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Organist’s space: events, organ travels and player stories

Customer Experience | Ivan Fowler’s 3 Manual Positive Style Viscount Digital Instrument

Ivan Fowler

This is a guest post from one of our customers, the Reverend Ivan Fowler (pictured above), who wanted to share his love of organ playing and what he has enjoyed about playing various digital Viscount organs.

“My interest in the organ goes back many years from when I was a choir boy. I started playing at the age of 10, and continued at The Royal School of Church Music and The Royal Academy of Music. I took lessons with Dr Allan Wicks (Canterbury Cathedral), Dr Anthony Greening and Alan Harverson, and held posts in London (St Columba’s Pont Street, St Mary the Virgin Primrose Hill) and Bristol.

Although organ playing was only ever an important adjunct to a busy life I realised that having an instrument for home use would allow me to invest far more time in playing and so, some years ago now. I bought my first home instrument.

While considering procuring an organ for my own use at home I was given some very good advice: “Play a demonstration organ for as long as possible, and see if you enjoy the experience. If, after a time, you do not feel comfortable and don’t like the sounds, it’s not for you”.

I tried various electronic organs in this way, and chose a Viscount Canticus. It was comfortable to play, the sound was very good and every stop could be adjusted to suit my needs in a great variety of music.  While I had this instrument I recorded the complete organ works of J S Bach on it, as well as various works by other composers.

After many years of pleasure on the Canticus I decided to upgrade to a 3-manual instrument.  Again, I listened to and played various makes of organ, but again chose a Viscount.

Why?  Because the instruments are comfortable to play, they have an almost unlimited number of sounds for each stop; and every stop can be adjusted to suit the music and ear.  Also, the staff are knowledgeable and helpful, friendly and courteous.

The “Physis” technology is high tech, but easy to use, even for a person like myself, with little computer expertise.  Every stop can easily be adjusted for volume, attack, air noise, harmonic noise and release. This may sound complicated, but it is not…once you get used to it.

The ‘Physis’ technology actually allows you, time permitting, to voice the instrument in just the same detail as you would be able to voice a pipe organ. This is an expert skill all of its own but fortunately I have a friend who is a voicer and so with his help a good few days have been spent working through the options to create my ideal baroque instrument and I am now working again recording the entire works of Bach on my new instrument.

The new instrument has the facility to record, play back and then, if necessary correct mistakes so the job of producing finished recordings is now much easier to complete.  I can play and record, and then play back through the organ or my stereo system. I can also slow the playing down which means that I can listen and ensure even greater accuracy in my playing.

My instrument is a real joy to play. The number of sounds you can get from it is quite amazing, everything an organist would require and want is available.  The instrument is comfortable to play, easy to use, and a delight to listen to.

What more could you want!

My enthusiasm to learn new repertoire and record has been enhanced by the new instrument and I have already produced recordings of other European and English composers.

With the participation of Viscount Classical Organs (UK) these recording are going to be available commercially and you can find out more by contacting David Mason on 01869 247 333 or having a look at the playlists here.”

Ivan's sign-off

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A big thank you to Ivan for taking the time out to share his experience with our organs and allowing us to share it with you. If you have had a great experience with our organs and would like to share your story with us – please drop me an email on enquiries@viscountorgans.net with the subject title “I would like to share my story”.

 

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I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.

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