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

 

MM

 

I occasionally wonder what H&H organs would have sounded like if Lt. Col. George Dixon had actually been in India (or somewhere else on active service) on the day he met Arthur Harrison. I doubt that we would have had certain ranks voiced quite as they were - or on such high pressures.

 

I think that the thing for which I least admire Dixon is his hatred of 'Hill' organs - many surviving examples of which I hold in high regard.

 

I take your later point about trombe ranks - but it is rather a contradiction in terms (or at least, slightly illogical) to introduce dull, opaque, harmonically-dead very loud chorus reeds - and then have to specify an anti-social compound stop, whose sole purpose appears to be the aural equivalent of attempting to persuade oil to mix with water.

 

Then there are all those open wood ranks and leathered diapasons. However, I could go on all night....

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I occasionally wonder what H&H organs would have sounded like if Lt. Col. George Dixon had actually been in India (or somewhere else on active service) on the day he met Arthur Harrison. I doubt that we would have had certain ranks voiced quite as they were - or on such high pressures.

 

I think that the thing for which I least admire Dixon is his hatred of 'Hill' organs - many surviving examples of which I hold in high regard.

 

I take your later point about trombe ranks - but it is rather a contradiction in terms (or at least, slightly illogical) to introduce dull, opaque, harmonically-dead very loud chorus reeds - and then have to specify an anti-social compound stop, whose sole purpose appears to be the aural equivalent of attempting to persuade oil to mix with water.

 

Then there are all those open wood ranks and leathered diapasons. However, I could go on all night....

 

 

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

 

 

You know, the interesting thing for me, is the way that that the "orchestral" tendency was addressed by various organ-builders from around 1910 and up to 1945.

 

Irrespective of build-quality, (which was generally of a very high order with Arthur Harrison, Norman & Beard, Compton and various others), it is fascinating to see how the tonal problems were resolved.

 

An Arthur Harrison organ could not be more diferent from a Compton, and H, N & B, were probably better than all of them.

 

Of the reltively "untouched" H,N & B organs, Chester, Norwich, Selby Abbey and Peterborough are magnificent sounding instruments by any standards, and yet, the same people were perfectly happy building theatre-organs under the Christie name, and making a very good job of it.

 

I think the discussion about Manchester Town Hall crystalises the various threads wonderfully, for whoever had a hand in the re-building of it in 1910, one can almost sense a mismatch and confusion of styles, as organ-builders generally sought to create a more orchestral style of instrument.

 

After Lewis, I suspect that only H.N & B and John Compton tried to retain the element of tonal integrity, which is all the more suprising when one considers the methods of extension used by John Compton.

 

No matter how wonderful the achievements of "Father" Willis, and Willis III at Liverpool. most Willis organs from the period between roughly 1910 and 1940, seem to search for identity, but fail to find it. I don't think that this is a bad reflection on what the Willis company did; quite the contrary. I suspect that it was rather more to do with trying to cater for a market which then existed, for highly expressive quieter registers on he one hand, and the great sonic boom of a symphonic instrument on the other.

 

Somehow, in the midst of all this confusion, the remaining Hill organs shone like beacons (as did the organs of T C Lewis proper), as did some of the organs by lesser known builders such as Taylor of Leicester (De Monforte Hall) and Vincent.

 

If I had to make a personal choice, I think I would favour the organs of H,N & B from this period, and yet, they never enjoyed the ultimate prestige of Arthur Harrison.

 

It's also a curious fact, that whilst many would clamour to write about William Hill, no-one ever thinks to write up the story of H,N & B, which must be one of the most fascinating of all, due to the various fingers in various musical pies, and also because they were at the forefront of the classical revival as early as the 1950's.

 

Powerful instruments many of them may have been, but at least they didn't install Trombas and Harmonics Mixtures, (Norman & Beard flirted with Trombas of course, but they were just Trumpets smoothed out a bit) and I don't think I've ever heard a bad H,N & B from the Edwardian period. Some of the post-romantic instruments are of course musical gems, as the instrument at Heptonstall PC demonstrates.

