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All Hallows Convent, Ditchingham - Multum In Parvo

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One extraordinary little organ I have encountered is the elgannt instrument at St Endellion in Cornwall (see http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...c_index=E00454). My wife and I have attended the music festival each year for several years. The organ has rarely had to play continuo, but has had to cope with The Dream of Gerontius (Elgar), and many a romantic choral evensong. I have heard everything from Bach to Cocker played on it - and unbelievably, it coped very well! It is not an organ of extremes, with mutations and the expense of accompanimental stops. More so, it has an effective swell box. It has no strings, celestes - but the foundation tone, unenclosed and enclosed is such that I have never felt short-changed. This organ is a long way ahead from the totally unenclosed instruments of yore, which seem designed to restrict the player in choice of music. I think that no-one so far has mentioned the fact that the organ is there primarily to facilitate the churches worship and mission. Oh - and it looks good as well!

A very similar organ is my own, although it's based on a later period and is a bit bigger. I am, of course, wildly biased but I've found it very versatile, an excellent organ for choral accompaniment and can play Byrd, Brahms and Britten (and pretty much anything in between) with equal and quite remarkable conviction. While I'd hardly call it "Multum in Parvo", it's still not a large organ and there are certainly no passengers in the stop list.

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=P00129

 

There will be an article in next month's Choir and Organ about it.

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Guest Andrew Butler
Eh?

 

AJJ

 

That everything's been discussed except the original question!

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That everything's been discussed except the original question!

 

Oh - and me to blame for some of it too!

 

AJJ

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Guest Andrew Butler
One extraordinary little organ I have encountered is the elgannt instrument at St Endellion in Cornwall (see http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...c_index=E00454). My wife and I have attended the music festival each year for several years. The organ has rarely had to play continuo, but has had to cope with The Dream of Gerontius (Elgar), and many a romantic choral evensong. I have heard everything from Bach to Cocker played on it - and unbelievably, it coped very well! It is not an organ of extremes, with mutations and the expense of accompanimental stops. More so, it has an effective swell box. It has no strings, celestes - but the foundation tone, unenclosed and enclosed is such that I have never felt short-changed. This organ is a long way ahead from the totally unenclosed instruments of yore, which seem designed to restrict the player in choice of music. I think that no-one so far has mentioned the fact that the organ is there primarily to facilitate the churches worship and mission. Oh - and it looks good as well!

 

 

I have seen this organ on the builder's website and like the look of it in every way, but have not played or heard it. From the same stable is http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N09145 - again, I don't know it personally, but on paper (screen?!) I like the look of it.

 

The swell reed at St Endellion is a Cromorne (I think). Does this work as a chorus reed?

 

The Marldon instrument possibly scores for me on "paper" by virtue of the Cornet on the swell, and an avowedly chorus reed on the swell - but I am unsure as to how I would live with an 8' flute as the only swell flue. St Endellion would score here for me having a swell Open Diapason. I believe Vox Humana has commented elsewhere on these instruments (although if I remember correctly, St Endellion didn't quite "cut the mustard for him.....?)

 

Getting off topic slightly, what do people think of the Vincent Woodstock at Fotheringhay?

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The Marldon instrument possibly scores for me on "paper" by virtue of the Cornet on the swell, and an avowedly chorus reed on the swell - but I am unsure as to how I would live with an 8' flute as the only swell flue. St Endellion would score here for me having a swell Open Diapason. I believe Vox Humana has commented elsewhere on these instruments (although if I remember correctly, St Endellion didn't quite "cut the mustard for him.....?)
Don't get me wrong: they are both very nice instruments. It's just that, to me, they a little "middle of the road" and didn't have that "wow" factor that I've had from Bill Drake's work. But it's a purely personal view. Another person might feel the exact opposite. The St Endellion organ did strike me as quite versatile - though I can't personally imagine Crocker on it!

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Getting off topic slightly, what do people think of the Vincent Woodstock at Fotheringhay?

 

I very much liked the Fotheringhay Woodstock. I'd never played one of his organs before so I had no idea what to expect.

 

The Great Open D was lovely and warm, and the chorus grew nicely from it - colourful but not forced. The pedal reed was excellent (by no means always the case these days) - warm and clear but not dominant, and the Swell flutes and mutations were charming as far as they went.

 

The Great didn't seem to suffer from the remoteness at the console that one so often gets with vertical HW over BW dispositions. The cabinet work was uniformly fine (particularly the keys), and the action was admirably even, quiet and precise. The case is very attractive.

