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Manchester Town Hall


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A TV programme a couple of nights ago showed some of the amazing Victorian Gothic interior of Manchester Town Hall - including an impressive-looking organ.

 

A quick check on NPOR reveals this to be a large 1893 CAVAILLE-COLL , extended from 4 manuals to 5 by TC Lewis in 1912 and rebuilt by Jardines in 1970.

 

Has anyone here ever heard or played it? Is it any good? Is it ever used?

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A TV programme a couple of nights ago showed some of the amazing Victorian Gothic interior of Manchester Town Hall - including an impressive-looking organ.

 

A quick check on NPOR reveals this to be a large 1893 CAVAILLE-COLL , extended from 4 manuals to 5 by TC Lewis in 1912 and rebuilt by Jardines in 1970.

 

Has anyone here ever heard or played it? Is it any good? Is it ever used?

 

 

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

 

 

I've played it....it's not too bad.......it's seldom used.

 

For a start, the hall interior is quite tiny, so with anything like an audience, the acoustic just vanishes.

 

Secondly, much as I admire what Lewis did, I can think of no organ-builder less suited to carrying out "tonal revisions" to a Cavaille-Coll instrument, even though Lewis had the "official approval" of Cavaille-Coll when Lewis enlarged the Manchester instrument.

 

As for the involvement of Jardine in the 1970's, this was a disaster, because the instrument has suffered all kinds of maladies ever since. It was very much an economy re-build offered to the one providing the lowest estimate.

 

Nigel Ogden ("The Organist Entertains") was the last person to give regular lunch-time concerts upon it, but they've been stopped now, so the organ languishes.

 

In some ways, this epitomises the workings of some local authorities. Manchester had two very historic instruments (more actually), but they've effectively lost both due to sheer lack of vision and/or bad advice.

 

No doubt a huge amount of money was paid for the Marcussen at the Bridgewater Hall, yet in many ways, the ideal instrument would have been the Cavaille-Coll in the Town Hall; suitably re-built and perhaps even restored.

 

Then there was the magnificent Wurlitzer in the Free Trade Hall, which I helped to tear out. It ended up in Stockport because Manchester couldn't be bothered, and it may well lose the other one too, which is currently in storage; following the closure of the Granada Studios "tour" experience.

 

Still, it's nice to know that a super-casino will bring in the funds (and possibly the Mafia), and who knows, perhaps the Sony Corporation have ideas for a video-game involving a Mafia gambling syndicate shoot-out in Manchester cathedral, between them and the members of "Take That!"

 

I'm afraid the days when "men of substance" built Manchester, and brought in the best that the wider world could offer, have long passed.

 

Still, as a theme park, Manchester has a certain appeal.

 

MM

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the hall interior is quite tiny, so with anything like an audience, the acoustic just vanishes.

 

MM

A Cavaille-Coll in a dry acoustic - an ideal candidate for Hauptwerk sampling, so that it could be used in a "wet" building!

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A Cavaille-Coll in a dry acoustic - an ideal candidate for Hauptwerk sampling, so that it could be used in a "wet" building!

 

 

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

 

 

I wouldn't pin your hope too high. It always sounds like a stringy version of a Lewis to my ears. The reeds are not exactly inspiring, and the later additions are awful.

 

Could it be restored?

 

Quite probably, but it would need a lot of TLC.

 

MM

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I heard it once in a recital given by Graham Steed back in the late 70's (1979, I think).

 

The room is indeed quite small and as best I can remember the sound was "unremarkable"

- neither particularly good or bad - I certainly didn't hear anything that appeared to me at

the time to be particularly characteristic of Cavaille-Coll

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I used to practice on this instrument whilst at university in the late 70's / early 80's. The organ wasn't in the best state of repair. I understand that the condition of the organ is getting worse. There is a rumour circulating in these parts that it is to be scrapped, but I emphasize that this is only a rumour as far as I know. Indeed, Nigel Ogden did run a series of lunchtime concerts, but it seems that these have stopped. A local cathedral organist once designed a scheme to reduce it back to the original three manual Cavaille Coll that it once was.

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... Secondly, much as I admire what Lewis did, I can think of no organ-builder less suited to carrying out "tonal revisions" to a Cavaille-Coll instrument, even though Lewis had the "official approval" of Cavaille-Coll when Lewis enlarged the Manchester instrument. ...

 

MM

 

I could think of several less suited to undertake such work.

 

The Pedal reeds at Southwark at their inception, were probably closer to their Gallic cousins than anything else in this country. In addition, there are a few other examples of voicing which are not that far removed from the work of Cavaillé-Coll. For example, the Swell strings and the Solo harmonic flutes. Then there is the G.O. Cornet and Mixture which, although not exactly French in sound, neverthrless probably drew their inspiration from Cavaillé-Coll. The same is probably true of the two flue doubles on the G.O., although I have always wondered why he did not complete the reed chorus, particularly since he included two Pedal 32p flues* and the 32p Contra Posaune.

 

 

 

* Even though the lowest seven notes of the Great Bass are acoustic.

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I could think of several less suited to undertake such work.

