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Embarassment...

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Guest Andrew Butler

Not exactly embarassing, but could have been; Saturday evening Mass this evening on a Viscount with illuminated drawstops - just before Offertory hymn, found that for some reason (Paul Isom.... any ideas??) I I had lost all the lights on drawstops and pistons, but everything was working "blind" !

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I can only think of one time I have ever been involved with use of a crescendo pedal and I wasn't even performing at the time!

I was acting as registrant for a friend playing a choral concert on the 4M Hill/Letourneau in Sydney's Anglican Cathedral and when asked to hit the tutti stud on the final chord as soon as the choir cut off, I suggested he give the GC a decent kick instead.

 

I think the advent of the sequencer has rendered the modern crescendo pedal obsolete for modern recital performance. I think most spend enough time registering works to incorporate a smoothly registered crescendo without having to watch the little red light go up and down.

 

As for Sundays, doesn't anyone else find it the most satisfying thing to hand-register a big crescendo oneself?

Playing an 1887 Bevington and a 1910 Hill, one really hasn't much choice in the matter.

 

Cheers

 

James Goldrick

 

P.S. Does anyone else think that rollschweller GCs look like missing teeth?

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As for Sundays, doesn't anyone else find it the most satisfying thing to hand-register a big crescendo oneself?

Playing an 1887 Bevington and a 1910 Hill, one really hasn't much choice in the matter.

 

These look fun - this is one of those I play on a Sunday - nothing embarassing has happened yet - no crescendo pedal and I don't use the combination pedals (mechanical of course) - it's a real gem!

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N08547

 

AJJ

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Guest Andrew Butler

Womens Institute carol service last night at local Methodist Church (2 man Griffen & Stroud, Gt 8 8 8 4 Sw 8 8 4 8 Ped 16) not in best of condition. During "Once in royal" Great keys suddenly felt very odd beneath my fingers and some "note clusters" were evident. The ivory on middle D had come unstuck amd turned 45 degrees to overlap E and F ! The swell reed is a very raucous and out-of-tune Horn, which I had to eschew in favour of using the Swell Octave coupler for "full organ" - I think these were discussed a while back and I am not in favour of using them as part of the chorus, but needs must as they say - but it continued to act on a few notes after being cancelled, and caused a cypher somewhere high up at the end of every carol.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Womens Institute carol service last night at local Methodist Church (2 man Griffen & Stroud, Gt 8 8 8 4 Sw 8 8 4 8 Ped 16) not in best of condition. During "Once in royal" Great keys suddenly felt very odd beneath my fingers and some "note clusters" were evident. The ivory on middle D had come unstuck amd turned 45 degrees to overlap E and F ! The swell reed is a very raucous and out-of-tune Horn, which I had to eschew in favour of using the Swell Octave coupler for "full organ" - I think these were discussed a while back and I am not in favour of using them as part of the chorus, but needs must as they say - but it continued to act on a few notes after being cancelled, and caused a cypher somewhere high up at the end of every carol.

 

 

Do you know, I bet they still said afterwards how nice it was to have a proper organist.

One wonders how things go when we guest organists are not around.

It must be pretty grim.

 

I don't think I have told this tale. I must!

A year or so ago, it was decided by the Methodists in Ludlow, Shropshire to sell one of their two churches and modernise the other. The second one is a very fine building in a prominent part of town - the exterior must be listed, but the interior is (of course) totally theirs to pull about as they see fit. You must imagine an early 19th century building - maybe even late 18th - grecian columns, sandstone facade, tall plain windows with rounded tops and a handsome gallery to three sides. All non-painted fittings in mahogany, lots of lovely brass railings etc.

 

The organ, in an un-fussy but pleasant figured pine case stands behind the pulpit on the (liturgical) east wall. It is by Alexander Young (successor to Samuel Renn of Manchester) c.1880 all mechanical action, console on the side so organist can see the church to his/her right. Modest specification (maybe 10/11 stops), but one which radiates around the building, lots of plain plastered surfaces!

 

I was urged to find homes for both organs. Number one is now safely out and already playing in a new home. It's not quite finished but safe. The Alexander Young was so un-molested, so fit for its position and building, so much 'part of the total picture' that I refused to have anything to do with taking it away. Other organ-builders said the same, indeed the church people initially couldn't get anyone to take it, even if broken up as bits. I don't have to spell out what they actually wanted, do I?

