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Parr Hall ,warrington


D Quentin Bellamy

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There will be a recital in the Parr Hall, Warrington, Cheshire to celebrate the Bi-Centenary of the Birth of Aristide Cavaille-Coll. This will take place on Friday, 17th June, 2011 at 7.30pm. The Recitalists are Roger Fisher, Organist Emeritus, of Chester Cathedral AND Benjamin Saunders, Director of Music at Leeds Cathedral. The programme will include music written by the composers who were inspired by the 'symphonic' organs of Cavaille-Coll. This recital may represent a final opportunity to hear the Great Organ in it's present home, prior to a possible move elsewhere.

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There was rumour of it going to a cathedral.

 

 

Believe that a potential home has been found for this instrument but still not sure where and from reading these notes no-one else seems sure either.

 

Either way it is good that there may well be a new home for it where it will be used on a more regular basis instead of gathering dust on the mantelpiece.

 

I think all due credit still has to be extended to Warrington Council with regards to their efforts over the years to at least keep the instrument extant. Not an easy one in relation to the costs involved in maintenance,staff and, heating linked to huge attendance figures at the recitals over the years.

 

I am quite sure that there will be an equivalent turnout for the Final Recital/ Funeral. There usually is to mark such occasions.

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If they take the same ploy as some of the great artists of the past who were forever announcing their Farewell Concert, Warrington will be assured of the best audiences in the land.

N

A correction is needed here.

After being told, only recently, by Warrington Borough Council, that the Great Organ in the Parr Hall is destined to be dismantled next year, and not this year, two web-sites advertising this recital will eventually be amended to read that this MAY be the final opportunity of hearing this organ in the Parr Hall.

Never-the-less, this joint recital to be given by Roger Fisher and Benjamin Saunders will be an event NOT to be missed. Both of these Recitalists have a connection and affinity with this organ, so the quality of the music and music-making is assured.

 

Parr Hall has recently undergone a refurbishment and the results, including views of the organ, can be seen at www.posimage.co.uk .

Click on 'Latest Work' to see these pictures.

 

Tickets for the Recital on 17th June can be obtained at the Parr Hall Box Office 01925 442345 AND from www.pyramidparrhall.com

They are £10 and £7 Concessions.

The programme will in the style of the organ and consist of music by composers who were inspired by the Great Organs of Aristide Cavaill-Coll.

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A correction is needed here.

After being told, only recently, by Warrington Borough Council, that the Great Organ in the Parr Hall is destined to be dismantled next year, and not this year, two web-sites advertising this recital will eventually be amended to read that this MAY be the final opportunity of hearing this organ in the Parr Hall.

Never-the-less, this joint recital to be given by Roger Fisher and Benjamin Saunders will be an event NOT to be missed. Both of these Recitalists have a connection and affinity with this organ, so the quality of the music and music-making is assured.

 

Parr Hall has recently undergone a refurbishment and the results, including views of the organ, can be seen at www.posimage.co.uk .

Click on 'Latest Work' to see these pictures.

 

Tickets for the Recital on 17th June can be obtained at the Parr Hall Box Office 01925 442345 AND from www.pyramidparrhall.com

They are £10 and £7 Concessions.

The programme will in the style of the organ and consist of music by composers who were inspired by the Great Organs of Aristide Cavaill-Coll.

 

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

 

 

There's something puzzling me about all this.

 

If the organ stood in the way of re-development and the spending of vast sums on carpets, drapes and plush, modern seating, I would feel happy that the organ would move away from Warrington. However, they've obviously spent money on the hall, they will now have much less money to spend, and the organ COULD remain there; especially oif some sort of trust could be established by all those local enthusiasts and supporters of the instrument.

 

I don't personally have great feelings about it, as I wouldn't count any Cavaille-Coll organ as among my favourite instruments, or an awful lot of the music written for them, but that's me, not the organ or its great significance.

 

I really cannot believe that Warrington....a pleasantly "ordinary" town....should want to get rid of anything which lifts it out of the mire of that ordinary dullness, because this is clearly a very important and prestige instrument by any standard.

 

It's like Bury Council flogging off a Lowrey painting much loved by many. My friend bought it, and promptly shoved it in the "Lowrey" at Salford Quays, where it remains to this day; permitting public access and enjoyment of the same.

 

It shows what a load of Philistines we've become in this country, but more importantly, it demonstrates how the political classes have so warped public perceptions of all things worthy and good. (Does Philistine have any double letters in it? I'm not a classics scholar!)

