Jump to content
Mander Organs
Pierre Lauwers

Save The British Organ Heritage

Recommended Posts

Of course we may differ, Mr Allcoat!

No problem with that: the organs differ, also the tastes.

But as it is easier by far to move organists than organs,

and as there are organs by the tons on the continent that suit many

today'sbritish organists tastes, the solution seems obvious.

What I ask is simply you leave these organs you do not like

alone.......Just as I do not advocate the adding of Tubas in

belgian neo-baroque organs.

As Paul said, many a belgian or french organist would fall in love

with something like St-Mary Redcliffe. You could realize that

on my forum:

http://organographia.cultureforum.net/

 

Of course the voicing in a Harris organ differs from an A.H.'s, no doubt.

But the second is unthinkable without the former, and is a part of the

same "breed", even if it is like in a mirror.

Exactly the same "mirror effect" exists between the Tromba and the

Trompette harmonique of Cavaillé-Coll -no Trompette harmonique,

then no Tromba-....

Pierre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

I was brought up with a gigantic 4 manual A H with Harmonics and vast Trombas and a Tuba to wake the dead in the next Diocese. So I do know what is being talked about. Vast leathered No 1 Diapason too. But the literature is so very limited on such an instrument.

 

=========================

 

 

I'm so glad that someone agrees with me, because "repertoire" is really at the heart of my opposition to many Edwardian instruments.

 

Nigel's mention of Holdich is actually very interesting, because he was one of the earliest to incorporate the "German Pedal," and at Lichfield, it was the cathedral-organist who said something on the lines of, "You may put them in, but I shall never play them."

 

In fact, if we take 1880 as a beacon in UK organ-building, it was around this time that proper organs were starting to be built, and yet, within 20 years, the gains had gone into reverse, and worse was to come.

 

They didn't go back to Holdich, or early William Hill, or even to Snetzler. Oh no! They went the way of Wagner and Tchaikovsky, and turned the organ into a make-shift one-man orchestra on the one hand, and as a congregational thunder-machine on the other.

 

Then there were the self-appointed "experts" like George Ashdown Audsley, The Rev.Noel Bonavia-Hunt and, worst of all, Lt.Col. George Dixon. The first was a twit who liked to draw pretty pictures and talk in pseudo-scinetific terms about "Harmonic corroboration," the second pursued his dream of being able to voice pipes like Edmund Schulze (the pipes being re-voiced once he had ridden away on his bi-cycle) and finally, a military-man of whom, I feel sure it could be said, looked good in a uniform.

 

The sad thing is, Arthur Harrison organs represent the best of the era (if we discount the Willis 3 masterpiece at Liverpool Cathedral), and yet, other than as an accompaniment instrument, they are really only any good for British music of the period 1910 to 1940.....and Howells of course.

 

Frankly, without the dedication and musical-taste of organ-builders such as Norman & Beard and Arthur Harrison, the end-product might have been a whole lot worse. Let us not forget that this was the age which spawned Robert Hope-Jones, some of the worst parish organs in the world and musicians who wallowed in sentiment and orchestral transcriptions. This was also the age when even the great and good declared that the Reubke Sonata was "unplayable." Furthermore, it was the same era which destroyed T C Lewis.

 

It seriously annoys me that anyone could be so blinkered as to think that there is a musical case for a return to Edwardian organ-building, when there are such excellent examples of organs, before and after that period, which were and are infinitely better.

 

MM

 

 

As Paul said, many a belgian or french organist would fall in love

with something like St-Mary Redcliffe.

 

 

 

===============================

 

Really?

