Jump to content


Photo

Loudest Tubas


  • Please log in to reply
144 replies to this topic

#21 NZ-ORGANIST

NZ-ORGANIST

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 228 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Zealand

Posted 11 July 2009 - 01:51 AM

Why are so many organists obsessed with Tubas?

Malcolm


Well I can't say that I'm completely obsessed with them, but the Tuba at Christchurch being the first I've been able to play really caught my attention and it sounds great from the nave of the church.

Have to find some Tuba tunes to really try it out for next week though.

Josh

#22 Tubular_pneumatic

Tubular_pneumatic

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts

Posted 11 July 2009 - 09:07 AM

The loudest Tuba that I can remember having encountered is the significantly-revoiced Tuba Mirabilis at Girard College, Philadelphia, PA, which can be heard in the first chord of the following video:

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

Aside from that, the large Tuba, sometimes known as "Big Louie" behind the reredos at St. Paul's, Akron, Ohio, is perhaps even more deafeningly loud.

- Nate

#23 John Robinson

John Robinson

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 631 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:I am a missionary from Yorkshire to the primitive people of Lancashire

Posted 11 July 2009 - 09:18 PM

The loudest Tuba that I can remember having encountered is the significantly-revoiced Tuba Mirabilis at Girard College, Philadelphia, PA, which can be heard in the first chord of the following video:

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

Aside from that, the large Tuba, sometimes known as "Big Louie" behind the reredos at St. Paul's, Akron, Ohio, is perhaps even more deafeningly loud.

- Nate


I was about to say that I am sure there must be several tubas in America which would appear between '0' and '1' on the OP's list.

#24 Paul Morley

Paul Morley

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 415 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cheshire

Posted 11 July 2009 - 09:38 PM

...my tuba goes to 11 :(

#25 Tubular_pneumatic

Tubular_pneumatic

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts

Posted 12 July 2009 - 10:59 AM

As you may know, Girard College chapel is shaped rather like a stylized slice of pie. The entire chapel organ is located in a ceiling chamber, and speaks out through a tone opening of roughly the same shape as the building. The organ is spaciously huddled around all sides of the opening and so everything gets an equal opportunity to speak down into the chapel proper. The echo has it's own separate chamber "cube" about 40-50 feet away from the giant main organ "cube" - both made of cast blocks covered with Keene's cement on the inside.

Originally, the Tuba Mirabilis at Girard was located on its own windchest parallel to the upper-range chest of the Pedal Bombarde right next to the tone opening. In addition to being revoiced to scream bloody murder, all sorts of hooks, loops, and braces were soldered to the rank, which in turn attached each pipe to the chest and attendant racking with springs and turn-buckles - so it could then be suspended upside-down over the tone opening. In an act of merciful compromise, the rank was later positioned horizontal at the opposite end of the opening from its original position; skimming perilously over the said opening. In addition to the unenclosed stop, there is also a 16-8-4 chorus of enclosed Solo tubas that were also significantly revoiced. At some point, the tuning scrolls of these Tubas were removed in favor of spring-loaded slides on the resonators. These slides have a tendency to fall down to the bottom of the pipe when disturbed, which I always felt looked like they had their pants down around their ankles. Highly appropriate.

Best,

Nathan

#26 quentinbellamy

quentinbellamy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 349 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Prestatyn, North Wales

Posted 13 July 2009 - 07:30 AM

There's a pretty devastating solo reed on the Compton organ of the Guildhall, Southampton. I'm not sure that it's a tuba - could be an Orchestral Trumpet or something; It's devasatingly loud (and I like loud!) and quite spectacular.

I think that this organ deserves to be much better known - it's a terrific instrument!

Q

#27 Guest_Roffensis_*

Guest_Roffensis_*
  • Guests

Posted 14 July 2009 - 10:23 AM

Not quite a dulciana maybe (haven't seen the pipes), but back in the early 70s when I encountered the Choir 8' Dolce on the Binns at Queens' Cambridge, I was quite entranced. Especially with the octave coupler. Maybe I had a sheltered childhood.