 

MM

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A correction is needed here.

After being told, only recently, by Warrington Borough Council, that the Great Organ in the Parr Hall is destined to be dismantled next year, and not this year, two web-sites advertising this recital will eventually be amended to read that this MAY be the final opportunity of hearing this organ in the Parr Hall.

Never-the-less, this joint recital to be given by Roger Fisher and Benjamin Saunders will be an event NOT to be missed. Both of these Recitalists have a connection and affinity with this organ, so the quality of the music and music-making is assured.

 

Parr Hall has recently undergone a refurbishment and the results, including views of the organ, can be seen at www.posimage.co.uk .

Click on 'Latest Work' to see these pictures.

 

Tickets for the Recital on 17th June can be obtained at the Parr Hall Box Office 01925 442345 AND from www.pyramidparrhall.com

They are £10 and £7 Concessions.

The programme will in the style of the organ and consist of music by composers who were inspired by the Great Organs of Aristide Cavaill-Coll.

 

 

Thanks to your tip-off, I made my way over the Pennines last Friday evening and joined about 120 others at the 'final' recital. Thanks to David Wells's attention the organ seemed in good order and perfectly in tune. Roger Fisher's programme of 19c French works produced some ravishingly beautiful sounds (rich fonds, Gambes, Flûtes harmoniques and exciting reeds), including those in the very effective swell-box.

 

Let's hope the proposed translation to Sheffield comes about where the instrument should sound even more magnificent in a more generous acoustic.

 

JS

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Thanks to your tip-off, I made my way over the Pennines last Friday evening and joined about 120 others at the 'final' recital. Thanks to David Wells's attention the organ seemed in good order and perfectly in tune. Roger Fisher's programme of 19c French works produced some ravishingly beautiful sounds (rich fonds, Gambes, Flûtes harmoniques and exciting reeds), including those in the very effective swell-box.

 

Let's hope the proposed translation to Sheffield comes about where the instrument should sound even more magnificent in a more generous acoustic.

 

JS

 

I am so pleased you were able to join us John. I understand those there numbered 174. One person came from Ely for the Recital.

Roger Fisher, Benjamin Saunders AND David Wells have been very supportive of this event.

 

There were times when I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew after I had asked the Warrington Borough Council to promote the event, but it was all worth it in the end.

 

What remains now is for those who are making the decisions to decide where and when the Great Organ will be taken. We must make sure that it isn't put into storage at all costs.

My best wishes to you, Tempo Primo.

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I am so pleased you were able to join us John. I understand those there numbered 174. One person came from Ely for the Recital.

Roger Fisher, Benjamin Saunders AND David Wells have been very supportive of this event.

 

There were times when I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew after I had asked the Warrington Borough Council to promote the event, but it was all worth it in the end.

 

What remains now is for those who are making the decisions to decide where and when the Great Organ will be taken. We must make sure that it isn't put into storage as all costs.

My best wishes to you, Tempo Primo.

 

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

 

 

 

My personal regrets that I couldn't have been there to hear these two excellent recitalists. Unfortunately, the motor had to go into the garage, and what should have been half a day's work, was complicated by the lack of an immediately available spare part, and I only got it back Saturday morning.

 

174 souls seems to be quite a good turn out to me; especially in a town which is just a tiny bit remote.

 

I'm sure there will be another final, semi-final or quarter-final recital, and next time I will get there on hands and knees if need arises.

 

Congratulations for what was obviouisly a successful event.

 

 

MM

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

 

 

 

My personal regrets that I couldn't have been there to hear these two excellent recitalists. Unfortunately, the motor had to go into the garage, and what should have been half a day's work, was complicated by the lack of an immediately available spare part, and I only got it back Saturday morning.

 

174 souls seems to be quite a good turn out to me; especially in a town which is just a tiny bit remote.

 

I'm sure there will be another final, semi-final or quarter-final recital, and next time I will get there on hands and knees if need arises.

 

Congratulations for what was obviouisly a successful event.

 

 

MM

 

Good to hear from you again MM. You do well to question whether this MAY be the 'final' time this organ can be heard in a Recital in the Parr Hall. If I can persuade those in authority to promote another one before it is dismantled, I will be more than pleased.

I was sorry to hear that you were prevented from joining us, so, better luck next time !!! A good few travelled considerable distance to hear the Bracewell Queen.

