High esteem for the pipe organ?

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

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Peter Jones
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Peter Jones »

musicus wrote:SC or Peter: it might be instructive if you could spell out just why this specification (or - to generalise - others like it) is not fit for purpose.


I don't think I was implying the organ was not fit for purpose. I was just raising the question. As Hare, I neither know the building nor the instrument at first hand and, I think, a fair assessment of the organ could only be made by experiencing it in the celebration of the liturgy.

The church itself is small: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2051382. It does not need a large, two-manual instrument.

The organ sits on a gallery, no doubt speaking well throughout the building. http://www.skrabl.com/ Look for Opus 16 2009

On the Great, there's 88442 and a Sesquialtera for some colour or solo possibilities. More than enough there to support what cannot be a huge congregation in song, even if the church is full - and the ensemble is underpinned by a 16 pedal. The sole 8 on the second manual has presumably been designed to accompany a cantor, or cantors.

This is not a recital instrument at all but then that is not its purpose.

Presumably the organ builder has used pipes of suitable scale for the building so that the "presence" of the instrument is not overwhelming. Looking at a photograph and reading a specification just raises the question in my mind as to whether or not there is a suitable quiet rank on the instrument for those times when you need one. I myself would like to hear this instrument accompany the liturgy. Where is Frinton on Sea?
Any opinions expressed are my own, not those of the Archdiocese of Birmingham Liturgy Commission, Church Music Committee.
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Peter Jones
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Peter Jones »

As Ken Tickell has been mentioned, were I ever offered the chance of having a small two-manual built, I myself would opt for a more balanced design, if that were possible in the available space.
Only nine stops here: http://www.tickell-organs.co.uk/specInfo/opus05.htm
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Southern Comfort
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Southern Comfort »

Peter Jones wrote:Look for Opus 16 2009


Opus 216, in fact. It's a nice-looking instrument.

Peter Jones wrote:I don't think I was implying the organ was not fit for purpose. I was just raising the question.


Well, I think that on paper the instrument does not function as well as it might. It is typical of instruments that I find when I am called in to consult on an organ which does not seem to be doing what its users and the congregation want it to do.

Peter Jones wrote:The church itself is small: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2051382. It does not need a large, two-manual instrument.


No, but it could stand a modest two-manual instrument, voiced properly as Peter says below.

Peter Jones wrote:On the Great, there's 88442 and a Sesquialtera for some colour or solo possibilities. More than enough there to support what cannot be a huge congregation in song, even if the church is full - and the ensemble is underpinned by a 16 pedal. The sole 8 on the second manual has presumably been designed to accompany a cantor, or cantors.


Exactly. The designer has been doing this for quite a number of years, ever since it was pointed out that the cantor was a normative part of Catholic liturgy and that small instruments which could not accommodate this were not as liturgically useful as those that can.

The main problems with this way of doing it are:
(a) Having just one stop, and always the same stop, for the cantor may not be sufficient, not to mention become exceedingly tedious, especially when, as often happens, the "cantor stop" is very similar in tonal quality to the 8-foot stop on the other manual.
(b) The expense of having a complete set of mechnical action, windchest, trunking, etc for a second manual is completely unjustified when there is only one stop on that manual and no provision for any others to be included subsequently.
(c) See below.

Peter Jones wrote:Presumably the organ builder has used pipes of suitable scale for the building so that the "presence" of the instrument is not overwhelming. Looking at a photograph and reading a specification just raises the question in my mind as to whether or not there is a suitable quiet rank on the instrument for those times when you need one.


(c) The answer to Peter's question is No. Any one stop will almost certainly not be quiet enough for those occasions when you need one. The solo cantor stop will not be either. If it is, then it may well not be appropriate for supporting that solo cantor. This the complaint that I receive all the time with this sort of organ: that it cannot be played quietly enough for, for example, Taizé services, or other times when something more subliminal is required.

