Author Topic: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline  (Read 4371 times)

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David Pinnegar

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Hi!

I have just had news of a 2 manual and pedal reed organ at Hope Baptist Church, Haslemere, http://hopebaptist.org.uk/ which is being replaced by a Wyvern and which needs to be eliminated from its occupancy of space by 21st September.

At the moment Barbara on 01428 643488 is coordinating the rescue of the instrument to a good home.

It served for many years as inspiration and practice instrument to Prof David Rowland http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/music/drowland.shtml so may do likewise for a young person in this generation.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2012, 10:38:25 PM »
I've spoken to Barbara and am hopeful that we have a good resolution here :-)

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 04:01:25 PM »
I've posted a few photos of this instrument www.thatminidotcom.picturepush.com in the album Haslemere Hope Baptist.

It appears to be a French Harmonium, imported/supplied by J + J Hopkinson.

Has anyone any information about this type of instrument?

revtonynewnham

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 06:15:45 PM »
Hi

A somewhat strange instrument - the presence of the Grand Jeu and Expression stops, plus the case style, mark it out as a Harmonium, but the stop names certainly aren't what you would expect to see on a Harmonium.  Unusual.

every Blessing

Tony

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2012, 09:21:35 PM »
Yes, I've never seen that before, but I'm no expert.

I'm going down to see it on Thursday and might see if I can find anything inside that might give a clue. Hopefully someone on here might be able to shed some light on the matter.

David Pinnegar

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2012, 10:02:42 PM »
Hi!

What a super looking instrument! Sad not to have pedals but certainly looks versatile. I wonder what the expression stops do? Presumably the missing label is 4ft treble . . . ?

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2012, 11:44:17 PM »
Yes, I was rather hoping for pedals, but all the same, it looks interesting.

The Expression stop changes the way wind is blown into the reeds, so it can be played with dramatic effect, from FF to PP and back again. I used to have a lovely old Alexandre harmonium, dating back to mid 19th C which also had a Percussion stop, which hit the reeds a bit like a piano to get prompter speech (I think).

Check out this clip on YouTube to get an idea of what I mean -  http://youtu.be/_8zDrpZjUxo . Whoever said that reed organs are boring??? or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FLcHNVzdyo&feature=share&list=UL7FLcHNVzdyo

The Haslemere one has 2 Expression stops, so maybe one for each manual? I really have no idea.

I don't know how the stops get shared out between the 2 manuals and since if most of the ranks have 2 stops (one each for bass and treble) it won't be as big as first appears.

I shall let you all know in due course.

I've been told that J + J Hopkinson, 'sole importers' of this instrument opened their shop on Regent Street in 1876, so the organ must date to after this year.

If anyone knows anyone who knows anything about Harmoniums (ok, I'm sure there is a plural, but its 40 years since I did Latin :o ) feel free to shed some light here.

David Pinnegar

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2012, 10:17:36 AM »
If anyone knows anyone who knows anything about Harmoniums (ok, I'm sure there is a plural, but its 40 years since I did Latin :o )

Wasn't Harmonia one of Apollo's muses?

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: August 28, 2012, 08:10:51 PM by David Pinnegar »
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

revtonynewnham

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2012, 10:23:51 AM »
Hi

To comment on the post before David's - Harmoniums is the correct plural - at least in English!  The presence of 2 expression stops is not something I've ever seen - and I've played a good few Harmoniums!  It's the key feature of the instrument that gives it it's expressive powers - when played well.

There might be information on Rob Allen's web site on the English Reed Organs - I don't have time to look it up at present - the link is http://tardis.dl.ac.uk/FreeReed/organ_book/node2.html

If it's a proper Harmonium, the lack of pedals isn't a problem - you need both feet for blowing - it's the only way of getting expression.  There are a number of reed organ recordings on You Tube - both mine (mentioned in a much older post on this forum), and Rodney Janzi & Michael Hendron's channels - rodneyjantzi & Mustel 1887 respectively, and elsewhere.

Every Blessing

Tony

Ian van Deurne

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2012, 05:14:08 PM »
There are many who are unaware of the difference between a Harmonium and an American Reed Organ.
The main difference is that whereas in the Harmonium the wind is blown outwards from the bellows, as with a pipe organ but the American Reed Organ actually sucks the air into it, the foot bellows therefore creating a vacuum. This can have a marked difference regarding the tone. One of the best Harmonium makers was Alexandre, Pere et Fils of Paris. One of the reasons was that this company actually endeavoured to reproduce the sound of a small pipe organ and were actually rather successful at it.
The American Reed organ was designed to be more of a domestic instrument, although they were widely used in chapels during the days of the wild, wild west it would seem.
The expression stop, found on both types of organ fulfill the same function, to cut off the reservoir bellows and connect the soundboard directly to the foot pedals, thereby a sudden burst at fff can be acheived, although how or why this was originally employed, I'm not sure. Both instruments employed the divided register technique so that a different registration can be employed between bass and treble.
The Harmonium also has forté stops, usually at each end of the stop jamb which operates small swell louvres for bass and treble whereas the American Organ has knee swells that open the front of the windchest directly. It also often containes an octave coupler and a small fan tremulant, usually for the treble section only. As this organ is pictured, it most definately is of the French Harmonium type, since it is of the classic chest-type case which apart from opening at the front for the keyboards, should also open up again at a 45 degree angle to allow the sound to be heard properly.

