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#1 Vox Humana

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:05 PM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-21100209

#2 MusingMuso

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:44 PM

[
Interesting news. This, although very far away, was one of my favourite organs, on which quite a few broadcast Radio 3 programmes were recorded.

I've only heard it live once, after the H & H rebuild, but long before they had the big Trompette installed in the nave. Other than the concerts of the late Carlo Curley, I think the biggest audience I ever witnessed at a recital was at Exeter; probably sometime around 1970 something or other. There must have been well over 1,000 people there, and although I cannot recall who actually gave the recital, the organ sounded wonderful.

It should be interesting to see how they intend to de-clutter the internal layout without culling what is already there, but I hope the organ isn't scattered about like so many.

Best,
MM

#3 Martin Cooke

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:45 PM

The Trompette Militaire was installed in the Minstrels' Gallery in 1965. When the nave chorus was installed about 8/10 years ago, the TM was renamed Trompette. I have never actually heard it except in Andrew Millington's DVD when, of course, it sounded rather distant. Can any describe it?

And thinking of cathedral organs and Harrisons, I note from their website that at least part of the Durham organ is in the workshop. There is a picture of the 'choir action.' Does anyone know what the scope of the current work is there?

Martin.

#4 pcnd5584

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:05 PM

Interesting news. This, although very far away, was one of my favourite organs, on which quite a few broadcast Radio 3 programmes were recorded.

I've only heard it live once, after the H & H rebuild, but long before they had the big Trompette installed in the nave. Other than the concerts of the late Carlo Curley, I think the biggest audience I ever witnessed at a recital was at Exeter; probably sometime around 1970 something or other. There must have been well over 1,000 people there, and although I cannot recall who actually gave the recital, the organ sounded wonderful.

It should be interesting to see how they intend to de-clutter the internal layout without culling what is already there, but I hope the organ isn't scattered about like so many.

Best,
MM


I would agree about the organ - it is one of my favourite instruments, too.

If I may expand on Martin Cooke's post: the Trompette (formerly named Trompette Militaire) was indeed installed at the same time as the last major rebuild by H&H - 1965. The only ranks to have been added since that time are: the 32ft. and 8ft. octaves to the Pedal Trombone, the Choir Larigot and Clarinet (which displaced the Twenty Second and Cimbel 26-29-33), the G.O. Octave 4ft. (which displaced a seldom-used Dulciana), the Solo Viole Céleste (C13) - this was the former Viole Octaviante, which was simply shunted up an octave and tuned sharp. (This rank, prior to the 1965 rebuild, had been the Swell Celestina 4ft.) and the Minstrel Organ (Pedal 16ft. Bourdon and a diapason chorus). The Trompette was retained and renamed. Many years ago, Lucian Nethsingha had this rank revoiced and toned down. I have a recording of it before it was tamed (and I was also allowed to use it occasionally, during my organ lessons). It was completely anti-social, very bright and brassy. Not too thin, but with a definite edge - if this helps at all. It is now more civilised - although perhaps ever so slightly more boring as a result. (It required an extra blower to be activated, for the Minstrels' Gallery. This now serves also the Minstrel Organ; both this and the main blower are operated by ignition key-style switches.)

Some readers here may be surprised to note that I consider this organ to have perhaps the most musical and agreeable Tuba stop in any organ I have ever played - arguably even surpassing the two Solo Organ Tuba ranks at Salisbury Cathedral. The Exeter stop is pure trumpet tone - bright but certainly big enough. There is an old vinyl recording of Lionel Dakers playing the rebuilt organ (shortly after its 1965 re-designing). He gives good performances of a very satisfying and unusual programme of mostly lesser-known pieces. It includes a piece in which the Solo Tuba is used as a Trumpet solo - to excellent effect. When I can find the record (which was issued on the Pilgrim label: http://www.shakedown...oducts_id=70601), I shall give further details - such as the name of the composer. I can recommend this recording; he shows off the organ to good effect, with an excellent variety of pieces, including Smart's Postlude, in C and the Finale from Stanford's Sonata Celtica (on Saint Patrick's Breastplate). Aside from deciding to use the new Choir Organ Cimbel instead of the new Cornet composé, for Travers' Cornet Voluntary, the registrations are apt and interesting. There are one or two very slight blemishes in the playing - such as a clipped note in the Stanford. However, this gives me the impression that, for the most part, the works were recorded in single 'takes'. If this is so, then the level of accuracy throughout is quite impressive - and compares favourably with certain other contemporary recordings (such as that of Alwyn Surplice at Winchester Cathedral). The 'new' Trompette Militaire was used at the start of the record, in Tony Hewitt-Jones' Fanfare. (Co-incidentally, in a later recording - for Exon Audio - Paul Morgan also chose to commence his record with a Fanfare, this time by Francis Jackson, which showcased the Trompette Militaire - in its original state.)

