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Huw Edwards - Times Article


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The full article is behind a pay wall but appears to be about a freely available article he wrote recently for another publication,  the National Churches' Trust annual report. Link here.

 

what organ is he photographed sitting at the console of? The legend says Holy Tribity Clapham but that is a 3 manual, this is a large 4 decker.

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2 hours ago, Contrabombarde said:

what organ is he photographed sitting at the console of? The legend says Holy Tribity Clapham but that is a 3 manual, this is a large 4 decker.

I’d say it’s the RAH organ

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4 hours ago, mrbouffant said:

With copies of New English Hymnal?

I believe Contrabombarde was asking about the photo of the 4 manual console at the end of the article in the National Churches’ Trust Annual Review, which obviously isn’t Holy Trinity Clapham. I don’t know about the organ pictured in The Times, though.

EDIT: I was just watching the latest BiS video, where Richard McVeigh said that The Times photo was taken in York. Comparing that photo with this  one …

1267232.jpg?display=1&htype=100000&type=

… that actually appears to be the case. (Unfortunately, there are almost no photos of the old screen console from York on the internet.)

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Much confusion here, it would seem.  Surely the console with NEH in ‘The Times’ article is the Quire console at York Minster (relying on the expertise of others above) whereas the console illustrated in the NCT Annual Report article is clearly the RAH with its signature oval mirror and adjacent case decoration.  I have often wondered whether the mirror is an original survivor from the Father Willis era.  Possibly old photographs pre-H&H might tell us.

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The article by Huw Edwards highlights an important issue, but Martin Renshaw's suggestion that having an organ listed along with the building will protect the organ is demonstrably not true. In the last 10 years in Cornwall alone, it is hard to find any organ that has survived once a listed building has closed. The listing more often than not means that the organ must stay in the building. It is almost impossible to find a viable future for the building with an organ in situ and so it remains closed and unheated. With no income for maintenance, inevitably the organ is damaged beyond repair by a combination of leaking roofs, vandals and metal thieves.

It is clear from this sorry state of affairs that if a new home for the organ in a closed church has been offered then it should be allowed to leave the building. In this way both building and organ may find new viable futures without losing their history.

Historic England might claim success for the large Methodist Church which was purchased by a well know chain of restaurants, as the architect was able to incorporate the organ in the final scheme to the satisfaction of Historic England's conservation officers. But in fact the only structure that was retained from the original Sweetland Organ of 1886 was the console in a corner and the facade pipes used as a backdrop to the bar. All the organ's interior was destroyed.

https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N02386

I have written a letter to the Times to request an urgent reassessment of Historic England's policy towards organs.

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7 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

I have often wondered whether the mirror is an original survivor from the Father Willis era.  Possibly old photographs pre-H&H might tell us.

If this drawing is accurate, it's probably not.