 

Well Cavaille-Coll wasn't too impressed with the Fr Willis at St.George's Hall, Liverpool.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find myself agreeing with both Nigel A. and Pierre L. over this - Redcliffe played by a sympathetic organist can sound amazing - an Anglican service accompanist's dream machine with fabulous quiet sounds and orchestral solos etc. I did hear it once, however played by a visiting organist and much of what was played just did not 'go'. Redcliffe was returned more 'to style' some years ago and as another example the AH at Crediton PC was kept 'in style' during recent work - a smaller, less versatile instrument and (to me at least) very much as Nigel describes the instrument of his youth! Both, however can be avoided if one does not like the sounds they make and players do not have to play them if they do not want to. I recently read a review of the autobiography of Arthur Wills and apparently in one chapter he gives his opinions as to the more recent work on the Ely organ - originally AH's flagship and thoroughly rearranged by Wills and Clutton etc. in the 1970s. It would be interesting to read what he says especially as the recent H&H work was aimed at returning some of the pre AH sonorities.

 

AJJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
===============================

 

Really?

 

Well Cavaille-Coll wasn't too impressed with the Fr Willis at St.George's Hall, Liverpool.

 

MM

 

 

Oh, he said that of all his competitors. Walcker included!

At home, the tune was *slightly* different.

Business is business.

And I talk about french and belgian organists of today,

not 150 years ago.

By the way, we had discussions about that Sidney organ

on my forum. A member could even play it.

He says it is one of the most beautiful worldwide.

(One can like Harrisons AND the others)

 

Pierre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
===============================

In fact, if we take 1880 as a beacon in UK organ-building, it was around this time that proper organs were starting to be built, and yet, within 20 years, the gains had gone into reverse, and worse was to come.

MM

 

The Holdich from the 1860's (the largest example of his work left), I mentioned came from the Union Chapel in Islington and was part of the Gauntlett legacy as he was the organist there. After a shortish life a new chapel was built (that standing there now - as congregation numbers rose rapidly) but Fr Willis was chosen to build the new organ for it. If memory serves me correctly, the Willis has the same number of stops as the out-going Holdich (which was eventually bought from its storage place in the Iron Church, Highbury New Park)and installed by Holdich in its new home in the Midlands in Hinckley).

Interesting to compare Swell divisions as Holdich provides reeds 16,8,8,4 plus 2 mixtures and Willis gives nothing below Unison for reeds. But times even changed between the erecting in Islington and the repositioning by the original builder in Hinckley. On the Swell the 3 rank mixture remained but the Cornet V disappeared and in its place came a Viol d'Amour and a Voix celeste! On the Great a Small Open Diapason replaced the Mixture (but still leaving a Sesquialtera III)! Holdich himself played at the opening celebrations in Hinckley. It is perhaps a singularly ideal instrument to chart the progress of taste of middle Victorian times. Mendelssohn, I think, was but a memory and Gauntlett, together with his illustrious Assistant, Ebeneezer Prout, were creating big renditions of the choral classics and training congregations to sing in 4 part harmony. Accompaniment seems to me to be the order of the day when the new chapel began life and the multitude of 8 fts on the Willis gave just the sonorities to mirror the changes in musical taste and usage.

 

:rolleyes: But I cannot wait to hear the full sound of the Holdich (reeds are appearing this week). Dame Gillian plays on Saturday 9th June in the evening. What a wonderful strength of purpose this church has had in opting for a thorough pains-taking restoration over many months.

 

All best wishes,

Nigel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is all a matter of taste. Long Live Difference(s).

 

Agreed, but the things one doesn't like are best left alone, and/or to people who do. If we're not able (anymore) to understand/appreciate a specific instrument, without looking at it in its proper context, than WE are being wrong. Many mistakes have been made in this fashion to 19th century organs here in Holland when viewed through neo-baroque spectacles, I can only hope the UK will learn from 'our' mistakes and not repeat them.

 

Personally I disagree on the 'repertoire' argument; one must find music that fit's the instrument, not the other way around. The presence of stopnames that enable an historically correct selections, don't ensure an 'authentic' musical performance; the authenticity of a permornance lies in other elements.

 

Surely organbuilding evolves, but just as we keep compositions in use (which to my knowledge wasn't custom in baroque times - 'nearly always looking forward'), we should treat the instruments the same, and add to the collection new, maybe different styled instruments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
" and at Lichfield, it was the cathedral-organist who said something on the lines of, "You may put them in, but I shall never play them."

