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caskie

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Posts posted by caskie

  1. It might be helpful to clarify the pedal flue provision at Manchester Town Hall.  From 1877 to 1893 there was no 32' flue tone at all.  The 'real' Pédale stops were simply two 42-note ranks: a Contrebasse 16' extended to a Flûte basse 8', and a Bombarde 16' extended to a Trompette 8'.  These were augmented by no less than three of the Grand Orgue stops being duplexed onto the Pédale as well: the GO Bourdon 16' was available on the Pédale as a Soubasse 16', the GO Bourdon 8' (wholly independent from the Bourdon 16') was available on the Pédale as a Bourdon Doux 8', and the GO Violoncelle 8' was available on the Pédale as a Violoncelle 8'.  Thus the original Pédale division was

    Contrebasse 16' A (open metal and wood)
    Soubasse 16' (the GO Bourdon 16', stopped wood)
    Flûte basse 8' A (open metal and wood)
    Bourdon Doux 8' (the GO Bourdon 8', stopped wood)
    Violoncelle 8 8' (the GO Violoncelle 8', open metal)
    Bombarde 16' B (open metal)
    Trompette 8' B (open metal)

    In 1893, Cavaillé-Coll added a Solo division, but also added a third 42-note rank to the Pédale.  This was of stopped wood construction and was available as a Soubasse 32' and Bourdon 16', giving

    Soubasse 32' C (stopped wood)
    Contrebasse 16' A (open metal and wood)
    Bourdon 16' C (stopped wood)
    Soubasse 16' (the GO Bourdon 16', stopped wood)
    Flûte basse 8' A (open metal and wood)
    Bourdon Doux 8' (the GO Bourdon 8', stopped wood)
    Violoncelle 8 8' (the GO Violoncelle 8', open metal)
    Bombarde 16' B (open metal)
    Trompette 8' B (open metal)

    In 1913, Lewis & Co. made some further alterations:

    - the GO Principal 16' was made available on the Pedal
    - the stoppers were removed from the Cavaillé-Coll 1893 Soubasse 32' / Bourdon 16' rank, turning it into a Great Bass 16' and Octave 8'.
    - to compensate for the loss of 32' flue tone, a resultant Soubasse 32' was created: from notes C1–B12 it played the Great Bass 16' at pitch with a quint from new dedicated stopped wood quint pipes, added by Lewis & Co., while from notes C13 upwards it simply played the Great Bass 16' -8ve. 
    - the Bombarde 16' / Trompette 8' rank was revoiced on much higher pressure and extended downwards with 12 new pipes to form a Contra Bombarde 32'

    This gave:

    Sub Bass 32' C+D (C1–B12 played Great Bass at 16' with dedicated stopped wood quint; C13+ played Great Bass 16' -8ve)
    Great Bass 16' C (the 1893 Cavaillé-Coll Soubasse 32' with stoppers removed, so now open wood)
    Contre Bass 16' A (1877 CC, open wood and metal)
    Principal 16' (newly available from the Gt Principal 16', stopped wood and open metal bottom 5, remainder open metal)
    Bourdon 16' (the Gt Bourdon 16', stopped wood)
    Octave 8' C (the 1893 CC Bourdon 16' with stoppers removed, so now open wood)
    Flute Bass 8' A (1877 CC, open wood and metal)
    Bourdon 8' (the Gt Bourdon 8', stopped wood)
    Diapason 8' (the Gt Diapason II 8' which was the 1877 Violoncelle 8' revoiced, open metal)
    Contre Bombarde 32' B (1913 L&Co extension, open wood)
    Bombarde 16' B (1877 CC revoiced on higher pressure, open metal)
    Trompette 8' B (1877 CC revoiced on higher pressure, open metal)

    In 1970, Jardine & Co. added two top notes to each rank to extend the pedal compass to G32 rather than F30, but the Pedal spec remained otherwise as per Lewis & Co. of 1913.

    In the forthcoming project, the division is to be returned to its 1893 form. 

    Clavecin is quite right to highlight the modest space in the organ.  Within only a few months of the organ's opening in 1877, there were comments made in the press about the organ's many qualities being overshadowed by a perceived lack of bass tone.  The 1893 additions by Cavaillé-Coll were much praised by Alexandre Guilmant and by Kendrick Pyne, the then city organist, for the extra foundation that they gave the instrument.

    Hope that this is of interest.

    Andrew Caskie
    Managing Director
    Nicholson & Co. Ltd

  2. 3 hours ago, Colin Pykett said:

    And I haven't even mentioned the rather fluty mixtures with their somewhat unusual 19th century-style compositions (which I am grateful to Andrew Caskie at Nicholson's for helping me to unravel - quite difficult when all you have are audio recordings to go on!).  And the range of beautiful quiet strings and colour reeds -  I could go on boring you all for ever ... 

