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Wind Pressure For An English Tuba

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Whilst there may be a few examples which are quieter and which have some harmonic development, there was a discernable pattern. These stops were often voiced on 300mm w.g. (although those at King's College Chapel, Cambridge speak on a pressure of 450mm. There are (or were) many examples which tended towards the former description; you mentioned Ripon and Ely (I have a copy of the recording of the Ely organ from the Great Cathedral Organs series), there was also Worcester Cathedral and Westminster Abbey (again recorded in the same series) - and York Minster, for which we have the testimony of Dr. Francis Jackson; Newcastle City Hall also contains G.O. Trombe ranks, which speak on a pressure of 375mm. There is also Crediton Parish Church (G.O> reeds still extant), Saint Peter's, Bournemouth (a colleague used to have lessons on the old organ) and a number of others in which those who know (or knew) these instruments spoke of the opaque and very powerful tone of the G.O. reeds.

 

In any case, it is possible that the G.O. reeds at Halifax and Boston have been revoiced at some stage. The organ at Halifax was rebuilt with alterations by Walker in 1968 and again in 1976. Given the prevailing change in tase at that time (and in comparison with other work by the same firm in the 1960s), I doubt that they left the G.O. reeds as Arthur Harrison finished them. That at Boston has been altered three times (although in each case, H&H undertook the work), 1940, 1953 and 1987 - the latter occasion involving 'slight tonal changes'. I note that the reeds on the G.O. at Boston (may) now speak on a pressure of 250mm.

 

I think that as far as Ripon and Ely are concerned, location of the ranks could well have a lot to do with their previously overwhelming effect; at Ripon the Great reeds are clearly visible in open space at the top of the case, similarly at Ely they are at the very front of the triforium. The Ripon ranks were revoiced in 1963, at Ely they were revoiced in 1975 (or possibly earlier) and replaced in 2001.

 

On the other hand, at King's the Great reeds are enclosed in the Solo box which is located in the well of the south side of the screen. I've only heard moderate amounts of organ on the couple of occasions I've attended services here, but I've obviously heard many live broadcasts and have few of their choral CDs. I've never been aware of the 'Harrison Tromba' sound during broadcasts, in fact the most dominant sound in 'big combinations' used to be the 4 rank mixture which was added to the Great during the 70s (I think), of course this could be due to microphone placement. This stop has now been toned-down somewhat in the 90s.

 

At Halifax, Walkers supressed the 17th and 21st ranks of the Harmonics in 1968, leaving a 2 rank Mixture of 19th and 22nd. The 1976 work was purely restorative, no changes being made to the organ as it stood. I played it a number of times in the mid to late 70s - it's an absolute gem, thank goodness it wasn't altered. I have Andrew Hayden's UK organ calendar, and Halifax is October's offering; the Great Mixture is listed as 3 ranks, if this is correct I assume that the 17th has been put back on.

 

Of course, the Halifax and Boston reeds could have been revoiced at some point, but in Halifax's case, considering that Walkers work was so conservative on what must now be the largest unaltered Harrison of the period, I rather doubt it.

 

DT

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I think that as far as Ripon and Ely are concerned, location of the ranks could well have a lot to do with their previously overwhelming effect; at Ripon the Great reeds are clearly visible in open space at the top of the case...

 

DT

 

Having been up inside the case, I can state that this is actually the Pedal Ophicleide, not the G.O. reeds. The disposition of the instrument may be found in a back-issue of The Organ. When I return from Amsterdam, I shall attempt to locate the copy.

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Having been up inside the case, I can state that this is actually the Pedal Ophicleide, not the G.O. reeds. The disposition of the instrument may be found in a back-issue of The Organ. When I return from Amsterdam, I shall attempt to locate the copy.

 

Hi

 

Try Organ Vol No=069 Page=009

Organ Vol No=184 Page=127

"The Organ", April 1967

 

(Info from the NPOR survey, which also has a brief description of the pipework positions, and BOA (there should be a link so that the BOA info shows up at the bottom of the survey - yet another thing to add to the "pending" list!

