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Pierre Lauwers

Save The British Organ Heritage

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Thanks for that interesting background, Nick. So when the choir sings an Anglican Evensong, where they do it from I wonder?

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Ah, those Chamades......The Graal of the modern organist, it seems

everybody wants some in whatever organ!

 

But Pierre, this is no different to sixty or seventy years ago (in Britain) when everybody wanted a Tuba. Take, for example, the H&H rebuild of the FHW organ in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. Sir Hugh Allen was anxious that it become a diapason organ and produced a slightly esoteric scheme. Sir William Harris said "Do let's have a Tuba". One can see them cropping up in all sorts of unlikely places, often in instruments which do not have the tonal infrastructure to warrant the addition of such a rank.

Here is an interesting demo (with Hauptwerk) which illustrate

*genuine* chamades in their correct context:

 

http://www.sonusparadisi.cz/organs/santany...tallaFamosa.mp3

 

Note they aren't there for noise, rather for detail!

 

Pierre

 

Pierre, can you re-post the clip, please - my computer cannot open it - there appears to be a fault with either the download or the programme. Alternatively, my computer could be having a funny five minutes.

 

Thank you.

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Here is an interesting demo (with Hauptwerk) which illustrate

*genuine* chamades in their correct context:

 

http://www.sonusparadisi.cz/organs/santany...tallaFamosa.mp3

 

Note they aren't there for noise, rather for detail!

Thank you for that clip, Pierre; I enjoyed it very much. However, who is to say what is "correct" when you are comparing chalk with cheese (as we say here). The Trompeteria of the Santanyi organ may be there for detail rather than power, but it does not follow that Romantic chamades are therefore somehow "wrong". They are fulfilling a completely different aesthetic. Neither is right or wrong, they are just different. You wouldn't criticise an English Open Diapason for not being a Schnitger Prinzipal, would you?

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@ Pcnd: The difference is that a Tuba has its genuine place in a british (romantic) organ. Would we place

one in a spanish or flemish organ, it would be a fad.

As if I said "We must play Howells in the Van Peteghem organ in Haringe".

To me, a chamade in a british organ is like Tabasco on a plum-pudding.

 

@ Vox humana:a "Romantic" chamade is a contradiction in its own terms. Such a thing

does not exist.

 

There were two kinds of "en chamade" stops in France:

 

-The Isnard kind, which was intended to reinforce the treble (St-Maximin's are still there), so only

the treble part is horizontal.

 

-The Cavaillé-Coll kind (example: St-Sernin, Toulouse), there for exactly the same reason.

but in order not to have Ketchup in the oysters these stops were drawn BEFORE the interior

reeds, to "lead" the sound rather than dominate it.

 

Both are "utilitarian" devices, by no ways intended to impart a peculiar "bang"; their builders used them very sparingly, only where the acoustics demanded some help.

 

So the chamade as a stylistic trait belongs to the (late baroque) spanish organ -as detail stop-. To glue them

unto another kind of organ makes exactly as much sense as if I advocated introducing Trombas at St-Maximin or Dulciana Mixtures at Poitiers, and Skinner's Flute celestes in all belgian neo-baroque organs.

 

Chamade stops "go" in an aesthetic in which the rattle of the reeds is part of their tones. This you hear in spanish organs. The "en chamade" layout ensures there is no obstacle between the tongue and the ears.

(Jordi Bosch went so far as to build "L" shaped windchests so that even the VALVE was, so to speak, en chamade itself, 90° from the interior stops ones).

 

As Mr Gerhard Grenzing wrote, there are links between languages and organ tone. Any belgian organ guy knows that very well since we talk four languages here.

The english language does not know any "dry" spelling, like "krrr", "Trrr", etc. A word like "Kornett" you cannot prononce in english, we'll have something like "Cow-neth".

Accordingly, the greatest achievement in british reed-voicing always was the elimination of the rattle; this is the very first thing any stranger notes while hearing a british organ for the first time, despite the sheer difference between say a Willis and an A.H. Trompet and Tromba.

I guess this was already the case somewhere during the 18th century (The music-boxes...).