In fact, the Great Cathedral Organs series was, in a number of respects, quite ground-breaking. For one thing the instruments were well-documented - there was almost always a photograph of the console, there was occasionally also one of the player and there was a stoplist given, often with accessories listed, too. Perhaps more importantly, the repertoire was comaratively far-reaching and included a number of little-recorded works, often of considerable length; Nielsen's Commotio is a case in point. * The overall design of the set was dignified and effective. The standard of playing was, for the most part, quite high. There were a few blemishes but, given that the editing process was somewhat more exacting and time-consuming then, the end result was mostly good (particularly when it is realised that a few of the players were of advanced age - Statham, at Norwich, apparetly required occasional medical assistance during recording sessions). Out of the venues which Brian Culverhouse had intended to include, only Peterborough Cathedral remained un-recorded and un-visited in this series.



* By some miracle, there was only one recording of the Bach Toccata and Fugue, in D minor (BWV565) - and none of the Widor Toccata. This alone is recommendation enough for the benefits of having one producer for an entire series.
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man


#5 pcnd5584

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:09 PM

The Trompette Militaire was installed in the Minstrels' Gallery in 1965. When the nave chorus was installed about 8/10 years ago, the TM was renamed Trompette. I have never actually heard it except in Andrew Millington's DVD when, of course, it sounded rather distant. Can any describe it?

And thinking of cathedral organs and Harrisons, I note from their website that at least part of the Durham organ is in the workshop. There is a picture of the 'choir action.' Does anyone know what the scope of the current work is there?

Martin.


I think that the work currently being carried out on the organ of Durham Cathedral is limited to piecemeal action restoration.

I have a colleague whom I shall contact for further details of the Exeter rebuild. This has arrived rather sooner than I had expected; however, I can find no mention of this project on the H&H website at present - not even under forthcoming work. Given that the work is shortly to commence, this is a surprising omission. I hope that the character of this instrument is not altered substantially. I must admit that I already regard the alterations to the Choir Organ as serious errors. *



* Transposing the Twenty Second as a Larigot was pointless. Aside from the fact that this is arguably the least specified mutation (in terms of registration), it is perfectly possible to achieve this effect through the use of the Lieblich Bourdon, the 8ft. and 4ft. flutes (if desired), the Nazard and the Octaves Alone (coupler). Dispensing with the Cimbel for a Clarinet may appear to be a practical solution (particularly since the Solo Organ speaks West.) However, in practice, I found the Clarinet to be a little too loud for use in the Psalms, for example (it is on an open soundboard). In addition, by removing the compound stop, the chorus on this fairly gentle department has been reduced to something rather less useful than formerly. (The argument regarding the failure of flute-toned stops to work convincingly in a chorus function was effectively nullified by Kenneth James' skillful voicing. The same situation currently obtains at Saint Albans' Abbey - where Downes envisaged the 2ft. Wald Flute to be an integral part of the chorus - and Wimborne Minster, where the 2ft and 1ft. ranks are also wide-scaled flutes, they are entirely effective in binding together the elements of the chorus - which culminates in a Cymbel III - resulting in a superbly musical and exciting sound. This chorus, aside from bringing this instrument to life in this dry building, is also a perfect foil to the G.O. chorus, in works such as Bach's 'Dorian' Toccata.)
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man


#6 David Drinkell

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:59 AM

Transposing the Twenty Second as a Larigot was pointless. Aside from the fact that this is arguably the least specified mutation (in terms of registration), it is perfectly possible to achieve this effect through the use of the Lieblich Bourdon, the 8ft. and 4ft. flutes (if desired), the Nazard and the Octaves Alone (coupler). Dispensing with the Cimbel for a Clarinet may appear to be a practical solution (particularly since the Solo Organ speaks West.) However, in practice, I found the Clarinet to be a little too loud for use in the Psalms, for example (it is on an open soundboard). In addition, by removing the compound stop, the chorus on this fairly gentle department has been reduced to something rather less useful than formerly. (The argument regarding the failure of flute-toned stops to work convincingly in a chorus function was effectively nullified by Kenneth James' skillful voicing. The same situation currently obtains at Saint Albans' Abbey - where Downes envisaged the 2ft. Wald Flute to be an integral part of the chorus - and Wimborne Minster, where the 2ft and 1ft. ranks are also wide-scaled flutes, they are entirely effective in binding together the elements of the chorus - which culminates in a Cymbel III - resulting in a superbly musical and exciting sound. This chorus, aside from bringing this instrument to life in this dry building, is also a perfect foil to the G.O. chorus, in works such as Bach's 'Dorian' Toccata.)


