Jump to content
Mander Organs
Guest Cynic

Father Henry Willis's Greatest Hits

Recommended Posts

While we are (not) on the subject of Father Henry Willis's Greatest Hits, is anyone aware of the current state of the organ at St. Michael's, Tenbury?

 

Then there is, of course, St. Bees' Priory - I know that it was altered by H&H, but it is still basically Willis.

 

Moving down south and west, there is the Willis at Tiverton Parish Church and the Willis at Bideford Parish Church - both in Devon. Certainly, a few years ago, both instruments were good examples of surviving Willis stock, though in what state they are currently, I do not know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The memory of the old works well but slowly! Two further snippets have surfaced in my mind re the Lincoln Tubas. Apparently Dr Bennet, the organist at the time, had been a pupil of Rheinberger and thus had certain ideas about how an organ should sound. Also it seems that the equivalent stops at Hereford were used as some sort of model or pattern but without anyone making proper allowance for the difference in size of the two buildings.

 

Sorry I cannot retrieve the letter at the moment or I could be more specific but I am fairly confident that is the gist of it.

 

Brian Childs

 

It would be a convenient explanation if it were true - unfortunately, it is not!

 

At some point in 1896, Henry Willis was engaged in correspondence with Dr. G. J. Bennett, then Titulaire at Lincoln. I quote from the relevant portion of the letter:-

 

"....It would be, if not impossible, most unwise to stultify the tubas by placing them in a box. I know that there is one at Hereford, which I think spoiled. We must remember the church [Lincoln Cathedral] we are catering for is at least four times the size of Hereford." (My emphasis.)

 

There is more information given regarding the planned rebuild at Lincoln, mostly concerning the upperwork and the sub-unison ranks of the GO and Swell organs.

 

I have to say that I had forgotten that Hereford had an enclosed Tuba (presumably now the Tromba). This is one big Willis which I have not yet heard live - only in recordings. I really should get to hear it sometime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi

 

....I also agree that a short period of quiet music is acceptable - but constant switching between very quiet and very loud can become irritating!

 

To a large extent, the approach that the recordist takes is governed by the final audience of the product - a recording for the general entertainment market will be approached in a different way to a purist, documentary-type recording for the enthusiast (which I prefer on the odd occaisions when I've got time to just sit and listen) - although traffic noise outside is a bit of a problem here.

 

....Tony

 

Yes - I deliberately avoided this when specifying the order of the tracks on the final edit. At the beginning, there are three comparatively loud pieces (albeit with some variation in dynamic level and timbre). There follow three or four quieter pieces (including the whole of Widor's 2me Symphonie, the first three movements of which are largely mp to mf, or so).

 

Whilst there are enough variations in dynamic and timbre to provide interest for the listener, I have tried to avoid the 'loud-soft' effect of track-programming which can be found on some commercial CDs. The producer/recording engineer and I experimented with compression, but in the end used only the lowest level, since I felt that any increase in this (artificial) effect was aurally dishonest!

 

I also got to design the cover, tray insert and inner booklet - which was nice....(!) :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But what about a completion project , Pierre ? The organ as originally conceived was to have had everything that is there now PLUS

 

An Echo Division 23 stops, 19 manual and 4 pedal including a carillon to tenor C. That will not please PNCD.

 

A West End Section 30 stops, Great 9, Swell 11 , Pedal 9 and the Trompette Militaire which was originally intended for the West End and not its present location

 

A west end chorus of LOW PRESSURE chamades might be an interesting addition, albeit not authentic. Personally, if I had the money, I would donate the carillon. But since I do not, all those driven to apoplexy by the very thought, can calm down for the moment. All they have to worry about is someone else with the same vulgar tastes AND money. Put like that perhaps they should worry.

 

Regards to all.

 

Brian Childs

 

Probably not! :P

 

I did not like the Carillon III (12, 17, 22) at S. Etienne, Caen, either! Yes, I know that this stop is a mixture and therefore not a true percussion effect! I was also rather unpleasantly surprised that the pipes were situated on the Jeux de Fonds chest, too - not on the Jeux de Combinaisons chest.

