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David Thornton

Manchester Cathedral

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Is the glorious Schulze at St Peter's Hindley still homeless?

 

Unfortunately, it is at present.

 

There have been negotiations which Bryan Hughes has conducted recently with a suitable UK venue, but it would be imprudent to say more at the present time.

He also told me that Schulze's home town of Paulinzella would welcome it back and had a suitable location for it.

 

DT

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There is also a whisper going around that a 4-manual Willis/rebuilt HN&B, currently in a church which is almost certain to be declared redundant, may find its way into an Oxbridge college chapel which currently doesn't have a pipe organ. Better not say any more at present so please don't ask!

 

Mlcolm

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"Another one (will) bite(s) the dust" ?

What a sustained pace ! with one each year, there will soon

be nothing left save neo-this and that.

Good for the business, at least, in those awkward times.

 

As far as I knew it, I'd say just remove the whispers on the Solo

(a pathetic attempt to make a synthesis of Solo and Brustwerk...)

and, as Mr Ball says, redesign the Great Mixture (1 1/3'!!!!)

 

Pierre

I would agree with this. Although the scheme looks a little odd on paper, apparently it makes some wonderful sounds. It is, as far as I am aware, the only English cathedral organ which has an extra octave of pipes in the treble for almost all the clavier stops (with the exception of the Choir Clarinet and the Solo reeds).

 

I think that I would agree with Pierre regarding the Solo Organ - the mutations do seem a little out of place, together with the (tierce) Cymbel. Perhaps a more Romantic 8ft. flute would be useful. However, I would not advocate re-instating the Tuba Magna, although I am not sure why it was removed - was it too loud? I believe that it currently resided in the builders' workshops, in Durham - can anyone confirm or refute this, please?

 

The G.O. chorus now looks accepatable on paper; is it just a matter of revoicing the pipework?

 

With regard to the dry acoustic ambience, it may be that a new instrument could sound considerably worse - at least if it did not have something of the traditional H&H warmth of tone - to use a generalisation.*

 

 

 

* I am aware that this overall tonal characteristic is not shared by such instruments as those at Coventry Cathedral, St. George's, Hanover Square or the RFH, for example.

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oh, and I'll leave Pierre to design the Mixtures! Bring back Norman Cocker's original design, I say...

 

Do you have any details of this, please, Ian? I understand that, following the sudden death of Norman Cocker, the newly appointed organist (Allan Wicks) was able to have some last-minute alterations, which he felt were desirable, made to the scheme. However, I have never been able to find out what these were. I would also be interested to see a copy of the previous scheme, if anyone has access to one - the NPOR gives no stop list for the earlier instrument.

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I can't believe I'm quite such an organ anorak to contribute this nugget, but I believe the tuba he had in mind was that in Cork Cathedral. Some say Manchester's party horn could be heard from platform 12 of Victoria Station...

 

Oh my God.

 

This organ is dreadful - it is also in a fairly bad state. The console (and action) seem to be falling apart and the entire instrument is virtually buried beneath the floor of the North Transept, with only the top of the Swell and Solo boxes, and the tops of some of the Pedal ranks rising up - although these parts are largely obscured by some untidy chest-high panelling.

 

I found the sound to be very disappointing, with the Solo orchestral reeds foully out of tune and partly off-speech, no real brightness to the choruses and a lack of anything which either grabbed the atention of the listener (or the player) - or made a beautiful sound. The Pedal 32ft. flue (stopped wood) was fairly effective in the reasonably lively acoustics - but really, the whole instrument was something of a let-down, it being neither typically 'Hill' nor 'Walker'.

 

Needless to say, the Tuba was the one stop with which I did not trouble myself, so I cannot comment on this aspect of the instrument.

 

Incidentally, I assume you refer to Victoria Station in Manchester - not that in the nation's capital....

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I think that I would agree with Pierre regarding the Solo Organ - the mutations do seem a little out of place, together with the (tierce) Cymbel. Perhaps a more Romantic 8ft. flute would be useful. However, I would not advocate re-instating the Tuba Magna, although I am not sure why it was removed - was it too loud? I believe that it currently resided in the builders' workshops, in Durham - can anyone confirm or refute this, please?

 

The Tuba Magma was arranged horizontally on the screen and was removed when the console was re-sited.

 

I would contend that the 'brustwerk' stops on the Solo are actually quite useful. Just a thought; can one detect any stylistic influence when comparing the design of the Manchester Solo division (1957) and that of the remodelled Chester Solo division (1969)?

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I heard this instrument a couple of times, and it doesn't sound that bad ! I would certainly not scrap it as easily as it seems intended... There is plenty of redundant organs in UK asking for a roof on them, I hope this will not end with one more neo-baroque or nea-classical instrument...

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"If new organs aren't commissioned, then organ-building firms will go bust, won't they?"

(Quote)

 

That is not what I meant. There are many hopeless organs around that can be replaced by better (new) instruments. But that is (in my opinion) not the case in Manchester cathedral. Besides, maintenance to existing organs also keep organ-building firms going.