Yes, I've always thought that a rather brilliant remark. I mean, this guy who had probably only seen a pedalboard about twice in his life before, somehow mananges to convey the impression that such new fangled and foreign things are quite beneath his dignity, while avoiding the question of whether he would have been able to use the things if he'd wanted to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Personally I disagree on the 'repertoire' argument; one must find music that fit's the instrument, not the other way around.

 

Then I fear for many listeners some UK organs will remain rather more silent than others if this be the case. But going back to the Holdich in Lichfield - I have often wondered how such an organ came to be built when the resident professional was not designing or overseeing what was going into his cathedral for him to play. And if he was not going to use the pedals - what music was he playing on this enormous 3 manual new organ in the middle of the 19th Century with a 'silent' Pedal organ of 32, 16,16,16,Octave 8, Superoctave 4, Ses II, Mix II 16,8 ?

 

Best wishes for a good week of informed discussion!

Nigel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Agreed, but the things one doesn't like are best left alone, and/or to people who do. If we're not able (anymore) to understand/appreciate a specific instrument, without looking at it in its proper context, than WE are being wrong. Many mistakes have been made in this fashion to 19th century organs here in Holland when viewed through neo-baroque spectacles, I can only hope the UK will learn from 'our' mistakes and not repeat them.

 

Personally I disagree on the 'repertoire' argument; one must find music that fit's the instrument, not the other way around. The presence of stopnames that enable an historically correct selections, don't ensure an 'authentic' musical performance; the authenticity of a permornance lies in other elements.

 

Surely organbuilding evolves, but just as we keep compositions in use (which to my knowledge wasn't custom in baroque times - 'nearly always looking forward'), we should treat the instruments the same, and add to the collection new, maybe different styled instruments.

 

 

==============================

 

Therein lays the problem: WHAT repertoire?

 

Perhaps even, what REPERTOIRE!

 

British organ-music from 1900-1950 is so out on a limb, it really doesn't travel very well or find many admirers; perhaps the exceptions being the Healey Willan and the splendid Cocker "Tuba Tune;" both actually written with the Arthur Harrison sound in mind.

 

Of course there were other composers, such as Stamford, Bairstow, Sumsion, Statham, Elgar (et al), and then there was Howells, but as compared with the music of France, Germany, Austria, Italy and a vast corpus of other European music, British music just does not compare favourably. Of course, music doesn't HAVE to be the greatest to qualify as worthy, but I'm afraid that in the art department, English music is more Enid Blyton and Catherine Cookson than it is Shakespeare.

 

Beneath that top tier of almost good composers is a cess-pit of sentimental clap-trap, endless (and dubious) transcriptions of orchestral works and what must be 1.3 million seasonal choral-preludes; all but three of which are now out of print and likely to remain so.

 

If it were any different, we would be promoting an annual international festival of Eric Thiman's music, played on the organ of Ambleside Parish Church!

 

Of course, there were a couple of minor diversions between 1914-18 and 1939-45, which may have something to do with it, and after which nothing could ever be the same again.

 

I suspect that there will NEVER be a time when world music turns its attention towards English romantic organ-music from that particular era, but there can be no doubt but that this was also an era of quite extraordinary choral-music.

 

I used to go to a big church where there was a substantial 3-manual Arthur Harrison instrument, and whilst I never enjoyed playing organ-music upon it, I loved accompanying the (rather good) choir with it; so on that basis there may be an artistic case for preservation,

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Then I fear for many listeners some UK organs will remain rather more silent than others if this be the case. But going back to the Holdich in Lichfield - I have often wondered how such an organ came to be built when the resident professional was not designing or overseeing what was going into his cathedral for him to play. And if he was not going to use the pedals - what music was he playing on this enormous 3 manual new organ in the middle of the 19th Century with a 'silent' Pedal organ of 32, 16,16,16,Octave 8, Superoctave 4, Ses II, Mix II 16,8 ?

