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Sheffield Cathedral


Colin Harvey
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Dear members,

 

I spent a weekend playing for services at Sheffield Cathedral. It has an old Mander organ built in the 1960s. It was pensioned off in the late 90s (is now unplayable) and an electronic took over the mantle as a tempory solution.

 

So what do you think is the ideal organ solution at Sheffield? What would you do if you were building a new organ there? Where would you put it - the choir is very dedicated and plays a very important part of the church. It needs to accompany the congregation in the nave effectively. And off to the sides are some very large side chapels, about 2/3 the size of the nave - should the organ be capable of supporting services there? What size and style shoudl the organ be?

 

So, let's play armchair organ designers and let's see what happens... I'll add my own thoughts for what they're worth at some stage.

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But how can a 1966-built organ be considered ripe for replacement?

There is something I don't understand right there

 

You may well ask! Presumably it was 'worn-out' - just like Worcester.... :P !

 

Surely, it was not as simple as that instrument being considered unfashionable?

 

Any scheme for a replacement organ would need carefully to consider the fact that the cathedral has two points of axis, being, I believe, L-shaped. Consequently, in order to be effective in as many parts of the building as possible, the organ would need to speak clearly in at least two different directions.

 

Of course, any scheme conceived without reference to the acoustic properties of the building, the musical requirements and available space will be unlikely to succeed. However, armchair designing does pass the time pleasurably - it also costs nothing!

 

Here are my proposals (which, of course, ignore the caveat above!)

 

PEDAL

 

Sub Bourdon (Emp.) 32

Contra Bass (W) 16

Violone (M) 16

Sub Bass 16

Octave (M) 8

Stopped Flute 8

Fifteenth 4

Open Flute 4

Mixture (22, 26, 29) III

Contra Trombone (Emp.) 32

Bombarde 16

Trombone (W) 16

Trumpet 8

Bassoon 8

Shawm 4

 

CHAIRE

 

Open Diapason 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Prestant 4

Nason Flute 4

Nazard 2 2/3

Recorder 2

Tierce 1 3/5

Larigot 1 1/3

Twenty Second 1

Cimbel (29, 33, 36) III

 

GREAT

 

Contra Salicional 16

Open Diapason 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Harmonic Flute 8

Gamba 8

Octave 4

Principal 4

Wald Flute 4

Fifteenth 2

Furniture (19, 22, 26, 29) IV

Cornet (1, 8, 12, 15, 17: TG) V

Bass Trumpet 16

Posaune 8

Clarion 4

Great and Chaire Exchange

 

SWELL

 

Quintatön 16

Open Diapason

Rohr Flöte

Salicional 8

Vox Angelica (AA#) 8

Geigen Principal 4

Suabe Flöte 4

Flageolet 2

Mixture (15, 19, 22) III

Sharp Mixture (22, 26, 29) III

Hautbois 8

Tremulant

Fagotto 16

Trumpet 8

Clarion 4

Sub Octave

 

SOLO

 

Viole de Gambe 8

Voix Célestes (CC) 8

Flûte Harmonique 8

Flûte Traversière 4

Cor de Basset (73 pipes) 16

Voix Humaine 8

Tremulant

Tuba Magna 8

Trompette Harmonique 8

Clairon Harmonique 4

Sub Octave

Unison Off

Octave

 

NAVE

 

(Pedal)

Bourdon 16

Violoncello (M) 8

 

(Manual)

Open Diapason 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Octave 4

Spitz Flöte 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture (15, 19, 22, 26, 29) V-VI

Trompeta Réal 8

 

Naturally, I have just ignored my own advice, but it was an interesting exercise. Any serious scheme would of course need a site survey and take into account available space for soundboards. Incidentally, all soundboards in my instrument would be new and, no, it will not have mechanical action!

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Before we go to the "paper tigers", I would just like to know how a Noel Mander

organ can be worn out after 39 years.

It sounds like replacing a two years old Mercedes because the tyres are worn,

or the ashbox full.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

God - I hope that we are not proposing to contact David Niven ('on the other side') in order to design this organ....

 

Seriously, I have wondered the same thing. Even if there were mechanical failure, this can be rectified without recourse to scrapping the entire instrument.

 

I cannot immediately recall who is Titulaire there, at present. I know that Paul Brough moved on a few years ago. It might be best to ascertain whether or not the organ did in fact suffer a catastrophic break-down.