 

The Pedal reeds at Southwark at their inception, were probably closer to their Gallic cousins than anything else in this country. In addition, there are a few other examples of voicing which are not that far removed from the work of Cavaillé-Coll. For example, the Swell strings and the Solo harmonic flutes. Then there is the G.O. Cornet and Mixture which, although not exactly French in sound, neverthrless probably drew their inspiration from Cavaillé-Coll. The same is probably true of the two flue doubles on the G.O., although I have always wondered why he did not complete the reed chorus, particularly since he included two Pedal 32p flues* and the 32p Contra Posaune.

* Even though the lowest seven notes of the Great Bass are acoustic.

 

 

I agree with the above.

 

I have only played this organ once, back in 1978 at the end of the BIOS conference that year. I thought that the instrument had a deal of style about it, and although already somewhat the worse for wear, the Jardine work had not totally obliterated the C-C heritage. Small building or not, I would have given the organ high marks for both musical character and effect. I think it would be vandalism to scrap this, and I'm fairly convinced that this won't happen. However, they might take a leaf out of Warrington's book and try to find their unwanted C-C a new home. Mind you, attempts to relocate The Parr Hall job don't seem to be doing terribly well, to judge from the progress that has been made since this was announced. Good old British Beaurocracy, no doubt.

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I could think of several less suited to undertake such work.

 

The Pedal reeds at Southwark at their inception, were probably closer to their Gallic cousins than anything else in this country. In addition, there are a few other examples of voicing which are not that far removed from the work of Cavaillé-Coll. For example, the Swell strings and the Solo harmonic flutes. Then there is the G.O. Cornet and Mixture which, although not exactly French in sound, neverthrless probably drew their inspiration from Cavaillé-Coll. The same is probably true of the two flue doubles on the G.O., although I have always wondered why he did not complete the reed chorus, particularly since he included two Pedal 32p flues* and the 32p Contra Posaune.

* Even though the lowest seven notes of the Great Bass are acoustic.

 

 

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

 

 

I'm afraid that this analysis of Southwark is very flawed, and there is the danger that Cavaille-Coll could be credited with things which are quite unconnected.

 

To understand Southwark, you have to understand Doncaster, where you will find mild strings, at least one Harmonic Flute, and both a Cornet and a Mixture on the Great.

 

Forget the Great reeds at Doncaster, which are the work of Norman & Beard, with harmonic trebles.

 

As Pierre has pointed out, the reeds would normally have come on BEFORE the Mixtures: adding colour rather than power, but that chaged with the Norman & Beard work at Doncaster. Southwark is possibly nearer to the original Doncaster concept.

 

The pedal reeds speak on 3 1/2" of wind; quite unlike those of Cavaille-Coll, and the only French thing about them is the fact that they utilise French shallots. They do not get louder as they get lower; a very stromg feature of French organs even from the days prior to Cavaille-Coll, and after the French discovered that organ pedals could produce a bass line, rather than a Cantus Firmus.

 

To all intents and purposes, Southwark has a classic Topfer scale chorus, which is straight out of the Schulze workshop manual. Also, this was the organ where Lewis learned the error of his ways, and the treble scaling is not several notes smaller than the foundation scales.

 

So I'm afraid the influence is almost entirely Schulze, but with a little added refinement.

 

That stated, Schulze did meet Cavaille-Coll, and they doubtless shared various interesting ideas, even if Cavaille-Coll didn't actually like what Schulze did!!!!!!

 

In any event, it was a German voicer who voiced some of the best Cavaille-Coll reed ranks ever made.

 

 

 

MM

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I'm afraid that this analysis of Southwark is very flawed, and there is the danger that Cavaille-Coll could be credited with things which are quite unconnected.

 

To understand Southwark, you have to understand Doncaster, where you will find mild strings, at least one Harmonic Flute, and both a Cornet and a Mixture on the Great.

 

Forget the Great reeds at Doncaster, which are the work of Norman & Beard, with harmonic trebles.

 

MM, if you have played Southwark (as I have), you will perhaps understand why I do not agree with you. The analysis is not flawed - there are, for example, clear French influences in the design of the G.O. If you read my post carefully, you will note that I acknowledged that, whilst the sound was not particularly French, the inspiration for the inclusion of certain ranks was French.

 

With respect to the Pedal reeds, I believe that I wrote something similar. They do not sound wholly French but, at the time of their inception, they were closer than anything else in this country.

 

However, having heard both instruments, whilst there is perhaps a slight similarity in the effect of the G.O. choruses at Doncaster and Southwark, these instruments are worlds apart in their overall tonal syntheses.

 

 

As Pierre has pointed out, the reeds would normally have come on BEFORE the Mixtures: adding colour rather than power, but that chaged with the Norman & Beard work at Doncaster. Southwark is possibly nearer to the original Doncaster concept.

 

Actually, I made this information available to the whole board, when I posted a link to a site giving the original piston settings - which is where Pierre obtained his information.

 

With regard to your original point - who would you have considered to be more suitable to undertake the work?

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MM, if you have played Southwark (as I have), you will perhaps understand why I do not agree with you. The analysis is not flawed - there are, for example, clear French influences in the design of the G.O. If you read my post carefully, you will note that I acknowledged that, whilst the sound was not particularly French, the inspiration for the inclusion of certain ranks was French.