 

Best wishes for a good week of informed discussion!

Nigel

 

 

========================

 

 

Wesley and.....erm....Walond and Stanley spring to mind, then....erm....erm....Green, a few morsels of Purcell.

 

Ooops! Nearly forgot the contrapuntal master of manuals only, William Nares.

 

When one comes to think about it, the standards must have been appalling prior to the Oxford Movement.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Agreed, but the things one doesn't like are best left alone, and/or to people who do. If we're not able (anymore) to understand/appreciate a specific instrument, without looking at it in its proper context, than WE are being wrong. Many mistakes have been made in this fashion to 19th century organs here in Holland when viewed through neo-baroque spectacles, I can only hope the UK will learn from 'our' mistakes and not repeat them.

I do agree with this. For all that I am forever slagging off a certain large organ in my vicinity, I would be the first to admit that, of its type there is much about it that is actually very fine. LIsten to any individual stop and you will be struck by its fine tone and even regulation. It's only when you start to combine them that the problems begin. But even here it does what it was designed to do magnificently. Objectively it is a superb orchestral organ in the octopodian tradition. That there is no little or no first-rate music written for such an instrument and that many organists (and at least one respected builder) dislike it is neither here nor there. The instrument should be preserved (particularly against people like a former priest of the church, who, contemplating the split cases on either side of the chancel suggested selling half of it).

 

Personally I disagree on the 'repertoire' argument; one must find music that fit's the instrument, not the other way around.

Like I said, the trouble with the above instrument is that there is little or no "proper" music suited to it. Rheinberger fares reasonably, some of Reger's quieter pieces work OK, ditto Karg-Elert; but the restrained mixture-work compromises their louder pieces which are always going to sound most appropriate on the sort of organs for which they were written. The only music suited to this organ is orchestral transcriptions and original pieces written in the same idiom. From the purely musical point of view this style of organ is fundamentally flawed because it is intellectually dishonest in the same way that orchestral transcriptions are intellectually dishonest* - which is not surprising since, for all that organists may be the most intelligent of musicians, British organists are the most intellectually dishonest musicians I know - with the possible exception of singers.

 

(Yes, I'm trolling; it's Monday morning and I'm grumpy! :rolleyes: )

 

Surely organbuilding evolves, but just as we keep compositions in use (which to my knowledge wasn't custom in baroque times - 'nearly always looking forward'), we should treat the instruments the same, and add to the collection new, maybe different styled instruments.

Yes, but considering that every venue in Britain capable of supporting an oirgan already has one, we can only achieve this by weeding out the unworthy. I repeat my view that, whatever one's personal tastes, one can still make an objective judgement about what is worth keeping. See above!

 

*This is not to deny that such music served very a useful end for its time by entertaining people and introducing them to music they might otherwise not have heard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well,

 

We are again going round and round with "Repertoire", "worthy", "unworthy" and the like.

 

The organs left alone would not stay silent for long; besides the fact I know organists

who would be happy to play them, it would suffice to wait for the next generation of players.

 

Because one thing always surprised me with the "Reform" friends: while supposedly

hystorically-minded, they lack completely any historical perspective.

 

The history of the organ demonstrate blatantly the "Nadir" always was the previous fashion.

This was already the case in Liège before 1600, when the Langhedul style replaced -and eventually discarded- the Niehoff style.

 

And now the history should have to stop with the neo-baroque fashion?

This was a strong belief here in 1980, when a scholar said "the organ is a dead Species"; it all

stopped with him. As if he were immortal.....

 

The mandatory conclusion of that is we must accept the "Reform" movement was not interested with

History, rather by its own ideas.

 

And the comparison between modern "Reform" organs and true baroque ones demonstrates this.

True baroque organs explain themselves how deeply the romantic organs, A.H. included, are

forecasted by them.