 

There does seen currently to be a trend of staring afresh, rather than replacing worn-out parts. Perhaps the cathedral authorities wish to take ths course of action. Certainly the old organ sounded OK to me on a recording (featuring Graham Matthews) made a few years ago.

 

Anyone else have any ideas?

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But how can a 1966-built organ be considered ripe for replacement?

There is something I don't understand right there

 

http://www.sheffieldcathedralchoir.co.uk/Organs.htm

 

 

Dear Pierre,

 

The answer to your first question is actually provided on the site to which you have provided a link and is because the organ no longer functions well enough to perform the tasks required of it. To make it fit to perform these tasks obviously requires money to be spent and someone has calculated that it is not worth spending that amount of money on this organ. I am not in a position to tell you whether that judgement is one I would agree with, never having heard the organ live and only having been in the building once. My recollection is that the building is not very high internally and that the organ stood off the main axis on the north side at floor level, a not unusual position for an organ in an English Parish CHurch which Sheffield Cathedral was, not being built as a Cathedral from the outset.

 

The organ was "new" in 1966 but it was not entirely new, a significant number of Great and Swell foundation stops being from a (presumably redundant) Willis instrument from Bow in London. One explanation for this is a desire to rescue valuable pipework which would otherwise have been lost, but there is another - the desire or need to economise, in order to make a limited amount of money stretch as far as possible. There is an english saying which you may have come across "champagne tastes and a beer pocket", referring to an individual who wishes to have finer articles than he can really afford. An explanation - I do not know whether it is the actual explanation - why an instrument that was "new" in 1966 did not see it 40th birthday is that the builders and consultant were prevailed upon to provide more organ than there was money to pay for at the time. It was after all a Cathedral instrument and it would have been perfectly understandable if those in the Cathedral had certain assumptions about the features that such an instrument should have. It did not necessarily follow , especially in 1966 in a northern industrial town with its traditional industrial base in terminal decline, that the money existed to pay for it. Now whilst it is the case that if you want Saville Row Quality you have to pay those prices, it is also true you can get a perfectly decent suit that will serve your purpose for a time: it just will not last as long. It is possible that that was the situation in Sheffield in 1966.

 

Best wishes,

 

Brian Childs

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because the organ no longer functions well enough to perform the tasks required of it.

(Quote)

 

But precisely, this is no explanation at all!

 

In the Charleroi area near here, a place even poorer than northern England, there are many cheap organs from the 50's. Things with triplex windchests, zinc pipes, Laukhuff electropneumatics etc.

There was no money to maintain them, and even less now to replace them. Mind you, a majority still work well.

I do not believe Noel Mander did even worst...

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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because the organ no longer functions well enough to perform the tasks required of it.

(Quote)

 

But precisely, this is no explanation at all!

 

In the Charleroi area near here, a place even poorer than northern England, there are many cheap organs from the 50's. Things with triplex windchests, zinc pipes, Laukhuff electropneumatics etc.

There was no money to maintain them, and even less now to replace them. Mind you, a majority still work well.

I do not believe Noel Mander did even worst...

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

Maybe it just wasn't any good ... it happens, you know!

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Maybe it just wasn't any good ... it happens, you know!

 

Well, maybe. It's just I did not see that in Belgium ever.

 

Back to the Tiger papers!

 

Pcnd, why so high-pitched a Pedal mixture? It's even higher than the Great's

Fourniture. (Aftertought: or do you mean it all an octave deeper?)

 

Why not 17-19-22 in place of 15-17-22 in the Swell? Would work better

with the reeds, I think.

 

I like the Solo, it's an interesting, concise scheme. But what do you mean with

"Tuba magna"? Cavaillé-Coll named that way a half-lenght 16' Bombarde -in the first octave- in order to find enough place for it in the box.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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I have played the organ at Sheffield Cathedral a few times, and I actually liked much of what I heard. However, in the madness of the age, there was a curious and highly fashionable attempt to tack "organ reform" voices to a "Father Willis" organ, and as those new registers were unenclosed, they did tend to be a bit bright, as well as being remote from the main section of the organ in the transept. Some of the pipework is hung on the nave wall, around the corner.

 

Isn't Neil Taylor the organist & choirmaster there?

 

I have a certain sympathy with the provision of a temporary electronic instrument, because the main organ, whatever its' merits as a recital instrument, lacks the variety of accompaniment tone necessary for Anglican choral-music, and everything was either all top and bottom, or a great roaring sound of Mixtures and Reeds....but a very good roaring sound.