 

And so these english-speaking Trumpets, Trombas, Tubas, Orchestral Oboes, Cornopeans,(etc) with an incredible variety in forms, masterly voiced, are a summit in the art of organ-building. They belong to the british organ like the Chamades belong to the spanish one.

 

Pierre

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@ Pcnd: The difference is that a Tuba has its genuine place in a british (romantic) organ. Would we place

one in a spanish or flemish organ, it would be a fad.

As if I said "We must play Howells in the Van Peteghem organ in Haringe".

To me, a chamade in a british organ is like Tabasco on a plum-pudding.

 

Pierre

 

Indeed - but on some British organs, the inclusion of such a rank is still out of place. Either the infrastructure of the organ is unable to support it (as I wrote previously), or it stands away from the general tonal effect of the rest of the instrument.

 

Whatever you may think of chamade stops on British organs, Pierre, the fact is the one on my own instrument suits the sound far better than any Tuba could ever do.

 

Interestingly, I know quite a number of English people who actually like Tabasco - but perhaps not on plum pudding. Not all British organs are the tonal equivalent of suet.

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Surely the point here is that the modern British organ in which a chamade might be more appropriate is a somewhat different type of instrument from the more traditional British organ in which a Tuba is most appropriate. It is a clinal thing, though, and there is a large middle ground where either or both stops might not be out of place.

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Surely the point here is that the modern British organ in which a chamade might be more appropriate is a somewhat different type of instrument from the more traditional British organ in which a Tuba is most appropriate. It is a clinal thing, though, and there is a large middle ground where either or both stops might not be out of place.

 

We managed here in 1984.

 

AJJ

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"I know quite a number of English people who actually like Tabasco - but perhaps not on plum pudding. "

(Quote)

 

Indeed. This deserves a thought. Even more: introspection.

Perhaps not on Plum-pudding.

Why?

Does anything go with anything?

What should we expect from the proof of the pudding?

 

The Jordi Bosch organ is a summit. No doubt.

But 1 summit + 1 summit equals.....To what?

 

Pierre

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Surely the point here is that the modern British organ in which a chamade might be more appropriate is a somewhat different type of instrument from the more traditional British organ in which a Tuba is most appropriate. It is a clinal thing, though, and there is a large middle ground where either or both stops might not be out of place.

 

Clinal - [cline] - Patsy? Or the adjectival form of the noun which describes a continuum with an infinite number of gradations from one extreme to another?

 

I suppose that this could be said to apply in this case. But I am not sure how many different types of Tuba or chamade are envisaged.

 

I like your observation regarding the appropriateness of both stops, in some circumstances. I was about to quote one or two instruments on which this has been achieved successfully. However, since my half term still has not yet started and I am currently corresponding with three people on MSN, I cannot immediately think of an example.

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Clinal - [cline] - Patsy? Or the adjectival form of the noun which describes a continuum with an infinite number of gradations from one extreme to another?

 

I suppose that this could be said to apply in this case. But I am not sure how many different types of Tuba or chamade are envisaged.

I meant the style of the organs rather than the solo reeds. After all, thick 8' tone is rather out of fashion and the neo-Baroque has bequeathed to us a preference for more transparent choruses and a somewhat more equal balance between stops. Against the current fashion the Leiden project seems quite strikingly old-fashioned (well it does to me).

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I meant the style of the organs rather than the solo reeds. After all, thick 8' tone is rather out of fashion and the neo-Baroque has bequeathed to us an preference for more transparent choruses and a somewhat more equal balance between stops. Against the current fashion the Leiden project seems quite strikingly old-fashioned (well it does to me).

 

In which case, I agree with you.

 

I also thought the Leiden scheme to be backward-looking - in the negative sense.

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In which case, I agree with you.

 

I also thought the Leiden scheme to be backward-looking - in the negative sense.

 

 

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

 

 

I think this is exactly my objection to the Leiden pipe-dream.

 

Had they chosen to feather their nest properly, they would have realised that THERE WERE FAR BETTER MUSICAL options which pre-date the Edwardian era, which do not seem to enter into the equation.

 

My guess is that it will never be built, but we'll see.

 

MM

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

I think this is exactly my objection to the Leiden pipe-dream.