 

On the down side, the Great dulciana was a non-entity (as they all are IMO) although nice enough in its way. The key action was rather too shallow for my liking. The only real let-downs were the swell-box and the tremulant, neither of which appeared to do anything at all. Possibly both were in need of repair?

 

No doubt some would have liked more of a Swell organ. (no chorus, no diapason, no reeds), but given the spatial constraints (the organ has to fit under the Nave arcading, and not stick out too far backwards) I don't see what more could have been fitted in. Certainly the organ is very compact as it is. I did wonder whether it was wise to build it on the south side - it must get a lot of sunlight falling onto it through the huge windows.

 

On the whole though, a really lovely, really musical instrument. Very English in character despite the Brustwerk-Swell Organ, a sympathetic acoustic, marvellous architecture, remarkably friendly church folk, and a very commendable pub round the corner. I was a happy customer. (Oh, and I got to play the EEOP organs in the same session too, as I've mentioned elsewhere; 3 for the price of 1!)

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One extraordinary little organ I have encountered is the elgannt instrument at St Endellion in Cornwall (see http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...c_index=E00454). My wife and I have attended the music festival each year for several years. The organ has rarely had to play continuo, but has had to cope with The Dream of Gerontius (Elgar), and many a romantic choral evensong. I have heard everything from Bach to Cocker played on it - and unbelievably, it coped very well! It is not an organ of extremes, with mutations and the expense of accompanimental stops. More so, it has an effective swell box. It has no strings, celestes - but the foundation tone, unenclosed and enclosed is such that I have never felt short-changed. This organ is a long way ahead from the totally unenclosed instruments of yore, which seem designed to restrict the player in choice of music. I think that no-one so far has mentioned the fact that the organ is there primarily to facilitate the churches worship and mission. Oh - and it looks good as well!

 

I agree - I found it to be a very musical instrument, in a beautiful case. It is also a great improvement on the previous instrument. It is possible to produce a fair flute céleste on this instrument - together with a good 32ft. effect, used to underpin the full Great.

 

The St Endellion organ did strike me as quite versatile - though I can't personally imagine Crocker on it!

 

Who is this 'Crocker', Vox?

 

Did he perhaps write a Truba Tune?

 

:rolleyes:

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Sorry to drag up an old topic, but I'd be very interested to know of some multum-in-parvo schemes designed by Bernard Edmonds. I'd like to understand what his perspective was on what parish churches really needed, given that he was a priest. Could anybody please inform me of some, with NPOR links if possible?

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Sorry to drag up an old topic, but I'd be very interested to know of some multum-in-parvo schemes designed by Bernard Edmonds. I'd like to understand what his perspective was on what parish churches really needed, given that he was a priest. Could anybody please inform me of some, with NPOR links if possible?

 

...

 

Anybody?

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Sorry to drag up an old topic, but I'd be very interested to know of some multum-in-parvo schemes designed by Bernard Edmonds. I'd like to understand what his perspective was on what parish churches really needed, given that he was a priest. Could anybody please inform me of some, with NPOR links if possible?

 

The only organ I am aware of with BBE input is St George's Letchworth which does not seem to be recorded on NPOR. Hurford designed a scheme but the Diocesan Organ Advisor was BBE who would not pass it unless there was an 8 Open Diapason on the Great. This is covered in the "21 years of organbuilding" book by Maurice Forsyth-Grant begining on page 95. Frank Bradbeer was at pains to point out that it was against the organbuilders will, "clearly marking it Pedal Diapason, to show where it had come from, and to discourage the dabblers who would use it all the time if it merely said Diapason 8".

Gt - Fl 8, Pr 4, Block Fl 2, Mix IV, Pedal Diapason 8.

Sw - Spitz Fl 8, Quintadena 4, Pr 2, Trompette 8.

Ped - Subbass 16, Pr 8, Bass Fl 8, Quint 5 1/3, Choral Bass 4.

Normal 3 couplers + sw Sub-oct to Gt.

 

PJW

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The only organ I am aware of with BBE input is St George's Letchworth which does not seem to be recorded on NPOR. H

Gt - Fl 8, Pr 4, Block Fl 2, Mix IV, Pedal Diapason 8.

Sw - Spitz Fl 8, Quintadena 4, Pr 2, Trompette 8.

