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Westminster Abbey 1895 Hill Celestial Division


James Goldrick
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On the NPOR spec for Westminster Abbey prior to the Harrison & Harrison rebuild of 1937, there is an interesting endnote about the Hill Celestial organ added in 1895-9, as follows:

 

The celestial organ is still (c1990s?) in place at the end of triforium in

S Transept, untouched since installed in 1895. Not used in 1982/87 rebuild.

It was to have been incorporated in 1937 rebuild but war prevented completion.

A few pipes are missing.

 

Is this division still extant and if so, are there any plans to use it in the future?

 

Cheers

JG

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Guest Lee Blick
On the NPOR spec for Westminster Abbey prior to the Harrison & Harrison rebuild of 1937, there is an interesting endnote about the Hill Celestial organ added in 1895-9, as follows:

 

The celestial organ is still (c1990s?) in place at the end of triforium in

S Transept, untouched since installed in 1895. Not used in 1982/87 rebuild.

It was to have been incorporated in 1937 rebuild but war prevented completion.

A few pipes are missing.

 

Is this division still extant and if so, are there any plans to use it in the future?

 

Cheers

JG

 

Look here for more info:

 

Westminster Abbey Celestial Organ

 

I doubt it will ever be incorporated in what is already a design of integrity.

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It seems to me like a bit of a waste just to have the division sitting there and not actually be used.

 

Possibly. However, this instrument is already large and with a superb range of tone-colours. There is also the matter of how it would be controlled. The stop-jambs are already full and to return to using stop-keys would push the music desk up uncomfortably high (since the console was rebuilt with a fifth clavier in 1982-83). In any case, nasty stop-keys or rocking tablets would spoil the look of this elegant console. This is one facet of several 'Willis' cathedral organ consoles which I dislike.

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N00646

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And how about (yet another) 'set top box' above the left jambs (like on the right)? Seems easy ...

 

Yes this could work, they could possibly have another console just for the Celestial organ maybe.

They have done this somewhere else, although I can't exactly remember where and they had parts of the organ available on a separate console.

 

JA

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And how about (yet another) 'set top box' above the left jambs (like on the right)? Seems easy ...

 

ARGH!! No - this looked unspeakably ugly....

 

http://www.organrecitals.com/p/gallery3.ph...tabbeycelestial

 

This is about as ergonomically satisfying as having a Nigerian Dwarf Goat secured with Velcro to the side of a console, in order that it may act as a page-turner.

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This is about as ergonomically satisfying as having a Nigerian Dwarf Goat secured with Velcro to the side of a console, in order that it may act as a page-turner.[/font]

 

I had that particular page-turner for a recital once - I can't remember where, but, by goodness she was ugly - Oh, and as mad as a box of frogs!

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This is about as ergonomically satisfying as having a Nigerian Dwarf Goat secured with Velcro to the side of a console, in order that it may act as a page-turner.[/font]

I had that particular page-turner for a recital once - I can't remember where, but, by goodness she was ugly - Oh, and as mad as a box of frogs!

 

Did she have a wispy little beard, cloven hooves and a tendency to try to eat the clothes which you were wearing?

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ARGH!! No - this looked unspeakably ugly....

 

http://www.organrecitals.com/p/gallery3.ph...tabbeycelestial

 

This is about as ergonomically satisfying as having a Nigerian Dwarf Goat secured with Velcro to the side of a console, in order that it may act as a page-turner.

 

Hmm, the other boxes on the console are just as ugly.

 

Any DiscoveryChannel on the tv above the musicdesk B)

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Did she have a wispy little beard, cloven hooves and a tendency to try to eat the clothes which you were wearing?

 

 

Yes, after the post-recital 'paaaaaarty' and the 3rd bottle of wine.

 

.........or was that the following morning :P - duh, I forget......

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Yes, after the post-recital 'paaaaaarty' and the 3rd bottle of wine.

 

.........or was that the following morning :( - duh, I forget......

 

Heh! Heh!

My advice is ALWAYS take a torch with you, when you go on a date....

 

:P

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Guest Cynic

Returning to the topic, I'm sure I have (fairly recently) seen photographs and an account of the Celestial organ by H&H's London tuner, Andrew Scott published somewhere. It could have been in Choir and Organ. Personally, I love using distant sections of organs - they are special effect but always worth the effort in a major building. The Echo organ at Tewkesbury Abbey as rebuilt by Kennth Jones gives some idea of the sort of uses to which one could put this quaint survival. I imagine it has not been taken away already principally because it was a handsome gift and isn't, strictly speaking, in anyone's way. If there were suddenly architectural problems in the Triforium, I think this weird and wonderful job would soon be only a memory.

 

There is always a problem with adding any extra controls to an existing (smart) console. The installation as shown earlier in this topic was a bit ugly, and The Abbey has recently spent some months without the main organ in order to have various controls added to their historic H&H console. It's all in the very best taste now. Frankly, even if a Director of Music wanted the Celestial Organ reconnected (and few serious organ-addicts would be against this, I suggest) they would have to wait until there was another opportunity to modify/add to the console. IMHO that console is already stuffed pretty-well to the limit. A shame, but for this reason I think we can forget this happening any time soon.

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