 

There are also a number of other, older refs to published sources on the BOA listing.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

(NPOR Editor)

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I think that as far as Ripon and Ely are concerned, location of the ranks could well have a lot to do with their previously overwhelming effect; at Ripon the Great reeds are clearly visible in open space at the top of the case, similarly at Ely they are at the very front of the triforium. The Ripon ranks were revoiced in 1963, at Ely they were revoiced in 1975 (or possibly earlier) and replaced in 2001.

 

DT

 

I very much doubt whether the Great reeds at Ripon were in fact revoiced in 1963. I'd be prepared to bet they remain pretty much as Arthur Harrison left them in 1912-14 in the first stage of the rebuilding which was interrupted by WW1 and not completed until 1926.

 

On 10" wind, the sound of the 3 Trombas sails effortlessly to the west end of the nave They really come into their own in the accompaniment of large congregations - no nave division needed here. It would be fascinating to know what the original Lewis Trumpets 16-8-4 actually sounded like. One assumes the legendary Dr Moody considered them inadequate in some way - or maybe it was just a matter of current fashion.

 

 

JS

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Having been up inside the case, I can state that this is actually the Pedal Ophicleide, not the G.O. reeds. The disposition of the instrument may be found in a back-issue of The Organ. When I return from Amsterdam, I shall attempt to locate the copy.

 

A quick 'google' turned up this old looking photo, pre 2001 I'd guess. I'm not sure which of the 2 bays of the North Choir Triforium this actually is.

We visited Ely over Easter in 2005, the reeds to which I refer were shiny new ranks which could only be the replacement Great reeds or the new Solo Orchestral Trumpet.

Enjoy your half-term break in Amsterdam.

 

DT

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I very much doubt whether the Great reeds at Ripon were in fact revoiced in 1963. I'd be prepared to bet they remain pretty much as Arthur Harrison left them in 1912-14 in the first stage of the rebuilding which was interrupted by WW1 and not completed until 1926.

 

Well, I've certainly opened a big can of worms here haven't I!

 

I knew Philip Marshall very well during the mid 70s (I was his organ scholar at Lincoln), PM was O&C at Ripon at the time when Harrisons rebuilt it in 1963.

My original comment about the Ripon Trombas obliterating everything else as actually PMs assessment of them, and according to him, they were revoiced at that time. I also knew Ron Perrin around about the same time and played at Ripon several times, he had the Great mixture recast and I have a vague recollection of him mentioning that the Great reeds may have been altered again.

 

DT

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A quick 'google' turned up this old looking photo, pre 2001 I'd guess. I'm not sure which of the 2 bays of the North Choir Triforium this actually is.

We visited Ely over Easter in 2005, the reeds to which I refer were shiny new ranks which could only be the replacement Great reeds or the new Solo Orchestral Trumpet.

Enjoy your half-term break in Amsterdam.

 

DT

 

Thank you for this, David. This is interesting; I had been told that the reeds were only re-voiced with new tongues and shallots. However, if they also had new resonators (and boots?) then this is another matter entirely - and considerably more expensive. It might have been the Orchestral Trumpet which you saw, since the previous Fanfare Trumpet was the old Tuba (which had lain silent for years) re-voiced.

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Guest Cynic
Thank you for this, David. This is interesting; I had been told that the reeds were only re-voiced with new tongues and shallots. However, if they also had new resonators (and boots?) then this is another matter entirely - and considerably more expensive. It might have been the Orchestral Trumpet which you saw, since the previous Fanfare Trumpet was the old Tuba (which had lain silent for years) re-voiced.

 

New tongues alone would do it. Until relatively recently, with some firms it was standard practice for a thoroughly rebuilt organ to receive new reed tongues throughout as a matter of course - a change in style thus became more-or-less inevitable. My old professor had to kick up a rumpus in the 70s when Rushworth and Dreaper rough-worked and creeped all over St.Michael's Cornhill. The reeds there have never been the same as they were pre-1975 - though at Richard Popplewell, Harld Darke and George Thalben-Ball's insistence they were much improved from how R&D tried to leave them! I have a theory that this is what happened at Truro in Hele's hands in the 1920s (and no, I still haven't re-found the advert!) and reed stops have unexpectedly changed for the worse in other places much more recently.