Ped - Subbass 16, Pr 8, Bass Fl 8, Quint 5 1/3, Choral Bass 4.

Normal 3 couplers + sw Sub-oct to Gt.

 

PJW

 

Didn't this organ gain a Dulciana and a Lieblich Flute to make a bit more user friendly?

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The only organ I am aware of with BBE input is St George's Letchworth which does not seem to be recorded on NPOR. Hurford designed a scheme but the Diocesan Organ Advisor was BBE who would not pass it unless there was an 8 Open Diapason on the Great. This is covered in the "21 years of organbuilding" book by Maurice Forsyth-Grant begining on page 95. Frank Bradbeer was at pains to point out that it was against the organbuilders will, "clearly marking it Pedal Diapason, to show where it had come from, and to discourage the dabblers who would use it all the time if it merely said Diapason 8".

Gt - Fl 8, Pr 4, Block Fl 2, Mix IV, Pedal Diapason 8.

Sw - Spitz Fl 8, Quintadena 4, Pr 2, Trompette 8.

Ped - Subbass 16, Pr 8, Bass Fl 8, Quint 5 1/3, Choral Bass 4.

Normal 3 couplers + sw Sub-oct to Gt.

 

PJW

 

Letchworth Garden City, founded 1903, encompassed several villages including Norton with its Parish Church of St Nicholas dating back to 1119. A new church in the Parish, St George's, was built in 1964.

The Parish website can be seen at http://www.parishofnorton.org.uk/welcome/ and details of the St George's organ (listed on the NPOR under Norton) can be seen at

http://npor.rcm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?...ec_index=N14119

 

RAC

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Letchworth Garden City, founded 1903, encompassed several villages including Norton with its Parish Church of St Nicholas dating back to 1119. A new church in the Parish, St George's, was built in 1964.

The Parish website can be seen at http://www.parishofnorton.org.uk/welcome/ and details of the St George's organ (listed on the NPOR under Norton) can be seen at

http://npor.rcm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?...ec_index=N14119

 

RAC

 

Thanks for flagging that up. I don't know the area and used the way it was referred to in the M F-G book.

PJW

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Didn't this organ gain a Dulciana and a Lieblich Flute to make a bit more user friendly?

 

Now that the NPOR entry has been identified by "RAC", and if it is up to date and correct (there is an issue with couplers) it appears that this is not the case.

PJW

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Does anyone have the Ditchingham spec. - original? - current (Bowers worked on it not long ago)?

 

A

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Now that the NPOR entry has been identified by "RAC", and if it is up to date and correct (there is an issue with couplers) it appears that this is not the case.

PJW

My visit was circa 1984, part of an Organ Club crawl in the Bedford area. Perhaps they were removed in 1993?

 

The organist at the time was ,if i remember correctly, President of the Organ Club

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Now that the NPOR entry has been identified by "RAC", and if it is up to date and correct (there is an issue with couplers) it appears that this is not the case.

PJW

Duplicate - something to do with flood control.

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Now that the NPOR entry has been identified by "RAC", and if it is up to date and correct (there is an issue with couplers) it appears that this is not the case.

PJW

I used to play this organ (St G's, Norton) regularly (and live about 200 yds from it).

The LG & Dulc are still there - available on either manual. I think they were s/h pipework added by Lindsey Colquhoun during his long tenure as organist 1964- 1996. Originally the extra stop tabs were to one side but as of 1993 they moved to join the other tabs for that keyboard. The Gt 8 Diapason lost the 'Pedal' and moved from the end to a more usual position - so the unwary player will not quite grasp what Hurford/Forsyth-Grant intended. There's also a cymbelstern (on top of the Sw box) - which is incredibly loud. The 16,8,5 1/3, 4 flutes on the pedal are also a unit not separate stops as implied on NPOR.

 

Tonally the eight GDB manual stops offer an amazing variety - hardly suprising given the variety of pipe shapes: open, stopped, half stopped, tapered (inwards) and tapered (outwards) and a nice 'splashy' trompette in a very effective swell box.

 

Provided one works a bit (eg the tenor & bass of the Gt 2' makes a really beautiful solo with the tremulant) it can play an enormous amount of the repertoire with good colouring and effect.

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Good Evening.

