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Bristol Cathedral, 06th July


DaveHarries
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Hi,

 

The choir of St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, Australia are doing a tour of parts of the UK and Italy this July to celebrate 140 years of the Choir's existance. They are starting in Bristol which provides the opportunity for what should be a superb service on Sunday 06th July:

 

- - - - - - - - -

 

Sunday 06th July

10:00am Cathedral Eucharist

 

Setting: Darke in F

Motet: Tantun Ergo (de Sévérac)

Recessional: Toccata from Widor's 5th Symphony

 

Sung by the choirs of Bristol Cathedral (UK) and St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, Australia and joined by the Black Dyke Band.

NOTE: The Recessional piece will be played by the Black Dyke Band, not on the organ, and I have never heard a brass band play that piece!......

 

- - - - - - - - -

 

The choir of St. Andrew's, Sydney has its own website and there are samples there. They sound great, so if I can go, you bet I will!

 

After Bristol, the Australian choir's schedule - according to their website - is this:

 

09th July: Choral Evensong, Wells Cathedral (5:15pm)

10th July: Concert, Bath Abbey (11:30am) & Evensong, Wells Cathedral (5:15pm)

11th July: Choral Evensong, Wells Cathedral (5:15pm)

12th July: Choral Evensong, Wells Cathedral (5:15pm)

13th July: Holy Comunion (9:45am), Mattins (11:30am) and Evensong (3:00pm), Wells Cathedral

14th - 17th July: Venice & Florence, Italy

18th July: Concert: Angels From Australia (Dedham Parish Church, 7:30pm)

19th July: Concert: Angels From Australia (St. Nicholas, Harwich, 7:30pm)

20th July: Evening Service (All Souls, Langham Place, 6:30pm)

21st July: Choral Evensong (St. Paul's Cathedral, London, 5:00pm)

22nd July: Return to Australia

 

Should definately be worth hearing judging by the musical samples on their website.

 

Dave

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Guest Patrick Coleman

Sounds great - I have to attend the putting-in of a new archdeacon on Sunday, but might be able to get to Bath or Wells.

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Sounds great - I have to attend the putting-in of a new archdeacon on Sunday, but might be able to get to Bath or Wells.

If you can get to Bath or Wells then do so!!

 

I got to the Cathedral for the service on 06th July and the music was amazing. The effect of the combined choirs was stunning and the playing of Widor's Toccata by the Black Dyke Band earned raptuous applause from the congregation. It was certainly interesting to hear a brass band play that piece.

 

The choirs were directed by Mark Lee (Bristol Cathedral) and the organist was David Bednall with the Cathedral's organ more than matching up to the task. And I was sat at the back but could still hear all the music perfectly well.

 

Dave

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Guest Roffensis
If you can get to Bath or Wells then do so!!

 

I got to the Cathedral for the service on 06th July and the music was amazing. The effect of the combined choirs was stunning and the playing of Widor's Toccata by the Black Dyke Band earned raptuous applause from the congregation. It was certainly interesting to hear a brass band play that piece.

 

The choirs were directed by Mark Lee (Bristol Cathedral) and the organist was David Bednall with the Cathedral's organ more than matching up to the task. And I was sat at the back but could still hear all the music perfectly well.

 

Dave

 

Ah Bristol! Now that's a Cathedral organ!! :mellow:

 

R

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Ah Bristol! Now that's a Cathedral organ!! :mellow:

 

R

 

Agreed - an organ that can rearrange your insides with Swell at mp and without shouting at you.

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Guest Roffensis
Agreed - an organ that can rearrange your insides with Swell at mp and without shouting at you.

 

 

And tonally at least, it does what it says on the tin magnificently, without actually sounding like a tin! An increasing rarity!!

 

A gem. Long may she reign. :mellow:

 

R

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And tonally at least, it does what it says on the tin magnificently, without actually sounding like a tin! An increasing rarity!!

 

A gem. Long may she reign. :mellow:

 

R

Yes. Worth remembering that the case and front pipes are more than 320 years old.

 

Dave

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Yes. Worth remembering that the case and front pipes are more than 320 years old.

 

Dave

 

...and that most of the rest of the flue work is unadulterated W.G. Vowles!

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...and that most of the rest of the flue work is unadulterated W.G. Vowles!

Yes, I know.

 

And no doubt there is plenty of JW Walker flue-work in there as well. Which leaves me wondering wether there is an of Renatus Harris' organ of 1683-1685, other than the case and fron pipes, left. And I would like to think that there was.

 

Anyone know?

 

Dave

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Guest Patrick Coleman
This summary of the 1907 organ appears on the cathedral website. The information on it was for a time dispalyed on a partially hidden board behind the organ before being put online.
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  • 1 year later...

I'm interested to read the comments on the discussion forum that try to asert that Bristol Cathedral includes a high proportion of material by Vowles, even claiming that the majority of the Great chorus is by Vowles. I've decided to ressurect this topic, rather than go off-topic on the badly positioned organ topic.