 

Lest I forget, "pcnd" would love the Vox Humana stop at Leeds Cathedral, by Norman & Beard (rebuilt by H,N & B at a later date). Unfortunately, it is just languishing in the building silently at the present time, but there must be other excellent examples around somewhere. (The full Swell is mighty impressive, as is the Compton Tuba whiuch was fitted later, and which came from the Davies Theatre, Croydon).

 

 

MM

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

 

 

... Of the reltively "untouched" H,N & B organs, Chester, Norwich, Selby Abbey and Peterborough are magnificent sounding instruments by any standards ...

 

MM

 

MM, I wish I could agree with you in this. Unfortunately, I cannot! The last thing Chester could be described as, is 'relatively untouched'. Arguably, this cathedral organ has been messed around with more than any other in this country. I have lost count of the stop changes and revoicing which Roger Fisher requested whilst he was there. In any case, remember that this instrument was variously worked-upon by Gray & Davison (1844) and Whiteley Bros. (1876). It was not until 1910 that Wm. Hill & Son first rebuilt it. For the record, it was never a Hill, Norman and Beard organ! It could also be suggested (with some justification) that the 'Hill' firm was, to an extent, past its best by this point in time - in terms of a comparison with Chichester Cathedral, Sydney Town Hall, Westminster Abbey and a number of other instruments.

 

The same goes for Selby Abbey. This organ has been altered (not necessarily to its advantage) on a number of occasions. It has variously acquired high-pitched mixtures and odd mutations scattered between the Choir (which it subesquently lost), Swell and Solo organs. Virtually all of these alterations appear to me to be out of keeping with the character of the instrument. For example, the former beautiful Romantic Solo Organ now contains such 'useful' registers as a Spitz Principal 4p, Nazard, Blockflute, Tierce, Cymbel II and a Trompette, which stops at C13.

 

As Hill originally left it, the specification looked like this:

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N05109

 

(This was the instrument built in 1909, after the John Compton organ of 1906 had been destroyed by fire.)

 

Now it looks like this:

 

http://www.tjeerdvanderploeg.nl/nl/selby.html

 

At some point in between, it looked like this:

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N07165

 

Poor organ. I note, for example, that it still has a Pedal Mixture with the crazy scheme of 26-29-33-36.

 

Hmmm - very 'Hill'.... :(

 

This site gives an idea of the present state of the instrument:

 

http://www.selbyabbey.org.uk/hill_organ.htm

 

However, I am impressed that they were able to forecast exactly how many years' life the 'Hill' organ had left, before it broke down completely. :blink:

 

Currently, a newly-built (2002) two-clavier organ is on loan from Principal Pipe Organs - presumably unitl the abbey authorities are able to raise sufficient funds to rebuild the main organ:

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=R00734

 

With regard to Norwich and Peterborough, these instruments have certainly fared better - although I must confess that I do not admire greatly the sound of the Norwich organ. Even after the alterations of 1969 - 1970 (at the instigation of Brian Runnett), it is still a big, fat sound. There are some beautiful stops on it - and some good chorus effects. Possibly still the best recording I have heard of this instrument, is that by Brian Runnett, playing Reger's Seven Pieces, Op. 145, which was recorded shortly before his death, in August 1970.

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MM, I wish I could agree with you in this. Unfortunately, I cannot! The last thing Chester could be described as, is 'relatively untouched'.

 

 

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

 

 

 

It's entirely my fault, because I said things I didn't mean.....a combination of tiredness and sloppy thinking.

 

As all this has not a lot to do with Manchester Town Hall, (though Manchester TH plays a part) I shall open up a new thread on the subject of "Post classical or retsrospective romantic?"

 

Interestingly, when I see a comment like "they (Hill, Norman & Beard) were past their best days".......that is a very interesting perception and statement, and one which deserves to be challenged.

 

I can sense Frank Fowler sharpening his quill!!!

 

:blink:

 

MM

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

 

Interestingly, when I see a comment like "they (Hill, Norman & Beard) were past their best days".......that is a very interesting perception and statement, and one which deserves to be challenged.

