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Dream Oxbridge Chapel Organ

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

1. Since when has a good Solo organ been a collection of non-blending stops?

 

MM

 

Indeed - one has but to glance at a scheme of the type favoured by Arthur Harrison to see that this is not necessarily the case.

 

A typical example might be:

 

SOLO ORGAN

(Enclosed)

Viole d'Orchestre 8

Viole Céleste (CC) 8

Viole Octaviante 4

Cornet des Violes (10-12-15) III

Harmonic Flute 8

Concert Flute 4

Harmonic Piccolo 2

Orchestral Bassoon 16

Corno di Bassetto 8

Tremulant

Contra Tuba 16

(Unenclosed)

Tuba Mirabilis 8

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Guest Cynic
I am not convinced that one would need to add a nasty honking Tuba to an organ for this chapel. This could be as bad as adding nasty 'Baroque' mixtures to the 'Willis' organ which is to be exported to Holland.

 

 

Some Tubas are not nasty or honking. Dear pcnd, I am convinced, but sorry that you have never met one!

I recently took a party from Germany round to hear three good Tubas in one day - they heard the Compton example at Hull City Hall, the Hill at Beverley Minster and the Compton (as left by Billy Jones) at Holy Trinity Hull. All three are like a shaft of gold - always provided that you use them in the right pieces!

 

I would join you on condemning some, as also those players who insist on coupling them up on top of an already fully-satisfying full organ sound; which can easily spoil the richness and brilliance of the rest. The two least pleasant Tubas I know are both Norman and Beard stops, at Norwich Cathedral and Doncaster Minster (St.George's). Both of those have the subtlety and charm of an adult hippo wearing boxing gloves. Even so, there are odd pieces where even those stops come into their own!

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Some Tubas are not nasty or honking. Dear pcnd, I am convinced, but sorry that you have never met one!

I recently took a party from Germany round to hear three good Tubas in one day - they heard the Compton example at Hull City Hall, the Hill at Beverley Minster and the Compton (as left by Billy Jones) at Holy Trinity Hull. All three are like a shaft of gold - always provided that you use them in the right pieces!

 

I would join you on condemning some, as also those players who insist on coupling them up on top of an already fully-satisfying full organ sound; which can easily spoil the richness and brilliance of the rest. The two least pleasant Tubas I know are both Norman and Beard stops, at Norwich Cathedral and Doncaster Minster (St.George's). Both of those have the subtlety and charm of an adult hippo wearing boxing gloves. Even so, there are odd pieces where even those stops come into their own!

 

I would certainly like to hear some of the better ranks which you recommend!

 

I must admit that I do like the Tuba stops on the organ of Sydney Town Hall - or at least, the way they sound on a CD. However, these probably do not 'count' as Tubas in the conventional sense.

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After the way I heard Andrew Lumsden use the Romsey tuba, I am now convinced it is a very fine thing indeed in moderation.

 

I was intrigued to see a recent Orgue-l post by Ian Bell, to which I dared not reply, in which he stated that no tuba should ever be horizontal. I presume he doesn't count the horizontal one he designed, built and installed for Romsey in that statement.

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What Oxford needs is a Walcker or a Sauer. I think they have an example of pretty well everything else now, don't they?

 

I would certainly like to hear some of the better ranks which you recommend!

The Solo Tromba on the 4-manual Willis in Windsor Castle was really rather fine - not at all fat and ugly. The only recording of this organ I know of is one by Jonathan Rees-Williams which I think is now rather hard to find. If one ever comes your way, snap it up. The music's not particularly wonderful, but the organ sounds very well.

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" What Oxford needs is a Walcker or a Sauer."

(Quote)

 

Both still exist, and would be pleased to build an organ for Oxford.

 

And not necessarily after the specification I gave, which was a sample

only; we have dozens others of this size to choose from according to

the room and "musical needs"(1), or could make a new one.