One doesn't often see the Larigot mentioned specifically, but French authorities tended to assume or specify its use in jeux de tierces to smooth out the effect of the tierce. Apart from that, it's a handy stop to have, arguably more use without the tierce than the nazard, and much more useful (IMHO) than the nazard if one wants to use it in chorus.

I could never accept the Downes theory that a 2' flute helped a principal chorus. Hasn't St. Albans got a separate Fifteenth now? The similar set up at Bristol University has been much improved since my day by the removal of the twelfth from the Quartane, leaving the Fifteenth to function on its own. Many of us will remember the 2' flute on the Great at the RCO and how it could scupper registrations. Belfast Cathedral has a wide Wald Flute (it would make a good Tibia if corked) as the only 2' stop on the bottom manual, and the gap between the 4' Principal (a very nice slightly conical one) and the Cimbel (one of the biggest Harrisons' made) is enormous. Modern Casavants tend to have the same fault. There are several here where one can only obtain Great to Fifteenth by coupling. Worse still, they tend to have no principal upperwork on the Swell until one hits the Mixture, so not only is the build-up severely compromised, but the whole instrument lacks variety around the mezzo-forte level, just where one needs it most.

Henry Willis III, in 'The Rotunda', strongly deprecated Quartanes (possibly because Ernest Skinner suggested them), and then put one in at Langham Place some years later. But at least he didn't expect the use of a wide-scale 2' flute as part of the chorus!

I believe you, though, when you say that the flute upperwork at Wimborne is good. Walkers' produced some especially good organs around that time. St. John's, Duncan Terrace, Islington was an eye-opener for me when it was new and I don't think I would change my opinion of it now.

#7 Janner

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:25 AM

[
Interesting news. …………..
I think the biggest audience I ever witnessed at a recital was at Exeter; probably sometime around 1970 something or other. There must have been well over 1,000 people there, and although I cannot recall who actually gave the recital, the organ sounded wonderful.
…………………………………..
Best,
MM


The answer probably lies in this post MM:

http://mander-organs...morgan-retires/

Post #4 down the page.

:)

#8 pcnd5584

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:33 PM

One doesn't often see the Larigot mentioned specifically, but French authorities tended to assume or specify its use in jeux de tierces to smooth out the effect of the tierce. Apart from that, it's a handy stop to have, arguably more use without the tierce than the nazard, and much more useful (IMHO) than the nazard if one wants to use it in chorus.


Well, yes - there are a few prescribed registrations which need the Larigot. In the case of Exeter, because of what it (and the Clarinet) replaced, there is no longer a proper chorus on the Choir Organ. Furthermore, the chorus now culminates on an uncovered quint - something which I find much more undesirable than a sole 2ft. flute.


I could never accept the Downes theory that a 2' flute helped a principal chorus. Hasn't St. Albans got a separate Fifteenth now?


No. http://www.npor.org....ec_index=R01626 I know that a few builders (for example, H&H and David Wells have, for a number of years, removed perhaps a mutation on a Choir Organ and substituted a Fifteenth; c.f. Lichfield and Carlisle cathedrals respectively). However, having played the organ of Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, where H&H did this to the Walker rebuild of the grand FHW here - and also lowered the pitch of the Choir compound stop - I am not remotely convinced of its perceived preference. This Choir Organ is now neither one thing nor the other. I should have sooner returned it to Willis' original scheme, than have the something-or-nothing department which is there now.


The similar set up at Bristol University has been much improved since my day by the removal of the twelfth from the Quartane, leaving the Fifteenth to function on its own. Many of us will remember the 2' flute on the Great at the RCO and how it could scupper registrations. Belfast Cathedral has a wide Wald Flute (it would make a good Tibia if corked) as the only 2' stop on the bottom manual, and the gap between the 4' Principal (a very nice slightly conical one) and the Cimbel (one of the biggest Harrisons' made) is enormous. Modern Casavants tend to have the same fault. There are several here where one can only obtain Great to Fifteenth by coupling. Worse still, they tend to have no principal upperwork on the Swell until one hits the Mixture, so not only is the build-up severely compromised, but the whole instrument lacks variety around the mezzo-forte level, just where one needs it most.