 

Had they chosen to feather their nest properly, they would have realised that THERE WERE FAR BETTER MUSICAL options which pre-date the Edwardian era, which do not seem to enter into the equation.

 

My guess is that it will never be built, but we'll see.

 

MM

 

 

And round and round we go !

 

Pierre

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And round and round we go !

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

And no it doesn't, because there is no musical reason why this particular style of instrument would ever be replicated, and if the organ isn't about music, it is about nothing at all.

 

Should I seek to re-create a Roman hydraulus and mount it on a horse-drawn cart; drawing it through the streets, even though there is no music written for it: at least which appears on the music-shelves of Bank's music-shop ?

 

I would be regarded as eccentric, and quite rightly so.

 

In fact, I think it would deserve as ASBO quite quickly, but may well already be covered by the "Street nuiscance act" petitioned by Charles Babbage and Mr Bass, the brewer.

 

As Inspector Clouseau said, "I do not have a licence........I blame zee minkey!"

 

MM

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@ Vox humana:a "Romantic" chamade is a contradiction in its own terms. Such a thing

does not exist.

Alright then, substitute 20th-century chamade, or solo chamade. You what what I mean. :)

 

Regarding the Leiden scheme, we may dislike it, but I think it's going a bit far to object to it. We don't have the right to dictate to other countries what organs they should build. From long experience we may see the severe musical limitations of such instruments - no doubt because it is difficult to get away from them for very long - but one need look no further than the Willis at Hereford or the Willis/Harrison at Exeter to appreciate that they remain superbly musical vehicles for accompanying Anglican choral music. Looking at the proposed Leiden scheme I would prefer to see Willis Trumpets and less opaque flutes, but presumably the Netherlanders have chosen these because they are sounds they do not have over there. Who are we to say that they should not experience them?

 

Isn't it a bit like the English Neo-Baroque in reverse?

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Alright then, substitute 20th-century chamade, or solo chamade. You what what I mean. :)

 

Regarding the Leiden scheme, we may dislike it, but I think it's going a bit far to object to it. We don't have the right to dictate to other countries what organs they should build. From long experience we may see the severe musical limitations of such instruments - no doubt because it is difficult to get away from them for very long - but one need look no further than the Willis at Hereford or the Willis/Harrison at Exeter to appreciate that they remain superbly musical vehicles for accompanying Anglican choral music. Looking at the proposed Leiden scheme I would prefer to see Willis Trumpets and less opaque flutes, but presumably the Netherlanders have chosen these because they are sounds they do not have over there. Who are we to say that they should not experience them?

 

Isn't it a bit like the English Neo-Baroque in reverse?

 

The limitations of such an instrument would be much mitigated by the fact that there is a superb old instrument at the other end of the church, which is ideal for pre 1750 repertoire.

 

That instrument itself is extremely limited when it comes to post 1750 repertoire, however. It has only a four-octave manual compass (with no C# or D# in the bottom octave) and a pedalboard that stops at d. And it's tuned to Werckmeister.

 

For reference, the spec is:

 

Hoofdwerk

Bourdon 16

Praestant 8

Roerfluit 8

Octaaf 4

Quint 3

Octaaf 2

Mixtuur III-IV

Scharp III-IV

Trompet 8

 

Bovenwerk

Holpijp 8

Quintadeen 8

Octaaf 4

Fluit 4

Nasaet 3

Gemshorn 2

 

Pedal

Subbass 16

Octaav 8

Octaav 4

Trompet 8

 

That such an instrument can fill a church of those dimensions comes as something of a surprise.

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Guest Cynic
Regarding the Leiden scheme, we may dislike it, but I think it's going a bit far to object to it. We don't have the right to dictate to other countries what organs they should build. From long experience we may see the severe musical limitations of such instruments - no doubt because it is difficult to get away from them for very long - but one need look no further than the Willis at Hereford or the Willis/Harrison at Exeter to appreciate that they remain superbly musical vehicles for accompanying Anglican choral music. Looking at the proposed Leiden scheme I would prefer to see Willis Trumpets and less opaque flutes, but presumably the Netherlanders have chosen these because they are sounds they do not have over there. Who are we to say that they should not experience them?

