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Southwark Cathedral - An Interesting Discovery


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Has anyone else read this fascinating piece of information, regarding the settings for the original 'key-touches' - as set by T.C. Lewis - on his organ at Southwark Cathedral?

 

http://www.organrecitals.com/southwarkpistons.php

 

It provides an interesting insight into how registration on this instrument was envisaged at the time of its inception.

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Guest Cynic
Has anyone else read this fascinating piece of information, regarding the settings for the original 'key-touches' - as set by T.C. Lewis - on his organ at Southwark Cathedral?

 

http://www.organrecitals.com/southwarkpistons.php

 

It provides an interesting insight into how registration on this instrument was envisaged at the time of its inception.

 

 

Thanks for this. It is, as you say, extremely interesting.

I am both grateful and extremely impressed at the way in which Steven Smith (web master at www.organrecitals) spends his time. His book on the organ at Atlantic City is absolutely amazing in its depth of knowledge and completeness of presentation. If ever I saw a book that deserved several honorary PhDs this is it.

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I am both grateful and extremely impressed at the way in which Steven Smith (web master at www.organrecitals) spends his time.

 

Err... Don't, whatever you do, call Stephen 'Steven'.....

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Interesting to note:

 

-The O.D. II comes before the one (Yes, you all know that, but nobody here...)

 

-The 16' comes along the 4'

 

-The Trumpet comes before the Mixture....

 

Save the several Principals 8' this is very much the same way as in belgian

contemporary instruments.

 

Pierre

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Interesting to note:

 

-The Trumpet comes before the Mixture....

 

Pierre

 

William McVicker's article on T C Lewis in the current issue of Choir and Organ specifically mentions that surviving key-touch settings from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery organ - as well as Southwark - show that the mixturework was intended to be added with or after the Great reed. On the Southwark Swell, the mixture was orginally set on the piston after that bringing on the 8' reed.

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Guest Cynic
William McVicker's article on T C Lewis in the current issue of Choir and Organ specifically mentions that surviving key-touch settings from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery organ - as well as Southwark - show that the mixturework was intended to be added with or after the Great reed. On the Southwark Swell, the mixture was orginally set on the piston after that bringing on the 8' reed.

 

 

In choir accompaniment, I might well do the same thing still.

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Guest Barry Williams
William McVicker's article on T C Lewis in the current issue of Choir and Organ specifically mentions that surviving key-touch settings from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery organ - as well as Southwark - show that the mixturework was intended to be added with or after the Great reed. On the Southwark Swell, the mixture was orginally set on the piston after that bringing on the 8' reed.

 

 

There is nothing new or remarkable in this. We have known for years that this was the case with Victorian and Edwardian players. It is for this reason that octave jumps in Victorian mixtures are not noticed - until someone uses them without the 'covering' reed.

 

Barry Williams

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The Priory CD of Southwark - Peter Wright playing music by Barié and Dupré (Tombeau de Titelouze) shows off a French side of its nature superbly. Whether or not this 'soundscape' was intended or not it still comes off remarkably well - the Pedal Bombarde 16/8 roars around the place marvellously.

 

AJJ

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Guest Cynic
Southwark's reeds aren't very "british"; to my ears,

they seemed somewhat "free toned" in comparison.

 

Pierre

 

Yes. Indeed, they sound even more free-toned now (since H&H's restoration) than they did when Peter Wright made his CD for Priory.

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Yes. Indeed, they sound even more free-toned now (since H&H's restoration) than they did when Peter Wright made his CD for Priory.

 

Aha! I had thought that this recording was made after the restoration. In which case, does anyone know of a more recent CD, recorded at Southwark, please? The last time I visited the cathedral and bookshop (around 10th or 11th December last year) there was nothing obvious available.

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Aha! I had thought that this recording was made after the restoration. In which case, does anyone know of a more recent CD, recorded at Southwark, please? The last time I visited the cathedral and bookshop (around 10th or 11th December last year) there was nothing obvious available.