Henry Willis III, in 'The Rotunda', strongly deprecated Quartanes (possibly because Ernest Skinner suggested them), and then put one in at Langham Place some years later. ...


I would certainly agree regarding the uniting of the G.O. Twelfth and Fifteenth as a Quartane - this is one detail which I do not admire at Gloucester. Generally, I find the combination of G.O. diapasons 8ft., 4ft. and 2ft. most useful. To have the Twelfth as an unwitting partner at this stage is an annoyance - the fifth is almost always too prominent without a compound stop on top.


I believe you, though, when you say that the flute upperwork at Wimborne is good. Walkers' produced some especially good organs around that time. St. John's, Duncan Terrace, Islington was an eye-opener for me when it was new and I don't think I would change my opinion of it now.


So if you admit that it can and does work.... :ph34r:
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man


#9 wolsey

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:12 PM

Hasn't St. Albans got a separate Fifteenth now?


The two ranks of the old Great Quartane have now been separated to form the two stops Quint and Super Octave; the Choir is still devoid of a Fifteenth.

#10 pcnd5584

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:30 PM

The two ranks of the old Great Quartane have now been separated to form the two stops Quint and Super Octave.


They have indeed. I wonder where they found the extra chest space for this - and the other additions to the G.O.? Perhaps this stop had originally united two slides in 1962 - although this does seem an unnecessary hindrance.
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man


#11 MusingMuso

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:49 PM

The answer probably lies in this post MM:

http://mander-organs...morgan-retires/

Post #4 down the page.

:)


========================

It wasn't Paul Morgan, because I would hjave known and recalled the name instantly; he did so many superb broadcasts from Exeter.

I believe it was a foreign dude, but there's not much chance of recalling who that might have been. It was a very, very good recital though.

Best,

MM

#12 firstrees

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:49 PM

I recall sitting in (‘upstairs’) on a Choral Evensong, probably around 1970, with Lionel Dakers presiding at the console. I believe I noticed with incredulity that he only used one leg to play the pedals and operate the swell-pedal, even in the Psalms; was it gout, or had he been injured ?

After the voluntary, he asked if I’d like a tootle, to which, of course, I made an affirmative answer, and left the loft, after ascertaining I that I wouldn’t cook up a dog’s breakfast.

Five or ten minutes of improvising later, I was emboldened enough to risk the higher pistons. The Tuba was, as has been said, most satisfying. I couldn’t make head nor tail of the Trompette Militaire- and was, in fact disappointed. I thought it sounded more like an Orchestral Oboe. But Lionel returned, breathless, having almost pounded up the stairs, saying I was ‘driving people out of the cathedral’, because it was so loud- I’d never heard it from the nave. He offered to demonstrate and I descended. It was so ! An incredible, air-splitting noise.

This was, of course, before that at St John’s, Cambridge.

#13 AJJ

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 04:29 PM

They have indeed. I wonder where they found the extra chest space for this - and the other additions to the G.O.? Perhaps this stop had originally united two slides in 1962 - although this does seem an unnecessary hindrance.


Weren't the chests renewed when the last work was done? The Swell also got its second 2' and another mixture.

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."

#14 David Drinkell

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 04:44 PM

St. John's College kazoo pre-dates the Exeter one by many years. The late Reg Lane of HN&B said that, lacking the experience in voicing such things, they started off on 15" and treated it like a tuba, with a result that threatened to cause structural damage. I think they settled around 7", but there was one Fellow of the college who tranferred himself from Dec to Can because he 'didn't want that damned thing spitting at me'. I've been told by more than one person that the Exeter one is a good deal less ferocious than most, which would seem reasonable, since the organ itself is (without being in any way too small for the building) one of the least brash of its kind.

pcnd - Islington has proper Fifteenths on Great and Swell, just where you need them most. I was thinking of the general excellence of that instrument and conjecturing that its near contemporary at Wimborne might be of the same quality. The only Block Flute I know of that really works in chorus is at St. Botolph's, Colchester (an amazingly clever and effective instrument voiced by Cliff Hyatt), where the Block Flute is conical and sounds like a Fifteenth!

