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Oh yes.....I fought against them for years -in vain-.

You certainly have followed that thread on Organographia;

the previous organ was one of the finest Post-romantic

instrument in Belgium.

Its incredibly "rolling" Diapasons, nearly smooth reeds,

and very effective Swell (partly in bricks) marked it as

belonging to the very same category than another organ

about 600 Km (400 Miles) west...

 

When the decision was made to replace it, we asked the

Administrator of the "monuments historiques" to come

by and listen the organ.

(After all, it made part of the first neo-gothic ensemble in Belgium, now entirely destroyed)

But just before that day the electrical wires were cut.

I had some words (euh, energical) with certain people, and my own career

in the organ business was over.

10 years later the new -excellent- organ was there.

 

Noch Fragen ?

 

Pierre

 

Good for you, Pierre - what a pity that they did not heed your words....

 

I cannot now recall on which page I saw the previous specification. Could you provide me with a shortcut please, Pierre?

 

In addition, are there in existence any photographs of the previous instrument?

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But who is to say that the present 'historic layer' is better (or even more practical) than that which existed a hundred - or even fifty - years ago?

 

Take Lichfield Cathedral, where Harrison & Harrison have recently reversed many of the tonal changes which were instituted in 1974 (by the organist at the time, who knew the instrument well). In addition, they added a large Nave section - something which it never possessed formerly. Whilst I appreciate personally a closer return to more of the Holdich/Hill schemes, I cannot help but wonder if the Choir Organ (for example) is now rather a 'halfway house' - and that, in some respects, they now have the worst of both worlds.

 

Or should, in fact, this organ have been left tonally alone? It also had a beautiful new console in 1974. It now has another new (or at least re-modelled) console. Was even this strictly necessary?

 

I think that I am questioning the arbitrary notion of keeping organs in their '2007 state', as opposed to the idea of doing (or not doing) anything at all.

 

Sorry pcnd, but exactly what's wrong with Lichfield now?

I can't think of anything. [And no, I have no shares in H&H].

There was a lot wrong with it before.

 

I can specify at length if you want me to back up this comment.

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Sorry pcnd, but exactly what's wrong with Lichfield now?

I can't think of anything. [And no, I have no shares in H&H].

There was a lot wrong with it before.

 

I did not write that there was anything wrong with it - except that the Choir Organ seems on paper to be neither one thing nor the other. I wrote: 'Whilst I appreciate personally a closer return to more of the Holdich/Hill schemes...' this is hardly a negative statement. My point was to try to ascertain why Pierre apparently felt that organs (in general) should be preserved in the state which they have reached at this point in time.

 

Having said this, I still wonder whether it was necessary for the console (which was new in 1974) to have reverted 'to the Hill style'. Had it been the 1908 console - and in a bad state of preservation - there might have been some justification for the implementation of this part of the scheme. However, the new console, which was built by HN&B, was both elegant and in any case, had utilised the old draw-stops, key cheeks and wind tell-tale from the 'Hill' console of 1908.

 

A small point with regard to the style of 'Hill' consoles from around the turn of the twentieth century. It was quite common for Hill to arrange the draw-stops on two double staggered rows, often with a slope down towars the tops of the inner rows (c.f. Chester Cathedral, All Hallows, Gospel Oak, Selby Abbey, and St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town *). HN&B preserved the basic plan of this (without the slope) on their 1974 console. I note that the re-designed H&H console has three double staggered rows (apparently on departmental panels), with spaces between each row - something more akin to a standard H&H console, but without the ebonised effect on the panels. I note that the toe pistons are also of the usual H&H design.

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/PSearch...R00028&no=3

 

As I write this, I have before me a good quality photograph of the 'Hill' console of 1908. It does not look that different to that which was supplied by HN&B in 1974. Arguably, the 1974 ugly square-headed pistons are off-set by the equally ugly 'capsule' pistons, complete with the cut-outs from the undersides of some of the keys in the 1908 console - if that is not too convoluted.

 

I would be interested to know what you felt was wrong with it in its previous incarnation - I had understood that (to quote the late Richard Greening) the work carried out in 1974 entailed 'Continuity and preservation. ... Other tonal alterations have been very limited, because of the need to preserve the essential charater of the instrument.'

 

 

 

* Notable exceptions were Westminster Abbey (three double staggered rows), the Queen's Hall (LH: two double staggered rows; RH: five staggered rows) and Bath Abbey (three double staggered rows, contained in departmental compartments with carved flattened 'ogee' arches surmounting each division.

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However, the new console, which was built by HN&B, was both elegant and in any case, had utilised the old draw-stops, key cheeks and wind tell-tale from the 'Hill' console of 1908.

 

These items have been preserved. The drawstops are of Hill's usual design of the time, and don't have the beveled edges of the Chester console.

 

BTW, pcnd, although I can make no comment on the quality or otherwise of the HNB chamade (having only played this organ since the Harrison rebuild), I'm pretty sure that you would love the new Orchestral Trumpet. On one of the occasions that I played this instrument in public, Philip Scriven sat with me in the loft (no pressure or anything :blink: ). later that night I heard him use the OT to magnificent effect in the Final From Vierne III.

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However, the new console, which was built by HN&B, was both elegant and in any case, had utilised the old draw-stops, key cheeks and wind tell-tale from the 'Hill' console of 1908.

