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Haunted Organs?


Guest Roffensis
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Guest Roffensis

Does anyone preside at a haunted organ? I wondered if it might be possible to get a certain programme to do a feature in their highly respected series "Most Haunted".

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Guest delvin146
Does anyone preside at a haunted organ? I wondered if it might be possible to get a certain programme to do a feature in their highly respected series "Most Haunted".

 

I did once hear some years ago, that the ghost of FHW was supposed to have manifested at RAH, should anyone wish to change the organ in any way.

 

Perhaps someone could enlighten us as to whether this happened or not more recently?

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There are many cases documented in Belgium.

It happens when a choir sings in flemish where the organ

was built by a french-speaking builder, and reversely.

Usually one gets the Bombarde instead of a Bourdon,

or a full reed chorus with a Cornet instead of the Voix céleste,

for example. It may happen you get an unexpected -and indeed

not played- big chord in the middle of the sermon.

The exorcism must of course be done in the "good" language.

 

Pierre

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Guest delvin146
There are many cases documented in Belgium.

It happens when a choir sings in flemish where the organ

was built by a french-speaking builder, and reversely.

Usually one gets the Bombarde instead of a Bourdon,

or a full reed chorus with a Cornet instead of the Voix céleste,

for example. It may happen you get an unexpected -and indeed

not played- big chord in the middle of the sermon.

The exorcism must of course be done in the "good" language.

 

Pierre

 

Does there seem to be any evidence of the feeling of a presence or manifestation to go with it?

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I did once hear some years ago, that the ghost of FHW was supposed to have manifested at RAH, should anyone wish to change the organ in any way.

 

Perhaps someone could enlighten us as to whether this happened or not more recently?

 

Maybe Ralph Downes will do the same at the RFH.

 

AJJ

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Guest delvin146
Does anyone preside at a haunted organ? I wondered if it might be possible to get a certain programme to do a feature in their highly respected series "Most Haunted".

 

I'm not entirely sure I'd like to see Derek Acorah possessed inside a pipe organ.

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I'm not entirely sure I'd like to see Derek Acorah possessed inside a pipe organ.

 

=====================

 

I think it would be better to take a single key to "Antiques Ghost-Show"....

 

"With your kind permission, may I approach the object?"

 

(Gropes object)

 

"Oooooh! I'm hearing tum-tee-tum.....tum-tee-tum-tee-tum-tam....it's a great organ. I sense a big man......a jolly man.....larger than life. He's wearing a cape and standing proudly....his hand on his hip. Does that mean anything to you?"

 

(Eager nods from those who brought the key)

 

"There's another man.......wearing a fez"

 

(More eager nods)

 

"This other man is confident.....self-assured.....and (waves arms about).....thank-you kindly. He has a wife....and she has a sister....but ......(looks at floor with cupped hands)....I can't quite work this out....(closes eyes)....thank-you. The sister of the wife is this man's wife also."

 

(Guests break into huge grins)

 

"Do the initials HW mean anything to you?"

 

(More eager nods)

 

"HW is defiant.....he's angry.....what? He's trying to say something! Thank you....Henry....his name is Henry. What is it Henry? Spell it for me."

 

(Derek Acora waves finger around in air)

 

G-e-t-o-f-f-t-h-a-t-b-l-o-o-d-y-o-r-g-a-n-c-u-r-l-e-y

 

"That's all I can read.....I'm sorry.....is that meaningful?"

 

(Guests break into spontaneous applause)

 

MM

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Guest delvin146
=====================

 

I think it would be better to take a single key to "Antiques Ghost-Show"....

 

"With your kind permission, may I approach the object?"

 

(Gropes object)

 

"Oooooh!    I'm hearing tum-tee-tum.....tum-tee-tum-tee-tum-tam....it's a great organ.  I sense a big man......a jolly man.....larger than life. He's wearing a cape and standing proudly....his hand on his hip. Does that mean anything to you?"

 

(Eager nods from those who brought the key)

 

"There's another man.......wearing a fez"

 

(More eager nods)

 

"This other man is confident.....self-assured.....and (waves arms about).....thank-you kindly. He has a wife....and she has a sister....but ......(looks at floor with cupped hands)....I can't quite work this out....(closes eyes)....thank-you. The sister of the wife is this man's wife also."

 

(Guests break into huge grins)

 

"Do the initials HW mean anything to you?"

 

(More eager nods)

 

"HW is defiant.....he's angry.....what?  He's trying to say something!  Thank you....Henry....his name is Henry. What is it Henry? Spell it for me."

 

(Derek Acora waves finger around in air)

 

G-e-t-o-f-f-t-h-a-t-b-l-o-o-d-y-o-r-g-a-n-c-u-r-l-e-y

 

"That's all I can read.....I'm sorry.....is that meaningful?"