http://npor.emma.cam...ec_index=N00613

Being ultra-picky, St. Pat's, Dublin isn't a Father Willis, it's a Willis II. I'm sure the Old Man planned most of it but he was dead before it went in. I reckon it sounds subtly different from a Father Willis, although no less fine - just a touch broader and more solid. Such other Williis II jobs as I know, and there aren't many around, tend to bear this out, or maybe I'm just hearing what I want to hear :rolleyes:

After going down to practice the Dorian last night, I must come clean and confess that I couple the Solo 4' Harmonic Flute to the Great at 16.8.4 and to the Choir at 8 in order to get a slghtly broader overall effect, so I guess I shouldn't go moaning about Downes and his 2' flutes! (Chris Gordon-Wells in Northern Ireland used to provide them too, and I didn't care for them either!). I suppose he saw such things as binding the rest of the chorus. Hope-Jones used the Tibia the same way....

#15 firstrees

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:07 PM

St. John's College kazoo pre-dates the Exeter one by many years.


Was this really added in 1955 ?

I suppose it must have been before 1961, as The Magnificat (Tippett) was composed for that year's 450th anniversary.

#16 pcnd5584

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:39 PM

St. John's College kazoo pre-dates the Exeter one by many years. The late Reg Lane of HN&B said that, lacking the experience in voicing such things, they started off on 15" and treated it like a tuba, with a result that threatened to cause structural damage. I think they settled around 7", but there was one Fellow of the college who tranferred himself from Dec to Can because he 'didn't want that damned thing spitting at me'. I've been told by more than one person that the Exeter one is a good deal less ferocious than most, which would seem reasonable, since the organ itself is (without being in any way too small for the building) one of the least brash of its kind.


Yes - apparently the Trompeta Real at Saint John's College Chapel, Cambridge was initially audible in Trinity Street.... Exeter is indeed less brash than most cathedral organs - but with a distinctive but most satisfying tutti. The Trompette is indeed less ferocious - now. However, as firstrees has pointed-out, in its original state it could scorch and part hair at fifty paces with the best of them.

pcnd - Islington has proper Fifteenths on Great and Swell, just where you need them most. I was thinking of the general excellence of that instrument and conjecturing that its near contemporary at Wimborne might be of the same quality. The only Block Flute I know of that really works in chorus is at St. Botolph's, Colchester (an amazingly clever and effective instrument voiced by Cliff Hyatt), where the Block Flute is conical and sounds like a Fifteenth!

http://npor.emma.cam...ec_index=N00613


Well, we also have separate Fifteenth ranks on the Swell and the G.O. - where they are indeed most useful. If you are ever around this part of the world, you are most welcome to sample our Positive chorus - I do not think that you will be disappointed with the lovely 2ft. Blockflute. Notwithstanding, the 1ft. Sifflute and 4ft. Chimney Flute, played down an octave, are even more ravishing.


Being ultra-picky, St. Pat's, Dublin isn't a Father Willis, it's a Willis II. I'm sure the Old Man planned most of it but he was dead before it went in. I reckon it sounds subtly different from a Father Willis, although no less fine - just a touch broader and more solid. Such other Williis II jobs as I know, and there aren't many around, tend to bear this out, or maybe I'm just hearing what I want to hear :rolleyes:


Well, yes - strictly it is a Willis II instrument; although, as you say, However, ‘Father’ Henry Willis planned the new organ in consultation with Sir George Martin, tthen Organist of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London. It does sound different from a traditional FHW - you are right. There are one or two oddities in the stop-list, such as the Cornopean on the Solo Organ. This almost seems to hark back to FHW and Durham, in 1876, when I believe that the G.O. 8ft. reed was also named Cornopean - as was the 8ft. reed on the Pedal Organ of this instrument. I would be interested to learn the origin of the Sesquialtera II on the (Dublin) Solo Organ. It is not listed as a 1963 addition in any stop-list which I have consulted. It is a really good instrument, though - with the exception of my reservations on the halfway-house Choir Organ. Have you looked at the old console (which is - or was - displayed at floor level, in the North Transept.) ? There is a spelling mistake on the engraving of one of the drawstops. (It also appeared on some promotional literature from the RSCM a few years ago). I would be interested to know if anyone can tell me which stop it is and the precise details of the mistake. Perhaps I should offer a prize.

After going down to practice the Dorian last night, I must come clean and confess that I couple the Solo 4' Harmonic Flute to the Great at 16.8.4 and to the Choir at 8 in order to get a slghtly broader overall effect, so I guess I shouldn't go moaning about Downes and his 2' flutes! (Chris Gordon-Wells in Northern Ireland used to provide them too, and I didn't care for them either!). I suppose he saw such things as binding the rest of the chorus. Hope-Jones used the Tibia the same way....


