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Reeds In The Grove


Lausanne

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It may be interesting to know that the "Saxon bridge" exists since

nearly the restoration....

 

Father Schmidt, euh, sorry, Smith, was a pupil of Förner (like....Trost).

Then came the Dallam and the Harrises back from France with some

Trompettes and Cornets trough the customs.

Later we have Johannes Schnetzler, as MM mentionned here, a Schaffhausen-born

pupil of Egedacher from Passau. (This one introduced even "worse" things....)

 

So it is already the baroque english organ which is an european one, and do not

forget the Swell, which existed in Spain decades before 1712....

 

In the 19th century we have Schulze, yes, and Cavaillé-Coll (some organs),

Anneessens (some organs).

 

Would we have the Willis chorus reeds -an all which followed, up to Harrison, trough

*sensible*names- without the Cavaillé-Coll's Trompette harmonique ?

 

Germany was another melting pot, with different Orgellandschafte of its own, plus

important french and italian imputs. And this, also during the 18th century.

 

Europe, Europe, where are you ?

In Brussels ? In the heart of big finance guys, or bureaucrats threatening

one trade after the other, like with the lead issue ?

No, our continent was more globalized, by far, in the 18th and 19th century,

despite the wars -we did sooo far better during the 20th, though-.

 

So it is no wonder Cynic noted the british organ can do justice to much

music indeed...

 

Pierre

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

 

Binns was another who revered Schulze, and of course, he very carefully looked after and preserved the Armley organ, and kept it the way it was.

---

There are many things we do not know, but the influence of Schulze was, I believe, a very powerful one, which extended beyond the mere existence of German workers in the workshops of English organ-builders. Also, Schulze himself was always very happy to share his knowledge and his scales (Topfer), which were probably unknown in England before that time.

 

If Schulze's influence was 'a very powerful one' then wouldn't we expect to hear more organs that sounded like Armley? Is it just that the fabulous acoustics make it sound so unique? I would like to think that I can recognise those Armley principals after three years in the choir there, but I've yet to come across a decent copy. They're also different to those at Doncaster.

 

Certainly the local builders were interested by this new powerful sound, but by 1905 Binns for one, was all for removing two ranks of the Great Mixtur V fach in the lower octaves as well as making several other 'adjustments'. Most of his suggestions were quashed by the person who really did 'revere' Schulze, the then organist Thomas Cawthra. Some of the Binns 'improvements' were sneaked past, such as rubber weights on the bass reed tongues and raising the pressure of the Echo so that his action would work, amongst other things.

 

The majority of British organs built after 1878, even by those builders who we now refer to as Schulze disciples, had to satisfy the clients who paid for them. Several organists who played the Armley organ during the late Victorian and Edwardian period were shocked by the sound, finding the jump from Great with Rausch Quint to the Mixture too large a step. The Mixture is almost as loud as the rest of the Great. Although it is true that the effect is less shocking and more effective down in the Nave. Perhaps also those organists who were impressed couldn't quite see the Schulze Great Chorus working in your average British Church.

 

Violette certainly had Schulze's scales etc. for the pipes he made for the Doncaster organ. The pipes being made in Germany were the 32' and 16' free reeds in the pedal and wood ranks. So builders could have specified 'Schulze style' metal pipes if they had wanted to. Quite a few did, but I don't think the major builders at the time ripped up all their scales and slavishly followed the Master from Paulinzelle. Both Willis and Lewis were independently using similar tin/lead ratios to those of Schulze. Töpfer's scales were published in Britain in F.E. Robertson's Practical Treatise on Organ-Building in 1897.

 

Fr Willis seems to have been far more interested in the Echo Oboe at Armley and refused to believe it was a wood pipe until he was actually taken inside to see it for himself. Abbot & Smith copied this stop voiced on 1.5" for the Leeds Parish Church Organ, but I'm not sure that Willis used the Schulze Echo Oboe (we'll no doubt be informed). Abbot & Smith were also not so powerfully influenced in their 1900 C&O to stop them replacing the Schulze Rohrflöte with one of their tapered Celestes. Binns had wanted to track down the missing rank, but never did.

 

Most of the above history is from Kenneth I Johnstone's The Armley Schulze Organ 2nd ed. 1985.

 

And...

 

This afternoon, whilst gardening at Church, I cut down all the reeds in the grove, as the wind (high pressure westerly) was playing havoc with them.

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This strikes me as interesting as three of the four Great mixtures at STH contain tierces, as well as two of the three Pedal Mixtures.

 

Sydney Town Hall

Great Mixture Composition

Mixture 3rks.

[C-f#] ___13/5' - 11/3' - 1'

[g-a] ____2' - 11/3' - 1'

[a#1-c4] _4' - 22/3' - 2'

 

Cymbel 4rks.

[C-c]____11/3' - 1' - 2/3' - 1/2'

[c#-c1] __2' - 11/3' - 1' - 2/3'

[c#1-c2] _22/3' - 2' - 11/3' - 1'

[c#2-c4] _51/3' - 4' - 22/3' - 2'

 

Sharp Mixture 4rks

[c-f#] ___11/3 - 1' - 4/5' - 2/3'

[g-c2] ___2' - 13/5' - 11/3' - 1'

[c#2-c4] _4' - 22/3 - 2' - 13/5'

Furniture 5rks

[C-c] ____13/5' - 11/3' - 1' - 2/3' - 1/2'

[c#-c1] __2' - 13/5' - 11/3' - 1' - 2/3'

[c#1-c2] _22/3' - 2' - 13/5 - 11/3 - 1'

[c#2-c4] _8' - 51/3 - 4' - 22/3 - 2'

 

(Ampt, Robert - The Sydney Town Hall Organ 1999)

 

If ignorance is bliss, I must be very happy indeed.

