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APOLLONICON ORGAN & Dr WILLIAM CROTCH
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diapason8



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 365
Location: West Somerset, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can I bump this up, and ask again if anyone has any information on the Apollonicon organ, Dr Crotch or the Diorama.

Many thanks,

Nigel
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stocky



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 317
Location: Truro

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Nige! good weekend?
Have you tried googling it? if not i can ask my dad he has a cazillion books about organs churches in london (he was at all saints tooting beck for 90 years) and other boring books too! hes bound to know somthing about it! BWs Tom
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lancecornea



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 526
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Nigel

In an attempt to research this topic, I dusted off my 10 vol set of Grove. Here's what it has to say about Apollonicon:
"A large chamber organ of peculiar construction, comprising both keyboards and barrels, erected by Flight and Robson,Organ Builders, and for many years publicly exhibited by them in their London showrooms in St.Martins Lane. Before building the Apollonicon, F&R had constructed, under the inspection of Purkis, the organist, a similar but smaller instrument fro Viscount Kirkwall. This instument, being exhibited in the builders' factory and attracting great attention, induced its fabricators to form the idea of constructing a larger instrument upon the same plan for public exhibition. They accordingly, in 1812, began building the Apollonicon. They were engaged nearly five years in its construction and expended 10,000 in perfecting it. The instrument contained about 1900 pipes, the lowest (24 feet in length and 23 inches in girth), sounding GG, and the highest sounding a''''. There were 45 stops, several of which gave excellent imitations of the tones of the wind instruments of the orchestra: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, horn and trombone. A pair of kettledrums were enclosed within the case and struck by machinery. The manuals were six in number, detached from the body of the organ, so that the players sat with their faces to the audience and their backs to the instrument. The barrels, three in number, in their revolution not only admitted the wind to the pipes, but regulated and worked the stops, forming by instantaneous mechanical action, all the necessary combinations for producing the various gradations of power. To secure the means of performing pieces of greater length than were usually executed by barrels, spiral barrels were introduced, in which the pins,instead of being arranged in circles, were disposed in spiral lines. The mechanical action of the Apollonicon was first exhibited in June 1817, when the barrels performed the overtures to Mozart's 'Clemenza di Tito' and Cherubini's 'Anacreon'.The instrument was exhibited for nearly a quarter of a century. The performanceof the Overture to Weber's 'Oberon' in particular, was said to be a perfect triumph of mechanical skill and ingenuity,every note of the score being rendered as accurately as though executed by a fine orchestra. About 1840, the exhibition of the instrumenthaving become unremunerative, the Apollonicon was taken down and its component parts employed in the construction of other organs."
Laughing Laughing Laughing Quaint language, don't you think!
By the way, a lengthy technical description, illustrated by engraved figures, of the the instrument made for Viscount Kirkwall will be found embodied in the article "Organ" in Rees Cyclopedia. ( Now that's probably an impossible article or book to find!!)

Hope you find this of interest and useful, Nigel.
Grove has plenty to say about Dr.Crotch.........was there a particular aspect you were after?

Cheers everone
Very Happy
Lance
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lancecornea



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 526
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bit more, this time from The Oxford Companion to Music. They actually refer to it as a barrel organ and was played near Regents Park by anything up to six performers at six consoles. The article on Viscount Kirkwall is refered to, written by a Dr.Burney. Alluding to a performance of Mozart's "Magic Flute" Overture, before the Prince Regent, he says"The machine produces the various accompaniments of a whole band of music, in such dulcet as well as forcible tones, that no-one would credit without the opportunity of hearing it".
An instrument of similar kind was the "Euterpion" which also was exhibited in London.
Rolling Eyes
Lance
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diapason8



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 365
Location: West Somerset, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow,

Many thanks, Lance. This is just what I was looking for. I'm planning a Powerpoint presentation to accompany an evening event to raise the profile of the organ (and hopefully some money for the music fund). The idea, which is very much in its early stages is firstly to talk about the general history of the organ and how it works. The audience can then have refreshments and play with some pipes and bits of action. The second part will be about the history of our organ, and I'm playing with the idea of saying something about travelling back in time to discover where our organ came from. A shot of the Tardis on screen, music from Dr Who and fading to a picture of Victorian London. Then talk about the Victorians fascination with invention and technology and then a bit about the Apollonicon. Bio's of Benjamin Flight, Thomas Robson (snr) and TJF Robson, and then move onto our organ.

The Crotch connection is twofold. We know definitely that his son, the Rev Crotch, lived in Bishop's Hull. He may (or may not) have been the Vicar. Crotch stayed with him, and died in his house on 29th Dec. 1847. He's buried in the churchyard, and has a memorial in the church. The speculative bit is whether he knew the old (barrel) organ in the church, and whether there was any connection between the Crotch family and the purchase of the present organ. I'm still digging, and will ask our library to try to trace the Rees Cyclopedia - perhaps in the British Library.

Thanks again for your help.

Regards,

Nigel
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lancecornea



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Nigel

So far, all I do know was that Dr Crotch was quite a precocious child prodigy on the organ. His father was a carpenter and built young William a small organ. "The London Magazine" Nov. 1778 records that at the age of 3 he was taken by his mother to Cambridge, where he played on all the college and church organs to the astonishment of the gentlemen of the University. He was introduced to J.C.Bach in December of the same year, and then on New Year's Day gave a performance at Buckingham House where he performed "God Save The King" and nine other pieces! At Cambridge he bfcame organist of King's and Trinity Colleges, as well as Great St.Mary's Church. In Sept 1790 (aged 15) he was appointed organist of Christ Church, Oxford.
I can't find any reference to his having played the Apollonicon, however.
He died at Taunton while seated at dinner at the house of his son, the Rev. William Robert Crotch, then headmaster of the Grammar School there, and as you have said, is buried in the churchyard at Bishop's Hull

I hope your presentation goes well

Lance
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diapason8



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for your help, Lance. This fills in some gaps in my information. I'm aiming to 'do' the presentation for the first time in late Autumn, after I've settled in at the church, and to follow up with some concerts after Christmas. I'll probably repeat the event, with some tweaks in Spring 2008 as part of the buld-up to the bell celebrations.

Regards,

Nigel
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stocky



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
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Location: Truro

PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Guys!

Im glad you got more info! My Father is currently trawling through his collection of books for you! Hes at a loose end at the moment and tidying up his collection for our moving house over the summer! Hope all are well!
BWS Tom
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diapason8



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 365
Location: West Somerset, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks, Tom. I've also contacted the local studies library and the County Museum for any info.

Regards,

Nigel
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eagles



Joined: 23 May 2006
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Location: Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know that detailed description of what Nigel refers to as the (barrel) organ reminds me of another fascinating mechanical contrivance called the Polyphon which was even more automated. It used circular disks with pins in, rather in the way a player piano (pianola) roll had holes punched in it at all the right spots.

This was only exceeded in ingenuity by the ... I tell no lie ... Auto-Glockenspiel-Polyphon which you would be right in believing had further automation and glockenspiel attachments Smile Very Happy Smile
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diapason8



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
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Location: West Somerset, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My further research has traced the original barrel organ which was in our church before the present organ and which is now in a church about 20 miles away. I've also found that the Apollonicon organ - some of which forms our present organ had percussion 'stops' operated by the barrel mechanism!

Nigel
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