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Does Elvin's book say anything about the genesis of the instrument? I had always thought that the organ was built especially for Arthur, but perhaps it wasn't and the 1962 date refers to when the organ was installed at Monk's Farm.

 

Elvin's books says that this instrument was built by H&H (2 man, 13 stops) for experimental purposes, then used as a temporary organ, firstly at Westminster Abbey and later at St. Alban's during '59 to '62 whilst the rebuild was going on, then sold to Arthur Starke.

 

DT

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Sorry, M'sieur, I misunderstood.

 

I think I need a large scotch in order to provide myself with an excuse...

 

I wish I could join you - but I am still working....

 

:unsure:

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Getting back to UK instruments; my first encounters with a 'Trompeta Real' type reed, and definitely the most striking organ sound I had heard as a 12/13 year old was the 1961 Walker at Ampleforth Abbey.

This vast instrument features a 'Trompetta Argentea' which is situated away from the main organ in a small gallery at the base of the large central dome (rather like siting the Trompette Millitaire in the whispering gallery at St. Paul's), although not a true chamade the reflective effect and superb acoustics of the spacious chapel give this stop tremendous impact. If I remember correctly it is of the spun brass type and was silver plated (hence the name).

 

This instrument (finished shortly after the influential rebuild at York Minster) was the first of 3 ground-breaking 60s instruments for major churches: Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and Blackburn Cathedral. All feature chamades of varying resonator construction which sound quite different. Oh, not forgetting of course, Winbourne Minster.

 

Walkers also included chamades in a number of their 'house style' tracker instruments from the 70s onwards; City of London School comes to mind, I'm sure there were others.

 

Considering the size, quality and importance of the Ampleforth organ it is surprising how infrequently it has been recorded. Noted musician Philip Dore was the first organist and I think his son William now has some role there on the music staff.

 

DT

 

The Ampleforth Trompetta Argentea was also made by Boosey and Hawkes. It is of course not strictly a chamade reed, but in a way I am glad. Without its construction as is, we could never have called it 'The daffodils'.

This remains one of my favourite instruments, early neo baroque JWW without the Downsian oberton, and IMO a perfect marriage of instrument and acoustic. I think it represents a more natural example of the genre developed by the builders without the overbearing influence of a consultant, and is all the better for it.

I have a recording of the Dupre Stations of the Cross played by Simon Wright, a really lovely man, I hasten to add, which is simply stunning.

 

AJS

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Ah no - I was thinking of the three instruments to which David Thornton referred. With respect to your point above Vox, the Minster is in any case beaten by the organ in the chapel of Saint John's College, Cambridge - this chamade arrived in 1955.

 

And, yes - it irritates me that the lowest twelve notes are 'missing' - something which has been addressed in the planned work (if we ever get any money....)

 

A little known horizontal to add to the list is Luton St Mary. HNB rebuild with Guest acting as consultant...the result was removal of the tuba and a short compass Trompette Militaire. Not over loud but incredibly thin in tone and I found it to be not much use in the treble, unless you happened to be in the nave in direct line of fire! This was 1971, so it wasn't exactly ground breaking.

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N12294

 

Another organ which had an influential rebuild in 1966 (JWW) was Holy Trinity Folkestone. I think it was regarded as the first "enlightened" rebuild in the county - though enlightened may not be what people would say today. It certainly speaks with a fine voice though.

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N14606

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The Ampleforth Trompetta Argentea was also made by Boosey and Hawkes. It is of course not strictly a chamade reed, but in a way I am glad. Without its construction as is, we could never have called it 'The daffodils'.

This remains one of my favourite instruments, early neo baroque JWW without the Downsian oberton, and IMO a perfect marriage of instrument and acoustic. I think it represents a more natural example of the genre developed by the builders without the overbearing influence of a consultant, and is all the better for it.

I have a recording of the Dupre Stations of the Cross played by Simon Wright, a really lovely man, I hasten to add, which is simply stunning.

 

AJS

I thought Dom Ambrose Wright was the consultant for Ampleforth's organ (and Liverpool's RC Cathedral) Does any know what part he actually played in designing or advising on the construction of these instruments?

I

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Two more true chamades by HNB which date from the very early 60s are Bradford Cathedral and Dunster, both around 1961/62.

