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From an historical point of view, liturgical use is not very relevant; in Belgium for instance, the liturgy of today has little in common with the 19th century's. The reference to written repertoire as paramount is an idea that dates from the neo-baroque period. The Hope-Jones organ was the basis of the theatre organ, another one that gains more fans everyday...

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Quoted from:

"The organs and music of Worcester cathedral", Vernon Butcher, 1981., about the H-J organ at Worcester:

 

"....Mr Harrison said that as regards tone, the organ had some remarkable stops, and many beautiful tone qualities. Some of the Harrison voicers had learnt their art while working for Hope-Jones"....

 

I have other quotes if wanted.

Best Wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Again, I think we must agree to disagree. I would only ask these questions:

 

If we cannot do away with work that is, or at least the vast majority regard as, significantly inferior, does this mean that we must burden our own generation, and those to follow for generations to come, with instruments for which there is little or no legitimate musical purpose? And, quite frankly, little or no desire on the part of the vast majority (of church authorities, and of organists and organ-lovers, let alone the general population) to keep them, except it be for fear of bringing extinction to some tradition? (We should bear in mind, too, the cost of the instruments' upkeep and the space that they take.)

 

Is not the absence of legitimate musical purpose the reverse of intrinsic merit, which necessarily involves a degree of contemporary relevance? Sure, musical fashions are like any other: they come; they go. But don't the instruments of the good builders tend to transcend musical tastes? Think of Bach played on a William Hill organ. No, it doesn't sound the same as Bach played on, say, a Hildebrandt or Silbermann. But it still sounds magnificent. Could we really say this if it were played on a Hope-Jones?

 

Kind regards

Malcolm F

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I of course agree we disagree: you are welcome! (Why to discuss otherwise? If we all agreed, we won't have any forum alive:):D:))

 

I'll answer like this:

 

1)- A legitimate musical purpose, this is something very subject

to change. W.T. Best, for instance, had other opinions as ours, and we have

no reason to believe our opinion is "better" than his.

 

2)- A huge number of good organs from good builders have been destroyed.

To the point neo-baroque "experts" destroyed genuine pipes from builders

They believed they were reconstituing the very work; this is halas not

a joke.

 

3)- Hill's organ, tough romantic, are still classic-grounded, with many Diapason

choruses....Next to the very first high-pressure reeds. Splendid organs,

very worthwile (how many were destroyed?). Late-romantic organs

are very different, be them by H-J or Anneessens, for instance.

 

If a church has an H-J, and do not want to use it, we can:

 

-Build a second organ of whatever style is wanted, and leave the H-J alone up until it will be recognized as a treasure (like an investment for the future)

 

At Mersch in Luxemburg They did that with a 1952 Haupt. A second, neo-baroque organ was built. Now Gerhard Walcker of Germany just restaured the Haupt, and a Pilgrinage of organists commenced, you'll have sooner or later to take a ticket and queue to play it.

 

-If the space is at a premium, sell the H-J to people who want to have it. Chances are higher in France, Germany and U.S. than in Britain!

 

Best regards,

Pierre.

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The organ in Bristol Cathedral has 16-8-4 chorus reeds of the trumpet family on the great, plus a real fat and sumptous tromba 8' on the solo. The tutti pistons provided on this organ encourage coupling the tromba through to the great for a really overwelming tutti, this is very much a part of the Bristol sound.

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The organ in Bristol Cathedral has 16-8-4 chorus reeds of the trumpet family on the great, plus a real fat and sumptous tromba 8' on the solo. The tutti pistons provided on this organ encourage coupling the tromba through to the great for a really overwelming tutti, this is very much a part of the Bristol sound.

 

 

Oh yes - I used it (the tutti) on at least one occasion - God, it was, well, sexy.... :D

 

The G.O. reeds are true trumpets. By that I mean not fat trombi, or thin buzzy reeds, just really good trumpets, with some body but also with some brightness. It is a really lovely organ. I do agree that the action lets it down, though. It was not particularly responsive. The repetition was also slow. But what a sound!

 

(Can't see why it was considered necessary to lose one of the tutti pistons, though. It is not exactly over-supplied with registration aids.)

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Yes, but they blend because they are all of a similar tonality. The G.O., Swell and Pedal reeds are all similar (but excellent) in tone. The Solo Tromba is not so fat or smooth that it stands apart. If you ever get the chance to go and hear it, do. Recordings really are not the same. My instrument sounds like a vintage H&H on recordings. (Not that there is anything wrong with it, except that it is not a vintage Harrison!)

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Of course, if what is wanted is extreme tone, better avoid to add something else to it. I suppose no two Trombas are the same, and this is something no loudspeaker understands -after all, a loudspeaker is not a pipe, just a piston-.

 

The belgian late-romantic organ already had chorus reed stops that were a compromise between french, english and german stops, as one may ear on the link I gave.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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(Can't see why it was considered necessary to lose one of the tutti pistons, though. It is not exactly over-supplied with registration aids.)

Part of the work completed last year was the installation of a multiple memory unit for the general pistons together with stepper pistons. Some of the existing thumb and toe pistons have been re-assigned to accommodate the new + and - stepper functions at the expense of the secong tutti. In fact its the pedal 32' flue (a double open diapason I believe) that has now been assigned onto what was formally the second tutti toe piston, and there is no longer a toe piston for the pedal trombone.

 

I particularly miss the latter toe piston as it was really great for adding power underpinning the last chord etc.

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Ok, thanks, nfortin.

 

Yes, I think that I too would miss the reversible for the Pedal Trombone - now it's not possible to give a 'quick double-jab' during psalm 78, when smiting the enemies in the hinder parts... Ah, well.