 

 

I agree 100% with the above.

 

I don't think we have any right whatever to comment on what others want to add to their 'range' of instruments, even if it isn't something some of us would do ourselves. Frankly, why could they not be right in wanting at least one example of this sort of organ, particularly in a building where Anglican Choral Music is highly regarded? We should feel flattered not threatened!

 

I have difficulty in understanding why some cannot accept that this style (along with maybe hundreds of others) is valid in its own terms and does not have to be justified. If anyone on this site cannot see that a well-made, carefully voiced organ in any style has a worth then our UK heritage really is doomed!

 

A further word of warning: Even if I think this is a sensible project, it may be doomed to failure. A stoplist is not an organ! I don't believe more than one or two people in the world can voice like Arthur Harrison or W.C.Jones. Unfortunately, even if you had both of those working for you, the tonal finisher would have to have not just enormous experience but also a rare combination of courage, restraint and discretion. Arthur Harrison came by his best results after considerable trial and experience. I do not say this lightly: I do not believe that even H&H themselves can currently produce ranks that compare with AH's, and they have all the scalings for the purpose!

 

My advice to the Dutch would be simple - find an organ that is redundant over here (they do exist!) and base your 'new' organ on a fair quantity of authentic 1920/30 ranks and merely make additions based strictly on the originals.

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That such an instrument can fill a church of those dimensions comes as something of a surprise.

 

It shouldn't!

 

In Belfort Cathedral there is a big four-manual monster at one end; at the other end there is a charming one-manual (with pulldowns) instrument of 6 stops (16 8 8 8 4 8), all split at middle C. The cathedral people were amazed that within half an hour of arriving virtually all the visiting organists had gravitated towards the small instrument, which would have been more than adequate to lead a congregation of a couple of hundred at least.

 

And with that, I notice that I have temporarily taken over the home page, and so had better go and do something else...

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A further word of warning: Even if I think this is a sensible project, it may be doomed to failure. A stoplist is not an organ! I don't believe more than one or two people in the world can voice like Arthur Harrison or W.C.Jones. Unfortunately, even if you had both of those working for you, the tonal finisher would have to have not just enormous experience but also a rare combination of courage, restraint and discretion. Arthur Harrison came by his best results after considerable trial and experience. I do not say this lightly: I do not believe that even H&H themselves can currently produce ranks that compare with AH's, and they have all the scalings for the purpose!

 

I hadn't thought of this angle before - it is interesting to note that where some of the bigger European builders building over here are trying to nudge aspects of their work broadly in the direction of H & H, Willis etc. the effect doesn't actually quite get there. For example there is a newish Cor Anglais near here in a 'Romantic' (in the broadest sense - Solo division in a sort of neo 'something' scheme) context that sounds somewhat lacking compared to an original HN&B Clarinet sitting beside it. Likewise new 'big' solo reeds which do not quite make the mark. Fisk (on CD evidence - listen to the Tubas 32' upwards at the Meyerson Centre - if you like that sort of thing) in the USA seems to have managed however. OK they have been wandering around the UK measuring scales and are probably skilled voicers but still seem to come up with a sort of 'pan European neo Cavaille Coll' style that is fine in it's own context but is not HA or Willis etc. By coincidence I listened to the Elgar Sonata recorded by Keith John at the Temple Church last night - vintage H & H but for the first time I was able to listen to this type of organ for any length of time and enjoy it. As someone said somewhere else - the combination of music, instrument and player made it - for me at that moment at least. I would not want it every week though.

 

AJJ

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Guest Patrick Coleman
My advice to the Dutch would be simple - find an organ that is redundant over here (they do exist!) and base your 'new' organ on a fair quantity of authentic 1920/30 ranks and merely make additions based strictly on the originals.

 

Hear, hear!

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Guest Patrick Coleman
I have difficulty in understanding why some cannot accept that this style (along with maybe hundreds of others) is valid in its own terms and does not have to be justified. If anyone on this site cannot see that a well-made, carefully voiced organ in any style has a worth then our UK heritage really is doomed!