 

There is also the possibilty to keep, use and respect the Harrison & Harrison organ, and buy a new organ, made especially for the repertoire for which the present instrument is not suitable. You can have the best of both worlds (though not in one instrument)!

 

There are some interesting examples in The Netherlands, like the Grote Kerk in Dordrecht (new Bach organ) and the Bovenkerk in Kampen. See the following links:

 

http://www.debovenkerk.nl/page_3.htm

 

http://www.grotekerk-dordrecht.nl/groteker...el/?language=nl

 

I have seen and heard both the Cavaillé-Coll organ in Warrington and the Schulze organ in Hindley. Both exciting and interesting instruments, and both worthy of a better location, a location where they are appreciated. But I think Manchester Cathedral would not be the right location for either of these instruments. With the cathedral's very dry acoustics, I doubt anything would sound and function better than the present instrument.

 

Dave.

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Do you have any details of this, please, Ian? I understand that, following the sudden death of Norman Cocker, the newly appointed organist (Allan Wicks) was able to have some last-minute alterations, which he felt were desirable, made to the scheme. However, I have never been able to find out what these were. I would also be interested to see a copy of the previous scheme, if anyone has access to one - the NPOR gives no stop list for the earlier instrument.

 

Hi

 

The BOA section of the NPOR record lists a number of sources, one of which from the perido just after the work you're interested in may well contain the relevant stop list.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Cynic
"If new organs aren't commissioned, then organ-building firms will go bust, won't they?"

(Quote)

 

That is not what I meant. There are many hopeless organs around that can be replaced by better (new) instruments. But that is (in my opinion) not the case in Manchester cathedral. Besides, maintenance to existing organs also keep organ-building firms going.

 

There is also the possibilty to keep, use and respect the Harrison & Harrison organ, and buy a new organ, made especially for the repertoire for which the present instrument is not suitable. You can have the best of both worlds (though not in one instrument)!

 

There are some interesting examples in The Netherlands, like the Grote Kerk in Dordrecht (new Bach organ) and the Bovenkerk in Kampen. See the following links:

 

http://www.debovenkerk.nl/page_3.htm

 

http://www.grotekerk-dordrecht.nl/groteker...el/?language=nl

 

I have seen and heard both the Cavaillé-Coll organ in Warrington and the Schulze organ in Hindley. Both exciting and interesting instruments, and both worthy of a better location, a location where they are appreciated. But I think Manchester Cathedral would not be the right location for either of these instruments. With the cathedral's very dry acoustics, I doubt anything would sound and function better than the present instrument.

 

Dave.

 

 

The above is IMHO a first-class posting with which I wholeheartedly agree.

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There is also the possibilty to keep, use and respect the Harrison & Harrison organ, and buy a new organ, made especially for the repertoire for which the present instrument is not suitable. You can have the best of both worlds (though not in one instrument)!

A brilliant idea in principle – but where would a new organ go in that building? The excellent modern west windows rule the possibility of (re?)erecting a west gallery.

 

One workable (if distinctly non-PC) solution would be to return the H&H console to its pre '79 position in the south quire. The screen could then be supplied with a west-facing organ along the lines of the fine instrument in Birmingham RC Cathedral (although without a ruckpositiv/pos a dos, so as not to spoil the screen itself). It would be possible (and quite useful, if a little vulgar) to enable some of the chancel organ (Open Woods, Ophicleides etc.) to be played from the screen. One could even have a monster Passau-style console in the nave to control both organs.

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There is also a whisper going around that a 4-manual Willis/rebuilt HN&B, currently in a church which is almost certain to be declared redundant, may find its way into an Oxbridge college chapel which currently doesn't have a pipe organ. Better not say any more at present so please don't ask!

 

Mlcolm

 

I'm not sure that this is particularly secret - I've heard this, & have no connection to the South Coast church dedicated to the Prince of Apostles or the alma mater of Ralph Downes... ;)

 

Unless I'm mistaken, in which case apologies...

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I only know the Manchester organ from a Howells CD on which it sounds very good!

 

"There is also the possibility to keep, use and respect the Harrison & Harrison organ, and buy a new organ, made especially for the repertoire for which the present instrument is not suitable."

 

But presumably the repertoire which is its bread-and-butter is the repertoire which it is required to do on a day-to-day basis?

 

"You can have the best of both worlds (though not in one instrument)!

There are some interesting examples in The Netherlands, like the Grote Kerk in Dordrecht (new Bach organ) and the Bovenkerk in Kampen. See the following links"

 

But both churches are MUCH larger than Manchester Cathedral (Dordt is like a French Cathedral) and the liturgical roles of the organ in that church (beyond accompanying congregational singing) is far less specific. Both organs were paid for by separate foundations.

 

Glancing at the stoplist (dangerous and pretty meaningless if I'm honest), I would prune the organ of its neo-baroquery (2 1's, 2 pedal mixtures!) I hope the Norman Cocker 73-note chests are kept. If the organ doesn't support the nave, build a separate Nave organ, 20 stops, big (16') chorus, mechanical action. A 'gemeentezangorgel' as the Dutch call it ('congregation-singing-organ').