 

With respect to the Pedal reeds, I believe that I wrote something similar. They do not sound wholly French but, at the time of their inception, they were closer than anything else in this country.

 

However, having heard both instruments, whilst there is perhaps a slight similarity in the effect of the G.O. choruses at Doncaster and Southwark, these instruments are worlds apart in their overall tonal syntheses.

Actually, I made this information available to the whole board, when I posted a link to a site giving the original piston settings - which is where Pierre obtained his information.

 

With regard to your original point - who would you have considered to be more suitable to undertake the work?

 

 

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

 

 

I have a curious connection with the Southwark organ, of which I was unaware at the time.

 

It was a surviving member of the Courage brewing family (when I worked for Courage breweries in London), who informed me that Courage effectively owned the company of T C Lewis. Unaware of this, I lived overlooking Horsleydown Square, which was just behind the original Courage Brewery on Shad Thames, next to Tower Bridge. I then discovered that the organ for Southwark Cathedral had been stored in the very converted warehouse-complex in which I lived! It was almost spooky to be made aware of all this.

 

Moving swiftly on, "pcnd" is quite right and quite wrong at the same time, because the "French" influence at Southwark was almost entirely that of John Courage, who like Lt.Col.George-Dixon, fancied himself as something of an organ expert, and did in fact work as an organ-builder. The Courage family home contained a large organ, and it was here where Dupre stayed when he was in London. So there IS a direct connection with all things French, and as T C Lewis was effectively on the payroll of the Courage brewing empire, once must assume that he took notice of their wishes. It was, apparently, John Courgae who insisted on the inclusion of the Great V rks Cornet at Southwark, and therefore probably quite unconnected with the Cornet at Doncaster. (Did that include the Tierce rank, I wonder......it's a long time since I played Doncaster)

 

However, I have failed to mention the most obvious fact, and we've all been a little guilty of overlooking history, because as early as 1901, Thomas C Lewis had been shoved out of his own company. Consequently, anything bearing the Lewis name had not much to do with T C Lewis after this time. The company eventually amalgamated with, and was then subject to a Willis family coupe in 1913.

 

So various names spring to mind in relation to Manchester Town Hall, and who the main influence was, it is difficult to imagine. There would be Courage, and the Courage family, plus various people around them. Names such as Casson, Thynne, Willis and others spring to mind in no particular order or hierarchy, because I simply do not know.

 

What I do know, is that the period when the organ at Manchester was re-built (ruined?) was possibly the most disastrous period in British organ-building, with all sorts of well-meaning amateurs contributing their tuppence worth; from Bonavia-Hunt to George-Dixon, and anyone in between, which may have included people like John Courage.

 

To answer the question as to which British organ-builder SHOULD have re-built the organ at Manchester Town Hall, I would have to take a deep breath, and then very tentatively suggest Norman & Beard (I'm not quite sure when they amalgamated with Hill), because they were quite anti heavy pressure romantic, until such time as that came to dominate British organ-building.

 

I'm not sure when Cavaille-Coll died without checking, but it's a pity that the original builder or his natural heirs did not get involved, but of course, there was an imperial attitude at the time, and "Johnny foreigner" no longer knew best.

 

If Manchester Town Hall (and other organs such as Blackburn Cathedral's original Cavaille-Coll) tell us anything, it tells us that there was not the slightest respect or understanding of them, and the British answer was always going to be a sharp-blade in the form of the voicer's knife.

 

Of course, if I wanted to be heretical, provocative and just a little quirky, I might be bold enough in suggesting that the BEST choice of organ-builder for the re-build at Manchester, may just have been John Compton, judging by what I recall of the old Anneessens at Bridlington, which actually retained its character.

 

I must run.................. :rolleyes:

 

 

MM

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

 

It was a surviving member of the Courage brewing family (when I worked for Courage breweries in London), who informed me that Courage effectively owned the company of T C Lewis.

snip>>>

 

Not quite true: T.C. Lewis went bust and Lewis & Co. Ltd was an entirely new Company formed by Courage in 1901 - registration number 70718

 

MM - However, I have failed to mention the most obvious fact, and we've all been a little guilty of overlooking history, because as early as 1901, Thomas C Lewis had been shoved out of his own company. Consequently, anything bearing the Lewis name had not much to do with T C Lewis after this time. The company eventually amalgamated with, and was then subject to a Willis family coupe in 1913.

 

1919 actually: Lewis & Co. Ltd. was in trouble again by 1918. As it was legally impossible for a 'Firm' to take over a Limited Company, the Partners in Henry Willis & Sons purchased the shares of Lewis & Co. Ltd and then changed the name to Henry Willis & Sons and Lewis & Co. Limited, trading under that name until 1927, at which point the Lewis bit was dropped. John Courage stayed as a Director HW&S and L&Co Ltd. until 1926.

 

 

snip>>>>

MM - I'm not sure when Cavaille-Coll died without checking, but it's a pity that the original builder or his natural heirs did not get involved, but of course, there was an imperial attitude at the time, and "Johnny foreigner" no longer knew best.

 

Cavaille-Coll died in 1900 and had had a working relationship with Wadsworth for a long time - the Solo organ at Manchester Town Hall was added for C-C by Wadsworth, all of the stuff having been sent over from France. Wadsworth had quite strong French leanings and another prime example was the ex. Royal Manchester College of Music instrument which we rebuilt in Ruthin a few years ago.

