'Exquisite voicing' of new Skrabl organ in Barnsley
An international concert organist has spoken of the 'exquisite voicing and delightful colours' of a new Skrabl organ in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
The considered assessment of a new instrument by a leading organist is of significant value to an organ builder.
So we are enormously grateful to Michael Overbury for his evaluation of the two-manual Skrabl in Holy Rood Church, Barnsley, following his opening recital there on August 15.
Mr Overbury writes: “I greatly enjoyed the Skrabl. I found the touch comfortable – sensitive, but not too light, and the coupled manuals were not too cumbersome. The console, too, I found comfortable.
“I enjoyed the exquisite voicing and delightful colours. The sound at the console was clear and well balanced.
"My private rehearsal recordings from a point towards the front of the nave confirmed my impression at the console that the instrument was well placed to fill the building with unforced ease, clarity and fullness.
“The pedal 16' reed was prompt, and fulsome, and gratifyingly well in tune, despite recent fluctuating weather conditions. I felt no need for a swell box, even in works by Howells and Messiaen.
“The undulating Voce Umana together with 8' flutes were superbly, smoothly blended, despite the Choir 8' having a lively chiff. It is good that the Great and Choir 8' flutes are so very different in character from each other.
“The tremulant is well regulated - not too deep, nor too strong, nor too rapid. The console and casework are handsomely well crafted.
"The great principals sounded big and bold at the console; downstairs their singing quality well matched the acoustic space. The tutti seemed to me rich, strong, vibrant, and sonorous.”
However, Mr Overbury also found scope for development: “It is good that the instrument is supplied with general combinations, but I thought it a pity that there were not more channels, even on a relatively small organ, nor a stepper (advance) button.
“I found it disconcerting that the Great Mixture growls a sub-quint in the treble. I found that a distraction and confusing in counterpoint. I would ask that the desk light be much brighter, and perhaps it could with advantage be brought slightly further away from the facade.”
Note from Skrabl: Steppers and more channels are very much a client's choice and cost very little.
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