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First We Had 'arty', Now 'big Ma'am'!


Guest Lee Blick

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Guest Lee Blick

Yes, another awful video on an otherwise respectable site, complete with no shoes and no socks! To give her credit, it was included at the very end of the pageand does mention she comes to a sticky end (not that sort, gentleman).

 

There is an mp3 of this woman playing Nun Danket by Karg-Elert which has a few pedal bum notes.

 

Please enjoy "Big Ma'am"! :D

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Lee's link is just a gif graphic.

 

What you need is this: http://www.sheilajoynes.com/listen.html

 

The Widor is the last link at the bottom of the page - and clearly not meant to be taken seriously.

 

Despite the odd fluff, the Nun danket really is not at all bad. I've heard many performances far worse, I can tell you. Hell, I've probably been responsible for one or two of them myself! But I suppose you're asking for trouble if you put a less than perfect performance up on the web.

 

From the rest of the website, I would guess that the organ is nowhere near her main speciality. She is clearly more of a pianist than an organist - and it shows in the Widor (and in Mozart's Ave verum).

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

To answer the question about what is going on organ-wise at Pershore Abbey:

 

Sorry to be repeating myself - the Pershore case is one of my 'betes noir'.

I'll be brief because I have posted this information before.

 

A perfectly rebuildable and respectable three manual J.W.Walker was slung out and a Bradford Computing organ was put in in its place. My moan is particularly because the adviser was none other than the organ world's greatest pontificator, John Norman* who (so far as I know) took a fee for designing the 'French Specifcation' electronic. The plan was originally to have an organ-subsitute in the nave and a decent two-manual tracker job on the (blank) west wall, but don't hold your breath! The plan is now some ten years or so old and there is no sign of the proper organ!

 

 

* Remember the much publicised slinging out of Peter Collins from the Builders Federation for working with Allens? This was far, far worse IMHO.

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I conduct a choral society that uses Pershore Abbey for most of its orchestral concerts, so I do get to hear most of whats going on.

 

Over the last 10-15 years the abbey has goot through directors of music at quite a rate. They have a fairly new, young and enthusiastic director of music at present who is working to revitalise the abbey's music and he is certainly talking in terms of the Bradford organ being replaced in the not too distant future.

 

As I understand it, the plan involves having two pipe towers each side of the west window (the wall is not entirely blank), it would be very difficult to see how this could work on trackers, but in any case the plan is for these to be part of a hybrid organ with the digitals being provided by Allen.

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I believe the Pershore plans have been temporarily shelved because another church in the benefice has an urgent fundraising requirement (probably a roof, but I'm not sure).

 

I'd be very interested to hear how any church justifies a proprietary digital organ purchase in 2006 against the capabilities of Hauptwerk. That's not to say it's completely impractical, but I'd like to hear the arguments.

 

Richard

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I believe the Pershore plans have been temporarily shelved because another church in the benefice has an urgent fundraising requirement (probably a roof, but I'm not sure).

 

I'd be very interested to hear how any church justifies a proprietary digital organ purchase in 2006 against the capabilities of Hauptwerk. That's not to say it's completely impractical, but I'd like to hear the arguments.

 

Richard

 

Pardon my ignorance, but isn't Hauptwerk just a computer program? It surely relies on having a MIDI keyboard hooked up to a computer, hooked up to amplification?

 

Doesn't that mean that to be a working liturgical instrument, as well as providing a solo instrument for recital work, you need, say, 3 full length MIDI keyboards, a MIDI pedal board, some sort of stand/casing to arrange the keyboards, some sort of Swell device, and a computer, decent amplification, and speakers?

 

How does the player control stops, etc, on the fly?

 

I can't see how that could replace having a "proper" console, whether a toaster or windbag.

 

Please do enlighten me!

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Pardon my ignorance, but isn't Hauptwerk just a computer program? It surely relies on having a MIDI keyboard hooked up to a computer, hooked up to amplification?

 

 

How does the player control stops, etc, on the fly?

 

I can't see how that could replace having a "proper" console, whether a toaster or windbag.

 

Please do enlighten me!

 

Ah - answered my own stupidity. You can buy pre-built consoles designed to plug into Hauptwerk.