 

This was not quite what you saw, MM.

 

Actually, I wrote this:

 

'It could also be suggested (with some justification) that the 'Hill' firm was, to an extent, past its best by this point in time* - in terms of a comparison with Chichester Cathedral, Sydney Town Hall, Westminster Abbey and a number of other instruments.'

 

I can sense Frank Fowler sharpening his quill!!!

 

MM

 

Consequently, Frank Fowler has no need to sharpen his quill. As you can see, I referred to the 'Hill' firm - before the merger with Norman & Beard.

 

Please read my posts carefully, to avoid mis-quoting me.

 

 

 

* 1910.

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This was not quite what you saw, MM.

 

Actually, I wrote this:

 

'It could also be suggested (with some justification) that the 'Hill' firm was, to an extent, past its best by this point in time* - in terms of a comparison with Chichester Cathedral, Sydney Town Hall, Westminster Abbey and a number of other instruments.'

Consequently, Frank Fowler has no need to sharpen his quill. As you can see, I referred to the 'Hill' firm - before the merger with Norman & Beard.

 

Please read my posts carefully, to avoid mis-quoting me.

* 1910.

 

 

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

 

 

Yes, you're quite right.

 

Of course, the Hill firm were not exactly past their best, as the organ of St.Margaret's, Ilkley demonstrates, and with which I was associated for about a year when I covered for the illness of the organist & choirmaster at the time.

 

Of course, the magnificent reeds at Chester (no doubt voiced by Mr Rundle senior), replaced the eralier ones installed by Whiteley. This is not far removed from what happened at Manchester Town Hall, is it? (The Chester reeds are much, much better of course).

 

I don't know Selby Abbey too well these days, but I knew the organ well when it was H,N & B.

 

It's an awful building acoustically, and the instrument only ever sounded really good at the console: the Tuba, from down the nave, little more than a glorified Swell Cornopean, but with a 32ft reed in the nave triforium, which tumbled down like a collection of falling concrete blocks.

 

Are you sure the Pedal Mixture is as it appears?

 

Would it be an octave lower at manual pitch?

 

That would make a lot more sense.

 

MM

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

 

 

I don't know Selby Abbey too well these days, but I knew the organ well when it was H,N & B.

 

It's an awful building acoustically, and the instrument only ever sounded really good at the console: the Tuba, from down the nave, little more than a glorified Swell Cornopean, but with a 32ft reed in the nave triforium, which tumbled down like a collection of falling concrete blocks.

 

Are you sure the Pedal Mixture is as it appears?

 

Would it be an octave lower at manual pitch?

 

That would make a lot more sense.

 

MM

 

It would - but two separate sources give the same intervals. In addition, given the lack of respect accorded the 'Hill' scheme during the last two rebuilds, I am afraid that the Pedal Mixture probably does have that composition.

 

Weird.

 

:)

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Re Selby - there was an amazing LP of Germani playing there in 1962 in its former incarnation - 'made it sound very fine. It was one of the first organ records I heard - Liszt: BACH, Franck: Piece Heroique, Reger: Hallejua ! Gott zu loben and Widor: Toccata.

 

AJJ

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Re Selby - there was an amazing LP of Germani playing there in 1962 in its former incarnation - 'made it sound very fine. It was one of the first organ records I heard - Liszt: BACH, Franck: Piece Heroique, Reger: Hallejua ! Gott zu loben and Widor: Toccata.

 

AJJ

The 1963 recording has the three Franck Chorales and the Pastorale...and is well worth listening to for both the playing and the organ.

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Re Selby - there was an amazing LP of Germani playing there in 1962 in its former incarnation - 'made it sound very fine. It was one of the first organ records I heard - Liszt: BACH, Franck: Piece Heroique, Reger: Hallejua ! Gott zu loben and Widor: Toccata.

 

AJJ

...and a second disc with Franck 3 Chorals and Pastorale. This was later re-issued on CD together with the Pièce Héroïque and the Widor, but I fear the Liszt and Reger are lost. I wish I could find a copy. I happened to visit Selby just at the time the recordings were made and I remember how impressed I was.

