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The Willis Race

Existing and forthcoming Hauptwerk instruments, recommendations, ...

The Willis Race

Postby clement703 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:06 pm

Who will have the first four manual Willis? The race is on. I am getting very anxious and will purchase the first one.

In November, 2009 I heard the Salisbury Volume I. This inspired me to build a Salisbury MIDI console, four manuals duplicating the pistons and tow levers. I remember great anticipation for volume II in the spring of 2010. Then Brett's dreadful back problems and the AGO convention interrupted the work. No matter as I spent the summer recovering from a broken right small metacarpal from a flying board from the table saw while working on the toe pistons attachment to the pedalboard. Then Hauptwerk 4 seems to have taken precedent over completion of volume II?

In the meantime Silver Octopus came out with a nice Willis composite sample set plan. Now at 50 stops, three manuals. A four manual, 80 stop version soon? Then Lavender announced the Hereford Cathedral Willis sample set. Volume I not yet out and probably a while before it is complete? Each has its own plusses and minuses. The Salisbury acoustics can't be beat. The Silver Octopus spec is spectacular. And the Hereford has the interesting 16 reeds on the Solo and quint mixtures versus the somewhat "reedy" tierce mixtures on the Salisbury.

I can only afford one. It was always going to be the Salisbury, but a year later and only progress is the recent post of the stoplist for Volume II. As much as I love the Salisbury sound, I don't think I can wait any longer to complete my four manual Willis. The first of the three options with the complete four manual spec will be the one I will likely purchase.

While frustrated with the wait, I must also admit it is great to have three credible options to agonize over.

I am interested in other opinions on this issue - will you wait on the Salisbury?

Bob
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby jpr » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:18 am

I'm impressed by the examples I already heard from the Hereford sampleset and, if they go on with their policy of reasonable pricing, I will definitely wait for that one !
All the best,
Jean-Philippe.
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby sonar11 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:06 am

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think discussions like this are appropriate or of benefit to any of the sample set providers; seems like a fairly sure-fire way to kill enthusiasm and energy... they're not some big, faceless corporation, making millions hand over fist, that have no concern for their customers. If we want to see HW available in the future, along with some high quality sample sets, then we need to be prepared to ride out the little bumps on the way, and accept that sometimes there are just not enough hours in a day for a small company to do everything at once.

I'm not just referring to this post, but also to several others mentioning Salisbury Vol II. Asking time and again "Is it ready yet" will not make the sample done any faster, and to be honest, reminds me of my little nephews ("Are we there yet?"). If you feel the need to purchase a different sample because you want something new and don't want to wait, that's perfectly fine and understandable, but please don't criticize the producers anymore, it's not going to help in producing more high quality sets. I'm sure they don't mind a little bit of friendly competition and discussion, but at times this goes way beyond what it should.

Sorry for this post, I don't want to upset anyone, but at the same time I feel it has to be said again.
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby jpr » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:31 am

Amen ! ;-)

Seriously, I don't think that giving one's own feeling about samplesets can harm anyone.
I even thought it was one of the purposes of a forum...
All the best,
Jean-Philippe.
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby engrssc » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:29 am

Then, too, the wait for H/W 4.0 has been very well rewarded and then some. It was kinda nice, tho, to get little hints and "teases" along the way from Martin and Brett. Akin to enjoying the aroma of a beautifully prepared dinner when one is hungry.

As my dad reminded us many times, patience is a virtue. He didn't say that is was virtual tho. :roll:

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby smfrank » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:18 am

From the Silver Octopus website (dated June 14, 2011):

The creation of a pre official release of the Standard 80 with a custom specification for a customer in Australia where the full resources of the 4 manual spec were to be controlled from 3 manuals has taken a little while and proved to be an interesting challenge to work out. It's all up and running now. Since there are other customers who may be in the same position without the benefit (or luxury) of a fourth manual, this alternative spec will be included when the 80 and 100 are officially released.
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby cknight » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:49 am

Who will have the first four manual Willis?


I've been running 80 (dry) Willis stops from Silver Octopus spread over five manuals for the last year. Sounds very nice in the reverberant sanctuary. Can't wait for the 100.
Clinton Knight
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http://ambassadororgan.wordpress.com/
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby MikeDC » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:02 am

smfrank wrote:From the Silver Octopus website (dated June 14, 2011):

The creation of a pre official release of the Standard 80 with a custom specification for a customer in Australia where the full resources of the 4 manual spec were to be controlled from 3 manuals has taken a little while and proved to be an interesting challenge to work out. It's all up and running now. Since there are other customers who may be in the same position without the benefit (or luxury) of a fourth manual, this alternative spec will be included when the 80 and 100 are officially released.



Hmmmm....interesting. My plan is to use the full Salisbury sample (4 manuals) on my custom-built 3-manual console, by floating the Solo Div. to the Swell or Choir, as available. I'll be very interested to see how you implemented this using the Standard 80 for your Australian customer.

Mike
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby NeilCraig » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:55 pm

Hello all

Sorry for the lack of updates recently; I've been quite unwell and told to SLOW DOWN by my doctor which, since I have a mortgage to pay, has meant slowing progress with the Studio Series, since I can't persuade the Almighty to add a few hours to the day...