 

I played the Bradford organ a couple of times in my mid teens and remember enjoying it. The 'Purcell Trumpet' was part of the Nave organ which stood on 4 columns over the main aisle in the last bay of the nave. It occupied a very elegant Italian Renaissance style case (which looked a little like today's case at Portsmouth Cathedral) designed by Sir Edward Maufe who designed the new east end of the Cathedral and also Guildford Cathedral. The whole concept was most enlightened for the early 60s and it is very sad that the Cathedral authorities have since scrapped this nave section as part of a 're-ordering of the Cathedral', and replicated its resources with digital ranks. This nave organ is pictured on the cover of Herbert & John Normans' book 'The Organ Today', unfortunately I can't find a picture of it on the internet. The Purcell Trumpet has since been incorporated into the main chancel case, but no longer speaks straight down the nave.

 

Memories of the Purcell Trumpet speaking from the west end were that it sounded distinctive, but didn't exactly 'grab you by the throat'.

 

Were all HNB chamades of the same contruction, that is, like St. John's as opposed to spun brass?

 

DT

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Two more true chamades by HNB which date from the very early 60s are Bradford Cathedral and Dunster, both around 1961/62.

 

I played the Bradford organ a couple of times in my mid teens and remember enjoying it. The 'Purcell Trumpet' was part of the Nave organ which stood on 4 columns over the main aisle in the last bay of the nave. It occupied a very elegant Italian Renaissance style case (which looked a little like today's case at Portsmouth Cathedral) designed by Sir Edward Maufe who designed the new east end of the Cathedral and also Guildford Cathedral. The whole concept was most enlightened for the early 60s and it is very sad that the Cathedral authorities have since scrapped this nave section as part of a 're-ordering of the Cathedral', and replicated its resources with digital ranks. This nave organ is pictured on the cover of Herbert & John Normans' book 'The Organ Today', unfortunately I can't find a picture of it on the internet. The Purcell Trumpet has since been incorporated into the main chancel case, but no longer speaks straight down the nave.

 

Memories of the Purcell Trumpet speaking from the west end were that it sounded distinctive, but didn't exactly 'grab you by the throat'.

 

Were all HNB chamades of the same contruction, that is, like St. John's as opposed to spun brass?

 

DT

Some years ago, I played the instrument at Dunster Parish Church. As far as I can remember, I found it to be fairly pleasant for its type - slthough, even in my youthful enthusiasm, I recall that the G.O. reeds (the en chamade Trompette and its 4ft. extension) were rather loud in comparison with the rest of the instrument - and a little too much for the building.

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Getting back to UK instruments; my first encounters with a 'Trompeta Real' type reed, and definitely the most striking organ sound I had heard as a 12/13 year old was the 1961 Walker at Ampleforth Abbey.

This vast instrument features a 'Trompetta Argentea' which is situated away from the main organ in a small gallery at the base of the large central dome (rather like siting the Trompette Millitaire in the whispering gallery at St. Paul's), although not a true chamade the reflective effect and superb acoustics of the spacious chapel give this stop tremendous impact. If I remember correctly it is of the spun brass type and was silver plated (hence the name).

 

DT

Whilst acknowledging the generally good aural effect of this instrument - undoubtedly enhanced by the acoustic ambience into which it speaks - there is simply too much clavier extension for my liking.

 

I must admit that I find the scheme a little wasteful - and, as Ralph Downes said about an entirely different instrument - "eclectic, with a vengeance." Given the size of the building, I wonder if the antiphonal sections were strictly necessary.

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Two more true chamades by HNB which date from the very early 60s are Bradford Cathedral and Dunster, both around 1961/62.

 

I played the Bradford organ a couple of times in my mid teens and remember enjoying it. The 'Purcell Trumpet' was part of the Nave organ which stood on 4 columns over the main aisle in the last bay of the nave. It occupied a very elegant Italian Renaissance style case (which looked a little like today's case at Portsmouth Cathedral) designed by Sir Edward Maufe who designed the new east end of the Cathedral and also Guildford Cathedral. The whole concept was most enlightened for the early 60s and it is very sad that the Cathedral authorities have since scrapped this nave section as part of a 're-ordering of the Cathedral', and replicated its resources with digital ranks. This nave organ is pictured on the cover of Herbert & John Normans' book 'The Organ Today', unfortunately I can't find a picture of it on the internet. The Purcell Trumpet has since been incorporated into the main chancel case, but no longer speaks straight down the nave.

