Author Topic: Visit to renowned 4 manual instrument rebuilt for major venue - disappointment  (Read 3569 times)

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David Pinnegar

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Hi!

Today the Southern Branch of the EOCS visited a brilliant high profile venue where a four manual digital organ of former note has been rebuilt with computerised sampled electronics and installed.

When one has the privilege to visit work in the course of progress, one must be forgiving towards voicing issues and odd mistakes such as the Cornet sounding as a Vox Humana and the Cornet nowhere to be heard . . . or teh pedal Duliciana being exchanged for the Sub Bass . . . but the instrument was interestingly . . . awful.

On solo and small groups of stops there were pleasant sounds to be heard even if the Cromorne was anaemic and did notr have enough character, but on larger groupings of stops detuning detracted from the ensemble and although full organ was shatteringly loud, it was far from convincing. The upperwork did not sing and one wondered whether there was much harmonic content above 8kHz. . . .

The installation suffers from speaker positioning - on shelves at the back of a proscenium recess - funnelling the sound forwards rather than evenly distributing around the room - and possibly from speaker design. A two way woofer-tweeter speaker has to be very very well conceived in order to reproduce a Tuba stop in any manner convincingly as if it were coming from a pipe.

It's so frustrating when instruments which are trying to be inspirational are installed at the behest of owners who are not discerningly meticulous and do not get on board a team of people expert in the necessary fields from sound generation to sound production inherently included in all pipe organ building firms.

I mentioned the issue of being let down by speakers and the fine installer responsible for the instrument simply told me that those speakers where the ones dictated by the owner.

Best wishes

David P

twanguitar

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A rather surprising post from David here, as normally he bends over backwards to be kind and charitable to less than deserving cases!  So it must indeed have been a truly awful experience, especially as I believe he is a member of the EOCS himself.  If anyone wants to find out more about the location and personalities concerned they can find the info on the 'south coast branch meetings' section of the EOCS website (which I have just done).  Looks as though it might have been a Hauptwerk job.

David Pinnegar

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Hi!

:-) I have deliberately avoided mentioning the location as I have no wish to be insulting to anyone, and use the instance here in a generality of how to, or how not to, go about things.

But whilst pipe organs are pipe organs and even a good 8 rank pipe instrument in the right hands can still pull surprises in tonality, if an electronic is installed for the purpose of inspiring interest in the repertoire beyond the capabilities of a modest pipe organ, it must be really fulfilling in succeeding in its inspirational objective. To fail in that merely turns people against the organ as an instrument in general especially where a large console is seen that can imply that the instrument behind the console is the best there is . . .

The technology concerned happens not to be Hauptwerk, but I'm looking forward to hearing a computerised instrument that really can do the job.

As a matter of interest two members of the EOCS are working on digital technology based on hardware without needing hard discs or operating systems. The good thing about amateurs within a society working on a problem is that they draw often on wider experience - and at least one of the members is an organist and knows what he is designing towards . . .

In contrast, the instrument which I experienced yesterday has at least 4 swell pedals for various departments. From memory "Great" is under expression and is on the same pedal as "Choir" and the pedal department also is under expression, on the same pedal as the Swell. One really wonders who came up with that arrangement!

Best wishes

David P

David Pinnegar

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Was this by any chance in a town whose name begins with U?...

It's most certainly not in a town!

If well implemented however, it could be a particularly good ambassador for the best of organ music :-(

Best wishes

David P

 


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