 

The Tierce Mixtures in the Spec above are all WIDELY different from each

other. The Mixtur on the I has every rank from another family, the Cornet

on the II is flutey, Flûte harmonique pipes in the treble, while the Harmonia aetherea

is made of Dolce pipes, i.e. "Dolcan", i.e. the (southern german baroque) ancestor

of.......Euh, you know what "mistake" I mean.

 

(1)- Whatever this may mean save what you could mean.

 

Pierre

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Guest Cynic
I was intrigued to see a recent Orgue-l post by Ian Bell, to which I dared not reply, in which he stated that no tuba should ever be horizontal. I presume he doesn't count the horizontal one he designed, built and installed for Romsey in that statement.

 

 

I wanted to write a pithy comment at this point, but decided that it would be superfluous.

What a wonderful comment - thanks for sharing it with us!

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After the way I heard Andrew Lumsden use the Romsey tuba, I am now convinced it is a very fine thing indeed in moderation.

 

David, I doubt that you will be surprised that I disagree with you!

 

I dislike the Romsey Tuba - aside from the odd sound it makes, I think that it stands away from the rest of the instrument - which is wonderful.

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The Tierce Mixtures in the Spec above are all WIDELY different from each

other. The Mixtur on the I has every rank from another family, the Cornet

on the II is flutey, Flûte harmonique pipes in the treble, while the Harmonia aetherea

is made of Dolce pipes, i.e. "Dolcan", i.e. the (southern german baroque) ancestor

of.......Euh, you know what "mistake" I mean.

 

(1)- Whatever this may mean save what you could mean.

 

Pierre

 

Pierre, I have no idea what you mean....

 

:(

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I was intrigued to see a recent Orgue-l post by Ian Bell, to which I dared not reply, in which he stated that no tuba should ever be horizontal. I presume he doesn't count the horizontal one he designed, built and installed for Romsey in that statement.

 

And does anyone remember the horizontal Mander Tuba at Sheffield Cathedral? Now there was an interesting sound!

 

AJJ

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Both still exist, and would be pleased to build an organ for Oxford.

Apologies. I have been guilty of sloppiness yet again. I meant one in the nineteenth-century style - tonally and mechanically.

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What Oxford needs is a Walcker or a Sauer. I think they have an example of pretty well everything else now, don't they?

 

Vox - I am not convinced that this is the point. Surely the idea is not to have an instrument of every conceivable style; rather that, if there is to be a new instrument, it should be able to cope (reasonably well) with choral accompaniments from plainsong to Walton and with most repertoire. This is, I realise, a generalisation; however, this is probably what it will be called-upon to do for much of the time.

 

I think that the type of instrument suggested may not prove to be entirely practical for the job which an instrument built for this chapel would have to fulfill.

 

I should prefer something along the following lines:

 

PEDAL ORGAN

Open Diapason (W) 16

Violone (M) 16

Bourdon 16

Quint 10 2/3

Violoncello 8

Flute 8

Viola 4

Mixture (15-19-22) III

Grand Bombarde (W) 16

Clarion 8

Choir to Pedal

Great to Pedal

Swell to Pedal

 

CHOIR ORGAN

(Enclosed)

 

Wald Flute 8

Cone Gamba 8

Lieblich Gedeckt 8

Gemshorn (conical) 4

Suabe Flute 4

Flautina 2

Clarinet (CC) 8

Swell to Choir

 

GREAT ORGAN

 

Double Open Diapason (12 from Pedal) 16

Open Diapason I 8

Open Diapason II 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Flûte à Pavillon 8

Octave 4

Harmonic Flute 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Mixture (19-22-26-29) IV

Posaune 8

Choir to Great

Swell to Great

 

SWELL ORGAN

 

Bourdon 16

Open Diapason 8

Rohr Flute 8

Salicional 8

Voix Célestes (AA) 8

Principal 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture (17-19-22) III

Hautboy 8

Tremulant

Double Trumpet 16

Cornopean 8

Clarion 4

Sub Octave

Unison Off

Octave

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Guest Cynic
And does anyone remember the horizontal Mander Tuba at Sheffield Cathedral? Now there was an interesting sound!