 

Example of a true baroque german organ (click on "Ohrenclick"):

 

http://www.orgellandschaftbrandenburg.de/1...Jahrhundert.htm

 

Example of a true french baroque reed chorus:

 

http://perso.orange.fr/organ-au-logis/Musi...ndJBextrait.mp3

 

Example of a true french late-baroque "Plein-jeu":

 

http://perso.orange.fr/organ-au-logis/Musi...03GrignyVC1.mp3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A "mistake", certainly not, but a romantic corroborating Mixture, intended to be used like a Grand Cornet, that is, with the reed chorus.

"Harmonics" stand in the same relation with the Tromba as the Cornet with the Trompette.

 

Later, after the belief such things were "mistakes of the past", such stops were thinkered with in an attempt to make neo-classical Mixtures of them.

 

It is interesting to note how the Harmonics stop evolved from the Sesquialtera (british late baroque model) to the Willis 17-19-22 Mixture, and then, Harmonics with the flat twenty-first added.

 

Pierre

 

I suspect that Nigel is familiar with the H&H Harmonics stop, Pierre!

 

Whilst it was certainly intended to be used to bridge the gap between the reeds and the flues, it was certainly never envisaged to be used with just the reeds - I am confident that Arthur Harrison did not appreciate the musical value of any Cornet stop. He did (when requested) insert a couple of mutations on the Choir organs of some of his larger instruments (for, example, King's, Cambridge) but he freely admitted that he could see no musical use for them.

 

Furthermore, whilst I know that you prefer lower-pitched mixtures which contain tirece ranks, having played the vintage H&H at Crediton on many occasions, it must be said that the GO Harmonics has extremely limited uses. It is a fearful, jangling sound. The GO reeds I also found to be frankly unmusical and very loud. They produce a dead, opaque obliterating fatness. I could find little use for either them or the Pedal Ophicleide.

 

It is possible that Nigel queried the flat twenty-first since it was not unusual for Arthur Harrison to specify a three-rank Sesquialtera-type mixture (17-19-22) in his moderately sized three clavier instruments.

 

I accept that one should be careful of simply discarding instruments (or parts of instruments) which one does not happen to like; however, there must surely be some change - otherwise in England we would still be playing small three-clavier instruments with no pedals, hand blowing and an extremely limited repertoire. How far back does one go? Once this question has been answered, surely it is also necessary to assess the musical value of certain ranks. Very few organists of my acquaintance actually like the H&H reeds or the Harmonics on the Crediton organ. Neither can most find a use for these stops in repertoire. Arguably, the Harmonics stop is useless for Bach, the reeds too loud and opaque. Neither do they suit French Classical or symphonic repertoire. They are equally useless for early English music, other Baroque music, Reger or even general accompaniment. In which case, it begs the question as to whether such stops are worth retaining in their present state - even as historic examples. If they cannot be used effectively (or at least musically) in most music written for the instrument, then surely there is little point in retaining them simply to say to friends "Look, we had retainied our Arthur Harrison Trombe and Harmonics. Of course, we cannot actually use them - they are to loud and un-blending - but we did not discard them."

 

I have to confess that I can see little good in such an argument.

 

For the record, the site information is incorrect in one detail - Dupré was never Titulaire at Nôtre-Dame - he acted as suppléant to Vierne for a few years. This is largely why Vierne fell out with Dupré; he learned that Dupré had been styling himself Organiste Titulaire [of Nôtre-Dame de Paris] on his visiting cards and other publicity material.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Whilst it was certainly intended to be used to bridge the gap between the reeds and the flues, it was certainly never envisaged to be used with just the reeds -"

(Quote)

According to the Abschwächungsprinzip, when we say "with the reeds" about a romantic organ,

it is clear the flues are already drawn!

 

"we would still be playing small three-clavier instruments with no pedals,"

(Quote)

 

.....You should certainly reconstitute some, and watch nobody try to "better" them,

exactly like you may not change anything to the façades at Kensington Gardens...

 

Pierre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well,

 

We are again going round and round with "Repertoire", "worthy", "unworthy" and the like.

 

The organs left alone would not stay silent for long; besides the fact I know organists

who would be happy to play them, it would suffice to wait for the next generation of players.