Sorry...wrong again! You were quite correct to put me right.

 

P.

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If ignorance is bliss, I must be very happy indeed.

Sorry...wrong again! You were quite correct to put me right.

 

P.

 

Fact, is, the recordings we have of this organ does not lend

to guess such a design !

Tierce Mixture= not necessarily Cornet-Like!

 

Pierre

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If Schulze's influence was 'a very powerful one' then wouldn't we expect to hear more organs that sounded like Armley? Is it just that the fabulous acoustics make it sound so unique? I would like to think that I can recognise those Armley principals after three years in the choir there, but I've yet to come across a decent copy. They're also different to those at Doncaster.

 

Certainly the local builders were interested by this new powerful sound, but by 1905 Binns for one, was all for removing two ranks of the Great Mixtur V fach in the lower octaves as well as making several other 'adjustments'. Most of his suggestions were quashed by the person who really did 'revere' Schulze, the then organist Thomas Cawthra. Some of the Binns 'improvements' were sneaked past, such as rubber weights on the bass reed tongues and raising the pressure of the Echo so that his action would work, amongst other things.

 

The majority of British organs built after 1878, even by those builders who we now refer to as Schulze disciples, had to satisfy the clients who paid for them. Several organists who played the Armley organ during the late Victorian and Edwardian period were shocked by the sound, finding the jump from Great with Rausch Quint to the Mixture too large a step. The Mixture is almost as loud as the rest of the Great. Although it is true that the effect is less shocking and more effective down in the Nave. Perhaps also those organists who were impressed couldn't quite see the Schulze Great Chorus working in your average British Church.

 

Violette certainly had Schulze's scales etc. for the pipes he made for the Doncaster organ. The pipes being made in Germany were the 32' and 16' free reeds in the pedal and wood ranks. So builders could have specified 'Schulze style' metal pipes if they had wanted to. Quite a few did, but I don't think the major builders at the time ripped up all their scales and slavishly followed the Master from Paulinzelle. Both Willis and Lewis were independently using similar tin/lead ratios to those of Schulze. Töpfer's scales were published in Britain in F.E. Robertson's Practical Treatise on Organ-Building in 1897.

 

Fr Willis seems to have been far more interested in the Echo Oboe at Armley and refused to believe it was a wood pipe until he was actually taken inside to see it for himself. Abbot & Smith copied this stop voiced on 1.5" for the Leeds Parish Church Organ, but I'm not sure that Willis used the Schulze Echo Oboe (we'll no doubt be informed). Abbot & Smith were also not so powerfully influenced in their 1900 C&O to stop them replacing the Schulze Rohrflöte with one of their tapered Celestes. Binns had wanted to track down the missing rank, but never did.

 

Most of the above history is from Kenneth I Johnstone's The Armley Schulze Organ 2nd ed. 1985.

 

And...

 

This afternoon, whilst gardening at Church, I cut down all the reeds in the grove, as the wind (high pressure westerly) was playing havoc with them.

 

 

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

 

I quite agree that the Schulze sound was not copied in its entirety, except for the ONE organ which is no more, at Dewsbury, and which I previousl mentioned. To hear THAT Great chorus ring around the very large chapel, was to hear something quite extraordinary.

 

However, it's important to appreciate the fact that fashions changed extremely rapidly within a very short period of time, and whatever Lewis and Brindley achieved, was soon swept away by quite different musical priorities. In THIS respect, the quieter effects and delicate voicing of Schulze's non-chorus stops, was certainly an inspiration to many....hence the sudden popularity of the Lieblich Gedackt.

 

I suspect that this is what makes Doncaster and Armley so perpetually exciting, because they were created in a very brief period and thus stand as unique examples.

 

To answer the question about "the average parish church", one only has to contemplate what the Armley organ must have sounded like at Harrogate, when the Kennedy sisters had it installed there! It must have almost blown the roof off!!!! :o

In fact, it just doesn't bear thinking about........nightmare material.

 

Historians love straight lines as much as Schulze, but reality is always infinitely more subtle.

 

If we are looking for lineage (even where non-exists), then the nearest equivalent in the UK would be T C Lewis and his work, but with more than a hint of English reticence. I'm quite sure that the majority of organ-builders (many self-taught) simply did not understand anything much about straight-line scales, open foot voicing or Topfer, and didn't Willis really follow the principles of Gray & Davison, and then improve upon them considerably?

 

Since Schulze, the inspiration remained in certain circumstances....the Grove at Tewskbury, Lewis, perhaps certain aspects of Blackburn Cathedral, G Donald Harrison in America and Senator Emerson Richards at Atlantic City (who described the experimental Schulze chorus as "shattering"......it was never used). I believe that there is one organ-builder in America who still follows the inspiration......Dobson organs?

