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Henry Willis

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Everything posted by Henry Willis

  1. As Rowland says, the Solo Fluework is all on 4" wind (and always was). I have the 1926 - 1938 files in front of me, on my desk: The Violoncello was in the Specification from 1933 but Alcock requested that a way be found of having a 'Cello Celeste(s) - sic to go with it, in December 33. HW3 wrote back saying that a clamp must be added to the Solo Flues soundboard to accommodate the celeste and while there is no letter of agreement from Alcock the 'Cello Celestes appears in the engraving list of January '34. The Violoncello pipes were already made by that time, the celeste pipes (only to tenor c of course) followed. There is no suggestion (or even possibility in my view) that these pipes could have been from Wurlitzer. There is no Wurlitzer file in the archive, there are no references anywhere to any pipes ever having been imported from Wurlitzer. So, StewartT, perhaps you should let your 'informant' know that he's talking balls? David Wyld
  2. Reputedly Sidney Campbell: When asked by the Dean of one of his Cathedrals in a heated exchange "Well Dr. Campbell, what exactly do you think the Cathedral is here for?", the retort came back "To keep the rain off the bloody organ!". DW
  3. I've now exchanged a further two emails with Robert Matthew-Walker, on the address supplied: so I don't really understand why your attempts won't go through? The telephone number is still 0208 857 1582 and I just spoke to him on that number. DW
  4. Oh dear - I replied to Robert Matthew-Walker on what I believe to be a current email address some days ago and it hasn't bounced - that is theorgan@hotmail.co.uk As to a telephone number, I'll see what I can find out. David Wyld
  5. Members might remember the above posting some time ago and wondered why nothing more has been heard - I have now received the following from Robert Matthew-Walker, which tells all! Dear David: Long time no contact! You may remember our connections about three years ago concerning the publication of a book on the Brindley company organs by Bryan Hughes. Through your excellent suggestion and your assistance through the Mander Forum we announced a Subscribers' Page and we obtained a goodly number of subscribers - but......! I don't know if you are aware that in March 2015 we were the subject of a horrendous cyber attack on our computers and computerised records which obliterated all information stored on them: the corrected text of the book, all illustrations and original photographs - and the names and addresses of about 40 of the earlier subscribers at the time were lost. All attempts at restoration of these files were not wholly successful, but it has proved possible to restore the original text and, by some additional miracles, the illustrations - but not the subscribers! Through renewed appeals, we believe we have identified as many as humanly possible, given the circumstances, but as many of the original names and details of the first subscribers came through your kind offer to help publicise the book on the Mander Forum before the cyber attack, I am wondering if you would be so kind as to make a renewed appeal on our behalf, in order that those organ-lovers who readily responded to the original appeal and whose details are now lost in cyberspace might be able to let us have their details. After very many trials and tribulations, the book is now in the final stages of preparation before printing: it will amount to around 370 pages, with very many illustrations published for the first time. It will be softback, of a size between A5 and A4. The published price is £40, but for pre-publication subscribers it will be £25 including postage - a considerable bargain, as I hope you will agree. Thanks for your kind co=operation.