 

David Wyld

Henry Willis & Sons Ltd - still with the Lewis registration number 70718

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I thought I had replied to David's post, but on checking the discussion board, it seems to have diappeared into cyber-space!

Should I receive a puzzled response from British Gas, the truth may yet become apparent.

 

I'll therefore try this Mk II version and hope that it makes it to the board.

 

Dr David Wyld rightly stated that the T C Lewis company was first amalgamated with, and then re-formed under a new name in 1919. This however, misses a vital fact, I believe.

 

It was surely in 1901 that Thomas Lewis was eased out of the company he formed, and control then fell to John Courage and whoever was flavour of the month at the time I know that around this time, the Willis company was in some crisis after the death of "Father" Willis. Between 1901 and 1919, my knowledge of what was happening at the Willis and Lewis firms is quite hazy, but there were obviously links, an eventual amalgamation and then the Willis take over of Lewis & Co. Add to this the terrible losses during WW I, and it must have been an awful time for many companies, and not just organ-builders.

 

I think what I was trying to establish was the fact that at Manchester Town Hall, the name Lewis doesn't relate to anything specifically connected with T C Lewis himself. Indeed, listening to what exists to-day, it is difficult to feel mentally drawn towards France. The instrument is at least as much Lancashire Hot Pot and London Jellied Eels, as it is Champagne and Garlic Bread.

 

I am grateful to Dr.David, because I had absolutely no idea that Wadsworth had enlarged the organ from a French kit of parts; like a sort of 19th century Peugeot, (but probably much better engineered). I should have known, because by then, Cavaille-Coll would hardly have been in a state to fly over on "Easy Jet," let alone travel by bathchair and P & O.

 

The "Anglicanisation" of a French organ is all the more perplexing when one considers who was behind it....or perhaps it should not be, depending on how we regard history.

.

Yes there the involvement of W T Best originally, but wasn't the resident organist at the time of the "Lewis" re-build of the organ at Manchester Town Hall, Dr. Kendrick Pyne; that arch virtuoso organ-playing musical Francophile? (I hope I've got that right). Add to this any possible influence from John Courage and his love of things French (Dupre being a regular visitor to the Courage household eventually, where there was a large pipe organ). Furthermore, lurking in the wings was one Mr Joule; the brother of the physicist who gave us calorific values and large gas-bills!

 

Take a look at the following instrument by another Manchester company,(designed and probably financed by Mr J B Joule) rather than by Wadsworth; this time, the company of Jardine, who had grown out of the Kirtland & Jardine company. Kirtland & jardine, in the mid 19th century, had come under the German influence which we would associate with the Hill/Gauntlett revolution.

 

Notice especially the adequate pedal chorus, but more especially, the dominant German-style Great, based on a 16ft chorus. (Perhaps demonstrating the influence of Schulze?) Almost certainly, the Swell organ would be much less powerful than the Great organ, the Choir organ even less so and yet there is a full chorus on each of the three largest manual division out of five.

 

ST PETER MANCHESTER. JARDINE (completed in 1872)

 

5 Manuals and Pedals

 

Pedal

Double Open Diapason 32

Grand Open Diapason 16

Open Diapason 16

Violon 16

Gross Quint 10 2/3

Principal 8

Violoncello 8

Twelfth 5 1/3

Fifteenth 4

Posaune 16

Trumpet 8

Choir

 

Bourdon 16

Open Diapason 8

Salicional 8

Dulciana 8

Viol da Gamba 8

Gedacht 8

Spitzflote 4

Flauto Traverso 4

Rohr Flote 4

Gemshorn 2

Mixture IV

Euphone and Bassoon 8

Trumpet 8

 

Tremulant

 

 

Great

 

Double Open Diapason 16

Grand Open Diapason 8

Open Diapason 8

Stop Diapason 8

Gamba 8

Flute A Pavillon 8

Quint 5 1/3

Grand Principal 4

Principal 4

Clear Flute 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Full Mixture V

Sharp Mixture IV

Double Trumpet 16

Trompette Harmonique 8

Clarion 4

 

 

Swell

 

Double Stopped Diapason 16

Open Diapason 8

Stop Diapason 8

Hohl Flote 8

Principal 4

Gedackt Flute 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Clear Mixture V

Contra Fagotto 16

Cornopean 8

Cor Anglais 8 Free reed

Clarion 4

 

 

Tremulant

 

 

Solo

 

 

Open Diapason 8

Concert Flute 4

Flageolet 2

Corno di Bassetto 8

Tuba 8

 

 

Echo

 

 

Vox Angelica 8

Voix Celeste 8

Flute A Bec 4

Vox Humana 8

Carillon 8

 

Tremulant

 

 

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

 

The following stop-list of the organ at Centenary Hall, Stockport, by "T C Lewis 1910" demonstrates the musical seed-change towards a more Anglo-French style of organ-building.

 

What a remarkable about face for a company, of which the founder, Thomas Lewis, would have clearly identified himself with the Jardine organ above, rather than the "French" style of instrument which this represents!!!!

