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Hele Tubas


Vox Humana
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Do you mean that the Trombone is extended from the Choir Tuba (which I note is borrowed on the Pedal)?

 

 

Yes! As far as I remember, I am sure that the trombone is a downward extension of the tuba. I must say that I never thought the organ, or any particular stops too loud and nobody I ever knew had to leave the door open: I suppose we were just used to the balances.

 

Nachthorn mentions unblending upperwork, but the nazard is the only addition all else is original. I'm not sure where the latest additions are placed. As for the layout when I knew the instrument...it is placed in a loft on the north side of the cahncel. On the exterior wall (north side) is a newel staircase which rises from the crypt rooms to give access to the church level (under the organ in a quasi transept) and then up to the organ. Gaining access to the organ the Open Wood 16 is on ones left ranged against the back wall. One walks south through the said passage and the tuba/trombone in on the right of the passage. Emerging from the "innerds" one overlooks the chancel. The console in en fentre and the organist sits facing north with back to chancel. In this position in front and above the organist is the great organ. Behind this and more in the roof is the swell-shutters opening south-to the right of these is/was the Bourdon 16. So all this speaks directly int the chancel.

 

On the left side of the loft is another opening facing into the north transept. The choir organ is placed here to speak into this space and into the body of the church and north aisle. So balances are not "right" at the console, but we learn to cope don't we?

 

I seem to remember that the 2 gt diaps were rather good; not thick and heavy but rather clear. Also J. Retallack used to say something about the swell-rather dismisively..."Oh they went and put it up there so it's all in the roof" or something like that. Possibly a refernce to what Heles did in 1931.

 

The action was all pneumatic when I knew it. The choir action was good, quick, responsive and well able to cope with quick repetitions. Unfortunately the gt and sw were not so good. It all worked but was just a little too slow to get that repetition-a little frustrating. The only unsteady wind was on the swell but otherwise all was in order. Perhaps the additions have upset the balances and wind distribution somewhat.

 

I have very fond memories of this organ. I must go and try it again. Maybe the passing of years...

 

F-W

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I had occasion to practise on this instrument last February half term, whilst staying with the priest-in-charge.

 

I must admit that, whilst the instrument did not have enough upperwork for my own taste, I did not think that it was that bad (see Nachthorn's post, above). Again, whilst the voicing was not entirely to my taste, in its own way it made some quite musical sounds, there being a good range of quiet and mezzoforte effects. It even had the luxury of a two-rank Voix Céleste on the Choir Organ:

 

http://pub21.bravenet.com/photocenter/albu...rnum=1769289593

 

I, too, found the action to be reasonable - even when playing quickly; the repetition was certainly adequate.

 

I kept the access door to the console closed whilst practising - and had no difficulty hearing the Pedal flue-work.

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... When the church opened in 1881 it is said that the organist was a Dr Air(e)y who wasn't around that long-perhaps a year or two and then left the area to go to Romsey Abbey. IS this true?-I don't know. He was succeeded by Mr George Sellers who was succeeded by J Retallack in 1955. Quite a record really!

 

F-W

 

Are you certain? On the face of it, this does seem unlikely. If one were to assume that the first organist left for Romsey Abbey in 1883, then George Sellers would have served for approximately seventy-two years. This must surely be a record, if it is indeed the case. I recall that Harry Moreton served in a similar capacity at Saint Andrew's, Plymouth for a very long time (eventually moving down from organist and choirmaster to assistant at around ninety years of age*), but I have to confess that I am doubtful about the above.

 

 

 

 

* I am sure that Vox Humana will be able to verify (or correct) this statement.

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Harry Moreton (1864-1961) was organist of St Andrew's for the 75/76 years from 1882 to March 1958. In his later years he was often ill. Life must have become particularly difficult for him after 5 November 1956 when one of the local yobbery threw a firework at him which exploded near his ear, leaving him partially deaf and with tinnitus. After his resignation he became Organist Emeritus (rather than Assistant Organist) and played at several services that year, but increasing deafness and frailty soon more or less confined him to his house.

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Harry Moreton (1864-1961) was organist of St Andrew's for the 75/76 years from 1882 to March 1958. In his later years he was often ill. Life must have become particularly difficult for him after 5 November 1956 when one of the local yobbery threw a firework at him which exploded near his ear, leaving him partially deaf and with tinnitus. After his resignation he became Organist Emeritus (rather than Assistant Organist) and played at several services that year, but increasing deafness and frailty soon more or less confined him to his house.

 

Thank you for this, Vox.

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Are you certain? On the face of it, this does seem unlikely. If one were to assume that the first organist left for Romsey Abbey in 1883, then George Sellers would have served for approximately seventy-two years. This must surely be a record, if it is indeed the case. I recall that Harry Moreton served in a similar capacity at Saint Andrew's, Plymouth for a very long time (eventually moving down from organist and choirmaster to assistant at around ninety years of age*), but I have to confess that I am doubtful about the above.

* I am sure that Vox Humana will be able to verify (or correct) this statement.

 

 

I really don't know for certain: it was just part of the "folklore" which was repeated and told to me. Perhaps someone at Romsey could do some digging about the mysterios Dr Air(e)y!

 

F-W

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Harry Moreton (1864-1961) was organist of St Andrew's for the 75/76 years from 1882 to March 1958. In his later years he was often ill. Life must have become particularly difficult for him after 5 November 1956 when one of the local yobbery threw a firework at him which exploded near his ear, leaving him partially deaf and with tinnitus. After his resignation he became Organist Emeritus (rather than Assistant Organist) and played at several services that year, but increasing deafness and frailty soon more or less confined him to his house.