JC

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It would - but two separate sources give the same intervals. In addition, given the lack of respect accorded the 'Hill' scheme during the last two rebuilds, I am afraid that the Pedal Mixture probably does have that composition.

 

Weird.

 

:)

 

 

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

 

 

Look again at the specification of Selby, and you will see a Pedal Organ which goes up to a 22nd at TWO FOOT pitch; which means that in the same series, the equivalent manual pitch of the Pedal Mixture is 19,22,26,29, which is exactly as it should be.

 

MM

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...and a second disc with Franck 3 Chorals and Pastorale. This was later re-issued on CD together with the Pièce Héroïque and the Widor, but I fear the Liszt and Reger are lost. I wish I could find a copy. I happened to visit Selby just at the time the recordings were made and I remember how impressed I was.

JC

 

I wonder why he chose Selby?

 

AJJ

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

Look again at the specification of Selby, and you will see a Pedal Organ which goes up to a 22nd at TWO FOOT pitch; which means that in the same series, the equivalent manual pitch of the Pedal Mixture is 19,22,26,29, which is exactly as it should be.

 

MM

Look again, again....

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N07165

 

The intervals are as I gave. I am already happy in the knowledge that a clavier Twenty Second is a 1p stop, but the equivalent Pedal rank would be 2p, MM.

 

However, if you look again at the NPOR link, you will no doubt see that the composition of the Pedal Mixture is as I gave earlier.

 

I disagree that this is as it should be - this Pedal Mixture is pitched an octave too high. My own G.O. Mixture is 19-22-26-29 and the Pedal Mixture is also 19-22-26-29. Obviously, this gives on the G.O. 1 1/3, 1, 2/3, 1/2 and on the Pedal Organ 2 2/3, 2, 1 1/3, 1.

 

This is as it should be.

 

:)

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
I wonder why he chose Selby?

 

AJJ

 

I was about to say that M T Hall features on pages 11 & 12 of the Organists' Review May 2006 and I come across everyone talking/writing about Selby Abbey!

 

As for Maestro Germani playing at Selby, he did not choose it. I asked him how he came to play there, and he said he was 'just taken'. And so he played. The Widor Toccata was done as a filler and from memory he said, because there was needed something to fill up the time.

 

All best wishes,

Nigel

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Look again, again....

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N07165

 

The intervals are as I gave. I am already happy in the knowledge that a clavier Twenty Second is a 1p stop, but the equivalent Pedal rank would be 2p, MM.

 

However, if you look again at the NPOR link, you will no doubt see that the composition of the Pedal Mixture is as I gave earlier.

 

I disagree that this is as it should be - this Pedal Mixture is pitched an octave too high. My own G.O. Mixture is 19-22-26-29 and the Pedal Mixture is also 19-22-26-29. Obviously, this gives on the G.O. 1 1/3, 1, 2/3, 1/2 and on the Pedal Organ 2 2/3, 2, 1 1/3, 1.

 

This is as it should be.

 

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

 

 

 

Why should they seek to duplex the 2ft, which the Pedal at Selby already has?

 

In the scheme of things, the only thing missing is the 2.2/3ft, and the pedal chorus goes from 16ft to 2 ft plus Mixture IV; presumably without breaks.

 

It is a huge building with a big acoustic, and compared to many continental instruments, a Mixture at this pitch is as nothing.

 

I just don't see what the problem is, assuming that the pitches are properly 1.1/3, 1, 2/3 and 1/2ft rather than an octave higher than that.

 

Do you have a pedal chorus up to the 2ft rank ? If not, then that is the deciding factor with a Mixture which starts at 2.2/3; surely?

 

MM

 

 

 

:)

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

 

Why should they seek to duplex the 2ft, which the Pedal at Selby already has?

 

In the scheme of things, the only thing missing is the 2.2/3ft, and the pedal chorus goes from 16ft to 2 ft plus Mixture IV; presumably without breaks.