 

Schulze made so few instrument in any event, but it says much that at a time when most organs were "improved by Willis" or "destroyed by Harrison," nothing really bad ever happened at Doncaster or Armley, because certain people guarded against it.

 

That, I think, is the ultimate testimony.

 

MM

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

Since Schulze, the inspiration remained in certain circumstances....the Grove at Tewskbury, Lewis, perhaps certain aspects of Blackburn Cathedral, G Donald Harrison in America and Senator Emerson Richards at Atlantic City (who described the experimental Schulze chorus as "shattering"......it was never used). I believe that there is one organ-builder in America who still follows the inspiration......Dobson organs?

 

Schulze made so few instrument in any event, but it says much that at a time when most organs were "improved by Willis" or "destroyed by Harrison," nothing really bad ever happened at Doncaster or Armley, because certain people guarded against it.

 

That, I think, is the ultimate testimony.

 

MM

Yes, inspiration is the key word I think.

 

I've never thought of G D Harrison as being inspired by Schulze, but I see what you mean. However, on first playing the Skinner organs he rebuilt, the most obvious additions are the baroque positive divisions, which I imagine were to make the organs more eclectic if used with a careful selection of the rest of the organ. To what extent did he change the main principal choruses, apart from perhaps loosing one or two of the six Open Diapasons (2 leathered, 1 covered in treacle)?

 

Thankfully at least on those I've managed to play (St. Thomas's 5th Ave, NY. and Ist Church of Christ Scientist, Boston) there is still enough of the Skinner work left to enjoy. At the latter church, though, the Skinner voicing has been sabotaged by the placement of the dreaded acoustic tiles in the domed roof. During one piece I was trying out, I reached for the Swell Trumpet, hoping to hear something impressive, the effect was as if I had just added a smooth Gamba! I had to pull out all the Swell reeds to get the effect I was looking for.

 

Did you, MM, ever get to play the Aeolian Skinner organ in Keighley? I can't remember where it was, it may have been a house organ (the engineer/businessman W.H. Smith rings a bell). My uncle told me that my Grandfather (Gilbert Driver) was very impressed with the voicing, though restoration of the action had given him one or two sleepless nights. No doubt it was destroyed in the 60s.

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Yes, inspiration is the key word I think.

 

I've never thought of G D Harrison as being inspired by Schulze, but I see what you mean. However, on first playing the Skinner organs he rebuilt, the most obvious additions are the baroque positive divisions, which I imagine were to make the organs more eclectic if used with a careful selection of the rest of the organ. To what extent did he change the main principal choruses, apart from perhaps loosing one or two of the six Open Diapasons (2 leathered, 1 covered in treacle)?

 

Thankfully at least on those I've managed to play (St. Thomas's 5th Ave, NY. and Ist Church of Christ Scientist, Boston) there is still enough of the Skinner work left to enjoy. At the latter church, though, the Skinner voicing has been sabotaged by the placement of the dreaded acoustic tiles in the domed roof. During one piece I was trying out, I reached for the Swell Trumpet, hoping to hear something impressive, the effect was as if I had just added a smooth Gamba! I had to pull out all the Swell reeds to get the effect I was looking for.

 

Did you, MM, ever get to play the Aeolian Skinner organ in Keighley? I can't remember where it was, it may have been a house organ (the engineer/businessman W.H. Smith rings a bell). My uncle told me that my Grandfather (Gilbert Driver) was very impressed with the voicing, though restoration of the action had given him one or two sleepless nights. No doubt it was destroyed in the 60s.

 

 

'Driver' as in Driver and Haigh?

Do tell us.

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'Driver' as in Driver and Haigh?

Do tell us.

 

Yes, and the family thought they'd managed to get out of Organ 'business' when the firm closed in 1968 or thereabouts, but it must be a strong gene as despite pretending to be a University research fellow in materials, I now spend most of my time repairing, tuning, playing and talking about organs.

 

There are few D & H organs around now, mainly because so much of the post war jobs (as with many builders) were rebuilds of existing instruments. Many also fell victim to the baroque brigade. I have almost forgiven Francis Jackson for advising Bingley Parish Church to remove the D & H three manual (always considered a small Cathedral organ), only to have Walkers put in another second hand organ (Hill in parts!) from a redundant church in Bradford, and then add the little baroque positive.

 

But the story about the Aeolian Skinner they installed is as much information as I have at present. No doubt my uncle would remember a bit more, but he often prefers not to talk about the company as it was a difficult period just before it closed down. He much preferred to tinker with his motorbike.

 

My grandad on my father's side was also an organ builder (everyone was in those days apparently!), he worked for Thomas Hughes, but didn't survive the war.

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Yes, and the family thought they'd managed to get out of Organ 'business' when the firm closed in 1968 or thereabouts, but it must be a strong gene as despite pretending to be a University research fellow in materials, I now spend most of my time repairing, tuning, playing and talking about organs.

 

There are few D & H organs around now, mainly because so much of the post war jobs (as with many builders) were rebuilds of existing instruments. Many also fell victim to the baroque brigade. I have almost forgiven Francis Jackson for advising Bingley Parish Church to remove the D & H three manual (always considered a small Cathedral organ), only to have Walkers put in another second hand organ (Hill in parts!) from a redundant church in Bradford, and then add the little baroque positive.

