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Mander Organs
DaveHarries

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

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Tonally it failed to stir me much (Winchester was infinitely finer); my recollection is that it sounded somewhat heavy.

 

I've not played it a huge amount, but Winchester has never "done it" for me...

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I've not played it a huge amount, but Winchester has never "done it" for me...


Nor me. It just does not seem to have any real personality. Salisbury has lots of vivid tone-colours and exciting reeds, but Winchester seems to be lacking in that aspect which elevates a good organ to something quite special. I know that there are strings and orchestral reeds on the Solo, but they do not have either that shimmer or beauty of tone. It all sounds rather ordinary, really. Even the only example of a 32ft. reed by Hele & Co. fails to excite me.

The other anomaly with Winchester is, if one is going to have a Nave Organ, why not find somewhere in the Nave to site this division? At present, it has little impact in the nave because it is only one bay west of the main organ and yet it is still east of the choir screen.

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You could be right about Winchester. It was a long time ago when I had little experience and the only time I heard it live in more recent years I was listening more to the choir than the organ.

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Guest Lee Blick
One wonders why. It's not that the Abbey is neglecting the organ. There seems to be a policy of piecemeal renovation. The Swell and Echo have already been restored. Currently the Great pipes are away being cleaned. There is every intention to do the Choir and Positive in due course (but don't ask me when). One might assume it all boils down to cashflow, but apparently not. I had a brief chat with Fr Sebastian this afternoon and when I mentioned the inevitable expense of keeping an organ like this together, he merely replied cryptically, "Oh, we don't need to worry about that".

 

Yeh with all that Buckie keeping Scotland lubricated there should be plenty of dough.

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The other anomaly with Winchester is, if one is going to have a Nave Organ, why not find somewhere in the Nave to site this division? At present, it has little impact in the nave because it is only one bay west of the main organ and yet it is still east of the choir screen.

 

I keep offering mine as a nave organ :) I think it would do well!

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Could you inform me who is carrying-out the work, please, Vox?
Pretty sure it's Lance Foy.

Just to set the record straight, it's not Lance, but a local chap called Neil Hosken.

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I wonder sometimes if somewhere there may still be a copy of the tape of hymn accompaniments that some friends and I recorded Paul Morgan (then organ scholar) playing for a missionary to use in his church in Africa.

This tape is alive and well, and is in the British Library Sound Archive, under call number C236/81. Also there are tapes we recorded the same day of Paul Morgan playing works by Murrill, Bach, Wesley, Alain, Howells, Cabezon, Reger and Clarke; these are call numbers C236/83-85. All these tapes are available for listening, by appointment. The tapes are good quality 7 1/2 ips stereo recordings made using a pair of ribbon microphones.

 

The Murrill, Bach and Wesley were also recorded around that time by Abbey for an EP which was, I believe, the only commercial recording of the organ on its own; I guess that my recording may have been a practice run on Paul's part.

 

Paul

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Having had a post-Christmas trip to Oxford today, I concluded with Choral Evensong sung by the Cathedral Singers at Christ Church. However a digital organ is in situ. The most I could glean from the steward was that it's been in place since mid-December as the Rieger is 'broken'. Anyone know any more?

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Hi, rogbi,

 

I was hoping someone would reply with more info about the Christ Church, Oxford Rieger. Perhaps they will later. I must admit to feeling slightly worried by your news. One would have thought that the combination of Rieger craftsmanship and Christ Church guardianship would ensure a long trouble-free existence for the instrument. Is the old Willis 2-manual tracker no longer in the building? [i’m sure npor will tell me]

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