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Can you enlighten those of us who weren't there? :P

 

I was responsible for some registering of Vierne and Widor that included some coupling of the Tuba (with octaves and suboctaves :lol: ) which may be considered of questionable taste... not least by me, but it was one of those things that just had to be done! :huh:

 

...and please don't ask why. :rolleyes:

 

BTW It certainly packed a punch in the Quire!

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some coupling of the Tuba (with octaves and suboctaves :lol: ) which may be considered of questionable taste...

 

The vergers, cathedral guides, several tourists and myself agree!! :rolleyes:

By the way Paul, Dave Harries has sent me a photo he'd taken towards the end of the Vierne, it clearly shows just what stops you'd drawn!

DT

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To answer a couple of questions...

 

Headphones - you can't hear what the conductor is saying very clearly from the organ loft during rehearsals, so the headphones help a lot. They are linked to the pair of microphones permanently suspended across the Quire for recording the organ and choir.

 

Organ Scholar - we re-jigged the Music Department jobs from Autumn 2007, losing the Organ Scholar position and creating a 2nd Assistant post. This was for various reasons, including the difficulty we had in finding Organ Scholarship candidates and the need (highlighted way back in the In Tune with Heaven report) to ensure that we weren't relying on the Organ Scholar for essential routine staffing in the music department. It would be great in the future to resurrect the Organ Scholarship (in addition to the 2nd Assistant's post), as it's a wonderful way for someone to immerse themselves in the cathedral-music-thing for a year. But these things all cost more money sadly...

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Headphones - you can't hear what the conductor is saying very clearly from the organ loft during rehearsals, so the headphones help a lot. They are linked to the pair of microphones permanently suspended across the Quire for recording the organ and choir.

I find that a little surprising. I do a lot of accompanying in cathedrals and other "great churches" in the South West and fully appreciate how difficult it can be to hear what the conductor is saying. Heavy accoustics like Gloucester, are particularly difficult, not helped if the conductor is facing away from you. Places like Bath where the organist in the transept is some distance from the choir stalls can also present problems. But with the set up in Worcester where the console is close to the choir stalls and the accoustic is not over resonant, I would have thought it should be a bit easier. I wouldn't want to play with the headphones on and would imagine it would be a bit of fag to have to keep putting them on and off during rehearsal.

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Headphones - you can't hear what the conductor is saying very clearly from the organ loft during rehearsals, so the headphones help a lot. They are linked to the pair of microphones permanently suspended across the Quire for recording the organ and choir.

Presumably, it was not feasible to provide console speakers, as found at Chester, Lichfield etc., because of the proximity of the loft to the quire.

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I was responsible for some registering of Vierne and Widor that included some coupling of the Tuba (with octaves and suboctaves :blink: ) which may be considered of questionable taste... not least by me, but it was one of those things that just had to be done! :huh:

 

...and please don't ask why. :unsure:

 

BTW It certainly packed a punch in the Quire!

It wasn't you and David I was getting at (you were both there to have fun and experiment) rather the end of the Finale of Widor VI after Evensong. The GTB quote came to mind "the first and perhaps most important rule of organ playing is not to show everything in the shop window all at once"! I thought that George Castle made an excellent job of the Jonathan Dove anthem though - for me the highlight of the day.

 

A worrying aspect for me is that my eyesight (long-sighted) must be getting worse becuase I could not read the music with or without my glasses while page turning. Perhaps it is as well I have retired from playing!

Martin

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Oh, and I don't care if I don't hear anymore coupled Tubas for a bit!

 

And one hopes you never should hear them.

I am constantly of the opinion that should the Tuba on the Solo be drawn, a cut-out (if electric stop action is present) must stop it arriving to another manual through a coupler that has been inadvertently been left out. The unholy racket caused when it has, is neither musical nor necessary and certainly is never required to be used in any form for French music, which is encased in my opinion - more often than not - in taste. If the sound of the keyboards (in a tutti) is louder than the pedal division, then the player needs to re-think. In my experience the addition of a Tuba does just that and actually makes an anti-climax. I wish that a Tuba could have the same musical value (when constructed and used) as, say, the French Horns in Sibelius Opus 82. Texture, texture and yet more spine-tingling texture.

Looking at the Worcester specification, all departments (I II & III + Pedal) seem complete and should enjoin to enhance harmonics in a Tutti. The Tuba is listed under 'Solo' which seems entirely self-explanatory. A French Baroque organ (for instance), can often have the most brilliant reed on the 3rd keyboard - the Récit. But it is never provided with a coupler to the Grand-orgue.

