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Mander Organs


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  1. Making the pipes in sections would increase their strength and they would be far less likely to warp and split the longitudinal joints, which in today's constantly heated cathedrals is an important consideration. It is also likely that the cost of several shorter planks of wood is less than one long one and putting them through the planing machine would be a lot easier. As the sound is generated by alternating compression and rarefaction of the air at both ends of an open pipe, a few minor changes in density or flexibility at any lateral glue bond would not make any difference to the sound produced. Any vibration of the body of the pipe is not moving anywhere near as much air as that going in and out of the mouth. I suspect the reason there may be more 'composite' pipes recently is also linked to PVA glue being tougher than traditional hot glues which are not terribly strong in tension. (When not 'doing organs' I'm a materials physicist)
  2. At the turn of the 19/20 century the Cavaillé-Coll company would regularly order reeds in from Merklin. Perhaps this explains why the Vox humana from Keighley did not look like an early Cavaillé-Coll reed. In this period the CC company were producing so many organs for export that out-sourcing was very often used. Concerning metal v. wood prices in 19th C Britain, assuming that the 32' metal pipes were made from zinc rather than tin which has always been more expensive than pine/spruce: After Napoleon blockaded the Baltic wood trade before 1815, prices rose until Canada's exports become cost effective and by 1860 soft wood prices were relatively low and stayed low until WWI. Zinc prices were much more volatile rising sharply during the 1850s as the industrial revolution took off, peaking in 1857. Then the US civil war spread panic and prices fell. The price struggled to rise but had a brief high during 1866 when the Austro-Prussian war closed zinc mines in Silesia. Prices recovered by 1870, peaking in 1875 which put pressure on countries to find their own supply, thus prices fell again. The German producers didn't like this and formed a Cartel in 1879 along with other European countries in 1882 in an attempt to keep the price high. Their attempts failed and the price had fallen by 1885. The Cartel acted again managing to push prices up to a peak in 1890. Again this forced other producers to come on line and the price dropped slightly, but then rose steadily until WWI helped by the Spelter Convention of 1909. After the war prices rose slowly until a peak in 1920 during the economic boom, but fell during the crash and didn't recover until after WWII. The source for this data is Martin Stuermer, Dept. of Economics, University of Bonn. However, without knowing the costs per ton and just how much material is used in making a 32' pipe, the above is of little use. What I can say is that the production of a 32' zinc pipe is not quite as easy as some think. For a start zinc is produced in rolls but the width of the roll is not 32' ! So either the sheet has to be unrolled and then rolled at 90° to make a tube or the pipe made in several short sections. The equipment needed to roll such large sheets of zinc is expensive and takes up space. Unlike lead/tin alloys, zinc is not easily beaten around a mandrel. For most builders as the call for a 32' facade was quite rare, it was easier to make the pipes from wood and hide them at the back laid horizontally if necessary. It is not advisable to place a 32' zinc pipe on its side as it will rattle, deform, or worse still, roll away taking out half the choir! So I tend to think the choice would be for visual effect rather than for reasons of cost, particularly as one of the zinc price peaks coincides with Willis's 32' zinc pipes at Carlisle.
  3. However, many 2 rank celestes do have both ranks quite close and function perfectly well. My celeste is separated by just one rank (bourdon 8'). If the two undulating ranks are placed too far apart, then any temperature difference (caused by winter heating etc.) might noticeably slow or speed up the undulation. I've read of the idea that pipes playing close together tend to pull one against the other, but I've yet to hear a physics-based explanation unless their mouths are close and facing each other. The C /C# pipe planting has more to do with weight and space distribution on the soundboard than sound - though I hope to illicit some interesting comments to the contrary. Chromatic soundboards seem to sound the same to my ears.
  4. Did Laurie mean to refer to Olivier Latry, or is there another organist we have never heard of whose name is not helping his career?
  5. There are a couple of pictures of the organ and console taken earier this year on the web: pic.twitter.com/Zv7RwCyEIK with visible evidence of it being used at least from time to time. And a pic of the pipes looking quite safe too!
  6. Audsley (Vol.1 p. 513) says that it is usual to complete the last octave of Clarions with labial pipes. He also quotes the French Regnier who says that in France the alternative to using labial pipes is to break back an octave at the top and to make sure the Clarion is drawn along with the prestant 4' and doublette 2' so the break is not so obvious. Reed pipes above those of an 8' rank are often replaced by labial pipes because they are harder to manufacture, almost impossible to tune and to keep in tune, and require a certain pressure below which they are unstable. As the vibrating length of the tongue in this range is only a few mms it is also difficult to attain sufficient volume. The ear is also not really able to distinguish the difference in the upper harmonics between a reed and a labial pipe in this range (as was mentioned previously) so there is really no point.