    Lovely to read all this Colin!  For anyone interested, the full spec of this organ, including mixture compositions, may be downloaded from http://www.nicholsonorgans.co.uk/pf/great-malvern-priory/.

  3. I hope I can help clarify the recent history of this instrument.  When the organ was built in 1936 (not 1937 as is stated on the RBC advert), the pipework was all made and voiced by Hermann Eule of Germany but everything else was made by Hill, Norman & Beard.  The organ has mechanical action for the manuals, pedals and all couplers, but charge pneumatic slider actions and stop actions.  It was a wedding gift to Lady Susi Jeans from her husband, the eminent physicist Sir James Jeans and was installed in their home (Cleveland Lodge) in Dorking.

    As is well-known, the Jeans' home eventually became home to the RSCM in 1996, and it was during this era that Harrison & Harrison undertook some restoration work in 1999.  Our friends in Durham will be able to confirm the precise scope of work, but my recollection was that it was not a total restoration but a thorough cleaning, repairs to pipework, and releathering of all pneumatic actions.

    In 2006, Nicholson & Co. was commissioned by Birmingham Conservatoire to move the organ from Cleveland Lodge to the Birmingham Conservatoire building.  As well as the relocation, completed that year, this work included provision of a new blower, provision of a platform and side facades to the instrument (it had been in a chamber in Cleveland Lodge), re-leathering of the main reservoir (not done in 1999), repairs to the soundboards (not restored in 1999 or 2006; just splits repaired).  The keys were re-covered (not sure what they were originally, but by 2006 they had black wooden naturals and white plastic-capped sharps) in white cow bone for the naturals and ebony sharps.  

    The organ remained in Birmingham Conservatoire for 11 years, until Nicholson & Co. was again commissioned to move the organ, this time to the Conservatoire's new home (now the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire).  This was completed in 2017.  The 2017 relocation work included a cleaning of all pipework and further repairs (but still not restoration) to the soundboards which had developed new splits.  New leather buttons were fitted throughout the action.  Some pictures can be found at http://www.nicholsonorgans.co.uk/pf/birmingham-conservatoire/

    The leatherwork is all fine, none of it being older than 20.  Anyone considering the organ should plan for the soundboards to be thoroughly restored, as they have had numerous partial repairs to splits, but otherwise the organ should quite happily be dismantled and re-erected without the need for other restoration work.

    My personal observation, which I think is shared by many, is that the organ is of greater historical significance than musical value; interesting but not altogether beautiful.  It is voiced for a small room and would struggle to fill a large space.  Some minor tonal changes appear to have been made at some stage in the organ's life e.g.. there is a Quinte [sic] 2 2/3 that is actually a Larigot.    I hope our benevolent hosts won't mind me joking that we are getting quite good at moving it now, so if anyone is interested.... 


    Andrew Caskie
    Managing Director, Nicholson & Co.

  4. The website had sustained a mobile redirection hack - it was working fine for desktop browsers, but mobile and tablet browsers were being redirected. Perhaps someone hoping to inspire us to to leave the country!

     

    Hopefully fixed now.

     

    Andrew Caskie

    Nicholson & Co. Ltd

  5. The St John's Keswick organ is indeed lovely, but it isn't a patch on the glorious 1906 II/18 H&H in Whitehaven URC, 30 miles away on the Cumbrian west coast. Not being in such a tourist spot it isn't so widely known, but it's the finest small Romantic organ I've ever played. Every stop on it is voiced to perfection, and playing it feels like driving a vintage Bentley. Specification was designed by both Lt Col Dixon and Alfred Hollins - see spec and pics at http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N03535.

  6. St. Bees Priory has an odd type of swell pedal, but I can't remember how it works!

     

     

    St Bees ('Father' Willis) has what might best be described as pneumatic ratchet expression pedals for both Swell and Solo boxes. They are off to the RH side. Like a ratchet swell they are weighted to return to the top (closed) position, and one depresses the pedal to open the box. To get it to remain at any position other than closed, you have to remove your foot from the pedal very quickly: the idea is that a pneumatic 'ratchet' then 'catches' the pedal and holds it at that position. To release it, you depress v slightly and then control its inherent return upwards, just like with a mechanical ratchet. They, and the whole St Bees organ, are in a poor state of repair at present, so they sometimes fall a good bit closed before catching!

     

    Rothwell used the same devices: you can see a picture of these pedals on the NPOR survey for the organ formerly in Craigiebank Church, Dundee, at http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=E00085.