 

Because one thing always surprised me with the "Reform" friends: while supposedly

hystorically-minded, they lack completely any historical perspective.

 

Agreed with regard to the organ reform movement. You are however verging on being guilty of the opposite charge; lacking any perspective, historical or aural, with some of the beasts and monsters which lurk here.

 

Strongly disagreed with the rest. Just because something is not an Arthur Harrison does not mean it is therefore a Ralph Downes, which in effect is what you are saying by admitting only "Reform" organs as the alternative to Great British Romanticism. In neither of these cases can it be taken for granted that a musical instrument would result.

 

Whatever you say, it has to be acknowledged that there have been certain avenues (including, to an extent, the organ reform movement) which have been blind alleys and led to conceptions of sounds which have nothing whatsoever to do with music, and ended abruptly on the demise of the one or two egos which have pushed them forward.

 

I invite you to give a convincing and varied recital here, in full advance knowledge that the action is so poor that one cannot play more than four or five notes together, manage a scale at Grade 5 speeds, and that Open Diapason 1 is the work of Rev Bonavia Hunt. A roller blind has been erected above the console to protect the hearing of the organist and send the sound down the church. It is truly monstrous.

 

I challenge you to find ANYTHING you can play on that - I didn't, with (dare I say it myself) a fairly broad repertoire of stuff from memory, and couldn't even find a nice sound for some simple improvisations in the course of a service, where I realised all I could do was accompany hymns on Open Diapason 1 because nothing else had any effect whatsoever in the building. The full horrendousness of this thing cannot be overstated.

 

It's junk, and deserves to be on the junkheap. You cannot play music on it, ergo it cannot be a musical instrument. Or are you seriously suggesting it should be carefully preserved and that future generations will revel in its quality? If you are, then you need your head examining.

 

With instruments like that in every town, it's no wonder there are so few organists and so few people who want to listen. The worst of it is that this instrument is on a west gallery in the most glorious acoustic in town with at least five seconds clean reverberation. Giving up on it altogether, I played an improvised final voluntary on a rather nice Mustel harmonium which I found under a pile of books and cassocks, and what glorious sounds it made too.

 

 

 

Furthermore, whilst I know that you prefer lower-pitched mixtures which contain tirece ranks, having played the vintage H&H at Crediton on many occasions, it must be said that the GO Harmonics has extremely limited uses. It is a fearful, jangling sound. The GO reeds I also found to be frankly unmusical and very loud. They produce a dead, opaque obliterating fatness.

 

It is possible that Nigel queried the flat twenty-first since it was not unusual for Arthur Harrison to specify a three-rank Sesquialtera-type mixture (17-19-22) in his moderately sized three clavier instruments.

 

I wasn't sure if Nigel was just playing devil's advocate with the flat 21st remark.

 

I'm not sure Crediton can be regarded as a vintage H&H anymore... can it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"we would still be playing small three-clavier instruments with no pedals,"

(Quote)

 

.....You should certainly reconstitute some, and watch nobody try to "better" them,

exactly like you may not change anything to the façades at Kensington Gardens...

 

Pierre

 

One or two builders have - William Drake and Goetze and Gwynne, for example. However, having one of them in my own church would be about as useful as Anne Frank's drum-kit.

 

I'm not sure Crediton can be regarded as a vintage H&H anymore... can it?

 

Yes - the only tonal changes were the addition of a 32p octave to the Pedal Ophicleide and the extension of the GO 16p Geigen to 8p. The rest of the instrument did not take a trip to the voicing shop - really....

 

B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One or two builders have - William Drake and Goetze and Gwynne, for example. However, having one of them in my own church would be about as useful as Anne Frank's drum-kit.

 

Forgive me for saying so, but that's the exact opposite extreme of Pierre's view and doesn't really help. I know of one particular instance where an organist railed against a new organ (almost to the point of legal action) right up to the point where he was able to sit down and play it for the first time - wouldn't be able to accompany on it, etc etc etc. From the moment it was first switched on, he has been one of the happiest people alive, having realised that a good musical instrument is entirely suitable for playing music on.