I suspect you are simply musical! :lol:

R

#28 pcnd5584

pcnd5584

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,257 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:England

Posted 14 July 2009 - 10:36 AM

... I heard the Notre Dame, Paris organ demonstrated (superbly) in a quiet cathedral this spring and was completely happy with the sound which sounded like the grandest possible full organ but then the later stuff came on after which it was just a bl**dy row (IMHO) but some of us moan that it used to be better when it was louder in Cochereau's day!! I shudder to think what good all that noise was for. ...


I am not sure it was louder in Cochereau's time - particularly since there are now two extra (and very powerful) chamade registers. In addition, the instrument is now properly (or perhaps 'fully') winded, since the 1990-92 restoration. In any case, in that vast building (and given the fact that the balcony was considerably increased in depth during the restoration of the building in the nineteenth century, thus acting as a reflector to the sound), the volume down at pavement level is somewhat attenuated. This is why Cochereau added the chamades. *

Since one now has to rely on good quality recordings to assess the sound of the instrument prior to 1990, I find it to have been a thrilling, very percussive and surprisingly clear sound. Only during Cochereau's trademark fast-repeated chords played on the tutti does it become difficult to sort out the actual notes - not necessarily something peculiar to this instrument, or even French instruments in general.

A few months ago, I was staying with a friend who played me a disc of some organ music from Norwich Cathedral. After two or three minutes, I could bear it no longer and had to ask him to change the disc. I found the sound to be oppressive, incredibly opaque and, at times, rather unclear.

Give me Nôtre-Dame any day.



* Cavaillé-Coll added the two chamade registers at S. Sernin for a similar reason - and also to help obscure the fact that the divisions did not couple simultaneously via the Barker machine. The 'new' chamades spoke both promptly and very powerfully, largely obscuring this defect.

Pierre Cochereau rocked, man


#29 Guest_Roffensis_*

Guest_Roffensis_*
  • Guests

Posted 14 July 2009 - 10:49 AM

[quote name='Cynic' date='Jul 10 2009, 11:14 PM' post='47112']

some of us moan that it used to be better when it was louder in Cochereau's day!! I shudder to think what good all that noise was for.





reply


Perhaps to get all the congregation out quickly after Mass! :lol:

I think NDdP is actually more balanced now. I also think it lost something, a certain fizz?

A bit like Blackburn.

R

#30 pcnd5584

pcnd5584

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,257 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:England

Posted 14 July 2009 - 11:16 AM



some of us moan that it used to be better when it was louder in Cochereau's day!! I shudder to think what good all that noise was for.


reply

Perhaps to get all the congregation out quickly after Mass! :lol:

I think NDdP is actually more balanced now. I also think it lost something, a certain fizz?

A bit like Blackburn.

R


Well, the tutti is now certainly dominated by the big reeds. And, although I do not think that it is any quieter, there is something missing from the sound now - call it 'fizz', if you will.

I am interested to read that you feel the same way about Blackburn. I only remember this instrument after it was rebuilt by Walker; I have yet to hear it in its present incarnation.

Pierre Cochereau rocked, man


#31 porthead

porthead

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 263 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Head of the port

Posted 14 July 2009 - 01:16 PM

[quote name='pcnd5584' date='Jul 14 2009, 11:36 AM' post='47175']

A few months ago, I was staying with a friend who played me a disc of some organ music from Norwich Cathedral. After two or three minutes, I could bear it no longer and had to ask him to change the disc. I found the sound to be oppressive, incredibly opaque and, at times, rather unclear.

A good case, and some nice individual registers. Otherwise not a thing of beauty.

AJS

#32 AJJ

AJJ

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,575 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Somerset UK

Posted 14 July 2009 - 03:59 PM

I am not sure it was louder in Cochereau's time - particularly since there are now two extra (and very powerful) chamade registers. In addition, the instrument is now properly (or perhaps 'fully') winded, since the 1990-92 restoration. In any case, in that vast building (and given the fact that the balcony was considerably increased in depth during the restoration of the building in the nineteenth century, thus acting as a reflector to the sound), the volume down at pavement level is somewhat attenuated. This is why Cochereau added the chamades. *

Since one now has to rely on good quality recordings to assess the sound of the instrument prior to 1990, I find it to have been a thrilling, very percussive and surprisingly clear sound. Only during Cochereau's trademark fast-repeated chords played on the tutti does it become difficult to sort out the actual notes - not necessarily something peculiar to this instrument, or even French instruments in general.