 

AJJ

 

 

I do remember it.

The kindest thing I can say about that stop is that it succeeded in being loud.

Frankly, I wouldn't give it house room or advise anyone else to do so either.

 

You may like to know that it is still there, together with the majority of the Willis/Mander (Bell era!) pipe organ. I understand that the chancellor of the diocese insisted that an order be placed for a proper replacement pipe organ before permission will be given for this to be disposed of. The building work is virtually complete now, so maybe it won't be too long before something is sorted out. It's not an easy site for an organ, the Willis/Mander was too far from the choir stalls and consisted (as Gloucester) of only one enclosed department out of five. It is the flexibility of the electronic substitutes that has recommended them.

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PS Pace the gifted Mr.Bell (authority of all authorities) good horizontal Tubas do exist. The one that comes to my mind instantly is the Hill/Nicholson stop sited on the top of the swell box at St.Lawrence's Ludlow - it's a very fine stop in every way.

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Vox - I am not convinced that this is the point. Surely the idea is not to have an instrument of every conceivable style; rather that, if there is to be a new instrument, it should be able to cope (reasonably well) with choral accompaniments from plainsong to Walton and with most repertoire. This is, I realise, a generalisation; however, this is probably what it will be called-upon to do for much of the time.

Is now the time to admit that I was being ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek? :( Actually I have little time for Romantic Walckers and Sauers since I know of no music which does not sound better to me on other types of instrument - except perhaps Reger, but my feelings about Reger as much the same as MM's about Howells.

 

About choral accompaniments I do agree with you really, but I am not convinced that a new organ in an Oxford chapel should necessarily be able to play any repertoire. I am quite possibly totally wrong, but the impression I get is that the university takes a more holistic approach to its organ infrastructure by providing instruments in different historical styles. It is then, not so much a question of being able to play any particular piece of music on any organ, but taking the piece of music you want to play to the organ for which it is suited. That is why I deliberately used the phrase "what Oxford needs" rather than "what the chapel needs". If the university were to replace the Merton organ I would personally like to see something more traditionally Anglican for a change, but I doubt that's what they would get.

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Is now the time to admit that I was being ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek? :( Actually I have little time for Romantic Walckers and Sauers since I know of no music which does not sound better to me on other types of instrument - except perhaps Reger, but my feelings about Reger as much the same as MM's about Howells.

 

About choral accompaniments I do agree with you really, but I am not convinced that a new organ in an Oxford chapel should necessarily be able to play any repertoire. I am quite possibly totally wrong, but the impression I get is that the university takes a more holistic approach to its organ infrastructure by providing instruments in different historical styles. It is then, not so much a question of being able to play any particular piece of music on any organ, but taking the piece of music you want to play to the organ for which it is suited. That is why I deliberately used the phrase "what Oxford needs" rather than "what the chapel needs". If the university were to replace the Merton organ I would personally like to see something more traditionally Anglican for a change, but I doubt that's what they would get.

 

I agree - to an extent.

 

However, the fact remains that Oxbridge organ scholars are unlikely to be able to swap between colleges for various services, simply because they would prefer to play Bach on the Frobenius at Queens, Cambridge (no apostrophe?), as opposed to the Hunter at Hertford, Oxford, for example. Personally, I would prefer something a little more eclectic - three years can be a long time if the nameplate above the top clavier is inscribed Rest. Cartwright & Co.

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... Why do we run into problems if we don't copy what others do? Surely, that has always been your argument AGAINST the Euro-organ? In any event, what is so remarkable about Cavaille-Coll organs, which are rather coarse and lacking in good Principal tone? Some people are easily impressed by overpowerful reed basses and fiery chamades. ...

 

MM

 

Hmph- I am not that easily-impressed! :( With apologies to our host, I do not like the horizontal reed at the Ulster Hall, Belfast, for example.

