarded  MBE for his services to Organ Building I believe.

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4 hours ago, Cantoris said:

From memory I think it may have been Trevor Tipple from Worcester, who took care of the Downside Compton?? Trevor now retired of course but he may well know the extended ranks of pipes there. He was awarded  MBE for his services to Organ Building I believe.

It was Roger Taylor, ex R&D local rep who looked after it until he retired. With Julian Mcnamara as DoM I don't foresee any worries about the instrument.

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1 hour ago, ajsphead said:

It was Roger Taylor, ex R&D local rep who looked after it until he retired. With Julian Mcnamara as DoM I don't foresee any worries about the instrument.

Thanks for the correction and update ajsphead.

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10 hours ago, John Robinson said:

I suppose I could have a guess as to what the 38 ranks might be, but I suppose the only people who might know for certain are the builders.  Now defunct, of course.
It would be interesting to have a root around in there, though, to try to work it out.

To my knowledge, Compton’s published a booklet about the Downside organ - but I don’t possess a copy!  I guess it ought to be possible to track it down somewhere.  MM is, of course, the expert on Compton’s, and may be able to throw some light on this.

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This isn't mine and isn't in full by any means - but it may help to work out where things have come from:

 

This organ was build in 1931 by John Compton with 35 ranks, retaining pipes from 11 ancient stops.

At the console this is a big organ with 4 manuals and a floating Bombarde division:

Actually, the organ is entirely enclosed in three Swell boxes, while the true specification is as follows:

Chamber A: Great, Choir and their Pedal basses

Posaune
Tromba
Diapason I
Diapason II
Diapason III
Diapason IV
Salicional
Hohl flute
Flauto traverso
Clarinet
Tierce
Gedeckt
Dulciana
Vox angelica
Celeste
Gemshorn
Diaphone

Chamber B Swell, Solo and their Pedal basses

Trumpet
Hautboy
Horn
Gamba
Geigen
Strings (two ranks)
Violone
Diapason
Stopped Diapason
(Harmonic) flute
Harmonics 4 ranks
(Orchestral) Oboe
Great Flute

Chamber C

Tuba

With this relatively modest, but carefully tought specification, widely duplexed and extended, Compton gave us a splendid organ, which says a lot about the man's
abilities.

Quite surprising is the way the Mixtures are obtained:

-The Great Plein jeu is extended from the four Diapasons and the Gemshorn

-The Great Cymbale from the Salicional and the Gemshorn

-The Swell Cymbale from Gamba, Geigen and Violone

-The Choir Acuta from the Dulciana

-The Choir Petite Cymbale from Diapason III, Salicional and Gemshorn

-The Solo Kalophone from Gamba and Harmonics 4 ranks !

-And the Baryphone from Violone, Harmonic Flute and Harmonics 4 ranks.

The independent mutation ranks are of course extended from foundation ranks as well.
Many people could believe such mutation ranks obtained from tempered foundation stops won't work, being off-tune.
But we must take the place of such stops in such a design into account: the Mixtures are there to add sparkle, not to build true choruses, while the Mutation stops are
ever soft, intended for synthetic registrations.

Accessories

Detached electric console
Double-touch luminous disc stops
Solid state memory to all pistons (this is a later addition)
8 pistons each to Choir, Great, Swell and Solo
8 pistons to Bombarde, 10 to Pedal
8 general pistons
General crescendo Pedal (acting upon) Great and Pedal
Usual couplers including Great to Choir, Bombarde to Great on second touch and
Solo to Choir on second touch.
Sustainers to Choir and Solo
Six Tremulants to different ranks
Wind pressures from 6" to 20"

 

 

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