 

As for additions, as I mentioned to Richard in another post in this thread - you may wish to keep your eyes on the nave bridge over the next few months, or so. Your comment about a nave chamade chorus may not be quite so wide of the mark....except, of course, for the reference to low pressure. I am not sure that such a thing exists on this organ. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Probably not! :P

 

I did not like the Carillon III (12, 17, 22) at S. Etienne, Caen, either! Yes, I know that this stop is a mixture and therefore not a true percussion effect! I was also rather unpleasantly surprised that the pipes were situated on the Jeux de Fonds chest, too - not on the Jeux de Combinaisons chest.

 

As for additions, as I mentioned to Richard in another post in this thread - you may wish to keep your eyes on the nave bridge over the next few months, or so. Your comment about a nave chamade chorus may not be quite so wide of the mark....except, of course, for the reference to low pressure. I am not sure that such a thing exists on this organ. :D

 

Well 4" for most of the choir division would not be that excessive for a building of these dimensions in my view and hardly counts as high pressure.

 

On the subject of percussion stops it is obvious we will never agree but that is OK: it would be a very dull world if everyone had identical tastes. And since I have - amongst others - JSB, Marcel Dupre, Nicolas Kynaston and Roy Massey (since his remarks about the "charming tones" of his glockenspiel at Hereford hardly betoken hostility) apparently in my camp , I feel no need to be overly defensive in relation to my tastes.

 

As to Lincoln I am reasonably certain that I accurately summarised the gist of the letter I received, though I did not quote it. In view of what you say I can only assume that either there was some such phrase as "there is an apocryphal story that...." which I have forgotten or cleaned from my memeory OR Dr Marshall was wrong. I do recollect the letter mentioning the fact that Lincoln was 4 times the size of Hereford. On the face of it it would appear strange that a builder of Willis's experience by that stage would have failed to realise the implications. Hang on -something has just surfaced in my mind. I now think that the story might have run thus : Bennett wanted the Tuba enclosed , as at Hereford ; Willis pointed out that Lincoln was 4 times the size of Hereford and that this would be unwise : the compromise was that the tubas were not enclosed but were made small in scale.

Would this accord with the sources you have seen and explain their rather untypical nature ?

 

Incidentally was the cryptic "Probably not" a reference to (1)the fact that you would not have been impressed by the presence of a carillon stop OR (2) to your belief that there are unlikely to be people out there who have both money and tastes as deplorable (or even more deplorable) than mine. If the second was meant, I think a couple of days watching daytime TV will destroy your peace of mind with respect to that.

 

Regards,

 

Brian Childs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reference was to the first option. No, we probably are not going to agree!

 

However, whilst I do know that JSB liked cymbelsterns and that he particularly liked trying-out 32p reeds, I am unsure as to whether he would have liked tubular bells or a bass drum, for example. I would be interested to hear of contemporaneous examples which he would have known!

 

 

Insofar as LIncoln is concerned, I thought that this was exactly what the letter was implying - so presumably we agree - I think!

 

Whilst I take your point about the 100mm wind pressure for the Choir Organ at Liverpool, there are plenty of examples of very high wind pressures elsewhere in the instrument. Unnecessarily high, in my opinion. I have only heard it live on one occasion - and that was quite sufficient! Ian Tracey played so loudly that I had to leave the building. Now, I like loud organ music, but the operative word here is 'music'. Notwithstanding Ian Tracey's great ability and superb technique, I found the sound oppressive and distinctly un-musical. Rather, it was just so much sheer noise. Personally, I think that many of the wind pressures could be lowered to good effect - the organ will still, I am sure, be adequate for the building.

 

....waiting for incredulous response from Roffensis.... :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
The reference was to the first option. No, we probably are not going to agree!

