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AJJ

St Peter's Cathedral Belfast

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I am trying to get hold of details/spec. for the new 4 manual organ - can anyone help please?

 

AJJ

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I am trying to get hold of details/spec. for the new 4 manual organ - can anyone help please?

 

AJJ

 

Hello,

There are several ways of doing this.

 

1. The easiest way would be to use this newfangled invention ' the electric telling-bone' and speak with Kenneth Jones or one of his associates at his factory in Bray.

Tel: 00 353 1 286 8930.

Doubtless he will also send you some photos and it is a very photogenic organ. His firm have taken out a double page advert in the current edition of Organists Review, in which there are 4 colour photos of this instrument. He has moved it forward of the archway where I'm sure it now sounds very fine.

Previously most of the divided casework was behind the archway.

 

Why is it that organ builders, I wonder, particularly in less enlightened times, always 'shoved' their organs in positions where they couldn't speak properly, such as redundant broom cupboards ? or, as in this instance, behind a wall ?

 

2. You could contact the church or write to the organist.

 

3. You could look up this organ, as I have just done, in the NPOR register, and ,

surprise, surprise, the last entry was dated 2001.

 

M.S.

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"Why is it that organ builders, I wonder, particularly in less enlightened times, always 'shoved' their organs in positions where they couldn't speak properly, such as redundant broom cupboards ? or, as in this instance, behind a wall ?"

(Quote)

 

I do not know if something like a "less enlightened period" existed in the history of the organ -or maybe it could be ours?-; fact is, since about 1850, there has been a growing tendancy to give some distance between the pipes and the listener.

Echo divisions became Fernwerks the other side of the room, or spoke trough muffling devices; the cases were built in depth, with the softer divisions behind the louder ones. There were even post-romantic organs buried in chambers, enclosed, with sound-deadening material. This all to provide a refined tone.

Of course we may like it or not.

But we can see it all the other way,that is, a Werkprinzip-designed organ with all pipes on the same line may sound.....Flat, giving the listener the impression to sit on the pipes. Even the quieter Gedackt is already mezzo-forte. Schocking!

 

Pierre

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"Why is it that organ builders, I wonder, particularly in less enlightened times, always 'shoved' their organs in positions where they couldn't speak properly, such as redundant broom cupboards ? or, as in this instance, behind a wall ?"

(Quote)

 

Pierre

 

Usually because of architects, committees and people in charge who don't know what the hell they are talking about.

 

I have suffered!

 

FF

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Usually because of architects, committees and people in charge who don't know what the hell they are talking about.

 

I have suffered!

 

FF

 

Quite so. I think Pierre's comments probably give more of an international perspective. Distance between pipes and listener is one thing; the English aim seems to be to get the thing as far out of the way as possible. The fact that the architects of a certain red brick cathedral in the south of England forgot completely about an organ until very late in the day (from what I understand, builders were on site before anyone realised) speaks volumes.

 

In another thread I alluded to almost all the small church rebuilds I've helped on in recent months also involving moving the organ, sometimes just a bay west or a foot forward, but other times out of the chancel and into the west end. The decision making processes to get this far can be an absolute minefield; there has been one instrument parked in the workshop for over a year now, and the end is still no nearer in sight.

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"Why is it that organ builders, I wonder, particularly in less enlightened times, always 'shoved' their organs in positions where they couldn't speak properly, such as redundant broom cupboards ? or, as in this instance, behind a wall ?"

(Quote)

...

Echo divisions became Fernwerks the other side of the room, or spoke trough muffling devices; the cases were built in depth, with the softer divisions behind the louder ones. There were even post-romantic organs buried in chambers, enclosed, with sound-deadening material. This all to provide a refined tone.

Of course we may like it or not.

 

I don't know. Doesn't this kind of "refinement" boil down to "making all the raucuous voicing and explosive speaking unheard"? To my ears, it is just the other way round. I feel uncomfortable when listening to the muffled and indirect sound of pipes buried in boxes or chambers. Especially flutes and principals do suffer, losing much their initial build-up and overtones.

 

If you take the Aeolian-Skinner at Woolsey Hall, the very pinnacle of American organbuilding in the early 20th century, everything sounds completely free to the listener, be it inside one of the numerous boxes or in the open. Some enclosed divisions even were provided with metal reflectors in order to project more clearly into the hall. Does this organ lack refinement in any way? Certainly not.

 

I some instances, of course, you are completely right. The Vox humana (the organ stop) was one of the favourite stops of the romantic era, but the apparent "Regal" tone of its short-length resonators was found a nuisance by many listeners. Consequently, the builders went to lengths to provide that sort of "refinement by distance" you mention: They put it behind everything else onto the Swell chest, which often was the most remote chest in the instrument; or it was available only on the Fernwerk; or it was put into a narrow box imside the main instrument, and the tone was forced through meters of wooden sound channels.

 

(That way the Vox humana was originally built, and now restored, in the famous Walcker at Annaberg-Buchholz, Germany. A gentle tremolo is provided by a wooden panel rotating inside the sound channel.)

 

I do like that saying (was it by Biggs?): "A pipe in the open is worth two pipes in a box."

 

Best,

Friedrich

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"f you take the Aeolian-Skinner at Woolsey Hall, the very pinnacle of American organbuilding in the early 20th century"

(Quote)

 

......As long as the ecclectical, nearly neo-classical Donald Harrison's style is concerned.

One may like Skinner (without the "Aeolian-") as well, up to the pinnacle.

 

Pipes in the open we have aplenty here in neo-classical, case-less works. I personally prefer an enclosed string than a chiffing Gedeckt in the open; but this is entirely a matter of taste.

 

Pierre

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