  7. All three Infinite Speed and Gradation pedals have been restored and retained at the McEwan Hall, Edinburgh (1897 Hope-Jones; 1953 Willis; 1980 Rushworth & Dreaper; 2014 Forth Pipe Organs) during the major restoration of that instrument last year - http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=C01272. Prior to the restoration, the shutter positions were indicated by Smith fuel gauges (complete with E and F!) but these have been replaced by horizontal white LED strips.

  8. Here’s a few

     

    Grace, Harvey – Three Psalm-Tune Postludes

    Harwood, Basil – Two Preludes on old English Psalm Tunes, Op. 52

    Howells, Herbert – Psalm Preludes, two sets of three

    Kee, Cor - Inleidingen tot de Psalmen (contains 20 preludes)

    Leighton, Kenneth – Martyrs, Op. 73 (duet)

    Maxwell Davies, Peter – first of ‘Three Organ Voluntaries’ is titled Psalm 124

    Milner, Arthur – Meditation on Psalm 21

    Milner, Arthur – Two Meditations on Psalms

    Reubke, Julius – Sonata on Psalm 94

    Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon – Psalms 116 and 140

    Whitlock, Percy – Seven Sketches on Verses from the Psalms

    Wood, Charles – Sixteen Preludes on Melodies from the English and Scottish Psalters

    Wood, Charles – Three Preludes on Melodies from the Genevan Psalter

  9. Stirling is the absolute of embodiment of "Rushworth's could really do it when they wanted to". It is also fabled to be loud enough to make the worms jump out of their holes on the adjacent bowling green.

     

    If you're driving south after your visit to Edinburgh, drop in at Haddington Collegiate Church and try their Lammermuir 3 manual. I think it's marvellous, despite its being completely unlike the sort of thing I usually go for!

    The chorus mixtures at Stirling were mucked around with in the 1970s and to my mind really spoil the ff choruses, sticking out like sore thumbs. But if you keep it quiet there's lots of good stuff to explore. The R&D in the Reid Memorial Church, Edinburgh (http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N11959) has not been tweaked and is therefore, to my mind, more enjoyable to play. It doesn't have the Burmese Gong that Stirling does, however!

     

    Anyone who wants to know more about the lovely organs in Edinburgh ought to buy the splendid 'Organs of Edinburgh' book published three years ago or so, which has lots of colour photos and four CDs of 22 different instruments around the city - see http://www.edinburghorganists.org/Pages/CDProject.aspx for more details including a complete track listing.

     

    The McEwan organ is currently in bits, being comprehensively rebuilt by Forth Pipe Organs (new soundboards, Swell chorus reeds, etc.).

     

    The NPOR entries for Edinburgh are unusually up-to-date and accurate so it's well worth a browse having searched for Edinburgh. There's lots of photographs too.

  10. A friend of mine is just preparing a recital and came across an interesting question concerning registration in Whitlock's Fantasie Choral No. 1.

     

    Apparently, the piece starts with the following stops:

    III: Vox angelica 8 + Sub octave

    I: 8-foot Stopped Diapason + III/I

     

    When Whitlock wrote the Fantasie Choral No. 1, he had just been appointed organist at St. Stephen, Bournemouth, with an 1898 Hill, and appears to have chosen the registrations with this instrument in mind. Now, in a Hill of this vintage, probably tubular pneumatic: Would the combination of couplers (III + sub octave, III/I) mean that the sub octave of the third manual would also sound while you play on the first manual?

     

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

     

    Thanks in advance,

    Friedrich

    Apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but I've just come across it having recently learned this fine piece. Although the respondents are correct to say that the octave couplers would typically read through (unless there were separate octave/sub octave inter-manual couplers, in which case they wouldn't), the question is academic, as it's a misreading of the score were this to occur. The opening section is antiphonal between the Swell strings (with sub octave) and Choir diap/dulciana (no Sw to Ch). One is primed at the start to prepare an 8' flute on the Great, with Sw to Great drawn, but when one eventually plays on the Great for the first time (bottom of p.2) the Swell registration is changed to retire the sub octave coupler and strings, replacing them with a Geigen.

  11. Music for a Summer Evening

     

    Organ recital by Andrew Caskie

     

    Tuesday 4 June 2013, 7.30pm (free admission)

    Palmerston Place Church, Edinburgh EH12 5AA

     

    Veni Creator – Nicolas de Grigny (with plainchant sung alternatim by men from the choir)

     

    Meditation: Love Unknown – Francis Jackson

     

    Berceuse à la mémoire de Louis Vierne – Pierre Cochereau, transc. F. Blanc

     

    Trio Sonata No. 6 in G major BWV 530 – Johann Sebastian Bach

     

    Free Fantasia on O Zion, haste and How firm a foundation – William Bolcom

     

    Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix (from Samson et Delilah, Op. 47) – Camille Saint-Saëns, transc. E.H. Lemare

     

    Variations sur un Noël, Op. 20 - Marcel Dupré

     

     

    Organ - 1992 IIP/29 Wells-Kennedy Partnership (details)

    Location map

     

    www.palmerstonplacechurch.com

  12. David Patrick / Fitzjohn Music publishes Sonata nr 1 in G major - which is a fine sonata with a very attractive second movement. The others are out of print. Some years ago John Kitchen recorded the Sonata in Ab and if you were able to contact him (in Eddinburgh I recall) he may well be able to put you in the right direction. I have access to both so perhaps...