 

However, whilst I do know that JSB liked cymbelsterns and that he particularly liked trying-out 32p reeds, I am unsure as to whether he would have liked tubular bells or a bass drum, for example. I would be interested to hear of contemporaneous examples which he would have known!

Insofar as LIncoln is concerned, I thought that this was exactly what the letter was implying - so presumably we agree - I think!

 

Whilst I take your point about the 100mm wind pressure for the Choir Organ at Liverpool, there are plenty of examples of very high wind pressures elsewhere in the instrument. Unnecessarily high, in my opinion. I have only heard it live on one occasion - and that was quite sufficient! Ian Tracey played so loudly that I had to leave the building. Now, I like loud organ music, but the operative word here is 'music'. Notwithstanding Ian Tracey's great ability and superb technique, I found the sound oppressive and distinctly un-musical. Rather, it was just so much sheer noise. Personally, I think that many of the wind pressures could be lowered to good effect - the organ will still, I am sure, be adequate for the building.

 

....waiting for incredulous response from Roffensis.... :P

 

No chance of that, as I agree! A lot do overstep the mark with decibels. Some like it, some not. I hate it. As to wind pressures, two things. Firstly, my own Parish organ, Hill, is overwhelming in the church, pipework very large scale, but not on high pressure at all. The Diapasons are full, ringing, varied, everything is, and you could play for hours on fluework without needing the reeds to back it up. Secondly, I was at St Georges Hall yesterday, listen ing to a "Blackpool Tower" recital including such as the theme from Coronation Street and Blackadder!!!......and it struck me as ever the main fault with Willis work, fine as it can be. Fluework just peters out below to tenor C, an oddity as he hated overloud basses. Yeah right, and with it go any body of tone. How many times I have tried to get some weight out of that job, where using just Open No 2 on mine is enough....you get my point!!!! Liverpool Cathedral suffers from the same things, both organs rely too much on reeds, and as I have many times said, I prefer a Hill. I have often been blasted out of a building, and thought "I can't sit through this", it all comes down to personal taste I guess.......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The reference was to the first option. No, we probably are not going to agree!

 

However, whilst I do know that JSB liked cymbelsterns and that he particularly liked trying-out 32p reeds, I am unsure as to whether he would have liked tubular bells or a bass drum, for example. I would be interested to hear of contemporaneous examples which he would have known!

 

ATTACHED TO ORGANS I CAN THINK OF NONE FROM JSB'S TIME THOUGH THE CARILLON WAS BY THEN ESTABLISHED AS AN INDEPENDENT (public) MUSICAL INSTRUMENT.I DO NOT KNOW HOW WIDESPREAD IT WAS IN HIS PART OF GERMANY. I SUSPECT THAT WE HAVE FEWER EXAMPLES IN THIS COUNTRY THAN CERTAINLY IN HOLLAND OR THE USA BECAUSE WE NEVER HERE SEEM TO HAVE DEVELOPED FROM INDEPENDENTLY RUNG INDIVIDUAL BELLS. I QUITE LIKE CHANGE RINGING INCIDENTALLY. A VERY EVOCATIVE SOUND. PERHAPS YOU DONT ?

 

YOU DO OF COURSE NEED A BANDA MILITAIRE FOR SOME LEGITIMATE 19TH CENTURY ITALIAN ORGAN MUSIC WHICH AT LEAST REQUIRES THE DRUM ! NOW THAT LEFEBURE-WELY IS NO LONGER A PERSON WHOSE NAME CANNOT BE MENTIONED IN POLITE SOCIETY IT OUGHT PRESUMABLY TO BE OK TO WANT TO PLAY SOME OF THIS STUFF AND THUS REQUIRE AN INSTRUMENT WITH THE NECESSARY RESOURCES. I DOUBT THAT ONE OR TWO SCATTERED AROUND THE COUNTRY WILL END CIVILISATION AS WE KNOW IT.

 

Insofar as LIncoln is concerned, I thought that this was exactly what the letter was implying - so presumably we agree - I think!

