Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - David Pinnegar

Pages: 1 ... 84 85 [86] 87
Organ building and maintenance / "Synthetic Solo Organ"
« on: June 16, 2010, 05:09:29 PM »

I have just picked up a booklet on the organ at St Swithun's, East Grinstead. This is a remarkably good instrument which works very well for a major parish church made by Morgan and Smith in 1937.

Harmonics are very much in fashion, with a whole division of them crowning a new instrument currently receiving a lot of attention on this forum and others . . . but the period of the 1930s is interesting. Harmonics, with the Cornet, are not new to organ building and were the organ builders' way of getting around the Papal edict that double reeds were the work of the devil, thus prohibiting imitations of the Hautbois. But in the 1930s fourier synthesis had come to the fore with the Hammond organ, based on addition together of pseudo-harmonics to create tone colour.

Wurlitzer would often make synthetic stops from ranks of pipes then and at East Grinstead, the synthetic Solo division did the same:

Clarinet: Flauto Traverso, Nazard and Tierce
Orchestral Oboe: Viole d'Orchestre, Dulciana, Nazard and Tierce
Cor Anglais: Viole d'Orchestre, Wald Flute, Nazard and Tierce
Vox Humana: Dulciana, Vox Angelica, Nazard and Tierce

I have not had the opportunity to try these - has anyone come across examples elsewhere?

Best wishes

David P

New Pipe Organs / Re: Studio Acusticum, Pitea, Sweden
« on: June 16, 2010, 12:07:19 PM »
There is a lot of discussion about the mutation madness of this scheme on another website, after having looked at the specification of the Harmonics Division I have top openly admit that I would not know how to use some of the mutations being specified. There must be some logic behind the design, but I fail to see it, maybe Im getting old.


Yes! Quite agree. But it does depend on how the rest of the instrument is voiced. Arthur Harrison's Great Trombas were voiced dull just to add power with his Harmonics, too often converted into a Mixture, with a Septieme to add that sparkle.

But I can't imagine what one does with sharp harmonics.

This is why my instrument at Hammerwood Park is intended partly as a breadboard to try things out at low cost before investing in expensive pipework. I have a Septieme available, which is interesting but rarely used and have played with a None and Onzieme - interesting but not interesting enough to persuade me to implement them permanently.

More important than Harmonics is the ability to go into unequal temperaments and that gives real joy.

Best wishes

David P


This thread started on account of a mistake . . . I thought we were to host a Bach organ recital and then it became a piano BeethovenFest.

On 1st July 2010 7.45 Eton Music Scholar Jeremy Cheng is performing at Hammerwood Park. Please telephone 01342 850594 to reserve your ticket (£10 members, £12 non members).

Starting the piano at just 4 and taking up strings a few years later, Jeremy is now taking his FTCL exam at the age of 16.

Jeremy says:

The programme will include Beethoven's Sonata in B-flat major "Hammerklavier" and Debussy's "Feux d'artifice". I will also be playing these in my FTCL exam in late July.

I enjoy playing the Hammerklavier very much, as it is the first piece I have tackled of such a scale. Its 4 (or 5, if you count the Largo) movements are all very contrasting, yet they somehow complement each other. It is an incredible and extremely challenging piece, musically and technically, which requires great stamina to play. At approximately 43 minutes, this is by far Beethoven's longest sonata.

Feux D'artifice is the last of Debussy's second book of Preludes. I've always liked the impressionists, since their works tend to be very "fun" to play. Feux D'artifice is no exception: the occasional outbursts of the explosion of the fireworks and the gentle rumbling of their echo are very exciting for the pianist.

