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Messages - Bryan Moseley

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Organs on eBay or for urgent sale / Re: Conacher on ebay
« on: September 05, 2019, 10:08:43 AM »
Thanks for correcting the location.  The ebay ad said location was Telford and the Menai Bridge instrument came up on NPOR (Telford Road) and has the same Swell stop list.

Miscellaneous & Suggestions / Re: Back from hospital
« on: June 05, 2018, 10:42:50 AM »
Best wishes.

Organs wanted / Re: looking for big organ
« on: June 05, 2018, 10:41:11 AM »
Try Dartford Parish Church - vintage TP 3M H&H, needs restoration, may be available to a good home.

Organ concerts / Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire: 22 September
« on: September 12, 2017, 09:32:43 AM »
Friday, 22 September, 7.15 for 7.45pm at St John the Evangelist, Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire HP22 4JZ:  Timothy Byram-Wigfield plays a programme to include Handel, Bach, Guilmant, Saint-Saens, Elgar, Walton and Vierne on the 1880 Porritt and will talk about his experiences at St George's Chapel, Windsor and elsewhere.  Tickets £12 on the door or £10 in advance from Parrott's Farm Shop, Beechmoor Farm (HP22 4LG).

A really good recital and one of he instruments I would like to hear live.

Miscellaneous & Suggestions / Re: Hymn tune
« on: December 27, 2016, 09:47:17 AM »
It's listed here, but I'm not sure how to go any further.......

Organ Builders / Re: Willis History
« on: August 04, 2016, 10:23:00 AM »
To add a little more to this, the Stony Stratford restoration has turned out very well.  The choruses ring out in the building, the flutes and strings are very fine and the reeds magnificent.  The new Choir mutations are wonderful - I've tried them in chorale preludes and they  highlight solo lines beautifully.  The action is instant and the tracker touch gives a very crisp feel.

Courtesy the Bucks OA, I've briefly played two other local Willis instruments recently.  Berkhamsted School Chapel is a 1949 rebuild of a Hope Jones and is superb!  Again, very good choruses, just two big reeds, both on the Swell but what reeds! The action response is instant.  The console is rather odd, with stop keys and built into the HJ console carcass.  It is comfortable but would take a bit of acclimatisation.

The 1962 Willis in Amersham Free Church was a bit of a disappointment.  For me, it didn't hang together tonally although the acoustics in the building don't help and give a rather muffled effect.  The flutes were beautiful but the Great chorus came over as rather woolly.  There have been some tonal changes so my question in the previous post no longer applies.  The action was noticeably slow, also noticed by another of our party who is used (like me) to Victorian tracker, although it didn't worry others more used to electric actions.  Like Berkhamsted it has sprung manuals rather than "tracker touch".

Stony Stratford have an ongoing concert programme, highly recommended to any in the area:

Hopefully the High Wycombe restoration appeal will be successful.

Organ Builders / Re: Willis History
« on: December 13, 2015, 10:47:37 AM »
Very interesting.  The other Starmer Shaw connection in the area is the 1880 Harrison in Haversham church, NE of Stony Stratford, transplanted from Edinburgh in 1962.  The plan is to try to arrange a Bucks OA meeting for 2017 to visit both churches.

Both the Stowmarket and Amersham Willis designs have a flute as the 4' swell stop (rather than a Principal), which on first sight looks a bit strange.  Is the idea that the Diapason 8, Quartane 12,15 and Octave Coupler gives a chorus of 8-4-12-15-19-22, or was there other thinking behind it?

Organ Builders / Re: Willis History
« on: December 12, 2015, 11:23:55 AM »
Stony Stratford have a great website which has a lot of history about the organ:

I was in the church last week on a "recce" for a possible visit and had a chat with one of Browne's organ builders, who was finishing some carpentry on one of the stair wells.  He was very helpful and showed me round.  The restoration is nearly finished, with the pipes for the replacement Waldhorn soon to arrive.  The new casework is beautifully finished.  It wasn't switched on (and I didn't ask!) but having heard of the Willis "toggle touch" I did try that and it was just the right weight, and much nicer than the rather indeterminate and springy touch of so many electric actions and the frightening lightness of some modern tracker actions.

High Wycombe are running an appeal at present:

Correction to my previous post:  according to NPOR, the previous work was in 1984 rather than 1980.