 

Memories of the Purcell Trumpet speaking from the west end were that it sounded distinctive, but didn't exactly 'grab you by the throat'.

 

Were all HNB chamades of the same contruction, that is, like St. John's as opposed to spun brass?

 

DT

 

Hi

 

The Purcell trumpet is now at the top of the main organ case, and speaks across the chancel at high level. To my ears, the Solo "Trumpet Major" gives a fuller, slightly more rounded sound - but it's nice to have both, I would think.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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The Ampleforth Trompetta Argentea was also made by Boosey and Hawkes. It is of course not strictly a chamade reed, but in a way I am glad. Without its construction as is, we could never have called it 'The daffodils'.

This remains one of my favourite instruments, early neo baroque JWW without the Downsian oberton, and IMO a perfect marriage of instrument and acoustic. I think it represents a more natural example of the genre developed by the builders without the overbearing influence of a consultant, and is all the better for it.

I have a recording of the Dupre Stations of the Cross played by Simon Wright, a really lovely man, I hasten to add, which is simply stunning.

 

AJS

I thought Dom Ambrose Wright was the consultant for Ampleforth's organ (and Liverpool's RC Cathedral) Does any know what part he actually played in designing or advising on the construction of these instruments?

I

 

The Ampleforth organ is also one of my favourites as is the abbey and its surroundings. I've experienced it on many occasions when attending mass and have never found it's timbre less than inspirational. My word, have we not digressed from the topic of Grant, Degens and Bradbeer!

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Whilst acknowledging the generally good aural effect of this instrument - undoubtedly enhanced by the acoustic ambience into which it speaks - there is simply too much clavier extension for my liking.

 

I must admit that I find the scheme a little wasteful - and, as Ralph Downes said about an entirely different instrument - "eclectic, with a vengeance." Given the size of the building, I wonder if the antiphonal sections were strictly necessary.

 

The Antiphonal Organ is really an orgue de choeur to accompany the monks. The main organ has of course to be able to accompany hearty congregational singing on a daily basis.

 

Surely the size of the building is at least part of the reason for the (effective) use of extension? There are many more huge organs in smaller rooms than this... How about your average Oxbridge chapel or City of London church? :rolleyes:

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The Ampleforth organ is also one of my favourites as is the abbey and its surroundings. I've experienced it on many occasions when attending mass and have never found it's timbre less than inspirational.

 

It's good to hear that some members have personal experience of this organ.

One of the interesting facts about this instrument is that when Walkers rebuilt York Minster in 1960 they removed the larger of the two Open Wood ranks from the Pedal, the bottom octave of which was stoppered and became the bottom octave of the 32 at Ampleforth.

 

When you look at the size of the 2 cases at either side of the south transept at Ampleforth, it's difficult to imagine how so much organ has been fitted in, this is possibly one of the reasons for the amount of extension and borrowing, although of course, during the 60s Walkers stock-in-trade instruments were the 'Positive' extension organs produced in great number, very many of which are still going strong today.

However, the open location and superb acoustics appear to compensate for any over-crowding of the pipework and chorus deficiencies caused by extension.

 

To a certain extent this puts me in mind of Downside Abbey, an instrument entirely based on extension which according to popular opinion, sounds much better than it ought to, due to location and acoustic. But, as I haven't heard Downside in the building, I wouldn't dream of offering a personal opinion. :rolleyes:

 

DT

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It's good to hear that some members have personal experience of this organ.

One of the interesting facts about this instrument is that when Walkers rebuilt York Minster in 1960 they removed the larger of the two Open Wood ranks from the Pedal, the bottom octave of which was stoppered and became the bottom octave of the 32 at Ampleforth.

 

When you look at the size of the 2 cases at either side of the south transept at Ampleforth, it's difficult to imagine how so much organ has been fitted in, this is possibly one of the reasons for the amount of extension and borrowing, although of course, during the 60s Walkers stock-in-trade instruments were the 'Positive' extension organs produced in great number, very many of which are still going strong today.

However, the open location and superb acoustics appear to compensate for any over-crowding of the pipework and chorus deficiencies caused by extension.

