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Organ Wanted


RobH
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I hope our hosts won't mind me using this forum for shamelessly appealing for a decent redundant organ. Over the past year I have been searching for a high quality largish two manual for a fairly large church. It must be by a "good" builder and have around ten ranks on each manual, preferably with tracker action to manuals. Does anyone know of such an instrument? If so, I should be delighted to hear about it. Not one of the organs listed on the IBO redundant organ site is suitable; most of them either too small, too big or just not of the best quality.

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Guest Roffensis
I hope our hosts won't mind me using this forum for shamelessly appealing for a decent redundant organ. Over the past year I have been searching for a high quality largish two manual for a fairly large church. It must be by a "good" builder and have around ten ranks on each manual, preferably with tracker action to manuals. Does anyone know of such an instrument? If so, I should be delighted to hear about it. Not one of the organs listed on the IBO redundant organ site is suitable; most of them either too small, too big or just not of the best quality.

 

 

St. Cyprian's, Edge Hill, Liverpool. 1885 Nicholson and Lord, very nice pipework, off the top of my head Pedal is big/little/8. Great 16, 8, 4, 2, Clarionet, Flutes 8 and 4, Gamba, Dulciana. Swell 8, 4, Piccolo 2, Mix III, Oboe, Cornopean, Strings (to die for) and 8 Flute.The action (organ basically) will need restoring. The church is closed, and they do want to get the organ out I understand. En fenetre console, pitchpine case very dark, nice pinnacles. Gold facade pipes, very crammed inside, pretty standard size for a 2 decker. I suggest in the first instance you contact Liverpool Cathedral 709 2971 for a contact number.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Keep me posted.

 

R

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Thanks for this info. Roffensis. I don't know much about Nicholson and Lord's work, have only ever come across one of their jobs, a small one in Yorkshire. Will keep you posted. Rob.

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Guest Cynic
Thanks for this info. Roffensis. I don't know much about Nicholson and Lord's work, have only ever come across one of their jobs, a small one in Yorkshire. Will keep you posted. Rob.

 

 

If you need reassurance on this, I can speak with player and builder experience of Nicholson and Lord jobs - they are very well made, splendid-sounding instruments. A N&L is fully the equal of the contemporary firms in the provinces, John Nicholson, A&S, Binns, F&A, early H&H etc. I have a lot of pipework from their job ex St.Paul's Walsall and it's splendid stuff - modest pressures, solid but transparent choruses etc. Put it this way, I have never met a poor one and there are not many firms of which one can say that.

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Guest Roffensis
If you need reassurance on this, I can speak with player and builder experience of Nicholson and Lord jobs - they are very well made, splendid-sounding instruments. A N&L is fully the equal of the contemporary firms in the provinces, John Nicholson, A&S, Binns, F&A, early H&H etc. I have a lot of pipework from their job ex St.Paul's Walsall and it's splendid stuff - modest pressures, solid but transparent choruses etc. Put it this way, I have never met a poor one and there are not many firms of which one can say that.

 

 

I quite agree.

 

Re. St. Cyprians....a good Diapason chorus with a lot of harmonics, The Swell is darker. Chirpy Flutes, there is a particularly good Harmonic Flute on the Great, quite a brassy Cornopean, Oboe good with no "edge", the Swell Strings are very good, not loud but very rich. Pipework very solidly built, all quality stuff. It deserves a good home. I played it for some 20 years off and on for various things, and although the action needed work, it did all one could want on an organ of this size. I loved it.

 

R

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If you need reassurance on this, I can speak with player and builder experience of Nicholson and Lord jobs - they are very well made, splendid-sounding instruments. A N&L is fully the equal of the contemporary firms in the provinces, John Nicholson, A&S, Binns, F&A, early H&H etc. I have a lot of pipework from their job ex St.Paul's Walsall and it's splendid stuff - modest pressures, solid but transparent choruses etc. Put it this way, I have never met a poor one and there are not many firms of which one can say that.

