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Quite interesting nerdy stuff from St Paul's Cathedral


Martin Cooke
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I didn't see a link there, but went hunting and found this page on St Pauls' website which links to some documents. I do love the nerdy stuff, specially the cathedral plans! Items 61-64 on page 20 of the appendices are interesting - seems to suggest the organ is permanently but minimally miked. Is that for their own use or the BBC/broadcast I wonder? 

Good that it's in H&H's capable hands, too.

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6 hours ago, peterdoughty said:

Items 61-64 on page 20 of the appendices are interesting - seems to suggest the organ is permanently but minimally miked. Is that for their own use or the BBC/broadcast I wonder?

From the introductory comments concerning the purpose of phase 2 of the works, the convenient live-streaming of recitals seems to be at least part of the anticipated use.

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6 hours ago, peterdoughty said:

I didn't see a link there, but went hunting and found this page on St Pauls' website which links to some documents. I do love the nerdy stuff, specially the cathedral plans! Items 61-64 on page 20 of the appendices are interesting - seems to suggest the organ is permanently but minimally miked. Is that for their own use or the BBC/broadcast I wonder? 

Good that it's in H&H's capable hands, too.

Thanks for following through with this, Peter, and providing the link where I failed.

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Hi

Back in the 1970's a good friend was consultant on installing a new sound reinforcement system in the Cathedral (I think they've had 2 more since then).  At that stage, but not part of the SR system, there were microphones rigged in the chancel both for routine recording of the choir, and IIRC to allow the organist to hear via headphones if needed.  I don't know if there were permanent mics on any part of the organ.

The BBC had a separate system, and again I don't know if any of their microphones were permanently installed, but it wouldn't surprise me if they had a general coverage of overheads rigged.  AT that time they had a permanent control room in the Cathedral.  There were wired in links between the BBC system & the Cathedral SR system as backups in the case of problems during live broadcasts.

My friend had the job of running the live sound in the Cathedral for the Prince Charles/Diana Spencer wedding.  Every Blessing

Tony

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20 hours ago, peterdoughty said:

I didn't see a link there, but went hunting and found this page on St Pauls' website which links to some documents. I do love the nerdy stuff, specially the cathedral plans! Items 61-64 on page 20 of the appendices are interesting - seems to suggest the organ is permanently but minimally miked. Is that for their own use or the BBC/broadcast I wonder? 

Good that it's in H&H's capable hands, too.

I found this info quite interesting especially since we have recently returned from a very pleasant visit to London .  Having a few spare moments  ( better half out doing important things ) I had the opportunity of perusing this " schedule of proposed work ."

Have to say that it fulfils every aspect of the consultant's art in cake icing and window dressing.

Needless to say there is no breakdown of costs; who would be interested anyway?  completely minor omission.

Well worth looking at the Caroe website and casting one,s eyes quickly over the cut and paste brag sheets!

Finally I am somewhat intrigued at the spelling of " verger " as  " virgir ".   I have looked up this spelling in my two volume  " Compact Oxford Dictionary" and can find no such spelling; maybe it is a " Wrenism ". Hopefully some expert will be able to fully inform me on this important point.

Finally I would feel sorry for any organ firm who has to come in and make good the damage caused after the builders; remember the old adage, " no mess - no job ".

 

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I haven’t checked whether ‘virgir’ is St Paul’s misspelling or yours!  But the vergers at St Pauls are definitely virgers, spelling confirmed on St Paul’s website (and Collins Dictionary).  Also the same at Winchester Cathedral and doubtless others of older and more traditional ways.  The Church of England Guild of Vergers call their quarterly journal ‘The Virger’, all of which, for me at least, reinforces what a wonderful country this is!