 

To a certain extent this puts me in mind of Downside Abbey, an instrument entirely based on extension which according to popular opinion, sounds much better than it ought to, due to location and acoustic. But, as I haven't heard Downside in the building, I wouldn't dream of offering a personal opinion. ;)

 

DT

 

 

I know both instruments a little and agree that both sound extremely effective in their respective buildings. For me, Ampleforth is the more musical an instrument, the choruses blend better and (in particular) the mixture-work is far better because the off unison ranks are from properly tuned sets of pipes. I don't believe there is anything like the amount of extension at Ampleforth as implied above.

 

Unfortunately, when I last played the Ampleforth Walker (six or so years ago), there were a good number of faults and I believe plans were already afoot to have a major rebuild. Sadly, I heard that this contract would more-than-likely go to my betes noir. I was told that in their proposals they had condemned all the existing chests out of hand. Interestingly, chests by the same builders and of the exact same vintage at Liverpool Met seem to be doing pretty well. Cynic as always, my theory is that things most often get condemned out of hand when there is a strong suspicion that the relevant authorities can afford radical replacement.

 

I am glad David mentioned Walker Positifs. I recently acquired one (through ebay) and installed it in a church near here that has never previously had the benefit of real pipes. Considering the small amount of space these little organs take up, and the limited number of pipes (somewhere between 250 and 270, I believe) the result is very effective indeed.

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I am glad David mentioned Walker Positifs. I recently acquired one (through ebay) and installed it in a church near here that has never previously had the benefit of real pipes. Considering the small amount of space these little organs take up, and the limited number of pipes (somewhere between 250 and 270, I believe) the result is very effective indeed.

 

Probably the best feature of Walker Positifs was that they featured a nicely scaled fully independent 3 rank mixture, even on (possibly) the smallest 3 rank jobs. I'm thinking of a 1958 one in a church in Rochdale which I have agreed to play in a months time. Another feature in the smallest jobs was a crescendo pedal instead of pistons. The largest I ever played was a 3 man. in Grimsby with about 8 ranks.

 

DT

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Probably the best feature of Walker Positifs was that they featured a nicely scaled fully independent 3 rank mixture, even on (possibly) the smallest 3 rank jobs. I'm thinking of a 1958 one in a church in Rochdale which I have agreed to play in a months time. Another feature in the smallest jobs was a crescendo pedal instead of pistons. The largest I ever played was a 3 man. in Grimsby with about 8 ranks.

 

DT

 

Hi

 

There's a Walker Positive in a local RC church. It caused me a bit of trouble until I twigged that the left hand of the 2 balanced pedals was the stop crescendo (which was left slightly engaged) and the right was the swell pedal. Does anyone know if this is normal on these organs?

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

There's a Walker Positive in a local RC church. It caused me a bit of trouble until I twigged that the left hand of the 2 balanced pedals was the stop crescendo (which was left slightly engaged) and the right was the swell pedal. Does anyone know if this is normal on these organs?

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

'Had the same experience a while ago on a similar arrangement - 'made me feel decidedly daft. The same thing happened playing at Downside Abbey too!

 

A

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St. Matthias and St. George Astwood Bank, near Redditch, has a 2 manual Walker Positif, installed in 1965.

In approximately 1980. it was decided that it was not loud enough to accompany the congregation, so an "external" diapason was installed on the Great, the existing diapason, duplexed from the Swell was disconnected, just from the Gt.

The remainder of the organ, apart from the bottom octave of the Bourdon, is enclosed.

The left pedal is a crescendo pedal.

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St. Matthias and St. George Astwood Bank, near Redditch, has a 2 manual Walker Positif, installed in 1965.

In approximately 1980. it was decided that it was not loud enough to accompany the congregation, so an "external" diapason was installed on the Great, the existing diapason, duplexed from the Swell was disconnected, just from the Gt.

The remainder of the organ, apart from the bottom octave of the Bourdon, is enclosed.

The left pedal is a crescendo pedal.

 

 

This organ is due to turn into this - the work being done by one of our members here.

 

A

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Hi

 

There's a Walker Positive in a local RC church. It caused me a bit of trouble until I twigged that the left hand of the 2 balanced pedals was the stop crescendo (which was left slightly engaged) and the right was the swell pedal. Does anyone know if this is normal on these organs?

