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Mander Organs


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  1. Some light on the influences at work in the building of the 1841 William Hill organ in Liverpool and its relationship to so-called "Continental" organ building can be found here: http://rousseau.shp.media/william-hill-organ-liverpool/ The bulk of this article is a report on the opening of the organ that appeared in the Northampton Mercury of 1 January, 1842. Comparing the various newspaper reports of the time, it seems clear that someone was briefing the press on the influences at work in what all recognised was a significant attempt to break with traditional English organ building (described as the influence of [Bernard] Smith and [Renatus] Harris) and to blend "English tone" with "German pipes" (and other features respecting compass and manuals). These were especially the instruments in Haarlem and Strasbourg. The musical influences - at least in the building of the Liverpool organ but also at Christ Church, Newgate Street, and Eastbrook Methodist Chapel, Bradford - was the requirement for a "Protestant organ", one that could chiefly be used to support the massed singing of hymns but which would also (happily) be ideal for playing the music of J.S. Bach, the trend for which was now fully underway. (The Congregational Chapel at Liverpool could take up to 2,000 worshipers and was later referred to as the city's third cathedral.) The article refers to the instruments Hill built at York and Birmingham, immediately prior to Liverpool, as being "monstrous piles of church harmony on the plans of Harris and Smith, which for the purposes of pure part playing, that is, in other words, using only three or four notes at a time, have proved each of them failures". And the Liverpool organ is in effect presented as a contrast to York and Birmingham and the first significant step in a new direction for English organ building (along with the as then unfinished Christ Church, Newgate Street, organ).
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