 

YES, IMPLIED BUT NOT EXPRESSLY STATED. YOUR POST DISLODGED FURTHER FRAGMENTS FROM MY MEMORY. MY ORIGINAL RECOLLECTION WAS INCOMPLETE AND THUS MY RESULTING POST MISLEADING  I APOLOGISE FOR THIS.

 

Whilst I take your point about the 100mm wind pressure for the Choir Organ at Liverpool, there are plenty of examples of very high wind pressures elsewhere in the instrument. Unnecessarily high, in my opinion. I have only heard it live on one occasion - and that was quite sufficient! Ian Tracey played so loudly that I had to leave the building. Now, I like loud organ music, but the operative word here is 'music'. Notwithstanding Ian Tracey's great ability and superb technique, I found the sound oppressive and distinctly un-musical. Rather, it was just so much sheer noise. Personally, I think that many of the wind pressures could be lowered to good effect - the organ will still, I am sure, be adequate for the building.

 

PRESUMABLY THE WHOLE SCHEME OF WIND PRESSURES WAS DEVISED SO THAT CHORUSES STOOD IN SOME RELATION TO ONE ANOTHER, SO THAT YOU WOULD HAVE TO GO AROUND REDUCING EVERYTHING BY THE AMOUNT NECESSARY TO KEEP THE PROPORTIONATE BALANCE THE SAME. I DO NOT HAVE THE TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE WHICH WOULD ALLOW ME TO PREDICT WHAT IMPACT DOING THAT WOULD BE EXPECTED TO PRODUCE ON THE VOICING OR TIMBRE. CERTAINLY CHANGING PRESSURES MORE DRASTICALLY AS WITH LIVERPOOL'S TUBA MAGNA CAN PRODUCE A DISCERNIBLE ALTERATION IN THE CHARACTER OF THE STOP. PERHAPS A SIMPLER SOLUTION MORE EASILY CARRIED INTO EFFECT MIGHT BE TO ENCOURAGE THE PLAYERS TO REGISTER THE INSTRUMENT AS THEY INTENDED TO AND THEN GO AND STAND ELSEWHERE IN THE BUILDING AND LISTEN TO WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE AS SOMEONE ELSE PLAYS IT. THAT MIGHT LEAD TO SOME RETHINKS. IF SOMEONE WORKS OUT THE REGISTRATION ENTIRELY ON THEIR OWN AT THE CONSOLE THEN I SUSPECT THERE WILL BE INSTANCES WHERE WHAT LOOKS RIGHT ON PAPER IS CHOSEN RATHER THAN WHAT SOUNDS RIGHT IN THE BUILDING!

 

....waiting for incredulous response from Roffensis.... :P

 

I AM SURE YOU WILL NOT HAVE LONG TO WAIT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brian, I agree with much that you say. You make some very sensible points.

 

As far as Liverpool is concerned - give me Nôtre-Dame as it was in the late 1970s any day!!

 

Your Hill sounds wonderful - where is it? (If I may ask.) I used to play a three-clavier Hill organ, still with some ranks prepared-for. It has a tubular pneumatic action dating from about 1907. It was wonderful - even in its incomplete state. No scream, no harshness, it just filled the building with the most glorious sound.

 

 

 

Now, I am going to put my hard hat on and wait for Richard to go on-line.... :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
Brian, I agree with much that you say. You make some very sensible points.

 

As far as Liverpool is concerned - give me Nôtre-Dame as it was in the late 1970s any day!!

 

Your Hill sounds wonderful - where is it? (If I may ask.) I used to play a three-clavier Hill organ, still with some ranks prepared-for. It has a tubular pneumatic action dating from about 1907. It was wonderful - even in its incomplete state. No scream, no harshness, it just filled the building with the most glorious sound.

Now, I am going to put my hard hat on and wait for Richard to go on-line.... :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have only heard it (Liverpool) live on one occasion - and that was quite sufficient! Ian Tracey played so loudly that I had to leave the building. Now, I like loud organ music, but the operative word here is 'music'. Notwithstanding Ian Tracey's great ability and superb technique, I found the sound oppressive and distinctly un-musical. Rather, it was just so much sheer noise. Personally, I think that many of the wind pressures could be lowered to good effect - the organ will still, I am sure, be adequate for the building.