There's also a 1962 2 manual Willis in Amersham Free Church, recently restored, and I hope to visit that one next year.

Organ Builders / Re: Willis History
« on: December 11, 2015, 09:54:22 AM »
There is no reference to the author's identity in the notes and I had never heard of Lane before.  Mr Wyld's comments in his first post have shed a lot of light on their origin and his character, which was the main object of posting the material. 

I am not a "Willis basher".  There are two very fine Willis III organs in Buckinghamshire, High Wycombe Parish Church and Stony Stratford Parish Church, ex-Edinburgh.  The first received a rather unfortunate (my opinion - others may disagree) "restoration" in 1980 in which some characteristic stops were removed and the console spoiled;  the second is being completed following a comprehensive restoration by FH Browne and Son, retaining the Willis III console and adding stops previously prepared for or stolen.

Apologies for getting the wrong end of the stick about the Wandsworth organ.

Organ Builders / Re: Willis History
« on: December 10, 2015, 01:53:08 PM »
A few years ago I found a set of Rotundas, missing only the first three issues.  They were all heavily annotated, but tucked inside two early issues were some sheets of manuscript.  They were presumably written by a tuner who had worked for Willis and R&D and as the writer refers to the late Arthur Seare, post-date his death in 1970.  Articles on the organs in question were in the journals.  Perhaps the writer was happier at R&D than at Willis - another HW III that migrated to R&D quite early in its life was his "Model Organ" at St Thomas a Becket, Wandsworth.

I have wondered what to with them as they are potentially interesting anecdotes for a historian, so I've now transcribed and scanned them.  The transcription comes first and the scans are at the end.  I presume the "Loreto" is Loreto Convent Chapel (NPOR N04348) which looks similar to a HW III scheme.  I've also included the annotation of a well-known photo in the Willis works in Ferndale Road.  I wonder who W.J. was?

"Volume 2, Number 2, April 1928

Christ Hospital Hertford (Girls’ Bluecoat School)

Two Organs:

1. Speech Hall: A very fine small 2 manual HW I C & O’d by Horace Norwood (?) and myself for R & Ds.

2.  Chapel Organ a new 2 man HW III.

Nice organ tonally and pitman snbds but the single rise reservoirs with their horrible cone valve wind regulators always in trouble.  W.J. never happy.

Both organs taken away from H.W’s and give into care of R & Ds.  Chapel organ reservoirs re-fitted with orthodox R.Ps (roller pallet blind controls) wind regulators, all worked out perfect. W.J. very pleased after putting up with abuse and a lot of nonsense for years from H.Ws.

I met W.J. when he was an elderly man.  He always recollected (?) he was let down by  H.Ws and what great friends he found in the late Llew Simon and Phil White R&D who put all things right.

W.J. was never happy at Loreto College in spite of that great R.C. organist Guy Weitz pushing (?) the job.

I was sent to Loreto by G.B Cartwright to tune, a great list of complaints left for me and an interview with the Mother Superior.  I told the Revd Lady I did not think we had given the final polish to job, reported this.

I was sent a Rocket over this!  Really dropped in it after Guy Weitz’s visit.  Guy Weitz had passed job but W.J. was not happy.  What a position for a tuner to encounter who was not told who had been there.

This was the start of HW IV’s Baroque style voicing with “CHIP” (“Chiff”).  The nuns and W.J. not accustomed to it in 1952, just asked for a normal tonal scheme.

F. Colmer was sent after me to smooth the Revd Lady and the Organist Sister.  G.B.C. phoned me to say HW III would be exonerating me from all blame not knowing the state of things, I never did get this.

I think again, they called in others to correct organ as they wanted it some years later.

The late Arthur Seare C & O’d Comleys (?) organ at All Saints in the later 20s, they got on well, all perfect.

That P.C. you sent me of St Saviours St Albans was done about the same time.

All Saints Church, Penarth, S Wales

A Willis rebuild of the late 20s.  HW III in Frank Geiger’s (?) time as S Wales tuner operating on an itinerary from Ferndale Rd Brixton.

Trouble here and no satisfactory treatment given.

Messrs C.H. Gill Cardiff Organ Works called in (to) give remedial treatment, had care for many years until John Compton completely rebuilt job in 1953 – 54.  Organ now in R&D’s care.  I think was an original Blackett and Howden rebuilt by HW III.  Not a good organ in the start to work on.