 

These items have been preserved. The drawstops are of Hill's usual design of the time, and don't have the beveled edges of the Chester console.

 

BTW, pcnd, although I can make no comment on the quality or otherwise of the HNB chamade (having only played this organ since the Harrison rebuild), I'm pretty sure that you would love the new Orchestral Trumpet. On one of the occasions that I played this instrument in public, Philip Scriven sat with me in the loft (no pressure or anything :blink: ). later that night I heard him use the OT to magnificent effect in the Final From Vierne III.

 

Thank you for this, Paul.

 

... In which case, I would like very much to hear (and play) the new Lichfield Orchestral Trumpet! Out of interest, do you have any idea what happened to the old Trompette-en-Chamade?

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pcnd: I played the organ quite a few times both pre and post 1974. The general impression of the work in 1974 that I had was of a re-build that 1) sorted out the failing tubular pneumatic actions 2) gave the organ some more fashionable sounds on the Choir (the usual suspects, like a SpitzPrinzipal [8] Nazard Tierce Cymbal and Cremona) and that Solo Trompette thing (a totally different voice from the rest of the organ) 3) a modern electric console in HNB style. I don't think it dealt with long term solutions (releathering reservoirs). I haven't played it since the recent restoration, but it seems to be sensible in every way. I'm very pleased that stops which were switched around (Greening hated string stops, for example) have been reinstated, especially that the anachronistic Spitz thing has been replaced by the original Choir Open Diapason.

 

Regarding the console the 1974 console stops were laid out like the old one - two double columns each side in standard early 20th century Hill fashion. But I remember that the jambs were new and angled (with funny bits of leather round the edges of the jamb plates) and the old stops seemed huge and very close together on them. The stops didn't come out very far either making it difficult to spot what was on or not and it all felt a bit betwixt and between in style.

 

I guess the main thing would have been the addition of so many stops to cover the new Nave organ, couplers and the odd extra stop here and there just meant that the two jambs each side had to go over to three for sake of practicality. That's fairly obvious when you look at the two photos - before and after.

 

Lament the loss of the 1908 console, maybe. But I certainly don't think you need to lament losing the 1974 console with its ugly square pistons, green swell pedals, those funny HNB toe pistons and tiny stop movements. You can see for yourself the quality of what they have now, which I would think is probably much nearer the chunkier and classier feel of the previous vintage Hill console.

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pcnd: I played the organ quite a few times both pre and post 1974. The general impression of the work in 1974 that I had was of a re-build that 1) sorted out the failing tubular pneumatic actions 2) gave the organ some more fashionable sounds on the Choir (the usual suspects, like a SpitzPrinzipal [8] Nazard Tierce Cymbal and Cremona) and that Solo Trompette thing (a totally different voice from the rest of the organ) 3) a modern electric console in HNB style. I don't think it dealt with long term solutions (releathering reservoirs). I haven't played it since the recent restoration, but it seems to be sensible in every way. I'm very pleased that stops which were switched around (Greening hated string stops, for example) have been reinstated, especially that the anachronistic Spitz thing has been replaced by the original Choir Open Diapason.

 

Regarding the console the 1974 console stops were laid out like the old one - two double columns each side in standard early 20th century Hill fashion. But I remember that the jambs were new and angled (with funny bits of leather round the edges of the jamb plates) and the old stops seemed huge and very close together on them. The stops didn't come out very far either making it difficult to spot what was on or not and it all felt a bit betwixt and between in style.

 

I guess the main thing would have been the addition of so many stops to cover the new Nave organ, couplers and the odd extra stop here and there just meant that the two jambs each side had to go over to three for sake of practicality. That's fairly obvious when you look at the two photos - before and after.

 

Lament the loss of the 1908 console, maybe. But I certainly don't think you need to lament losing the 1974 console with its ugly square pistons, green swell pedals, those funny HNB toe pistons and tiny stop movements. You can see for yourself the quality of what they have now, which I would think is probably much nearer the chunkier and classier feel of the previous vintage Hill console.

 

I concur entirely with the above comments.

 

IMHO Alsa's description understates the lamentable lack of blend between the HN&B stuff and the original Holdich/Hill.

Mind you, anyone who has encountered similar period HN&B alterations will know how much some of their favourite sounds can stick out!

The worst of the lot is the 'John Norman Special' at 8' on the Secondary Great at Norwich. It is the only 8' flute provided on either Great division for choir accompaniment work and it coughs, spits, squeaks, burbles alternately as you go up the scale. While it might be attractive in a limited selection of very early repertoire, it is the most unsuitable rank for this particlar job. In practice David Dunnett etc. find themselves having to tie up two manuals and couple down the Harmonic Claribel from the Solo to make a 'normal' effect.

 

Edited by moderator, Sat 13 Oct 2007 09:45, to remove tasteless and defamatory last paragraph

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Thank you to Alsa and Cynic for your explanations, it all seems crystal clear - and perfectly sensible. I understand entirely regarding the draw-stops. The very small photograph of the 1974 console which I have gives a slightly misleading impression of things.

 

It sounds as if the instrument is now better in every aspect. I hope to go to Lichfield in the not-too-distant future to hear it for myself.

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