 

 

STOCKPORT, CENTENARY HALL. T.C.LEWIS 1910

 

Organ designed by Dr. Kendrick Pyne , Manchester.

 

Pedal

 

Acoustic Bass 32

Great Bass 16

Contra Bass 16

Sub Bass 16

Principal 8

Violoncello 8

Flute Bass 8

Bombarde 16

Trumpet 8

 

 

Choir

 

Geigen Principal 8

Dulciana 8

Lieblich Gedact 8

Flauto Traverso 4

Flautina 2

Clarinet 8

 

Tremulant

 

 

Great

 

Bourdon 16

Open Diapason 8

Principal 8

Flute Harmonique 8

Octave 4

Flute Harmonique 4

Cor de Nuit 8

Grave Mixture II 12.15

Plein Jeu IV 15.17.19.22

Trumpet 8

 

 

Swell

 

Bourdon 16

Open Diapason 8

Viole de Gambe 8

Voix Celestes 8

Concert Flute 4

Flute d'Amour 8

Geigen Principal 4

Cornet V 1.8.12.15.17

Bombarde 16

Horn 8

Oboe 8

Clarion 4

 

Tremulant

 

 

Solo

 

Harmonic Flute 8

Harmonic Flute 4

Corno di Bassetto 8

Orchestral Oboe 8

Tuba 8

 

` Tremulant

 

 

I wonder, does this instrument reflect the influence of Willis rather more than name "Lewis" might suggest, even though the two firms had yet to amalgamate formally?

 

If so, it does tend to suggest that at Manchester Town Hall, it may have been a certain "Willis-ness" which ruled the day when the organ was re-built. From what I know of the instrument, this is really quite likely, because although the flues remain "more or less" Cavaille-Coll in character, so much obviously changed at the time of the "Lewis" re-build, and especially to the reeds.

 

If nothing else, these three remarkable instruments represent, in one relatively small area, a microcosm of the changes in musical fashion around the turn of the 19th century, as England first adopted German ideas, then French ones, and finally settled on a synthesis of both, giving rise to organs as different as those by Arthur Harrison, and that by Willis III at Liverpool, Cathedral.

 

With the Hope-Jones museum in Manchester, and several Compton organs (both church and cinema), as well as Wurlitzer cinema organs within the same boundary as the above; almost the whole development of English 19th and early 20th century organ-building is traceable within a 20 mile radius!!

 

MM

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... Moving swiftly on, "pcnd" is quite right and quite wrong at the same time, because the "French" influence at Southwark was almost entirely that of John Courage, who like Lt.Col.George-Dixon, fancied himself as something of an organ expert, and did in fact work as an organ-builder. ...

MM

 

Well, "MM", I am not certain that you have demonstrated how I am both quite right and quite wrong simultaneously. I was aware of the John Courage link, and the fact that he was influential in the tonal aspect of the Southwark instrument. This was completed in 1897, incidentally - as I expect you are aware, so I am not certain of the relevance of the story regarding the date when T.C. Lewis lost his company.

 

Notwithstanding, John Courage was not the sole influence in the Southwark scheme - Lewis had very firm (and clearly-documented) ideas on tonal matters, particularly with regard to reeds and chorus-work.

 

However, I am surprised that you suggest Norman and Beard as a more suitable firm to undertake the work on the Cavaillé-Coll instrument in Manchester Town Hall. From the information I am able to glean by examining accounts of instruments which they built or rebuilt at this time, I have seen nothing which leads me to suppose that their tonal ideals or voicing styles were anything other than diametrically opposed to those of Cavaillé-Coll.

 

Incidentally, did you intend to refer to a take-over by the Willis family (a 'coup') - or did they generously donate to Lewis 'a closed, two-door car shorter than a sedan of the same model', at some point....?

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Well, "MM", I am not certain that you have demonstrated how I am both quite right and quite wrong simultaneously. I was aware of the John Courage link, and the fact that he was influential in the tonal aspect of the Southwark instrument. This was completed in 1897, incidentally - as I expect you are aware, so I am not certain of the relevance of the story regarding the date when T.C. Lewis lost his company.

 

Notwithstanding, John Courage was not the sole influence in the Southwark scheme - Lewis had very firm (and clearly-documented) ideas on tonal matters, particularly with regard to reeds and chorus-work.

 

However, I am surprised that you suggest Norman and Beard as a more suitable firm to undertake the work on the Cavaillé-Coll instrument in Manchester Town Hall. From the information I am able to glean by examining accounts of instruments which they built or rebuilt at this time, I have seen nothing which leads me to suppose that their tonal ideals or voicing styles were anything other than diametrically opposed to those of Cavaillé-Coll.

 

Incidentally, did you intend to refer to a take-over by the Willis family (a 'coup') - or did they generously donate to Lewis 'a closed, two-door car shorter than a sedan of the same model', at some point....?

 

 

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

 

 

A little bird on the board tells me that Courage paid Lewis to revoice the Southwark instrument at a later date, and by 1901, Lewis was sidelined and rejected. That's why the coup, whoever was responsible, was so important.