My best wishes to you, Tempo Primo. :)

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Don't know whether it's true but I heard on the night that Warrington have agreed not to "tip it out" until a definite home is found for it. I'd like an expert comment on whether such an organ is suitable for cathedral work, after all it's very difficult to play without console assistants, RF had two although BS got away with one; no playing aids which a church organist would need as I see it. Discuss, as they say.

 

Rather mystified by MM's comment that Warrington is "remote" - it is on the main west coast main line, one London colleague came up non-stop from Euston. and the hall is 5 minutes walk from the station. By car the town is quite close to the motorway system.

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I'm still puzzled as to why a Cavaille-Coll organ shouldn't be suitable for an Anglican cathedral. The required sounds are there to perfection - after all, if the resident players can produce convincing sounds at Gloucester or Oxford (take your pick of which or all three), there should be no problem with the ex-Warrington CC.

 

The challenge would be to feel at home with the CC style of ventil stop-control. But surely all these stunningly talented young organists, with reams of Vierne and Widor under their belts, should know how to play a CC already. If not, they should welcome the challenge of learning.

 

Can it be that modern control systems, with their multiple channels, steppers and whatever are making us lazy? My Casavant console here has five pistons to the Great (13ss), five to the Swell (15ss), three to the Choir (8ss), three to the Solo (6ss) and three to the Pedal (10ss), plus five generals. All adjustable by a capture system patented in something like 1907 and installed in 1928 - one or two little kinks, but basically reliable - but not a huge complement by modern standards. The organ has 34 couplers, too, and I use them all frequently (but not all at the same time!). I don't feel the need for anything more, and the only piece I can think of that needs all the generals is the Willan Intro, Passacaglia and Fugue (and it might only need four out of the five). During this month, it will have piloted its way through quite a wide range of stuff, including Darke in E, Murrill in E, Purcell in G minor, Mozart's Coronation Mass, This is the record of John, The Spirit of the Lord, Howells Coll Reg Jubilate, Jackson in G, voluntaries by Alain, Elgar, Langlais, Bach, Guilain, Susato and Stanford, five lunch-time concerts and The Last Night of the Proms (inc. Pomp & Circumstance, Henry Wood's Sea Songs and Rule Britannia, The Land of the Mountain and the Flood, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring....and the Dorian). I don't expect any trouble registering all this, but I do expect to do a lot of hand registration. You take what you have, and you learn to do the best you can with it. That's part of the fun, isn't it?

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I'm still puzzled as to why a Cavaille-Coll organ shouldn't be suitable for an Anglican cathedral. The required sounds are there to perfection - after all, if the resident players can produce convincing sounds at Gloucester or Oxford (take your pick of which or all three), there should be no problem with the ex-Warrington CC.

 

The challenge would be to feel at home with the CC style of ventil stop-control. But surely all these stunningly talented young organists, with reams of Vierne and Widor under their belts, should know how to play a CC already. If not, they should welcome the challenge of learning.

 

Can it be that modern control systems, with their multiple channels, steppers and whatever are making us lazy? My Casavant console here has five pistons to the Great (13ss), five to the Swell (15ss), three to the Choir (8ss), three to the Solo (6ss) and three to the Pedal (10ss), plus five generals. All adjustable by a capture system patented in something like 1907 and installed in 1928 - one or two little kinks, but basically reliable - but not a huge complement by modern standards. The organ has 34 couplers, too, and I use them all frequently (but not all at the same time!). I don't feel the need for anything more, and the only piece I can think of that needs all the generals is the Willan Intro, Passacaglia and Fugue (and it might only need four out of the five). During this month, it will have piloted its way through quite a wide range of stuff, including Darke in E, Murrill in E, Purcell in G minor, Mozart's Coronation Mass, This is the record of John, The Spirit of the Lord, Howells Coll Reg Jubilate, Jackson in G, voluntaries by Alain, Elgar, Langlais, Bach, Guilain, Susato and Stanford, five lunch-time concerts and The Last Night of the Proms (inc. Pomp & Circumstance, Henry Wood's Sea Songs and Rule Britannia, The Land of the Mountain and the Flood, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring....and the Dorian). I don't expect any trouble registering all this, but I do expect to do a lot of hand registration. You take what you have, and you learn to do the best you can with it. That's part of the fun, isn't it?

 

 

Quite a few years ago I played the Parr Hall organ, and because I'd done my 'homework', I found it reasonably simple to perform on. However, the majority had not, and were dumfounded when certain stops would not sound when drawn, as they hadn't grasped the principle of the ventils! But what a wonderful sound!!

