Tuesday 19 August 2014

Trials of Organs - Day 17

Because there will be so much dust around the Cathedral over the 9 months or so and because we do not want that dust sucked and blown through the Cathedral organ we have borrowed an electronic organ which is in the process of being installed.

The organ we have borrowed is based on the Hauptwerk system:

Hauptwerk is a computer-based "Virtual Pipe Organ" system, driven from any MIDI keyboard or MIDI-compatible organ console.It requires a powerful computer with a fast multi-core processor and lots of memory. The PC inside this console has 16GB of RAM.

Every single pipe of a particular pipe organ is recorded (3 times over) in better-than-CD quality.
But not only the pipes: all the "noises off" are recorded as well - such as the blower motor, the clatter of the keys, the "thud" of the stops going in and out, and the swell shutters opening and closing.

All this contributes to the amazing tonal quality and stunning realism of a Hauptwerk organ. 

The organ console is made by Magnus Organs of Sulech√≥w in Polland who specialise in Hauptwerk-based organs.

The beauty of this instrument is that is can play a number of different organs which have been recorded from all over the world ... for example

The organ which we will be "virtually" using most of the time is the 1892 "Father" Willis organ of Hereford Cathedral.
When the occasion demands (e.g. if we are singing a French Mass) we can also use the organ of St Etienne Abbey in Caen, Normandy, built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in the 1880s.
If the organists want to play Baroque repertoire, they can use the 1721 Schnitger organ of St Michael's Church in Zwolle ( Netherlands ).
And for silent movies, there is a choice of Wurlitzer theatre organs..... 
Ideally we would like the speakers up in the organ loft so that they can "speak" into both the Quire and the Nave, as the Cathedral organ does very effectively.

HOWEVER, getting the speakers up in to the organ loft was more of a problem than we had imagined and there was a Summit Meeting (every bit as important as the G8) this morning to solve the problem. Thankfully, the combined wit of our Precentor, Director of Music, Head Verger and Director of the Voluntary Choir (who also owns and markets the Magnus Organ in the UK) has solved the problem. Phew!

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