Author Topic: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)  (Read 10002 times)

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Pierre Lauwers

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Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« on: April 27, 2012, 07:20:55 PM »
Absolutely georgous:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFq6w3Welt

(Link towards the NPOR page under the video)

Best wishes,
Pierre

AnOrganCornucopia

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2012, 12:03:35 AM »
I don't know to what video Pierre links, but I must suspect that it is either private or uploader's friends only, as all I get is a message saying "An error occurred in validation. Sorry about that".

Here are two possible candidates for the video he means:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM8AudmEbNY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFq6w3Welt4

and, assuming I get permission from Peter Hammond, I will soon be uploading some tracks off the recent CD of the Southampton Guildhall Compton.

Here is a rare recording I've uploaded of the Vaughan Williams masterpiece "A Vision of Aeroplanes", a sort of concerto for organ and choir: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bz20ySkDyA - on the Compton firm's very last organ, Saint Alban's Holborn. This very fine 1960-vintage instrument is rare amongst Comptons in containing almost no extension, as its NPOR survey shows: http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N17549 - the only others of which I am aware being Saint Bride's Fleet Street and Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

Pierre Lauwers

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2012, 08:50:59 AM »
Yes, these are the correct ones. As often, the videos have been edited since their
first loading.

MusingMuso

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2012, 10:23:58 PM »

Here are two possible candidates for the video he means:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM8AudmEbNY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFq6w3Welt4



Andrew's playing is wonderful, and brings out the best in this fine Compton. However, while listening to the instrument, (rather than the music),
I couldn't help but notice that some of the upper-work no longer gels with the rest, which is not something I associate with Compton at all.

I wonder if they didn't understand what Compton was doing with Mixtures derived from other ranks.

That stated, it is still a particularly fine example of Compton's peculiar genius at getting a lot more from a much smaller number of pipes than might be imagined.


MM

AnOrganCornucopia

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 12:21:35 AM »
Yeah, I think the derived mixtures were replaced by independent ones by Rushworth & Dreaper in the early 1980s. This wasn't entirely unknown in Compton organs - I seem to recall that Southampton Guildhall has a totally independent four-rank mixture in the Great/Choir chamber. I do recall the derived mixtures at Downside Abbey seeming most effective when I 'played' it in 2005 - in fact, I was really totally taken with the whole organ. All I'd even consider doing to it beyond strict restoration would be to update the capture system, add a Vox Humana rank (genuine 1930s Compton if possible) too the Swell, possibly even a Tibia rank or two (!) in the Solo and (if a second) Great/Choir boxes, plus a Melotone unit...

MusingMuso

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2012, 05:07:14 PM »
Why can't they just be left alone and upgraded electrically as appropriate?

They work...they work well...sometimes extremely well, as at Downside and Southampton.

Wakefield is not half-bad also, even though it has grown a new Choir/Positif in the old case.

St Bride's is, of course, quite magical.

MM

ComptonNewbie

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2012, 07:15:24 PM »
At the risk of digression:  I sometimes wonder if the current trend to incorporate electronic organ gubbins into historic organs in not an attempt to make otherwise perenially repairable organs obsolete within 15 years so that they need to be replaced by a toaster.
With Compton organs in particular, any derivations and borrowings only exist as wire links in the back of a relay cabinet.  Bin that and the organ will never sound as intended without a great deal of work to document how the relays were customised.

Simon.

MusingMuso

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2012, 08:39:56 PM »
Actually Simon, I think someone did go to the trouble of working out the derivations at Derby Cathedral, so whatever may or may not have happened to the Mixtures is probably reversible, unless they've got rid of some of the donor registers, which I suspect is the case.

However, I don't think a digital control system is likely to result in an organ being scrapped, but of course, it is building-in a certain obsolescence, which was never part of the Compton philosophy. I know that Dr Pykett claims that Compton electro-mechanical relays are not as good as those of Hope-Jones/Wurlitzer, but the fact that some are still operating after 80 years, as at the Bournemouth Pavilion, does tend to suggest that the quality was "good enough" to do the job over a considerable period of time. Of course, with obsolete technology such as the Compton electro-mechanical units now are, the task of restoring them would probably exceed the cost of computer-control as a commercial eneterprise, so it's probably something of a "no brainer", to quote a phrase.