 

There's a track recorded at Southwark on the 2 CD set that William McVicker etc. brought out recently. I can't remember the title etc. but it includes significant South London instruments (including Stanford played at the RFH!) - well worth getting. It was discussed here some time ago.

 

AJJ

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There's a track recorded at Southwark on the 2 CD set that William McVicker etc. brought out recently. I can't remember the title etc. but it includes significant South London instruments (including Stanford played at the RFH!) - well worth getting. It was discussed here some time ago.

 

AJJ

 

Oh - I had forgotten that Southwark was on that! I shall dig it out later.

 

Thank you.

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Southwark's reeds aren't very "british"; to my ears,

they seemed somewhat "free toned" in comparison.

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

 

They are thoroughly British!

 

It is best not to get carried away with the idea of "Father" Willis reeds, or those which we would associate with Harrison's.

 

This is one of the reasons why they were so much "better" than what was heard before, because others built instruments with rather thin-toned reeds, including Harrison & Harrison prior to 1900 or so.

 

I blame the water supply and/or childhood ricketts personally.

 

MM

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

They are thoroughly British!

 

MM

 

Many musicians disagreed with this assessment - this is why a number of the reed stops were revoiced by Willis at the time of the 1952 rebuild - and had to be restored to something like their original timbre by H&H, in 1991.

 

The Pedal Bombarde and its extension were almost certainly not British (by any definition), as left by Lewis.

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Many musicians disagreed with this assessment - this is why a number of the reed stops were revoiced by Willis at the time of the 1952 rebuild - and had to be restored to something like their original timbre by H&H, in 1991.

 

The Pedal Bombarde and its extension were almost certainly not British (by any definition), as left by Lewis.

 

Wasn't Ralph Downes Assistant there in the 30s? - I will have to dig out 'Baroque Tricks' again and have a look but I seem to remember him enthusing about Southwark there - or maybe somewhere else!!!

 

AJJ

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Many musicians disagreed with this assessment - this is why a number of the reed stops were revoiced by Willis at the time of the 1952 rebuild - and had to be restored to something like their original timbre by H&H, in 1991.

 

The Pedal Bombarde and its extension were almost certainly not British (by any definition), as left by Lewis.

 

 

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

 

 

I would hate to get bogged down in a discussion about the organ at Southwark Cathedral, which to say the least, has undergone numerous changes. I would be much happier discussing the T C Lewis at Ashton-under-Lyne, which really hasn't changed much at all since it was built.

 

I would simply suggest that T C Lewis was a fluework man, and not a reed man like the Willis people, and that may well have been a central bone of contention within the Lewis/Willis collaborative ventures, and the French ambitions of John Courage.

 

If Pierre, or anyone else, wants to know what English reeds were like before "Father" Willis, they need go no further than Ashton-under-Lyne, where the reeds are really quite thin and ordinary-sounding things.

 

I don't know whether Lewis made his own reeds (he's been dead a long time), but many organ-builders simply bought reeds from the supply houses such as Courcelle and Palmer, and they didn't exactly supply ranks which delivered the big climax effect.

 

That was left to people like Willis, W C Jones, the Rundle father and son dynasty at H.N & B, and other names which escape me for the moment. (We musn't forget the transatlantic influence of Ernest Skinner of course!)

 

MM

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"rather thin-toned reeds"

(Quote)

 

....In late 18th century fashion, maybe ?

(Confer "Music boxes").

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

 

Quite probably Pierre, because the supply houses had been around almost from the days when men wore wigs and make-up.

 

MM

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Wasn't Ralph Downes Assistant there in the 30s? - I will have to dig out 'Baroque Tricks' again and have a look but I seem to remember him enthusing about Southwark there - or maybe somewhere else!!!

 

AJJ

 

This is indeed correct - apart from the decade. Downes was Assistant Organist at Southwark Cathedral from 1923 - 1925.*

 

 

 

* p. 21, Baroque Tricks - Ralph Downes. Positif Press; Oxford, 1983.