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Quoted from:

"The organs and music of Worcester cathedral", Vernon Butcher, 1981., about the H-J organ at Worcester:

 

"....Mr Harrison said that as regards tone, the organ had some remarkable stops, and many beautiful tone qualities. Some of the Harrison voicers had learnt their art while working for Hope-Jones"....

 

I have other quotes if wanted.

Best Wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

 

Incidentally, with respect to the preservation of the work of H-J and your comments re-William Hill, no doubt you are aware that H-J brutally (!) ripped out the 4-manual Hill organ at Worcester, replacing it with his own monstrosity.

 

There are two reasons why I think I could make an exception with regard to the preservation of organs by H-J. The first is that his area of expertise lay in telephone engineering. The second is that they were not particularly practical (or necessarily well-built). He used rubber-cloth as a substitute for leather in his actions, so his instruments quickly became unplayable, as the rubber-cloth perished, usually within a decade.

 

If one also takes into account the fact that he seems to have had little idea of tonal architecture, then the organs which are created by such haphazard means are unsatisfactory in every way.

 

Add to this the wanton destruction of what was probably a superb Hill organ and personally I am glad that he fled to the US (where it took organ building decades to recover from his influence).

 

I further suspect that H&H revoiced most of his work at Worcester. There are one or two ranks (e.g., G.O. diapasons) which sound slightly unusual, but there are no ugly ranks. Shame on Mr. Lucas for wanting to discard this excellent musical instrument!

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Well, let's summarize two points for wich we fully agree:

 

1)-H-J should not have destroyed the Hill organS (there were two...),

there is not the slightest doubt about that.

 

2)-The present-day organ should be preserved, be it in Worcester

or elsewhere.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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I totally agree!

 

I have just found an article in an old copy of The Organ magazine, regarding the H-J organ in the McEwan Hall, Edinburgh, at the time that it was rebuilt by the firm of Willis.

 

The article was written by the late Herrick Bunney. In it he does say that the old H-J organ survived with only minor alterations until the rebuild (1952). However, he then goes on to say that there were many unpredictable ciphers in the last years of the H-J organ's life and that the console action was largely out of order. In addition, every time a piston was pressed, it emitted large blue sparks....hmm, doesn't sound either reliable or safe, to me :P Furthermore, he describes the Tuba Mirabilis as reminiscent of a caged and very angry bull :P

 

Pity they (Worcester) did not keep the Hill organ! Oh well, perhaps when they throw out the H-J/H&H/Wood&Co., they will throw it in my direction. I would be very happy to play it regularly. Although I might need some extra resonance, too.

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Well, this is not really a chamber organ -it could then itself feel as a caged bull too-.

Willis has been despised too -did not W.T. Best compare a Willis harmonic flute with a steam engine's whistle?

 

Best wishes

Pierre.

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Quite possibly - I believe that they did fall out for a while. However, I must confess that I had not heard that particular quote before.

 

No, it certainly was not a chamber organ. I do not think that H-J could ever have been accused of building an organ that was inadequate with respect to volume.

 

I have in my possession a second-hand copy of an old Great Cathedral Organ series LP, from Worcester Cathedral, with Christopher Robinson playing the Sonata No. 3, by Medelssohn. There is at least one glorious section in which he employs the Pedal Diaphones at both 16' and 32' pitch. It is an incredible sound. In fact, I am slightly nonplussed to realise that I actually found it quite exciting - I expected to find them objectionable. They are VERY big, though!

 

Regards!

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I do have some LP where one can hear Diaphones. Yes, the Diaphones aren't quite discrete, shy fellows. But they are adjustable...

Ideally, they should be reconstitued. This should not be problematic to the players that do not want them: suffice not to draw the stop-knob.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Indeed. In fact, I understand that most of the pipes for the 32' diaphone are still in Scott's huge South Transept case, because Harrisons were not able to remove them. So reconnecting them would be a comparatively straight-forward matter. New under-actions, re-winding and refurbishing the pipes.

 

I wonder what Adrian Lucas would think of that.... :P

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They could not dispose of it for the simple reason they are in...Masonry. I wish our grand-grand children may one day have the opportunity to hear Diaphones. The authorization is in our hands.

Of course we, and they, may have our own opinion about these stops, like it or not. But it is actually a completely different debate; it's because they were mixed that so many destructions occured (I find that bad...So it is bad!)

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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As in Free-masonry?

 

Hmm, interesting!

 

I still like the Worcester organ, though! It is now almost certainly too late to prevent it being scrapped (apart from the 32' ranks). As you probably know, they are due to replace it with two four-manual organs hanging from the triforia. One East of the crossing and the other towards the West end.

 

Sic transit gloria....

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As in Free-masonry?

 

Hmm, interesting!

 

I still like the Worcetser organ, though! It is now almost certainly too late to prevent it being scrapped (apart from the 32' ranks). As you probably know, they are due to replace it with two four-manual organs hanging from the triforium. One East of the crossing and the other towards the West end.

 

Sic transit gloria....

 

....Mundi.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hope-Jones re-built and enlarged the organ at St George's Church, Hanover Square, London, in 1894. Although this was almost entirely replaced by a new instrument by Harrison & Harrison in the early 1970s, the Choir Organ remains almost completely Hope-Jones:

 

Open Diapiason 8

Lieblich Gedackt 8

Flauto Traverso 4

Flageolet 2

Larigot (Harrison)

Corno di Bassetto 8

Tuba 8

 

The old Hope-Jones console was also retained and is on the south side of the choir.

 

There is of course also the 4 manual 1897 Hope-Jones organ in the McEwan Hall, University of Edinburgh, rebuilt by Willis in 1953.

 

Jeremy Jones

London

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