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DouglasCorr

St Pauls Cathedral

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Henry 4.

 

You can see some of the others at: http://www.willis-organs.com/history.htm

 

I'll see if I can persuade someone to put some others up this week.

 

DW

 

Thank you very much for those most interesting photos it would be very exciting to see more if at all possible - personally, I would be very interested to see anything more on St Paul's or Truro. Do you happen to have anything that relates to Monkton Combe School? There was a three manual HW there which was reduced to two manuals by Percy Daniel and has now been further attended to comlplete with electronic stops by the Deane Organ Builders. If you happened to have a specification or photo of the original organ I'd be really interested. Many thanks.

Martin Cooke.

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Thank you very much for those most interesting photos it would be very exciting to see more if at all possible - personally, I would be very interested to see anything more on St Paul's or Truro. Do you happen to have anything that relates to Monkton Combe School? There was a three manual HW there which was reduced to two manuals by Percy Daniel and has now been further attended to comlplete with electronic stops by the Deane Organ Builders. If you happened to have a specification or photo of the original organ I'd be really interested. Many thanks.

Martin Cooke.

 

What lamentable news to read about a Father Willis and its demise - especially on the day commemorating All Souls.

 

Nigel

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What lamentable news to read about a Father Willis and its demise - especially on the day commemorating All Souls.

 

Nigel

 

Fully agreed!!!

 

Pierre

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Do you happen to have anything that relates to Monkton Combe School? There was a three manual HW there which was reduced to two manuals by Percy Daniel and has now been further attended to comlplete with electronic stops by the Deane Organ Builders. If you happened to have a specification or photo of the original organ I'd be really interested. Many thanks.

Martin Cooke.

 

 

This is interesting - the NPOR here might help. By all accounts the organ that reached Monkton Combe had gone through a few manifestations before being finally mixed with their existing Bishop organ - later more mixing resulted in this!! Although it is just up the road I have not heard it - I don't know how much Willis sound is left.

 

AJJ

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The origins of the Trompette Militaire have been much discussed on here (and elsewhere). It would be nice to hear it sometimes though

 

I heard the Trompette Militaire on my last visit to St. Paul's.

A Sunday afternoon evensong in July '07 just before Malcolm Archer's departure. The anthem was William Walton's The Twelve (a personal favourite) and the voluntary was Orb & Sceptre in which the Trompette got a good airing. The chancel Great was 'out' at the time.

 

I hope Thomas Trotter uses it for ' Joie et clarte des Corps Glorieux' on the 27th. It would be nice if he also did a 'tour of the organ' like he did at Worcester.

 

DT

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Having just heard the Royal Albert Hall organ last week (John Scott), one realises how superior St Pauls is, in terms of its beauty of tone and in its cohesive and useful range of colours and volumes. I don't know why this should be. Perhaps the flying saucers have not improved the RAH acoustics. Maybe it is intrinsically different in concept, through being a concert organ..? And possibly St Pauls is better because of the experience gained by Willis in builidng the RAH first?

 

Hey hold on there - horses for courses! I was also at both concerts; the St Paul's instrument is very fine indeed, but for 'beauty of tone etc.' I'd choose the RAH every time. It's all a matter of personal taste...

 

And I wonder what superlatives we might use if the poor old RFH organ were to be moved into St Pauls? :lol:

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And I wonder what superlatives we might use if the poor old RFH organ were to be moved into St Pauls?

 

That's a good point. Funds have yet to be secured to complete the re-instatement at RFH. It would be intriguing to hear this organ complete in a better environment.

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And I wonder what superlatives we might use if the poor old RFH organ were to be moved into St Pauls? :lol:

And more to the point, I sometimes wonder if these organs would get the same superlatives and interest if they weren't in these prestigious venues... :huh:

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I think sometimes the reverberation in St Paul's actually works against the organ, certainly the Chancel organ anyway. To hear these divisions at their best you really need to be sitting in the Quire itself (although admittedly you can hear the North Case very well from the South Transept entrance). But the sheer beauty of these Chancel sections is self-evident. And to perform with this instrument is a very enjoyable experience. Prestigious venue apart (and I take your point on this Colin), the Chancel Organ is, without doubt, a real gem. I think you would be pushing into the realm of disingenuity if you were not to admit this to be true.

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And I wonder what superlatives we might use if the poor old RFH organ were to be moved into St Pauls? :lol:

 

More expletives than superlatives I think!

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More expletives than superlatives I think!

 

Not necessarily. It is probably impossible (or at least inadvisable) to speculate - but it may be that the instrument would sound extremely well in such a generous acoustic. It would certainly not sound like it did prior to 2000.

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Its good to read such glowing comments, but inevitably to suggest that any one instrument is the best in the country is to invite controversy, and clearly tastes differ. I haven't heard St Paul's for some years and, no doubt would love it. But for me, a personal choice, the organ in Westminster Cathdedral is by some margin the outstanding instrument in this country.

 

Neil makes a valid point. I endorse his choice; however, I also like very much the organ of Coventry Cathedral; and, in a different way, the organ of Bristol Cathedral. Then there is Ripon Cathedral, which has much to commend it, Chichester Cathedral (for its intimate, utterly singing tone) - and Gloucester (yes, I know....).

 

For me, the choice is a thoroughly musical instrument - almost regardless of style. I say 'almost', since I cannot reconcile myself to what I perceive to be the paucity of the mixture-schemes in such instruments as those at Salisbury, Lincoln and Truro cathedrals, for example.

 

However, it is true that I regard the heroic 'Willis' instrument of Westminster Cathedral to be superb on just about every level.

