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Ideas For Improvement...with Funds For A Rebuild, What Would You Do?


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Just a little thought for you all...faced with an instrument as described below, and an opportunity to rebuild...what would you do?

 

2 manual - 1937 Rushworth and Dreaper.

Divided over choir stalls with a low chancel arch.

Roosvelt chests – wimperings around, repetition of notes is very poor.

Last cleaned in 1974...church very clean but suffering from an industrial type heating system that has roasted the organ (its recently been removed for proper heating!)...leatherwork pretty brittle!

 

Pedal:

Acoustic Bass 32

Subbass 16

Bourdon 16

Bass Flute 8 ext

Octave Flute 4 ext

Schalmei 16 -2nd hand in 1980

Bassoon 16 (from Swell)

 

Great

Bourdon 16 (from ped)

Open diap I 8

Open II 8

Hohl Flute 8

Principal 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture III

 

Swell:

Geigen 8

Gedackt 8

Salicional 8

Celestes 8

Geigen Principal 4

Stopped flute 4

Mixture III

Bassoon 16

Trumpet 8 (voiced loudly)

Oboe 8 (ext from bassoon)

Accompaniment:

Playable from great – stops from swell

Gedackt 8

Salicional 8

Stopped flute 4

 

 

What would you do if you were faced with improving repetition, the versatility of the organ and increasing impact into the nave.

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I'd probably start again with something new - maybe using the best pipework.

 

AJJ

 

Absolutely. As a minimum however:

 

1) New slider soundboards complete with slide seals etc, with extra space on Great - this will lose your accompanimental division and derivations.

 

2) Additional stops to Gt: an independent double, a 4' flute and if possible a softer 8' register such as a Gamba or Stopped Diapason.

 

3) Personally I would also move the Sw Trumpet onto the Great, do away with the 16' octave of the Oboe rank and obtain something suitable to the style of the instrument but smooth in tone (a 16' Clarinet perhaps) to join it.

 

4) I would scrap the pedal in total and start again, perhaps with a Bourdon unit extended to 8' on the Sw side, and a metal rank of principal scale (Haskelled if necessary) on the Great side at 16', 8' and 4' (except for those notes which could usefully be deployed as display pipes on the Swell side), where there should also be room for a proper full (or nearly full)-length reed unit of 16' and 8'.

 

5) Top-to-bottom revoicing. Where projection is a problem it's sometimes helpful to do test notes in final conditions, i.e. with robed choir in stalls and a sprinkling of volunteers in the nave wearing thick coats. I know of one occasion where a new Mixture stop was done under these conditions and it sounds quite brutal with the building empty, but provides just what is needed when the choir and congregation turn up.

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Absolutely. As a minimum however:

 

1) New slider soundboards complete with slide seals etc, with extra space on Great - this will lose your accompanimental division and derivations.

 

2) Additional stops to Gt: an independent double, a 4' flute and if possible a softer 8' register such as a Gamba or Stopped Diapason.

 

3) Personally I would also move the Sw Trumpet onto the Great, do away with the 16' octave of the Oboe rank and obtain something suitable to the style of the instrument but smooth in tone (a 16' Clarinet perhaps) to join it.

 

4) I would scrap the pedal in total and start again, perhaps with a Bourdon unit extended to 8' on the Sw side, and a metal rank of principal scale (Haskelled if necessary) on the Great side at 16', 8' and 4' (except for those notes which could usefully be deployed as display pipes on the Swell side), where there should also be room for a proper full (or nearly full)-length reed unit of 16' and 8'.

 

5) Top-to-bottom revoicing. Where projection is a problem it's sometimes helpful to do test notes in final conditions, i.e. with robed choir in stalls and a sprinkling of volunteers in the nave wearing thick coats. I know of one occasion where a new Mixture stop was done under these conditions and it sounds quite brutal with the building empty, but provides just what is needed when the choir and congregation turn up.

Interesting already...space in pipe lofts is limited - the subbass on the pedal is big boomy, just right for the church, but it is bent over in the limited space it has. So a metal 16 would be out of the question.

The organ is quite bright - the mixtures date from sw -1974 and great 1980 - the sound is very much of its type and age though...

The swell trumpet is enormous...and the swell shutters only open a quarter of the way, upwards and individually (in cinema organ style!)

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Interesting already...space in pipe lofts is limited - the subbass on the pedal is big boomy, just right for the church, but it is bent over in the limited space it has. So a metal 16 would be out of the question.

The organ is quite bright - the mixtures date from sw -1974 and great 1980 - the sound is very much of its type and age though...

The swell trumpet is enormous...and the swell shutters only open a quarter of the way, upwards and individually (in cinema organ style!)

 

Ah, well, if it's not mostly 1937 (which can be quite an interesting era - viz. Buckfast Abbey), then perhaps ripping out and starting again from scratch is the better option.

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Interesting already...space in pipe lofts is limited - the subbass on the pedal is big boomy, just right for the church, but it is bent over in the limited space it has. So a metal 16 would be out of the question.