 

For me, the debate here should be about agreeing on the suggestion that a musical instrument, upon which you can play music, is something which should be encouraged and preserved, and the style of instrument is an entirely seperate question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Forgive me for saying so, but that's the exact opposite extreme of Pierre's view and doesn't really help.

 

David - you are aware of the type of repertoire which we do at the Minster (including a fully-choral Matins almost every week) - I would be interested to learn why you think that an instrument of this type would be suitable for our use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One or two builders have - William Drake and Goetze and Gwynne, for example. However, having one of them in my own church would be about as useful as Anne Frank's drum-kit.

Yes - the only tonal changes were the addition of a 32p octave to the Pedal Ophicleide and the extension of the GO 16p Geigen to 8p. The rest of the instrument did not take a trip to the voicing shop - really....

 

B)

 

And the alteration of the Sw Mixture, and the provision of entirely new action and transmission and console, and case, and a good bit of winding, etc etc etc. I (and several others) find the suggestion that this instrument has had no tonal changes (which extend a lot further than a mere trip to the voicing shop) unsupportable, particularly in light of other work done elsewhere by the same builder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And the alteration of the Sw Mixture, and the provision of entirely new action and transmission and console, and case, and a good bit of winding, etc etc etc. I (and several others) find the suggestion that this instrument has had no tonal changes (which extend a lot further than a mere trip to the voicing shop) unsupportable, particularly in light of other work done elsewhere by the same builder.

 

Only one of these points is a tonal alteration. In what way has the Swell Mixture been altered?

 

Michael Farley could have restored the tubular pneumatic action, I suppose. However, I can assure you that the console is not new. There are two new draw-stops to match the existing stop-heads. There are extra thumb pistons (again, in matching style) and there are new toe pistons (in the style which H&H started using around the 1930s).

 

Substantially, the instrument is tonally as Arthur Harrison left it.

 

David, I used to practise regularly on it (before the rebuild). Tonally, the characteristic 1920s Harrison sound is still very much in place. Did you play it before the rebuild?

 

The case - the instrument never had one, although a drawing exists of a case design. All Renatus did was to provide a simple case, which kept the previous arrangement of the front pipes. Personally, I think that it is an improvement on the previous dark-stained plywood. I certainly do not see how this could be constituted as a tonal change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David - you are aware of the type of repertoire which we do at the Minster (including a fully-choral Matins almost every week) - I would be interested to learn why you think that an instrument of this type would be suitable for our use.

 

I am not suggesting you scrap the Walker and get a Drake, not for a moment. I am merely saying that a good musical instrument is perfectly at home making music, whatever that music is. Going to instrument specifics and personal preferences isn't really what it's about.

 

At the risk of inviting a long defence of the Minster organ, I am surprised at the implication that a 1960's Thurlow/Walker with neo-baroque Positiv and chamade could be held to be any more effective than, say, the Deptford organ in accompanying the sort of repertoire you do. The reason for that is because you know that organ inside out and, frankly, it sounds like a pale imitation of itself when anyone other than you plays it. For others, in their places, the same is true.

 

It's all a matter of preference... happily, you're in the right place, and so am I!

 

Only one of these points is a tonal alteration. In what way has the Swell Mixture been altered?

 

Michael Farley could have restored the tubular pneumatic action, I suppose. However, I can assure you that the console is not new. There are two new draw-stops to match the existing stop-heads. There are extra thumb pistons (again, in matching style) and there are new toe pistons (in the style which H&H started using around the 1930s).

 

Substantially, the instrument is tonally as Arthur Harrison left it.

 

David, I used to practise regularly on it (before the rebuild). Tonally, the characteristic 1920s Harrison sound is still very much in place. Did you play it before the rebuild?

 

The case - the instrument never had one, although a drawing exists of a case design. All Renatus did was to provide a simple case, which kept the previous arrangement of the front pipes. Personally, I think that it is an improvement on the previous dark-stained plywood. I certainly do not see how this could be constituted as a tonal change.