 

(Guests break into spontaneous applause)

 

MM

 

Thank you Sam

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Guest Lee Blick

I used to play a Father Willis in a John Loughborough Pearson Church (not unlike Truro Cathedral, but without any towers) up in a remote organ loft. And a lot of the time I could smell beer. Several times I would try and sniff around but could never get to the bottom of it. Maybe it was the ghost of an inebriated former organist?

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I did hear a story once of the 64' reed at the Sydney Town Hall sounding when nobody was at the console. However, I suspect it was most likely a train rumbling through the underground station, just beneath. Much as I love the STH, I'd have to say there's probably not much difference in volume or pitch ...

 

Rgds,

MJF

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Perhaps if I had qualified my comment with, "heard from within the hall, not 10 or so metres down below in the tube", the comparison would have been somewhat clearer. In that context, they produce a similar vague, low and, dare I say it, not particularly musical rumble. I think the mp3 rather proves it ...

 

Despite that little misgiving (and the fact that the very early transferred Trumpet was returned from the Choir to the Swell when it was restored, reducing flexibility), I love the STH more than any other instrument. Its choruses, both flue and reed, have a grandeur and cohesion beyond compare. Saint Sulpice comes close.

 

Sorry folks, I've gone rather off-track there. Now, where were we with those ghost stories?

 

Rgds,

MJF

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Sorry folks, I've gone rather off-track there.  Now, where were we with those ghost stories?

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

Hi

 

Not really a haunted organ - more a demonstration of how to start a rumour!

 

Many years ago, on a summer evening, a friend & I were examining the organ in a redundant church - and like most redundant churches, the building did rather suffer from vandalism. Whilst we were looking at pipework, etc. we heard some youngsters playing in the porch - so I started the blower and played the opening bars of the Dmin on full organ.

 

By mid-day next day the rumour had gone round that the church was haunted and the organ played at midnight! I had a job to keep a straight face when one of the lcoal children told me! It did keep the youngsters away for several months.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

Not really a haunted organ - more a demonstration of how to start a rumour!

 

Many years ago, on a summer evening, a friend & I were examining the organ in a redundant church - and like most redundant churches, the building did rather suffer from vandalism.  Whilst we were looking at pipework, etc. we heard some youngsters playing in the porch - so I started the blower and played the opening bars of the Dmin on full organ.

 

By mid-day next day the rumour had gone round that the church was haunted and the organ played at midnight!  I had a job to keep a straight face when one of the lcoal children told me!  It did keep the youngsters away for several months.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

=====================

 

 

I had a moment of inspiration this morning; improvising on a sort of Japanese tune which had been annoyingly rolling around my head for a few days.

 

This was possibly the result of recent gardening, when I raked away at small stones, and in my total boredom, made a few pretty patterns in the soil; just as I used to do with mashed potatoes, when I wasn't flicking bits into my brother's face with the knife. I was very young and my mother's back was usually turned; though in truth, I would still do it if I could get away with it.

 

I digress alarmingly!

 

Back to Japanese themes and things, which can be HAUNTINGLY attractive.

 

There I was, having a deep and meaningful Shinto moment, as the Christians partook of the body, and I raked away with interesting harmonies, making pretty mental patterns of the modal melody.

 

Then the thought occured to me, that this masterpiece of instant artlessness needed something more: something etherial and timeless.

 

It needed, in truth, a touch of Feng Shui...a hint of mystical gardens, lotus blossom and gently lapping water; cranes stood on one leg and carp shading themselves under the leaves of water-lillies.

 

Somehow, a cymbelstern would be just too much; too noisy and demonstrative by half, as if the world requires that we be slaves to clockwork motion and

the tintinabulations which herald each passing quarter-moment, as markers on the path to eternity.

 

A single, full-toned Rohrflute, which rolled around in the sonic ambience of stone and English oak, almost overwhelmed in musical impact; as if harmony itself were an intrusion on the purity of the single, plaintive toll of the melodic line.

 

Then a Feng Shui moment, as I knew what manner of sound could fill the spiritual gap between Rohrflute and the mind-music of the spheres.

 

So it's off down to the local SPOOK-SHOP to get one of those wind-chimes, which I will then hang from a tiny brass-nail the next time I improvise like this; gently blowing them at strategically vital moments.

 

They come in pewter, aluminium, brass, glass, and (for the purist and historically informed performers), in bamboo.

 

MM

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Guest delvin146
=====================

I had a moment of inspiration this morning; improvising on a sort of Japanese tune which had been annoyingly rolling around my head for a few days.