 

I agree with this, too. I learned on an extension organ (3 ranks, no mutations - 2' on both diapason rank and flute) in the local small RC church. Given my lack of co-ordination and arthritic fingers, my tutor concentrated on showing how to get the best out of the organ - how to make it sing. Since then, I have played regularly on the Tamburini at the English College on Rome, this, a horrid squeaky Walker Positive in a cupboard in church with no acoustic at all, a fully enclosed 10 rank organ in Munich, another (larger) horrid Walker Positive, a tiny fully trackered Tamburini in Varese (Italy), this, this, and now a large-scale Vowles and an awful Compton Miniatura.

 

With the exception of the instruments that are too obviously 'off-the-shelf' and lacking individual voicing for the buildings concerned, they will all sing - and in the hands of players more accomplished than myself, they can acquit themselves well in complex contrapuntal work (even the tiny Llanover instrument, within bounds). Accomplished organists like many of you might not find them challenging and exciting to play, and this is one reason why keeping a good organist is so hard in many parishes (the other being parochial meanness), but they are good instruments in themselves and in their context. The overwhelming part of the 'British organ heritage' consists of this sort of instrument, many of which are being ditched in favour of toasters on scales massively exaggerated for the buildings they serve. The showcase instruments will always have musical and financial champions - can we expect them to be any more than museum pieces in 50 years' time unless we look after the vast disappearing hinterland of smaller instruments?

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My advice to the Dutch would be simple - find an organ that is redundant over here (they do exist!) and base your 'new' organ on a fair quantity of authentic 1920/30 ranks and merely make additions based strictly on the originals.

 

Imagine a wealthy organlover would buy the allypally leftovers :) ....

Those people DO exist here

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Imagine a wealthy organlover would buy the allypally leftovers :) ....

Those people DO exist here

and didn't they start their work recently? www.orgelpark.nl (in Dutch language only, but...)

...heva might already be aware of this project

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@ Vox humana:a "Romantic" chamade is a contradiction in its own terms. Such a thing

does not exist.

... The Cavaillé-Coll kind (example: St-Sernin, Toulouse), there for exactly the same reason.

but in order not to have Ketchup in the oysters these stops were drawn BEFORE the interior

reeds, to "lead" the sound rather than dominate it. ...

 

Pierre

 

Pierre, I do not agree that the phrase 'Romantic chamade' is a contradiction in terms. There are several examples of organ stops which Cavaillé-Coll preserved in his instruments, which were retained and developed from the Baroque and Classical periods*. Cavaillé-Coll sought to re-interpret the organ as a Romantic instrument. This included the reed-work. I think that it is more likely that he recognised the value of chamade stops in the projection of tone in the long medieval naves which his instruments sought to dominate and attempted to produce Romantic versions of these stops that would have more body (or 'sonic bloom', if you prefer) and better carrying power.

 

Actually, I think that S. Sernin is an excellent example of an instrument which possesses Romantic chamades (at 8ft. and 4ft.). I have several commercial recordings made on this organ, by a number of well-known organists. In no case does a player use the Cavaillé-Coll chamades either simply to re-inforce the treble register, or to 'lead' the sound. Rather they can be heard clearly to augment the tutti at climactic moments. I am quite convinced that Cavaillé-Coll included these magnificent stops at S. Sernin in order that the organ should fill this vast space more effectively.

 

Interestingly, the copies of these stops installed at Nôtre-Dame-de-Paris (1990-92) are also only ever used by Philippe Léfébvre as 'super-climax' stops - and never before all the other chorus reeds are drawn.†

 

In the scaling, voicing and recorded usage, these ranks seem to me to be superb examples of Romantic chamades.

 

 

 

 

* For example, the Montre - the pipes of which Cavaillé-Coll slotted, about one diameter from the tops, in order to impart a kind of stringiness to the tone.

 

† On occasions when I have observed Léfébvre playing [at Nôtre-Dame], he did not tend to use the chamades (either the Cavaillé-Coll copies or those by Robert Boisseau) in the same way that Cochereau often did - with the full Récit (including both mixtures), in octaves - in order to bring out a melody. However, if he did, he would be unable to achieve a similar effect, since both chorus mixtures unfortunately were removed from the Récit at the time of the last rebuild.

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