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

 

... I would simply suggest that T C Lewis was a fluework man, and not a reed man like the Willis people, and that may well have been a central bone of contention within the Lewis/Willis collaborative ventures, and the French ambitions of John Courage. ...

 

 

... I don't know whether Lewis made his own reeds (he's been dead a long time), but many organ-builders simply bought reeds from the supply houses such as Courcelle and Palmer, and they didn't exactly supply ranks which delivered the big climax effect. ...

 

MM

 

This is all very well, but it ignores the clearly-documented quote by T.C. Lewis, who said (with reference to his own reed stops): "If I thought that ['Father'] Willis was right, I should shut up shop tomorrow." Or fairly close words to that effect. I should have thought that it was therefore reasonable to suppose that he had rather strong views on the type of reeds which he preferred.

 

You might also be interested to read the following - with particular reference to the antepenultimate paragraph:

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/Reporter/jan20/b120.htm

 

I include this for the sake of interest, MM - not because I think that it advances my argument!

 

I also include this, for no other reason than it looked interesting - and there are some good photographs of a noble instrument, whose continuing existence is by no means assured:

 

http://www.geocities.com/newc_martin/CityHall/

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

I would hate to get bogged down in a discussion about the organ at Southwark Cathedral, which to say the least, has undergone numerous changes. I would be much happier discussing the T C Lewis at Ashton-under-Lyne, which really hasn't changed much at all since it was built.

 

I would simply suggest that T C Lewis was a fluework man, and not a reed man like the Willis people, and that may well have been a central bone of contention within the Lewis/Willis collaborative ventures, and the French ambitions of John Courage.

 

If Pierre, or anyone else, wants to know what English reeds were like before "Father" Willis, they need go no further than Ashton-under-Lyne, where the reeds are really quite thin and ordinary-sounding things.

 

I don't know whether Lewis made his own reeds (he's been dead a long time), but many organ-builders simply bought reeds from the supply houses such as Courcelle and Palmer, and they didn't exactly supply ranks which delivered the big climax effect.

 

That was left to people like Willis, W C Jones, the Rundle father and son dynasty at H.N & B, and other names which escape me for the moment. (We musn't forget the transatlantic influence of Ernest Skinner of course!)

 

MM

 

 

Interesting that anyone should mention Ashton-under-Lyne as there are two Lewis organs in the town; a four manual at Albion United Reformed Church (formerley Congregational) and the lesser known three manual (18 stops and two never inserted) at Holy Trinity Church. The latter building has been re-developed inside giving the back half of the church over as a community centre (a building within a building) and the organ still plays (I was there a couple of weeks ago!) despite having no major work done to it since about 1888 when it was moved from the north side of the chancel to the south (orig. built 1878) to get it away from the boiler house!

 

Which instrument did you mean MM?

 

F-W

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Interesting that anyone should mention Ashton-under-Lyne as there are two Lewis organs in the town; a four manual at Albion United Reformed Church (formerley Congregational) and the lesser known three manual (18 stops and two never inserted) at Holy Trinity Church. The latter building has been re-developed inside giving the back half of the church over as a community centre (a building within a building) and the organ still plays (I was there a couple of weeks ago!) despite having no major work done to it since about 1888 when it was moved from the north side of the chancel to the south (orig. built 1878) to get it away from the boiler house!

 

Which instrument did you mean MM?

 

F-W

 

 

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

 

 

Well, I was assuming that everyone knew of Albion Church and the tremendous Lewis organ in there, rather than t'other one.

 

Still, it's refreshing to know that both are still playing.

 

MM

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I've mentioned this one before - not on a Southwark scale but not so long ago restored and one I personally could play on every Sunday! Have a listen.

 

AJJ

 

Ditto this one - St John's Upper Norwood - http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D06615 . A brief history can be found at http://www.stjohn-uppernorwood.org.uk/.

 

 

I don't think I've seen this organ mentioned on this board before - is anyone familiar with it?

 

Graham

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