At one time I had an example of both types, an Alexandre of Paris, single divided manual and eight bass and treble stops, including a percussion stop and the swells employed as described. It had a pencil squiggle inside the windchest which stated that it was made in 1870. It came from a music shop that had for many years had hired it out for use in small orchestras and when accompaniment for voices was required so it was in first-calss condition. Of course, that didn't stop me from taking it apart to find out how it was constructed. The main chorus was constructed of 16, 8 and 4 which, if you played it one octave up, it did sound very much like a small pipe organ. Not contet with this however, I decided to change the 8' percussion stop to 5.1/3 to give the chorus a bit more 'bite', by moving the reeds up a fifth.
The American organ was pipe Esty Organ Co of Brattleboro, Vermont and I acquired it from a builder who had bought an old house in order to renovate and resell it and had inherited the organ which had been left in the house. Of course he didn't know quite what to do with it so I offered to take it off his hand which he was very pleased about. This organ had five stops divided between bass and treble, an expression stop, an octave coupler and a fan tremulant (which did'nt work at first) It also contained a 16ft Subbass which operated between C - g in the bass. The compass of this organ was C - f''' (54 notes) whereas the Harmonium was 'F - f''' (61) similar to that of a harpsichord. The American orga also contained a row of open metal dummy pipes in the front casework which I tried to get to speak, but was unsuccessful, due to the languids inside not being properly formed.

Unfortunately, due to moving house several years ago, I had no option but to let both instruments go, making sure that they both went to good homes, but it is of great regret to me that I don't have them now, especially the Harmonium.

With best Wishes - Ian 

 

 








 


 

Victor Potter

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2012, 01:16:12 PM »
From the style of the case, which appears to be walnut with the usual 'columns' on either side of the base, the detail of the casting of the handles at either end and the style of the stop knobs this looks to me to be amazingly like an Alexandre Harmonium from Paris. If so they were one of the best builders and their work was held in high regard. There is likely to be some sort of manual to manual coupler. I have a single manual Alexandre in my workshop awaiting a bit of tlc. The case is very similar and it makes a wonderfully full sound. Also the numbers on the stop knobs correspond to the printed registration suggestions on old edition harmonium music by Franck, Vierne etc. The electric blower here has obvously been added later. The knee swells seem to have been removed. It would be worth some research (mine has a swell incorporated in the wind pedals and operated by the side of the right foot). Hope this helps. I think there is a video of someone playing Boellman on an Alexandre in St Sulpice, Paris on YouTube.

Victor Potter

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2012, 01:00:40 PM »
Here's a link showing a two manual Alexandre with Franck being played. They didn't usually have a pedalboard and apparently a comparatively few were made.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvKTU_9eKKI

Victor

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2012, 10:43:25 PM »
Many tahnks Victor - you were almost right.

I am indebted to Rob Allan who provided the answer, from Ian Thomson:-

"Looks like a German 5-row (Ph. Trayser?) with Old English stopfaces to
please the British market. ROS Database no 4351 is a 2-manual Trayser sold
in Britain by J. J. Hopkinson as the DIAPASON ORGAN. The second expression
stop may be Trayser's version of the Double Expression---not to be compared
with that found on French Art Harmoniums. Just an idea... "

http://www.reedsoc.org/Database/scrollfulldetails.asp?regno=4351&ExtraPict=0&Choice=2&Numberofstops=&fs=TRAYSER

From the above link, we learn that Trayser learned his trade with Alexandre, hence, I guess, the similarities.

I was able to visit the church the other day and I've uploaded more pictures to www.thatminidotcom.picturepush.com

Happy to report that the organ is in excellent working condition. The
bellows have been releathered 'recently' but unfortunately a decision was
then taken to also add an electric blower. This was done rather shoddily.

A large, square, white light switch was unsympathetically screwed next to
the treble end of the keyboard, and an inch of the stop jamb face was
removed for the electric cables... It could so easily have been placed out
of site, preserving the original appearance.

The stop with the missing face says '6 Dolce' , and curiously, the Principal
Treble says 8ft, whereas there is no 'Ft' on any of the other stops.

I've never played a two manual harmonium before, although many years ago I
used to play a gorgeous Alexandre (4 ranks from memory), dating back to
around 1860. The coupling worked perfectly and the action was light and
easy. I don't know what mechanism coupled the two manuals, but it was light
as a feather.

The Bourdon was a little milder than I remember the one on the Alexandre
being, but it gave a very pleasing growl, nonetheless.

The electric blower feeds directly in to the reservoir, and since I was able
to play by pumping, with the blower switched off, I should imagine that the
blower could be removed and the organ returned to its original state.



Victor Potter

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2012, 09:25:32 AM »
Thanks for this. It's very interesting. Rob's pictures are very useful and make it  clear to see the similarities/differences with the typical Alexandre. It looks as if it would be good fun to play. Good luck with it.

Best wishes
Victor

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Re: 2 manual and pedal reed organ from Surrey church 21st Sept deadline
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2012, 06:16:22 PM »
The knee swells seem to have been removed

No, they are there and working fine  :)

 


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