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Everything posted by robertsharpe

  1. Hello Rowland, thank you for your query. In such a situation, one would simply play the solo in the tenor register. Bairstow was fond of this in hymns, and used his left hand for it. Richard Lloyd also did similar in Durham, and I’m sure there were/are many others. Effective with a large congregation as it supports the melody at male voice pitch.
  2. Hello John, and other readers. In answer to your question, the Mirabilis will not be affected by the solo octave couplers in the restored organ. The pedal divide has a fifth Solo Octave to Pedal coupler above the divide point, in addition to the standard four manuals to pedal ones, and this will affect the Mirabilis for when a tune in the middle of the compass on that stop is desired to be played by the right foot. Incidentally, the other Solo stops, when played through this pedal divide coupler and with additionally Solo Octave and Unison Off drawn, will play at double octave. i.e. Orchestral
  3. Board members may be interested in the opportunity to acquire a part of the Minster organ from the north and south facades. www.Givergy.uk/yorkminsterorganpipeauction
  4. Not yet, John. I will mention this to Francis when i next have an opportunity.
  5. Peter, thank you for this. There is extensive Bairstow correspondence in the organ archive here. On particular thing he was of a mind about was the use of combination pedals rather than the H&H foot pistons which by 1930 were more usual. The Leeds console had combination pedals too, I believe. Here is a letter about this:
  6. That’s right, John. The same arrangement persisted after 1993 when the name was changed to Diapason Celeste. In more recent years, the tuning has been reversed with the VD rank being the undulating one, and the OD tuned normally. This will be the arrangement in the restored organ.
  7. I’m not sure that it was intended to be an imitation as such, but the name would imply the Italian influence. I’m not certain exactly when it was first tuned in this manner and whether it preceded Arthur Wills’ Fiffaro at Ely. There won’t be any half-draw option. The hierarchy of the reeds mentioned in my earlier post is as heard to the west. To the east, the Tuba Mirabilis is much further down the list as it is ultra-directional in its projection westwards. It’s an interesting question about #5 with the new west shutters; my guess is that #4 and #5 will be closer than they were before t
  8. Hello John and thank you for your questions. The Walker 1903 scheme provided two Diapasons on the Swell. The Open Diapason (standing on the lower pressure soundboard) was in fact the Hill Great Open Diapason No 1. In its new position inside the Swell, it was of great beauty and effective also as a solo stop. Bairstow is known to have enjoyed its use as such with the tremulant which is certainly most effective in the acoustic. The Violin Diapason stood on the higher pressure soundboard (which also served the strings as well as the reeds); it is a brighter sound. At some point in the 196
  9. Good to hear about your nephew, Dave. I hope he’s having a great time. What a wonderful opportunity for him! Yes, Consecrations are normally about two hours long and this one was a double one, of course. The Archbishop is a brilliant supporter of the Minster Choir (whose front row of choristers was missing of course this time, being half-term). He wrote the psalm in question though I’m not sure if there is a significant amount of other music written by him.
  10. How lovely to hear all of this, MM! The cycle trip is quite something at 14: fantastic. FJ inspired so many. His performances of the St Anne attract universal admiration, and your comments about the late Carlo remind us all of that sad loss both of a performer and an advocate of the instrument. As to York’s organ, I can see that no further discussion will be useful until you visit when it’s back! I wish it wasn’t so long to wait.
  11. Thank you, Dave. And congratulations to the new bishops. I was sorry to be absent for this particular Consecration which fell during our (one-week-later-than-most) half-term.