 

All right! They wanted to spend a decent chunk in fashionable architect's fee, heavy carpet, plastic chairs, new coffee shop at front, two-manual toaster with flashing lights for worship. For a brief while it was mooted that the gallery should come down - it looked old-fashioned! Well it would, wouldn't it?! I would have loved to see that: number one it was holding the two outer walls together, number two it provided access to those tall windows. I would have chuckled to see them having to hire a painting tower each time the local feral kids lobbed another brick!

 

So, they had an organ and nobody wanted it. Solution? The magic E-bay, of course!

It was sold to some folks in France who promptly appeared to take it down, naturally, on a Sunday morning.

First thing, one of them sat down to play.

The congregation were thunderstruck.... there were more-or-less universal cries of

'We didn't know it sounded like that!

'Oh isn't it beautiful!' etc. etc.

Too late, it was already sold!

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Do you know, I bet they still said afterwards how nice it was to have a proper organist.

One wonders how things go when we guest organists are not around.

It must be pretty grim.

 

I don't think I have told this tale. I must!

A year or so ago, it was decided by the Methodists in Ludlow, Shropshire to sell one of their two churches and modernise the other. The second one is a very fine building in a prominent part of town - the exterior must be listed, but the interior is (of course) totally theirs to pull about as they see fit. You must imagine an early 19th century building - maybe even late 18th - grecian columns, sandstone facade, tall plain windows with rounded tops and a handsome gallery to three sides. All non-painted fittings in mahogany, lots of lovely brass railings etc.

 

The organ, in an un-fussy but pleasant figured pine case stands behind the pulpit on the (liturgical) east wall. It is by Alexander Young (successor to Samuel Renn of Manchester) c.1880 all mechanical action, console on the side so organist can see the church to his/her right. Modest specification (maybe 10/11 stops), but one which radiates around the building, lots of plain plastered surfaces!

 

I was urged to find homes for both organs. Number one is now safely out and already playing in a new home. It's not quite finished but safe. The Alexander Young was so un-molested, so fit for its position and building, so much 'part of the total picture' that I refused to have anything to do with taking it away. Other organ-builders said the same, indeed the church people initially couldn't get anyone to take it, even if broken up as bits. I don't have to spell out what they actually wanted, do I?

 

All right! They wanted to spend a decent chunk in fashionable architect's fee, heavy carpet, plastic chairs, new coffee shop at front, two-manual toaster with flashing lights for worship. For a brief while it was mooted that the gallery should come down - it looked old-fashioned! Well it would, wouldn't it?! I would have loved to see that: number one it was holding the two outer walls together, number two it provided access to those tall windows. I would have chuckled to see them having to hire a painting tower each time the local feral kids lobbed another brick!

 

So, they had an organ and nobody wanted it. Solution? The magic E-bay, of course!

It was sold to some folks in France who promptly appeared to take it down, naturally, on a Sunday morning.

First thing, one of them sat down to play.

The congregation were thunderstruck.... there were more-or-less universal cries of

'We didn't know it sounded like that!

'Oh isn't it beautiful!' etc. etc.

Too late, it was already sold!

 

I am tempted to write "it serves them right."

 

So I will.

 

Yet another loss of a fine instrument to this country, though.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
British culture [lack of] strikes again. Makes you weep, doesn't it?

 

 

I think it's down to two things, gullibility and short-termism.

 

Gullibility says: We're doing our best for our church in buying something 'modern'. The ability to be persuaded that chipboard is a fair long-term substitute for wood! The belief in things being (only) as good and long-lasting as they look.

 

Short-termism says: 'Because we don't need something, or don't like something, nobody in the future will ever have a proper use for it.' So, of course, the thing (whatever it is that is beyond their full comprehension) is simply disposed of.

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The organ....is by Alexander Young (successor to Samuel Renn of Manchester) c.1880 all mechanical action....Modest specification (maybe 10/11 stops), but one which radiates around the building....

 

Alexander Young has to be a candidate for the dubious accolade of most underated organ bulder ever. I've played dozens of his small/medium sized instruments over the years (did he build anything with more than 30 stops?). All of the ones in anything approaching their original condition have been capable of producing a wealth of beautiful sounds, almost always in spite of being placed in a miserlable acoustical environment. Those that have retained their original action etc. also seem to be well nigh impervious to dust, damp, unsympathetic heating, infrequent use and other forms of neglect.