 

Now concerning Norman & Beard, they were responsible for the re-build at Doncaster, and showed great restraint and respect for the original.....I think that was my point. They were also very worried about "close reed tone," which by their nature, they fought against. They would have had every excuse to leave the Cavaille-Coll reeds as they found them. (Try out a genuine Norman & Beard Vox Humana sometime......almost the equal of Cavaille-Coll). Norman & Beard were much cleverer than we often imagine them to be, and perhaps it was fashion which dictated what they did, rather than their own judgement.

 

To be brutally honest, what happened to the organ at Manchester Town Hall was not very good, and it certainly doesn't demonstrate the hand of T C Lewis.

 

I quite like the idea of a Willis Coupe.......it Rolls-Royces off the tongue like Deusenburg or Bugatti.

 

However, refer to my subsequent post, which muddies the waters even further!!!!!!

 

MM

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A little bird on the board tells me that Courage paid Lewis to revoice the Southwark instrument at a later date, and by 1901, Lewis was sidelined and rejected. That's why the coup, whoever was responsible, was so important.

 

Now concerning Norman & Beard, they were responsible for the re-build at Doncaster, and showed great restraint and respect for the original.....I think that was my point. They were also very worried about "close reed tone," which by their nature, they fought against. They would have had every excuse to leave the Cavaille-Coll reeds as they found them. (Try out a genuine Norman & Beard Vox Humana sometime......almost the equal of Cavaille-Coll). Norman & Beard were much cleverer than we often imagine them to be, and perhaps it was fashion which dictated what they did, rather than their own judgement.

 

To be brutally honest, what happened to the organ at Manchester Town Hall was not very good, and it certainly doesn't demonstrate the hand of T C Lewis.

 

I quite like the idea of a Willis Coupe.......it Rolls-Royces off the tongue like Deusenburg or Bugatti.

 

However, refer to my subsequent post, which muddies the waters even further!!!!!!

 

MM

 

Well, now, MM - this is all most interesting. I must confess that I did not know about the subsequent re-voicing. I also note your point about Norman and Beard - I would very much like to try one of their original Vox Humana stops - do you (or does Frank Fowler) know of the existence of such a rank which has not subsequently been altered, please?

 

That Willis coupé - I think that I should like one, too, particularly if it was to be manufactured by Bugatti. Their 1935 Bugatti T57S Convertible Coupé does have a certain style - in a retro kind of way; or should I say 'classic'?

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Guest Barry Oakley
Take a look at the following instrument by another Manchester company,(designed and probably financed by Mr J B Joule) rather than by Wadsworth; this time, the company of Jardine, who had grown out of the Kirtland & Jardine company. Kirtland & jardine, in the mid 19th century, had come under the German influence which we would associate with the Hill/Gauntlett revolution.

 

Notice especially the adequate pedal chorus, but more especially, the dominant German-style Great, based on a 16ft chorus. (Perhaps demonstrating the influence of Schulze?) Almost certainly, the Swell organ would be much less powerful than the Great organ, the Choir organ even less so and yet there is a full chorus on each of the three largest manual division out of five.

 

ST PETER MANCHESTER. JARDINE (completed in 1872)

 

5 Manuals and Pedals

 

Pedal

Double Open Diapason 32

Grand Open Diapason 16

Open Diapason 16

Violon 16

Gross Quint 10 2/3

Principal 8

Violoncello 8

Twelfth 5 1/3

Fifteenth 4

Posaune 16

Trumpet 8

Choir

 

Bourdon 16

Open Diapason 8

Salicional 8

Dulciana 8

Viol da Gamba 8

Gedacht 8

Spitzflote 4

Flauto Traverso 4

Rohr Flote 4

Gemshorn 2

Mixture IV

Euphone and Bassoon 8

Trumpet 8

 

Tremulant

Great

 

Double Open Diapason 16

Grand Open Diapason 8

Open Diapason 8

Stop Diapason 8

Gamba 8

Flute A Pavillon 8

Quint 5 1/3

Grand Principal 4

Principal 4

Clear Flute 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Full Mixture V

Sharp Mixture IV

Double Trumpet 16

Trompette Harmonique 8

Clarion 4

Swell

 

Double Stopped Diapason 16

Open Diapason 8

Stop Diapason 8

Hohl Flote 8

Principal 4

Gedackt Flute 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Clear Mixture V

Contra Fagotto 16

Cornopean 8

Cor Anglais 8 Free reed

Clarion 4

 

 

Tremulant

Solo

 

 

Open Diapason 8

Concert Flute 4

Flageolet 2

Corno di Bassetto 8

Tuba 8

Echo

 

 

Vox Angelica 8

Voix Celeste 8

Flute A Bec 4

Vox Humana 8

Carillon 8

 

Tremulant

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

 

MM

 

Seeing the specification of the St Peter's, Manchester, organ by Jardine put my memory into overdrive and took me back only 12 years. I went to see someone near Lincoln who is associated with one of these breakaway Anglican churches. In a very large outbuilding adjacent to his house was stored much, maybe all, of the pipework from St Peter's. Whether it is still his intention I'm not sure, but he had in mind at the time to use the pipework in an organ he planned to have constructed in a redundant church in Lincoln that he had his eyes on. I have no idea if the project has been started.

 

I was also intrigued by the name "J B Joule." Do you know if this gentleman was in any way connected with the brewing firm that was based here in Stone, Staffordshire, for countless years until it was taken over by Bass in the 1970's. What with the name Courage and now Joule, this topic could be getting somewhat hoppy.