 

I was personally aghast at the proposal to scrap the instrument and replace it with something new. There is the nucleus for a good instrument already there, and I'm quite sure that even the "Barokwerk" could be coaxed into harmony with the "non-Barokwerk."

 

It seems to me that an awful lot of money has been, and will be spent, in replacing it all. Once the cost of the temporary electronic is taken into account as an additional expense, I begin to wonder about the financial wisdom of the whole grandiose adventure.

 

Perhaps they could do with an independent organ-consultant to offer advice, or am I missing something in the final equation?

 

MM

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Guest Barry Oakley
Maybe it just wasn't any good ... it happens, you know!

 

I think you have the answer, Andrew. I first came across the Mander organ in Sheffield Cathedral during the early 1970's at a recital given by an eminent Swiss organist. I was not impressed overall, but to be fair it did have a number of nicely voiced stops when heard individually.

But from an architectural standpoint, Sheffield Cathedral is surely a bit of a nightmare for an organ builder. Reference has been made to the large area occupied by chapels to the north side of the nave axis. There is not much symetry about the building.

I think I'm right in saying that when a parish church, a former Rushworth & Dreaper organ was sited at the west end of the building. The present disused Mander organ is largely sited on the north side of the building and there is a small case mounted separetly, also on a north wall.

Rumour has it that the plans are for a main organ to be again sited at the west end, but for a smaller organ for choir accompaniment to be sited somewhere near the choir stalls. There is speculation (not confirmed) that the main organ is to be built by Kuhn of Switzerland and the smaller organ by another builder.

Maybe a direct question to Neil Taylor, the present Master of Music at Sheffield Cathedral might reveal what the real plans are.

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[

because the organ no longer functions well enough to perform the tasks required of it.

(Quote)

 

But precisely, this is no explanation at all!

 

In the Charleroi area near here, a place even poorer than northern England, there are many cheap organs from the 50's. Things with triplex windchests, zinc pipes, Laukhuff electropneumatics etc.

There was no money to maintain them, and even less now to replace them. Mind you, a majority still work well.

I do not believe Noel Mander did even worst...

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

Dear Pierre,

 

At the risk of appearing pedantic I have to say that " Because the one I have got does not work very well " is a perfectly good answer to the question "Why do you want to replace it" which was in essence your 1st question. I completely agree it is no answer to the question "And why does it not work very well ?" I also am aware of organs staggering on for much longer than this one did with minimal expenditure. However, we cannot go back to the past and devise a better present for ourselves. The situation has obviously been for some years that the organ WILL not work as well as a cathedral pipe organ needs to work, and something has got to be done. The fact that this state of affairs does not happen very often, and has never happened in your experience in Belgium does not alter the fact that it HAS happened in Sheffield.

 

As to the way forward from here, I am happy to defer to those with greater knowledge of the merits of what was there before. But a completely new organ must surely be the most expensive of the various options, since implicit in that choice is that the old organ is unfixable at an economic cost. Thus labelled it would seem unsaleable except for scrap or cannibalisation. Therefore, the removal of the old organ will contribute minimally to the cost of the new : it might even conceivably cost more to remove it than it is worth, and therefore add to the cost of the new instrument ! It does indeed seem strange that an organ from one of our most reputable builders should fail so catastrophically. Perhaps therefore it has not happened, and that the organ is not in fact in such a bad state as has been represented. One cannot imagine how the cathedral authorities could gain from this situation : it can only cost them money. One can only suggest that in the medical field a terminal prognosis often results in the request for a second opinion.

 

Brian Childs

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It does indeed seem strange that an organ from one of our most reputable builders should fail so catastrophically. Perhaps therefore it has not happened, and that the organ is not in fact in such a bad state as has been represented.

(Quote)

 

Dear Brian,

 

That's all I meant!

 

Pierre

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I really do think before anyone comments on the Sheffield situation, they should click on the link above and read what the thinking at Sheffield is behind the decision to replace the Willis/Mander organ and what their plans for a replacement are, namely a new West End organ, supplemented by a separate Choir Division.

 

It is possible that some of the existing pipework could be incorporated into the new instrument, though that I think very much depends on who is chosen to build the new organ(s). If the rumours are true and Kuhn have been chosen to build the new instrument then it is likely they will wish to start afresh with new materials throughout. However, if the instrument is to be built and voiced along conventional British lines by a British organ builder, then it is not beyond the realms of possibility that they will at least want to have a close look at the existing pipework to see if any of it might be of use in the new scheme.

 

Jeremy Jones

London

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Well, maybe. It's just I did not see that in Belgium ever.