 

I have with great interest been following the various discussions here concerning small instruments. I believe that as the nature of the "average" American suburban and rural parish has changed from the organ-building "boom" era, these sorts of specifications should be considered again. Around the turn of the 20th century, nearly every first and second-tier builder in the US produced vast quantities of instruments with a specification identical to or closely adapted from the following:

 

Great Organ

8' Open Diapason

8' Melodia

8' Dulciana

 

Swell Organ

8' Stopped Diapason

8' Salicional

4' Harmonic Flute

8' Oboe (often of the flue-gamba variety)

 

Pedal Organ

16' Bourdon

 

For my part, I consider the above specification to be the ideal "core" specification for an American Church organ; at least a point of departure towards specializing the instrument to suit the liturgy and literature that it will be called to serve. We have always had lots of wood-and-plaster buildings with dead acoustics, and I believe the organ-builders of the previous century understood this. What has changed is that today, average attendance here for a suburban or rural parish is about 70 (120 is considered the practical cut-off for acquiring or sustaining any sort of pipe organ).

 

I have always loved octopods, and I play one of 8 ranks every Sunday which is nearly all-duplexed save for the Great Diapason and Swell Trumpet. However, I also know that octopods are decidedly not popular in my particular corner of the country.

 

My personal preference would be to preserve at least a minimal commitment to the above specification. However, I came up with the stoplist below as an olive branch. The primary stops are listed in bold whereas the derived stops are not; with their parent stop indicated in parenthesis:

 

Great Organ

8' Open Diapason

8' Spire Flute

4' Octave

2' Flute (Spire Flute)

Swell Organ

8' Viola

8' Unda Maris

8' Lieblich Gedeckt

4' Harmonic Flute

2 2/3' Twelfth (Unda Maris)

2' Fifteenth (Viola)

 

Pedal Organ

16' SubBass

8' Bass Flute (SubBass)

 

- Nathan

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Good Evening.

 

I have with great interest been following the various discussions here concerning small instruments. I believe that as the nature of the "average" American suburban and rural parish has changed from the organ-building "boom" era, these sorts of specifications should be considered again. Around the turn of the 20th century, nearly every first and second-tier builder in the US produced vast quantities of instruments with a specification identical to or closely adapted from the following:

 

Great Organ

8' Open Diapason

8' Melodia

8' Dulciana

 

Swell Organ

8' Stopped Diapason

8' Salicional

4' Harmonic Flute

8' Oboe (often of the flue-gamba variety)

 

Pedal Organ

16' Bourdon

 

For my part, I consider the above specification to be the ideal "core" specification for an American Church organ; at least a point of departure towards specializing the instrument to suit the liturgy and literature that it will be called to serve. We have always had lots of wood-and-plaster buildings with dead acoustics, and I believe the organ-builders of the previous century understood this. What has changed is that today, average attendance here for a suburban or rural parish is about 70 (120 is considered the practical cut-off for acquiring or sustaining any sort of pipe organ).

 

I have always loved octopods, and I play one of 8 ranks every Sunday which is nearly all-duplexed save for the Great Diapason and Swell Trumpet. However, I also know that octopods are decidedly not popular in my particular corner of the country.

- Nathan

 

The spec only gives half the story, though, because on these jobs the octave couplers are an integral part of the tonal scheme and you usually get extra notes at the top (68 or 73 note soundboards). Casavant Op.1441 (1931) at Bay Bulls RC Church, Newfoundland, about twenty minute's drive out of St. John's, is a slightly larger example. It's divided in a west gallery, the church has good acoustics and the organ sounds amazing.

 

Great: Open, Melodia, Dulciana, Principal, Lieblich Flute

Swell Open, Stopped, Viola da Gamba, Voix Celeste, Harmonic Flute 4, Oboe, Tremulant

Pedal Bourdon

Great to Great 16/4

Swell to Swell 16/4

Swell to Great 16/8/4

Great to Pedal 8/4

Swell to Pedal 8/4

2 pistons to Great

3 pistons to Swell

Reversible G/P

General Crescendo

Compass: 61/32

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The spec only gives half the story, though, because on these jobs the octave couplers are an integral part of the tonal scheme and you usually get extra notes at the top (68 or 73 note soundboards).

 

Very true. My own opinion on organs of 10 ranks or less is largely in agreement with the full complement of couplers such as with the Casavant you have cited. However, I would be inclined to make the Great intra-manual couplers function as "radio buttons" so as to provide an octave transposer; which is to say one coupler at-a-time. There is a tendency around here for full registrations with every stop and coupler active (including celestes) that needs to be addressed!

 

Best,

- Nathan

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