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ajt

Embarassment...

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On Sunday I had a really frustrating morning - all the manual to pedal couplers were permanently on, as were a couple of great diapasons. No amount of toggling could fix it.

 

So I e-mailed the tuner, and asked him for an emergency visit. He e-mails back "Have you checked the general crescendo pedal?". What a fool I am - I forgot that the bottom light on the indicator for the GC has been missing for years - I just never touch the thing... Sure enough, I went in tonight, checked that the "faults" were still there. Then I shut the GC... All works perfectly. :lol:

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I know that feeling well! Not being used to crescendo pedals, I've been fooled even when the lights are working. The last time I was in the States I got around the problem by the high-tech expedient of asking the chap who was turning pages for me to tap me on the shoulder if ever he saw a crescendo pedal light come on.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I know that feeling well! Not being used to crescendo pedals, I've been fooled even when the lights are working. The last time I was in the States I got around the problem by the high-tech expedient of asking the chap who was turning pages for me to tap me on the shoulder if ever he saw a crescendo pedal light come on.

 

 

I don't often hand over the Compton organ here to others (I need all the fees I can get), but twice I have received panic 'phonecalls at home about stops that won't go off and both times the fault has been the same as yours.

 

There was the one occasion when I came in and found someone had been trying the organ (without my knowledge) and clearly didn't understand luminous push stops - one stop was hanging (dangling from its wires) for all the world like an eye-ball detatched from its socket. They'd pulled it out!

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I don't often hand over the Compton organ here to others (I need all the fees I can get), but twice I have received panic 'phonecalls at home about stops that won't go off and both times the fault has been the same as yours.

 

There was the one occasion when I came in and found someone had been trying the organ (without my knowledge) and clearly didn't understand luminous push stops - one stop was hanging (dangling from its wires) for all the world like an eye-ball detatched from its socket. They'd pulled it out!

 

I love watching people trying to use the ISG's for the first time...

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I don't often hand over the Compton organ here to others (I need all the fees I can get), but twice I have received panic 'phonecalls at home about stops that won't go off and both times the fault has been the same as yours.

 

I had the same problem when I played at Downside - it took me ages to realise what I had done!

 

AJJ

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There was the one occasion when I came in and found someone had been trying the organ (without my knowledge) and clearly didn't understand luminous push stops - one stop was hanging (dangling from its wires) for all the world like an eye-ball detatched from its socket. They'd pulled it out!

 

 

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

 

Well, better that way than disappearing inside the bowels of the console I suppose, like the CD-player push-button did in my car a year ago. Never have found it, but I KNOW it's lurking there somewhere.

 

My best memory was first playing at Hull City Hall in the old days, when the last General Piston produced a "Road to Damascus" experience!

 

"Let there be light!" Followed quickly by, "Bloody hell! Where are my sunglasses?"

 

:D

 

MM

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

My best memory was first playing at Hull City Hall in the old days, when the last General Piston produced a "Road to Damascus" experience!

 

"Let there be light!" Followed quickly by, "Bloody hell! Where are my sunglasses?"

MM

Sorry if this has been covered before, but presumably on a large Compton it is possible to make shapes, patterns and even letters and numbers using the lit stops. Using Generals you could have it spell out whole sentences.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Sorry if this has been covered before, but presumably on a large Compton it is possible to make shapes, patterns and even letters and numbers using the lit stops. Using Generals you could have it spell out whole sentences.

 

Sorry to bring down the mood rather: Is this a serious suggestion or just a whimsy to pass the time?

It's a non-starter.

 

To spell a useful message like

'You're singing's flat!' or

'Careful! the congregation's got different words to the next carol'*,

you'd need a specification a lot larger than mine and I've already got more than 130 luminous stop heads to choose from! I don't think I could even keep much of a score in sermon cricket...and if I could, not more than three of the choir (in very adjacent stalls) would be able to appreciate it.

 

A big organ is a toy++, but not quite that juvenile a one.

 

 

 

* This one happened tonight. Twice. At least!

It introduced a welcome element of excitement into an otherwise predictable St.John's Ambulace Carol Service.

 

++ I apologise for the double-entendre, only I've been watching 'Carry on Columbus' this evening.

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Does anyone genuinely believe there is any musical use or value in a general crescendo pedal. Surely the best thing is to send them all to the scrap heap (or to where Oscar Wilde believed bad americans go when they die) where they belong.

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Does anyone genuinely believe there is any musical use or value in a general crescendo pedal. Surely the best thing is to send them all to the scrap heap (or to where Oscar Wilde believed bad americans go when they die) where they belong.