  6. I'm not sure that I fully understand the implication of the use of the past tense in this statement - it isn't a matter of 'did' but 'do', as we still do exactly the same at Henry Willis & Sons and nothing has changed. There are earlier Willis reeds which we have had through in the past that have (to the top of 61-note compass) 17 Flue trebles, but also others with 11 Flue Trebles. In the case of the new Tubas (Contra Tuba16ft, Tuba 8ft, Clarion 4ft) which we made, voiced and supplied for the organ at Trondheim Cathedral three years ago, the Clarion has 11 flue trebles (from C#50 i.e. the last reed being c49 as Bruce says). The Tuba 8ft is Harmonic from F#19 and the Clarion is Harmonic from F#7. I have never seen any Clarion that 'breaks back' an octave (rather than 'break' to flues) and fail to see the point really - if it simply doubles the 8ft at that point why bother? David Wyld
  7. No, just pure N&B 1909. The organ has always been said to be being "Restored" and if this is the case I'm a little puzzled at the suggestion that any N&B organ of that particular period would have had an independent 17th on the Great. Personally I think that it's nonsense but am willing to be proved wrong. Thanks for the list above Colin, but H.N&B was a totally different animal I think (especially from the 1950 onwards). DW
  8. I wonder if any member of the forum is able to provide details of any organ built by the Norman & Beard firm, during any period of its existence, in which an independent Tierce (17th) appears on the Great, or which was supposed to have had one listed in the original specification but subsequently not included? I ask as I have just seen advertising material announcing that the grand old 1909 N&B Ashton Hall organ of Lancaster Town Hall has had a 17th added to the Great (apparently on a direct-electric chest high above the other Great pipework and rather haughtily referred to as "a mounted 17th"!) and which was supposed to have been originally intended but subsequently omitted. DW
  9. I should perhaps also have mentioned - sticking to the Compton thread here - that we have the machines that are seen in the Compton Works film which many will no doubt have seen. These machines had passed to Rushworth & Dreaper when they took over the remains of Compton in (I think) 1963 and were included in the contents of the sale when we (Henry Willis & Sons) acquired the buildings and contents here in Liverpool some years ago. There is nothing particularly clever or innovative about any of the items but they do allow the rewinding of coils etc. and the jigs for the setting up of some of the rather fiddly components make it all incredibly easy. DW
  10. "Properly understood" - So you say. Experts 'soi-disant' abound in the organ world - in fact careers have been founded on "experts" declaring themselves to be so. For what it's worth I do like the decryption of the word given me by a (much respected) colleague: "'X' is an unknown quantity and a Spurt is a drip under pressure" - it has fitted the case in so many instances! Those of us with any experience at all and who know what we don't know, prefer to be thought of as being knowledgeable. I've only ever met one expert, in the person of Professor Peter Plesch, now gone, unfortunately. DW
  11. I hope he will not mind me saying so, but forum member Lucien Nunes is the world's greatest living expert on this aspect, having recently restored the 80 year old systems at Southampton Guildhall on both the classical and theatre consoles. And when I say 'restored' I actually mean restored in the sense of getting it all to work again at the level of individual magnets and contacts - not just by chucking it all out and fitting a solid state capture system. CEP Actually, you may find that there are one or two 'others' who know at least as much and that this statement may be just a little sweeping! I am not aware of how old Mr. Nunes might be but I am fairly confident that he is considerably younger than I and while he has an impressive interest in all things electrical (and indeed organ-wise) I and another employee of Moss Empires Ltd. in 1975 completely 'restored' the Compton relay and capture system in the Strand Light Console at The Palace Theatre in Manchester. This system - which I know that Lucien Nunes is also well aware of - was installed there in 1949 and had not had any major work carried out up to 1975 so, during the summer when the theatre was 'dark' we set to the task. I had worked at The Palace Theatre first during school and college holidays but then decided that it would be fun to do it for a while on a more professional basis - that experience was invaluable in all sorts of ways. Instead of controlling the mechanism of an organ, the Light Console, through a huge Compton Relay controlled several banks of dimmers (at The Palace, 108 in 3 banks of 36) operated by electromagnetic 'Moss Mansell' clutches and several sets of rather heavy-duty, mains contactors - all of this equipment was also thoroughly overhauled at the time. I left The Palace in 1978 or 79 and I believe that the Light console continued in regular use for a while after - though I was also informed that after I left they were unable to find anyone else who could actually operate the system - being an Organist it all seemed quite logical to me. A fascinating insight for those who were otherwise unaware of this strand of organ-related technology put to other uses can be seen at http://www.magmouse.co.uk/research/light-console/palace-theatre-manchester/ So Colin, perhaps not the only (or even World's Greatest) living authority - I do so dislike the term 'expert'. By the way, Fred Royce didn't make magnets and other items only for Hope-Jones! David Wyld
  12. Members may (or not) be interested to know that last week saw the erection of the new casework for the Willis organ in the Hooglandse Kerk. Leiden. There are pictures on the SCOL Facebook pages (I'm told) but also on our own (Willis) website at www.willis-organs.com. There is also a Twitter feed accessible from the front page of the website which provides current detail. The arrival of the casework provides the means for including the original (1891) Pedale Violone 16 - in the side front - and the new Great Double Open Diapason 16 in the front - into the specification. The final stage of the work will be the connection of the new entirely pneumatic actions for these two stops immediately after Easter. David Wyld
  13. News reached us yesterday that Alastair Rushworth died at his home in Brisbane, Australia, on the 23rd February, aged 70. David Wyld HENRY WILLIS & SONS LTD.