 

All my knowledge of this organ is based on giving a couple of lunchtime recitals on the organ, plus what I can glean from NPOR and the Internet. I think this entry is interesting:

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=D04663

 

Which mentions Vowles's re-use of Harris's spotted metal pipes (in itself an unusual feature) and the retention of the GG compasses - a very conservative feature for 1861! The evidence seems to suggest that the move was done fairly inelegantly - NPOR above states "the case being somewhat mutilated in the process" and the Bristol Cathedral Website (http://www.bristol-cathedral.co.uk/index.php?id=32) states that the old west case was wedged against the north wall of the choir aisle.

 

If Vowles re-used the cases, (even if it could be argued there was little benefit keeping the old west case) I wonder what else he re-used? I think it is likely he retained some of the soundboards and parts of the action if the organ was still GG compass after this work. But it also appears Vowles introduced a number of new ranks as well - stops such as the Choir Organ Dulciana and Viole di Gambe; the Great Organ Clarabella and the Swell Organ Double Dulciana, Harmonic Flute and Cornopean all look decidedly Victorian. Vowles also retained the wooden pedal pipes of Munday in his enlarged, if unadventerous, Pedal Organ.

 

But why would Vowles want to replace the majority of Harris's upperwork on the Great Organ? The specification of the Great Chorus doesn't change substantially during Vowles's rebuild and remained down to GG. Is it really likely a builder would provide a new GG Great Chorus to a 17th century specification in 1861? Vowles belonged to a long lineage of builders that had worked on the Bristol organ for 75 years, since the Seedes added the Choir case and pipes in 1786. It is also worth bearing in mind that Renatus Harris moved to Bristol towards the end of his life and his son, John Harris built the organ of St Mary Redcliffe with John Byfield in 1726 - an organ that C.H.H.Parry wrote about in glowing terms between 1864 to 1866. In the light of such conservatism and lineage, is it really likely Vowles would have replaced Renatus Harris's pipework?

 

It is also worth bearing in mind that the nave for Bristol Cathedral had yet to be built at the time of Vowles's work, which doubled the size of the Cathedral. Why would pipework, which had been adequate for the building for nearly 200 years, be replaced when the organ was moved and enlarged? Further to this, the Bristol Cathedral website states that "with the building of the new Nave in the 1870's, [the organ] was no longer adequate to serve a building which had doubled in length" - which would mean that if the claims made by people above are to be believed, that Vowles's new fluework was not adequate in the new building.

 

The NPOR entry below shows that the organ was re-tuned to an equal temperament just 6 years after Vowles's work. I wonder what the temperament was in 1861 and I wonder why didn't they take the opportunity to retune the organ to an equal temperament in 1861 if a great proportion of the fluework was replaced?

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N03797

 

Most crucially, the first NPOR entry states Vowles "re-used spotted metal pipes of Harris". I'm interested in the source of this note and the scope of the spotted metal pipes by Harris. Spotted metal from Harris's period is unusual but it requires no special process to make. It might be that Harris made spotted metal by accident or design - most old builders (as today) used whatever materials were readily available and the composition of pipe metal varied over time. Maybe Harris had an abundance of tin at the time and used more than he normally did? I don't know.

 

So maybe somebody, with better access to the evidence and documents than me, can explain why they think the majority of the Great fluework should be attributed to Vowles? I'm interested in the facts - evidence and the sources, such the documents explaining what Vowles did in the 1860s - rather than conjecture, which can be spun with equal ease in either direction.

 

I ought to point out that visual inspection of pipework is not infallible. It's very easy to make a mistake. I remember one local builder told me he thought the pipework in one organ was quite possibly be Bevington - which it wasn't (and he later retracted the idea). So on the basis of the NPOR notes, I'm not sure an argument that says the pipes look Victorian because they're made of spotted metal is really valid in this case without good supporting evidence.

 

As an aside, it is worth bearing in mind Walker's descendance from Renatus Harris too, through Richard Bridge, trained by Renatus Harris, through the Englands and, through a brief parlour aprrenticeship, on to Walker himself. Manders can also trace their ancestry to the Englands too and I find it satisfying to consider the lineage of builders that have worked on this organ in the past - whether Vowles, Walkers or Manders.

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Regarding temperament, Willis built an organ at Totnes in 1861 which was tuned in equal temperament, and this was considered unusual enough for the local paper to mention it in their brief coverage. It is not therefore really surprising that Vowles used an unequal temperament in the same year.

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So maybe somebody, with better access to the evidence and documents than me, can explain why they think the majority of the Great fluework should be attributed to Vowles? I'm interested in the facts - evidence and the sources, such the documents explaining what Vowles did in the 1860s - rather than conjecture, which can be spun with equal ease in either direction.

 

Hi

 

The NPOR sources are listed in the !Additional Information" section of the survey. Plenty of scope there for further research.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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