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Nick Bennett

Manchester Town Hall

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In the Parr Hall thread, Cynic mentioned this instrument in terms of approbation.

 

What's it like, and what state is it in? Is there a curator?

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Guest Cynic
In the Parr Hall thread, Cynic mentioned this instrument in terms of approbation.

 

What's it like, and what state is it in? Is there a curator?

 

 

Details here, a large amount of this organ is by Cavaille-Coll.

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N02353

I last played it in 1978 and then it was an exciting instrument, capable of extremely authentic French sounds.

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I believe Nigel Ogden has a soft spot for this organ and he made a recording on it in January 1994 (In Classical Mood. OS207). At that time, quoting from the sleeve notes, the last time any major work had been done was in 1970 by Jardine and Co Ltd. The organ was cleaned and a moveable detachable console was fitted, along with new electro-pneumatic action to the primary motors.

 

At the time of recording, the organ was not in the best of health and Messrs Denny and Ginder of Jardines spent a few days patching things up to allow the recording to be made.

 

Unfortunately I've no later information but this may be of some interest.

 

Best wishes

 

PF

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
What does a Cavaille-Coll Tuba Mirabilis sound like?

 

S

 

Never heard this in Manchester but suspect a tampering, but those in the Sacre Coeur (which are laid down on the top of the case) 16 8 4 are glorious. When you walk up through the organ and reach the roof of the instrument in front of the twin Solo boxes, you think you are seeing the guns of the Bismarck. All sounding nothing like the honks/mega bassoon types in the UK with very little brilliance of harmonics. These add panache to the Tutti but are also solo voices too. The S C instrument (if memory serves me right) had a twin in Sheffield Albert Hall (contract 1873) and had the same stops. I believe that S C got theirs because of Sheffield requiring such sounds. Can anyone back me up?

Best wishes,

Nigel

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The S C instrument (if memory serves me right) had a twin in Sheffield Albert Hall (contract 1873) and had the same stops. I believe that S C got theirs because of Sheffield requiring such sounds. Can anyone back me up?

The Cavaille-Coll at Sacre Coeur dates from 1898 and was originally installed in the Chateau d'Ilbarritz in Biarritz, home of the wealth Baron de l'Espee, the case was a copy of that in the Albert Hall Sheffield (1873) and the spec. was slightly larger including the horizontal solo reeds. It was move to the Sacre Coeur in 1919 and rebuild into a different case.

 

As for Manchester; I played this in my youth in the 70s, my impression of the tubas was that they had been heavily 'Anglicised' at some point in the organ's murky past!

 

DT

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
The Cavaille-Coll at Sacre Coeur dates from 1898 and was originally installed in the Chateau d'Ilbarritz in Biarritz, home of the wealth Baron de l'Espee, the case was a copy of that in the Albert Hall Sheffield (1873) and the spec. was slightly larger including the horizontal solo reeds. It was move to the Sacre Coeur in 1919 and rebuild into a different case.

 

As for Manchester; I played this in my youth in the 70s, my impression of the tubas was that they had been heavily 'Anglicised' at some point in the organ's murky past!

 

DT

 

Just as I thought. Many thanks! Although we must always remember that it was not The Man himself that installed the instrument in Paris from the Chateau (which by looking at the photos) must have just filled the place. I should like to know what they used to keep the roof on too. Readers might like to know that keeping the tradition (just) alive, a French organ (30 +/- ) is being built for a private house in England.

All best wishes,

N

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Nigel,

 

Organists' Review, May 2006 has a number of good articles about CC, including a photo of the SC chamades, and many others of CC consoles, cases and interiors.

Strange isn't it, I just happened to have the copy out on the setee as I had been searching for a different article this afternoon!

 

DT

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Never heard this in Manchester but suspect a tampering, but those in the Sacre Coeur (which are laid down on the top of the case) 16 8 4 are glorious. When you walk up through the organ and reach the roof of the instrument in front of the twin Solo boxes, you think you are seeing the guns of the Bismarck. All sounding nothing like the honks/mega bassoon types in the UK with very little brilliance of harmonics. These add panache to the Tutti but are also solo voices too. The S C instrument (if memory serves me right) had a twin in Sheffield Albert Hall (contract 1873) and had the same stops. I believe that S C got theirs because of Sheffield requiring such sounds. Can anyone back me up?

