Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by petergunstone

  1. This doesn’t answer your question about the organ but is perhaps useful background information. The central aisle (nave & choir) is entirely laid out in collegiate form. The choir used to sing at the west end. The choir has moved to the east end on account of scaffolding in the nave and ante-chapel related to conservation and lighting works. The new organ is described as temporary. https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/news/oxfords-cathedral/seeing-cathedral-different-light As the east end is a more acoustically pleasing space for choral music (more stone, less wood), I wonder if this is also a time of experimentation concerning the liturgical layout of the building.
  2. I suspect that this recording was made using the organ of St Edmundsbury Cathedral where Philip Banks (presumably father of the organist, Ben) is Precentor. The shape of the loft and style of the console are certainly reminiscent of that place. I assume that the lime-washed wood is a relic of the former decoration scheme of the organ and loft.
  3. Thanks for a very interesting post. Could you point me to some literature on this point?
  4. Paul & Jonathan - thank you, this seems to be the most likely explanation. You raise an important point concerning nomenclature, Jonathan - the word ‘acoustic’ does carry a certain value here. Concerning why an adjective might be added to the name of a stop, the funny thing is that we find qualitative adjectives completely normal for Harmonic, Doppel, or Lieblich Flutes, Open, Stopped, or Stentor Diapasons, etc, let alone adjectives concerning their pitch and genre. So, if a Trumpet and Harmonic Trumpet, why not a Bombarde and Bombarde Acoustique? Perhaps it is because - sometimes - such half length stops are seen as compromises? I rarely hear someone arguing positively for a half length stop!
  5. Hi Darius, thanks and gosh - what an alarming composition! But, I understand that Compton used to set up (wire up!) these stops on site, to achieve the best effect. So, perhaps it worked well?!!! Whilst such stops are sensible in organs that use extension, as no such derivation seems to be the case at Erveux, this seems unlikely to me for the case in point. But, I could be wrong!
  6. My question really concerns what sort of resultant stop this is, i.e. what is its specific composition? There has been much discussion of Harmonic/Acoustic/Resultant Basses of the soft a flue-quality variety and Pedal Cornets, but this (and the example above that DHM has drawn our attention to) seems to be in a different category.
  7. Interestingly, the previous specification for that organ includes a note, saying "Harmonics of 32 ft V is based on Pedal Trombone and Tromba with some quinted pipes from Open Wood and Open Metal" https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N01917 Returning to the Quorin organ at Evreux, it is an intriguing stop given that the pedal division is small, and that the other stops in that division are effectively a kind of 'Harmonics of 32' already.
  8. Could anyone enlighten me as to what an Acoustic Bombarde 32’ might be? An organ that a recently released Jonathan Scott recording uses features one (see description for specification):
  9. I'm not sure that "equivalent" is a fair term to use here. Whilst one might benefit from provided accommodation in terms of immediately reduced outgoings on account of said accommodation, one potentially loses the longer term opportunity of investing in one's own estate. Whilst I it is fair to reckon to offset some expenses when accommodation is provided, it isn't fair to consider such an offset in terms of a 1:1 ratio. Moreover, whilst the use of a property within the cathedral's estate may seem like a privilege, for all that privilege, the occupant may have otherwise chosen to live elsewhere, and simply accepted that provision as a part of (or, indeed, condition of) the employment package. My simple point is to agree with you that there is, indeed, "not a lot of money in cathedral music making" from the perspective of this role. And then there is the lot of lay clerks...
  10. The Prelude was an ABRSM Grade 5 piece in 1993. I know because I played it in that exam!
  11. Except, I understand, accommodation in cases where it is an occupational requirement/condition of service that one lives in accommodation provided for the necessary fulfilment of duties, e.g. house parents in a school, a minister of religion living in a house specified for their role.
  12. Almost twenty years ago, when the composer Anwen Lewis and I were delivering “Organ Works”, a Key Stage 2 educational project at the Bridgewater Hall, the attached console of the Marcussen organ played an important role. That the console is physically part of the instrument helped the children to understand that they were encountering not just some sound-producing machine, but an organ, a unity with which they could interact in a tactile way. On their first visit to the hall, I used to guide the children to play a key on the Positive 8ft Principal, Gedeckt or Quintadena (IIRC). It seemed to me that the sense of physical connection with the instrument that the attached and mechanical console offered was a significant moment in the whole programme of encountering, beginning to understand the expressive possibilities of, and compose for that organ. Such intimacy is an immensely valuable experience of the organ, one that is physically different from that at the mobile console. (That said, we did use the mobile console for the group performances of compositions on the second visit, for practical reasons.)
  13. Very sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with the company and all others who will be impacted by this.