 

Back to the Tiger papers!

 

Pcnd, why so high-pitched a Pedal mixture? It's even higher than the Great's

Fourniture. (Aftertought: or do you mean it all an octave deeper?)

 

Why not 17-19-22 in place of 15-17-22 in the Swell? Would work better

with the reeds, I think.

 

I like the Solo, it's an interesting, concise scheme. But what do you mean with

"Tuba magna"? Cavaillé-Coll named that way a half-lenght 16' Bombarde -in the first octave- in order to find enough  place for it in the box.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

1) Pedal Mixture - but the pitches will of course, be 2p, 1 1/3p and 1p - effectively one octave lower than that on the GO. I believe that Mander's put such a Mixture on the Pedal Organ of St. Giles', Cripplegate - and very good it is, too! :P (Many Pedal mixtures on English organs have, as their composition, 19, 22, 26, 29 - the pitches represented would, of course, be one octave lower than a similarly-composed mixture on the claviers.)

 

2) Swell Mixture - no, I considered that. Apart from the fact that I dislike 17, 19, 22 mixtures on the claviers, the Swell 2p is a wide-scaled flute. It will therefore be necessary to bridge the gap between the 4p and the Sharp Mixture with a 15, 19, 22 Mixture. I think that whilst choruses in which the diapason pitches are separated by more than two octaves can sometimes be successful, this is usually more by luck than judgement.

 

3) Tuba Magna - well, I did borrow the name from C-C, although British builders were also using the name. My intention is that it should be a full but bright English Tuba - not a stop such as is found in sub-unison pitch on the Grand Choeur at N.-D. (I know that several sources list it as 'Tuba 16' - but then several sources also list the Positif fonds and 16p stops incorrectly. I am fairly certain that the stop-head is engraved 'Tuba Magna 16'.)

 

Interestingly, C-C often used basses acoustiques on his Récit sub-unison reeds. N.-D. had one until, I think, Cochereau's time - I cannot now recall when it was replaced with full-length pipes. As far as I know, Chartres Cathedral still has a half-length bass to the Récit Bombarde.

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Perhaps they could do with an independent organ-consultant to offer advice, or am I missing something in the final equation?

 

MM

 

Well, I am not convinced that this expedient was successful at Christchurch Priory! Months before the contract was signed, I sent, by request, an eight-page letter to the Organist and Master of the Choristers, detailing every area in which I felt that the proposed scheme was either inadequate or just plain wrong.

 

I did not mind that this document was subsequently sent to the consultant who, in turn, wrote a rather pompous and ill-considered reply! Particularly since most of the weaknesses which I highlighted have now been addressed by further costly alterations post-1999. Certainly, at the opening recital, the whole thing was distinctly underwhelming. Shortly after the rebuild was completed, I had to play the Saint-Saëns 'Organ' Symphony with a local student orchestra. The result at the time, was that the organ was largely inaudible during any passages at forte and above.

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....Thus labelled it would seem unsaleable except for scrap or cannibalisation. Therefore, the removal of the old organ will contribute minimally to the cost of the new : it might even conceivably cost more to remove it than it is worth, and therefore add to the cost of the new instrument ! It does indeed seem strange that an organ from one of our most reputable builders should fail so catastrophically. Perhaps therefore it has not happened, and that the organ is not in fact in such a bad state as has been represented. One cannot imagine how the cathedral authorities could gain from this situation : it can only cost them money. One can only suggest that in the medical field a terminal prognosis often results in the request for a second opinion.

 

Brian Childs

 

There was at some stage, a possibilty that the Sheffield organ was to go to Newquay Parish Church, in Cornwall, to replace their rather superb Nicholson/Roger Yates organ which was largely destroyed by fire. I am fairly certain that it was examined by an organ builder friend who is extremely competent. If it was such a wreck, I find it hard to imagine that he would have recommended that Newquay attempt to purchase the instrument. I wonder if it is possible that we have another 'Worcester' here?

 

Sorry - I promised not to mention that post again - I shall slap myself quite firmly.... :P

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There was at some stage, a possibilty that the Sheffield organ was to go to Newquay Parish Church, in Cornwall, to replace their rather superb Nicholson/Roger Yates organ which was largely destroyed by fire. I am fairly certain that it was examined by an organ builder friend who is extremely competent. If it was such a wreck, I find it hard to imagine that he would have recommended that Newquay attempt to purchase the instrument. I wonder if it is possible that we have another 'Worcester' here?