 

This was possibly the result of recent gardening, when I raked away at small stones, and in my total boredom, made a few pretty patterns in the soil; just as I used to do with mashed potatoes, when I wasn't flicking bits into my brother's face with the knife. I was very young and my mother's back was usually turned; though in truth, I would still do it if I could get away with it.

 

I digress alarmingly!

 

Back to Japanese themes and things, which can be HAUNTINGLY attractive.

 

There I was, having a deep and meaningful Shinto moment, as the Christians partook of the body, and I raked away with interesting harmonies, making pretty mental patterns of the modal melody.

 

Then the thought occured to me, that this masterpiece of instant artlessness needed something more: something etherial and timeless.

 

It needed, in truth, a touch of Feng Shui...a hint of mystical gardens, lotus blossom and gently lapping water; cranes stood on one leg and carp shading themselves under the leaves of water-lillies.

 

Somehow, a cymbelstern would be just too much; too noisy and demonstrative by half, as if the world requires that we be slaves to clockwork  motion and

the tintinabulations which herald each passing quarter-moment, as markers on the path to eternity.

 

A single, full-toned Rohrflute, which rolled around in the sonic ambience of stone and English oak, almost overwhelmed in musical impact; as if harmony itself were an intrusion on the purity of the single, plaintive toll of the melodic line.

 

Then a Feng Shui moment, as I knew what manner of sound could fill the spiritual gap between Rohrflute and the mind-music of the spheres.

 

So it's off down to the local SPOOK-SHOP to get one of those wind-chimes, which I will then hang from a tiny brass-nail the next time I improvise like this; gently blowing them at strategically vital moments.

 

They come in pewter, aluminium, brass, glass, and (for the purist and historically informed performers), in bamboo.

 

MM

 

Personally I wouldn't bother blowing the wind chimes. Easier just to bash one in to the top of the Father Willis casework, (a simple homebass stainless steel nail should suffice). Attach some string to the end and tie the other to the music group's bass drum pedal. One large mic by the wind chimes, and there you have it a cheap and effective cymbelstern at half the price. Further economies can be made by simply using the vicar's lovely dangly earings

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Personally I wouldn't bother blowing the wind chimes. Easier just to bash one in to the top of the Father Willis casework, (a simple homebass stainless steel nail should suffice). Attach some string to the end and tie the other to the music group's bass drum pedal. One large mic by the wind chimes, and there you have it a cheap and effective cymbelstern at half the price. Further economies can be made by simply using the vicar's lovely dangly earings

 

 

======================

 

I feel that this is excellent advice, but perhaps a little flawed on several counts.

 

For starters, the organ I play is anything but a Fr.Willis: neo-baroque in fact.

 

Secondly, thank God we don't have a music group.....I can "swing it" when required to do so.

 

Thirdly, a stainless-steel nail would be complete anathema to the spirit of historically informed perfomance practice which I try to maintain to varying degrees of success. Nothing less than a re-claimed iron nail or an ancient bronze toga-pin would suffice.

 

Fourthly, it is an RC church, and whilst I cannot entirely vouch for the private and personal dress-code of the parish priest, I have yet to see lingerie hanging from the washing-line. Earrings are therefore an unlikely possibility, but he is Irish and floats off to the Emerald Isle for the annual hurling championships, which gives me another idea.

 

I expect a couple of cold-formed steel horse-shoes could be just as effective, which we have in abundant supply here in Yorkshire, but somehow, even they wouldn't have quite the same delicacy of tone as a wind-chime, even if caressed with an old teasel wool-comb.

 

No, whilst grateful for the advice, I think I will stick with my original plan, but maybe a selection of wind-chimes would be even better....aluminium, brass, glass and bamboo, hanging from the casework at console level. This would be visually and musically attractive I think; especially on All Hallows Day, when I could add a few accesories, such a dream-catchers and red latex-spiders with black spots.

 

The only problem is, I can't now remember the lovely Japanese tune on which I improvised: the moment possibly lost in the mists of time and now enjoined with the spirits of the departed.

 

MM

 

PS: More seriously, the musical effect of modal harmony, Japanese melody and wind-chimes is potentially very beautiful......my recommendation for any who like to improvise.

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I expect a couple of cold-formed steel horse-shoes could be just as effective, which we have in abundant supply here in Yorkshire, but somehow, even they wouldn't have quite the same delicacy of tone as a wind-chime, even if caressed with an old teasel wool-comb.
But I'm sure you could comandeer a couple of acolytes to whack them rhythmically with hammers in a "das Rheingold" sort of way. After all the baroquising of our fine Romantic instruments that took place a generation or so ago, this little neo-Romantic touch would do something to redress the balance.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest delvin146

94646429.jpg

 

I took a photo during one of the evening recitals, I'm sure I saw Father Willis appear over the console. He looked quite pleased with the work done on the organ.

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