 

It is a huge building with a big acoustic, and compared to many continental instruments, a Mixture at this pitch is as nothing.

 

I just don't see what the problem is, assuming that the pitches are properly 1.1/3, 1, 2/3 and 1/2ft rather than an octave higher than that.

 

Do you have a pedal chorus up to the 2ft rank ? If not, then that is the deciding factor with a Mixture which starts at 2.2/3; surely?

 

MM

 

 

My Pedal chorus contains a separate 2p rank (and, for the record, a separate 2p reed). It is more usual in the UK for Pedal stops to be pitched an octave lower than their counterparts on the claviers.

 

A Pedal Mixture, which commences at 26-29-33-36 is unusual in this country.

 

According to another contributor, the acoustic is comparatively dry and the organ does not project particularly well down the main axis of the building.

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I was about to say that M T Hall features on pages 11 & 12 of the Organists' Review May 2006 and I come across everyone talking/writing about Selby Abbey!

 

As for Maestro Germani playing at Selby, he did not choose it. I asked him how he came to play there, and he said he was 'just taken'. And so he played. The Widor Toccata was done as a filler and from memory he said, because there was needed something to fill up the time.

 

All best wishes,

Nigel

 

 

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

 

 

Sorry about that Nigel......a curious diversion indeed, but not entirely irrelevant.

 

Changing a Hill organ a bit, is not half so bad as throwing out Cavaille-Coll reeds or re-voicing them completely, as happened to the bigger reeds at Manchester; resulting in an instrument in which reeds and flues do not gel too well.

 

It all started with Chester, where Hill were as guilty as anyone in changing the reeds, but to marvellous effect it has to be said. The reeds they discarded WERE FROM CAVAILLE-COLL, just as at Manchester TH.

 

It leads to the debate about the first quarter of the 20th century, in which organ-building was in crisis, and guided by the hands of people who shouldn't have been involved at all, but were, due to their social position, wealth or musical connections.

 

The Herbert Norman memoirs make fascinating reading, and highlight the problems organ-builders regularly had to face with such an abrupt change in musical fashion.

 

MM

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My Pedal chorus contains a separate 2p rank (and, for the record, a separate 2p reed). It is more usual in the UK for Pedal stops to be pitched an octave lower than their countrparts on the claviers.

 

A Pedal Mixture, which commences at 26-29-33-36 is unusual in this country.

 

According to another contributor, the acoustic is comparatively dry and the organ does not project particularly well down the main axis of the building.

 

 

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

 

 

Maybe so, but the pedal mixture at Selby works very well indeed. The acoustic at Selby is odd, in that the nave is far more resonant than the chancel; almost the reverse of a building like Bradford Cathedral, where the sounds starts off well and is killed stone-dead the moment it reaches the nave.

 

We seem to specialise in horrible or strange acoustics in the UK, and in this respect, Selby is not unique. In most places, it pays to select your vantage point carefully.

 

Whether we like the changes at Selby or not from a historical perspective, the work done by Johhnie Jackson did actually help the organ to project better, and find a way out from under the chancel aisles.

 

MM

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

Maybe so, but the pedal mixture at Selby works very well indeed. The acoustic at Selby is odd, in that the nave is far more resonant than the chancel; almost the reverse of a building like Bradford Cathedral, where the sounds starts off well and is killed stone-dead the moment it reaches the nave.

 

We seem to specialise in horrible or strange acoustics in the UK, and in this respect, Selby is not unique. In most places, it pays to select your vantage point carefully.

 

Whether we like the changes at Selby or not from a historical perspective, the work done by Johhnie Jackson did actually help the organ to project better, and find a way out from under the chancel aisles.

 

MM

 

I think the sound of the organ at Selby (currently) is horrid.

I wouldn't want to play it or hear it played. Neither the choruses nor the reeds sound like any big Hill with which I am familiar.

I wish the remains of this instrument well, and like many others regret that it is now officially unplayable, but it is both extremely sad and highly regrettable that a true 'heritage instrument' like this was ever subjected to such ill-judged and inappropriate modifications. Where was the diocesan adviser at the time?!