This concert will be particularly exciting as Beethoven's music was received in a wholly different way before modern standard instruments put a blanket of uniformity over everything.
The various kinds of meantone and well-temperament help explain why, in the 18th into 19th centuries, keys had particular emotional associations. Key descriptions of the time sound outlandish, and indeed some were on the loony side, but they were founded on the reality that in unequal temperaments each key had its distinctive color and personality. "Is something gay, brilliant, or martial needed?" wrote one theorist. "Take C, D, E [majors]." Another: "D major … the key of triumph, of Hallelujahs, of war-cries, of victory-rejoicing." All those keys were relatively well in tune on the keyboard. Minor keys were innately less in tune, so darker in sound and import: G minor, for example, is "suited to frenzy, despair, agitation. ... The lament of a noble matron who no longer has her youthful beauty." You want a pretty pastoral piece? You want a relaxing key like F major—the key of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony:

Two of Beethoven's favorite keys tell us a lot about him. The most famous is C minor, described by one writer of the time as "a tragic key … fit to express grand misadventures, deaths of heroes, and grand but mournful, ominous, and lugubrious actions."

On the other hand, in the prevailing unequal temperaments there was still the presence, or at least the ghost, of the old wolf. Thus, croaked one theorist concerning that key, "Death, grave, putrefaction, judgment, eternity lie in its radius." Beethoven studied the theorists carefully, then did what he wanted. As for the putrefaction of A flat major: baloney. For Beethoven, that key, with its complex and distinctive coloration, suggested feelings in the direction of nobility, devotion, and resignation, as in the second movement of the Pathètique
For the last century, the topic of temperament has been relegated to the "tall weeds" in the field of musical discussion. However, recent research1 now strongly indicates that modern tuning is quite different from that used in Beethoven's time. As a consequence, a Beethoven piano sonata played in Equal Temperament is fundamentally different from the same music played in a temperament of his period, regardless of whether the instrument used is a fortepiano or a modern concert grand piano.

Taking the key characteristics listed under
1st movement - B flat and G
The pure major thirds should ring out beautifully clear
Bb Major
Cheerful love, clear conscience, hope aspiration for a better world.
G Major
Everything rustic, idyllic and lyrical, every calm and satisfied passion, every tender gratitude for true friendship and faithful love,--in a word every gentle and peaceful emotion of the heart is correctly expressed by this key.

3rd Movement
F# Minor
A gloomy key: it tugs at passion as a dog biting a dress. Resentment and discontent are its language.

4th movement
D Minor
Melancholy womanliness, the spleen and humours brood.
B Major
Strongly coloured, announcing wild passions, composed from the most glaring colours. Anger, rage, jealousy, fury, despair and every burden of the heart lies in its sphere.
A Major
This key includes declarations of innocent love, satisfaction with one's state of affairs; hope of seeing one's beloved again when parting; youthful cheerfulness and trust in God.
back to certainties of B flat major

I think that hearing this well played on the piano tuned so that we can hear these moods will be really moving and you'll probably be the first in 150 years to have heard the sonata on an instrument on which you can hear them.

Here's a leading concert pianist explaining more about it:

Best wishes

David P

Questions of Temperament / Re: Not alone...
« on: June 10, 2010, 09:11:57 PM »

Thanks so much for that link.

The problem is that one doesn't often hear organ recitals in appropriate temperaments as so few organs have ordinarily been built to an unequal temperament - St Maximin is worth listening to for that reason, and Albi, and some classical revival instruments too. But so many instruments have been converted to Equal Temperament and even many modern classical revival instruments have not bitten the bullet in using an unequal temperament.

This is why I regard concerts at Hammerwood Park on my concert instrument as being important so that we can hear the effects and organists can experiment. There are a few links on: Organists are welcome to try, play for fun, practice or recitals and audiences are welcome.

However, the reason for writing is a link to a recording where the effects exploited by 19th century composers are clearly audible:

Best wishes

David P

The much-loved Wurlitzer from the former Glasgow Odeon Cinema, owned by a Scottish Cinema Organ Trust member, may have to be broken up and sold off for spares. Members have been in touch with Glasgow City Council and suggested a range of homes for it, including the new Museum of  Transport, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the city's Burrell Collection gallery, but the council isn't  interested. "It would be tragic if it has to be broken up, and if any Old Glory reader could help us find a home for it, we would appreciate it."  Readers who think they may be able to help find a home for the Glasgow Odeon organ should contact lan Macnaught, tel. 0141 632 5811 or email

Miscellaneous & Suggestions / Very amusing YouTube video
« on: May 27, 2010, 11:11:20 PM »
Hi! starts off rather naffly but twists amusingly.