Best wishes,

Nigel

 

 

Yes all is correct. I have a huge German Book about it - i'll dig it out.

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I played and tuned a bit of the Manchester Town Hall organ two years ago. The organ is in a sorry state and is not used or respected enough. When I played it, there were notes off here and there and it had not been tuned for a long time. The problem I see here is that the Hall is used so much for other things and the organ doesn’t get a look in, which I think it a shame, as we brits are so good at not recognising culture and history when it comes to organs and let a lone one of this nature. We certainly would not expect to find this happening on the continent however and maybe the organ would have been restored before I finished writing this post.

 

As mentioned in other posts Jardines have done their best in keeping the organ going within the boundaries of the Hall and it’s probably credit to them that the organ is going at all.

 

It is a very interesting instrument though and the big Tuba sits right at the top of the organ in front of the Lewis soundboard. The tuba is as English as you can get and just shows how versatile Cavaille-Coll was. All departments are very well spaced inside where the sound can get out. The action though is a problem as it is so buried so any problems then everything has to be taken out (rather like the old Brindley and Foster soundboards). The pipework is of huge scale particularly the Great and it was a joy to have a look around. Anyone interested in seeing some pictures - please contact me.

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
According to the "huge German book" mentioned by Jonathan (written by Günter Lade and Daniel Roth), only the 8' chamade is certain to be part of the original 1898 organ.

(This is also confirmed by the stop list of the 1898 organ as it appears in Eschbach's book.)

 

The 16' and (probably) the 4' have been added by Mutin.

 

In my haste to write an answer to "what is a Cavaille-Coll Tuba Mirabilis like?" I was overtaken by floods of memories and described the whole set of horizontal reeds at the Sacre-Coeur. I did originally start out to write about the 8ft and also to say that the rest no doubt came later when positioned in the voluminous acoustic on top of Monmartre. By the way, what a sensation we would still have in our land, had Sheffield and Manchester still retained their examples without revoicing/remodelling and destruction (Sheffield). Was Mr Ibbertson (spelling?) the organist in Sheffield? Louis Vierne left my town here (after staying close by the church with its carillon playing every 3 hours through the night) and then dedicated the work Les Cloches de Hinckley (final piece in the 4th Suite and not the best town for a French person to pronounce) to him.

I am sitting at home musing .......

 

Best wishes,

Nigel

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Guest Roffensis
In the Parr Hall thread, Cynic mentioned this instrument in terms of approbation.

 

What's it like, and what state is it in? Is there a curator?

 

I played this once some 20 years ago.

 

It did not sound like a Cavaille Coll.

 

I wonder how much is original and untouched?

 

R

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I wonder whether the interventions by English builders actually toned it down. After all, the great hall in MTH is by no means a large space; nothing like the size of Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield or even pre-fire Bolton. A 60+ stop Cavaille-Coll might very well have been a bit much - even for late 19C tastes.

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Guest Roffensis
I wonder whether the interventions by English builders actually toned it down. After all, the great hall in MTH is by no means a large space; nothing like the size of Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield or even pre-fire Bolton. A 60+ stop Cavaille-Coll might very well have been a bit much - even for late 19C tastes.

 

 

I do think it sounded fattened up. It had a distinct Edwardian tone, and the French organs are not always shattering affairs? I could hear the French tone in it, but it was obscured.

 

R

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I have read somewhere (possibly on another thread on the board) that part of Lewis' brief was to 'remove all trace of gamba tone from the diapasons', or words to that effect. I think that it's probably fair to say that the ranks in question now sound rather more like English diapasons than montres.

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I have read somewhere (possibly on another thread on the board) that part of Lewis' brief was to 'remove all trace of gamba tone from the diapasons', or words to that effect. I think that it's probably fair to say that the ranks in question now sound rather more like English diapasons than montres.

 

Yes indeed -Lewis disliked slotted Principals-.

We have discussed this organ on the french forum, and concluded

it was to be hoped you all forget it for some years more. Anyway,

do not try to "re-frenchify" it, please! the synthesis there seems

to be extremely interesting.

 

One of our members posted much interesting pictures, like this console for example:

 

http://i52.servimg.com/u/f52/12/82/33/50/cnv00010.jpg

 

....And wrote the tone is extremely interesting.

