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davidh

St Paul's Cathedral

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Look for the double-page centre spread in The Guardian today, Simon Johnson at the new mobile console at St Paul's.

 

(Not available in the online version as far as I can see).

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Look for the double-page centre spread in The Guardian today, Simon Johnson at the new mobile console at St Paul's.

 

(Not available in the online version as far as I can see).

 

 

Yes I saw this - you beat me to it, David! But what with the programme Pulling out the Stops on R4 and this piccie in the Guardian, the organ seems to have got quite a bit of publicity this week - relatively speaking.

 

BTW The Guardian seems to have been particularly musically minded this week as yesterday's crossword (Araucaria) was themed around Wagner operas....

 

 

Peter

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BTW The Guardian seems to have been particularly musically minded this weeek as yesterday's crossword (Araucaria) was themed around Wagner operas....

Isn't that an oxymoron? :):ph34r:

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Thank you for that link - great photographs.

 

I'm really looking forward to Olivier Latry's recital next month - our seats are apparently in the prime spot, according to the nice lady on the telephone.

 

P

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The cathedral's web-site has a description of the organ that mentions the Dome Tubas. They are new. Why ?

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The cathedral's web-site has a description of the organ that mentions the Dome Tubas. They are new. Why ?

 

Our host has explained the reasoning behind this decision elsewhere on this board. If no one else locates it before I return from teaching, I shall attempt to find it for you.

 

The old pipework has been stored carefully in the cathedral, in order that a reversal could be undertaken in the future, should it be desired.

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Here is the appropriate extract from Mr Mander's note....

 

Slightly more controversially perhaps, the Dome Tubas and Chorus Reeds are being replaced with new pipes. The Chorus Reeds were remodelled Tuba pipes and sounded too much like Tubas and the Tubas themselves would not respond to a slight brightening which they really needed. The old pipes are being preserved so that if somebody in the future decides replacing them was a mistake, the change can easily be reversed. The new stops should be installed during the first half of August.

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Here is the appropriate extract from Mr Mander's note....

 

Slightly more controversially perhaps, the Dome Tubas and Chorus Reeds are being replaced with new pipes. The Chorus Reeds were remodelled Tuba pipes and sounded too much like Tubas and the Tubas themselves would not respond to a slight brightening which they really needed. The old pipes are being preserved so that if somebody in the future decides replacing them was a mistake, the change can easily be reversed. The new stops should be installed during the first half of August.

My understanding from someone who has heard the new Tubas in the building is that they *are* an improvement, therefore the decision to replace the old pipes appears to have been justified.

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Our host has explained the reasoning behind this decision elsewhere on this board. If no one else locates it before I return from teaching, I shall attempt to find it for you.

 

The old pipework has been stored carefully in the cathedral, in order that a reversal could be undertaken in the future, should it be desired.

 

I'd be grateful to read the whole of our host's description of the recent work. I can't seem to find it. Although I liked the sound of those old Tubas, I'm more than willing to defer to Mr. Mander's judgement in the matter. Anyone with the hands-on experience of making an organ "go," esp. one so important, must be trusted absolutely.

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Guest Roffensis
The cathedral's web-site has a description of the organ that mentions the Dome Tubas. They are new. Why ?

 

 

Exactly the question I asked. IMHO the Willis Tubas had immense individual character and fame being referred to as "Red hot coals". I hope they are returned to use in the future.

 

R

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Exactly the question I asked. IMHO the Willis Tubas had immense individual character and fame being referred to as "Red hot coals". I hope they are returned to use in the future.

 

R

 

John Mander has given a perfectly honest and reasonable explanation of the reasons for replacement.

 

Why not wait to hear the new stops before passing judgment?

 

JS

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Guest Roffensis
John Mander has given a perfectly honest and reasonable explanation of the reasons for replacement.

 

Why not wait to hear the new stops before passing judgment?

 

JS

 

 

St.Paul's is a very odd building anyway. I see no real point in replacing those ranks. That said, I hate Tubas, and my ears have always centred on the Chancel organ. I personally do not like scattered organs such as St. Pauls. The Nave and Dome organs are answers to difficult acoustic problems. Even so, from the point of view of a unique sound in the Dome, we have lost something.

 

The Chancel organ pipework is, and always was, very forced. That "edge" has become a hallmark of the St. Pauls sound. The old Dome Tubas were too. It may be that in the future more correctly scaled pipework replaces the chancel. Who knows? I really don't care!

 

R

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Exactly the question I asked. IMHO the Willis Tubas had immense individual character and fame being referred to as "Red hot coals". I hope they are returned to use in the future.