 

Nigel

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And one hopes you never should hear them.

I am constantly of the opinion that should the Tuba on the Solo be drawn, a cut-out (if electric stop action is present) must stop it arriving to another manual through a coupler that has been inadvertently been left out. The unholy racket caused when it has, is neither musical nor necessary ...

Are you familiar with the organ in Bristol Cathedral, the Tutti pistons certainly couple the tuba (labelled tromba I believe) through to the great. This splendid, if somewhat thick, tutti is very much "The Bristol Sound".

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Is it possible to post a photo as part of this discussion....I have the assembled company from last Saturday on a photo!

 

Adrian

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The unholy racket caused when it has, is neither musical nor necessary and certainly is never required to be used in any form for French music, which is encased in my opinion - more often than not - in taste. If the sound of the keyboards (in a tutti) is louder than the pedal division, then the player needs to re-think.

Nigel, at the risk of showing up my poor taste and judgement, I once played Langlais' 'Incantation pour un Jour Saint' at the end of a cathedral Eucharist, coupling the tuba to the pedal for the final couple of bars. I think that this was musically justified.

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Guest Echo Gamba
Are you familiar with the organ in Bristol Cathedral, the Tutti pistons certainly couple the tuba (labelled tromba I believe) through to the great. This splendid, if somewhat thick, tutti is very much "The Bristol Sound".

 

The Bristol "Tuba" is indeed "Tromba" on the stopknob although I have it in my mind that the pipes are engraved "Tuba" but I may be wrong. Ian Ball, Paul Walton or Dave Harris (maybe also Vox Humana?) would know........

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Nigel, at the risk of showing up my poor taste and judgement, I once played Langlais' 'Incantation pour un Jour Saint' at the end of a cathedral Eucharist, coupling the tuba to the pedal for the final couple of bars. I think that this was musically justified.

 

Glorious justification for such a use on 24th January!*

 

But joking apart, if such a use added to the Pedal as a stupendous climax (as you say - musically justified), then why not? One can tenuously argue that the French pedal department reeds are solo anyway - a tradition maintained from Baroque Cantus Firmus Trompettes through to Romantic Toccata Bassi as exemplified by Widor and others. Grand stuff.

 

All the best,

Nigel

 

* Saint François de Salles

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And one hopes you never should hear them.

I am constantly of the opinion that should the Tuba on the Solo be drawn, a cut-out (if electric stop action is present) must stop it arriving to another manual through a coupler that has been inadvertently been left out. The unholy racket caused when it has, is neither musical nor necessary and certainly is never required to be used in any form for French music, which is encased in my opinion - more often than not - in taste. If the sound of the keyboards (in a tutti) is louder than the pedal division, then the player needs to re-think. In my experience the addition of a Tuba does just that and actually makes an anti-climax. I wish that a Tuba could have the same musical value (when constructed and used) as, say, the French Horns in Sibelius Opus 82. Texture, texture and yet more spine-tingling texture.

Looking at the Worcester specification, all departments (I II & III + Pedal) seem complete and should enjoin to enhance harmonics in a Tutti. The Tuba is listed under 'Solo' which seems entirely self-explanatory. A French Baroque organ (for instance), can often have the most brilliant reed on the 3rd keyboard - the Récit. But it is never provided with a coupler to the Grand-orgue.

 

Nigel

A rather sweeping statement, I fear! One of the great attractions of the organ, as far as I am concerned is that no two instruments are alike. What works on one organ may well sound most unmusical on another. I have played instruments where adding the tuba in the right'musical' place has been appropriate & others where adding a so-called chorus reed has had the opposite effect. 'Horses for courses'! The bottom line must surely be,- will it enhance the musical experience? If George did draw the Tuba at the end of the Widor at Saturday's Evensong at Worcester, I for one thought it appropriate, particularly given the occasion! I do have the advantage over some members in that I was there!!

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Are you familiar with the organ in Bristol Cathedral, the Tutti pistons certainly couple the tuba (labelled tromba I believe) through to the great. This splendid, if somewhat thick, tutti is very much "The Bristol Sound".

 

In my days visiting the organ loft in Bristol (1960's) there was no "tutti" piston and coupling it to everything else would have been regarded as bad taste except in exceptional circumstances, and certainly not "The Bristol Sound".

 

It's a good thing we all have differneet tastes. I enjoyed the Widor at Worcester until the last page.