I suspect that the bigger problem is the fact that computer equipment generally, is less reliable by half than the rest of an organ, (assuming that it is not built of cardboard and tin-tacs), so the eventual replacement of the electronics every 20-30 years is going to hugely increase the cost of maintenance over the life of the rest of the instrument.


It's this which, for me, tends to tip the balance towards digital instruments from a financial point of view, and I can't help but think that this sort of "planned obsolescence, (perhaps more "predictable obsolescence"), in pipe-organ building may not come back to haunt the trade in due course.

Of course, the ultimate irony is that by replacing a pipe-organ with  a new digital organ and speaker set-up, actually introduces a whole lot more gubbins and obsolescence in the medium term.

There's a lot to be said for mechnical action....the "old faithful" of organ actions, which seldom go wrong and can at least be repaired easily.

MM

Barrie Davis

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2012, 07:12:01 PM »
Hi
The relays on Comptons are very complex, the late Jack Ivey showed and explained to me how the Cornets 32 and 16 on St Martins Birmingham were derived, I am surprised that Nicholsons did not alter these when the organ was rebuilt.
St Lukes Cradley Heath a large 3 manual extension organ is now silent as the relays and key contacts have given up the ghost after 60 years. The cabling in the organ is all cotton covered and that is problematic. Its a shame this church is dying on its feet and have no funds available to tune never mind restore the organ. Sign of the times.
I have always respected Comptons work, yes with extension organs the upperwork relied on good tuning visits. I can remember going to a cinema in Birmingham with Jack Ivey to tune the large 4 manual organ there, he went through everything not many flue stops were out and the reeds only in a few places. I ask the question was this helped by total enclosure and self closing swell box shutters when the wind was turned off?

Best wishes

Barrie

ComptonNewbie

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2012, 11:40:55 PM »
Barrie,

I quite agree that any significant work on an organ is an expensive undertaking.  However, there isn't much hope that a computer based system will last another 60 years. 

Wire insulation is much better now and is something of a consumable element if damp has affected the cotton covering.

I have a Compton matix relay here and compared with most other kit, seems both compact and reasonably straightforward to work on. 

I understand Compton derivations were determined on site, hence the variation both between stops on an organ and between different installations.  However, the composition is something of a matter of taste, and modifying for the sake of fashion is rarely a good improvement on an historic instrument.

Simon.

Andrew Dewar

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2012, 11:40:04 AM »

MusingMuso

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2012, 05:57:31 PM »
Wow!

Now if only the Parisian organists could have had organs like that!   8)

Apart from anything else, what magnificent organ-playing, and finally, someone who understands the Guilmant Sonata no.1, which is a very fine piece of music in the right hands.

The instrument is impressive, to say the least, and 'pcnd' will note that even the Tuba blends nicely, because like me, he doesn't usually like the things.

I think we need a Compton revival as well as a Guilmant revival.

MM

pcnd5584

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2012, 04:52:23 PM »
Wow!

Now if only the Parisian organists could have had organs like that!   8) ...

The playing is indeed excellent.

Welcome to Andrew Dewar, incidentally.

However, I am not sure that I would agree with MM's comment above. The Derby organ just does not sound at ease with this repertoire - it is too thick and bass-heavy (at least on these clips). The chorus reeds lack the characteristic (almost percussive) attack and éclat of good French reeds.

Andrew, no offence is intended - I do not think that anyone here likes my 'own' church organ, either....


Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

Barrie Davis

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2012, 07:58:28 PM »
Hi

What each individual likes in an organ is very similar to the individuals tastes in say beer, I am glad we do not all agree on the same thing or what a boring world it would be...... nothing to moan about!!!!!
I am hoping to hear your organ in the summer PCND but I have heard some good reports about it.

Best wishes

Barrie

Andrew Dewar

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2012, 08:44:20 PM »
Many thanks for the kind comments! The Derby instrument is certainly greatly underrated; I was very pleasantly surprised by its capabilities - yet terrified by the console - when I played it for the first time prior to my recital last August. Someone (who'll remain nameless) told me it was the worst Cathedral organ in the UK!! This is definitely not the case...