 

IMHO pcnd is absolutely correct in his comment about the pedal mixture - even if (as you say) it can be effective in a limited and specific way, this is at a ridiculously high pitch. Not even the great Mr.Downes would have done it. Drawing such a stop - in effect a pedal Scharf-Cymbal - can only help confuse the sound of the organ - bass notes squeaking their way between the various manual pitches. I stand by my word: ridiculous.

 

In the genuine baroque organ, the purpose of high pitches is

1. to make the pedal completely independant at a time when pedal couplers were scarce

2. to hold high cantus firmus lines

To specify a Cymbal mixture without a proper chorus mixture in any division is plain misguided.

 

 

To return to the topic, by (fairly dramatic) comparison with Selby, the organ at Manchester Town Hall is not similarly spoiled. It may not be 100% genuine C-C, but when I played it, there was plenty to admire and appreciate.

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I think the sound of the organ at Selby (currently) is horrid.

I wouldn't want to play it or hear it played. Neither the choruses nor the reeds sound like any big Hill with which I am familiar.

I wish the remains of this instrument well, and like many others regret that it is now officially unplayable, but it is both extremely sad and highly regrettable that a true 'heritage instrument' like this was ever subjected to such ill-judged and inappropriate modifications. Where was the diocesan adviser at the time?!

 

IMHO pcnd is absolutely correct in his comment about the pedal mixture - even if (as you say) it can be effective in a limited and specific way, this is at a ridiculously high pitch. Not even the great Mr.Downes would have done it. Drawing such a stop - in effect a pedal Scharf-Cymbal - can only help confuse the sound of the organ - bass notes squeaking their way between the various manual pitches. I stand by my word: ridiculous.

 

In the genuine baroque organ, the purpose of high pitches is

1. to make the pedal completely independant at a time when pedal couplers were scarce

2. to hold high cantus firmus lines

To specify a Cymbal mixture without a proper chorus mixture in any division is plain misguided.

To return to the topic, by (fairly dramatic) comparison with Selby, the organ at Manchester Town Hall is not similarly spoiled. It may not be 100% genuine C-C, but when I played it, there was plenty to admire and appreciate.

It is interesting to note that the Selby Pedal Mixture has the same composition as the one added to the C-C at Sainte-Trinité in Paris at Messiaen's request - so perhaps it was influenced as much by fashion as practicality? I seem to remember reading somewhere that Olivier Glandaz said he couldn't bear to listen to it. One hopes that any restoration at Manchester will be more sympathetic to the original scheme.

JC

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I think the sound of the organ at Selby (currently) is horrid.

I wouldn't want to play it or hear it played. Neither the choruses nor the reeds sound like any big Hill with which I am familiar.

I wish the remains of this instrument well, and like many others regret that it is now officially unplayable, but it is both extremely sad and highly regrettable that a true 'heritage instrument' like this was ever subjected to such ill-judged and inappropriate modifications. Where was the diocesan adviser at the time?!

 

IMHO pcnd is absolutely correct in his comment about the pedal mixture - even if (as you say) it can be effective in a limited and specific way, this is at a ridiculously high pitch. Not even the great Mr.Downes would have done it. Drawing such a stop - in effect a pedal Scharf-Cymbal - can only help confuse the sound of the organ - bass notes squeaking their way between the various manual pitches. I stand by my word: ridiculous.

 

In the genuine baroque organ, the purpose of high pitches is

1. to make the pedal completely independant at a time when pedal couplers were scarce

2. to hold high cantus firmus lines

To specify a Cymbal mixture without a proper chorus mixture in any division is plain misguided.

To return to the topic, by (fairly dramatic) comparison with Selby, the organ at Manchester Town Hall is not similarly spoiled. It may not be 100% genuine C-C, but when I played it, there was plenty to admire and appreciate.

 

 

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

 

 

I've known the organ at Selby a long time, and even if you go back to the H,N & B rebuild circa.1950 or so, you would have heard a magnificent Hill organ if you stood between both North and South cases in the chancel. Go down the building, and it was just a distant rumbling sound, but still a quality one.

