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  In truth, our own concert hall instruments haven't been much more successful (St David's Hall for example).  Right now, it seems to me that the steady march of often very large Walker and Mander instruments (among others) across the globe - and the near universal acclaim with which they are being received - is enough for other nations to start questioning how level their own playing fields are (how many organs have we got from the USA??? Hexham, and...?), and if that happened any time soon it would be VERY serious indeed for the future of our firms.

 

I think I basically agree with most of this , though we do have quite a lot of Wurlitzer Theatre Organs from the USA !! But then perhaps only myself, Frank Fowler, and a few others would think of including them!

 

Personally I doubt whether there has been a successful concert organ created in this country since the Colston Hall in Bristol, not counting restorations/relocations of already existing instruments. There are at least two reasons which account for this: (1) the cost of a brand new concert organ is such that very few venues have included them (the Waterfront Hall in Belfast for instance has a location for an organ designed into the structure but no instrument) : such installations as have taken place have been in the nature of rehousing arrangements (eg the ex-Odeon, Manchester Wurlitzer to Stockport Town Hall via the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. (2) A concert hall instrument intended for solo use needs in my view to be slanted towards the romantic end of the spectrum and until relatively recently

no one who wished to achieve or retain academic musical credibility would have dared to design such an instrument outside the privacy of their own home. Now that the anti-romantic pendulum has reached the limit of its swing and indeed made some considerable progress in the reverse direction it would indeed be possible to contemplate a design which included voices, such as an adequate amount of string tone and commanding solo reeds, that are not required for the performance of Bach or Hindemith even ! Of course, the small matter of money, often not even available to preserve existing instruments of merit such as Newcastle Town Hall, means that the prospects of any sizeable concert instrument (70+ stops) being commissioned for this country in the near future would appear to start at slim and not to move in a positive direction.

 

Brian Childs

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It does seem to me that a lot of the discussion above - that which is not purely xenophobic - rests on the presumption that "foreign" builders still build instruments with lots of fractional length reeds and breaking glass mixtures. This is simply not so. Kuhn's organs have in the last years become so romantic that they'd have had William Hill running for cover; I find most of them too loud, but that is a personal opinion. Their engineering is impossible to beat, and they have a team of superb restorers - even though I once again find that they tend to leave organs better than they ever were. Whether that is a good thing or not is an open question.

 

It does seem a little odd to have a Swiss builder building an instrument with a stop list in the English language - and some of his stops may not sound very much like what an English organist might expect - a Dolce will certainly sound quite different from a Salicional, for example. On the other hand, the organ is to stand in England. Quite a lot of players might like to have the stop names in their own language.

 

Cheers

Barry

 

PS the idea of Kuhn ever undercutting anybody at all is quite funny.

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I agree with what Mr Jordan says. We have many organ-builders in Europe

who wait for the opportunity to build something different!

An organ should speak its own language, even on its stop-knobs.

Who would dare write "Montre" on a knob driving the slide of

an Open Diapason?

Absolutely shocking, isn't it?

He that wants to play Bach should know what a Gedackt is.

He " " " Franck " " " Hautbois "

He " " " Howells " " " Vox angelica "

 

(May be continued somewhat)

Pierre

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Kuhn's organs have in the last years become so romantic that they'd have had William Hill running for cover ...

 

Not necessarily the best choice, Barry - William Hill throughout his working life maintained excellent chorus-structures in his instruments; those of a fair size often had two quint mixtures to the GO (the tierce rank in the 17-19-22 mixtures almost always dropped out at the first break). Apart from a Cone Gamba and a wide choice of flutes (including claribels, flauti traversi, wald flutes, gedeckts and suabe flutes) his instruments are not overly Romantic, in the sense of a 1920s HN&B, or an Arthur Harrison.

 

 

It does seem a little odd to have a Swiss builder building an instrument with a stop list in the English language - and some of his stops may not sound very much like what an English organist might expect - a Dolce will certainly sound quite different from a Salicional, for example ...

 

Well maybe, but on this particular organ I would still prefer to have a 16p Corno di Bassetto. The Dolce cannot sound that different to a Salicional - or, if it does, there may be a convincing argument for calling it something else, in order to avoid confusion.

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"his instruments are not overly Romantic, in the sense of a 1920s HN&B, or an Arthur Harrison."

(Quote, about Hill)

 

If you look at contemporary Walcker organs, you'll feel the same. These were very early romantic organs, actually the two very first romantic builders. Arthur Harrison, that is nearly one century later!

 

Pierre

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Not necessarily the best choice, Barry - William Hill throughout his working life maintained excellent chorus-structures in his instruments; those of a fair size often had two quint mixtures to the GO (the tierce rank in the 17-19-22 mixtures almost always dropped out at the first break). Apart from a Cone Gamba and a wide choice of flutes (including claribels, flauti traversi, wald flutes, gedeckts and suabe flutes) his instruments are not overly Romantic, in the sense of a 1920s HN&B, or an Arthur Harrison.

 

That's why I chose Hill, actually, meaning that he wouldn't have approved at all!

 

B

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