 

I am also happy to say that N & L jobs generally are well made, if a bit tight. The mechanical actions are perfectly good, but make sure you have it rebuilt sensitively and thoughtfully, as you can still improve the touch a little. The pipework is normally good quality too. Should give you donkeys years of good service.

 

AJS

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Thanks for this info. Roffensis. I don't know much about Nicholson and Lord's work, have only ever come across one of their jobs, a small one in Yorkshire. Will keep you posted. Rob.

 

Nicholson and Lord Started in 1878 as far as I know and were based in Walsall. They were acquired in 1951 by the Walter James Bird firm of Selly Park, Birmingham. They made some remarkable instruments and I assist in tuning four of them in the Shropshire area. My favourite one is in St. Lukes Ironbridge, built in 1890. The specification is as follows:

 

 

Pedal

1 Bourdon 16

2 Bass Flute 8

 

GT-PED

SW-PED

 

Great

 

3 Open Diapason 8

4 Clarabella Treb & St Diap 8

5 Dulciana 8

6 Gamba 8

7 Principal 4

8 Harmonic Flute 4

9 Fifteenth 2

 

SW-GT

 

 

Swell

10 Lieblich Bourdon 16

11 Open Diapason 8

12 L Gedact 8

13 Viol d'Amour 8

14 Voix Celeste 8 TC

15 Gemshorn 4

16 Wald Flute 4

17 Fifteenth 2

18 Cornopean 8

19 Oboe 8

20 Clarion 4

21 Tremulant

 

SW OCTAVE

 

 

The reeds have so much character and you can do anything with them (i.e. open them in and out without them flying off etc). The Pedal Bourdon and Bass Flute are separate ranks. Nicholson and Lord organs were known for their soundboards being chromatic until tenor G (i.e. 10 on the sharp side). As well as their own impost profile design and casework of pitch pine, they were also known for their membrane chests for off notes of pedal pipes. My guess is that if the Liverpool N&L organ needs restoring then these chests will have to be carefully restored.

 

It's a shame the firm isn't widely known.

 

For those interested I have a Nicholson & Lord appreciation society on Facebook.

 

Regards

 

JT

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Guest Cynic

Just thinking on, I assume you have visited both of these sites?

http://www.georgesixsmithandsonltd.co.uk/redundant/

 

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redu...dundantMain.asp

 

The IBO one, in particular, seems to get added to pretty regularly.

There are a couple of organs up there today that I know are no longer available, but that shouldn't stop you investigating.

 

Does the organ you search for have to be on tracker? I realise that a Victorian tracker by a reputable firm might only require the minimum of refurbishment and that sensible folks don't take on projects that involve setting up old pneumatic actions (even the best firms have sometimes been unsuccessful at this) but the truth is, the larger specs tend to give you pneumatic or electric assistance, whether you want it or not.

 

Don't be put off by the existing Pedal action being pneumatic. Its use is frequently the most sensible way of laying out a job and electrifying pneumatic chests is a fairly simple business and would give further opportunities for building up a pedal organ by extension - for instance, add 24 quite small pipes and a pedal organ of one stop becomes a (vastly more effective) division of 5 - acoustic 32' 16' 8' 5.1/3' 4'!

 

 

[P.S. I've just trawled a bit, and of those on Sixsmith's list today, the one that caught my eye is the Lewis at Bury. It turns out to be a fair-sized three-decker (on pneumatic action) in the URC there, It's on NPOR. That'd make a superb organ if someone has the funds!]

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... would give further opportunities for building up a pedal organ by extension - for instance, add 24 quite small pipes and a pedal organ of one stop becomes a (vastly more effective) division of 5 - acoustic 32' 16' 8' 5.1/3' 4'!

 

Cynic's advice is good, as ever. Do try Derrick Carrington of the Rendundant Organ Rehousing company. He's not far from your part of the world either.