Volume 2, Number 3, September 1928

Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

Now in H N & B’s care.

H W III’s rebuild and tonal recast to suit the whims of Sir Hugh Allen and Dr Harris.


15 17 19 22.  Composed entirely of Stopped Metal Pipes.  A tuner’s nightmare.

The late F Colmer after making a tuning visit made his report to HWIII and asked about this monstrosity mixture and was told you are to take next time cuttings of cardboard cut at graduated width to slide into the mouths to blank off say 3 pipes of each note so one can hear for out of tune!

The practical side was never entered into.

It never was a success and the organ was put into the care of HN&B.  They removed this stopped mixture and replaced it by 5 ranks of orthodox pattern so it could be tuned."

Volume 1, Number 4, April 1927

The photo opposite p.38, captioned “Willis Sliderless Chest, in course of construction” is annotated “Westminster Cathedral Great Reeds” and the staff pictured are identified as: 
Background: left  not annotated, right Mr Stanley Thacker
Foreground: left Mr Arthur (“Wiggy”) Hewitt, right Mr Alfred Marlow (foreman)

The photo also appears at the top of p.322 of Elvin’s “Pipes and Actions”.


Organ Music and Repertoire / Re: Capella and Sibelius
« on: November 05, 2015, 08:37:26 AM »
One of our lady organists calls it the "plonkety plonk hymn",  and after seven verses I feel like the Duracell bunny.....

I've successfully downloaded Musescore and got it to work, so many thanks for the recommendation.

Organ Music and Repertoire / Re: Capella and Sibelius
« on: November 02, 2015, 08:48:39 AM »
Many thanks!

I've found our choirmistress has Capella so hope to get a demo soon and will also have a look at Musescore.

What prompted this was a request to play "Camberwell" (At the name of Jesus...) at fairly short notice.  I took one look at it and said "sorry".  Then I took a second look at it and realised that it wasn't so much unplayable as unreadable (for me!) with lots of notes off stave and daft left hand octaves that go below the organ compass.  I redistributed the notes so they were on the right staves (for the left and right hands - no problem with the pedal) and can now plonk my way through.

Organ Music and Repertoire / Capella and Sibelius
« on: October 31, 2015, 10:41:25 AM »
Does anyone have any experience of the Capella and/or Sibelius software packages and how they compare?

Tippex and biro have long been my friends in rendering the unplayable (just) playable by getting rid of those difficult notes, but some of my edits are now getting a bit tatty and I wonder whether to buy one of the above to produce some clean versions.

Electronic Organs / Re: New practice organ on its way!
« on: July 24, 2015, 08:40:08 AM »
I've been very pleased with my Viscount Cadet Compact 31 over the last couple of years.  It just (only just!) went round the corner at the top of the stairs into the spare bedroom - anything larger would have got stuck.  Being able to practice in the evening, in the warm, makes a huge difference.

Organ Builders / Re: Bryceson
« on: June 01, 2015, 06:27:22 PM »
The 3 manual in Rugby School's Temple Speech Room survives pretty well unaltered.  I knew it slightly in the seventies when it was not much liked as it was tonally dull and mechanically rickety.  It was considered pretty undistinguished with no upperwork above 2ft - the stop knob for the "prepared for" 2 rank mixture on the Great was firmly fixed in!  It was said the Pedal Bombardon came from the Chapel organ when that was rebuilt by JWW in 1960.  The Harmonic Diapason on the Great wasn't sure whether it was a flute or a principal.  It has since been restored by PPO who inserted the mixture, but I haven't heard it since.  Perhaps a clean has transformed it!

Organs on eBay or for urgent sale / Re: ebay organs
« on: March 02, 2015, 11:35:20 AM »
I played the Gilks at Winchester House School, Brackley (NPOR N12916) in the early eighties and it was a good practice organ and plenty big enough for the (small) school chapel.  Not being able to use the diapason and flute separately on the two manuals was frustrating, but it was certainly nicer than the electronic substitutes then available.

I wondered if the one on ebay could be the same instrument as it's at Towcester, not so far from Brackley, but I don't remember the WHS one having reversed key colours - but it was a long time ago......

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