 

B

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Seeing the specification of the St Peter's, Manchester, organ by Jardine put my memory into overdrive and took me back only 12 years. I went to see someone near Lincoln who is associated with one of these breakaway Anglican churches. In a very large outbuilding adjacent to his house was stored much, maybe all, of the pipework from St Peter's. Whether it is still his intention I'm not sure, but he had in mind at the time to use the pipework in an organ he planned to have constructed in a redundant church in Lincoln that he had his eyes on. I have no idea if the project has been started.

 

I was also intrigued by the name "J B Joule." Do you know if this gentleman was in any way connected with the brewing firm that was based here in Stone, Staffordshire, for countless years until it was taken over by Bass in the 1970's. What with the name Courage and now Joule, this topic could be getting somewhat hoppy.

 

B

 

 

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

 

 

Taking a well earned libation after all this..........don't forget the name of Maurice Forsyth-Grant of Whisky fame.

 

Whilst on the subject of p...... sorry....brewers.......I bet Barry doesn't know that "Mr Bass" was one of the co-petitioners to the House of Commons, who managed to get the "Street Act" of 1880 something onto the statute books, which banished buskers and "street-organs."

 

The miserable old sop!

 

Now we have to go to Holland to hear those chirpy street organs churning out their jaunty melodies.

 

Guess who was the other co-petitioner?

 

No lesser man than Charles Babbage, who was as nutty as fruit-bat apparently, and who would slam his window shut at the slightest musical noise outside.

 

It's ironic to think that the modern day computer-organ is a direct result of his efforts. :rolleyes:

 

MM

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Well, now, MM - this is all most interesting. I must confess that I did not know about the subsequent re-voicing. I also note your point about Norman and Beard - I would very much like to try one of their original Vox Humana stops - do you (or does Frank Fowler) know of the existence of such a rank which has not subsequently been altered, please?

 

That Willis coupé - I think that I should like one, too, particularly if it was to be manufactured by Bugatti. Their 1935 Bugatti T57S Convertible Coupé does have a certain style - in a retro kind of way; or should I say 'classic'?

 

 

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

 

 

I didn't know this also, and it puts a very interesting new slant to the demise of T C Lewis; especially considering the fact that the Courage family had enough cash to support T C Lewis without having to worry about what the bank-manager thought. The Courage "empire," which eventually became the "Imperial Group" had immense wealth and property holdings, and I think they even had links with Guiness by marriage etc.

 

I think, if the truth be known, Courage (later assisted by G Donald Harrison), was possibly trying to move the Lewis name away from things German, and towards things Anglo/French, but it perhaps demonstrates the reluctance of the establishment of the day, that G.Donald-Harrison had to go to America to fulfil his idea for a musical dream-machine.

 

It's very interesting to think how G Donald-Harrison immediately gravitated towards the Walcker organ at Methuen, which is not a million musical miles away from Schulze or what T C Lewis was trying to do.

 

If only he had stayed........

 

Instead, we got that silly duffer Lt.Col.George Dixon.

 

MM

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

Whilst on the subject of p...... sorry....brewers.......I bet Barry doesn't know that "Mr Bass" was one of the co-petitioners to the House of Commons, who managed to get the "Street Act" of 1880 something onto the statute books, which banished buskers and "street-organs."

 

The miserable old sop!

 

Now we have to go to Holland to hear those chirpy street organs churning out their jaunty melodies.

 

Guess who was the other co-petitioner?

 

No lesser man than Charles Babbage, who was as nutty as fruit-bat apparently, and who would slam his window shut at the slightest musical noise outside.

 

It's ironic to think that the modern day computer-organ is a direct result of his efforts. :rolleyes:

Maybe we should start another thread, but I found this fascinating, MM. Babbage has always been a hero in my family, my father having started teaching A-level Computer Science in the early 1970s. And presumably Mr Bass of the Street Act of 1880 couldn't be the same one that paid for the ghastly Hope-Jones in Burton-on-Trent, could he?

 

Despite the 1880 act there were piano buskers in the 1930s on the streets of London. One such was playing Marigold by Billy Mayerl and was amazed when Mayerl opened the window and gave him £5. This was a thoughtless thing for Mayerl to do as the busker told his mates and for months his street was beset by hopeful renditions of Marigold.

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All is revealed in the following link:-

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Prescott_Joule

 

They were indeed the same people as the brewing family; hance the considerable wealth which J B Joule obviously had, when he indulged his organ-building hobby.

 

I had to squeal with delight at the bit in Wikipedia about the experiments with electricty in the family home in Salford, where they administered electric shocks ".....to each other AND THEIR SERVANTS."

 

I had this mad vision of the Jules brothers welcoming organists to their home, with one of those awful children's pranks in their hands.

 

"Dr Spark, how wonderful to meet you. Let me shake you by the hand."

 

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!"

 

J B Joule, like his brother, must have been quite an intellectual (apart from mega-rich), because his name crops up in association with Mendelssohn and all the various musical academics and celebrities of the day.

 

I suppose the whole history of 19th century organ-building was connected with wealthy industrialists and mill-owners: hence the "war of the town-halls" in securing the best possible organs.