 

CP

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Don't know whether it's true but I heard on the night that Warrington have agreed not to "tip it out" until a definite home is found for it. I'd like an expert comment on whether such an organ is suitable for cathedral work, after all it's very difficult to play without console assistants, RF had two although BS got away with one; no playing aids which a church organist would need as I see it. Discuss, as they say.

 

Which is more important? Preserving the integrity of this sole untouched C-C (or nearly untouched) survivor in this country or compromising that integrity so that it can accompany Dyson in D?

 

Can the cathedral organists be persuaded to forgo the comforts of pistons and sequencers etc and rise to the challenge of the array of ironmongery at their feet, with or without an assistant?

 

Another question is whether physical constraints in its new home will allow a return to Barker-lever action or whether electric action and a remote console are deemed indispensable.

 

This seems to me a unique opportunity to break new ground and (re)create something very special in an English cathedral.

 

JS

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Which is more important? Preserving the integrity of this sole untouched C-C (or nearly untouched) survivor in this country or compromising that integrity so that it can accompany Dyson in D?

 

Can the cathedral organists be persuaded to forgo the comforts of pistons and sequencers etc and rise to the challenge of the array of ironmongery at their feet, with or without an assistant?

 

Another question is whether physical constraints in its new home will allow a return to Barker-lever action or whether electric action and a remote console are deemed indispensable.

 

This seems to me a unique opportunity to break new ground and (re)create something very special in an English cathedral.

 

JS

 

Wise words.

One surely must now be careful to recognize the differences between restoration, reconstruction and conservation.

Nigel

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Which is more important? Preserving the integrity of this sole untouched C-C (or nearly untouched) survivor in this country or compromising that integrity so that it can accompany Dyson in D?

 

Can the cathedral organists be persuaded to forgo the comforts of pistons and sequencers etc and rise to the challenge of the array of ironmongery at their feet, with or without an assistant?

 

Another question is whether physical constraints in its new home will allow a return to Barker-lever action or whether electric action and a remote console are deemed indispensable.

 

This seems to me a unique opportunity to break new ground and (re)create something very special in an English cathedral.

 

JS

 

 

Dyson wouldn't have had any more registrational aids than would be available on a CC, although they would work rather differently.

 

If they're still thinking about Sheffield, I guess the big problem is not playing the thing, but where it would go. Is there somewhere where an organ of that size and shape could be erected, close to the singers it will accompany? If there is, I hope they go for it.

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It was maliciously suggested that J. Kendrick Pyne would engage French organists (eg Guilmant) to play at Manchester University (on the Willis) and English organists (eg Parratt) to play at the Town Hall (on the Cavaille-Coll), so that neither breed would sound their best and his own reputation would be safe.

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It was maliciously suggested that J. Kendrick Pyne would engage French organists (eg Guilmant) to play at Manchester University (on the Willis) and English organists (eg Parratt) to play at the Town Hall (on the Cavaille-Coll), so that neither breed would sound their best and his own reputation would be safe.

 

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That's a story I've never heard previously....thank you.

 

Pyne was a very fine player of course, and although I forget the details, it is said that his Bach teaching was quite remarkable.....toes only for the pedalling?

 

I wonder where more information about him might be forthcoming?

 

 

MM

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------------------------------------------

 

 

 

That's a story I've never heard previously....thank you.

 

Pyne was a very fine player of course, and although I forget the details, it is said that his Bach teaching was quite remarkable.....toes only for the pedalling?

 

I wonder where more information about him might be forthcoming?

 

 

MM

 

 

There was a two-part article about him in 'The Organ' back in (I think) the thirties, but it was largely anecdotal and did not go very deeply into the way he played. On Bach, he was unwilling to teach the big works to pupils, saying that if they wished to hear how they should be played, they should attend his recitals. If a pupil had the temerity to turn up with a big Bach work, Pyne would pace about the hall groaning to himself and probably disappear downstairs for a cigar.

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There was a two-part article about him in 'The Organ' back in (I think) the thirties, but it was largely anecdotal and did not go very deeply into the way he played. On Bach, he was unwilling to teach the big works to pupils, saying that if they wished to hear how they should be played, they should attend his recitals. If a pupil had the temerity to turn up with a big Bach work, Pyne would pace about the hall groaning to himself and probably disappear downstairs for a cigar.

