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pcnd5584

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  1. pcnd5584

    Celestes

    I quite agree, David. On our Walker instrument here at the Minster, we have a beautiful pair of mild strings in the Swell Organ, rather in the mould of the old 'Father' Willis Salicional and Vox Angelica. Our Vox Angelica was originally tuned flat (as a glance at the pipes will show). However, I don't like the effect either, and have never regretted asking our organ builder at the time to re-tune it sharp. Neither have I regretted ousting the G.O. Dulciana (which was never used) for a gorgeous second-hand Viole de Gambe. Aside from the fact that this rank is infinitely more interesting tonally, it is of far greater use, both in service-work and recitals.
  2. pcnd5584

    Clairons/Clarions breaking back

    Indeed. I have never seen this either. I do know of colleagues who eschew a 4ft. Clarion. However, I find ours (we have three) invaluable, particularly that on the Swell Organ. This stop alone contributes greatly to the Full Swell, and is invaluable in French Symphonic music.
  3. pcnd5584

    Piston spacing

    I would agree with Vox. The piston spacings for most of Harrisons' consoles from this era are both ergonomically pleasing and visually elegant. Two exceptions are the consoles at Westminster Abbey and Winchester Cathedral (although these fall outside of the time-scale), which have larger spacings between the divisional pistons, and are neither as convenient nor as visually pleasant. Westminster Abbey: Winchester Cathedral:
  4. pcnd5584

    Bridlington Priory - Solo Clarinet

    I believe that this may be the same L.P., a copy of which I also possess. Did it include an improvised March and Fugue, by Raymond Sunderland?
  5. With reference to the organ of Canterbury Cathedral, the proposed stop-list looks to be quite comprehensive and largely sensible. I must admit that I am not particularly bothered by the presence of but one third-sounding rank. However, I am not convinced that the Choir Organ has been as well thought-out as the other divisions. It looks rather like a few other recent Harrison schemes. For one thing, given the presence of a Fifteenth in the Mixture III (15-19-22), it might have been useful to have used the separate Fifteenth slide for a Larigot or even an Octavin 1ft., as was formerly the case in the 1948 scheme. In fact, a re-creation of the 1948 Choir Organ might have been more versatile in any case. A second 8ft. Flute (more Romantic in character) might have been useful. However, it does appear that the new scheme, if fully realised, is likely to prove even more versatile than the present scheme. I have no doubt that the Solo Organ will prove its worth in Psalm accompaniment in particular. It is also good to see a second, quieter, 32ft. flue included. A 32ft. Double Open Wood, as useful as it may be in moments of grandeur (such as the last page or two of the first movement of the Elgar Sonata), is generally rather less useful in quieter registrations - particularly those of an ethereal nature. I note that I was correct in my assumption of the intervals of the G.O. compound stops at C1, in my post of 4 October 2017. One will be the existing Willis Mixture (15-17-19-22), and the other will be a new quint Mixture, commencing (19-22-26-29). Again, this makes perfect sense, and will provide the best of both worlds. David Drinkell made an interesting point regarding Hill's compound stops in an earlier post. I must admit that I have always preferred Hill's Mixtures to those of Willis. I would gladly suppress the third-sounding ranks without a second thought. I take his point regarding the inclusion of a Tierce rank in the bass (which generally dropped out after about eighteen notes, or more rarely, after the first octave). However, I believe that it was included to aid clarity in the bass (perhaps with the use of the clavier to Pedal coupler in mind), and that Hill preferred the majority of the compass to contain quint and unison ranks only.
  6. With reference to the G.O. compound stops, one is almost certainly the 15-17-19-22 IV-rank Mixture retained from the Willis instrument, and the other is probably a standard 19-22-26-29 quint Mixture. The G.O. foundation stops - maybe. However, there are seventeen 8ft. flues throughout the instrument. That should provide more than enough variety of tone-colour. In a building of this size, I should expect to find two Open Diapason ranks on the G.O. - even if the instrument is primarily voiced to be heard from the Quire.
  7. pcnd5584