 

Bazuin

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Glancing at the stoplist (dangerous and pretty meaningless if I'm honest), I would prune the organ of its neo-baroquery (2 1's, 2 pedal mixtures!) I hope the Norman Cocker 73-note chests are kept.).

Bazuin

Bear in mind that, in this case, the neo-baroquery is part of the organ's original tonal concept.

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Did I hear that the marble floor at the front of the cathedral was a gift from a Masonic charity, if so take ALL the seating out, and apply for funding to extend the marble floor through out, that would certaily improve the "dry" acoustic ;)

 

Peter

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I have seen and heard both the Cavaillé-Coll organ in Warrington and the Schulze organ in Hindley. Both exciting and interesting instruments, and both worthy of a better location, a location where they are appreciated. But I think Manchester Cathedral would not be the right location for either of these instruments. With the cathedral's very dry acoustics, I doubt anything would sound and function better than the present instrument.

 

Dave.

 

I thought I had read somewhere, maybe even on this board, that rumour has it, the Warrington organ might be going to Sheffield Cathedral?

 

Richard

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OmegaConsort - you are right, well almost. Warrington want it out and Sheffield Cathedral have expressed an interest but I think you'll find that's as far as it goes at present. There is a move afoot by certain locals to keep it where it is, which in my view would be disastrous as it would not be looked after.

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Of course, wherever the Hindley Schulze goes, it will need a new console! The former (1970's) console donated by the former Hindley Urban District Council was used as the console for the present toaster installed in recent years. "The worst example of ecclesiastical vandalism ever"!!

 

NS

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Of course, wherever the Hindley Schulze goes, it will need a new console! The former (1970's) console donated by the former Hindley Urban District Council was used as the console for the present toaster installed in recent years. "The worst example of ecclesiastical vandalism ever"!!

NS

..well, there are a good few contenders for that particular accolade. ;)

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I only know the Manchester organ from a Howells CD on which it sounds very good!

 

I still have a Ryemuse EP made by Derek Cantrell on which he played the 1st movement of Bach's Trio No.1 in Eflat, the 1st movement of Mendelssohn's 1st Sonata in F minor, and the Lidon Sonata de Primo Tono; it inspired me to learn the 3 pieces and I used to think the organ sounded great. However, in the building although it accompanies very well and there is much of considerable beauty it doesn't really excite or thrill in the way that some of our Cathedral organs do, despite hearing it many, many times, and from different parts of the building.

 

As for the EP I couldn't tell whether it was the 'Tuba Magma' (as Paul Morley so nicely put it) or the 'Orchestral Tuba' in the Lidon.

 

Concerning the notorious big tuba, Manchester was the first Cathedral organ I ever played when at the age of 13 I played for Derek Cantrell as part of an audition for Chetham's. I played BWV 545 and Stanley's Trumpet Voluntary, DC said that I could use whatever I wanted, 'except the Tuba Magna', but the Orchestral Tuba sounded pretty good to a 13 year old. He did allow me to play a single note on it however, and said that it was much too loud and that he never used it.

 

DT

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There is a good and recent recording of the Manchester organ - Langlais organ music (Paraphrases Gregoriennes?) plus the Durufle Messe cum Jubilo the Langlais Messe Solennelle and another by Naji Hakim (great fun - espcially the Gloria with lots of Hakim's 'off-note-fairground' sounding material)- dedicated to the performers. Jeffrey Makinson and Christopher Stokes are playing. 'Can't remember the label - possibly Herald.

I have it somewhere!

 

A

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The Tuba Magma was arranged horizontally on the screen and was removed when the console was re-sited.

 

Whereas the Dome Tubas at St Paul's have been compared to 'red hot coals', the Manchester tuba obviously brings to mind red hot lava!

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QUOTE (bazuin @ Apr 3 2009, 02:25 PM) *

Glancing at the stoplist (dangerous and pretty meaningless if I'm honest), I would prune the organ of its neo-baroquery (2 1's, 2 pedal mixtures!) I hope the Norman Cocker 73-note chests are kept.).

Bazuin

 

Bear in mind that, in this case, the neo-baroquery is part of the organ's original tonal concept.

 

Indeed. which, like the neo-baroquery at Coventry Cathedral and the Colston Hall (Bristol), will blend perfectly with the rest of the instrument. For that matter, there is the neo-baroquery at King's College Chapel, Cambridge - who could imagine this Arthur Harrison creation without its Choir Organ?

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Coventry, as far as I know it, does not have anything neo-baroque.

It is a plain neo-classique organ, to be compared with Gonzalez,

Delmotte, Klais, Steinmeyer, Holtkamp etc, not Paul Ott and his

followers.

 

Pierre

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I don't remember much unblending neo-baroquery there in my day (1990-91). Where's the Solo Cornet des Violes gone? It's listed as Cymbel on NPOR.

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