  14. If thermal expansion (of the pipes) were a factor, the pitch would be lowered by a rise in temperature whereas the pitch rises with temperature - in fact the thermal expansion factor is negligible in the tuning of flue pipes as the standing wave is virtually unaltered; More important even than the speed of sound in air is the density (and therefore the weight) of the air in the column (pipe) - 'damping', therefore not only the tuning changes, but also the volume of the sound due to changes in 'resonance' in the column. As the vibrating tongue in a reed is part of a 'coupled system', the rules all change: as temperature rises the reeds go marginally flat, so when an organ with reeds "goes out of tune", the fluework moves a great deal further than the reeds (but in the opposite direction to the reeds and usually mostly together) the perception is that the reeds have gone out of tune - actually not! DW
  15. I don't think it's anything to do with 'Scripture' - more to do with Henry VIII keeping his Bishops under control? To return to the subject - Leeds Town Hall, prior to its evisceration in 1972, had 5 manuals. DW
  16. Does anyone have any knowledge of or information regarding the structural integrity of the 'printable' material(s)? Having this capability is one thing, but how long will such stuff last? Tony also raised the matter of resolution, but proper finishing would presumably still be required. DW
  17. Indeed - what a good idea! The same thing happened with the Hill (casework) books of course and we still have the six 'subscription copies' here at the Works. As you say, the list of subscribers is extremely interesting. I have spoken to Mr. Matthew-Walker and he also thinks ot a marvellous suggestion - it will be done! So there we are, anyone subscribing to this tome will have their name recorded for posterity: not bad for 25 Quid! I do hope that the take-up for this will be high - all too often the huge effort to put such a book together is rewarded by a pathetically low sales record which, of course, puts publishers off the idea of doing anything similar in the future. David Wyld
  18. The Editor of 'The Organ' and 'Musical Opinion' has drawn to my attention a forthcoming book on the history of the Brindley firm, from 1854 - 1939 by Bryan Hughes (author of 'The Schulze Dynasty): the manuscript is edited and awaiting publication for which advance subscriptions are being sought to assist with the considerable costs of publication. The finished book will amount to some 200 pages, containing over 150 photographs and will be available to subscribers at the cost of £25 per copy. Those interested should contact: Robert Matthew-Walker, 1, Exford Road, London SE12 9HD Tel: 0208 857 1582 email: theorgan@hotmail.co.uk I have subscribed to four copies and hope that others might also see this as an interesting addition to their libraries! David Wyld HENRY WILLIS & SONS LTD.
  19. ........... and me! I'm VERY left-handed, which I'm pretty sure helps with seeing detailed drawings more-or-less in a version of 3-D. A neuro-scientist friend tells me that many Architects, Mathematicians and Chemists are left-handed, many of them also musicians. so there must be summat in it. DW
  20. I have one, identical - George Rogers and Sons. It's extremely useful and the pedalboard is, I think, 4'-10" radius for the concavity and radiation. It isn't 'Ellingford'. A friend (ex-Bechstein) has done the action for me, didn't need a huge amount of work. If I were being really picky, the keys could do with recovering, but the cost isn't justified. We rebuilt the pedalboard and action and it is now much better presented than it ever was I think! DW
  21. Jonathan............... Who? DW
  22. The size (and sectional shape) of the trunk is more often the cause of the problem, rather than position. DW
  23. I would rather listen to ANY piece by Guilmant than ANY piece by Messiaen on ANY day of the week! DW
  24. DON'T PANIC - it isn't quite what it seems! It's the Odeon West End, not the Odeon Leicester Square: Quote: The Odeon West End, from 1930 to 1988 known as Leicester Square Theatre, is a cinema on the south side of Leicester Square, So the Duchess is safe (I've just consulted Donald Mackenzie, who confirms). David Wyld
  25. The North American Deans' Conference, about 1980 I think - The Dean (Fiennes) asked PM to compose an anthem for the Festal Evensong that would either open or close the conference and, rather ill-advisedly came the question..... "What will you take as your text?". With eyes turned heavenwardfor a carefully calculated 'stage' moment, he swung round to look him directly and wryly in the eye.............. "Psalm 3: verse 1 - "Lord, how are they increased that trouble me!". Exit stage left, the Victor! DW By The way, just a point, but PM was never actually a pupil of ECB - he just missed him at Durham and the Professor by then was Arthur Hutchings.
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