    Buckfast Abbey

    Barry - I can speak of the instruments of both Gloucester Cathedral (on which I had regular lessons with David Briggs for several years), and Saint Albans (which I have played for choral services) from first-hand experience. I can assure you that the influence of Ralph Downes has certainly not dissipated - either with the passage of time, or as a result of additions or alterations. To take first Gloucester Cathedral. There was virtually no revoicing, and only a few additions on the Pedal Organ, a re-pitching on the West Positive, one re-voiced rank on the G.O., and a subsequent addition of a Trompette Harmonique to the West Positive. The rest of the instrument is, tonally, as left by Downes (well, Philip Prosser, to be strictly accurate). In the case of Saint Alban's Cathedral, again there have been a few additions, but the instrument is substantially as it was left after the re-pitching of the chorus mixtures some years ago. David Drinkell and Vox Humana make valid comments about Downes: he was a player and teacher of some repute. He was well-travelled, and had studied many historic instruments, the better to inform the decisions which he made when designing the organ of the RFH.
  8. pcnd5584

    The Royal Festival Hall Organ - what if ?

    Just a thought - as far as I know, Manchester Cathedral is not particularly reverberant. It is basically a large parish church, turned cathedral. Salisbury or Winchester would provide a rather better acoustic ambiance. Or, if you really want something very reverberant, but without the annoying, confused sound which is often the case under the dome in Saint Paul's Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral is even better, at a round eight seconds in an empty building.
  9. pcnd5584

    St James, Piccadilly

    I would not hold your breath in anticipation of this restoration. Whilst having no desire to question the veracity of this statement, or the wishes or enthusiasm of the incumbent, there has been a restoration project here since at least 1982, when students from my college gave a concert in the church, for which a colleague played the toaster. After the rehearsal, I picked up a leaflet, which gave details of what was planned, together with a proposed stop-list, and an appeal for funds. Ths must surely be one of the longest-running (without anything actually happening as a result) organ appeals anywhere, ever. I would venture to suggest that if the church has not managed to raise enough funds by now, then it is unlikely that this organ will be rebuilt or replaced in the foreseeable future.
  10. pcnd5584

    Appointments 2

    Or even acrophobia. One could suffer from vertigo in a cellar....
  11. pcnd5584

    Appointments 2

    Yes - I played for a long week-end of services for a visiting choir a couple of summers ago, with no problems whatsoever. I am fortunate in not suffering from acrophobia. However, I can sympathise with those who do.
  12. pcnd5584

    Most bizarre specifications?

    Co-incidentally, I had to have this key duplicated twice, today. It is quite small, and I have now lost two copies. It has been very useful this summer, since the Chamade has been foully out of tune for most of the season, due to very hot weather (for Dorset), interspersed with occasional cooler and rainy days.
  13. pcnd5584

    Most bizarre specifications?

    Unfortunately, at the moment, this instrument makes no sound at all. As far as I know, the console has been disconnected, pending a restoration; an electronic substitute is currently in use.
  14. pcnd5584

    Most bizarre specifications?

    You are indeed correct, SL. We are currently in discussion regarding the rebuilding of the Minster organ - I have already mentioned the 'Pulpit Trapdoor' stop (which I want connected and fully operational....)
  15. pcnd5584

    RCO Test Equivalencies

    I have had similar occurrences, Vox. About a year or two ago, during the rehearsal for Sunday night's Choral Evensong (with the Gentlemen of the Choir), my colleague made a last-minute substitution for the published anthem. I cannot recall what we were to perform, but we ended up doing The Lord is King, by Boyce. The choir librarian handed out the parts - and I received a figured-bass only organ part. (All of the copies were the same, so swapping would have been pointless.) Since we rehearsed up to about 18:25, there was no time to practise (having only had a bit of a 'top and tail' through edited highlights). It was also taken rather quickly. Fortunately, I managed to acquit myself without anything untoward happening. Again, occasionally, my colleague will decide that an anthem would be better with accompaniment on a particular occasion. This usually seems to happen with Gentlemen-only services, and almost without exception will include frequent crossing of parts, or having permanently to read the top two staves 'upside-down', as it were. On another occasion (fortunately only a rehearsal), I was rather tired and commenced playing Harwood's A-flat major setting nf the Magnificat, in G major - only realising a couple of pages in that it 'felt' wrong. However, it made the central G# minor section a lot easier to read.
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