Meanwhile although vandalism  has clearly taken place, at least scores on originality.

Best wishes

David P


Mark Shepherd is performing again at Hammerwood. Friday 18th June 7.45pm.

PLEASE telephone 01342 850594 to let us know that you are coming. It's great not to have a last minute panic on the number of seats. . .

He describes the programme:
"Walton's Orb and Sceptre (arr McKie/Shepherd)  - because it's fun,
Bach An die wasserflussen Babylon, double pedal one, - because it's sublimely beautiful;
Bach Christ unser Herr zum Jordan Kamm, - because it manages to be both profound and lively;
the sicilienne from the Suite of Duruflé - because every meal needs a sorbet, and the
Carillon Sortie of Mulet - because I should have learnt it 25 years ago but need to now "

As you can tell, Mark is great fun.
As a performer also he impresses me not only for his technique  but because he performs relaxed, taking it all in his stride and being very human
and making it all seem so easy.

These videos were made before I discovered how to replace the camera sound with a proper CD quality recording. In real life the organ sounds much better than these videos . . . but the delight of the instrument is firstly versatility in being able to represent any of the repertoire of the King of Instruments to concert audiences and secondly in groundbreaking presentation of music experimenting with temperament and registration, breaking away from often accepted norms which can be responsible for public perception of the organ and of classical music as "boring".

Best wishes

David P

Organ concerts / Hugh Potton at Boxgrove Priory on 3rd and 5th June
« on: May 16, 2010, 08:41:32 PM »
Boxgrove Priory Festival.

Full details on

He's performing in two concerts, the first being a chamber music evening on Thursday 3/6/10 with members of the Chilingirian String Quartet, the second a piano concerto double bill with the Boxgrove Festival Orchestra, featuring the Beethoven 'Emperor' and Rachmaninov's third Piano Concerto.

Best wishes

David P


Friday, 21st May 2010 at 7.30pm

GUILMANT: March on a theme of Handel, Op.15
FESTING: Largo, Aria & VAriations (arr. Thalben-Ball)
LISZT: Symphonic Poem 'Orpheus' (arr. Guillou)
PAINE: Concert Variations on the Austrian Hymn, Op.3
BOSSI: Toccata di Concerto, Op.118 No.5

DUPRE: Scherzo
VIERNE: Naiades, Op.55 No.4
WIDOR: Andante Cantabile (Symphonie Op.13 No.4 in F minor)
GARDONYI: Grand-Choeur
WAGNER: Pilgrims Chorus (arr. Liszt)
GRISON: Toccata


Tickets £15 (Friends of the Welte Organ £7.50)  from 01892 507609 or

One of the leading international virtuoso organists of his generation, D’Arcy has been described as “The Nureyev of organists”; his extraordinary pedal technique is famous. He will perform a typically varied, colourful and thrilling programme – including some works specifically to show off the remarkable Welte organ. 

The unique Welte organ, built in 1914 and recently restored to its full playing glory is housed in the splendid oak-panelled Victorian Science Theatre – an important and fascinating historic venue. 

The setting of this magnificent 36 acre estate is breathtaking; so arrive early to enjoy the views of the rolling parkland and lakes and take refreshments on the terrace. 

Why not book in for pre-concert supper?

Broomhill Road
Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN3 0TG

Best wishes

David P


My gut feeling is that hydraulic fluid has more mass than air and hydraulics have to be hermetically sealed. Using conventional pistons with ring seals which deteriorate and introduce friction together with the mass of a piston, will all add forces to the touch. In contrast, a minor leak on a pneumatic will contaminate only air with air and with the low mass of a gas and low mass of, for instance, pneumatic pouches, other than electrics, pneumatics are the right way to have gone . . .

If you ever have the opportunity to play a French suspended action tracker instrument, you would not dream of wanting anything else

Best wishes

David P

Dear Eric

Sadly transportation failed us on account of the volcanic ash and visitors for this weekend from UK and Belgium including friends of the famous Formentelli organ builders couldn't come. I hope that we'll start to see good photos and hear good recordings.