I know, I know, organists always play too loud! But how on earth are the rest of us supposed to rein in our instincts to 'pull all the stops out' when you have those who should be setting a good example - Prof Tracey at Liverpool and John Scott at St Paul's before he left for NY, to name just two - clearly demonstrating that when it comes to the tutti, you can never draw enough stops.

 

But I am on a dicey wicket from which to admonish others. For in my distant schooldays at morning chapel I seem to recall we used to take great glee in timing Franck's Piece Heroique so that the last page (with Tubas and anything else that might increase the decibel count) would be played when everyone was in their seats and couldn't escape the aural battering, in particular the Headmaster who sat immediately below the organ! :P

 

Jeremy Jones

London

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ian Tracey played so loudly that I had to leave the building. Now, I like loud organ music, but the operative word here is 'music'. Notwithstanding Ian Tracey's great ability and superb technique, I found the sound oppressive and distinctly un-musical. Rather, it was just so much sheer noise.

 

 

:P

 

If you've got it flaunt it! What else is the "Full Organ" piston for?! :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey Magna - welcome!

 

Interesting gratuitous shot of scary naked organ pipes....

 

To be honest, I do not think that I would wish to be in the same building when Ian uses the party-horns.... :P The ones on my own instrument are quite enough - perhaps one day you will actually get to hear them live!

 

The Bombarde reeds at Oxford are also quite exciting - sorry you missed them this year....grrrrr.... :P

 

pcnd hello! See, I can write down long web addresses after lots of Stella! :P

 

I will get down to hear yours eventually. :P

 

Was a bit annoyed I missed Oxford, it's always a laugh. Even if the organ isn't one of my favourites...... :P

 

Did you take any music this year?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know, I know, organists always play too loud! But how on earth are the rest of us supposed to rein in our instincts to 'pull all the stops out' when you have those who should be setting a good example - Prof Tracey at Liverpool and John Scott at St Paul's before he left for NY, to name just two - clearly demonstrating that when it comes to the tutti, you can never draw enough stops.

 

But I am on a dicey wicket from which to admonish others. For in my distant schooldays at morning chapel I seem to recall we used to take great glee in timing Franck's Piece Heroique so that the last page (with Tubas and anything else that might increase the decibel count) would be played when everyone was in their seats and couldn't escape the aural battering, in particular the Headmaster who sat immediately below the organ!  :P

 

Jeremy Jones

London

 

 

Well, I am probably guilty of something similar - but I like to think that I could exercise restraint if I were to be confronted with something the size of Liverpool.... I do quite often finish voluntaries with the tutti - including chamades - best not to be standing near those....

 

If it comes to that, I think that your comments are entirely appropriate - the Headmaster probably needed waking-up, in any case! :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:P

 

If you've got it flaunt it! What else is the "Full Organ" piston for?! :P

 

Mmmm....well, providing that you are wearing an hard hat, I suppose that it is OK.

 

But I cannot help wondering what you would do if, one day, Prof T. (or you) added so many big reeds that there arose some confusion in the graveyard outside....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pcnd hello! See, I can write down long web addresses after lots of Stella! :P

 

I will get down to hear yours eventually. :P

 

Was a bit annoyed I missed Oxford, it's always a laugh. Even if the organ isn't one of my favourites......  :P

 

Did you take any music this year?