 

But the story about the Aeolian Skinner they installed is as much information as I have at present. No doubt my uncle would remember a bit more, but he often prefers not to talk about the company as it was a difficult period just before it closed down. He much preferred to tinker with his motorbike.

 

My grandad on my father's side was also an organ builder (everyone was in those days apparently!), he worked for Thomas Hughes, but didn't survive the war.

 

I know a Driver and Haigh - it's in the Moravian Church in Leominster. [somewhat strange job actually]. I did a bit of a tidy-up on it a year or two back. That one won't get either replaced or baroque-ised so one of your family's jobs is 'safe'.

 

How long was the firm in business?

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. You talk about it being a strong gene, actually it's more of a disease. Once you're into pipe organs there is no cure. Not that I mind.

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Yes, inspiration is the key word I think.

 

I've never thought of G D Harrison as being inspired by Schulze, but I see what you mean. However, on first playing the Skinner organs he rebuilt, the most obvious additions are the baroque positive divisions, which I imagine were to make the organs more eclectic if used with a careful selection of the rest of the organ. To what extent did he change the main principal choruses, apart from perhaps loosing one or two of the six Open Diapasons (2 leathered, 1 covered in treacle)?

 

Thankfully at least on those I've managed to play (St. Thomas's 5th Ave, NY. and Ist Church of Christ Scientist, Boston) there is still enough of the Skinner work left to enjoy. At the latter church, though, the Skinner voicing has been sabotaged by the placement of the dreaded acoustic tiles in the domed roof. During one piece I was trying out, I reached for the Swell Trumpet, hoping to hear something impressive, the effect was as if I had just added a smooth Gamba! I had to pull out all the Swell reeds to get the effect I was looking for.

 

Did you, MM, ever get to play the Aeolian Skinner organ in Keighley? I can't remember where it was, it may have been a house organ (the engineer/businessman W.H. Smith rings a bell). My uncle told me that my Grandfather (Gilbert Driver) was very impressed with the voicing, though restoration of the action had given him one or two sleepless nights. No doubt it was destroyed in the 60s.

 

 

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

 

 

The reference to Schulze and G Donald Harrison was meant to be a little oblique, because I suspect it was not quite a direct influence, one suspects.

 

Whilst Schulze may have been something of a British phenomenon, there was the equivalent in America, with the Walcker at Methuem, which G Donald Harrison re-built. This was probably the organ which most influenced him for the instrument at the Mormon Tabernacle. However, in spite of G D-H's involvement with Willis, when he left for America, he seemed to pick up the tradition of Lewis; the organ-builder who most admired and sought to replicate the Schulze style. THIS I think is the sort of subliminal influence I intended to convey. In reality, perhaps the Walcker at Methuen and the Steinmeyer at Altoona were of even greater importance to his development.

 

G D-H actually went much further than merely the work of one builder, as we know. In this respect, it was Carl Weinrich who introduced him to the organs of Silbermann, but again, Schulze is not a million miles from the Silbermann influence.

 

A further influence was also, of course, E Power Biggs, who got G D-H to build a new organ for the Busch Reisenger Hall at Harvard, prior to the days of the lovely Flentrop which nows lives there. It was from the G D-H instrument that E Power Biggs did all his weekly broadcasts across America, and opened the ears of people to a very different organ tradition to that represented by Ernest Skinner and his fellow "symphonic" organ-builders.

 

I heard the organ at Riverside when I was across the pond for a few months, and also played the Mother Church organ, Boston, for a couple of hours, as well as some of the surviving Holtkamp organs in Boston, Mass. This was about 30 years ago, but I cannot recall whether the Mother Church organ had by then been altered by Lawrence Phelps. Still, with 276 or so ranks, it made some fairly colossal sounds!

 

The Carl Weinrich/G D-H collaboration was also interesting in that it spawned the Praetorius Organ experiment, and later included the much maligned Ralph Downes who was then in America. Interestingly, this move towards the "American Classic" and the eclectic organ was almost totally rejected by E Power Biggs at Harvard, and the schism which followed resulted in Biggs personally paying for the new Dirk Flentrop at the Busch Hall. Biggs was determined to show American organ-builders what a "proper" baroque organ should be like, and personally, I cannot think of a more delightful lesson than this truly beautiful instrument.

 

With regard to the tonal changes wrought by G Donald Harrison, I suspect that it was a bit more than losing two or three diapasons. His brief foray into "Harmonics" mixtures soon gave way to quite bold quint choruses and the "reedless Great".

As for the Choir organs of American instruments of the era, they were (and still often are) far better than almost anything to be found in the UK at the time, but again, within the restrictions of the eclectic aim.

 

To the more local point about the "Aeolian Skinner" organ in Keighley.

 

I don't think it was ever an Aeolian-Skinner, but actually a resited Aeolian player-organ, which certainly came from a private house. The organ had a console, and the roll-player mechanism; the key contacts being baths of mercury!! Oddly enough, I was talking about this organ with a retired RC priest last Sunday, who played this organ often (at the Pugin designed St Anne RC church), and even had dozens and dozens of the old player-rolls in his room above the priest's quarters!!

 

Now the name Smith is interesting, but I'm not sure it was W H Smith. Was it by any chance Smith of "Dean, Smith and Grace" lathes?