  14. Yes. When I was MD at St Andrew’s, North Oxford, it was as, if not more likely, that a wedding couple from the congregation would request band-led music than the organ (although often this was in addition to, rather than instead of, the organ). Such engagements did not feature as a part of the ‘general duties’ of the band. I mention this because the participation of individuals in ‘the band’ (in reality, a collective of about 40 musicians who indicated their availability and whose involvement I programmed) was voluntary. So, their involvement at a wedding would be on the same basis. As the employed MD, I was the only person with ‘general duties’.
  15. Details at: https://viscountorgans.net/contra-bourdon-for-buckfast-abbey/
  16. I had the privilege of reading the fascinating correspondence between Edward Bairstow and Arthur Harrison concerning the rebuilding of the organ in Leeds Parish Church. This was in Harrison & Harrison’s archive. From my recollection, Bairstow was anything but a passsive client when it came to matters of tonal design and the disposition of the console. In particular, I recall their correspondence featured a polite but robust conversation concerning the arrangement of the stops: ease of hand registering was a strong driver for Bairstow. I think that Bairstow wanted the swell stops to be arranged around the strings, flutes, Vox Humana and tremulant being in close proximity, rather than a straight flues by pitch then reeds. Robert, I wonder if similar correspondence exists between Bairstow and Harrisons concerning any of these or other aspects the 1931 York rebuild? I wonder what they discussed!
  17. Recently announced on Škrabl's website, a new IV/48 organ 'following the work of' Cavaillé-Coll, using 'only part of' the existing instrument: http://www.skrabl.co.uk/news-item.asp?NID=42
  18. Nicholsons are to undertake a major rebuild, including replacing the mechanical actions with electro-pneumatic: http://www.nicholsonorgans.co.uk/portfolio/rugby-rugby-school-chapel/
  19. Some further details are available here: http://fhbrowneandsons.co.uk/portfolio/st-john-the-evangelist-mongeham/
  20. F.H. Browne have recently published the following picture of their new organ for Mongeham
  21. Simon Leach, currently organist of the Holy Name (Manchester), to be organist of St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh. https://www.stmaryscathedral.co.uk/news/2018/5/10/sixth-sunday-of-easter-year-b
  22. I salute you: what brilliant, bold, and forthright post! You've almost convinced me to change my mind.
  23. It is interesting to compare the tonal resources of the two organs of this thread. As regards tierce registrations, Manchester offers three options (Gt Cornet; Pos Cornet decomposé; Choir Sesquialtera) which - I believe - can be used on three separate manuals by means of a Choir on Solo transfer (not listed on the builder's website, but which I have seen on a photograph of the screen console). However, whilst such comparisons are practically relevant to some aspects of the performance of repertoire, a crucial consideration is that these two instruments have been built and are being rebuilt from fundamentally different starting points. Whereas Manchester is an entirely new instrument, reusing only a small selection of pipework from the previous instrument, broadly speaking, Canterbury seems to be the recreation of the spirit of the 1948 Willis rebuild. Has the Cornet Voluntary offended? And are large swathes of the continental repertoire inaccessible? And will it sound incomplete? I suggest not. The performance of music always takes place within limitations; indeed, is this not the point of creativity which makes live performances so vital? Yes, whilst it will not be possible to register every piece of organ music, even large swathes of organ music, with stop names and combinations that appear and perhaps sound similar, there will nonetheless be many convincing and individual performances of music with the ample resources available. The question of accessibility of repertoire is not just confined to stop lists. It is influenced by the voicing and scale of choruses, by the physical layout of the instrument, and its placement in the building. Even if this instrument were to have three separate tierce registrations, the difference between the layout of a werkprinzip instrument and the one proposed at Canterbury would already create a distinction, rendering, in the opinion of some I'm sure, an authentic performance already impossible. For instance, from experience, listening to some dialogical baroque fantasia in the nave of a cathedral such as Canterbury, some aspects of the music, notably the directness of sound and the spatial effect which were almost undoubtedly imagined and intended by the composer are completely lost owing to these factors. The situation is quite different in Manchester. But OK, as a tierce rank is materially and financially relative insignificant in a scheme such as Canterbury, perhaps it would have been nice to squeeze one in somewhere. But then where does one stop? For me, the convincing performance of music begins and is most dependent on the technical facility and creative rhetoric of the performer. Yes, it's great to hear music performed on instruments that are as close as possible to those for which it was intended. But a critical aspect of the living tradition is the way in which music has subsequently been reinterpreted and performed in new contexts in a manner which is both respectful of, but not unnecessarily limited by the sources of that music. As has already been noted, the prime function of this instrument is the accompaniment of the choral and congregational opus Dei, and all indications are that, post-rebuild, it will do better justice to this task with the expanded/restored tonal resources. The tonal palette offered is wide within the tradition of this instrument, and I look forward to hearing how organists will creatively perform Cornet Voluntaries and the aforementioned Messaien in time to come.
  24. Specification on the H&H website (under gallery)
  25. Yes, it's odd that the preview is showing that when the last post was last Tuesday! Quirks of the system...
  • Create New...