A bit more digging has thrown some doubt on the dates given above (which were given by Moreton's successor). Moreton has an entry in the second (1921) edition of Thornsby's Dictionary of Organs and Organists. According to this, his church appointments to date had been:

 

1876 Stoke Damerel Parish Church, Plymouth (at the age of 12)

1879 Sub-organist, Winchester Cathedral [he was articled to Dr George B. Arnold] and Organist, St Michael's, Winchester

1882 St George's, East Stonehouse, Plymouth

1885 St Andrew's, Plymouth

 

In addition to the above, he was town organist of East Stonehouse from 1894 and Organist of the Guildhall (i.e. Borough Organist of Plymouth) from 1899.

 

So he may have been at St Andrew's only for a mere 72/3 years.

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I used to be invited to play occasionally at St. Mary's Andover (Hants). The organ here was Hele's showpiece - some say the sprat to catch the mackeral at Winchester. Heles built it (all new) in 1904, replacing an 1830s G&D. Note the original spec gives a tuba on the Great. http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N11317

 

In the 1960s, Rushworth and Dreaper got at it, extending various bits. The Pedal organ and Choir organ came in for the largest changes; the Tuba was extended to a 4' Clarion and duplexed on the choir. It was revoiced, too. The organ also gained a detached console and electro-pneumatic action. http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N11318

 

In the 1980s Bishop & White made the console moveable and made further tonal revisions. http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D05969

 

I think the organ must have been very good in its original state and is still a fine organ. The foundations of the organ were good: The choruses on the Great and Swell are very good with well-balenced upperwork and I particularly liked the 4' Gt Harmonic flute. I was not fond of the Great reeds, which neither worked as solo tubas or as Great Reeds.

 

Sadly I found the choir organ dissappointing, poorly voiced and lacking presence. It worked neither as an accompanimental division or a foil to the great organ. The orchestra oboe and clarinet were very poor. I am dissappointed there is no tierce in an organ of 52 stops! The pedal organ upperwork was useless and very poor - the mixture was on an electric action chest placed on the floor at the back of the organ with flexible tubing for the wind supply - you could pick it up and move it around! It was a useless stop, just adding a slight tang of unblending unpleasentness to the pedal line.

 

While I think the organ is good, it's a classic example of an organ which is decidely worse for later alterations, although the quality of the original organ is still apparent and saves the day. Sadly the church no longer employs a professional organist and I'm not sure what state the organ is in these days. It was not quite 100% when I played there and I can only think its condition will deteriorate.

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This is interesting, Colin. It may, as you say, go some way to explain how Hele & Co. managed to secure the contract for the rebuilding and enlargement on the organ of Winchester Cathedral - and only seven years after it had been restored by the original builder. Even in those days I doubt that this firm would have been thought of as a major contender to undertake fairly major work on such a prestigious instrument. This said, some of the additional ranks do seem a little odd; it is true that Winchester possesses the longest medieval nave in Europe and the organ still has difficulty projecting its sound to the west end. However, since the new ranks (a second G.O. double, another Open Diapason, a Doppel Flute and another Principal 4ft. amongst them) were sited with the rest of the instrument, I am not sure how effective this duplication could have been.

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This is interesting, Colin. It may, as you say, go some way to explain how Hele & Co. managed to secure the contract for the rebuilding and enlargement on the organ of Winchester Cathedral - and only seven years after it had been restored by the original builder. Even in those days I doubt that this firm would have been thought of as a major contender to undertake fairly major work on such a prestigious instrument. This said, some of the additional ranks do seem a little odd; it is true that Winchester possesses the longest medieval nave in Europe and the organ still has difficulty projecting its sound to the west end. However, since the new ranks (a second G.O. double, another Open Diapason, a Doppel Flute and another Principal 4ft. amongst them) were sited with the rest of the instrument, I am not sure how effective this duplication could have been.

If it's the stops I think, I can see the logic. The large Great Open Diapason and large Principal are huge stops and really shouldn't be used for accompanying the choir in the Quire - they're intended for Nave usage. But I would doubt how effective they were in their role in their location, as you say. The new nave division is voiced as strongly as possible before it becomes unpleasent and even this division has difficulty getting past the first 3-4 bays of the nave before it reaches the congregation. A second organ in the nave would be the ultimate solution.

 

I think the Hele stops were dontated by a generous benefactor. The Bombardes are very fine, sounding gigantic in the nave but can occasionally be used with a strong choir in the quire. They usually get quite an airing on the 15th evening, especially if Andy Lumsden's playing...

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If it's the stops I think, I can see the logic. The large Great Open Diapason and large Principal are huge stops and really shouldn't be used for accompanying the choir in the Quire - they're intended for Nave usage. But I would doubt how effective they were in their role in their location, as you say. ...

 

However, it is worth remembering that the only ranks by Hele & Co. which still survive in the present instrument at Winchester Cathedral are the Pedal Bombarde unit and the Swell Violin Diapason - all other additions were discarded at the 1988 rebuild and restoration by Harrison & Harrison.

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However, it is worth remembering that the only ranks by Hele & Co. which still survive in the present instrument at Winchester Cathedral are the Pedal Bombarde unit and the Swell Violin Diapason - all other additions were discarded at the 1988 rebuild and restoration by Harrison & Harrison.

 

Is the Solo Tromba H&H? Something nagging at the back of my mind links it with Hele but maddeningly I can't remember why I should be thinking this!!

 

AJJ

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I find that a fresh raw steak works wonders for a black eye....

:lol:

 

 

I've never been able to afford to waste a good steak in such a way!

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