 

If it was, then I know a delightful Yorkshire story about him, because after WW2, he was invited to attend a business seminar at the Cowley Works of Austin Cars Ltd; where the speaker was Sir Herbert Austin....a man who was Eton educated and a bit of a toff.

 

Old Smith arrived in his Rolls-Royce and went into the seminar, where industrialists surrounded him and chatted to him. He was the man who then made the best lathes in the world, and the first to make the computer controlled lathe, using punched tape.

 

Anyway, Sir Herbert was giving them all a pep-talk about Britiain war effort and the need to rebuild the economy, and summed up his powerful speech with the words, "So gentlemen, I would urge you all to buy British things, British products, British expertise and, in so doing, revitalise Britain's economy!"

 

Old Smith listened silently, and during the applause, stood up and raised his hand.

 

Sir Herbert Austin invited him to speak, whereupon old Smith said, in a rich Yorkshire accent, "Thank you Sir 'erbert, but could aye just mek a point ab'at buyin' British? I'll tell thee straight Sir 'erbert, that when thy buys my bloody lathes in preference to t'foreign ones, I'll buy thy bloody wagons and cars!!!"

 

With that a cheer erupted in the hall and everyone roared with laughter, as Mr Smith donned his top-hat, crawled back into his Rolls-Royce and departed.

 

Austin were using Swiss made lathes in their factory.

 

MM

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MM, there is absolutely nothing in common between D. Harrison

Diapason choruses and E-F Walcker's ones.

So Methuen, as left by him 1948, is an F1 hybrid (F1= an hybrid

from two completely differing species).

 

Where comes D.H. conception of the D.chorus ?

Schulze it is not, it is milder by far. Willis III ?

 

Pierre

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

To the more local point about the "Aeolian Skinner" organ in Keighley.

 

I don't think it was ever an Aeolian-Skinner, but actually a resited Aeolian player-organ, which certainly came from a private house. The organ had a console, and the roll-player mechanism; the key contacts being baths of mercury!! Oddly enough, I was talking about this organ with a retired RC priest last Sunday, who played this organ often (at the Pugin designed St Anne RC church), and even had dozens and dozens of the old player-rolls in his room above the priest's quarters!!

MM

 

Thanks MM, for fleshing out your G D-H/Schulze link. I too would probably have given the common link as Silbermann. The founder of the Schulze firm (J.F.), born in the year Silbermann died, is said to have been influenced by his powerful flue choruses and solid construction techniques. I see Pierre is offering more information on this topic.

 

My story of the Aeolian organ had suffered from the Chinese whispers syndrome, but I'm very pleased to hear that it actually existed. Your extra details, mercury cup contacts etc. explain perfectly why it gave my granddad such trouble. I remember also something about it being quite a heavy thing to move! But is it still in St. Anne's RC? Or have the health and safety team bricked up the whole thing?

 

The Smith chap may very well be the Lathe factory magnate: after your great tale, I certainly hope so. The other link to the 'Aeolian' Smith is that I think his were those fabulous model steam engines seen at the entrance to Bingley Library. I apologise at this point to the majority of members who may be wondering what this has to do with organs!

 

------------------------

 

And to Cynic, if the organ bug is a disease, there are far too many who are completely immune. I've tried giving it to my partner, but to no avail. I have to find someone else to hold the keys.

 

Thanks for the info on the Leominster Organ, a 2 manual according to the opus list I have here published in the 50 year celebration booklet in 1932. They had several far flung contracts with the Moravians, as the Pudsey Moravian community recommended them. I don't think that organ survived or will no doubt have been modified if it has. Simon Lindley may still live close by and I know he has survived and no one has yet had the cheek to modify him. :)

 

Driver & Haigh was founded in 1882 by Joseph Driver (born 1856 in Cowling), but it is possible that he was in business prior to this date with someone else called Lupton. I have yet to find out with whom Joseph trained. Haigh was the 'financial' side of the partnership and took no part in the actual organ building, so I'm told. They took over Spencer (Frank?) organ builder's of Nesfield st. Bradford. Then moved to larger premises in Houghton Place, then 135 East Parade and finally a large four-storey building at 26 Snowdon Street in 1912. In 1965 the building was subject to a compulsory purchase order as there was a new road planned. This new road didn't appear for another 25 years!

 

There was another Driver (& Co.) building organs in the same region (Burnley), but apparently no relative.

 

There were four generations of Drivers who worked for the firm:

 

Driver I: Joseph

Driver II: Thomas-Henry (brothers Sam (went to Canada), John stayed at home and voiced reeds, Charles (became an organ builder in New Zealand) and Leonard who died young.

Driver III: Gilbert

Driver IV: Colin, apprenticed at the same time as John Clough, they both worked for Walkers when D & H closed, and after a spell with Conackers I believe, John set up on his own. My Granddad thought John was the best apprentice he'd ever had.

Gilbert's daughter Sandra was my mother.

 

Although it's nice to know there are one or two surviving examples of the company's work, I don't shed a tear when another one goes. I've moved on, and am enjoying being involved in projects to build new organs, and know a good sound when I hear it. Unfortunately there seem to be far more poor organs around (Lausanne certainly) at present than good ones, but then it's a matter of taste - perhaps.

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Of course Schulze was in the Silbermann tradition, like others

(Jehmlich for example), with those big quint Mixtures.

