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I had a long conversation with our organ tuner last night which, in essence, was to devise a plan whereby a thorough restoration of our fine Hill could be accomplished in managable ie affordable chunks.

 

Having explored the organ on several occasions I realised that I had never really taken a good look at the pedal Trombone 16; so this afternoon I did just that!

 

As background, the main organ was built by Hill in 1887 with additions in 1899, 1901, 1912, 1955 or thereabouts. The trbne arrived in about 1899 with about three other stops from an organ recently rebuilt which had stood in a transept of a certain cathedral, north of Cheltenham and somewhere south of Birmingham where even now, I believe, there is great organ building going on! ( I won't mention that cathedral city's name but I am sure many will be able to work out or guess to where I refer!).

 

Now, it is well made, wooden and of ample proportions. The bottom octave, I think (sorry- I was so engrossed in what I was doing that I forgot to count!) has wooden boots. I think it is on higher pressure-possibly 5" but would have to check to be sure. What intrigued me was that the shallot openings were open to the bottom and parallel. Also they were covered in fine sheepskin leather, though it is looking aged. I only looked at three pipes from the top, middle and just one with a wooden boot and all were constructed on the same principle.

 

Do my learn-ed colleagues here know if this is typical of Hill pedal reeds or is it from a subsequent rebuild/revoicing?

 

It would be instructive to know about other builder's characteristics if anyone has the knowledge and is willing to share.

 

F-W.

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"I won't mention that cathedral city's name but I am sure many will be able to work out or guess to where I refer!"

(Quote)

 

:)

 

(At least Robert did not destroy that Hill stop...)

 

Pierre

 

Out of interest, does anyone know what happened to the rest of the pipework from the 'Hill' transept organ, please?

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Guest Cynic
Out of interest, does anyone know what happened to the rest of *all* the pipework ?

 

Pierre

 

There is a major dealer in second-hand parts from organs who advertises regularly ['ORGAN PIPEWORK'] in Organists' Review. The same man who thus obtained virtually the whole of the Worcester organ 'for spare parts' also (I understand) took the Llandaff Cathedral organ and others of similar size. He keeps materials from these in sheds in a Midlands town. Not very different from me, then, only on a somewhat larger scale! When I wanted something a few years back I telephoned to see what he had. The price put on the item I required would easily have bought me a new one, so I never went over to explore his Aladdin's cave! At least the pipework that was surplus to requirements in those places was not simply melted down.

 

The problem for anyone who rescues organs is always that of space. A favourite line of mine (and 100% true) when listening to one controversial cathedral organ is that I've burned better Bourdons than the example to be heard there. Every note different in either tone, volume - or both of course! One gets a free Bourdon with every organ one saves and there are only so many uses for them. For preference, these days, I give unwanted wooden ranks away to wood-workers, more than one nice bookcase has started out this way!

 

A suspicion I have is that major organbuilders would much, much rather use new pipework rather than incorporate old - even if it is perfectly good. Is it because they like it all to look new? It could be that, it could also be that any credit for the success of a new organ has to go to them. There is an arrogance generally that says 'our work is better than anything that has gone before' and I strongly think they are wrong (in virtually every case). One major firm (not our hosts) currently works to scales from which it is impossible to produce bold reed trebles to match their basses. I know this because two of the top voicers in the trade have subsequently (and independently) tried to improve them without success. Consequently, when one plays their organs, one is obliged to use their Swell upperwork with the reeds if one needs to hear the melody. This is a fault.

 

What would I like to see?

1. I would like builders to incorporate worthy material where they can - don't tell me this would be more expensive. When The Organ Club visited the new Worcester organ in Kenneth Tickell's works we were told just how long it takes to make a new wooden rank from scratch!

2. I would like builders sufficiently humble to learn from both the old and their own new work as they go so that deficiencies of any kind can get picked up and improved upon. I'm sure this is how things used to be. Once information is in the all-singing all-dancing machinery these days, mass production continues by the most un-questioning route!

3. A wider variety of new work.

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OK, but what about the old 'Hill' organ?

 

 

We're talking of quite a while ago, well before (even) my time. According to accounts that have been passed down, it was (mostly) just binned. A few ranks were saved by the organist and vicar of All Saints' Cheltenham who, apparently arrived with a wheelbarrow (one wonders how accurate this part of the story is!) and carted off ranks they thought they could use. Said organist was Gustav Holst's father. About five stops were saved and added to their near-contemporary Hill in Cheltenham where they were used to form a secondary Great, positioned over the chancel. The primary Great at All Saints' despite being very robust in tone is virtually inaudible from the console; it is placed very high, backed by the stonework above an arch which virtually seals it off from the main organ chamber and it faces into the North transept.

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We're talking of quite a while ago, well before (even) my time. According to accounts that have been passed down, it was (mostly) just binned. A few ranks were saved by the organist and vicar of All Saints' Cheltenham who, apparently arrived with a wheelbarrow (one wonders how accurate this part of the story is!) and carted off ranks they thought they could use. Said organist was Gustav Holst's father. About five stops were saved and added to their near-contemporary Hill in Cheltenham where they were used to form a secondary Great, positioned over the chancel. The primary Great at All Saints' despite being very robust in tone is virtually inaudible from the console; it is placed very high, backed by the stonework above an arch which virtually seals it off from the main organ chamber and it faces into the North transept.