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

When I first left school I worked for Walkers as a tuner's boy (the most boring - and, in winter, coldest - job on earth). The one bright spot was the chance to play a wide variety of instruments for a few moments. This was in the late '60s and we visited several Positive Organs. I don't recall a crescendo pedal on any of them, but this is obviously some time ago. Some had mixtures, but these consisted, if memory serves, of three octaves starting from tenor C, the top octave repeating. The bottom octave on the earlier versions repeated as well, but I do recall one which derived the bottom octave from the Principal rank - the tuner I was with thought it an improvement, and he was probably right. I thought them well thought out and musical little Organs, and enjoyed playing them. Obviously, with only three ranks extended all over the place, one had to be careful with registration, but Walkers did a good job with them and it wasn't too difficult. They also made a larger version, (Model D?) with more ranks including a reed, but I only came across two of those - one a neo-classically voiced instrument which sounded rather good, if you like 'em bright and forceful. I think it was in a Catholic church in Canterbury (St. Thomas?), but it's a long time ago now and I could be wrong.

 

Incidentally, nothing to do with Walker Positives, GD&B or New College, but HNB also used an extension mixture on some small instruments. I never analysed one, but if I recall correctly it consisted of two sets of pipes, two ranks, 19,22 on one set and 15,19 on the other, electrical connections dictating the positioning of the breaks and the pitch. I'm told it worked quite well, but I don't know how many were made, nor how many pipes were needed. Certainly less than a complete stop.

 

Regards to all

 

John.

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"They also made a larger version, (Model D?) with more ranks including a reed, but I only came across two of those - one a neo-classically voiced instrument which sounded rather good, if you like 'em bright and forceful. I think it was in a Catholic church in Canterbury (St. Thomas?), but it's a long time ago now and I could be wrong."

 

Possibly this one http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N14239

 

Graham

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When I first left school I worked for Walkers as a tuner's boy (the most boring - and, in winter, coldest - job on earth). The one bright spot was the chance to play a wide variety of instruments for a few moments. This was in the late '60s and we visited several Positive Organs. I don't recall a crescendo pedal on any of them, but this is obviously some time ago. Some had mixtures, but these consisted, if memory serves, of three octaves starting from tenor C, the top octave repeating. The bottom octave on the earlier versions repeated as well, but I do recall one which derived the bottom octave from the Principal rank - the tuner I was with thought it an improvement, and he was probably right. I thought them well thought out and musical little Organs, and enjoyed playing them. Obviously, with only three ranks extended all over the place, one had to be careful with registration, but Walkers did a good job with them and it wasn't too difficult. They also made a larger version, (Model D?) with more ranks including a reed, but I only came across two of those - one a neo-classically voiced instrument which sounded rather good, if you like 'em bright and forceful. I think it was in a Catholic church in Canterbury (St. Thomas?), but it's a long time ago now and I could be wrong.

 

Incidentally, nothing to do with Walker Positives, GD&B or New College, but HNB also used an extension mixture on some small instruments. I never analysed one, but if I recall correctly it consisted of two sets of pipes, two ranks, 19,22 on one set and 15,19 on the other, electrical connections dictating the positioning of the breaks and the pitch. I'm told it worked quite well, but I don't know how many were made, nor how many pipes were needed. Certainly less than a complete stop.

 

Regards to all

 

John.

 

Hi

 

There was an article in "The Organ" a long while back about the Walker Positives which gace the various versions available. (I can't remember whcih edition, and I don't have time to wade through my collection this side of Easter!). I think they also had a mention in the book "The Big Problem of Small Organs" - I got to glance at a copy a few years ago, but have never seen one in a s/h bookshop.

 

To get this back on topic - the Walker approach to extension and GDB's on the organ now in the Choir School at Southwell is very different - GDB having very little adjacent octave extension except on the pedals.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Yes Tony, there are several in this area, and the two which I've played have the crescendo on the left and the swell on the right, which was very confusing.

 

It was a long time ago now, but I seem to remember that there was a small white light above the swell manual (and below the stopkeys - or possibly in the middle of them) which lit up when the crescendo was engaged, but there was nothing to tell you that's what it was - you soon worked it out though!

 

I found the Positives to be very nice little instruments.

 

S

 

There's a Walker Positive in a local RC church. It caused me a bit of trouble until I twigged that the left hand of the 2 balanced pedals was the stop crescendo (which was left slightly engaged) and the right was the swell pedal. Does anyone know if this is normal on these organs?
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