Stephen Bicknell pointed out, very comprehensively, where

the differencies lie between the baroque chorus and Schulze's.

 

http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~oneskull/3.6.2.htm

 

Now about Silbermann followers in the 20th century, there have

been many mistakes !

Emil Rupp asked Oscar Walcker, for example, to build "Silbermann's Salicionals"

which....Did not exist in (Andreas!) Silbermann's organs, where they had been

added later by builders like Wetzel.

The Andreas S. organ was seen as a Bach organ, which it was not, but then

do not ask Rupp to see any difference between Andreas in France and Gottfried

in Germany...

It is quite probable Schulze, Lewis and Michell & Thynne were closer to any Silbermann

tradition than the "Reform", despite those differencies described by S. Bicknell above,

and which he describes better than I could do it in english.

 

Pierre

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I know a Driver and Haigh - it's in the Moravian Church in Leominster. [somewhat strange job actually]. I did a bit of a tidy-up on it a year or two back. That one won't get either replaced or baroque-ised so one of your family's jobs is 'safe'.

 

How long was the firm in business?

P.S. You talk about it being a strong gene, actually it's more of a disease. Once you're into pipe organs there is no cure. Not that I mind.

 

Hi

 

Driver & Haigh's entry in DBOB reads:-

DRIVER & HAIGH (FIRM)

Established: 1882

Floruit: 1882-1965?

Located: Bradford, Yorks

Trade: ob

 

Addresses used by this firm

Address From To

21 Nesfield Str, Bradford 1882 1889D

Houghton Pl, Bradford, Yorks [additional] 1888 1894D

Drewton Str, Bradford, Yorks 1888 1908D

135 East Parade, Bradford, Yorks 1894 1908D

26 Snowden Str, Bradford, Yorks 1912D 1950+

 

References for the information above

 

Family Enterprise, The Story of Some North Country Organ Builders: Elvin, L. (1986), p.030

Trade Directories: Slater West Riding 1887/91; Kelly West Riding 1889/97/1904/08; White's West Riding 1894; Kelly Bradford 1900/02-03/12/17; Leeds & District 1923; North East Counties 1938

Century's Progress, The - 1893: in BOA file

BIOS Rep 17/2/p.22: Edmonds, B.B.

 

Cross references for this firm

 

Spencer, C - successors to

 

Walker & Sons, J.W. - taken over by (c1965)

 

NPOR lists 12 organs that they built/rebuilt (n doubt there were others, given the number of churches & chapels in West Yorkshire that are long closed. I've played the D&H a Holy Trinity, Idle - it's a mees with a lot of the stops not working fully, the entire Choir organ except the Tromba removed and not in the best of tuning. I gather it's rarely used these days.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Thanks for the info on the Leominster Organ, a 2 manual according to the opus list I have here published in the 50 year celebration booklet in 1932. They had several far flung contracts with the Moravians, as the Pudsey Moravian community recommended them. I don't think that organ survived or will no doubt have been modified if it has. Simon Lindley may still live close by and I know he has survived and no one has yet had the cheek to modify him. :)

 

Hi

 

NPOR would appreciate a copy of the booklet, if that's possible.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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MM, there is absolutely nothing in common between D. Harrison

Diapason choruses and E-F Walcker's ones.

So Methuen, as left by him 1948, is an F1 hybrid (F1= an hybrid

from two completely differing species).

 

Where comes D.H. conception of the D.chorus ?

Schulze it is not, it is milder by far. Willis III ?

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

The problem with Methuen is the fact that when Donald Harrison got to it, it had already changed in the hands of Ernest Skinner.

 

As for any Willis III influence on Donald Harrison, this is fairly unlikely. Harrison was always, at heart, a Lewis man, and in America he found an outlet for that style, as well as a great deal of intellectual input from some of the best minds of the day.

 

It seems that at Liverpool Cathedral, Willis III actually contacted the Rev.Noel Bonavia-Hunt, and on his suggestion, quite different scales were proposed, including the Schulze 2/7th mouths. Beyond that, I know little about it. Whatever happened, it all worked out superbly.

 

As for tonal mildness, it could be said that almost any organ in the world has milder choruses than a Schulze, which were (and still are) astonishingly bold in concept and execution. Even Lewis never went quite that far with his choruses, but Brindley probably did at Dewsbury (organ now destroyed).

 

For the most part, I would suggest that most Willis III organs were rather poor tonally, but contained some nice things nevertheless. The problem is, people think of Westminster Cathedral and Liverpool, and tend to think that these were typical, when in point of fact, they were exceptional. It's very easy to demonise organs of the period and those involved with them, but the truth is, the Edwardian taste was not far removed from that of the orchestrian and the theatre-organ. Furthermore, it was an unusually difficult time to be a organ-builder after one war finished and another one commenced.