Give me Nôtre-Dame any day.

* Cavaillé-Coll added the two chamade registers at S. Sernin for a similar reason - and also to help obscure the fact that the divisions did not couple simultaneously via the Barker machine. The 'new' chamades spoke both promptly and very powerfully, largely obscuring this defect.
[/font]


'Funny thing - I also heard the ND organ - building empty - in February and thought it sounded fare better than on any of the recordings. I also felt that 'volume-wise' it came over far better without the tourists everywhere and that sitting at the head of the nave with everything firing at the hands of M. Lefebvre it was actually quite civilized.

A
"…We can’t criticize the organ for being boring. In such cases it is the organist that is boring. There is no such thing as a boring organ."

#33 Guest_Roffensis_*

Guest_Roffensis_*
  • Guests

Posted 14 July 2009 - 05:43 PM

reply

Perhaps to get all the congregation out quickly after Mass! :lol:

I think NDdP is actually more balanced now. I also think it lost something, a certain fizz?

A bit like Blackburn.

R


Well, the tutti is now certainly dominated by the big reeds. And, although I do not think that it is any quieter, there is something missing from the sound now - call it 'fizz', if you will.

I am interested to read that you feel the same way about Blackburn. I only remember this instrument after it was rebuilt by Walker; I have yet to hear it in its present incarnation.


There is, to my ears, a definite difference at Blackburn. It sounds fatter. I find the organ also has lost it's attack, it almost "spat" at you and was incredibly exciting. It sounds more polite now, and, I think, certainly less exciting. The addition of electronic pedal notes I always truly abhor anywhere, and really if ever there was a case not to add weight, then here it was. This organ made it's name on the unique sound it had, a very vertical sound, ringing with brilliance and not a little brassy.

Someone else please give an opinion. Is it just me?

Now I fear the only truly representative organ we have left at Cathedral level of Walkers 60s era may well be the Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool, and long may it reign in it's present incarnation.

A gem. Incidently, Paul Derrett has made a couple of recording there well worth seeking out, one of Richard Francis' music, the other of six Liverpool organs, with a a stunning Toccata at the end which will raise a few hairs on the neck!! Great stuff!! The organ sounds brilliant under his hands. What an exciting sound!!

R

#34 clavecin

clavecin

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 206 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 July 2009 - 06:49 PM

[quote name='Roffensis' date='Jul 14 2009, 06:43 PM' post='47188']
There is, to my ears, a definite difference at Blackburn. It sounds fatter. I find the organ also has lost it's attack, it almost "spat" at you and was incredibly exciting. It sounds more polite now, and, I think, certainly less exciting. The addition of electronic pedal notes I always truly abhor anywhere, and really if ever there was a case not to add weight, then here it was. This organ made it's name on the unique sound it had, a very vertical sound, ringing with brilliance and not a little brassy.

Someone else please give an opinion. Is it just me?
[quote]

I am inclined to agree; I knew this organ quite well in my youth, I was present at the dedication service and JB let me practice there during my student days.
I have been to quite a few recitals since the rebuild of 2002.

Firstly, the pedal reeds: the 16/32 Posaune rank is not particularly fierce, and whilst it made its presence felt in the original tutti, with the extra 16/32 tone provided by the electronic basses and mutations it doesn't really cut through now. This I feel is the crux of the problem.

Having heard the organ a number of times since the rebuild including the re-opening recital, and purchasing the David Briggs CD of French music, I am of the opinion that the digital basses have been reduced in out-put recently. I haven't been aware of the excessive 'roll' which I perceived at the opening recitals and on the CD.

The new Solo organ is a fine addition and the other minor transfers make sense.
It's still one of my favourite UK organs though!

DT

#35 porthead

porthead

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 263 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Head of the port

Posted 15 July 2009 - 07:52 AM

Unfortunately, only a close examination of the flues, tips and wind pressures will answer this. I would be surprised, and rather saddened if anything had been done. This instrument did go with real crack of the whip, quite offensive to some, but a period work of art nonetheless. In synergy with the artistic ideals of the time, including the architecture of the Cathedral extension, it works so well.