 

Sorry - I promised not to mention that post again - I shall slap myself quite firmly.... :P

 

Hope it did not hurt too much ! Whilst the Worcester discussion itself may have exhausted all that can be said on the topic without repetition, it seems to me an issue of more general import underlies it.

 

"I want rid of this organ because I dislike its style and it is not ideally suited for the sort of music I want to play" is a perfectly respectable position to hold but quite distinct from " I need rid of this organ because it is clapped out and cannot be repaired at an economic cost". The first addresses desire : the second necessity. My impression is that underlying a certain amount of the anger on the Worcester thread is a suspicion that the real reason for the changes to be made there is the first whilst that articulated is the second. As a lawyer I have to go with innocent until proven guilty in the case of any indivual involved in specific cases, (and there have been no convictions to my knowledge) but no one will convince me that it would ever be appropriate for any church musician to knowingly resort to falsehood to achieve an objective, however strong the belief that the course proposed to be followed was the right one and would bring enormous benefit to the institution when completed. That is surely the high road to Hell beautifully paved with good intentions.

 

I do not KNOW whether Sheffield is another Worcester situation or not but having read the site to which a link was posted it is difficult not to gain the impression that the second reason above is what is put forward to justify the proposals, in which case we have, My Dear Watson, to pay attention to the curious incident of the behaviour of your friend, the organ builder.... As Mr Spock might have said, "It is not logical, Jim."

 

Best wishes,

 

Brian Childs

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Then there's also the danger of the Dean & Chapter agreeing to make expensive changes or additions to an instrument just to suit the whim of the current organist, who then immediately chucks in the job......

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Then there's also the danger of the Dean & Chapter agreeing to make expensive changes or additions to an instrument just to suit the whim of the current organist, who then immediately chucks in the job......

 

 

To what extent is this a danger in the present climate ? As someone not "on the circuit" for want of a better expression I have no feel for the supply/demand balance between talented musicians and desirable or prestigious appointments, such as being Master of the Music in a Cathedral. But one would have thought that the expansion of Higher Education generally, coupled with the fact that it is no longer inconceivable that a woman be appointed to the post, would have resulted in the supply of musicians qualified to fill the posts exceeding the demand {supply of available posts] by a substantial margin. If the laws of economics operate as they are supposed to - a huge "if" I grant you - then Deans and Chapters ought not to be susceptible to being pressurised in this way. They can afford to take the attitude that"if you do not like it you can go, and we will appoint someone who does...."Of course, relationships between real people are very seldom as one dimensional as the conventional behaviour of homo economicus and other factors enter the equation. A particular individual may be outstandingly talented, so that the wish to retain his or her services is very strong, or the "better the devil you know" factor may be in play, or it may simply be that there is a desire to accommodate a well liked colleague and provide him (or her) with a tool which is more to his (or her) particular taste, to mix up the metaphors a bit.

 

All this however is based on a priori general knowledge considerations of what might be expected to be the situation: not on consideration of actual evidence of what it in fact is. Some of the members of this site must have such knowledge . Perhaps they would not mind sharing it so that we can replace speculation with fact.

 

Brian Childs

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I was surprised to hear of the probable demise of the Mander/Willis organ at Sheffield Cathedral and am too astounded that an organ built in 1966 is beyond economic repair.

 

I have played the organ once, in the summer of 1981, but only got the chance to play a couple of pieces on it. I was there to hold keys for a Mander tuner, Vic Dann. Having never been to Sheffield before, I was expecting to see a depressed town with what was left of its once mighty steel industry on its knees and on the point of closure. I think the Cathedral had not long been a Cathedral, having previously been a parish church. It seemed to me to be a positive development in what was rapidly becoming an economically depressed city.

 

The day we went was hot and sunny, and I left home at 5:30 in the morning to ride my bike to Vic Dann’s house. I was supposed to be there by 6AM. I made it by the skin of my teeth, having stopped half way to change the inner tube in my front tyre, which punctured, and we left for our 150 mile drive north and arrived at the Cathedral shortly after 9AM.

 

As I recall, the organ stood about 30 feet to the right of the console. From the console, it sounded very big. I remember some neo-classic leaning on some sections of upper work, which was not untypical of the 1960s. At the time, I knew very few instruments, as a 16-year old. A lot of the instruments I knew were in various stages of disrepair, or were new neo-classical instruments by various builders, so none of it seemed odd to me.