 

Which long addresses - I see no addresses....? :P

 

Yes, it was fun - hot as usual. In case you are wondering, of course I used the Bombarde division and, no - I did not take any music - all the voluntaries were improvised, as usual.... :P

 

Incidentally, Magna - my telephone is not currently malfunctioning....feel free to test it some time....! :P :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Leathered-Lips
There are some very mixed responses to this stop. Some love it :P , others hate it :P . It is a Militaire, but in that acoustic does not come over as one, and it does not resemble St Pauls for example. In Liverpool with its very thick "rolling" ,and even ponderous reverberation, it sounds very much a Tuba. I don't consider it was needed at all, given the Magna. Liverpool's Willis has always been an enigma, and it always will be. There is not a sound like it anywhere, and this new stop was actually planned for the original spec, which following war damage was curtailed, with no west end organ, or corona section etc. The central space certainly amplifies the Militaire, and I think it is ok for special effects.  The organ is due for major restoration work as is St.Georges Hall.  :P

 

The last time I heard the Liverpool Anglican it seemed to have noticeably wobbly wind, I think I may well have directed efforts to get this sorted out before adding the Militaire. I suppose in a building of such enormous dimensions it justifies a large style organ to add to the magnificence. I agree in so much as the Militaire is useful for special effects what use is it otherwise? It's hardly suitable for English 18th century trumpet volunataires, although I'm sure there are some who would use it for that. Personally speaking, I don't think it sounds disappointing for what it is, in terms of power and grandeur it's undoubtedly imposing and impressive. I think the organ would have sounded better with a stop which sounded smoother, clearer and a little more ladylike. I suppose I just wish the original conception was a Gross Tuba Magna 8 rather than a Militaire. I suppose the idea was a contrasting reed, but it sounds very fat, thick, and muddy in that acoustic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Leathered-Lips
:P

 

If you've got it flaunt it! What else is the "Full Organ" piston for?! :P

 

I quite agree. There are times when it does do to be restrained, but obviously it depends what's being played. A good recital programme will naturally have a contrasting mix of soft and loud pieces so the organ can be heard to best effect and some respite given from the louder stops.

 

Liverpool is a large and unashamedly impressive sound in a big acoustic. There's nothing worse than going to a recital on a large and bold instrument with lots of resources where the organ rarely dares to go above 8' 4' flutes on the Great for fear of their recital or voluntary being branded in bad taste.

 

What's so wrong with "full organ" or for that matter, thick and "ponderous" English tone? I like it and always have, and I really don't care if others think it's wrong to use huge tubas, Double Diapasons on the Manuals, or the Open I with the Open II. Full organ is also a glorious sound.

 

Most of us appreciate that there's nothing more beautiful than a single stop, or combination of a few playing on an organ of whatever style. On the other hand I cannot see anything wrong with loud playing on an instrument which can naturally cope with, and was largely designed for such purposes.

 

It's nothing to be ashamed of, and one of the great glories of a large instrument in an acoustic. Having being educated in the field of using as little as possible to achieve the desired effect, I agree only up to a point. On the other hand there's nothing more exciting than piling on the thick foundation tone and using the tubas to max. It's something we don't seem to do much of nowadays..we have forgotten how to enjoy ourselves. It seems that rather than enjoying what a good organ can do, there are those who pull their bonnets over their ears in disgust, and flouce out the west door catching their skirt on the chairs and emptying the contents of their handbag all the way down the aisle. To those I would say, go and enjoy the beautiful but more dulcet tones of a Samuel Green. At least the big sound drowns out the racket of the latest Christian pop hits which eminates from the gift shop speaker system and the rattling of the cups from the refectory. I'd recommend a nice cup of the Dean's finest perculate to get you over the full-organ trauma. (it's not all that strong, let me assure you). You'll find it goes down very nicely with one of Mavis's fine sticky muffins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I certainly find tutti effects exciting.

 

However, there are one or two organs which I have heard (in this country) where the full power of the instrument is just too much. It is worth considering that there is surely a difference between a thrilling, glorious blaze of sound and just being whacked over the head with sheer noise.

 

N.-D. is about as loud as I could wish for - particularly from upstairs, leaning against the case.

 

Samuel Green? Nah! Not my thing. Give me a decent, full-blooded cathedral organ any day - but, with some restraint. A quick burst for a final chord may be acceptable, but many organists are guilty of the inartistic use of so much power, that the music is lost beneath a huge wall of noise.