 

MM

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When one sees the specifications of the Mixtures at Liverpool Cathedral,

it seems doubtful Schulze or Bonavia-Hunt may have inflenced them:

 

GREAT

 

Mixture 5r: 3 1/5', 2 2/3', 1 3/5', 1 1/3', 1'

 

Sesquialtera 5r: 1 1/3', 1 1/7', 1', 2/3', 1/2'

 

CHOIR

 

Dulciana Mixture 5r: 3 1/5', 2 2/3', 1 3/5', 1 1/3', 1'

 

SWELL

 

Lieblich Mixture 3r: 1 3/5', 1 1/3', 1'

 

Full Mixture 5r: 2 2/3', 1 3/5', 1 1/3', 1 1/7', 1'

 

SOLO

 

Cornet de Violes 3r: 3 1/5', 2 2/3', 2'

 

ECHO

 

Harmonica aetherea: 3 1/5', 2 2/3', 2'

 

PEDAL

 

Mixture 3r: 3 1/5', 2 2/3', 2 2/7'

 

Fourniture: 2 2/3', 2 2/7', 2', 1 1/3', 1'

 

Pierre

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When one sees the specifications of the Mixtures at Liverpool Cathedral,

it seems doubtful Schulze or Bonavia-Hunt may have inflenced them:

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

I have been going around in circles on the net and in my attic, trying to find out the full history the Liverpool Specification as first proposed, and then what actually went into the organ.

 

It's so long ago since I learned about this, I cannot recall the details, and (sob sob) I cannot find my wonderful copies of the original book about Liverpool Cathedral (a large tome now worth quite a lot of money) and the original book about the organ.

 

Never mind (he thinks).....others will know!

 

I think if you look at the actual specification, the Mixtures are very different from those you describe!

 

I also vaguely recall that the original proposals were altered radically, and apart from changes/additions by David Wells, I don't think that the original registers have changed very much.....I could be wrong though!

 

This should test everyone's knowledge and/or memory! (Chuckles to self)

 

 

MM

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NPOR lists 12 organs that they built/rebuilt (n doubt there were others, given the number of churches & chapels in West Yorkshire that are long closed. I've played the D&H a Holy Trinity, Idle - it's a mess with a lot of the stops not working fully, the entire Choir organ except the Tromba removed and not in the best of tuning. I gather it's rarely used these days.

 

Thanks Tony, I'd checked the NPOR data and it seemed close enough, although there are one or two errors on the Bingley Parish Church information for example, the 1922 D & H organ was new apart from a pedal OD from the F & A of 1870 and two OD ranks from the previous 1852 (Hill?) organ. The organist there used to be our village organist (Cottingley), a lovely man, Malcolm Bentley, parhaps you know him.

 

By 1932 the firm had built 44 new organs, 1 one manual, 39 two manual and 4 three manual: Wibsey Congregational, Bradford, The Anglican Parish Church, Bingley, Fullneck Moravian College, Pudsey and The Primitive Methodist Church, Saltaire Rd. Shipley.

 

15 of the new organs were in Bradford, of which I think only Frizinghall Parish Church 2 manual still exists, but probably remains unplayed, silently collecting dust. If you have time, I'd welcome a report from you on its state. A few years back John Clough told me it was still functioning. He was also the person who removed the choir division from Idle Parish Church organ: an enlarged Forster & Andrews. The church only keep it for weddings, otherwise, the vicar told me, it would have been thrown out long ago. The exhaust pneumatic is quite explosive, takes a while to get used to. Apparently the church decided they couldn't afford John Clough to look after it any more so Mr Fletcher does what he can, when he's allowed in. The high pressure Tromba, in what remains of the choir, is a fine stop - it was in tune when I played it! John Driver (my Granddad's uncle) was the reed voicer.

 

In addition to their new organs, D & H had also rebuilt 58 organs prior to 1932, which usually meant new action, either tracker or exhaust pneumatic and additional stops with often any wild reeds tamed to suit the period.

 

The booklet states that the list of new and rebuilt organs, was just 'some of our organs', but I can't imagine they forgot to mention any!

 

As far as I know there is only one example of this '50 year celebration booklet' kept by my uncle. I have asked him about giving any relevant documents to the Birmingham archive, but he doesn't want to. However, he did eventually agree to let them photocopy the 'tunings log book' and 'work in hand' etc., but these only seemed to go back to WW2. There may be others, but he's not found them (apparently). He has a vast basement and attic stuffed full of things he rescued when the works closed, but most of it must have rotted or rusted away by now.

 

I have a photocopy of the booklet and could scan the pages to send to you.

 

David

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

I have been going around in circles on the net and in my attic, trying to find out the full history the Liverpool Specification as first proposed, and then what actually went into the organ.

 

It's so long ago since I learned about this, I cannot recall the details, and (sob sob) I cannot find my wonderful copies of the original book about Liverpool Cathedral (a large tome now worth quite a lot of money) and the original book about the organ.

 

Never mind (he thinks).....others will know!

 

I think if you look at the actual specification, the Mixtures are very different from those you describe!

 

I also vaguely recall that the original proposals were altered radically, and apart from changes/additions by David Wells, I don't think that the original registers have changed very much.....I could be wrong though!

 

This should test everyone's knowledge and/or memory! (Chuckles to self)

MM

 

 

I do not mind the things have been tinkered with; my concern is the original design,

which dates before WW I (the organ was stocked some years before being actually erected,

in a time when the ideas began to evolve towards standardised conceptions).

 

If you compare this typically post-romantic, experimental design, with Jean Guillou's

Mixtures at the Chant d'oiseau church organ in Brussels, soooo many decades afterwards,

be prepaired to experiment some schock. But you could be proud to be british as well.

(Of course, Mr Guillou knew those specs very, very well....)