 

If you consider that the original scheme had a Solo Organ buried, totally enclosed, and consisting of just 8ft stops; the effect was almost entirely restricted to the Chancel. The instrument reflected the change in taste which was then gathering pace.

 

The Choir organ was always very small and very quiet, and with the aid of an extended Dulciana ranks at various pitches, and slight dgree of musical felxibility was introduced by H,N & B, but again, entirely restircted to the Chancel.

 

So what you always had, was a powerful Swell, Great and Pedal organ, with a lot of 8ft variety added to it....this was never an organ like Beverley or Sydney Town Hall, and in the position in which it was placed, less than effective in the nave.

 

Now people can ramble on about the changes made, but in reality, they have been additions to the original; most of which remains. (It was very much an economy reconstruction by John Jackson, and the abbey had far bigger problems with which to contend than the matter of the organ. There were almost ecclesiastical riots at the time!)

 

What has been tragically lost are some of the Solo reeds, which I find very regrettable, but the bulk of the instrument remains as it was before.

 

I'm not sure of the precise details, but I think the Solo was turned around and re-positioned at the entrance to the Choir side-aisle, in a new case. This was an attempt to get what was previously a very ineffective department out into the main body of the building, but of course, lost of new material was added also. Quite probably, judging from what I know of John Jackson's work, the pipes are probably not terribly well regulated, and would have been done by others if at all. (Like I say, economy was the keyword, and they wanted a lot for not a great deal).

 

The Pedal organ Mixture is curious, and having studied the details a little more, it would seem that it IS pitched an octave higher than I suspected; so my apologies for the confusion, which now seems a bit of a spurious diversion. However, it was changed AFTER 1975, which suggests that the original composition proved to be ineffective.

 

I would dispute Paul's suggestion that high-pitched Mixture are "ridiculous" however, but they do need a fairly special voicer.

 

If one looks at Alkmaar for instance, you will find a Pedal 8 rks Mixture, with the following composition:-

 

 

Ped Mixtuur VIII:

C 1-1/3 1 2/3 1/2 1/3 1/4 1/6 1/6

G 2 1-1/3 1 2/3 1/2 1/3 1/4 1/4

c0 2-2/3 2 1-1/3 1 2/3 1/2 1/3 1/3

g0 4 2-2/3 2 1-1/3 1 2/3 1/2 1/2 .

c' 4 2-2/3 2 1-1/3 1 1 2/3 2/3

 

This translates AT MANUAL PITCH to the following:-

 

19.22.26.29.33.36.40.40

15.19.22.26.29.33.33.36

12.15.19.22.26.29.33.33

8 12 15,19.22.26.29.29

8.12.15.19.22.22.26.26

 

"Ridiculous" though it may seem, I have never heard anyone complain about it yet!!!!!!!!

 

MM

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I would dispute Paul's suggestion that high-pitched Mixture are "ridiculous" however, but they do need a fairly special voicer.

 

If one looks at Alkmaar for instance, you will find a Pedal 8 rks Mixture, with the following composition:-

Ped Mixtuur VIII:

C 1-1/3 1 2/3 1/2 1/3 1/4 1/6 1/6

G 2 1-1/3 1 2/3 1/2 1/3 1/4 1/4

c0 2-2/3 2 1-1/3 1 2/3 1/2 1/3 1/3

g0 4 2-2/3 2 1-1/3 1 2/3 1/2 1/2 .

c' 4 2-2/3 2 1-1/3 1 1 2/3 2/3

 

This translates AT MANUAL PITCH to the following:-

 

19.22.26.29.33.36.40.40

15.19.22.26.29.33.33.36

12.15.19.22.26.29.33.33

8 12 15,19.22.26.29.29

8.12.15.19.22.22.26.26

 

"Ridiculous" though it may seem, I have never heard anyone complain about it yet!!!!!!!!