 

What a lot of old.... I could say the same about toasters! A good deal of romantic repertoire such as Reger and Karg-Elert depends on them, and they can be of inestimable use at other times, especially in accompaniments (the dear old Elgar Spirit, for instance) with big and quick buildups, or where you want to create orchestral and exciting effects in hymn playing on big occasions. A lot of instruments were designed including crescendo pedals, and they were intended to be used.

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What a lot of old.... I could say the same about toasters! A good deal of romantic repertoire such as Reger and Karg-Elert depends on them, and they can be of inestimable use at other times, especially in accompaniments (the dear old Elgar Spirit, for instance) with big and quick buildups, or where you want to create orchestral and exciting effects in hymn playing on big occasions. A lot of instruments were designed including crescendo pedals, and they were intended to be used.

Sorry David, but I'm not sure what the issue of GCs has to do with toasters. I've played "The Spirit of The Lord" many times, indeed I've accompanied complete "organ only" performances of Apostles, Gerontius, Kingdom, King Olaf and indeed most of the Elgar choral works, and conceive no possible reason for wishing to use a general crescendo. Surely by their very nature you lose all control of which stop are being drawn - and this I would never wish to do.

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Sorry David, but I'm not sure what the issue of GCs has to do with toasters. I've played "The Spirit of The Lord" many times, indeed I've accompanied complete "organ only" performances of Apostles, Gerontius, Kingdom, King Olaf and indeed most of the Elgar choral works, and conceive no possible reason for wishing to use a general crescendo. Surely by their very nature you lose all control of which stop are being drawn - and this I would never wish to do.

 

Only that I would say a general crescendo on an organ designed to have one, and to play repertoire where one would seem to be mandatory or helpful (the big buildups in Spirit are excellent examples). You could generalise that they are useful for occasions when treating the organ as a one-man orchestra and wishing to create an effect rather than have absolute control over each and every single rank (there is control to a degree when you know how many lights or what position on a dial equates to what level of registration). Instruments like the Southampton one and Buckfast Abbey can reveal some amazing secrets when you use them well.

 

I believe I have seen you championing toasters on one or two occasions and would submit that if I had to put either toasters or GC pedals into Room 101, I know which would go.

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Guest Andrew Butler
Only that I would say a general crescendo on an organ designed to have one, and to play repertoire where one would seem to be mandatory or helpful (the big buildups in Spirit are excellent examples). You could generalise that they are useful for occasions when treating the organ as a one-man orchestra and wishing to create an effect rather than have absolute control over each and every single rank (there is control to a degree when you know how many lights or what position on a dial equates to what level of registration). Instruments like the Southampton one and Buckfast Abbey can reveal some amazing secrets when you use them well.

 

I believe I have seen you championing toasters on one or two occasions and would submit that if I had to put either toasters or GC pedals into Room 101, I know which would go.

 

Are there not "programmable" GC's? Then one would know what was happening (if one was the programmer of course)!

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Are there not "programmable" GC's? Then one would know what was happening (if one was the programmer of course)!

 

Indeed there are. With most modern capture systems, along with your chosen piston memory, you can specify how you want the GC setup for that specific channel.

 

I don't use the GC much, but it can be very very useful - if you spend a bit of timing knowing what comes on when, then you have quite a lot of control.

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I believe I have seen you championing toasters on one or two occasions and would submit that if I had to put either toasters or GC pedals into Room 101, I know which would go.

I think, in all fairness, that I've consistently agreed that a good pipe organ is always preferable to its digital counterpart (but a bad one may not be). I just don't think the value of a GC pedal can sensibly be disucssed by comparing it to a digital organ.

 

I'm happy to accept that, clearly, some people find GCs useful. Personally I still dislike the things and would urge all organ builders to ensure that there should always be a switch at the console to disable the thing if you don't want to run the risk of engaging it accidentally.

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My best memory was first playing at Hull City Hall in the old days, when the last General Piston produced a "Road to Damascus" experience!

 

"Let there be light!" Followed quickly by, "Bloody hell! Where are my sunglasses?"

"Let there be light", in the case of direct sunlight on the console, could, I imagine, be a problem for luminous stop controls insomuch as it becomes difficult to detect which stops are 'on'. It's many moons now since the day I played the Hull City Hall organ when the old luminous stop console was still in situ, and so I have forgotton whether this was a problem. Paul? Anybody?

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Guest Barry Oakley
"Let there be light", in the case of direct sunlight on the console, could, I imagine, be a problem for luminous stop controls insomuch as it becomes difficult to detect which stops are 'on'. It's many moons now since the day I played the Hull City Hall organ when the old luminous stop console was still in situ, and so I have forgotton whether this was a problem. Paul? Anybody?