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What about the sentiments expressed in Huw Edwards' article? I don't think it is necessarily desirable to preserve every pipe organ just because it's a pipe organ, but... what I DO feel is needed (in the C of E, at any rate) is a mechanism like a quinquennial inspection whereby all church organs are inspected every five years so that churches can have repairs and faults corrected and organs properly maintained. With many organs not being regularly played by a competent organist or maintained by a proper organ builder, there is no means by which PCCs can be kept informed of the state of their organs. And, let's face it, the organ is probably the least understood (by the layman) piece of apparatus in a church, but is yet probably the most valuable. This quinquennial idea would help, too, to separate out those instruments that are genuinely good organs, suitable for their location and purpose, and entirely worth preserving, and others that are not of this quality. I believe at least some PCCs would be proud to know that they have an organ built by a well-respected builder, or that their instrument is a fine example of the work of X & X or Y & Z, and that it would help them to see the importance of looking after it. Equally, I think some churches need to be helped to see that silk purses cannot always be obtained from a sow's ear, and that some pipe organs are not worth spending more money on. There are too many instances where poorish pipe organs are inadequate to support the earnest work of a goodish organist who wants to be able to play a reasonable range of repertoire, or they are badly sited in awkward corners of churches so that they are not close enough to the congregation to be effective. In the case of a fine, historic organ being awkwardly placed, perhaps the church could be encouraged to boost its musical resources by having a supplementary digital organ and whatever music is to be performed is shared, as appropriate between the two instruments. The concept of having two organs in different locations in a church, after all, is not a new one, and there are already instances of where quite modern pipe organs are having to be supported by the use of digital instruments. I'm thinking of St Mary's Nottingham and Clifton Cathedral but I am sure there are more. Could there be more scope for a happy coexistences like these where a supplementary digital organ would actually enhance the status and usability (for want of a better way of putting it) of the resident pipe organ? ("Evensong tonight in the chancel with our lovely Willis organ." "At Eucharist next Sunday Dr Snodgrass will be playing some Bach on the Marcussen and some Rheinberger on the Viscount." And... obviously... many more ideas more creative than these.) And... thinking aloud... might this sort of thing not help to create more interest generally so that the musical life of a church begins to blossom more and more with success breeding success... and then there will be more funding available to look after the historic pipe organ. 

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On 05/08/2021 at 07:26, Martin Cooke said:

What about the sentiments expressed in Huw Edwards' article? I don't think it is necessarily desirable to preserve every pipe organ just because it's a pipe organ, but... what I DO feel is needed (in the C of E, at any rate) is a mechanism like a quinquennial inspection whereby all church organs are inspected every five years so that churches can have repairs and faults corrected and organs properly maintained. With many organs not being regularly played by a competent organist or maintained by a proper organ builder, there is no means by which PCCs can be kept informed of the state of their organs. And, let's face it, the organ is probably the least understood (by the layman) piece of apparatus in a church, but is yet probably the most valuable. This quinquennial idea would help, too, to separate out those instruments that are genuinely good organs, suitable for their location and purpose, and entirely worth preserving, and others that are not of this quality. I believe at least some PCCs would be proud to know that they have an organ built by a well-respected builder, or that their instrument is a fine example of the work of X & X or Y & Z, and that it would help them to see the importance of looking after it. Equally, I think some churches need to be helped to see that silk purses cannot always be obtained from a sow's ear, and that some pipe organs are not worth spending more money on. There are too many instances where poorish pipe organs are inadequate to support the earnest work of a goodish organist who wants to be able to play a reasonable range of repertoire, or they are badly sited in awkward corners of churches so that they are not close enough to the congregation to be effective. In the case of a fine, historic organ being awkwardly placed, perhaps the church could be encouraged to boost its musical resources by having a supplementary digital organ and whatever music is to be performed is shared, as appropriate between the two instruments. The concept of having two organs in different locations in a church, after all, is not a new one, and there are already instances of where quite modern pipe organs are having to be supported by the use of digital instruments. I'm thinking of St Mary's Nottingham and Clifton Cathedral but I am sure there are more. Could there be more scope for a happy coexistences like these where a supplementary digital organ would actually enhance the status and usability (for want of a better way of putting it) of the resident pipe organ? ("Evensong tonight in the chancel with our lovely Willis organ." "At Eucharist next Sunday Dr Snodgrass will be playing some Bach on the Marcussen and some Rheinberger on the Viscount." And... obviously... many more ideas more creative than these.) And... thinking aloud... might this sort of thing not help to create more interest generally so that the musical life of a church begins to blossom more and more with success breeding success... and then there will be more funding available to look after the historic pipe organ. 

Agree completely. The article ,penned by a person for whom I hold in high regard but in this instance I was nearly crying into my coffee with the  overflowing sentiments expressed.  I think my comments which I have just posted on the Albert Hall thread can apply here without the necessity to reiterate.

You sir are a brave man on here daring to mention  the " D " word.   I had the impudence to mention this word in one of my early postings on this site and I think the fatwah is still in place!

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