 

Still, as a computer engineer by trade, I have to advise anyone that is seriously considering running their organ on *Windows* that they need their head examined. Adding a generic computer to an organ is just asking for trouble, especially one that runs Windows. I can just imagine getting halfway through the Sanctus, then getting prompted to hit OK or Cancel, accompanied by a gentle ding bellowing round the church :)

 

I'd like to hear a Hauptwerk organ for real though.

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Still, as a computer engineer by trade, I have to advise anyone that is seriously considering running their organ on *Windows* that they need their head examined. Adding a generic computer to an organ is just asking for trouble, especially one that runs Windows.

As a computer engineer by trade (like me) you must surely know that a correctly built dedicated Windows machine is as stable as any other platform. I can play Hauptwerk day in, day out, with no trouble at all - and that's on a non-dedicated machine.

 

Paul

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Guest Lee Blick
Still, as a computer engineer by trade, I have to advise anyone that is seriously considering running their organ on *Windows* that they need their head examined. Adding a generic computer to an organ is just asking for trouble, especially one that runs Windows. I can just imagine getting halfway through the Sanctus, then getting prompted to hit OK or Cancel, accompanied by a gentle ding bellowing round the church 

 

That is not my experience of using it. As long as you have sufficient memory (believe me it takes up a lot) the flexibility of the programme allows a wide range of stop sets. Hauptwerk is a good programme and many people up and down the country get a lot of enjoyment using it.

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I'm not a computer engineer by trade (though I am a Mac user, which doesn't exactly make me predisposed towards Windows!) but a magazine journalist. My first full-time job was on a title called Keyboard Review, around 1995.

 

In the ten years since, Keyboard Review has closed down, and so has much of the synthesiser industry it wrote about. This is because pretty much everyone now uses computers (whether Windows or Mac) as "virtual synths" or as samplers. The huge processing power of today's computers mean that custom circuitry just can't be as economic.

 

Exactly the same principles apply to the organ, I think. Given a bit of volunteer time and effort, you could feasibly assemble a fully capable two-manual Hauptwerk organ for £3,000, maybe even £2,000. If you've got parts you can reuse (such as an older MIDI-capable digital organ), it'd be cheaper still. For a PCC struggling to make ends meet, that's a big saving over a custom digital organ.

 

It'll be a couple of years before it really takes hold, but I'm sure the digital organ market will go the same way as the synthesiser market. The churches which really care about their music (and can afford to do so) will still have a real pipe organ; those with more restricted budgets will go for Hauptwerk or equivalent.

 

As for Windows crashing... sure, it does, but so does our church's 1989 Makin digital. And it's a whole load easier to find an engineer who knows about Windows than one who knows about an organ of which only nine were ever made!

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The churches which really care about their music (and can afford to do so) will still have a real pipe organ; those with more restricted budgets will go for Hauptwerk or equivalent.

 

You hit the nail right on the head by saying “and can afford to do so”. Sadly I feel that many of the congregation who care about church music have their hands tied by the bean counters.

 

Many from the congregation see church choirs, organs and their music, as elitist and inaccessible to the masses. When it comes to supporting the music, they just aren’t interested.

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Many from the congregation see church choirs, organs and their music, as elitist and inaccessible to the masses.
Unfortunately that's true. I'm sure it would help if the clergy taught the masses to respect it as a valuable medium for communion with the Almighty. In practice that job might be up to the organist/DoM, but you need the right attitude at the top. The thing is, it's something you have to put some effort into in order to get the rewards and masses today aren't much interested in things that require effort on their part. Not with music, anyway.
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Guest Lee Blick

I don't know, but the masses were out in force at this organ gala concert. I think if you make an effort to make something attractive to people that is accessible then at least it is a stepping stone to other things. The problem with churches, they expect people to come piling through their front doors, without any effort on their part to go out to the people.

 

At least with something like the RAH, they have put together a programme that might attract a lot of people who may only have a passing interest in the instrument, with a big chorus and symphony orchestra and a conductor with the ability to communicate and make the audience laugh.

 

Those sort of ingredients may not go down well with purists and those in their high organ-lofts, but it is the start of a process, to draw people in and if it has given some of my organ students some inspiration then that cannot be a bad thing.

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As a computer engineer by trade (like me) you must surely know that a correctly built dedicated Windows machine is as stable as any other platform.  I can play Hauptwerk day in, day out, with no trouble at all - and that's on a non-dedicated machine.