Anyway, to call this the most exciting organ in three centuries is, surely, to dismiss countless wonderful organs built since the dawn of the Romantic era?

When I was young in architecture I loved the Gothic and loathed the Greek. Now I love the Greek and tolerate the Gothic. So it is with this series of organs. It's significant that the Albi pipework was comprehensible enough to the romantic era to have been "preserved" by incorporation into the romanticisation of the beast, restored by putting all the romantic stuff into another organ up the road . . . leaving . . . pure gold.

Best wishes

David P

Electronic Organs / Re: hi!
« on: May 09, 2010, 09:58:47 PM »

I have read about it before but again not had access to a Sound Canvas device . . . and am wondering really what the best sort of equipment is to replay soundfont type or other sample sets.

I have a chamber organ which would be great to do a sample set of . . . but as I don't run Hauptwerk, Hauptwerk won't give me the spec with which a sample set should comply. It's a loss to the Hauptwerk community and I'll probably make it available for something else and SCPOP looks interesting

Best wishes

David P

Microphone placement is critical to the success of ANY audio recording made of anything, as well as the type of microphone and the equipment it feeds.  . . .  The camera audio, although good for a consumer-grade video recorder, is not without its limitations... the digital recording made with much better microphones (and placement 8) being far better


Yes - very direct experience of this - particularly at St Maximin with recorded with a proper recorder and with the camera sound. The proper recording is significantly degraded by video compression which progressively loses the top octaves of frequencies on higher sound levels.

These effects are even more pronounced on videos of my own concert instrument when recorded by the camera as they would be when taking any camera into an organ loft within 4 metres of the trumpet pipes, as demonstrated again at St Maximin:

In these days of armchair travelling instead of real experiences, people are getting very imbalanced and plastic views of the outside world, including organs.

Plastic . . . even listening through Lowthers
is a recording which can only approximate to a live performance so how can anyone judge any sound through plastic speakers common nowadays, let alone through computer speakers and their poor audio paths . . .

Best wishes

David P

Atheists' Corner / Re: God is not big daddy
« on: May 04, 2010, 07:08:43 PM »
I tend to stick to my own version of 'intelligent design' - that Darwinian evolution did and does happen, and that there was a big bang, and that the Earth and all around it have evolved over millions of years

Well, actually that's one view of the whole point. It all came to happen because the laws of the universe, the laws of space, of matter with gravitation and electromagnetic fields all combine to cause it to happen. There is a sort of harmony between all that must happen, a quantum connectivity too, and there is a lot happening in the dimensions of which we cannot be directly aware. In all this there is the omnipresent, the omnipotent and the invisible.

The other day I was hosting a school party and I remarked to them of the miracle of DNA at Hammerwood Park.

How does anyone possibly think that primeval simple elements in a primordial soup can come together to form proteins and that simply four of those proteins can come together in a structured way on a double helix that just happens to be a self replicating computer programme that is a self-building machine for organisms to self build and replicate . . . ?

Isn't it too much of a miracle for it all to have happened by itself?

How did Windows 3.1 develop into Windows 95 and Windows 95 develop into 98. Millennium edition, 2000, NT, XT Vista etc etc? Did it evolve on computers without intervention or was it engineered progressing one version to the next?

Best wishes

David P

Organs in danger / Re: Tiny two-manual under threat of scrapping
« on: April 28, 2010, 11:21:49 AM »

Yes - point accepted - but now I come to think of it there is another instrument of which I'm aware in England where opto electronic sensors have been installed on the tracker keyboards to excellent effect. There is also another method where a soundboard has facility for a "clamp on" where the wind can be piped to puffpads attached to contacts or even another higher tech technique.

I'm not saying that this is the proper or appropriate route for all small organs . . . but it can certainly enable significant frustration to be overcome. The organist at our local church would love just a 2ft and a shiny trumpet for wedding voluntaries.

If instruments can serve as they were built, of course, all the better.

Have you contacted the school to see what is happening with this instrument and why they are getting rid of it?