 

There’s no reason why a metal pipe can’t be bent over (I believe mitered is the term). THIS picture is an example. I’ve never been a great fan of acoustic basses, maybe that’s because I’ve never heard a good example.

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Oh dear, it sounds like a bit of a 'mare. Without knowing anything more about the situation, I'm thinking:

 

Are there options for having the organ sited elsewhere where it can project into the nave? if it's cramped in the chancel and the chancel arch is low, is it ever going to get out into the nave unless it sounds really uncouth in chancel?

 

Also think through what is the organ is going to do - what's the priority on choral acompaniment - does it always work in collaboration with a good choir or does it have to accompany a congregation by itself on occasion?

 

If you do think about moving it, think about what you'd do with the space vacated by the old organ. Was the space originally designed for the organ by the architect?

 

So many factors... just make sure you go for quality and do everything to make sure the organ is beautiful musically and visually, is financially good value long term (which PCCs always like to hear), it is appropriate for its surroundings (no stieglitz Zymbels in village churches, please) and fit for purpose.

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There’s no reason why a metal pipe can’t be bent over (I believe mitered is the term). THIS picture is an example. I’ve never been a great fan of acoustic basses, maybe that’s because I’ve never heard a good example.

 

Also, a metal scale needn't take up so much space as a wooden one, and there are other possibilities - I've seem some very good Haskelled violones where 16' C is only a fraction over 8'.

 

Something which occurred to me afterwards is that this might be a good opportunity for a Compton Harmonics of 32, a series of mutations derived from the Bourdon, capable of giving a very good 32 effect with mf-ff registrations rather than trying to be a distant rumble.

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Oh dear, it sounds like a bit of a 'mare. Without knowing anything more about the situation, I'm thinking:

 

Are there options for having the organ sited elsewhere where it can project into the nave? if it's cramped in the chancel and the chancel arch is low, is it ever going to get out into the nave unless it sounds really uncouth in chancel?

 

Also think through what is the organ is going to do - what's the priority on choral acompaniment - does it always work in collaboration with a good choir or does it have to accompany a congregation by itself on occasion?

 

If you do think about moving it, think about what you'd do with the space vacated by the old organ. Was the space originally designed for the organ by the architect?

 

So many factors... just make sure you go for quality and do everything to make sure the organ is beautiful musically and visually, is financially good value long term (which PCCs always like to hear), it is appropriate for its surroundings (no stieglitz Zymbels in village churches, please) and fit for purpose.

Lots of choral accomp and it needs to be versatile...

There are 2 grills which face into the nave - the 1980 gt mixt speaks that way - when it is on it really pulls the sound of the organ into the nave. On the other side, as the swell is enclosed, the void is filled by the Schalmei!

Perhaps also, in terms of a rebuild - with about £90-100K to play with....that might help?

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Guest Roffensis

Just a little thought for you all...faced with an instrument as described below, and an opportunity to rebuild...what would you do?

 

2 manual - 1937 Rushworth and Dreaper.

Divided over choir stalls with a low chancel arch.

Roosvelt chests – wimperings around, repetition of notes is very poor.

Last cleaned in 1974...church very clean but suffering from an industrial type heating system that has roasted the organ (its recently been removed for proper heating!)...leatherwork pretty brittle!

 

Pedal

 

Open Diapason (wood) 16

Bourdon 16

Bass Flute 8 ext

Octave Flute 4 ext

Fagotto (revoiced Bassoon) 16 (new chest)

 

Great

Bourdon 16 (from ped)

Open diap I 8

Open II 8

Hohl Flute 8

Principal 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture III

Trumpet 8 (ex Swell)

 

Swell:

Geigen 8

Gedackt 8

Salicional 8

Celestes 8

Geigen Principal 4

Stopped flute 4

Mixture III

Cornopean 8 (new to match)

Oboe 8 (new to match)

 

If the Bassoon is original I'd keep it as is, otherwise I'd put it fully on the pedal. I'd certainly keep the original pipework, Rushworths were good at this time, and are good for choral work. I'd also be wary of spiking the organ up or altering its character, but rather be pretty conservative with it. Of course it also depends on the soundboards, space etc, and you may well be better to have new slider soundboards fitted. The Rand D that I play on sundays is pretty similar to yours, though a good biut earlier. I'd never want to alter it, because it does most of what I want it to.

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Thanks for the interesting comments. I ought to be honest now, in that we had the rebuild in 2004...very happy with the work carried out, by Nicholsons, but always have the thought in the back of my mind, did we miss out on anything.

