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.
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.