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Guest Andrew Butler
Do you know, I bet they still said afterwards how nice it was to have a proper organist.

 

Err - however did you guess! Yes, they did!

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Guest Lee Blick
I think it's down to two things, gullibility and short-termism.

 

...and the lack of some sort of authority to control the 'dumping' of organs. There should be a body all churches/buildings should refer to if they wish to rebuild/replace their organ.

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I think it's down to two things, gullibility and short-termism.

 

Gullibility says: We're doing our best for our church in buying something 'modern'. The inability to resist persuasion that chipboard is no long-term substitute for wood! The belief in things being (only) as good and long-lasting as they look.

 

Short-termism says: 'Because we don't need something, or don't like something, nobody in the future will ever have a proper use for it.' So, of course, the thing (whatever it is that is beyond their full comprehension) is simply disposed of.

Good points, Paul, and I'm sure you are right.

 

The trouble is, British culture today is essentially a "pop" culture - more so than any other European country as far as I know. High art is very much a minority interest and, indeed, is rather despised by many. If Britons actually appreciated it properly perhaps we would not be experiencing a shortage of organists. Perhaps then that church would then have been well aware how good an instrument they had and perhaps - just perhaps - they would not have taken the short-term view. But probably not: the gullible will always be with us.

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Guest Barry Williams
...and the lack of some sort of authority to control the 'dumping' of organs. There should be a body all churches/buildings should refer to if they wish to rebuild/replace their organ.

 

 

Every denomination has some sort of advisory committee. The Anglicans have their Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) with at least one organ adviser. Other denominations have similar arrangments.

 

Those denominations that do not enforce the arrangments in respect of Listed Buildings are at risk of losing the Ecclesiastical Exemption, without which the control of the building and its contents are under the total control of the Local Authority i.e. the Borough or local Council, which usually has no idea about organs. This happens when churches that are Listed Buildings cease to be used for worship and pass out of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, thus reverting to secular control. Then it is not possible to rescue fine organs. Parkstone is a good example of this.

 

Barry Williams

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Every denomination has some sort of advisory committee. The Anglicans have their Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) with at least one organ adviser. Other denominations have similar arrangments.

 

Those denominations that do not enforce the arrangments in respect of Listed Buildings are at risk of losing the Ecclesiastical Exemption, without which the control of the building and its contents are under the total control of the Local Authority i.e. the Borough or local Council, which usually has no idea about organs. This happens when churches that are Listed Buildings cease to be used for worship and pass out of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, thus reverting to secular control. Then it is not possible to rescue fine organs. Parkstone is a good example of this.

 

Barry Williams

 

Hi

 

Not entirely - there are no controls whatsoever in the denominations that exercise congregational chruch government (Baptists and COngregationalists, etc.)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Andrew Butler

Candlemas service last night here http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N14708

 

Swell pedal aperture (is there a proper name for this?) in the casework is rather narrow, and I have a new pair of shoes that are slightly wider than I am used to; don't normally play in them but forgot to change; got foot well and truly stuck on the swell pedal. Exit a good part of the pedal line until I extricated it!! :rolleyes:

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... This happens when churches that are Listed Buildings cease to be used for worship and pass out of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, thus reverting to secular control. Then it is not possible to rescue fine organs. Parkstone is a good example of this.

 

Barry Williams

 

If you refer to the old Compton organ in St. Osmund's, Parkstone, the situation is not quite this clear-cut. The building is still used for Christian worship - by the Greek Orthodox Church. They still have (as far as I know) the organ tuned and maintained and the building is still heated regularly.

 

I played it around this time last year - all the reeds were in good tune and almost everything worked well. There was a reed on the Choir (a synthetic?) which was not working, otherwise it seems to be in no worse state than it was when I had previously heard it - about fifteen or so years earlier.

 

I am acquainted with the priest who runs the Orthodox community there, as well as a few of the congregants. They are doing what they can adequately to maintain a large building, including, as far as I can see, the organ. It is possible that they would, in any case, regard favourably any offer to purchase the instrument, should this be forthcoming from an appropriate party.

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I am acquainted with the priest who runs the Orthodox community there, as well as a few of the congregants. They are doing what they can adequately to maintain a large building, including, as far as I can see, the organ.

