Michael Cox Posted October 12, 2004 Share Posted October 12, 2004 I wonder what discussion board participants feel about the state of organ preservation in the United Kingdom at the present time? I have recently received the August 2004 issue of Organists Review and several items concern me. While we read of a redundant Willis III organ receiving new life and love at Sutton Coldfield and the wonderful 1861 Walker organ in Tansor near Oundle (an instrument I have personally happily experienced) receiving an historic restoration by Bower and Company, I note other instruments receiving far lesser sympathetic treatment. Take an advert of Principal Pipe Organs of York for instance. At St Olave's Church in York they have succeeded in adding high upperwork quite of out 1907 period character to the J.W. Walker organ as well as Choir mutations and an unenclosed diapason chorus. The justification it seems is to "develop and expand the instruments tonal choruses" and blend in "additional colours to match the musical needs". Whose musical needs one may ask- the organists, the Vestry, the church community? Such statements speak of a dated reform philosophy that seeks to justify stylistic difference upon an integral entity. Was this not an organ that several years ago Nicholas Kynaston justified as having a mechanical overhaul without tonal change? The other situation of concern was an advertisement for a project for Ashton Town Hall in Lancashire. Here it is deemed fitting to suggest elaborate digital control systems upon a 1909 4 manual Norman & Beard Concert Organ. Can someone please advocate an audacious return to period registrational control with exhaust-pnuematic playing technology, brass thumb pistons and pedal toe levers? An excellent role model (1906 Norman & Beard 4 man & ped. exhaust pnuematic) can be found here in New Zealand at Wellington Town Hall where our own South Island Organ Company undertook an historical restoration in 1986. Despite some suggestions to the contrary the original 5 thumb pistons to Great, Swell & Choir and toe lever registration system were left intact. Seasoned and highly professional concert organists such as Carlo Curley, Hayko Siemens, Christopher Herrick and Robert Costin have recorded or played there (plus many, many others) and have never uttered a word of complaint about the lack of registrational control, and this is a 57 stop 4 manual organ. Have we gone too far in the disease of consoleitis, playing systems and over registration? Do we really care about preserving or even recreating a number of period instruments and teaching future generations the way of playing them for which they were built? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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