 

Paul

 

To get a properly stable machine, i.e. one that can run for 10 years without having to be touched, requires a fairly substantial investment in hardware. Yes, modern digital organs rely on computers too, but they're embedded systems, which are very reliable. OK, you could spend the money and get decent hardware (hell, come buy some Sun kit, we need the money)...

 

As you say, a correctly built machine can be stable for a period of time (provided it's shut down correctly, etc, etc), and you yourself can play Hauptwerk to your heart's content - but, and here's my main argument against basing anything on Windows, or any other non-dedicated system, you know what you're doing.

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I'm not a computer engineer by trade (though I am a Mac user, which doesn't exactly make me predisposed towards Windows!) but a magazine journalist. My first full-time job was on a title called Keyboard Review, around 1995.

 

It'll be a couple of years before it really takes hold, but I'm sure the digital organ market will go the same way as the synthesiser market. The churches which really care about their music (and can afford to do so) will still have a real pipe organ; those with more restricted budgets will go for Hauptwerk or equivalent.

 

I'm a Mac man too... (Although I'm a UNIX kernel engineer by trade!) I would dearly like to see Hauptwerk on the Mac - I can't imagine it would perform too well under Virtual PC.

 

I can see the arguments for Hauptwerk, etc, but there is a fundamental difference between the synth/keyb market and your average village organist. Synth/Keyb folks tend to be geeks, so they're quite happy fiddling around with computers, bits of wire, MIDI interfaces, channels, etc. Village organists tend not to be. I know a fair few around here who having difficulty just coping with having more than one stop per manual, let alone couplers ...

 

Yes, lots of us on here probably are computer-savvy, but then, we're posting to an Internet discussion forum, so we do all at least know how to use this Interweb-thingy.

 

I wasn't trying to start a flame war, I just wanted to understand how Hauptwerk can be used in a church instrument.

 

Can any of the Hauptwerk experts tell me how it plugs into one of the custom MIDI consoles, particularly around startup/shutdown? Is the expectation that the PC is kept running and ready for action, or is there an on/off switch linked to the power management on the PC, etc?

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OK, you could spend the money and get decent hardware (hell, come buy some Sun kit, we need the money)...

 

Is that the same Sun that supplies large numbers of computers to the US & UK Navy?

 

Just think, with a pc based organ, you could surf the net during the sermon. :)

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Can any of the Hauptwerk experts tell me how it plugs into one of the custom MIDI consoles, particularly around startup/shutdown? Is the expectation that the PC is kept running and ready for action, or is there an on/off switch linked to the power management on the PC, etc?

I don't really know, except that a lot of this sort of thing has been thought about by the writer, Martin Dyde. If you ask in the Haupwerk forum here you will get answers from Martin and from people who have installed it in churches.

 

Paul

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To get a properly stable machine, i.e. one that can run for 10 years without having to be touched, requires a fairly substantial investment in hardware.

 

We run our system on Sun PCs. Much of the reliability comes from removing all programs (games, word processor etc) other than our own dedicated software. The system runs 24/7 for at least 300 days a year with near (99.99%) reliability. :D

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We run our system on Sun PCs.  Much of the reliability comes from removing all programs (games, word processor etc) other than our own dedicated software.  The system runs 24/7 for at least 300 days a year with near (99.99%) reliability.  :P

 

Sun PC's? You can't have had them long! And you put Windows on them? ! Sacriledge! :D

 

Sun machines are designed to run Solaris, i.e. a UNIX operating system, and we're more in the market of constant uptime measured in years.

 

Anyway, apologies for turning this thread into a computer discussion.

 

Time for a new thread on Hauptwerk, me thinks. I have a Viscount organ with midi interface sat at home, and I'm sure I can find enough of a PC to run Hauptwerk on it.... The online samples certainly sound impressive, so I'm going to give it a try. (Perhaps I could sample my HWIII beast?)

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Is that the same Sun that supplies large numbers of computers to the US & UK Navy?

 

Just think, with a pc based organ, you could surf the net during the sermon.  :P

 

Apologies to Rev Tony, but I have been known to deal with my e-mail during the sermon. Usually mailing the vicar to remind him about bits and pieces that I've suddenly remembered during the service!

 

And yes, the same Sun. But enough about the day job - it's all boring computer stuff :D

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