I was pleased to see that Whitwam’s of Winchester are the suppliers of the sophisticated new equipment.  In their earlier incarnation they had the most wonderful music store in Winchester where I bought many an organ CD (and others) and admired the display of instruments from grand pianos to triangles, and some early ‘electronic’ organs and keyboards.  Upstairs was the music department with everything you could possibly wish for.  Sadly it is no more.  The firm was founded by Mr Whitwam, a lay clerk of Winchester Cathedral, more than 100 years ago.  In earlier times, concerts (they must have been for small audiences) sometimes took place on the premises, then called ‘salon’.  One such where the details have come down to us was a piano recital by J A Sowerbutts of RCO fame.

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3 hours ago, Adnosad said:

Finally I would feel sorry for any organ firm who has to come in and make good the damage caused after the builders; remember the old adage, " no mess - no job ".

Sorry to seem to be monopolising comment today, and for mentioning Winchester again, but this was a classic example.  The Cathedral organ underwent a substantial rebuild and enlargement by H&H in 1986-88.  Almost immediately afterwards it was cocooned in enormous plastic sheeting, while major work was done on the structure of the tower above.  When that was completed and the plastic sheeting came off, Mark Venning inspected and found “the equivalent of ten years’ dust”, I think were his exact words, or very similar.

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Thank you Martin for posting this.  It may be 'interesting nerdy stuff' but could not have come at a better time - I yesterday agreed with our Parish Priest that we will now instal an A/V setup! This is all hugely helpful to our planning.

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5 hours ago, Keitha said:

Thank you Martin for posting this.  It may be 'interesting nerdy stuff' but could not have come at a better time - I yesterday agreed with our Parish Priest that we will now instal an A/V setup! This is all hugely helpful to our planning.

That's kind of you, Keitha. Yes, I have always wondered how you go about an installation like this and at least I now know one company that does it all.,

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20 hours ago, Adnosad said:

Finally I would feel sorry for any organ firm who has to come in and make good the damage caused after the builders; remember the old adage, " no mess - no job ".

Most of the work will be well away from the organ and its consoles. However in the appendices it makes it quite clear that works in these areas will be done by "organ specialist's electricians." (presumably H&H). I don't think the organist team at St Paul's will have too much to worry about...

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19 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

Sorry to seem to be monopolising comment today, and for mentioning Winchester again, but this was a classic example.  The Cathedral organ underwent a substantial rebuild and enlargement by H&H in 1986-88.  Almost immediately afterwards it was cocooned in enormous plastic sheeting, while major work was done on the structure of the tower above.  When that was completed and the plastic sheeting came off, Mark Venning inspected and found “the equivalent of ten years’ dust”, I think were his exact words, or very similar.

Morning!

I will take over the monopolising, for now!

Yes, you are quite correct with regard to my query re` " Virger "; it is one of those words which one has to clearly think about before committing to paper.   The spelling IS incorrect on page 4 of the " Schedule of Work " , as is their spelling of " signaling " .  I know I am being pedantic here.

Re` " dust and detritus "  -  we shall no doubt eventually find out.   A similar situation is about to occur in St. Georges Hall where, despite millions being " spent" on major repairs to the fabric several years ago , the hall is now closed for " maintenance work to the ceiling and lighting " .

I am currently awaiting for a reply from David Wells as to what adverse effect this is likely to have upon the organ since there is bound to be a significant ingress of crap into The Dear Old Queen . Better get the cheque book out!

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All day I've been trying to think which madrigal has the words "shall I a virgin die?, hi, hi, hi, hi nonny no". It was in G major when I performed it. I can't place it though.

Just to push the dialogue completely off topic, this virger discussion reminded me, with a chuckle, of a student choir I was in which used to do a cheap tour of Britain for three weeks every summer, performing in churches, schools and church halls. Performing almost the same repertoire almost every day for three weeks created a need for imagination in the ranks and one game was slight word variation. Whenever we were welcomed (or otherwise) in a place with an officious virger type, the line became "shall I a virger die?" - to much merriment in the choir and probably poor enough diction to make it look like the choir was simply enjoying performing.

Can anyone name that madrigal?

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