 

I have played and heard a number of instruments by Cavaillé-Coll and would not describe any of them as coarse. Apparently, if one were to put the FHW Chancel Tubas (and some of the other chorus reeds) in a rather less-resonant building, they would probably sound coarse. However, it is entirely likely that FHW voiced them thus deliberately, in order to counteract the mellowing effect of the particular acoustic properties of this great church.

 

I can also think of plenty of instruments by Cavaillé-Coll, in which the principal tone is quite beautiful, not particularly stringy and entirely adequate - if (admittedly) one uses the four types of fonds simultaneously.

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Apologies. I have been guilty of sloppiness yet again. I meant one in the nineteenth-century style - tonally and mechanically.

 

No problem; both Walcker and Sauer could build a 19th century style

organ, with Kegelladen or Taschenladen, mechanical, pneumatic

or electro-pneumatic, complete with Fernwerk, romantic mixtures

etc etc...You only need to drop an E-Mail to Bliesransbach or Müllrose.

 

As for the music to be played upon, besides Reger, there are tons

of less well known music available, from Liszt time to Karg-Elert's,

by german, polnish, lituanian, etc, composers. Don't worry.

 

Pierre

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OK, bearing in mind the comparatively small size of Merton, rip this to bits then -

 

 

Great

Open Diapason 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Principal 4

Chimney Flute 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture 19.22.26.29 (staying quite sharp)

Trumpet 8

 

Swell

Double Diapason 16

Lieblich Gedackt 8

Violin Diapason 8

Principal 4

Mixture 19.22.26 (breaking early)

Contra Oboe 16

Hautboy 8

Cornopean 8

Clarion 4

 

Choir (enc)

Stopped Diapason 8

Viola da Gamba 8

Voix Celeste 8

Open Flute 4

Gemshorn 2

Cornet III (treble)

Cremona 8

 

Pedal

Bourdon 16

Principal 8

Bass Flute 8

Fagot 16

Trumpet 8

 

 

Usual couplers, including Sw and Choir octaves

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I like this very much. But why do you place the celeste on the Choir? I know I am open the the accusation of being anti-innovation, but when the repertoire expects certain stops to be in certain places... I would quite happily lose the 16' flue for an 8' string, but I know lots of people on this forum like them. All in all, though, a nice, flexible spec.

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I like this very much. But why do you place the celeste on the Choir? I know I am open the the accusation of being anti-innovation, but when the repertoire expects certain stops to be in certain places... I would quite happily lose the 16' flue for an 8' string, but I know lots of people on this forum like them. All in all, though, a nice, flexible spec.

 

I put on the choir so that it could be used to accompany oboe and other stuff could be coupled down to it and Sw/Choir could be treated as one. I'd be more likely to want to do that with it than accompany any of the Choir voices, but that's just me. I'd never be without a double on the Sw, even in the smallest of specs; much more useful than a 4' Flute (which you still get playing it and the 8' up an octave). Double reed would be the first to go.

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OK, bearing in mind the comparatively small size of Merton, rip this to bits then -

Great

Open Diapason 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Principal 4

Chimney Flute 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture 19.22.26.29 (staying quite sharp)

Trumpet 8

 

Swell

Double Diapason 16

Lieblich Gedackt 8

Violin Diapason 8

Principal 4

Mixture 19.22.26 (breaking early)

Contra Oboe 16

Hautboy 8

Cornopean 8

Clarion 4

 

Choir (enc)

Stopped Diapason 8

Viola da Gamba 8

Voix Celeste 8

Open Flute 4

Gemshorn 2

Cornet III (treble)

Cremona 8

 

Pedal

Bourdon 16

Principal 8

Bass Flute 8

Fagot 16

Trumpet 8

Usual couplers, including Sw and Choir octaves

 

 

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

 

 

This is simply dreadful!

 

It could be compressed just as easily onto two-manuals, and be as effective.

 

The Pedal organ is incomplete and chorus-less, there is no 2ft Flute anywhere, far too many reeds on the Swell, a Lieblich Gedackt which would not particularly contribute anything, no separate mutations for the French stuff and a Swell organ which lacks the 15th rank but contains a bright mixture.

 

Sorry!

 

MM

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