 

At the time, I had little experience of the Anglican choral tradition, as I was well on my way to becoming a lapsed Catholic, so I cannot comment on Sheffield Cathedral’s organ’s suitability for that use. I’ve since gone back to the RC church, but do now have experience of the Anglican tradition.

 

I remember the organ being dusty when I went into the instrument to hand Vic a reed knife, and there were a few notes on reeds not speaking that needed to be cleaned. But that was not surprising for an instrument that was then 15 years old with a lot of the pipework and soundboards exposed. I remember thinking the whole organ would probably need to be cleaned before too long. Whether that cleaning took place or not, I’ve no idea. And I remember that en-chemade tuba, with its copper resonators, ringing loudly in my right ear while it was being tuned.

 

Anyway, how the organ has since got into such a state of mechanical disrepair is beyond me, other than routine maintenance and cleaning not being carried out, unless there has been something more catastrophic, such as water damage. If so, then why did the Cathedral allow it to fall into such a state? And what is to stop the same thing from happening again with a new instrument?

 

Whatever. If the desire is to build a new organ at the west end and have a choir organ, then I cannot help thinking the Mander/Willis organ might be successfully adapted into the choir organ role, allowing a new instrument at the other end of the church. If so desired, it could also be possible to wire a new console so that the new organ can be played from the Choir.

 

What is not known is whether the new organ in the west end will be very different in style from the choir organ, or whether one will compliment the other, such as in Westminster Cathedral.

 

I think it is also reasonable to point out that the Mander Organs of the 1960s was a very different builder to what it has become today. In the 1960s it did not have the same opportunities to build significant new instruments the company has enjoyed in the 1990s and in the early 21st Century. If you look at some of Mander’s instruments built in the last 10 years or so in the US and in Japan and compare them with Sheffield Cathedral, you would not make a link that it could be the same builder, except for the name plate on the console.

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Whilst I am only in a position idly to speculate, it does seem that there might be a sense of the cathedral wishing to start afresh. This may, of course, include retaining some of the existing pipework (was the 32p reed ever added - or was it still prepared-for?) in any new instrument.

 

We shall have to wait and see if any news is forthcoming from the cathedral authorities.

 

I still quite like my scheme, though....

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Guest Barry Oakley

 

We shall have to wait and see if any news is forthcoming from the cathedral authorities.

 

I communicated yesterday directly with Neil Taylor, Sheffield Cathedral's Master of Music who told me in essence that there are no firm proposals as yet on the table re the new organ. As may be guessed the matter revolves around the question of money and several other factors affecting essential repairs and modifications within the cathedral building itself.

 

No organ builder has been approached and I gues that will not be until the necessary financial clout is available. I did make the plea that when a builder is appointed he should be from these shores.

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I think it is also reasonable to point out that the Mander Organs of the 1960s was a very different builder to what it has become today. In the 1960s it did not have the same opportunities to build significant new instruments the company has enjoyed in the 1990s and in the early 21st Century. If you look at some of Mander’s instruments built in the last 10 years or so in the US and in Japan and compare them with Sheffield Cathedral, you would not make a link that it could be the same builder, except for the name plate on the console.

 

Hi,

 

I read your whole post with interest but was not quite sure exactly what inferences to draw from this final paragraph and thought it might be worthwhile asking for a little clarification, before I (and perhaps others) start reading in criticisms that were never intended. I assume it to be correct that Manders have in more recent times had more opportunities to build biggerorgans from scratch than they did then. (The Moderator of this site is ideally placed to provide authoritative information on this). But are their organs now also better built than they were then, which seems to me a possible inference. I have no doubt that they will be differently built : there is very little built now, or recently, which is constructed in the same way as it was then, from cars to TV sets, and we have available technologies now, particularly in terms of computer electronics, unheard of then. It is hardly surprising if a modern Mander organ bears the same similarities to one built then as a modern Ford does to a Mark 1 Cortina . But if I am correct (and again the moderator is ideally placed to correct me) in the early sixties the firm had already undertaken some important restorations of historically significant instruments eg Adlington Hall, St Mary's Rotherhithe, and would within a fairly short period of time secure the contract to rebuild St Paul's Cathedral, another fairly significant instrument . One would have assumed therefore that their work was "state of the art" for then : of course what was so then would not be so now !

 

I hope you will not mind me asking these questions but I do not want our host to accuse us of abusing his hospitality and throw us all off the site.

 

The rest as I said was fascinating, but leaves us as perplexed as ever as to how a properly looked after instrument could have declined so swiftly into a state where economic repair does not seem a feasible option.

 

Brian Childs

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