I was interested to read the last part - very honest of you.... I have occasionally coupled Solo flutes down to achieve a broader sonority - although normally at their actual pitch only.

Hope-Jones: hmmm.... I still have a problem with him. I would not suggest that being trained as a telephone engineer would therefore exclude the possibility of him being a good voicer. However, I have heard and played one or two Hope-Jones organs (which were largely in their original states) - and sampled one or two ranks on others which were purported to be his workanship. Subsequently, I can only regard his contribution to British organ building as one which pushed the instrument into a cul-de-sac, from which it had to retreat, some years later.
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man


#17 NZ-ORGANIST

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:03 AM

There is a spelling mistake on the engraving of one of the drawstops. (It also appeared on some promotional literature from the RSCM a few years ago). I would be interested to know if anyone can tell me which stop it is and the precise details of the mistake. Perhaps I should offer a prize.


The 'Contra Posanne' or something like that?

#18 firstrees

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:12 AM

Hope-Jones: hmmm....


Yes. The instrument in Llandaff Cathedral never recovered from the tender ministrations (!) of Hope-Jones. The specifications themselves (1900: http://www.npor.org....ec_index=N11801, etc) constitute almost a whole series of Loony Tunes. It’s a pity the World War II land mine didn’t do a more thorough job, as then HNB would have had to have started from scratch.

They were on a hiding to nothing, with the 1958 rebuild- especially since most of the organ was sited one bay too far east. In addition, a tendency to somewhat smooth voicing made the organ seem strangely underwhelming. This has, of course, now been corrected (http://www.npor.org....ec_index=E01476).

With the organ split, as now, between north and south aisles, Epstein’s Majestas, which housed the Positive, then may have been much more effective as a de facto Rückpositiv.

#19 Stephen Barber

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:48 AM

I would be interested to learn the origin of the Sesquialtera II on the (Dublin) Solo Organ. It is not listed as a 1963 addition in any stop-list which I have consulted.

It was a glockenspiel in 1902. I assume a mixture rather than bells

#20 David Drinkell

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:19 PM

Yes. The instrument in Llandaff Cathedral never recovered from the tender ministrations (!) of Hope-Jones. The specifications themselves (1900: http://www.npor.org....ec_index=N11801, etc) constitute almost a whole series of Loony Tunes. It’s a pity the World War II land mine didn’t do a more thorough job, as then HNB would have had to have started from scratch.

They were on a hiding to nothing, with the 1958 rebuild- especially since most of the organ was sited one bay too far east. In addition, a tendency to somewhat smooth voicing made the organ seem strangely underwhelming. This has, of course, now been corrected (http://www.npor.org....ec_index=E01476).

With the organ split, as now, between north and south aisles, Epstein’s Majestas, which housed the Positive, then may have been much more effective as a de facto Rückpositiv.


The Llandaff organ was totally new, the old one going to Usk Parish Church where it still is. HN&B built the instrument to H-J's design. They rebuilt it just before the Second World War, adding a modicum of upperwork. The post-War rebuild was clever, but opinions differ about how well it worked out. I never heard it. All seemed to agree that the Positive division behind the Epstein Majestas was a mistake. It was so much closer to the congregation that it couldn't be used with the main organ, its specification made it useless as a nave division, and access for tuning was downright dangerous. Previous schemes for rebuilds suggested putting a small Nave Great up there.

Weird thought they were, I've heard a lot of people speak well of H-J organs. Arthur Wills maintained that St. Mary's, Warwick was as good as anything else around at the time, and Worcester was widely regarded as a success and was found satisfactory in recital (including Bach, played according to the style of the day). I've only played one largely original specimen, a small one in St. Mary's RC Church, Croydon. It was impressive in a massive sort of way, and everything was done well.

I think the latter point is important. H-J was no organ builder, but he had some of the best craftsmen working for him, including the voicers Franklin Lloyd and Billy Jones. Thus, the pipe=work and bench-work were up to the highest standards.

My organ here in St. John's, Newfoundland was originally virtually identical to the Llandaff job, although built by Ingram (Hope-Jones absconded when it was half-finished). HN&B made some modifications in 1915 and Casavant built what was essentially a new instrument using some of the pipes in 1927. The surviving H-J ranks are among the best in the instrument, including Clarinet, Vox and Violin Diapason.




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