@'pcnd' You are right about this organ not quite suiting Guilmant, although I find the solo reeds in the second movement do work very well. All the recitalists in last summer's series were asked to include one piece of Guilmant- it wouldn't have been my first choice either...
I'll try and upload some clips of this instrument soon: http://www.americancathedral.org/pdfs/GrandeOrgue02.pdf

Meanwhile, I'm off out to enjoy some Belgian beer  :P

MusingMuso

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2012, 10:26:19 PM »
Wow!

Now if only the Parisian organists could have had organs like that!   8) ...

The playing is indeed excellent.

Welcome to Andrew Dewar, incidentally.

However, I am not sure that I would agree with MM's comment above. The Derby organ just does not sound at ease with this repertoire - it is too thick and bass-heavy (at least on these clips). The chorus reeds lack the characteristic (almost percussive) attack and éclat of good French reeds.

Andrew, no offence is intended - I do not think that anyone here likes my 'own' church organ, either....



=========================


They always sound extremely coarse and vulgar to my ears.  Take away the acoustics and they'd only be good for fair organs! ;)

MM

pcnd5584

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2012, 09:17:00 PM »
Wow!

Now if only the Parisian organists could have had organs like that!   8) ...

The playing is indeed excellent.

Welcome to Andrew Dewar, incidentally.

However, I am not sure that I would agree with MM's comment above. The Derby organ just does not sound at ease with this repertoire - it is too thick and bass-heavy (at least on these clips). The chorus reeds lack the characteristic (almost percussive) attack and éclat of good French reeds.

Andrew, no offence is intended - I do not think that anyone here likes my 'own' church organ, either....



=========================


They always sound extremely coarse and vulgar to my ears.  Take away the acoustics and they'd only be good for fair organs! ;)

MM

Apparently, at the time of the 1972-77 restoration and rebuilding of the organ in Saint Paul's Cathedral, the voicers were rather surprised at how coarse some of the chorus reeds (and 'big' reeds) were on the voicing machine - i.e., away from the vast acoustic, which clearly lends body (in addition to roundness) to the tone of these ranks.

Generally, I find French chorus reeds extremely exciting. Admittedly I have yet to hear any in a similar acoustic to that which obtains in my own church. However, I should have thought that Derby Cathedral could cope with more Willis-style chorus reeds. The Compton stops sound a little dull and undeveloped, although it is true that they suit the rest of this organ.
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

Andrew Dewar

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2012, 09:58:02 PM »
Here are some French reeds  :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwUpPOXmqXI

MusingMuso

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2012, 01:18:26 AM »
Here are some French reeds  :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwUpPOXmqXI


=====================


Here are some more; though I'm not sure who made the ones heard in the Schrammel.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrBeBehBLOE&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoXlBigi62Q


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPGDiA3fidA&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVwQZttmkko  (This is magnificent playing!)


Well, they're better than the Vuvazela.

In the next edition:-   "How to imitate a French Vox Humana with a comb & paper"    :D


MM
« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 01:22:58 AM by MusingMuso »

David Drinkell

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Re: Compton organ Cath Derby (UK)
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2012, 06:11:07 AM »
Apparently, at the time of the 1972-77 restoration and rebuilding of the organ in Saint Paul's Cathedral, the voicers were rather surprised at how coarse some of the chorus reeds (and 'big' reeds) were on the voicing machine - i.e., away from the vast acoustic, which clearly lends body (in addition to roundness) to the tone of these ranks.

I think that's not uncommon with Willis reeds, although if it surprised Manders' voicers, it must have been particularly apparent since they would have known roughly what to expect.  Willis III's work can be especially aggressive, although it's difficult to generalise.  St. Jude's, Thornton Heath was big but not coarse, and it was a very big organ for the size of the church. Westminster Cathedral, on the other hand, can sound pretty brutal to my ears (in a way that Liverpool doesn't).  That's probably heresy, and I feel a little guilty about it....
« Last Edit: May 19, 2012, 04:06:11 AM by David Drinkell »

 


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