 

OK, I submit. But NPOR states that the Mixture used to be 17.19.22 before alteration, and that a new console was provided. Pipes speak differently on actions other than the ones they were voiced on, things like slider seals/soundboard bleeding/pipe foot bleeding make a big difference. If it sounds the same now as it used to, then that's good news.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, I've always thought that a rather brilliant remark. I mean, this guy who had probably only seen a pedalboard about twice in his life before, somehow mananges to convey the impression that such new fangled and foreign things are quite beneath his dignity, while avoiding the question of whether he would have been able to use the things if he'd wanted to.

 

 

=============================

 

 

I suppose (diverting humorously) it is the organost's equivalent to that brilliant reply from a prosecuting barrister, when the judge (whom the barrister loathed and despised) responded to three days of detailed evidence.

 

"I have listened to the prosecution carefully over the past three days, and I have to say that I am none the wiser."

 

The barrister for the prosecution retorted, "Indeed your honour; you may be none the wiser, but at least you are now better informed!"

 

B)

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am not suggesting you scrap the Walker and get a Drake, not for a moment. I am merely saying that a good musical instrument is perfectly at home making music, whatever that music is. Going to instrument specifics and personal preferences isn't really what it's about.

 

At the risk of inviting a long defence of the Minster organ, I am surprised at the implication that a 1960's Thurlow/Walker with neo-baroque Positiv and chamade could be held to be any more effective than, say, the Deptford organ in accompanying the sort of repertoire you do. The reason for that is because you know that organ inside out and, frankly, it sounds like a pale imitation of itself when anyone other than you plays it. For others, in their places, the same is true.

 

It's all a matter of preference... happily, you're in the right place, and so am I!

 

Oh - thank you, David - you are very kind!

OK, I submit. But NPOR states that the Mixture used to be 17.19.22 before alteration, and that a new console was provided.

 

Ah - I see. In that case, the NPOR is incorrect. The Swell Mixture has always been 12-19-22. I can also confirm that the console is not new. It still has its characteristic walnut woodwork (or is it oak?), ebonised departmental jamb-panels, ivory piston-heads and key plates without joints.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still wondering if I'll start a thread about an alternative to the

-typically "reform"- "Repertoire idea (maybe it would not fit here),

so let's give a hint.

Let us suppose we have a R. Harris 3 Manuals (Great, Chair, Swell),

no Pedals.

 

That Harris descent from several types of organs:

 

-Italian renaissance/ Tudor english

-French baroque

-Spanish baroque (the Swell idea...)

 

.....And there would obtain no music playable on it?

 

The limitations are the "physical" ones (compass, Pedal).

But what there actually is in the organ can do much,

much "good" music.

(Howells we'd simply enjoy in another place)

 

Pierre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm still wondering if I'll start a thread about an alternative to the

-typically "reform"- "Repertoire idea (maybe it would not fit here),

so let's give a hint.

Let us suppose we have a R. Harris 3 Manuals (Great, Chair, Swell),

no Pedals.

 

That Harris descent from several types of organs:

 

-Italian renaissance/ Tudor english

-French baroque

-Spanish baroque (the Swell idea...)

 

.....And there would obtain no music playable on it?

 

The limitations are the "physical" ones (compass, Pedal).

But what there actually is in the organ can do much,

much "good" music.

(Howells we'd simply enjoy in another place)

 

Pierre

 

What would be the point in that?

 

Not just Howells you would have to enjoy in another place - 99% of everything from Bach onwards.

 

I've just noticed the first post on this page where pcnd says Drake has done 2/3 manual restorations with no pedals. I am not aware of this being the case; even Grosvenor has a fairly complete pedal department (16 8 16), and instruments since have had more (Jesus Ox is 16 8 4 16). The pedals are treated as a logical downward extension of the manuals and 29/30 notes provided, depending on what will fit within the original case (where there is one).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...