Mechanically:

 

New slider soundboards

electric transmission

New vertical swell shutter front with electric engine

New stop tabs and keyboards

 

As the soundboards were the most expensive, we had to be very careful with the pipe changes:

 

Great

bourdon 16

OD I 8

OD II 8

hohl Flute 8

Stopped flute 8 (from bourdon)

principal 4

Flute 4 (from bourdon)

Fifteenth 2

Mixture III (revoiced)

Trumpet 8 (Old Swell)

Octave Trumpet 4 (ext of 8)

 

Bourdon available at 16,8 and 4 to offset the loss of the accomp division. Mixture put onto slider soundboard and rebalancing makes it sound new!

Trumpet sits behind grill and makes a fine stab at Cocker's Tuba Tune!

 

Swell

GD 8

Gecackt 8

Salicional 8

Celeste 8

geigen 4

Stopped flute 4

Gemshorn 2 (NEW)

mixture III

Contra fagotto 16 (from cornopean, using the old bassoon bottom oct)

Cornopean 8 (NEW)

Oboe 8

 

Pedal

Acoustic Bass 32

Sub Bass 16

Bourdon 16

Principal 8 (OD I)

Bass Flute

Fifteenth 4 (OD I)

Oct flute 4

Schalmei 16

Faggotto 16

 

The OD I is on a separate chest to enable it to be available on both dept. I couldn't live with myself if I had removed it - for solid singing you sometimes need it as a full nave will need the lot.

Great reeds on swell and swell on great transfer

 

The organ is louder - almost uncomfortable for the choir, but short of adding an extra 30K to the job and having it suspended from somewhere, or compromising the mechanical spects, there was little else we could do.

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Thanks for the interesting comments. I ought to be honest now, in that we had the rebuild in 2004...very happy with the work carried out, by Nicholsons, but always have the thought in the back of my mind, did we miss out on anything.

Mechanically:

 

New slider soundboards

electric transmission

New vertical swell shutter front with electric engine

New stop tabs and keyboards

 

As the soundboards were the most expensive, we had to be very careful with the pipe changes:

 

<snip!>

 

 

The OD I is on a separate chest to enable it to be available on both dept. I couldn't live with myself if I had removed it - for solid singing you sometimes need it as a full nave will need the lot.

Great reeds on swell and swell on great transfer

 

The organ is louder - almost uncomfortable for the choir, but short of adding an extra 30K to the job and having it suspended from somewhere, or compromising the mechanical spects, there was little else we could do.

 

I think this all seems sensible. Yes, the soundboards were probably the thing that needed doing and 90-100k sounds about right - actually quite good value for money. (I know a few people will draw gasps of breath here). Get the basics right.. and you did!

 

Yes, re-siting it could have cost significantly more and perhaps would have created an uneasy compromise between organ, choir and building.

 

I did a bit of hunting and worked out which organ it was - would I be right to assume it started life as a Bevington, heavily rebuilt by R&D in 1937? I can well imagine it is quite a "shouty" organ, especially in the choir and read your comment on the re-balenced Gt mixture sounding "like new" with a wry smile (and not only because I wondering what an "old" mixture sounds like either): Bevington were amongst the first to really push fluework hard, R&Ds also pushed flue work hard while I know that Nicholsons today in their new organs tend to rely on Mixtures to produce power while the foundations are really quite gentle, still in the neo-classical manner*. So put all that together and I was interested to read your comments on the Gt OD 1 and I can guess it is rather loud but needs to be to get into the nave to encourage lusty singing!

 

* Footnote: I will be interested to see and hear whether Llandaff really turns out in "Victorian" style - modern all-new Nicholsons tend to be unashamedly modern (post neo-classical, if you like) in all areas.

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I did a bit of hunting and worked out which organ it was - would I be right to assume it started life as a Bevington, heavily rebuilt by R&D in 1937?

 

As far as I can tell - it was all spanking new in 1937 - it isn't a church job either!

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Friends:

 

Would it shock anyone if I allowed that I quite like the stoplist as it stands ? Mechanicals must be put in order, no question, but it seems to me that it is a fine and balanced stoplist as is.

 

Karl Watson

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So what's a 'Synthetic solo' :rolleyes:

 

SB

 

On a pipe organ, it is a composite solo stop, often a quasi-clarinet or -orchestral oboe; usually produced by a mechanism simultaneously drawing an 8p flute, a mutation or two, and perhaps a salicional or a 4p flute - depending on the voicing.

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On a pipe organ, it is a composite solo stop, often a quasi-clarinet or -orchestral oboe; usually produced by an interior mechanism drawing an 8p flute, a mutation and perhaps a salicional or a 4p flute - depending on the voicing.

 

 

Hill Norman & Beard did some of these in the 30's.

 

FF

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On a pipe organ, it is a composite solo stop, often a quasi-clarinet or -orchestral oboe; usually produced by a mechanism simultaneously drawing an 8p flute, a mutation or two, and perhaps a salicional or a 4p flute - depending on the voicing.

 

Thanks - something I had never come across before!

 

SB

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Indeed - I could never see the point of resorting to this, just to acquire an extra draw-stop.

 

Mind you - with a bit of wiring knowlege one could theoretically achieve real exotica!

 

AJJ

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