Accepting the earlier point about pedal mixtures and the lack of manual couplers, the above composition would appear to be completely appropriate as the top of a pedal chorus of (32) 16 8 (5 1/3) 4 2. Indeed, who would not, on an an organ equipped with them, draw the Positive or Great Scharff or Cymbale and the appropriate pedal coupler as part of organo pleno? The organ I play regularly would be more improved by the addition of a pedal mixture (of at least 5 ranks) than almost anything else.

 

I have no expertise in this matter but I was under the impression (perhaps from Sumner) that pedal mixtures generally didn't have breaks, so I was surprised to see four breaks at Alkmaar described above.

 

It isn't particularly fashionable to compare the organ with the orchestra but one has only to listen to the rich array of upper partials in the timbre of cello, bassoon, double bass, and trombone to realise how much needs to be added to 16, 8 and 4 pedal departments to produce a similar richness of bass tone.

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Accepting the earlier point about pedal mixtures and the lack of manual couplers, the above composition would appear to be completely appropriate as the top of a pedal chorus of (32) 16 8 (5 1/3) 4 2. Indeed, who would not, on an an organ equipped with them, draw the Positive or Great Scharff or Cymbale and the appropriate pedal coupler as part of organo pleno? The organ I play regularly would be more improved by the addition of a pedal mixture (of at least 5 ranks) than almost anything else.

 

I have no expertise in this matter but I was under the impression (perhaps from Sumner) that pedal mixtures generally didn't have breaks, so I was surprised to see four breaks at Alkmaar described above.

 

It isn't particularly fashionable to compare the organ with the orchestra but one has only to listen to the rich array of upper partials in the timbre of cello, bassoon, double bass, and trombone to realise how much needs to be added to 16, 8 and 4 pedal departments to produce a similar richness of bass tone.

 

 

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

 

 

Well it's a bloody good job Schnitger (F C ) DID install breaks, or the church would be surrounded by dogs at every performance of a Buxtehude Prelude!!

 

B)

 

MM

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If one looks at Alkmaar for instance, you will find a Pedal 8 rks Mixture, with the following composition:-

Ped Mixtuur VIII:

.....

 

"Ridiculous" though it may seem, I have never heard anyone complain about it yet!!!!!!!!

 

MM

 

I've just come back from the "Buxtehude Weekend" at Alkmaar - and think it pointless drawing any paper specification comparisons - Selby is obviously a fundamentally completely different kind of organ.

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I've just come back from the "Buxtehude Weekend" at Alkmaar - and think it pointless drawing any paper specification comparisons - Selby is obviously a fundamentally completely different kind of organ.

 

 

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

 

 

It doesn't really matter how fundamentally different it is. One could argue that Sydney Town Hall, with a copious supply of upperwork, is also fundamentally different.

 

The important thing is, (if you care to try the Mixtures at Alkmaar in single notes alone), the absolute subtlety of them. You will also find a similar quality in the derived Mixtures of John Compton, which often exceed ten ranks, and sometimes even included aliquot pitches.

 

The keyword is "Mixture," because if they don't, they are just a nuiscance, and like Islamic Terrorists at a Jewish Wedding, they tend to spoil the party.

 

This is where Pierre Lauwers and myself are as one, because the biggest mistake of the neo-baroque movement was an excess of aggressive upperwork, which has no place in genuine baroque organs.

 

Perhaps the biggest reason why so many Edwardian organs sound dull, is the imbalance between the higher partials and the lower fundamentals, and not because they are, broadly speaking, "romantic."

 

The lesson was there for all to hear on the Schulze at Doncaster, which suffers none of the excessive Mixture dominance of Armley. The Mixtures (especially on ther Swell and lesser departments) are incredibly subtle, just as the best Mixtures from the baroque are equally subtle.

 

As I said, it comes down to proper voicing and balance, and if there is one good thing about the so called "neo baroque" additions made to so many organs, it is a relatively easy matter to rectify the excesses, and bring the pipes into line with the rest of the instrument. Going the other way is much more difficult.

 

Selby is certainly not beyond being put right, by any means, but it would probably be a lot more difficult to reverse the changes made at Manchester Town Hall, which were really quite drastic in 1910.

 

MM

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