 

And oh yes, this original design we know from Emil Rupp's "Die Entwicklungsgeschichte der Orgelbaukunst".

 

Pierre

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I have a photocopy of the booklet and could scan the pages to send to you.

 

David

 

Hi

 

That would be very helpful (and I can pass it on to BOA as well) - or if it's more convenient, PM or e-mail me and I'll give you my postal address to send the copies.

 

Frizinghall is pretty close, so I may try and pop in one day, if I can find the time. I think I've heard that some work has been done on the organ there recently (my church's organist lives pretty close to there). The organ is certainly still there (or was last year).

 

I'm sure that the Birmingham archives would be very happy to have anything that's survived from your Grandfather's collection if it should become available.

 

What annoyed me most about Idle was that the vicar had told me, when I went in to trey the organ a week or so before the wedding that I played for, that he would get the tuner int, and he never did! That meant the Tromba was unuseable as a slol reed because there were a couple of notes way off pitch in the middle octaves. Also, trying to remember which of the Oboe derivations was working was a little problematic. Still, it's not as bad as a Brindley & Foster I played at another Bradford church where we could here water bubbling in the pneumatic action tubes, and the basses of both great Open Diapason went AWOL during the service.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I do not mind the things have been tinkered with; my concern is the original design,

which dates before WW I (the organ was stocked some years before being actually erected,

in a time when the ideas began to evolve towards standardised conceptions).

 

If you compare this typically post-romantic, experimental design, with Jean Guillou's

Mixtures at the Chant d'oiseau church organ in Brussels, soooo many decades afterwards,

be prepaired to experiment some schock. But you could be proud to be british as well.

(Of course, Mr Guillou knew those specs very, very well....)

 

And oh yes, this original design we know from Emil Rupp's "Die Entwicklungsgeschichte der Orgelbaukunst".

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

The organ was stored in a large building to the immediate west of the cathedral, and I believe suffered a direct bomb hit or something; setting the whole thing back quite a while. The trouble is, I was all of 14 when I heard all this, and I cannot ever recall discussing it or reading about it since.

 

However, someone obviously saw sense before the organ was put in the cathedral, and the specification I have for 1964 (when I was 14), indicates that the Swell had a V rks Sesquialtera and a V rks Mixture in addition to mutations; the Great a V rks Mixture and a Vrks Fourniture; the Pedal a IIIrks Mixture and a V rks Fourniture; the Choir had a full set of mutations to 1ft and a III rks Cymbel; the enclosed Choir had a Dulciana Mixture of Vrks; the Bombarde had its Grand Chorus of Xrks; the Solo organ, in with a retrospective nod in the direction of tonal decadence, had a Cornet de Violes of IIIrks.

 

So the original specification was dead in the water almost from the outset, by the looks of it......thank heavens!

 

I don't think, for 1926, this was what one might describe as a "standarised" set of components!!!!!!

 

MM

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15 of the new organs were in Bradford, of which I think only Frizinghall Parish Church 2 manual still exists, but probably remains unplayed, silently collecting dust.

 

 

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

 

 

Well, well, well!!

 

Frizinghall was my second appointment as an organist, when I was all of 15, but the funny thing is, I had forgotten who built the organ, but now I know.

 

Actually, it wasn't such a bad sound, and the acoustic of the church was half decent.

 

The organ did, however, have a very special "trick".

 

For some obscure reason, the blower was installed alongside the organ, but at case-top level on a sort of beam. When the thing started, it made the most dreadful noise, as the wind first rushed and then the mickey-mouse flapper valve dropped closed. It sounded EXACTLY like a toilet cystern flushing, which at the age of 15, is quite irresistable.

 

So when the sermons ended (usually quite dreadful) it was always, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy.............WHOOSH!"

 

:P

 

MM

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When one sees the specifications of the Mixtures at Liverpool Cathedral,

it seems doubtful Schulze or Bonavia-Hunt may have inflenced them:

 

GREAT

 

Mixture 5r: 3 1/5', 2 2/3', 1 3/5', 1 1/3', 1'

 

Sesquialtera 5r: 1 1/3', 1 1/7', 1', 2/3', 1/2'

 

CHOIR

 

Dulciana Mixture 5r: 3 1/5', 2 2/3', 1 3/5', 1 1/3', 1'

 

SWELL

 

Lieblich Mixture 3r: 1 3/5', 1 1/3', 1'

 

Full Mixture 5r: 2 2/3', 1 3/5', 1 1/3', 1 1/7', 1'

 

SOLO

 

Cornet de Violes 3r: 3 1/5', 2 2/3', 2'

 

ECHO

 

Harmonica aetherea: 3 1/5', 2 2/3', 2'

 

PEDAL

 

Mixture 3r: 3 1/5', 2 2/3', 2 2/7'

 

Fourniture: 2 2/3', 2 2/7', 2', 1 1/3', 1'

 

Pierre

 

Pierre - these were changed almost as soon as the instrument was completed. Apparently Goss-Custard hated tierce mixtures. I was told this by Ian Tracey - I have no reason to assume that he was mistaken.

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Yes, Pcnd,

 

Interesting here is the fact someone, before WW I,

did write something like that.

Maybe the organ never was built so.

But it influenced some organs built 80 years later.....And

might well continue to do so.

Maybe a good idea would be to......Will be continued

in 10 years.

 

Pierre

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