Keeping to topic, I always loved the Imperial Trumpet - a big loud taxi horn - lots of fun.

AJS

#36 Guest_Roffensis_*

Guest_Roffensis_*
  • Guests

Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:12 AM

I wonder how many would be delighted as much as I would to see the electronic basses removed. It didn't need fattening up. Such a move was totally contrary to the original scheme and tonal concept. One hopes the verticality of the sound could return. I agree the solo is a prudent addition, but despite all this, I still maintian that the drive and vigour it had has largely gone. I simply feel this should be fully addressed. I find it incredible if it was actually altered, it suited the building like a glove and really was such a unique and thrilling sound. Today it just doesn't thrill.

R

#37 OmegaConsort

OmegaConsort

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 272 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:16 AM

Keeping to topic, I always loved the Imperial Trumpet - a big loud taxi horn - lots of fun.

AJS



An apt description! Through the late 70s and early 80s I used to record BBC choral evensong onto cassette - I still have boxes of them in loft! I remember one evensong in particular from Blackburn with Finzi God is gone up.......the Imperial Trumpet probably caused shockwaves in the BBC OB van parked outside! It was also used to good effect in the closing hymn - Rejoice, the Lord is King.
Richard Harrison

#38 clavecin

clavecin

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 206 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 July 2009 - 11:43 AM

Keeping to topic, I always loved the Imperial Trumpet - a big loud taxi horn - lots of fun.


I too like this stop, it's very different from the Orchestral Trumpet at the Met. which preceeded it (straight resonators as opposed to spun brass, and it doesn't take your head off)

John Bertalot's inspiration for this stop was the State Trumpet at St. John the Divine NYC.
During the mid 60's JB did a tour of the USA and on returning produced a music/slide show which I experenced 2 or 3 times at various venues around the Blackburn diocese.
I remember St. John's featured heavily and JB was full of enthusiasm for the organ and the trumpet.

On a general note about the Blackburn organ, it is devastating in the transepts, you have to get down the nave a bit but also sit fairly centrally to hear a good balance between the 2 sides.

DT

#39 pcnd5584

pcnd5584

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,257 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:England

Posted 15 July 2009 - 04:38 PM

I wonder how many would be delighted as much as I would to see the electronic basses removed. It didn't need fattening up.

R


I would certainly agree with this. I have never liked the idea of mixing pipes and electronics, even for bass registers.
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man


#40 MAB

MAB

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 169 posts

Posted 17 July 2009 - 10:10 AM

I am rather pleased that Cynic broke ranks and tried to turn the discussion to the most beautiful stop you know, because he was only saying out loud what I was privately thinking. Isn't it a bit adolescent to compare stops on the basis of 'mine is bigger than yours' ? As musicians, shouldn't we have outgrown this ? Shouldn't we be more concerned with beauty than with force ?

I like to think it is a sign of such maturity as I have achieved as a musician that quite often now when playing a concert on a big organ, I deliberately avoid the tuba. Loudness for its own sake is wearying, and so many tubas are not particularly pleasant or interesting to listen to. Unless I am playing a trumpet or tuba tune, whcih is the sort of music I tend not to feature in my programmes, I can see no reason to use the thing. Fiery solo reeds are a diffent matter, and can be genuinely 'orchestrated' in the music for a real musical purpose.

[The one exception I would make from instruments discussed so far is Eaton Square, which I heard recently in concert, accompanying a choir I was singing with. The tutti is very loud indeed, but without any trace of shrillness or harshness. It is genuinely thrilling and musical - the loudness has its own artistic purpose].

By contrast, a beautiful single flute or principal can be endlessly musical. I cannot nominate the most beautiful in the country because I have not played that many organs, but some stops that I have played that never fail to enchant me are the Cor de Nuit on the choir at Coventry, the stopped diapason on the swell at St Mary's Brighton and the Cor de Nuit Celestes at Westminster Cathedral. Also mentioned in dispatches are the flutes / principals on the Rieger at Oxford and at Marylebone. You find that you select these stops at the beginning of a piece, and then just want to carry on for the rest of the piece without change - the real test, in my view, of a musical stop.

Sorry if this spoils the fun !

m




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users