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Are you familiar with the organ in Bristol Cathedral, the Tutti pistons certainly couple the tuba (labelled tromba I believe) through to the great. This splendid, if somewhat thick, tutti is very much "The Bristol Sound".

 

I don't know why builders include the tuba in the 'tutti'. I remember hearing a fine improvisation at Hereford Cathedral ruined when the final peroration was swamped by the tuba, which was either the last stage of the general crescendo, or on the 'tutti' piston.

 

I think heavy users should be made to provide credit card details before being able to draw the tuba and solo to great; either that, or agree to undergo therapy!

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In my days visiting the organ loft in Bristol (1960's) there was no "tutti" piston and coupling it to everything else would have been regarded as bad taste except in exceptional circumstances, and certainly not "The Bristol Sound".

 

It's a good thing we all have differneet tastes. I enjoyed the Widor at Worcester until the last page.

The solo reed at Bristol isn't a Tuba, it's a Tromba, and crowns the tutti perfectly and without undue din IMHO, and there is certainly enough pedal power to counterbalance it.

 

The Tuba at Worcester can have rather more impact and brilliance, depending on where you are sitting in that bizarre and unhelpful acoustic, but is by no means a 'solo only' honker. In the right hands, it forms an excellent chorus reed (either with or without Mixtures) which can be reached via a seemless crescendo, thanks to the brilliance and power of the Great and Pedal reeds. Once the old 32s are reinstated in phase two, the balance with the pedals will be even better.

 

IFB

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Guest Echo Gamba

I have a disc from the (?) early 70s of Roger Fisher at Chester. He couples the Tuba for the last few bars of Karg Elert's "Nun Danket" and the last 2 chords of the Whitlock Paean, both to great effect. It really is "horses for courses". I heard Odile Pierre play at St Mary Redcliff back in the 80s and she coupled the Tuba through along with the Great Reeds whenever they came on. It might have worked (indeed been necessary) to couple Bombarde reeds through on French instruments she was used to, but it was overkill at Redcliff! And I was sitting near the front of the nave near the console in direct firing line of the west facing swell shutters in the north transept as well!! :unsure:

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I also wish to add my appreciation of our visit to Worcester Cathedral. It was a day full of interest. The cathedral made a wise decision in both ordering a new organ and in its inspired choice of organ builder. Our host, Adrian, was both witty and informative.

 

At one stage, Adrian asked the assembled company if there was anything we felt was missing from the new organ. I suggested a diaphone, but my suggestion of adding a diaphone Chamades wasn’t met with his approval.

 

A lot has been written about our generous hosts. I want to thank the members of this board that performed on the organ to a very high standard.

 

Please take no notice of those who from a position of not actually being present to hear you play, tell you from their lofty heights that it is bad form to add the tuba to full organ. There can be no general rule on tubas. It depends on the tuba. And whilst it is true that you aren’t likely to find a tuba on a French organ, the Worcester organ isn't French and doesn't sound like a French organ.

 

The members of this board who performed so well added a great deal to a wonderful day.

 

Alan

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...And whilst it is true that you aren’t likely to find a tuba on a French organ, the Worcester organ isn't French and doesn't sound like a French organ.

 

The members of this board who performed so well added a great deal to a wonderful day.

 

Alan

 

Come forth, ye sinners and repent...

 

I hereby submit my humble apology for drawing Solo tuba, plus octave and suboctave, for the "pu-pu-pu pom pa pa, pu-pu-pu pom pa pa..." at the end of the finale from Guillmant 1, then coupling them to Great for the final chord sequence. As Mallory said of Everest, I did it "because it's there". (And also because in the original Guillmant specifies Acc Solo Trombe and I couldn't think what else he might have wanted.)

 

And I loved every moment of it. (Though I also loved the luscious strings and found a use for the Hope Jones Viol in the Pastorale.)

 

Contrabombarde

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I hereby submit my humble apology for drawing Solo tuba, plus octave and suboctave, for the "pu-pu-pu pom pa pa, pu-pu-pu pom pa pa..." at the end of the finale from Guillmant 1, then coupling them to Great for the final chord sequence. As Mallory said of Everest, I did it "because it's there". (And also because in the original Guillmant specifies Acc Solo Trombe and I couldn't think what else he might have wanted.)

 

Contrabombarde

 

....and quite superb it sounded too!

 

I'm embarrassed to admit that I have forgotten the name of the gentleman to whom about I was speaking about the recordings of the Guilmant Sonatas from St.Ouen. Presto Classical have the 3 disc set in stock (unless they had only one set, which I've just ordered!). Here is a link...

 

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/wx/23980

 

P

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