  7. So, the answer to the original question is 'no, Nicholson decided/were advised to dispense with the free reed Clarionet 16'' '. Free reed stops are becoming very rare, I guard my 1878 Walcker Oboe very carefully, I don't care that it goes out of tune with the slightest temperature rise and that it does a creditable impression of a Harmonium. I'm just waiting for the organist of the Votive Kirche in Vienna to get fed up with his/hers so that mine is then the oldest in the world - well the oldest Walcker free reed oboe at least.
  8. According to the info included with Paul Derrett's 1989 recording the Solo Clarionet 16' is the original Anneessens free reed stop from the choir, or at least that was how Laycock and Bannister left it after their 1968 rebuild. I believe Nicholson's recent work has preserved all the Anneessens pipes.
  9. I refer the honourable gentleman to my previous post re finding a Tierce on a N&B of 1909. Although I agree the 1859 Hill specification for York has to be one of the oddest I've seen. And the general Tierce hunt has got its own thread now, but the game has some restrictions: A new organ built between 1895 and 1925.
  10. To keep the N&B 1909 Tierce topic free from our more general discussions, please use this topic if the (1895 - 1925) Tierce you have found was not by N&B. David
  11. Quite fascinating, Sir Fred obviously had ordered absolutely everything on the 'menu' of all possible organ stops at the time, but when it actually arrived found it didn't work as well in practice as he'd thought. The Tierce rank survived the next rebuilt by Harrison of Rochdale, but even he got into trouble over something. Finally Willis was asked to rebuild and then the independent Tierce was removed. The npor really is a wealth of information! I suppose we must class this as before the great octopod invasion when Mixtures were hounded out of existance in almost all new organs around the turn of the century. So perhaps we should limit our Tierce hunt to new organs built from 1900 onwards.
  12. But again, just so we don't lose sight of the original question, let's stick to N&B organs of 1909, or at least pre WWI, as our examples. It is more likely that the team carrying out the restoration are being fluid with the definition, as even if a 17th was planned but not put in, you cannot restore something that was never there in the first place. Perhaps they're just having fun 'enhancing' the organ. This was of course what DW was hinting at. Another question which might form a separate thread is just when independent Tierce and Nasard were first reintroduced into new Organs, so far the earliest I've heard of is 1924.
  13. Although this is listed as H, N & B 1928 at which time quite a few organ builders were experimenting with individual mutatation ranks, even my Tschannun of 1924 here in Lausanne had separate Nasard and Tierce in the Swell. In 1909 we know that Dixon was influencing Norman's work, but if separate tierces were being considered, I would expect them to have been in the largest instruments they were building at the time such as Johannesburg and Wellington and the only tierce ranks these organs originally had were as part of the Harmonics mixture. I might speculate that the historic records being quoted may have referred to 'Harmonics -Tierce' meaning a mixture with 17ths in it, and this was misinterpreted as a separate rank.
  14. The scale of the Great Bourdon 16' will be smaller than the typical scales used for a pedal Bourdon 16' and so the borrowed stop will not sound as full as a pedal Bourdon. The first octave of a rank of Viola da Gamba pipes is, I believe, below the compass of the baroque stringed instrument. Hence these bass pipes are renamed Violincello.
  15. It seems we have more evidence of influence on Italian organ building, rather than it influencing other styles. It has been mentioned some time back, but the Welshman George William Trice (born 1848) set up an organ building company after failing with his originally intended coal importing business in Genoa in 1880. He had trained with Sweetland of Bath and spent some time with Cavaillé-coll. His first organ partnership in Genoa was with Pietro Anelli and Zeno Fedeli in 1884 at the aptly named Quinto al Mare. They became famous for building a large organ with electric action at S. Andea, Genoa in 1888. One of their apprentices was called Giovani Tamburini, who of course went on to greater things. This might explain why some Italian organs of the late 19th and early 20th Century suddenly found themselves with stops called Diapason, Eufonio and Dulciana, amongst other things. Trice's action was quite a complex and costly affair, some sort of cone chest with Barker lever and coupled to him being foreign and Protestant, his business did not survive. But his influence did. There are one or two examples of his work still intact. The organ in the Waldensian church in Florence (originally the Anglican Church who moved to smaller premises but left their organ) is still going strong and spoken about with great respect by the Tuscan organ builders. However, like most things in Italy, Italian is best. They are very proud of their Ripieno.
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