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Mander Organs

Liverpool Cathedral Organ


Jonathan Thorne

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So did the main organ....once upon a time....

 

R

 

.....With this stunning Grand chorus structure, maybe ?

 

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'

 

(The Pedal's Mixtures differ only by the flat 21 firsts from the manuals, but there are

of course separate, deeper mutation ranks).

 

Pierre:):):)

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.....With this stunning Grand chorus structure, maybe ?

 

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'

 

(The Pedal's Mixtures differ only by the flat 21 firsts from the manuals, but there are

of course separate, deeper mutation ranks).

 

Pierre:):):)

If only! You are teasing, aren't you Pierre? This certainly isn't the present scheme (or even the published 'original' spec).

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If only! You are teasing, aren't you Pierre? This certainly isn't the present scheme (or even the published 'original' spec).

 

It is indeed the original specification, found in the 1929 "Entwicklungsgeschichte der Orgelbaukunst" from Emil Rupp.

 

Pierre

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It certainly IS correct: I have the original 1922 contract before me and they are all there!

 

David Wyld

 

.....And would you have some explanation about the ideas behind this

extraordinary design ?

I guess here too the "Grand jeu" was seminal, like with E-F Walcker's

big structures.

(Another one to have back in its original state, no matteer the costs!)

 

Pierre

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.....And would you have some explanation about the ideas behind this

extraordinary design ?

I guess here too the "Grand jeu" was seminal, like with E-F Walcker's

big structures.

(Another one to have back in its original state, no matteer the costs!)

 

Pierre

 

A bit before my time!

 

It would actually be fascinating to have sufficient time to get out the early files and to see what Henry 2 was thinking of at the time - what the influences were etc..

 

Also, interesting to find out at what stage it was altered.

 

I'll see what I can do. If any member of the list in this part of the world (Richard Astridge?) would like to come and do a little research, that would be fine by me!

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It certainly IS correct: I have the original 1922 contract before me and they are all there!

 

David Wyld

My mistake - apologies. I was reading from the details for the 1940 console. It would indeed be interesting to learn when the changes were made. What a golden sound it would have made (not that the present tutti doesn't shine, but there's a definite quint mixture bias!).

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My mistake - apologies. I was reading from the details for the 1940 console. It would indeed be interesting to learn when the changes were made. What a golden sound it would have made (not that the present tutti doesn't shine, but there's a definite quint mixture bias!).

 

No apologies necessary Ian - I was a bit surprised too! I wonder if these things did ever materialize or if they were removed from the spec. prior to installation? Also possible that they were removed in the work which was carried out at the time of the rewiring of the organ and the new console, as you say, in 1940?

 

Any takers for the research?

:)

 

DW

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Guest Roffensis

If any member of the list in this part of the world (Richard Astridge?) would like to come and do a little research, that would be fine by me!

 

 

To what avail? Would that "change" anything?

 

R

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@ Henry Willis: we do know Rupp gives the specification as such in his 1929 book, so

we may assume it was built so -by the way, a typical Post-romantic, experimental design-,

and stayed so at least some years;

 

@ Roffensis: If I could, I would jump -respectfully!- in those papers for months, like

I did with many others archive materials.

Who knows ? Fashions change rapidly, and should the idea occur to return to that

original, outstanding spec, it should be made rapidly, before the thinking changes again !

It is just because people had "their files ready" that some historical organs could be

restored in Belgium in a satisfactory way.

Imagine this: "Dear Mister organ-builder, we want our Schnitger back as far as possible".

The builder: "No problem. I'll ask organ historians to inventoriate about 20,000 old papers

in the basement. This will take two years. Then we shall launch a feasibility study, etc.

The organ will be finished in ten years"......

 

So....

 

Pierre

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Interesting that the mixtures are there on the March 1922 contract. Presumably the alterations were made in the revision of February 1923 as Sidney Harvey's 'account' of the organ in, I believe, 1924 makes reference to revised mixture compositions? Certainly by 1926 the scheme seems pretty close to what is there now, at least with regards to mixtures.

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Interesting that the mixtures are there on the March 1922 contract. Presumably the alterations were made in the revision of February 1923 as Sidney Harvey's 'account' of the organ in, I believe, 1924 makes reference to revised mixture compositions? Certainly by 1926 the scheme seems pretty close to what is there now, at least with regards to mixtures.

 

 

I have here a copy of a book entitled 'Liverpool Cathedral, Official handbook' published in 1924. A fascinating amount of detail is given here about every aspect of the new building, it extends to 121 pages, along with photo plates and it even includes pull-out maps of the interior.

 

I say this because I suggest that the specification given in this publication is more likely to represent what actually got built. The following paragraph may be helpful to explain the varied specifications that others have seen:

 

"The original specification was drawn up by Mr.W.J.Ridley, the

donor's nephew, in consultation with Messrs. Willis and Co.

Subsequently the specification was modified, Mr.H. Goss Custard,

the Cathedral Organist, acting as adviser and consultant to the

Cathedral Committee."

 

For the sake of completeness and Pierre's interest in particular, the mixture compositions are given as follows:

 

Great

Mixture 12.17.19.21.22 Five Ranks (wind pressure 5")

Fourniture 19.22.24.26.29 Five Ranks (ditto)

but note, the Great includes mutations at 10.2/3, 5.1/13, 3.1/5 and 2.2/3

 

Swell

Mixture 15.19.22.26.29 Five Ranks (wind pressure 5")

there are also a Twelfth 2.2/3 and Seventeenth 1.3/5

 

Choir

Dulciana Mixture 10.12.17.19.22 Five Ranks (wind pressure 4")

no separate mutations in this division

 

Solo

Cornet de Violes (tin) 10.12.15 Three Ranks (wind pressure 7")

no mutations

 

Bombarde

Grand Chorus Sub-unison, Unison, 5.8.12.15.19.22.26.29 Ten Ranks (wind pressure 6")

 

Pedal

Mixture 17.19.22 Three Ranks (wind pressure 6")

Fourniture 15.19.22.26.29 Five Ranks (ditto)

There are also 21.1/3 10.2/3 and 5.1/3 in separate stops

Interesting to me is how little extension there is on this pedal organ, out of 35 stops, only 13 are obtained by extension or borrowed from anywhere else.