To cope with the needs of cantor v. congregation, if you cannot afford two manuals with a balanced specification (as below), then the answer is to be content with one manual and pedal with a full specification on the one manual, and either with (i) a good combination piston system which enables really rapid and quiet changing of stops (the cheapest option) or (ii) a Swell box enclosing some of the pipework. The Swell box solution will also solve the problem of the desire for quiet stops, coupled with appropriate voicing by the builder. Either pistons or Swell box will be much cheaper than the expense of a second manual, and just as effective. In fact, why not both?

Peter Jones wrote:As Ken Tickell has been mentioned, were I ever offered the chance of having a small two-manual built, I myself would opt for a more balanced design, if that were possible in the available space.
Only nine stops here: http://www.tickell-organs.co.uk/specInfo/opus05.htm


I agree. This is a really nice design, and only two stops larger than the Frinton, Essex, organ which prompted this discussion. The two Swell flutes on this instrument might still be quiet enough with the box shut; certainly the 8-foot would be.

Addendum:
For an example of a larger instrument which makes use of a Swell box on the Great(!) see the Church of St Teresa in Beaconsfield, for which I was the consultant for the installation over 20 years ago: http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=H00113

This instrument was designed in the style of Silbermann by the builder, Roger Pulham, with a Positive division which is rather closer to the congregation than the Great and which speaks clearly and directly. The Great Swell box is the unusual but effective solution to what we have been discussing. Apart from the Montre 8 higher trebles, all the Great pipework is enclosed, which gives a lot of flexibility. With the box open, full Great can still support a packed church singing flat out. With the box closed, the Bourdon and Salicional are very good for quiet purposes. The Bourdon on the Positive can also support a cantor when required.

It is possible to apply these same principles to a smaller instrument to good effect.

Peter Jones
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Peter Jones »

Southern Comfort wrote:
Peter Jones wrote:Look for Opus 16 2009


Opus 216, in fact. It's a nice-looking instrument.


Sorry - I must have pressed a key with insufficient force. Opus 216 is correct.
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Peter Jones
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Peter Jones »

Of new pipe organs in Catholic churches, these two exhibit high esteem for the instrument and also contrast in the approach to design.

http://www.jennings-organs.co.uk/pages/wanstead.htm
http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=E01876

http://www.dioceseofleedsmusic.org.uk/organs/st_patricks_huddersfield.php
http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=E01519 - Read note 1 if, like me, you were wondering why there's an apparent duplication of a seventeenth tone on the Great. There isn't. Cevna flavta, by the way, translates as Pipe Flute.... or, perhaps, Flute Pipe?

and I understand that this:

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N09173

is in the process of finding a new home with one of our esteemed members (a regular contributor to our magazine).
Any opinions expressed are my own, not those of the Archdiocese of Birmingham Liturgy Commission, Church Music Committee.
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Southern Comfort
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Southern Comfort »

Peter Jones wrote:Cevna flavta, by the way, translates as Pipe Flute.... or, perhaps, Flute Pipe?


I think that literally it is Pipe Flute, or in modern parlance, Chimney Flute or Rohrflöte. I'd be happy for more accurate information. And Conikasta Flavta elsewhere in the same specification seems to be Conical Flute or Spitzflute.

Interesting that the Krumhorn and Trobenta (presumably a Trumpet) are the opposite way round from conventional practice. Much more useful to have Trumpet on the Swell and Krummhorn on the Great. Then you can accompany them properly, and the Trumpet can also be a chorus reed (if voiced correctly), whereas a Krummhorn cannot easily be.

Peter Jones wrote:and I understand that this:

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N09173

is in the process of finding a new home with one of our esteemed members (a regular contributor to our magazine).


I am informed that it has been bought by the Catholic parish in Poplar, which outbid another member of our forum. It is apparently being replaced by a new Tickell.

Peter Jones
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Peter Jones »

LOL - National Shrine Our Lady of Walsingham - no stops on upper manual - makes a flue like sound when played.
http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N06439

Must be a typo :wink:

There are eleven instruments by Schumacher on NPOR built in RC churches (including a Cathedral) in the 1980s. How do you think these - and other neo-classical instruments of the time by other builders - are holding up?
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Peter Jones
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Peter Jones »

Southern Comfort wrote:Much more useful to have Trumpet on the Swell.


