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Liverpool Cathedral Organ


Jonathan Thorne

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Sorry to be an organ buff but to my ears the organ at Liverpool Cathedral (C of E) has lost a lot of power as I heard it the other week both up and downstairs. I know the Tuba Magna has been revoiced many times, but there's something about it which isn't the same.

 

Any thoughts?........

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Sorry to be an organ buff but to my ears the organ at Liverpool Cathedral (C of E) has lost a lot of power as I heard it the other week both up and downstairs. I know the Tuba Magna has been revoiced many times, but there's something about it which isn't the same.

 

Any thoughts?........

Ear wax? :D

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No it wasn't Ear wax - there's something not right about the organ. The Grand Chorus isn't on it's 10 ranks anymore and the Tuba Magna is not on 50 and their resonaters have been cut down and tongues moved a few notes.

 

 

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

 

 

That should please "pcnd" no end. Has he applied?

 

:D

 

MM

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No it wasn't Ear wax - there's something not right about the organ. The Grand Chorus isn't on it's 10 ranks anymore and the Tuba Magna is not on 50 and their resonaters have been cut down and tongues moved a few notes.

One of the most thrilling sounds I ever heard was the Anniversary Recital the year the Tuba Magna was moved to the gallery below the South Transept facade. The Dean (I think) welcomed the capacity crowd by reading Psalm 150, after which Ian Tracey immediately launched into Grand Choeur Dialogué using the Tuba. The effect on the audience, heads still bowed, was like a Mexican wave. Although loud, it was a glorious sound - the same attack as York, but brighter. The pipes were clearly visible on that occasion, but I don't recall seeing them since, or hearing the TM with quite so much presence.

 

I've always wanted to know why/when the Pedal mutations were suppressed. Anyone know?

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Sorry to be an organ buff but to my ears the organ at Liverpool Cathedral (C of E) has lost a lot of power as I heard it the other week both up and downstairs. I know the Tuba Magna has been revoiced many times, but there's something about it which isn't the same.

 

Any thoughts?........

 

 

I gather its once again the largest instrument in the Country

 

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-n...00252-20182466/

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was interested to see that an updated specification for the organ has just been published on the Cathedral website, including the new Central organ:

 

http://www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk/Resou...ECIFICATION.pdf

 

There was a short interview with Ian Tracey and David Wells on Sunday morning on BBC Radio Merseyside talking about the new Central organ which I understand was used for the first time last Saturday when the new Dean was installed.

 

Looking at the spec, the Tuba Magna is still on 50". It certainly still sounded as powerful as ever last time I heard it.

 

Looking forward to hearing the new Central organ when I visit the Cathedral over Christmas.

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One of the most thrilling sounds I ever heard was the Anniversary Recital the year the Tuba Magna was moved to the gallery below the South Transept facade. The Dean (I think) welcomed the capacity crowd by reading Psalm 150, after which Ian Tracey immediately launched into Grand Choeur Dialogué using the Tuba. The effect on the audience, heads still bowed, was like a Mexican wave. Although loud, it was a glorious sound - the same attack as York, but brighter. The pipes were clearly visible on that occasion, but I don't recall seeing them since, or hearing the TM with quite so much presence.

 

I've always wanted to know why/when the Pedal mutations were suppressed. Anyone know?

 

There were only three - all of which were derived from one stopped wooden rank. The specification as printed in The Organ Volume III No. 12 (April 1924) lists the folllowing mutations and mixtures:

 

Double Quint 21 1/3

Quint 10 2/3 (Parent rank)

Twelfth 5 1/3

Mixture (17-19-22) III

Fourniture (15-19-22-26-29) V

 

By the mid-1970s, the organ booklet which was available at that time listed no Pedal mutations - and the composition of the three-rank Mixture had been altered to 15-19-22.

 

Given that there is still a Resultant bass (64ft.) - which I found to be strangely unsatisfying in quiet music - and three full-length 32ft. flues, I suspect that the mutations proved to be ineffective.

 

However, I would agree that the organ is not as loud as it used to be. I heard it live in 1986 and had to leave the building, since I found the sound to be almost unbearably loud. I also heard it a couple of years ago at the August Bank Holiday recital (which was played superbly by Ian Tracey). Although I had been given a reserved seat in the front row, I was actually disappointed at the full organ sound - even with the new party horns and octave couplers, it was certainly not unbearably loud.

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There were only three - all of which were derived from one stopped wooden rank. The specification as printed in The Organ Volume III No. 12 (April 1924) lists the folllowing mutations and mixtures:

 

Double Quint 21 1/3

Quint 10 2/3 (Parent rank)

Twelfth 5 1/3

Mixture (17-19-22) III

Fourniture (15-19-22-26-29) V

 

By the mid-1970s, the organ booklet which was available at that time listed no Pedal mutations - and the composition of the three-rank Mixture had been altered to 15-19-22.

 

Given that there is still a Resultant bass (64ft.) - which I found to be strangely unsatisfying in quiet music - and three full-length 32ft. flues, I suspect that the mutations proved to be ineffective.

 

However, I would agree that the organ is not as loud as it used to be. I heard it live in 1986 and had to leave the building, since I found the sound to be almost unbearably loud. I also heard it a couple of years ago at the August Bank Holiday recital (which was played superbly by Ian Tracey). Although I had been given a reserved seat in the front row, I was actually disappointed at the full organ sound - even with the new party horns and octave couplers, it was certainly not unbearably loud.