Best wishes

David P

Organs in danger / Re: Tiny two-manual under threat of scrapping
« on: April 27, 2010, 07:06:18 PM »

At risk of being controversial, isn't this just the sort of non-historic pipe organ which could be saved by being made more interesting and retained essentially as a pipe organ by adding some modest electronic extensions? An extra pedal stop, an extra 4ft somewhere, a 2ft, perhaps a Sesquialtra and a reed? It need not develop into a monster toaster but could be kept true to its integrity but offering much greater versatility and interest.

This is exactly the case where UK and European pipe organ builders are shooting themselves in the foot by preventing any incorporation of electronics as such instruments as these are often seen as a waste of space for the spec they provide and as such are ripe to be toasted.

I'm aware of two very successful UK organs which have incorporated a modicum of electronic stops and
details another in the US

Certainly this organ would be an ideal candidate as a house organ and an instrument on which anyone might experiment with some modest additions . . .

Best wishes

David P

Organ courses / Re: And the Masterclass at St. Cecilia's...
« on: April 27, 2010, 11:59:51 AM »

Brilliant! Sounds exciting!

St Cecilia's where? Is there a link to the masterclass website? A link to details of the organ?

Many thanks

Best wishes

David P

Organ concerts / Re: FUTUR CONCERTS of ERIC DALEST
« on: April 27, 2010, 11:57:18 AM »
Dear Eric

BRILLIANT - thanks. It's wonderful to have a glimpse of enthusiasms here. Perhaps on each concert you might announce it a fortnight beforehand, tell people what you are playing (and why etc etc) and perhaps tell them a bit about the organ that you're playing on each occasion and what you love about it. In the course of time, this will feed the fires of enthusiasm. We have to show to people who have not been to an organ recital before the sort of excitement that they are missing out on . . .

With concerts in France, Spain, Italy or Germany, please do write in French, Spanish, Italian or German.

Encouraging people to come to organ recitals has to be a really wide cultural thing that has to cross the bounds of languages, of which English is not universal, and nationalities.

I have a client
with whom I was discussing their "Unique Selling Point" of encouraging people to stay in Fiuggi, comparing it with Rieti where the organ there is causing hotels to be filled, and my client said that there are a number of cathedrals locally with superb organs but that audience levels had dropped to the point where good organists refused to go there.

So really without setting alight the fires of the boilers of enthusiasm, the King of Instruments will lose wind.

Best wishes

David P

Organ concerts / Re: FUTUR CONCERTS of ERIC DALEST
« on: April 26, 2010, 08:10:47 PM »
Dear Eric

Brilliant - thanks for posting here . . . But please could you tell us what programme you are playing where, and why you LOVE what you are proposing to play and why you are so enthusiastic to play that programme on the organ at the venue you have chosen to play at?

Best wishes

David P

Atheists' Corner / Re: God is not big daddy
« on: April 26, 2010, 08:07:31 PM »

It turns out that Plato, around 23 centuries ago, was "on to something" in modern physics. The 3 dimensional solidity that we experience is, according to modern physics, an illusory 3 dimensional shadow of 6 dimensional space. Our 3 dimensional solidity has an existence in each of the other 3 dimensions which we cannot see. It's these that we turn our heads around to see but can't quite glimpse, the realms in which the "godworld" inhabits, invisible, everywhere and all powerful, having an influence in the realm in which we live.

Plato described it as us being entrapped in a cave where all we could experience of the outside was that of the shadows on the walls of the figures in the outside world, and our understanding of the reality being unable to surpass the mere shadows as our reality.

The teaching of religions is that when one cooperates with the gracious forces that form the cosmos, the force flows through you in such a way that you may become conscious of it and you can work as part of it and with it. It's a state of being, a state in harmony with all the universal laws of all creation and this extends to our relationships with other people.

Before Christ, love was familial, tribal. It was simply a power-unit, the protection provided by which enabled groups to cooperate internally and to thrive. But after Christ, the cooperation with the harmony of natural laws enabled the injunction to "love God" and to "love your neighbour as yourself", extending cooperation to enable individuals to rise above the bounds of mere blood-ties.

Hope this makes a little sense . . .

Best wishes

David P

Pages: 1 ... 84 85 [86] 87

Locations of visitors to this page

Organ Design

Latroba Holidays