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I just caught (before a Rachmaninov 'vespers' rehearsal last night, as I was parking the car) a snippett from St Paul's late evening on R4. It was basically an interview with the organist (with the inevitable 'stupid' questions) and some quickie demonstrations of the 'new' stops and a good blast of full organ. The interesting thing was that the organ was recorded from the console - giving a good perspective as to the difficuly facing the organist in performance. I especially liked his comment that parts of the organ could not be heard at all well at the console!

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I just caught (before a Rachmaninov 'vespers' rehearsal last night, as I was parking the car) a snippett from St Paul's late evening on R4. It was basically an interview with the organist (with the inevitable 'stupid' questions) and some quickie demonstrations of the 'new' stops and a good blast of full organ. The interesting thing was that the organ was recorded from the console - giving a good perspective as to the difficuly facing the organist in performance. I especially liked his comment that parts of the organ could not be heard at all well at the console!

 

Yes, the two effects we heard were one of the Great Open Diapasons by itself (very nice and one of the three oldest ranks) and more or less full organ but nothing inbetween. The interviewer seeed to think every last stop needed to be out for a full organ sound but the organist didn't point out that it's pointless including quiet ranks to the full organ effect. To be fair it's not easy being interviewed at the best of times!

 

John R

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I just caught (before a Rachmaninov 'vespers' rehearsal last night, as I was parking the car) a snippett from St Paul's late evening on R4. It was basically an interview with the organist (with the inevitable 'stupid' questions) and some quickie demonstrations of the 'new' stops and a good blast of full organ. The interesting thing was that the organ was recorded from the console - giving a good perspective as to the difficuly facing the organist in performance. I especially liked his comment that parts of the organ could not be heard at all well at the console!

 

Item from last night's R4 Front Row on BBC I-Player here http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00f6gz4. It is 7'.47" into the programme. Sound clip starts with The Archers theme tune!

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I just caught (before a Rachmaninov 'vespers' rehearsal last night, as I was parking the car) a snippett from St Paul's late evening on R4. It was basically an interview with the organist (with the inevitable 'stupid' questions) and some quickie demonstrations of the 'new' stops and a good blast of full organ. The interesting thing was that the organ was recorded from the console - giving a good perspective as to the difficuly facing the organist in performance. I especially liked his comment that parts of the organ could not be heard at all well at the console!

 

Some stupid questions, yes, but not bad on the whole. And it's yet another sign that the organ's profile is on the rise at the BBC. Give them every encouragement!

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So, now the work is complete, what are the chances of a Manders Forum Members meet and play at St Paul's? (That's St Paul's London - although you're all always welcome at St Paul's Birmingham!!)

 

A late at night lock-in to avoid those tourists and guided tours mentioned in the broadcast... and so that we could sample the new dome reeds! Is this sort of thing ever done there?

 

no chance?

 

maybe?

 

possibly?

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A late at night lock-in to avoid those tourists and guided tours mentioned in the broadcast... and so that we could sample the new dome reeds! Is this sort of thing ever done there?

 

no chance?

 

maybe?

 

possibly?

 

I thought I saw some dim pink-coloured fireworks in the sky a moment ago, but I think they're porcine creatures gliding by....

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I thought I saw some dim pink-coloured fireworks in the sky a moment ago, but I think they're porcine creatures gliding by....

 

Now now now!

 

AJJ

 

'Played it once just after the 1970s work - after a late Friday rehearsal with a visiting choir - 'pulled out the Full Organ stop and launched into the JSB 5 Part Fantasia in C minor - oh the vulgarities of youth!! It sounded good though.

 

AJJ

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So, now the work is complete, what are the chances of a Manders Forum Members meet and play at St Paul's? (That's St Paul's London - although you're all always welcome at St Paul's Birmingham!!)

 

A late at night lock-in to avoid those tourists and guided tours mentioned in the broadcast... and so that we could sample the new dome reeds! Is this sort of thing ever done there?

 

no chance?

 

maybe?

 

possibly?

 

About as much 'chance' of that happening as winning the Euro Lotto :blink:

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I've heard them now too to-night - the Royal Trumpets - Thomas Trotter explained that he would use them in Messiaen's Les Corps Glorieux - no prizes for guessing where. But from my seat under the Dome they were not as loud or as directional as I imagined they would be. In fact, like the whole recital, they were another artistic touch, not a blast or dreadful opaque honking.

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Guest Echo Gamba
About as much 'chance' of that happening as winning the Euro Lotto :(

 

Having sought permission to join the visit, I was unable to attend due to a last-minute crisis (deputy booked for Saturday evening Mass went sick :unsure: ) but a few years ago Malcolm Archer hosted a visit to St Paul's by the Bristol & District Association, which I think may have involved a "lock-in".

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Thomas Trotter's recital on Thursday was most enjoyable, and as with all TT's performances, a model of artistry.

 

As for the new stops, the Contra Posaune & Trumpet were used for the 'death theme' in 'Combat de la Mort', the Tuba for 'Joie et Clarte'. They all sounded pretty good to me, the Tuba in particular very loud, bright and even throughout (you get most of the 60 notes in this piece!). The 3 Tubas integrated well during various 'tutti' passages.

 

My memory of the Dome ensemble was that the Cymbale was the dominant voice, this has now gone leaving (with the new reeds) a very well integrated sound.

 

The Royal Trumpets were added at the climax of 'Combat' and also at the ends of Durufle's Toccata and the encore, Fugue sur le thème du Carillon des Heures de la Cathédrale de Soissons. Sat 6 rows back in the centre of the Dome, they certainly made a thrilling impact.

 

I was surprised to read that the mobile console was donated the the son of the late Harry Gabb, sub-organist from 1946 to '74. Now that's some donation!

 

The only negative note, the traffic noise did detract somewhat during much of the sublime quiet passages of 'Les Corps', which form a significant part of the whole.

 

DT

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