 

Oh, OK. Thank you for that, Cynic.

 

I think that I have played that particular instrument a few years ago.

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His number is 0800 1859 1914

 

:)

 

Hmmm.... I tried this number - and got someone called Samantha who informed me that she was hot. Obviously, I suggested that she opened a window in order to try to increase the ventilation. She seemed to have a cold or something, since she had a very husky voice. Perhaps she could be his wife.

 

She then apparently asked me what tobacco I preferred - I have no idea why; something about rough shag, as far as I could make out.

 

Are you sure that this number is correct?

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Hmmm.... I tried this number - and got someone called Samantha who informed me that she was hot. Obviously, I suggested that she opened a window in order to try to increase the ventilation. She seemed to have a cold or something, since she had a very husky voice. Perhaps she could be his wife.

 

She then apparently asked me what tobacco I preferred - I have no idea why; something about rough shag, as far as I could make out.

 

Are you sure that this number is correct?

 

 

:lol::lol:

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"Perhaps she could be his wife."

(Quote)

 

Are you sure ? :lol:

 

Pierre

 

Fear not: the post was a joke, Pierre - English (well, half-Russian) humour. I am aware that he fled to the U.S. in rather a hurry, in order to escape prosecution.

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We're talking of quite a while ago, well before (even) my time. According to accounts that have been passed down, it was (mostly) just binned. A few ranks were saved by the organist and vicar of All Saints' Cheltenham who, apparently arrived with a wheelbarrow (one wonders how accurate this part of the story is!) and carted off ranks they thought they could use. Said organist was Gustav Holst's father. About five stops were saved and added to their near-contemporary Hill in Cheltenham where they were used to form a secondary Great, positioned over the chancel. The primary Great at All Saints' despite being very robust in tone is virtually inaudible from the console; it is placed very high, backed by the stonework above an arch which virtually seals it off from the main organ chamber and it faces into the North transept.

 

 

 

Yes, so very nearly correct Cynic! I tremble at the thought of ammending the posting of such an august personage, but in the spirit of accuracy...

 

Canon Gardiner (MA + BMus Oxon[?]) was the inspiration behind the commissioning of the 1887 Hill at All Ss. Adolphe Von Holst was indeed the first organist but in 1895 was succeeded by a Mr Grainge and it was he and the vicar who visited the unmentionable cathedral, were enthralled by a wooded Stopped diapason and returned home with about an octaves worth! They then sent a man with a cart to collect the rest and in addition they retrieved the trombone 16, the former swell open diap, dulciana 8 and a trumpet (to be placed in the transept gt).

 

To survive, well, the dulciana was replaced by a gamba and the trumpet had gone-somewhere-by1941. The stpd diap was, presumably, part of the extended gedeckt installed by Nicholsons in 1954 but later this whole rank was displaced by a new extended dulciana rank(!). So we actually now have only the former sw open diap in the chancel case and the trombone (as far as I have been able to find out, so far).

 

Which brings me neatly back to my original question (is this a record for getting off topic?!):

 

Are Hill (1887) ped reeds usually leatherd on the shallot or is that something done later? I don't know; does anyone? and what about other builder's ped reeds?

 

F-W

 

One interesting point; the church was consecrated in 1869 and Hill's 1887 organ was the third!! Is that a record?

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Yes, so very nearly correct Cynic! I tremble at the thought of ammending the posting of such an august personage, but in the spirit of accuracy...

 

Canon Gardiner (MA + BMus Oxon[?]) was the inspiration behind the commissioning of the 1887 Hill at All Ss. Adolphe Von Holst was indeed the first organist but in 1895 was succeeded by a Mr Grainge and it was he and the vicar who visited the unmentionable cathedral, were enthralled by a wooded Stopped diapason and returned home with about an octaves worth! They then sent a man with a cart to collect the rest and in addition they retrieved the trombone 16, the former swell open diap, dulciana 8 and a trumpet (to be placed in the transept gt).

 

To survive, well, the dulciana was replaced by a gamba and the trumpet had gone-somewhere-by1941. The stpd diap was, presumably, part of the extended gedeckt installed by Nicholsons in 1954 but later this whole rank was displaced by a new extended dulciana rank(!). So we actually now have only the former sw open diap in the chancel case and the trombone (as far as I have been able to find out, so far).

 

Which brings me neatly back to my original question (is this a record for getting off topic?!):

 

Are Hill (1887) ped reeds usually leatherd on the shallot or is that something done later? I don't know; does anyone? and what about other builder's ped reeds?

 

F-W

 

One interesting point; the church was consecrated in 1869 and Hill's 1887 organ was the third!! Is that a record?

 

I stand corrected.

The missing Hill 8' flute - isn't it the present 8' flute on the Solo?

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