 

Pierre

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One of our members posted much interesting pictures, like this console for example:

 

http://i52.servimg.com/u/f52/12/82/33/50/cnv00010.jpg

 

....And wrote the tone is extremely interesting.

 

Pierre

 

This is interesting - it appears that the console was constructed by Nicholson & Co., in the style they tended to favour from around the late 1940s to about the mid-1980s. I was unaware that they were using curved stop-jambs à la H&H, though.

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As I said a few months ago, I regularly played this instrument during the year 2006.

 

Even if it's in rather bad condition, it is still a very very nice instrument.

It's no more an ACC organ, as the principals have been modified, some stops added, and the action changed to electropneumatic.

But whatever : this is a beautifull instrument, where french music sounds very well.

I can only advise you to go there and play it (yes, it's possible, you just have to make an appointment with Margaret Pierrucci of the Town Hall, and that's ok !).

The only problem is that feeling such a potencial, it's really frustrating to suffer the lack of wind.

 

I suggest to keep it the way it is : nobody in the world can decently pretend to re-create an ACC, since the ACC company voicers are now long dead...

Some can imitate, and approach, but this will only be a copy. Those who pretend the opposite are quite pretentious, I think. The number of ACC suffering bad restorations in France can prove it easily...

 

Edit : I regret I couldn't buy the 1973 vinyle, the organ may have sounded far better then than now.

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Guest Cynic
I think I'm right in saying the Marchester town organ has the distinction of being the smallest 5-decker in the world...

 

Sorry to disagree, but I'm sure there must be several others smaller than this. I can only think of one at the moment - St.Gervais, Paris (the Couperin organ). That's got 41 speaking stops - about 20 fewer than Manchester Town Hall.

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Sorry to disagree, but I'm sure there must be several others smaller than this. I can only think of one at the moment - St.Gervais, Paris (the Couperin organ). That's got 41 speaking stops - about 20 fewer than Manchester Town Hall.

 

On paper, small, and in reality even smaller as today 3 keyboards have (if memory serves me right) 51 notes (mans 1 2 &3) no 4 has 32 notes and the 5th has 27. However this is not the organ of François Couperin of Mass fame. It was the organ really of Armand Couperin who took over there in around 1748 and the organ was modernized by the court organ builder François-Henri CLICQUOT for 10 years from 1758 using some registers from François' organ. In his day the organ was 3 manuals and built/reconstructed by Pierre and then Alexandre THIERRY. Clicquot provides the cases we see today. The pedal he gave is from A°-d' - 30 notes. The 3rd manual, by the way, has only a 16ft Bombarde.

Pierre PESCHEUR was the builder that provided Louis Couperin with an instrument which incorporated parts of an organ from 1601 by Matthijs LANGHEDUL.

And so like all Classical/Baroque organs in France the backbone of the organ is always two manuals - Grand and Positive which couple. The others allowed prepared registrations/solos/effects for the different movements. Ah! bliss. Days before the sequencer.

 

An interesting instrument of course which evolved through the ages and through the different generations and relations of the family, Couperin.

 

All best wishes,

Nigel

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Ah! bliss. Days before the sequencer.

 

An interesting new thread here, perhaps....

 

Who'd prefer a sketchy five decker over a comprehensive three decker with modern registrational aids...?

 

I think I'd go for the latter....

 

;)

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
An interesting new thread here, perhaps....

 

Who'd prefer a sketchy five decker over a comprehensive three decker with modern registrational aids...?

 

I think I'd go for the latter....

 

;)

 

Sketchy? huh?

 

Positif

Montre 8 en façade

Bourdon 8

Prestant

Nasard

Doublette

Tierce

Larigot

Plein jeu 5 rangs

Cromorne

Trompette

Clairon

 

Grand-orgue

Montre 16

Bourdon 16

Montre 8

Flûte 8

Bourdon 8

Prestant

Nasard

Doublette

Quarte

Tierce

Grand cornet

Grosse fourniture

Fourniture

Cymbale

1ère Trompette

2ème Trompette

Clairon

Voix humaine

 

Bombarde

Bombarde 16

 

Récit

Cornet

Hautbois

 

Echo

Flûte 8

Nasard

Trompette

 

Pédale

Flûte 16

Flûte 8

Flûte 4

Bombarde

Trompette

Clairon

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