 

Daft as it may seem, there is, I feel sure, a wonderful novel awaiting discovery with all these people, and with such colourful characters as Joule, Cavaille-Coll, Bass, Babbage, Hope-Jones, Courage, Henry Willis (all of them) and the indisputable genius of British engineers at the time, it has not only got breadth and depth, but potential comedy as well, with all those Mr Kipps characters who came from nothing and made a fortune.

 

And talking of Manchester and Salford, there are things I could tell you about L S Lowrey!!!!!!!!

 

Enough.

 

MM

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Guest Cynic
===============================

I didn't know this also, and it puts a very interesting new slant to the demise of T C Lewis; especially considering the fact that the Courage family had enough cash to support T C Lewis without having to worry about what the bank-manager thought. The Courage "empire," which eventually became the "Imperial Group" had immense wealth and property holdings, and I think they even had links with Guiness by marriage etc.

 

I think, if the truth be known, Courage (later assisted by G Donald Harrison), was possibly trying to move the Lewis name away from things German, and towards things Anglo/French, but it perhaps demonstrates the reluctance of the establishment of the day, that G.Donald-Harrison had to go to America to fulfil his idea for a musical dream-machine.

 

It's very interesting to think how G Donald-Harrison immediately gravitated towards the Walcker organ at Methuen, which is not a million musical miles away from Schulze or what T C Lewis was trying to do.

 

If only he had stayed........

 

Instead, we got that silly duffer Lt.Col.George Dixon.

 

MM

 

I hestitate to suggest it, but aren't you muddling up your Harrisons? G.Donald H was Willis III's right hand man, and no relation to Arthur H. who was Dixon's protege.

 

I used to think that Dixon had a negative influence upon AH, but the more I read the more I'm not so sure. He was pro Father Willis and pro Schulze.... somone with those opinions can't be all bad. Certainly the inclusion of Quint Mixtures on H&H organs of the early 20th century was down to Dixon.

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I hestitate to suggest it, but aren't you muddling up your Harrisons? G.Donald H was Willis III's right hand man, and no relation to Arthur H. who was Dixon's protege.

 

I used to think that Dixon had a negative influence upon AH, but the more I read the more I'm not so sure. He was pro Father Willis and pro Schulze.... somone with those opinions can't be all bad. Certainly the inclusion of Quint Mixtures on H&H organs of the early 20th century was down to Dixon.

 

 

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

 

 

I haven't got to the point whereby I need placing in a home dressed in a toga!

 

I should clarify......

 

Arthur Harrison had no connection with G Donald Harrison of course, but whether G Donald Harrison was Willis III's right-hand man or not, is open to question.

 

GD-H was a very quiet and humble man apparently, and as with so many quiet men, others may think that they are "their people."

 

The reality is a little different one suspects, because it turned out that he had a will of his own, and when he went to America, he soon formed a healthy collobration with, (among others), E Power-Biggs. Together, they attempted to create the "classical revival" instrument: not without some success it has to be said. However, G D-H was, in effect, something of a disciple of T C Lewis rather than Willis, which surfaced especially in the later organs of Aeolian-Skinner and "the American Classic."

 

I think I would like to have met G.Donald-Harrison, because he must have had a prodigioius talent which enabled him to visit Silbermann organs in Germany, and then develop his own version of it back in America, but using quite romantic means, as at the Busch Reisinger Hall at Harvard, prior to the Dirk Flentrop installation in, if I recall correctly, 1954.

 

Of course, G Donald-Harrison undoubetdly owed a great deal to the Willis tradition (and to Jardine), because his reeds were just superlative; as, (in a different way), were the reeds of Ernest Skinner, who had a profound influence on Willis III rather than the other way around. (The Jardine connection is interesting, as I believe they were the first people to import chamades into America, and we know how the Americans love their party horns and paper-streamers, don't we?)

 

As for Arthur Harrison and Lt Col George-Dixon, I have first-hand experience of their early collaboration, because the pair of them met up in the Bradford area and went to visit some of the older organs by Harrison. One was at Thornton PC, and the other was the organ I played as a boy at Holy Trinity, Keighley: then my local PC.

 

If ever an organ crystallised the mad-cap defects of Dixon's thinking, that was the one, because they added (I think it was around 1914 or something) a third manual, consisting of all sorts of dreadful Claribels and acidic low-pressure orchestral reeds, with the result that no-one with a right mind ever used it. Not only did it not blend with the old, it was thoroughly disagreeable within itself.

 

Perhaps Paul hits the nail on the head, when he refers to the elements of Willis and Schulze in the same instrument, which is probably much the same thing as trying to blend Silbermann pipework with that by Gavioli.

 

As for the quint mixture thing, yes Arthur Harrison did retain that from the 19th century "German" school, but the lunatic Dixon, in proposing those ridiculous Trombas, made the Harmonics Cornet an absolute must in the ensemble, which other copied rather badly. It was the ONLY way of getting the reeds to blend with the over-powerful and harsh-toned (often leahered) Diapasons, which are such a feature of almost all Arthur Harrison instruments.

 

Oh dear! "Nursie" has arrived. ....a pretty strip of a girl....nice chassis! :rolleyes:

 

 

MM

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