 

In the recent (excellent) Priory DVD from Liverpool, Ian Tracey talks about the "vulgar fractions" on the organ which I assume means the mutation stops. Am I right, and is this common parlance?

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In the recent (excellent) Priory DVD from Liverpool, Ian Tracey talks about the "vulgar fractions" on the organ which I assume means the mutation stops. Am I right, and is this common parlance?

 

Various organists (and others) do indeed refer to mutations as 'vulgar fractions'. Whether or not it is considered to be common parlance, I do not know.

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Various organists (and others) do indeed refer to mutations as 'vulgar fractions'. Whether or not it is considered to be common parlance, I do not know.

 

We may also encounter "whistles". :P

 

(Unfair for original, or simply well-made and voiced stops, of course)

 

Pierre

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However, I would agree that the organ is not as loud as it used to be. I heard it live in 1986 and had to leave the building, since I found the sound to be almost unbearably loud. I also heard it a couple of years ago at the August Bank Holiday recital (which was played superbly by Ian Tracey). Although I had been given a reserved seat in the front row, I was actually disappointed at the full organ sound - even with the new party horns and octave couplers, it was certainly not unbearably loud. [/font]

 

When we get older...

 

(Sorry! I assure you, I am only joking!)

 

John

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For what it's worth, a vulgar fraction is what mathematicians call fractions written in the 1/2 form (as opposed to decimal fractions).

 

Not sure why it needs to be made explicit, I've never seen a twelfth labelled as 2.67...

 

I believe that a vulgar fraction is one where the numerator is a higher number than the denominator. Hence a 2 2/3 twelfth would be 8/3, and vulgar. A larigot would be 4/3, also vulgar. In this definition, the higher pitched mutations (none, septieme etc) would not be vulgar. So I find it a rather confusing term to use in this context - in fact the DVD by Prof Tracey was the first time I heard it used by an organist.

 

Why not simply "fractions", or more conventionally "mutations"

 

JJK

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I believe that a vulgar fraction is one where the numerator is a higher number than the denominator. Hence a 2 2/3 twelfth would be 8/3, and vulgar. A larigot would be 4/3, also vulgar. In this definition, the higher pitched mutations (none, septieme etc) would not be vulgar. So I find it a rather confusing term to use in this context - in fact the DVD by Prof Tracey was the first time I heard it used by an organist.

 

Why not simply "fractions", or more conventionally "mutations"

 

JJK

 

Sorry - having looked at wikipedia :rolleyes: , I realise that there are apparently differing usages - "vulgar fraction" may mean any fraction and "improper fraction" is the type I described as vulgar. My maths teacher wasn't aware of this! Anyway, it does explain the use of the term for mutations.

 

At least we can be sure that lower pitched mutations are both vulgar and improper!

 

JJK

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"At least we can be sure that lower pitched mutations are both vulgar and improper!"

(quote)

 

Darf ich eine Übersetzung haben, bitte ?

 

Pierre

 

"Mindestens wir können sicher sein, daß niedrigere geworfene Veränderungen vulgär und unsachgemäß sind"

 

is the nearest that I can get - doesn't really go, in German does it?

 

David Wyld. :rolleyes:

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The term "vulgar fraction" simply means common fraction; in other words a numerator over a denominator (neither zero). However, the term vulgar is sometimes (wrongly) reserved for improper fractions (ones in which the numerator is greater than the denominator).

 

I don't see what's wrong with calling mutations mutations. Vulgar fractions should be reserved for the mathematical context.

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"Mindestens wir können sicher sein, daß niedrigere geworfene Veränderungen vulgär und unsachgemäß sind"

 

is the nearest that I can get - doesn't really go, in German does it?

 

David Wyld. :rolleyes:

 

Das ist ganz verstandbar, kein Problem.

(Bezüglich Liverpool wäre eine komplettes Zurückkehrs zur originelles

Zustand, aussergewöhnliche terzhaltige und septimehaltige Mixturen

inklusiv, besonders empfehlenswert...)

 

(The above isn't translatable in english, apologies)

 

Pierre

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Das ist ganz verstandbar, kein Problem.

(Bezüglich Liverpool wäre eine komplettes Zurückkehrs zur originelles

Zustand, aussergewöhnliche terzhaltige und septimehaltige Mixturen

inklusiv, besonders empfehlenswert...)

 

(The above isn't translatable in english, apologies)

 

Pierre

 

Doch, Pierre – das läßt sich ziemlich leicht ins Englische überstetzen.

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Doch, Pierre – das läßt sich ziemlich leicht ins Englische überstetzen.

 

Would I have made some progress then ? My mothertongue was a flemish dialect,

which is closer to the standard "Hochdeutsch" than the "Algemeen beschaafd nederlands".

I read more easily in german than in french or dutch; but to the point of being translatable,

well, da'ss gans nieuw.

 

Mat gréiss,

Peter

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"Mindestens wir können sicher sein, daß niedrigere geworfene Veränderungen vulgär und unsachgemäß sind"

 

is the nearest that I can get - doesn't really go, in German does it?

 

David Wyld. :rolleyes:

Erm ... It works, in a way, if you translate "vulgar" as "gewöhnlich", which means both "normal" and, well, "vulgar".

 

"Zumindest können wir sicher sein, dass tiefe Aliquote sowohl gewöhnlich als auch unpassend sind".

 

But don't let Friedrich Ladegast overhear you saying that.

 

Best,

Friedrich (a different one)

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