 

R

 

 

Do shoot me down in flames (fanned by the red hot coals!), but I thought that the very descriptive phrase referred to the sound of the full swell and not the dome tubas??

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Do shoot me down in flames (fanned by the red hot coals!), but I thought that the very descriptive phrase referred to the sound of the full swell and not the dome tubas??

 

No, the description of 'red hot coals' was, I am sure, applied to the Dome tubas.

 

I remember many years ago, whilst sitting under the dome awaiting the start of a recital, jumping out of my skin when the first chord was played on the Dome tubas. So I can concur with this epithet!

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Do shoot me down in flames (fanned by the red hot coals!), but I thought that the very descriptive phrase referred to the sound of the full swell and not the dome tubas??

 

But isn't the sound of the Full Swell there something splendid to behold?! I wonder what it is which makes some full swells have "it", and others not?

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But isn't the sound of the Full Swell there something splendid to behold?! I wonder what it is which makes some full swells have "it", and others not?

 

With regard to Saint Paul's, it probably has a lot to do with the scaling and voicing of the three chorus reeds on this small division - and perhaps to the dimensions of the box and the reflective effect of the stone pier*. Truro (and to an extent, Salisbury) have a similar effect, although in slightly less generous acoustic environments.

 

The full Swell on my own church instrument is also quite effective, notwithstanding the dry acoustic. The Double Trumpet (full length bass) whilst having plenty of body to the tone, is still bright and mostly prompt. The Cornopean is one of the best chorus reeds I know - very versatile. The Clarion is bright and contributes greatly to the effect of this division.

 

 

 

 

* I cannot recall whether there is a 'back' to the swell box, or whether the pier forms the back.

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Guest Roffensis
With regard to Saint Paul's, it probably has a lot to do with the scaling and voicing of the three chorus reeds on this small division - and perhaps to the dimensions of the box and the reflective effect of the stone pier*. Truro (and to an extent, Salisbury) have a similar effect, although in slightly less generous acoustic environments.

 

The full Swell on my own church instrument is also quite effective, notwithstanding the dry acoustic. The Double Trumpet (full length bass) whilst having plenty of body to the tone, is still bright and mostly prompt. The Cornopean is one of the best chorus reeds I know - very versatile. The Clarion is bright and contributes greatly to the effect of this division.

 

 

 

 

* I cannot recall whether there is a 'back' to the swell box, or whether the pier forms the back.

 

Willis, as we all know, divided the case, and used the two shallow cases for his organ, and that dictated the shallowness of the swell box. The swell is superb, but the "spice" also comes from relatively small scale pipework voiced to near screaming pitch, much coarseness of which is rolled off by the building, though not all. Another truly stunning Willis Swell (and indeed Great and Pedal etc) is of course Canterbury, not heard to advantage on the screen but certainly thrilling in the Quire. St.Paul's is an interesting sound. IMHO not all of it is due so much to expertise as pure chance. There can be no mistake the pipework is small for the building, and that space was at a premium, possibly dictating scales for a decent specification.

 

As to the Tubas, yes a very unique sound, not at all what one would expect, warm and rounded, fiery, words fail to describe them. But certainly a splendid and highly unusual timbre, which fitted the building like a glove. At least I heard them live, and can still sit back with my high end hi fi and enjoy them, as so many organs and stops no longer with us.

 

R

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Willis, as we all know, divided the case, and used the two shallow cases for his organ, and that dictated the shallowness of the swell box. The swell is superb, but the "spice" also comes from relatively small scale pipework voiced to near screaming pitch, much coarseness of which is rolled off by the building, though not all. Another truly stunning Willis Swell (and indeed Great and Pedal etc) is of course Canterbury, not heard to advantage on the screen but certainly thrilling in the Quire. St.Paul's is an interesting sound. IMHO not all of it is due so much to expertise as pure chance. There can be no mistake the pipework is small for the building, and that space was at a premium, possibly dictating scales for a decent specification.

 

As to the Tubas, yes a very unique sound, not at all what one would expect, warm and rounded, fiery, words fail to describe them. But certainly a splendid and highly unusual timbre, which fitted the building like a glove. At least I heard them live, and can still sit back with my high end hi fi and enjoy them, as so many organs and stops no longer with us.

 

R

I must admit that all this talk of wonderfully warm and exciting full swell reminds me greatly of another cathedral organ not far from my home, which particularly before it was emasculated c1976 was all that you could possibly ask for. Still, no use crying over spilt milk.

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Guest Roffensis
I must admit that all this talk of wonderfully warm and exciting full swell reminds me greatly of another cathedral organ not far from my home, which particularly before it was emasculated c1976 was all that you could possibly ask for. Still, no use crying over spilt milk.

 

:blink:

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