Nine pedal stops are enclosed, it is a separate swell box with its own balanced pedal.

 

Echo (the booklet states: N.B. - this organ has been prepared for only and is not yet built)

Harmonic Aetheria 10.12.15 Three Ranks (wind pressure 3.5")

 

 

Hope this helps!

P.

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A bit before my time!

It would actually be fascinating to have sufficient time to get out the early files and to see what Henry 2 was thinking of at the time - what the influences were etc.

Was it Henry II.? I'm a bit confused here because I read Henry III.'s letters to EM Skinner in Callahan's book "The American Classical Organ", which starts just in 1924, and Henry III. mentions ongoing work on the Liverpool organ.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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@ Henry Willis: we do know Rupp gives the specification as such in his 1929 book, so

we may assume it was built so -

 

 

So....

 

Pierre

 

Hi

 

Published organ specifications are far from reliable - I've come across many "mistakes" in dealing with NPOR updates. Even organ-builders published stop lists sometimes got changed, or stops transposed, during instalation. The ultimate is a recent magazine where the stop list doesn't correspond to the pictures of the stop jambs on the same page!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Roffensis
@ Henry Willis: we do know Rupp gives the specification as such in his 1929 book, so

we may assume it was built so -by the way, a typical Post-romantic, experimental design-,

and stayed so at least some years;

 

@ Roffensis: If I could, I would jump -respectfully!- in those papers for months, like

I did with many others archive materials.

Who knows ? Fashions change rapidly, and should the idea occur to return to that

original, outstanding spec, it should be made rapidly, before the thinking changes again !

It is just because people had "their files ready" that some historical organs could be

restored in Belgium in a satisfactory way.

Imagine this: "Dear Mister organ-builder, we want our Schnitger back as far as possible".

The builder: "No problem. I'll ask organ historians to inventoriate about 20,000 old papers

in the basement. This will take two years. Then we shall launch a feasibility study, etc.

The organ will be finished in ten years"......

 

So....

 

Pierre

 

I personally would not jump in and research this matter. To me it is a case of reaping what is sown. Generally, builders often alter organs and it is usually because of whim, and then we all say "oh if only so and so was the same as it was". I've done it myself until blue in the face, all to no avail, as any powers that be will do what they consider prudent at the time, although original schemes are often clouded or distorted as a result. Getting back to Liverpool, I heard the job prior to its 1977 rebuild, and to my ears it does not sound the same instrument now. To me, there are differences, some very stark. I personally would never have altered it at all, ever. Those in authority know the job so why research it? As I said, to what avail? would we then see any changes reversed? If those in authority wish to reverse any changes, then they will do it. If they don't, they wont.

 

R

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" Those in authority know the job so why research it?"

(Quote)

 

I see that matter slightly differently: to exercize the authority is one job,

to research is another one.

I never met a "church manager", be him priest, president of the "fabrique"

(i.e. president of the comitee which manages all "earthily" affairs of the community,

building maintenance etc) who knew anything about the organ, let alone the history.

 

Now about the Liverpool original design.

It is absolutely evident that as a "paper tiger" in the middle of the biggest european forest

(the Ardennes forest grew more than 20% those last 30 years because of multiple farms

closures since the endowment of the EC rules), I cannot have an easy access to "hands on

knowledge"; I have my notes, and sources.

I heard the organ once in 1976, and the Mixture work did not impress me, it could have

been made by Gonzalez or Delmotte in 1950; normal high-pitched affairs.

And I cannot help thinking the original design could be more interesting, blending the whole

in an huge "Grand-jeu" which would, in addition to the secondary, weaker choruses, the Willis reeds

and the many soft combinations possible, provide something *rather interesting* for

some *as interesting* kinds of music, written by british and german composers.

(I do no mean nor Cornet voluntaries nor Buxtehude).

 

Pierre

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Was it Henry II.? I'm a bit confused here because I read Henry III.'s letters to EM Skinner in Callahan's book "The American Classical Organ", which starts just in 1924, and Henry III. mentions ongoing work on the Liverpool organ.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

Henry 2 didn't die until 1927. Henry 3 'informed' people over many years that the design of Liverpool was entirely his (Ridley did similarly), but it is quite clear in the records that it wasn't: The original specifications were drawn up by Henry 2 but were subsequently only varied and otherwise changed by others, including HW3 and Ridley.

 

Henry 2 was a very fragile character and there were fairly long periods when he was unable to run quite as much of the firm as he should have been running and HW3 gradually, but inexorably, took on more responsibility. By the time that the Cathedral organ was going in, he was certainly more-or-less running the job, but Henry 2 was still on the scene. There is a particularly amusing letter in the file where HW3 has written to Ridley telling him that, even though his father had insisted on all of the wind being raised by feeders, he (Henry 3) had been totally convinced of the superiority of the new-fangled 'Rotary' blowing equipment and that his father was basically old-fashioned and out of touch.

 

Henry 2 has scrawled right across the copy in the file, in thick black ink ...... "Quack Quack Quack" !

 

DW

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