 

New tongues and new shallots definitely would make for a new sound. I always think of the immortal words that appear in the souvenir brochure from the re-opening of the HN&B Gloucester rebuild:

'We have retained the Willis reeds, but have fitted them with new shallots..' Not much Willis to be heard there now!

 

No need to replace resonators, though sometimes re-voicers end up cutting these down/slotting them to increase volume or brilliance.

 

P.S. Philip Marshall was on record as preferring the organ at Ripon to that at Lincoln (right to the end of his life), so he can't have disliked those Ripon reeds much!

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The german "Hochdruckstimmen" were flue, not reed stops.

There is no tradition for high pressure reed voicing in continental Europe.

 

By coincidence, I found the spec of the very beautiful Sauer of 1915 of Hermannstadt/Sibiu (I have a recording of it - Pierre, if you do not know it, You will like it, I think...).

It has some high pressure voices (HD), and even... a Tuba mirabilis!

Obviously in the Swell... But to give it more connection to our English topic, there is also an "Englisch Horn 8'", which is also a stop not found too often in German instruments of that period...

Specification and image

KBK

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P.S. Philip Marshall was on record as preferring the organ at Ripon to that at Lincoln (right to the end of his life), so he can't have disliked those Ripon reeds much!

 

I have somewhere a letter from Philip Marshall written in response to an enquiry I made of him shortly after the Lincoln LP in the Great Cathedral Organ Series was released - two foolscap pages of single spaced typing when the usual response to such queries(if any at all) was a few words on a "With compliments" slip . A true gentleman. In that letter he wrote of admiring the brilliance of the Willis at Lincoln but missing the warmth of Ripon, and although he did not go so far as to express an outright preference for Ripon in terms the implication was certainly there "between the lines". He certainly mentioned the impact (or lack thereof) of the Solo Tubas at Lincoln , indicating that he had added them at the end of one take of a piece (probably the Parry) but had been told by Brian Culverhouse that they "made no difference" . I have n't gone back to check, so I may be wrong, but I do not think they appear on the version that was used on the LP.

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By coincidence, I found the spec of the very beautiful Sauer of 1915 of Hermannstadt/Sibiu (I have a recording of it - Pierre, if you do not know it, You will like it, I think...).

It has some high pressure voices (HD), and even... a Tuba mirabilis!

Obviously in the Swell... But to give it more connection to our English topic, there is also an "Englisch Horn 8'", which is also a stop not found too often in German instruments of that period...

Specification and image

KBK

 

Yes, a very interesting organ. This said, there was already a "Tuba" in the first

big Walcker organ in Frankfurt, 1833....Nothing to compare with the british stop,

of course.

This Sauer example is noted "HD", but what pressure is this actually ?

Link noted "Hochdruck", for their Seraphonpfeifen, something like 130mm. This was

much for Link, of course, whose organs generally have 75mm throughout.

 

Pierre

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Yes, a very interesting organ. This said, there was already a "Tuba" in the first

big Walcker organ in Frankfurt, 1833....Nothing to compare with the british stop,

of course.

This Sauer example is noted "HD", but what pressure is this actually ?

Link noted "Hochdruck", for their Seraphonpfeifen, something like 130mm. This was

much for Link, of course, whose organs generally have 75mm throughout.

 

Pierre

This sort of pressure ratio of roughly twice the 'normal' pressure for a high pressure stop was quite common for many British builders too Pierre (Bishop & Son etc), certainly for organs in Parish churches and smaller. However the Sauer organ mentioned seems to be in quite a large building, so perhaps the effect of that high pressure Tuba would not be quite as Mirabilis as some British examples in a similar acoustic.

Can we assume that by 'Link' you mean the Organ builder rather than 'connection'?

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"Can we assume that by 'Link' you mean the Organ builder rather than 'connection'?"

(Quote)

 

Yes; I mean Gebrüder Link of Giengen an der Brenz.

 

Pierre

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