  12. Thanks for clarifying both re pre-1960 and more recently, MM. The Walker 1960/FJ work resulted in so many wonderful (and iconic) recordings and of course Francis’s legendary playing and accompanying were at the heart of these. What an absolute legend he is and it’s extraordinary to think he is in his 102nd year! We are so fortunate in all respects to have Cocker, Willan, Mulet, Bossi et al. They were, and remain, such an inspiration alongside the other recordings. The north west door lends its own distance to the (very far away) sound, of course; please come and visit again next yea
  13. Thank you for these thoughts, MM. I wonder if I might ask if you heard the York organ in the flesh prior to 1960 and if you have heard it since 2012 when the original Great flue wind pressure was restored? I completely agree with you about the Schnitger sound world and how that is linked inextricably with the favourable positioning at the west end of the church. I’m also aware of the relative dimensions of the crossing and lantern in York.
  14. Thank you, John, for your interest in this topic. I confess that Enclosed Solo on Choir was not a transfer we did consider though I can see exactly what you are suggesting such a stop might enable. However, the hierarchy of the reeds, in descending order of intensity, is as follows: Tuba Mirabilis Trombas Enclosed Tubas Posaunes Swell reeds So the specified transfers (including Posaunes on Choir) do allow the first four of these to be played over four manuals. Using this list too, one can see how the way the reeds are used to some extent differs dependin
  15. Thank you, John. You are right in your supposition about octave couplers for the Tuba Mirabilis! We don’t anticipate the sound of the enclosed Solo being significantly different in the revised location. In fact the south-facing shutters of the old Solo box were more or less directly underneath the overhanging upper part of the main case with additional shutters in the roof of the box. The new shutters will be horizontal and opening north where the effect, with reflection off the tower pillar will be much as before but with the added advantage of the new box. The Ophicleide wil
  16. Thank you for this. The Enclosed Solo on Swell is mainly intended to enable the enclosed tubas to be separated from the Mirabilis. The former are very flexible in their use (perhaps better thought of as orchestral trombones in the effect they produce) and the new transfer will enable them to be used in chorus whilst the Mirabilis remains on the top manual. The Solo octave couplers, which don't affect the Mirabilis, will transfer too and, when transferred to the Swell, the enclosed Solo stops will also couple through Swell to Great, Swell to Pedal and Swell to Choir. In the past, one woul
  17. A Nave organ is certainly a tantalising prospect in this vast Gothic Cathedral. It would provide one solution, to be sure. But there are many reservations too, not least the potential position of such an organ and the conflicts that might produce with modern use of the space. However, the position of the existing organ so commandingly and centrally on the screen has much to commend it from east and west perspectives, especially with the layout introduced in 1903 by J W Walker which allows for a warm spread of sound to east and west. A major issue at York (along with also Lincoln) is the c
  18. Good evening Alastair, The Octaves Alone hearkens back to the early 20th c H&H schemes where it was normally paired with a (standard) Octave. On a single drawstop it’s the equivalent of drawing Octave and Unison Off together. The Choir Organ is bracketed out over the console on the east side and is most beautiful in the eastern Quire space. In the Nave, it’s more akin to an (effective) Echo Organ. The 16ft Lieblich Bourdon, along with its 8ft companion, is a very seductive sound in the Quire. Both are (slightly) rescaled Hill stops. The new Octaves Alone allows the choice of eit
  19. John, I am glad the explanations are helpful. The new Solo box will actually have its (horizontal) shutters to the north as it will be at console level. The previous box had shutters to the south (facing into the organ) and in the roof. The north shutters allow the sound to reflect from the tower pier to both the east and west. You are quite right about the case which gave the impression of squatting on the screen before but will appear to rise up much more elegantly from it. You are right that the Bombarde will not be included because it does not fit within the parameters of remainin
  20. I am grateful to John Robinson for interest in the York Minster organ project and for his questions. The H&H document states, “An important aim of the major work being carried out in 2018-20 is to recapture the musical character and energy of the organ as left in 1931 by Harrison & Harrison, while maintaining the instrument’s versatility within this aesthetic and bringing the diverse pipework together in a coherent tonal structure.” The 1931 stop list and wind pressures will therefore be restored as part of this aim, whilst retaining some later and new additions which fall wit
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