 

However, I would take issue with the advice above and suggest at least a modicum of restraint. I've come across a small Willis organ where the pedal division was a lone Bourdon, later expanded in this manner - and it had more stops than the rest of the organ put together. Did it make the pedal organ vastly more effective? No, it didn't - it merely made the entire organ ridiculous.

 

What use is a 5 1/3 stop on a pedal organ - especially if the organ is small? Isn't a 32' bass derived from 1 stop quinted on itself a ghastly and ugly sound - especially if the stop is Victorian and of vast scale in the bottom octave? Why not just play down the octave at times and - if you must - use other (more effective) tricks for 32' effects?

 

A Victorian Bourdon extended upwards will make a fairly non-descript (although heavily used) 8' Bass Flute and (without fail, in my experience) an infrequently used, 3rd rate 4' flute. What are you going to use this 4' for? Because at best it'll do nothing, at worst, it'll stick out like a sore thumb in the sound of the rest of the organ. Will it provide an independent pedal? No, it won't because the flute based pedal extension chorus won't balance happily or sit comfortably with the principal-based manual chorus. Will you be able to play 4' chorale tunes in Bach Chorale Preludes? I doubt it... Again, for trio sonatas, would not all but the most dogmatic neo-classicist find it an acceptable compromise to couple the RH manual to the pedal for the pedal to have more definition?

 

Why not leave it to the ingenuity of the organist to extract as much versatility out of the organ at his disposal? If we start to modify organs in this way, do we not rob them of their character and disfigure them into something artistically deformed, into a shape they were never intended?

 

Were not the Orcs in LOTR once elves, tortured and disfigured into their ghastly shape? When I come across a much rebuilt or modified organ, I experience the same sense of revulsion and loss.

 

My experience is that I've gone from an organ with 8 pedal stops to an organ with 3 - and the organ with 3 pedal stops is so vastly finer than the old organ I've not once missed the 5 less pedal stops (including 4 foots and acoustic 32s - the 5 1/3 had disappeared in the 1980s). This pedal organ does everything it needs to because the overall concept of the organ and its design are strong and well thought out. The pedal organ's role is clear in this organ so the organist never feels a sense of compromise or inadequacy. In fact, when you hear the organ or look inside it, compromise is the word furthest from your lips.

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[P.S. I've just trawled a bit, and of those on Sixsmith's list today, the one that caught my eye is the Lewis at Bury. It turns out to be a fair-sized three-decker (on pneumatic action) in the URC there, It's on NPOR. That'd make a superb organ if someone has the funds!]

 

I believe this organ has been shipped to Germany, it was sold in late 2006.

 

Jonathan

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"What use is a 5 1/3 stop on a pedal organ - especially if the organ is small? Isn't a 32' bass derived from 1 stop quinted on itself a ghastly and ugly sound - especially if the stop is Victorian and of vast scale in the bottom octave?"

(Quote)

 

Though not of extra wide scales, bear in mind the german baroque masters

often made "Quintbass" 5 1/3' and "Grossquintbass" 10 2/3' for their pedal organs,

particularly the Casparinis. Even in small organs !

 

Here is, for example, a proposal from Adam Gottlob Casparini for Gumbinnen, 1754:

 

Im Manual

 

Principal= Bass 8'

Bourdun gedeckt 16'

Flaut major 8'

Flaut minor 4'

Trompet 8'

Unda maris 8'

Octava principalis 4'

Quinta major 3'

Super Octav 2'

Tertian 1 3/5'

Quintina 1 1/2'

Mixtura 3 und 4 Fach 1'

Sifflöt 1'

 

Im Pedal

 

Subbass 16' offen

Principalbass 8'

Posaunenbass 16'

Octava Bass 4'

Flaut bass 8'

Füllbass 10 3/4'

Bleibt leer: Trompetenbass 8'

 

Accessoires:

 

Tremulant, Sine me nihil ("ne me vois pas")

 

(Written as by Casparini himself)

 

This Pedal could date from 1900, at least on paper.

 

Pierre

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