There is no Swell SC - all unenclosed.
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Peter Jones
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Peter Jones »

Southern Comfort wrote:It is typical of instruments that I find when I am called in to consult on an organ which does not seem to be doing what its users and the congregation want it to do.


I can imagine that in a church the size of St Laurence, Petersfield (and I can only imagine the acoustic with what seems a fabulous dome) this "typical instrument" does not always do what its users and the congregation want it to do.
http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N09100

A sole 8 Gedackt on the second manual and the "Great" having another 8 Gedackt as its only foundation must be rather limiting.
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Southern Comfort
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Southern Comfort »

Peter Jones wrote:
Southern Comfort wrote:It is typical of instruments that I find when I am called in to consult on an organ which does not seem to be doing what its users and the congregation want it to do.


I can imagine that in a church the size of St Laurence, Petersfield (and I can only imagine the acoustic with what seems a fabulous dome) this "typical instrument" does not always do what its users and the congregation want it to do.
http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N09100

A sole 8 Gedackt on the second manual and the "Great" having another 8 Gedackt as its only foundation must be rather limiting.


The acoustic in Petersfield is indeed good, but the Schumacher is no longer there — NPOR is well out of date. It was moved out several years ago in conjunction with a major refurbishment of the interior of the building, and in fact went to Leeds Diocese. I expect that by now they have discovered its inferior craftsmanship (it had been a disaster since its first installation and had consistently given trouble from the beginning) and that is it impossible to tune properly because of its interior layout. Cutting corners to save on costs is not a good way to go, and it is not the only Schumacher to have proved problematic.
Last edited by Southern Comfort on Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Southern Comfort
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Southern Comfort »

Peter Jones wrote:
Southern Comfort wrote:Much more useful to have Trumpet on the Swell.


There is no Swell SC - all unenclosed.


I was speaking figuratively, meaning the second manual. Sorry!

justMary
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by justMary »

Hare wrote:I have a team of deputies (from "outside" - my one "in-house" deputy died earlier in the year) so weekend and Holyday masses are always covered. It is a privilege to count the previous DofM at Magdalen College Oxford amongst them!!


Great - I'm genuinely pleased to hear that your programme is so well run.

Now, if I ever move to your neck of the woods (wherever that might be!) I won't be joining your parish. But I'm pleased that you're there.

Hare
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Hare »

justMary wrote:
Hare wrote:I have a team of deputies (from "outside" - my one "in-house" deputy died earlier in the year) so weekend and Holyday masses are always covered. It is a privilege to count the previous DofM at Magdalen College Oxford amongst them!!


Great - I'm genuinely pleased to hear that your programme is so well run.

Now, if I ever move to your neck of the woods (wherever that might be!) I won't be joining your parish. But I'm pleased that you're there.


OUCH! :shock: That actually hurts - a lot. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but REALLY!

I think I shall get my coat and dismantle the coathook.

Dom Perignon
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by Dom Perignon »

I would assume that Mary was being, shall we say, a little clumsy, and really means that she would not 'move in' because only the organ is used, and she prefers to use/hear/sing to other instruments. I do hope so.
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keitha
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Re: High esteem for the pipe organ?

Post by keitha »

Southern Comfort said:

I am informed that it has been bought by the Catholic parish in Poplar, which outbid another member of our forum. It is apparently being replaced by a new Tickell.


You are quite correct - and I am very pleased that the instrument has not been lost to the Catholic Church in this country. I was due to make a bid on behalf of our parish, but hours before the bids closed, our PP decided not to go ahead (our bid would have been slightly more than Poplar's!). The replacement new 3 manual 45 stop organ at Newcastle Cathedral is being built by Kenneth Tickell and should be completed in October. The new organ is being entirely funded from a gift made to the Cathedral specifically for the installation of a new organ.
Keith Ainsworth

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