Just to clarify the issue, Charles' website refers to the standard DRY 80-stop Willis, which is CODM-based. I assume that the case he refers to is a customized spec to fit a particular console; touchscreen players with only 3 physical manuals can of course couple the Solo division to any keyboard they wish - witness Greg's Youtube demos, impeccably done on a 2-manual console.

The 4-manual 70-stop Studio Series Willis (semi-wet) will be released - hopefully - within the next 14 days. I am aiming to have the voicing finished for a week on Friday and then final testing/encryption/mastering to be done over the weekend and early part of the following week.

The 80-stop will follow by the end of July. At present I haven't finalized the spec for the 80-stop. It will in some ways be different from the DRY series spec and also different from the Studio spec currently listed on Charles' website e.g. I hope to include a 16' Cor Anglais on the Choir to go with the 8' Corno di Bassetto, and leave the Orchestral Oboe 8 on the Solo, paired with the 16' Bass Cromorne. Specifically, I wanted to be able to perform Flor Peeters' Aria with the correct registration for the solo line (on the Choir 8+16' reeds). I'm not ruling out a couple more changes on the Solo division either, but we'll have to see how they pan out.

The 70-stop will also feature dedicated tremulant samples for the following stops:

Solo:

Orch. Oboe
Vox Humana
Flutes 8, 4, 2
Viol d'Orchestre/VDO Celeste

Choir:

Flutes 8, 4
Corno di Bassetto 8

Swell:

Hautbois

I will post graphics of the 70-stop Studio model in the next couple of days.

Best wishes//Neil
A plaque is simply not necessary - everyone will know it is a Willis organ! - "Father" Henry Willis
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby Andrew Grahame » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:50 pm

I would like to second the comments made by Sonar11.

Andrew
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby ernst » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:52 pm

I equally support the point of view of sonar11.
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby Charles Braund » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:54 am

I'll be very interested to see how you implemented this using the Standard 80 for your Australian customer.


Although it would have been quite simple to merely use a Solo to Choir coupler and cancel all of the Choir stops when using the Choir as the Solo, this would have meant that Choir stops could not have been used elsewhere and the Solo stops alone.

What was implemented was a Choir on Choir stop and a Solo on Choir stop. This facility allows for whatever Choir stops are required to be drawn along with whatever Solo stops might be required. Neither is playable from the Choir manual unless the relevant Choir / Solo on Choir stop is engaged. However, both divisions and their couplers including Unison Off's can be coupled as usual to either the Swell or Great and of course,Pedal. Thus it is possible to use the Choir manual as a Solo manual whilst accompanying it with Choir stops coupled to another manual. Unless the Choir on Choir stop is engaged no stops in the Choir organ will play from the Choir manual and the same applies to the Solo. In essence, both the Choir and Solo organs are "floating divisions" as such but the Choir manual is used as an either / or or both or not at all keyboard. All of the octave couplers pertaining to either division work independantly which means that it is possible to have some very interesting combinations such as a 32' Viola with a 4'5' Tierce for example. There are separate divisional pistons for both divisions.

This could be taken further with corresponding Great on Great and Swell on Swell drawstops which would allow the four manual divisions to be played from a two manual with great flexibility.
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby Fokko » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:07 pm

Andrew Grahame wrote:I would like to second the comments made by Sonar11.

Andrew


I fully agree with that.
Fokko Horst
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby clement703 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:13 am

My apologies to all who took my initial comments as negative. I would suggest that all the all the posts that continue to pop up on Salisbury II demonstrate that the number of posts are directly proportional to the quality of the offering. MDA's Salisbury is truly exceptional and I cannot wait to get both Vol. II and III. I'll buy the first 4 manual Willis available but will scrimp and save to buy more of Salisbury whenever it gets out.

Playing Salisbury the first time on the console I built was truly one of the highlights of my 45 years of involvement with the pipe organ. I have played thousands of services, a hundred plus organs and listened to hundreds of others. My "Salisbury-in-the-Basement" experience ranks right up there with turning pages for our church organist playing Widor's Toccata on the then new Moeller at the Air Force Academy Chapel as a 17 year old pianist. That lit a fire under me - I had to learn how to play that! Or wandering into London's St. Paul's Cathedral on a Sunday morning in July, 1994 hoping the service would at least include an organist. What I found was a 30 minute prelude of Bach selections followed by Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass with 50 piece orchestra as part of the "normal" Communion service that morning!

My other thought is Hauptwerk is truly representative of "real" pipe organs in yet another way. New organs have historically been late in their completion for hundreds of years. They are a combination of engineering, technology, craftsmanship and creativity that is truly unique on a grand scale. They spawn great anticipation when announced. And builders often hope to finish faster than is really possible. The "creative" part is what pulls the whole together and the timing to do that cannot always be estimated. In the end the additional wait was always well worth it. I think Salisbury will be the same.

The last thing I want to do is criticize MDA in any way. Brett's work on Salisbury and Martin's Hauptwerk led to one of the great experiences in my musical life. Many, many thanks for that. I sincerely hope Hauptwerk and the "builders" of virtual organs are very succesful in bringing my experience to many others.
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Re: The Willis Race

Postby smfrank » Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:15 am

Hi, All,
Just thought I'd try to revive this topic!
Any movement by anyone? Anywhere?
Summer is a good time for ME to play with new things!
It's passing on with no new toys.
Steve
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