 

I contributed some comments on this matter quite some time ago. Yes, you are quite correct that direct sunlight can be a problem with luminous stops. As a young chorister many years ago at Holy Trinity, Hull, I helped cut out some brown paper inserts using an old halfpenny as a template, that were placed behind the face of the Compton stops and this effectively solved the problem. Compton patent luminous stops have also been the cause of some ribald remarks. I well remember a well-known recitalist whose first encounter with such stops caused him to comment that they reminded him of a prostitute's dressing table.

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Does anyone genuinely believe there is any musical use or value in a general crescendo pedal. Surely the best thing is to send them all to the scrap heap (or to where Oscar Wilde believed bad americans go when they die) where they belong.

 

 

It would be great if there were more GC's about, particularly on older instruments: they're an invaluable guide to the builder's intentions of how the build-up should work. I used regularly to play a Compton; the sequence of stop additions was quite different from the way I'd been taught, and made a lot more aural sense on this instrument.

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It would be great if there were more GC's about, particularly on older instruments: they're an invaluable guide to the builder's intentions of how the build-up should work. I used regularly to play a Compton; the sequence of stop additions was quite different from the way I'd been taught, and made a lot more aural sense on this instrument.

 

 

I have to disagree, here - this is like suggesting that an organist knows best how to build an instrument and the organ builder can learn from his example.

 

With the exception of people such as Mark Venning, a competent organist with a good ear for colour and a knowledge of appropriate styles is rather more likely to find the best combinations of sound. It is, in any case, possible that the general crescendo of which you write was set-up in consultation with the organist for whom Compton built (or rebuilt) the organ.

 

A good organist who knows his instrument well (and has experience of adapting to other organs) should have a wealth of experience in selecting suitable registrations - and to produce an effective build-up. Furthermore, if the organ is versatile, a good organist will wish to vary the timbre of the build-up according to the music performed.

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Furthermore, if the organ is versatile, a good organist will wish to vary the timbre of the build-up according to the music performed.

Yes, I think thats part of my objection to the things really, even if it does seem that I'm in a minority. It strikes me as a somewhat lazy method of registration.

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Totally agree, Neil. It's a very crude device and in my view only has a place on uncompromisingly Romantic organs that have been specifically designed to produce a seamlessly smooth stop crescendo - which in practice means fairly large ones. Even then I can do without them.

 

But I have to say that I consider the whole notion of the orchestral organ flawed. Not so long ago I attended a recital on our local 4+P foghorn, which is as octopodian and orchestral as they come. The programme contained several orchestral transcriptions, but, though the playing was perfectly competent, I merely found myself thinking how inferior the organ is to an orchestra. However well such pieces are played, the organ just cannot compete in terms of subtlety of colour and expression, so why flog a dead horse? There's plenty of real organ music out there.

 

Rant over. :blink:

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But I have to say that I consider the whole notion of the orchestral organ flawed. Not so long ago I attended a recital on our local 4+P foghorn, which is as octopodian and orchestral as they come. The programme contained several orchestral transcriptions, but, though the playing was perfectly competent, I merely found myself thinking how inferior the organ is to an orchestra. However well such pieces are played, the organ just cannot compete in terms of subtlety of colour and expression, so why flog a dead horse? There's plenty of real organ music out there.

 

Rant over. :blink:

 

I have a couple of CDs played by an Australian chap whose name I have temporarily forgotten that make me feel the same - superb technique but repertoire full of Haydn Trumpet Concerti and William Tell Overture etc. - one can get too much of it!

 

AJJ

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But I have to say that I consider the whole notion of the orchestral organ flawed. Not so long ago I attended a recital on our local 4+P foghorn, which is as octopodian and orchestral as they come. The programme contained several orchestral transcriptions, but, though the playing was perfectly competent, I merely found myself thinking how inferior the organ is to an orchestra. However well such pieces are played, the organ just cannot compete in terms of subtlety of colour and expression, so why flog a dead horse? There's plenty of real organ music out there.

 

Rant over. :blink:

 

Hear, hear!

 

It boggles my mind that with the THOUSANDS of fine organ pieces out there, folks will waste their time learning transcriptions! I know the argument is to "give them (the audience) something they can recognize" or some such idea, (and I understand the sentiment behind that - gotta play to the paying crowd). Problem is, there are TONS of neglected ORGAN scores lying about that ARE fine and exciting, and could be played instead. It seems the bulk of the recitalists either play the old war-horses or transcriptions - very few venture into the unknown and seek out something different to play. It really doesn't take THAT much time to do the research, and it becomes a never-ending journey of discovery - I've now simply got FAR more music than I will ever perform, but I have SO enjoyed expanding my horizons, and in the process, I have found a RAFT of wonderful neglected works.

 

Cheers,

 

-G

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