 

However, I intend to travel up to Liverpool for the BH recital on Monday - Prof. T is doing it, since the advertised recitalist had decided to give birth. I am assuming that the programmed recitalist is female.... No doubt I can hear the new party-horns for myself :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Leathered-Lips
Well, I certainly find tutti effects exciting.

 

However, there are one or two organs which I have heard (in this country) where the full power of the instrument is just too much. It is worth considering that there is surely a difference between a thrilling, glorious blaze of sound and just being whacked over the head with sheer noise.

 

N.-D. is about as loud as I could wish for - particularly from upstairs, leaning against the case.

 

Samuel Green? Nah! Not my thing. Give me a decent, full-blooded cathedral organ any day - but, with some restraint. A quick burst for a final chord may be acceptable, but many organists are guilty of the inartistic use of so much power, that the music is lost beneath a huge wall of noise.

 

However, I intend to travel up to Liverpool for the BH recital on Monday - Prof. T is doing it, since the advertised recitalist had decided to give birth. I am assuming that the programmed recitalist is female.... No doubt I can hear the new party-horns for myself :P

 

Let's then hope the prof is a little more fortunate than the advertised female recitalist. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyway, to return to the posted topic: does anyone know of any surviving 'Father' Willis organs in parish churches? I have listed three or four, but I cannot recall any others at present.

 

I would be interested to hear of any others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
Anyway, to return to the posted topic: does anyone know of any surviving 'Father' Willis organs in parish churches? I have listed three or four, but I cannot recall any others at present.

 

I would be interested to hear of any others.

 

Liverpool has several, which I have mentioned previously. Christchurch,Claughton (Wirral) is another, big stop list too, but it has been revoiced and altered and does not sound as it should. Impressive, but innacurate. Holy trinity Walton Breck is the one in Liverpool, but that's a strange church.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whilst I take your point about the 100mm wind pressure for the Choir Organ at Liverpool, there are plenty of examples of very high wind pressures elsewhere in the instrument. Unnecessarily high, in my opinion. I have only heard it live on one occasion - and that was quite sufficient! Ian Tracey played so loudly that I had to leave the building. Now, I like loud organ music, but the operative word here is 'music'. Notwithstanding Ian Tracey's great ability and superb technique, I found the sound oppressive and distinctly un-musical. Rather, it was just so much sheer noise. Personally, I think that many of the wind pressures could be lowered to good effect - the organ will still, I am sure, be adequate for the building.

 

....waiting for incredulous response from Roffensis.... :o

 

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

 

 

I'm a bit of a (genuine) baroque freak, but even I am incredulous!

 

Liverpool Anglican is, to the best of my knowledge, the largest single enclosed space on the face of the planet. The moment a sound is made in that immense mini-universe, we are into the realms of astro-physics and time-travel.....11 seconds of not terribly clean reverberation.

 

To fill such a huge space, any organ has to be big and loud....very big and loud in fact.

 

St.Bavo, Haarlem is an interesting comparison. Here there is a big acoustic, a big organ in the ideal west-end position, clear voicing and low wind-pressures; yet walk down the building, and by the time one arrives at the crossing, the sound is getting decidedly indistinct. Go the east-end of the building, and the sound is quite a riot and clarity has gone out of the window. It also doesn't sound very loud that far away, but fills the building nicely nevertheless.

 

Haarlem is a fraction the size of Liverpool Cathedral....possibly half the volume of space to be filled.

 

The only real comparison in terms of size and effect, has to be St.John-the-Divine, New York, and that suffers from much the same problems as Liverpool. The sound down the building is loud but indistinct; the quality of the sound very high, as at Liverpool. However, at close quarters, both instruments sound over-loud and the reeds rather "clangy." Both instruments were meant to be heard at their best from some distance away, but given the acoustics, clarity was never going to be the most notable feature of the sound.

 

Now if they pulled Liverpool Cathedral down and started again......... :o

 

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...