 

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Not a million miles from the subject of Warrington, the City of Manchester certainly had more than its fair share of characters, even in the organ-world, and I suspect that Dr Pyne was one of them.

 

An extremely technological city in its heyday,I always smile when I think of the brothers Joule, who were apparently very religious. One would absorb himself in designing church organs, while the more famous one was busy electrocuting his domestic servants.

 

In fact, if one were to draw an eliptical circle from Manchester to Liverpool,almost the whole of 19th and 20th century organ innovation and development would probably be contained therein; not to mention the musical and academic achievements.

 

MM

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... while the more famous one was busy electrocuting his domestic servants.

 

reminds me of the large poster in the Electricity Showroom when they sold appliances, which urged "Husbands! Don't kill your wives with work. Let electricity do it for you".

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reminds me of the large poster in the Electricity Showroom when they sold appliances, which urged "Husbands! Don't kill your wives with work. Let electricity do it for you".

 

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

 

 

 

I shan't forgive quickly Nigel. I am now on my second shirt of the day, after snorting coffee down it!

 

That's wonderful,but also quite Julesian.....I vaguely recall that the Jule is a mathematical equivalence of work/electrical energy.

 

It puts a whole new slant on the term "Kill switch," unless those old wire corsets acted as Faraday cages.

 

In fact,I don't think I've every mentioned old Cedric, who in the early days of DC electric supplies, invented a novel system of organ action. Initially trained as a bakery engineer, until the loss of two fingers (later discovered in a loaf of Hovis), forced him to seek alternative employment, due to a consequent problem with twisting his nuts. He was eventually enlisted on the books of Harold Flash, Brightman & Spark,(Organ rebuildists) Ltd., simply on the basis that he missed the 'i' out of Soldiering on his CV.

 

On learning that copper was never used in organ-building, Cedric puzzled over this for some time;leading to the invention of the "conductive vapour tube." This clever invention re-used the old Tubular Pneumatic lead-tubing; each tube being charged with air rich in atomised mercury,which allowed an electrical contact to be made between the old touch-boxes and the electro-magnets replacing the pneumatic primaries; the inside of the tubing having first been insulated with Cedric's special mix of wholemeal flour, eggshell emulsion and the ground wings of specially imported fruit bats.

 

Unfortunately, after years in engineering, Cedric was fairly impregnated with oil and grease, and the constant layer of oily slime which exuded his fingers and finger-nails, was enough to compromise the bond of his special insulating liquid, leading to various short-circuits and leakages to earth. The fact that Cedric had always worked with DC mains voltage, meant that the health & safety of all involved was, at best, precarious.

 

Cedric's days as an organ-rebuiltist, came to an end at the opening recital played by Watson Holme, at St.Elmo's, Switcham-next-the-sea.

 

A cipher during the performance of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" saw Cedric rush inside the organ, followed by a vivid blue flash and a loud bang; most of Cedric discovered still dancing on the lead-tubing; the rest of his whereabouts something of a grizzly mystery.

 

There can be no doubt but that it was people like Cedric who made Britain as innovative and safety conscious as it is to-day,and for this,we must presumably be grateful.

 

MM

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------------------------------------------

 

................

 

In fact, if one were to draw an eliptical circle..............

 

MM

 

:P

 

Never mind MM. At least it shows that someone is reading it.

 

I for one greatly enjoy reading your posts, and I'm sure there must be many others. Please keep up the good work.

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On this forum, one thing tends to lead to another...

 

In MM's humorous piece, there was one line that caught my attention "... copper is never used in organ building".

 

Last year, I bought a copper mute for one of my relatives who is a trumpet player. I was immediately struck by the difference in timbre from other mutes, much warmer than other types.

 

I cannot think of any examples of copper organ pipes or resonators, but I have never stopped to question why that is. Can anybody explain?

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On this forum, one thing tends to lead to another...

 

In MM's humorous piece, there was one line that caught my attention "... copper is never used in organ building".

 

Last year, I bought a copper mute for one of my relatives who is a trumpet player. I was immediately struck by the difference in timbre from other mutes, much warmer than other types.

 

I cannot think of any examples of copper organ pipes or resonators, but I have never stopped to question why that is. Can anybody explain?

 

We've done a copper Regal for a house organ. And there's the Kupfer Trompete on the HW at New College. And the 16' copper Prinzipal on the pedal at Clifton Cathedral. And a copper Gemshorn on the Kenneth Jones at Sarum College. And the 32' copper front at Seattle St Mark's.

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