 

I am mystified by the whole business of St. Osmunds because, as I seem to remember it, the reason given by the Anglican parish for abandoning the building was degredation in the re-inforced concrete. I believe they quoted a cost of millions for restoration of what was deemed a building unsafe to worship in.

 

I assume that the building hasn't been subject to a massive re-building programme, therefore do the Orthodox community worship in hard hats? :rolleyes:

 

It is, I suppose, a possibility that the organ could be sold. However, it does hold a Historic Organ Certificate, and given its history and the association with Percy Whitlock and his broadcasts, I am very happy indeed that the organ remains in situ. That the current arrangements at the church allow for its occasional use is an added bonus.

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I am mystified by the whole business of St. Osmunds because, as I seem to remember it, the reason given by the Anglican parish for abandoning the building was degredation in the re-inforced concrete. I believe they quoted a cost of millions for restoration of what was deemed a building unsafe to worship in.

 

A small amount of necessary patching-up was undertaken.

 

I think that you may find that anything else was the diocese wishing to un-encumber itself with yet another large, expensive building, supported by a comparatively small congregation....

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If you refer to the old Compton organ in St. Osmund's, Parkstone, the situation is not quite this clear-cut. The building is still used for Christian worship - by the Greek Orthodox Church. They still have (as far as I know) the organ tuned and maintained and the building is still heated regularly.

 

I played it around this time last year - all the reeds were in good tune and almost everything worked well. There was a reed on the Choir (a synthetic?) which was not working, otherwise it seems to be in no worse state than it was when I had previously heard it - about fifteen or so years earlier.

 

I am acquainted with the priest who runs the Orthodox community there, as well as a few of the congregants. They are doing what they can adequately to maintain a large building, including, as far as I can see, the organ. It is possible that they would, in any case, regard favourably any offer to purchase the instrument, should this be forthcoming from an appropriate party.

 

 

That is interesting; there is a Greek Orthodox church here in Cardiff and as far as I know there is no organ in this nor indeed in about 98% of Gk Orthodox churches; Orthodox liturgies are usually unacompanied chanting by the priests and choir. Does this mean that some Orthodox liturgical customs are becoming "westernised"?

 

Peter

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That is interesting; there is a Greek Orthodox church here in Cardiff and as far as I know there is no organ in this nor indeed in about 98% of Gk Orthodox churches; Orthodox liturgies are usually unacompanied chanting by the priests and choir. Does this mean that some Orthodox liturgical customs are becoming "westernised"?

 

Peter

 

I don't know the answer to that, but here is another example: http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=E00638

 

Formerly St Peter's Cranley Gardens SW7, this church is now St Yeghiche Armenian Church. Not only has the organ been retained, but it has been recently (2002) restored too.

 

G

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That is interesting; there is a Greek Orthodox church here in Cardiff and as far as I know there is no organ in this nor indeed in about 98% of Gk Orthodox churches; Orthodox liturgies are usually unacompanied chanting by the priests and choir. Does this mean that some Orthodox liturgical customs are becoming "westernised"?

 

Peter

 

 

Hello Peter,

 

I know someone who is a member of the congregation at St. Nicholas, and they don't have an organ or any use for one. I think it likely that the only organs in Orthodox churches are those 'inherited' from previous congregations of different denominations.

 

I did once go to the Anglican mass at the church of St. Paul in Paphos, where the Orthodox Bishop had granted use of the redundant (and ancient) church to the Roman Catholic congregation, who then invited the Anglicans to share. There were three Sunday masses - R.C. in English, R.C. Latin and Anglican - all accompanied on an Allen electronic which just looks SO out of place against the backdrop of Orthodox icons!

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That is interesting; there is a Greek Orthodox church here in Cardiff and as far as I know there is no organ in this nor indeed in about 98% of Gk Orthodox churches; Orthodox liturgies are usually unacompanied chanting by the priests and choir. Does this mean that some Orthodox liturgical customs are becoming "westernised"?

 

Peter

 

No - simply that the Greek Orthodox community took over the use of the building from the Salisbury Diocese.

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No - simply that the Greek Orthodox community took over the use of the building from the Salisbury Diocese.

 

 

And this would explain the scarcity of Greek and Russian organ music I suppose.

 

Peter

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And this would explain the scarcity of Greek and Russian organ music I suppose.

 

Peter

 

Well, in the case of Russia there is a further problem. Organs were originally used in brothels there, so they were considered unsuitable for use in the worship of God.

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