     

    John Kitchen is playing Alan Gray's Sonata No. 2 in A flat this Saturday evening in Edinburgh - 7.30pm at Reid Memorial Church. Details at http://www.edinburghorganists.org/Documents/ESO%20recital%20diary.pdf

  13. Hi

     

    Can anyone offer a definitive view on the articulation of the first two quaver chords in Henry Smart’s Postlude in D? I have the piece in three editions; one has the quavers slurred, one has them unmarked, and the other edition has them staccato. I prefer the latter (so that the emphasis is more definitely on the first crotchet chord), but in a couple of recordings I’ve heard, both performers have gone for the slurring.

     

    Thanks for any thoughts.

  14. Always worth trying Google: searching for "Percy Whitlock" and "thumb" throws up all sorts of things, including the following found at http://www.stpaulscathedral.org.au/images/uploads/Newsletter%20May%202010.pdf

     

    A deformity of his right hand gave Whitlock a thumb which was longer and thinner than his left hand thumb. He used this thumb to great advantage, as it was very easy for him to “thumb down” onto a lower manual, thus enabling him to readily play on three manuals at the one time. Some of his music exploits this technique.

  15. All four of Wood's topographical suites (Scenes in Kent, Op. 23; Scenes in Northumberland, Op. 25; Scenes on the Downs, Op. 29; and Scenes on the Wye) were published by Stainer & Bell. Wood died in 1963 so they're all still in copyright. Each suite has four movements. The middle two movements of 'Scenes on the Wye' are in print as an extract; the other two movements of this suite, and the entire first three suites, are available from S&B's archive service on 020 8343 2535.

     

    Christopher Brayne has recorded the Kent and Downs suites at Bristol Cathedral (Priory PRCD380 - Great European Organs No. 47); David Liddle has recorded the Kent suite at St Ignatius Loyola in NY (Guild GMCD 7149); and Simon Nieminski has recorded the Wye suite at the First Baptist Church in Abilene, Texas (Pro Organo 7221). No-one has yet done the Northumberland I think!

     

    They're definitely light music, but rather charming and well-constructed. The movements all have evocative titles - the Kent suite for example has Aylesford Bridge, Allington Lock, Orchard Blossom and Rochester Bells. They're not that easy to play though!

  16. I did have a passing interest in this book/CD set, but neither Delphian nor the Edinburgh association see fit to elaborate on the contents, beyond giving one list of instruments and another of players. There are also three different prices floating around - Delphian are advertising it for either £49.99 or £54.99 (both inc. P&P) depending on which bit of their website you look at. For this price, I think they could offer more information to tempt potential customers.

     

    It's available for £44.49 inc p&p from the Edinburgh Society of Organists website - www.edinburghorganists.org

     

    We'll get a track listing up on the site shortly - useful feedback, thanks.

     

    Hope you enjoy!

  17. Is this Zetland church? If so, then the organ would appear to be a Father Willis installed by our hosts in 1983, according to NPOR. This might well not be the same church, however. Next time I'm in the vicinity I'll pop in for a pint.

     

    No - it's the former Dundas church, which closed in 2006. Originally had an 1894 II/20 by Mirrlees of Glasgow.

     

    AC

  18. A lovely set is GP Telemann's 12 Heroic Marches, originally for trumpet, strings and basso continuo, but arranged by Marie-Claire Alain for organ and trumpet. Among the set are a good combination of lively and gentle pieces that all work well.

     

    Andrew Caskie

  19. Apart from Liverpool and my place, what other large organs have still got ISG's? Westminster?

     

    The McEwan Hall (University of Edinburgh) (see NPOR link) here in Edinburgh still has its ISG pedals. The IV/62 organ was built by Hope-Jones in 1897, rebuilt by Willis in 1953 (when the current console with ISG pedals to Choir, Swell and Solo was fitted) and overhauled by Rushworth & Dreaper in 1980.

     

    The ISG mechanism works perfectly on the Choir (probably due to minimal use) but is tired and needing overhaul on the Swell. It won't shut any faster than a crawl, and it will only open at either a creep or 100mph! All part of the fun, however! Once you get the hang of it it's very useful. I think it would be a great pity to lose them - they seem to be part and parcel of the 1953 console, with all its coupler gadgetry.

     

    Andrew Caskie

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